A plan awry by 29

I had a plan. I had a good plan. Graduate from high school, finish college in four years, get married, have my 2.5 children, and buy a house- all by age 30.

Let’s all laugh together.

You know what actually happened?

I graduated from high school, but it took me six years to graduate from college. I got married, but was separated by 24. I got pregnant, but had 3 miscarriages. I rent a house with no plans of buying anytime soon- I turn 29 next month.

The glaring variance between the two used to eat at me daily. It was all consuming.
As a pathological glutton for punishment, I compulsively checked social media. Facebook became an endless stream of coworkers and past classmates who had, in my eyes, not only accomplished, but superseded, my plan.

Last year was a year of introspection. I took deep (and painful) stock. I challenged the motives behind my social media activity. I took a few step backs, unfollowed one-third of my friends list, and don’t write nearly as many inflammatory posts as I did.

I’ve carried that introspection into the train wreck that the year 2020 has become. Soul-searching is not enjoyable. I think it can be likened to dredging. Removing layers of emotional debris and filth is a long and dirty process, but is an absolute necessity for the future. And I have far to go.

There were many factors that drove my plan off the rails, some within my control and some not.

School has always very difficult for me and I imagine it always will be. There is, however, a fine line to dance between acceptance and self-fulfilling prophecy.

I made mistakes in my marriage and was equipped with arsenal of toxic behavior, but I will never apologize for leaving a marriage rife with domestic violence and adultery.
As painful as our miscarriages were, I am grateful now the children conceived were not born into what was the height of an abusive marriage.

I am incredibly fortunate to rent an adorable and very inexpensive house. It has a huge fenced in back yard for Sebastian and my monthly rent is less than most (low end) car payments. There are some perks to living in a city with population that is 1100, mostly cows.

I turn 30 next year. It looks absolutely nothing like I had imagined, but I am grateful for the surprises that life continues to bring.

A tolerable and actually enjoyable female Christian author and other miracles

I can’t stand Christian writers.

Tad harsh. Correction- I don’t like most Christian authors.

I’m a pastor’s kid and missionary kid. I perused Lifeway more than the aisles of Kroger growing up. I know the genre of Christian fiction, particurally female. I don’t do sappy, I don’t do romance novels, and I absolute do not do cliche secular knock-offs (that blog is coming soon). To this day, I still read 99% classics or mainstream.  This filter eliminated the majority of late 90s-early 2000s popular picks.

The select few authors I tolerated and actually couldn’t put down: Karen Linamen, non-female Rob Morgan (bonus pack: I actually know him in real life), and Kristen Billerbeck.

Until now. After a solid decade, I’ve found #4.

I found her on accident last night. I was creeping on Facebook, which led me to scrolling through comment section wars (guilty pleasure, come at me), and the odd tangled web led me to this:

Check her out- http://www.thedomesticfringe.com.

She is punchy.

She is sharp.

She is a funny Christian.

I thought she was just a very witty blogger writing about life for the first two hours. It didn’t scream  I’m-a-pastor’s-wife-and-we-only-discuss-those-matters. I had no clue what her vocation was until I read her bio.

In a good way.

A very good way.

I may or may not have been reading her archives since last night. Ok, I’m up to early 2009’s.

This isn’t a shout-out. She won’t see this and that isn’t the point anyway. I’m just really excited I found the goldmine.

Check her out. She doesn’t have a book out that I’m aware of (during my less than 24 hour discovery and all), but she will have you spitting out your drink and then deep in thought.

Let your coffee cool first.

 

 

I hate you; don’t leave me.

Have a brutally honest minute to spare?

I’m composed of a tumbling series of contradictions. It is a polarizing, sometimes confusing dichotomy, and that’s just from my delayed observations, let alone from the outside.

My mom succinctly noted on one frustrating, highly emotional adolescent day- “you need and want love, but you push everyone away when they start to give it.”

She was right. She is right.

-I crave affirmation, to an unhealthy point -but I cannot handle the criticism that follows, even given in a positive light.

-I want close friendships, but back away when numerous attempts are made to socialize.

-I message people all the time, but sometimes go for days without replying. It isn’t that I don’t want to talk, I start to respond several times a day, but I think I’m afraid of the unread response awaiting.

To those I’ve done that to, especially recently (ie: yesterday), I sincerely apologize.

-If you haven’t noticed, self-sabotage is kind of a trend here. The contrasting desire/action becomes a self-fufilling prophecy: seek approval and affirmation too often, and people will become irritated and harsh; decline invites enough, and people won’t bother reaching out; don’t reply with relative punctuality, and people will not text you first (or at all).

I do this to myself.

The positive spin is- because I cause it, I can channel it in a different direction.

I CAN find satisfaction in myself; I CAN reply in a decent time frame (hey, a few hours late is better than a couple weeks); I CAN go to the movie (with, you know, actual people).

Are you like this? You can change too.


 

I love you; come closer.

 

 

 

 

I like long walk on the beach and other lies

1. Sunny weather.

I don’t like sunshine.

I actually abhor it.

What that says about me, I don’t know, and it’s a little too late to ask questions now.

Rainy weather is invigorating. Charcoal skies and a minor monsoon within earshot is instantly energizing. I can do all the things.  Crossing off months-worths of errands and odd tasks is accomplished by the dreary, grey noon.

Sorry you birthed Wednesday Adams, Mom.

2. Beaches

They are the polar opposite of relaxation.

Sand in slightly/no/majorly innappropriate places is not a fun time.

Reading SPF as frequently as junk food nutritional labels is not chill.

Fighting for your very own cubic square inch is remnicient of Black Friday.

Caveat- unpopulated, looked-over shores could possibly, but probably not be made an exception.

3. Cleanses and other miracle placebos.

Wanna detox? Simply continue staying alive. Your liver and kidneys literally exist for this reason.

4. Popular Conspiracy Theories

a. Obama  the Antichrist.

Remember about eight years ago the fun rumors declaring that our current President was, in fact, the Antichrist. As in Left Behind series/scare-your -children -into being-saved-for-the-20th- time fear mongering.

Don’t even get me started on his mythical lack of a birth certificate. I’m not saying you are deeply secured in the rabbit hole if you subscribe to this theory, but I am assuming your local grocery store has a constant shortage of tin foil.

b. Snowden.

You had one job.

Your employment description was literally to keep secrets.

Yes, Ed, we are all so shocked that the government is corrupt. Totally newsbreaking.

c. “Libtards”

First, I cannot listen to, much less respect, the opinion of anyone who describes opposing political standpoints with elementary grade insults. “Dumbcrats” is all you got? Don’t get offended when nicknames get hurled your way either.  Also, guys- quick refresh: it is 2016 and you aren’t under Sharia law. You still have your guns. No one is stopping you from attending church. You are not persecuted.

So I might be a little salty on that last one.

5. Church.

I really like church. I do think it’s crucial. I am more familiar with vestibules, hymnals, communion, and a tightly knit congregation than I am anything else. I am grateful I was raised that way. Attendence was not optional. Stomach bug? Tithing buckets serve multiple uses.

However.

Some people work every Sunday and Wednesday because they have to. Right now I am one of those people. I do want to get rooted into a community base soon, but currently paying rent requires 40+ hours including weekends. It does not mean I have backslidden. It doesn’t indicate it isn’t a priority.  It means my bill pay doesn’t allow a flexible schedule. I’m not there yet, but I will get there.


 

 

why 2015 was actually not the worst year of my life

Loss of a third unborn baby.

Domestic violence. 

Gas lighting.

Abandonment.

2015 was a twisting rabbit hole. It started off in March with miscarrying a third child, Pheonix. While still bleeding with the remains, we moved Town Population 1,100.

As the temperature rose outside, the barometer in our home spiked. Masks cracked and cover-ups unveiled like Russian doll inside Russian doll.

When a double-locked bathroom is the safest place to sleep, there’s a problem.

There’s a lot of information that’s conveniently been ommitted from the other person’s “side”. I don’t blame people for not understanding, or believing, what actually happened. If you are only presented with a carefully constructed story plotted with misinformstion, you’re going to accept that account. I get that.

I also understand that that there “are three sides to every story: ‘his, her’s, and the truth.” The blind refusal to consider that any-wrongdoing-whatsoever-much-less-physical-trauma could be possible is a little extreme, but taking all information with a grain of salt and perspective is healthy and commendable.  I get that as well.

2015 was a year of multifaceted pain. False branding of a Scarlet A (quite ironic in its own) is infuriating.

Not being able to return home because it isn’t safe is terrifying.

Losing good friends to a well-crafted wall of defense and projection of blame is heartbreaking.

But without the above (and the remainder of the scraped iceburg that could, and just might, fill a book someday), freedom, resurgence, and the  recovery from derailing would not have ever happened.

2016 has been beautiful. The sea is always breathtaking when the tsnuami slows to choppy waves which turn to even ripples.

 

2015 oddly turned into the best year of my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sometimes/some times

Sometimes you need (not want, need) to bake brownies for dinner.

Sometimes the highlight of your day is puppy snuggles.

Sometimes you pay for gas in change. Nickels. 

Sometimes you will realize your friends were really friends of your marriage. 

Some times will be terrible.

Some times will be blissful.

Some times you will cry until you vomit. And then cry some more. 

Some times you will find hilarity in the oddest things and laugh until your stomach aches.

Some times are terrible. Some times are breakthroughs of light. Some times will not last forever.

When I was five or six and first realized my parents would eventually die, I wondered how I would react. I envisioned it ending my world. I didn’t imagine ever continuing on. Periodically these distressful thoughts would surface and then pass and I’d sigh relief.

Over a decade later on September 15, 2011, I was eating a sliced apple with granola and peanut butter sprinkled on top. It was 7am and pouring with periodic rumbles of thunder in the distance. I was sleepily reviewing pathophysiology notes for my second exam in the university cafeteria. My phone rang once, a call from my mom. I didnt answer in time, so I kept studying. I then got a text expressing urgency to call back. I assumed it was at most a call about car insurance or fall break plan complications.

It wasn’t.

I dropped my apple.

My dad was dying. Rapidly. My mom told me that my cousin Sarah was on her way to pick me up, to grab underwear and a change of clothes, and to not hang up. My dad couldn’t speak, but could hear me.

Not even an hour later, in Hendersonville, TN en route to GA, I heard the machine flatline. I heard my father die on speakerphone.

What did I say in those 45 minutes? No idea. In fact, the entire 6 hour trip was a rainy blur. I vaguely remember numbly walking into a rest stop to buy a pop.

The apocalyptic version my young self had vibrantly envisoned didn’t happen. Instead, my dad dying is a discord of grey, abstract thoughts and memories. The apple dropping, the life support decreasing beeps, the squeak of nurses shoes in the hospital, and the seemingly endless funeral procession. The smell of decaying flowers.

Then silence. 

Then rebuilding.

Then the beginning of healing.

—-

When I got married, I blocked out any idea of divorce. That wasn’t us. That wasn’t me. That could never-happen-i-simply-won’t-let-it.

No matter what he did to me. 

No matter what happened.

In true fashion, life was surprising.

In the space between thoughts, reminiscent of my younger contemplation, I had previously assumed my world would collapse if divorce ever occured. I would be nothing, I would certainly crumble. How would I face people? How would I explain? I would simply stop existing without my other half.

Pro-tip: you are a whole person. No one completes you. No one takes parts of you with them either.

It turns out that you breathe. You shower. Your grocery list is simpler. You take questions one at a time and answer only how you feel comfortable.

You live.

A good friend recently observed that I overcomplicate. Specifically, that I have an all-or-nothing mindset and that my brain typically assumes that tragic events would bring me to an end.

It isn’t that worst-case scenarios didn’t happen. They did. The enevitable happened.

But I am okay. I am whole. I am me, if a more organic and cautious version.

The clock will always keep ticking.

 

 

 

sharp contrast

September 2015

My life shattered.

More realistically, the pieces of a double mirrored life started poking.

Humans have the ability to adapt to any circumstance, given enough time.

It was a small poke at first, an uncomfortable sensation. Nothing more than a fleeting thought.

Then it was a burrowing.

Then it started hurting. 

It was unavoidable. I was forced to pay attention. It was surfacing.

I aligned the jagged pieces. I stopped justifying. I stopped denying. I started feeling. I let it bleed.

I was not okay. I did not “bring it on myself”. I did not “deserve it”. I did not “make you do it”. I did not “make it up”. I did not “imagine it”. I did not “forget”. I did not “mistake it”. I did not “cause you to escalate”. I did not “deserve” physical and emotional ramifications.

I DID NOT. 

I. Did. Not.

Long sleeves in July. Every July. Trembling and near panic attacks at having to go home after work. Being re-told my own memories (those occuring prior to knowing you even). Constantly changing “reasons” and stories. Volatile tempers. Extreme threats.

Those are not normal. They felt normal, after happening for so long.

Erosion was the weapon. Numbness was my coping. 

September 2015 I woke up. It was a long and hazy slumber. I hibernated. I had to. But people were asking questions and I snapped out of it.

7 years of sleeping brings a harsh awakening.

The mirror was double-sided. The front was shiny. Beautiful. Picture-perfect. Fairy tale-esque. 

But when the mirror swivelled, it was dark. It was contorted. It was slashed in all directions. It was warped.

September 2015 the mirror shattered.

I’ve never been more grateful for pain.

 

 

 

 

 

Bombs are not the answer.

I’ve seen an alarming amount of articles and statuses posted on Facebook declaring that “bombing all the ******* Muslims” is warranted.

What?

There are Muslim extremists, yes. What they’re doing is terrible, yes. Does that represent the group as a whole? NO. Why eradicate thousands of innocent citizens to spite the few? Why kill families, entire cities of innocent people, in order to revenge the actions of a small percentage?

Two words: Westboro Baptist. Heard of them? They are a sect of Christians here in the States that protest military funerals (if Hell’s Angels have to attend in order to drown you out, you are way out of line), demand that homosexuals be murdered (and that God doesn’t love them), declared that victims of natural disasters “deserved it” – and that’s just a taste.

If a Muslim told you they wanted to bomb America because of Westboro Baptist, would you agree? No! That’d be insane.

Exactly.

Millions do not have to die for the actions of a few.

Generalizations.

I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a picture that said, “If there was no God, there would be no reason to be an atheist.” with snarky “gotcha now” comments from the (Christian) poster.

That is not okay.

First of all, atheists are against all religious figures, not just the Christian God. If you’re going to mock, at least know your opponent’s worldview. Secondly, sarcastic memes and attacks will not “win” anyone over to your “side.” That is the least compassionate strategy. I’m pretty sure Jesus called us to be kind and accepting. In fact, I know that- from the Bible you claim to know.

Christians often present dichotomies: condemn homosexuals and in the SAME SENTENCE invite them to church. More often, they tell homosexuals that they need Jesus, but will not ALLOW them to attend until they “change”.

You can be homosexual and a Christian.

Besides, who are we to think we can determine if someone will go to heaven or hell? That’s an awful lofty standpoint. I’m definitely not going to assume that kind of power.

This is wrong. We need to change.