I wrote E a letter today. I'm not going to send it to her, but I am going to read it to her when I go to work next. These thoughts have been forming and percolating for a while, now, but it took this latest "collapse" to really put flesh and bone to the thought.

And maybe I won't read it to her at all.

Then again, I probably will. One thing that characterizes our relationship is honesty... even if I feel like I'm going to break her by being honest, most of the time... it's such a weird relationship at times. She feels needy, but not in the "I need you" sense. More in the "I need you to be okay because I'm not" sense. I don't know. It's weird. Just... weird. The longer HJ goes on, the more she gets that way. Like, she used to be so strong, and now she's so fragile. Maybe that's the weird thing. And part of me chafes at having to be the strong one, because I need someone strong to lean on. She used to be that for me. Now she's not... and I find myself afraid to tell her the dead honest truth because it might make her sad, and she can't handle any more sadness... lakjlksliurklensksiio!!!!! And that's how I feel about that.

Anyway, here's the letter. I went back and censored it a little. Some. I get a little more gutter mouthed when I'm angrily impassioned... only now I have the freedom to express it a little more. I still like to keep it low, though. I don't want to develop a potty mouth.


"Dear E,

I’m going to be very honest in what I’m about to say, and I need you to listen without offense or hurt or personalization. Don’t judge, just listen.

I find myself in a strange position, working with The HJ. (No, this is not a letter of resignation!) As I’m evaluating my life, trying to bring all aspects of it into balance, I’ve realized that I totally dread leading groups on Tuesdays for the girls. Why? It’s not that I don’t love them; I do, very much. It’s a few factors, really. First of all, I can barely control them. Barely. You don’t see it, because they shut up and listen while you’re in there. But when you’re not, it’s a never ending battle for respect, a never ending battle to get them to focus and listen and pay attention and not get sidetracked in conversations or stories, or what have you. They won’t realize that this is not a social club. I’m not there to exclusively be their friend. We’re there to learn and support each other. Maybe I have the wrong expectations from them. I don’t know. But I do know that I can barely, barely control them during group, and I dread that fight every week, especially when I’m stretched so thin myself. (More on that later.) I don’t have the energy or the reserves it takes to keep them in line, because I’m not operating from a base of health. Every week I just want to say, “F*** it,” and let them walk all over me and run group however they want to.

I don’t have anyone backing me up. I don’t have someone to look to that will emphasize what I’m saying, that will be by my side and lock arms with me. I don’t have anyone to share strength with. I have to give and be 100% of the control, the effort, and the strength. I don’t have 100% to give, except on a very, very good day, and those are rare.

I don’t have training. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. No wonder it’s a social club-- I can’t provide the focused structure that someone with training could provide. I have no infrastructure to work with, no resources to pull from when there’s a crisis, or even a question. I. Don’t. Know. And I hate that. I’m fumbling through the dark. It’s like the blind leading the blind. And I know you have a hard time hearing that, because it reflects on the fact that you “threw me to the sharks”, as it were, but it’s the truth. I am good with people. That’s what’s gotten me this far. But we’ve plateaued, E, and we can’t go any farther unless I know more, unless I am trained somehow. I know you’re trying to encourage me when you tell me I’m good at this, when you tell people I’m a fantastic group leader, but I’m not. I’m mediocre at best, but I could be phenomenal. I have potential, that’s for sure. But I’m existing on potential alone right now, and it’s not enough. You can’t keep telling people or agencies that our groups are being run by qualified, trained peer support specialists. It’s bullshit. I’m not trained, and it shows. I’m just good with people. I’m also good at presenting an appearance, for a limited duration of time.

I feel like I “have” to do this because there’s no one else. I don’t want to let these girls down, let you down, let myself down... so I have to. It’s a good thing, and you don’t not do good things. Right? Riiiight. So even if I don’t want to, it’s such a good thing that I must do it, especially since I’m the only one that can at this point. (Despite the aforementioned points which make it very, very difficult to do.) You know what? That’s exactly the mindset I’ve had for years while “serving the Lord”. It’s a good thing, so you have to do it. Even if you don’t want to. Because it’s good. And if you don’t, you’ll be letting people down. You’ll be letting God down. So do it, already. No, it doesn’t matter that you don’t want to, you have to. That’s where I’m at with this, and I automatically, unequivocally revolt against that mindset. I don’t want to do it even more, just because I feel like I have to. It’s no longer free choice, so I don’t want it. Not to mention the fact that I’ve had that grant money dangling in front of my nose like a carrot for how long now? It’s, like, my only hope, the only way I foresee making enough money in the future to pay off my debts and save up for the wedding without totally burning myself out. I’m economically trapped into this, too... lured by the promise of a soon-to-be paycheck.

I mentioned earlier about being “stretched so thin”. Part of the reason I feel like I “have” to do this is because the HJ is stretched so thin and doing so much. We’re trying to grow when we can barely sustain what we’re currently doing. Do you realize how much bullshit that is? What good can we possibly be to those who need us if we’re constantly falling apart? I’m talking about you and me, E. We’re sick, both of us. Physically. We’re sick, all the time, and why? Stress. There will always be people who need help, because we live in this sick, sick world where people destroy each other. We can’t help anyone, though, if we’re falling apart.

I’m sorry, but I’m getting tired of this. Enough. Enough with the “I’m so stressed, but oh well, I must soldier on” attitude. Enough with being a martyr. That’s one thing that pissed me off about “working for the Lord”-- the martyr attitude. “Dear me, I’m impoverished. It shows I’m serving my cause well.” “I’m stretched so thin I’m about to snap, but it’s all for the glory of God, right?” “I can’t feed my family, but I’m in ministry, so oh well. God will provide.”

Do you really think it gives credit to God when you’re sick, when you’re broke, when you’re falling apart because you’re trying to do all the good things without being sensible about it? Do you? Because I sure as hell don’t.

We’re spread so thin that everything is scattered, everything ends up being half-assed. We can’t do things well because there’s so much to do. And guess what? Money’s coming in, so we’ll have to do more, to prove that we’re worthy of being funded. You know what? We are worthy of being funded, even if we only have one support group every other week. I’m a believer in quality over quantity, and as our quantity increases, our quality is going down. If we continue the way we are now, at this pace, this way... The HJ will crash and burn. No one wants to join a party where people are crying. “God will provide.” Sure he will. But we have to do our part as good stewards. The way things are going now is not sustainable, and if there’s one thing I’m learning while trying to juggle all this stuff that’s shown up in my life, it’s this: you can’t drive yourself into the ground in the present while waiting for the miraculous “someday” that will bring relief. It’s not going to happen. Why? Because you are creating your “someday” right now, while you’re driving yourself into the ground, while you’re training yourself to operate this way. “Someday” is today.

I know this will sound ridiculous, and selfish, and totally absurd, and horrific, but... I think the HJ needs to take a furlough. I think we need to suspend groups for a month or two or whatever to get our personal selves straight, to get the training we (I) need to really make this work, to get everything solid and in order, so that when the money does come in and the grind gets tougher, we’ll be ready for it. We’ll be able to act like the professionals we portray ourselves to be rather than frazzled women doing our best but not able to really do anything as well as it ought to be done. (I’m not saying this as an attack on any of your efforts, because I know you pour yourself wholeheartedly into everything you do for group. But I am saying this as a sort of wake-up slap in the face-- you can only pour so much of yourself into so many places before you run dry. You have to keep giving smaller and smaller portions to each thing as you acquire more things to pour yourself into.) You’ve made sacrifices, and you point that out. I agree that some sacrifices need to be made, but I think you’ve made yourself a martyr unnecessarily. I think I’m making myself a martyr unnecessarily, and I think that’s not what this kind of thing needs.

I need counseling. I have so much crap coming up in me all the time that I can’t see clearly enough to deal with anyone else’s crap. What kind of peer leader is that? I can’t bear the girls’ burdens because there’s no room on my back. Most of the time, I don’t care. Why? Because I’m drowning. I can’t teach them how to deal with their anger when I have not even really begun to acknowledge my own deep, simmering volcanic chambers of anger. I can’t teach them proper coping mechanisms when mine suck. 

You need to learn how to take care of yourself. You can’t tell other people to take care of themselves, then run yourself into the ground. Your body is hurting you for a reason. Pain is a red flag, a warning signal. Fatigue is a red flag, a warning signal. E, you’re sick. You cannot sustain what you’re doing long-term. 

And then there’s God. We’re a faith-based organization. What kind of picture of God are we presenting as we drag ourselves along, pathetically pulling at our empty pockets and scraping the last of our emotional reserves to deal with one more crisis...over and over again? That God wants us to go and go and go because we’re helping people and it doesn’t matter if we’re falling apart as long as we’re helping people? 

E, I don’t want to be a part of that. I left that when I quit Bible work, when I quit church. I fight against those ideas with every fiber of my being. I’ve had my soul sucked out by “good things”, and I’m not about to go through that again, no matter how much I love you and those girls. My self preservation instinct is too strong for that.

We’re doing good things, yes... but there’s also a lot of bullshit. It’s time to get rid of that, to really look at things, and to see that something has got to change. It’s got to. We can’t keep going on like this, and I don’t think God expects us to. Even if you think things are fine, can’t go on like this. I need training. I need a reservoir of strength to draw from. I need tools, skills, help.

I think we need to quit running around like chickens with our heads cut off for a while, and just stop. The world will not end. The HJ is a good thing, and it is meant to be. The world will recognize that. We don’t have to frantically and desperately push ourselves on the world around us until we collapse, gasping for breath. How much more effective would a steady pressure be compared to sporadic thrusts?

And maybe the idea of stopping to rebuild, regroup, regather is threatening to you. Maybe the idea of just cutting back temporarily is more palatable? I saw a billboard today that said, “Stopping for water keeps you going.” If we (if I) don’t “stop for water”, stop for what is so desperately needed, then we (I) will collapse. We will faint of dehydration and be found later, bones bleached in the sun... and those who find us will wonder what happened.

I love the HJ, and I love you. But I don’t want to be a flake, I don’t want to bow out because the pressure is too much, and I don’t want to see the HJ go under because the founder (CEO, whatever) burns out. I don’t want to see these girls not getting what they need because the one who is supposed to be feeding them doesn’t know how. 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I feel like we’re going insane, E. I feel like we’re going insane."
I wish I never had these "crashing" times. My body takes it so hard... my digestive system, in particular. It's like everything I eat trips some sort of internal trigger that causes discomfort and pain. Mer.

On the bright side (if you can call it that), I've decided to drop English class. I'll lose about $600 on my Pell grant money, but that's okay. For me, it's worth the cost (especially in the grand scheme of $2700 dollars awarded). I *may* even get refunded for the class. I just finally realized that what I'm trying to do with my schedule is not sustainable for me. Yes, it took a complete collapse to realize it, but once it got through my thick skull, I also realized that things aren't going to be slowing down any. Schoolwork will be getting more difficult, more involved, and more frequent, not to mention the fact that I'll soon be working 20+ hours a week... I'm not KW. I can't pull this off, as much as my pride depends on it.

Yes, I'd like to be superwoman. But I have to know my limitations if I want to live at least a somewhat decent life. My body operates differently than those of others... and no matter how much I hate, despise, detest, and deplore my body and its limitations, I must acknowledge them. To neglect those boundaries, well... is to end up in bed on a Tuesday and never make it back out.

I realized today, too, that my depression is very closely linked to my health and energy status. I was doing alright, flying by *relatively* depression free, but when that knockout came, it was like someone flipped a light switch. I've been weepy and irritable and despondent and despairing and tired the last twenty four hours.

Deciding to drop English has given me an unexpected boost, however. I feel like my load has been lightened. Life feels doable again, now that I know I won't be walking the same taut tightrope of work and homework and studying and no time for anything but school stuff (literally) and no time for myself because that's not important because I have this essay to study for and this test coming up and this math homework to do and I have to make lunches for this week but I could also be studying while I do that and sorry I've become such a distant b****, but I'm really just focused on what I'm doing here...

That decision, combined with my 100% on my A&P test, put me in a really... light and splurgy type of mood. I went out and spent thirteen bucks on sushi (which was phenomenal) because I was hungry and I wanted it. I thought about watching a movie, but ended up in the bath with a book because my abdominal cavity is hurting so badly after eating. I didn't eat anything bad, but my body doesn't know that. (How much you want to bet that I'm allergic to my own digestive juices? Hmmm? That's probably what all this fuss is about...)

Tomorrow, I'll fill out the drop form and be ten zillion pounds lighter. Not stretched taut and thumpingly tight like a drum skin.
Well, guess who made themselves sick with stress?

C's in "I told you so" mode, but I'm insisting that it's not like I worried myself ill. I just plugged along and did what I had to do and it ended up being too much, I guess.

I know part of my grades are dependent upon attendance, but I shot my professors an email explaining that I was ill, but that I would be doing the work at home. I told them I have health problems that can, at times, be more or less debilitating, and that this is one of those times. I called E, and she won't let me work group tonight. I just wanted her to know I wasn't feeling well, in case I took a turn for the worse and wasn't able to come tonight, but she would hear none of it. It's weird how she can take care of others, yet have such a struggle taking care of herself.

So I've been laying in bed, moaning and tossing, feeling like I'm about to throw up... but feeling a little better, now.

I need to type up an essay for English class, and later I may resurrect myself to do dishes. Also, I need to review for tomorrow night's A&P test.

Even on a sick day, there's still stuff to do. Thank goodness I finished my math homework early this morning!
You know when your brain just hits that "wall" and refuses to learn anything else?

I don't think I've hit it yet, but it's tempting to think so. Today was so busy, tomorrow will be, and... well, the rest of this week. I haven't thought beyond this week. I just know that I'm already weary. It was hard, forcing myself to take a walk, but I did, much to my personal satisfaction. Stretching afterward felt sooooo good! It's become a nightly relaxation habit for me, something to help me drift to sleep easier.

I've got a mildly large A&P test in two days, and tomorrow I type up my first essay for English. We had two chapters to read over the weekend, one of them in the textbook that I hate, so that was hard. On the bright side, Algebra has been easy so far, and I've got my controversial topic for my argument essay-- "Sexual offenders should be eligible for the death penalty".

Ah, school. I'm glad for all the knowledge, and I love learning, but...

I've got people pouring knowledge into me left and right, and I don't feel like I can contain it all, much less do all that's required to obtain this knowledge.

Yes. I'm mildly overwhelmed, but I recognize it and am taking the steps to prevent it from becoming a meltdown.

Gooooood night!

(My family and some friends are just half a state above me, hiking the Grand Canyon. I wish I were there, instead of studying Rogerian vs. Aristotelian argument styles and the Golgi apparatus.)
Good gravy, did I ever learn a lot today!

I feel much more confident in the direction I need to go for planning the wedding, though.

Again, it won't be exactly what I'd dreamed up in the days of yore (having no concept of a budget...), but it will be intimate, fun, and incredibly "us".

I met with a local photographer today, and while I can't afford her, she gave me invaluable information and helped me to sketch out the rough details of what the ceremony and reception will look like. We ended up talking for an hour and a half!

For instance, now I know that a typical ceremony will take 20 minutes if you're not rushing it. The ceremony and reception will probably last 2 hours, all in all. I wanted an afternoon wedding and an evening reception, so in order to work the time frame I had in mind, we'll start the ceremony at either 4:30 or 5 (depending on whether or not I want it to run into "dark time").

She had the brilliant idea of hitting up the photography club at the high school, too. Aaaaand, get this: although I can't afford any of her packages, she wants me to use her name as an influencer (like name dropping) if I need to, and she's willing to walk through the shots we'll want with the photographers that I find, free of charge. Basically, she'll teach them some of what she knows. Her knowledge combined with their talent will be phenomenal! (Aaaaaaaand, even better... she can't "book" with me, because she needs to leave that day open in case a $4,000 bride comes along, but if she has the spot open, she'll come out and shoot the wedding for me for way cheap, because it's only a couple of hours. She'd treat it like a family event or something along those lines.)

She was impressed by how much I've sorted through already, how much I've got planned, and the way I'm working within my budget. She says I'll have no problem sticking to my budget. What she did was grill me on all the details, to see if I really meant it when I said "I'm on a budget", because she gets brides in there who want big discounts, but in reality are throwing money around. So once we established that I'm anything but a mainstream bride and that I am, indeed, sticking to $1,200 or less, she's totally willing to help me out how she can.

I'm so excited! I feel like I got a lot accomplished today. Now... for HJ work and homework. Never ending. *eye roll* Plus I need to whip up a couple of meals for this week's lunches... I'm thinking lentil soup and veggie lasagna in a jar. I have onions, walnuts, and cauliflower, so I can make that yummy "ricotta" filling, and even freeze some for later use! (The great thing is that I can study A&P slideshows while I'm working the kitchen, so that'll be two birds with one stone. Go me.)

Next things on my list for the wedding:
-Swing by the Parks and Rec office to see how much it is to reserve ramadas, and if we're allowed to have open flames (candles, grills, etc.)
-Price cakes and flowers at Albertson's
-Pay a visit to the Photography Club at the high school, see if they have any talent that wants to make some money (high schoolers would be even more willing to spring for experience + $100, I think).
-Check with Father B and see chapel size, or if he's willing to marry us in the park, and officiant prices.
-Decide when to send invitations, start picking them out and crafting wording.
-Alert J and K as to my song selections so they can start practicing.

Whoa. This is really happening. Like, for real for real.

Huh.
I was going to blog last night, but I sliced my finger open, so it wasn't the best idea. It's bandaged up, now, and doesn't hurt so much anymore after a night's rest. C came to my rescue when I shrieked from the kitchen, bearing Bandaids and Neosporin to make it all better. He even wiped off the blood that had unknowingly splattered across my neck.

School is tough, y'all. This whole studying for so many different classes and doing homework is more time consuming that I had previously thought it would be. It's like every professor thinks that they're the only one that gives us anything to do. I know, I know. They want us to learn this stuff. And I will.

Maybe it's just that I haven't been in school in so long... it's hard to get back in the swing of things. I've got school full time, the HJ half time, and planning a wedding. Not to mention that I still like to read and blog... but where do they fit in? Classwork first.

My A&P prof has made it MUCH easier on us, though. He gave us all the slideshows for his lectures, so we can go over those instead of writing fresh notes every time. Some ladies in my class have taken to printing the week's lectures in advance and writing their notes next to the slides, which is a great idea. I would, but I have no printer. I can go over to C's dad's and use his, but it's a little awkward and I haven't yet. I go through the slideshows while I'm washing dishes.

Instead of regular English class (like creative writing or somesuch), I'm taking analytical writing. That's all well and great, and the teacher is a good teacher, but the textbooks are abhorrently verbose and dry dry dry. I, the one who loves to read, have a hard time getting through a single chapter, often tossing it aside in frustration after 5 or 6 pages. And it's hard for me to absorb, so I know I'm going to have to read it at least twice, which I'm absolutely dreading... Oh, well. I'll just do my best.

I have these super high unconscious expectations of my school performance, which manifests itself as panic whenever I feel like I'm threatening those expectations. I've realized that I basically expect myself to have every assignment done perfectly and on time. Is that realistic? Yeah, if this were high school, but it's not. It's college, and the game has changed. I have a much bigger scope of life beyond text work and reading assignments. C and I are still making time for a date every week, which is especially important now that he's back at work and like a ship in the night to me... an amorous ship that keeps waking me up at ridiculous hours of the morning and/or night.

Speaking of my bigger scope of life, we've picked a date for the wedding!! March 30th, 2013. We talked about the wedding for a good hour last night, examining various aspects and tossing around ideas... and I've come to the conclusion (okay, C insistently helped me to the conclusion) that we can't afford to invite all the people I'd like to. I want to send out invites as kind of an acknowledgement of the people's importance in my life and that I care about them (Gifts as a love language, anyone?), but if I invite people, I should expect them to show up. With the budget we're looking at, it's going to be small, very small. Family only, really, with a handful of very close friends. I can't even afford to invite the group ladies. (Really, because you're looking at fifteen, twenty people at minimum with the ladies and the girls and the girls' moms...) So I don't think that we'll be using the big church like I had been thinking... something more like a small chapel would work. And the reception? Scratch the fancy tea party idea that I'd become so fond of. We're going to do a barbecue! (Yes, there will be a grilled tofu and veggies station, in addition to platters of veggies and "strawberry trees". The non-carnivores will not starve, I assure you.) And, rather than doing individual mini cakes like I'd thought would be so cool, I'm probably going to get a "regular" wedding cake (Albertsons! Like Mom did for her wedding, and it was darn good, too.) and make a "special" wedding cake that I and my other allergy friends can have.

Rather than a cake topper, I'm going to print out a Celtic knot on thick card stock and cut out the insides to make a stencil. Then I will use the stencil to sprinkle edible coloring of some sort on the top of the cakes, so I'll have the knot instead of cake toppers. I would ask for the cake makers to do that for me, but I've been to Cake Wrecks too many times for me to even consider asking for something so intricate from them.

The place I wanted to have my reception at is a.) too pricey, and b.) they won't let me bring in my own food. They have to make it for the event. Well, I can tell you right now that it doesn't work that way. I've worked in an industrial kitchen, and I know that I'm allergic to even the spray they use on the pans. No way, Jose. I will NOT get sick at my own reception! So while I'm sad (it's such a beautiful, magical place!), I know that I'll be able to work it out. There's a beautiful park with ramadas that I'll be scoping out today, and I've got one in particular in mind. I figure I can borrow tables and chairs from the SDA church, or even the Episcopal church if the other churches won't let me. I'll find some really nice paper plates and plastic cups, and I'll have to make sure to get a cake server for each cake. It wouldn't be good if the two were to get mixed up!

So, basically, it's not going to be at all what I've been scheming and dreaming about for so many years, simply because that's not where my life is at this point. It'll be cheap, but I know how to make cheap beautiful. I learned that from my mommy while we were in poverty.

Also, to rectify the "I can't invite you to the wedding" situation, I think I'll draw up some really nice announcements after the wedding and send those out. Oh! C had a great idea in regards to photographers! I was bemoaning how expensive wedding photography is, and that's one thing that I'm really set on. I want good pictures. Videography I don't care about so much. I want the pictures to be stellar. So I had the idea of going to the college and asking the photography teacher if he has any promising students that want to earn some money and gain experience (maybe I could even convince him to give extra credit?), but C's idea was to get like 3 or 4 students and pay them $100 each. Then we would have all kinds of pictures, but with different styles and captured from different angles, etc. I think it's a great idea. I hope it works out.

Eeeeee! I'm excited! Almost 7 months, exactly. No, he hasn't proposed yet, but that'll come. I'm not impatient. (Uh, well, about this, anyway...)
...stop trying to evangelize me. Just be my friend.

I came this close to putting that as my fb status update, but I have a sneaky feeling that it would simply lead to questions and more of what I'm longing to avoid.

My first day of college was yesterday. I've never been an official college student before. It's... about the same as high school, really... except that I can go to the bathroom without having to ask permission first. That, and there are no bells. Just the sound of minutes quietly slipping by as a permanent backdrop to any and all activity.

I got 100% on my math homework. I'm proud of myself.

Today was a long day, tomorrow looks to be longer. Internet class in the a.m., class at noon, work after class, homework after work, class in the evening, and then sweet, sweet sleep.

I missed my evening class last night (the first night, too!), because I got a phone call that the location had changed. However, when I showed up... there was no one else there. I waited for 20 minutes, and still no one showed. Calling the department today, I found out that I was in the right location, but at the wrong part of the building. Apparently there are two Suites 101? Well, I won't miss class tomorrow, that's for sure. And, hopefully, the teacher will get a kick out of my reason for missing class...

C has been insisting that I set boundaries with work and that I pace myself... and find activities that I enjoy, to unwind. Apparently, I have a hard time doing anything that isn't "accomplishing". He says the closest he can get me to sitting down and doing nothing is reading a book, except that I'm always reading "learning" books and studying.

I'll try. I've been overwhelmed a lot this week already. There's been a great deal of emotional turmoil for me, which I can't write about at present.

Now I need to do dishes and braid S's hair before I hit the hay.
...to bring good dreams.


Lay down your head and I'll sing you a lullaby
Back to the years of loo-li lai-lay
And I'll sing you to sleep and I'll sing you tomorrow
Bless you with love for the road that you go

May you sail far to the far fields of fortune
With diamonds and pearls at your head and your feet
And may you need never to banish misfortune
May you find kindness in all that you meet

[Chorus:]
May there always be angels to watch over you
To guide you each step of the way
To guard you and keep you safe from all harm
Loo-li, loo-li, lai-lay

May you bring love and may you bring happiness
Be loved in return to the end of your days
Now fall off to sleep, I'm not meaning to keep you
I'll just sit for a while and sing loo-li, lai-lay

[Chorus]

Loo-li, loo-li, lai-lay...
Want to express.

Don't care enough.

Overwhelmed...

Stressful day.

Tomorrow looms equally stressful.

I want to cry.

I'm homesick.

I want my Mom.

She's horribly depressed, and I don't want to burden her.

I seriously just want to cry right now... and I'm so bad at hiding my emotions, or C is so good at reading me, that if he looks over at me right now he'll know.

I want a mother, a friend, a confidante and a hug...

I'm lonely.

The knowing yet "knowing I won't be believed" is a soul-sucker.

I hate my stupid body. I hate how it betrays me, constantly. I hate how weak it is. I hate my stupid body.

I miss H and the S's and J and J and...

I know tomorrow will be a new day. But tonight I feel hopeless.

Turn Around




Young man on the side of the road
Lost and beat up with no where to go
Smells like a hangover from days ago
He does what he can to survive

Single mom with a dead end job
Ninety hour week just to keep what she's got
But the bills add up and now she's caught
She does what she can to survive

Well, let me say
That love won't take away the pain
But don't be afraid
'Cause it will never walk away

If you're scared that you don't matter
If you're lost and need to be found
If you're looking for a Savior
All you gotta do is turn around

Some turn to a bottle
Some turn to a drug
Some turn to another's arms
But it seems like it's never enough

Well I won't say
That you will never fail again
But there is grace
To wash away your every sin

If you're scared that you don't matter
If you're lost and need to be found
If you're looking for a Savior
All you gotta do is turn around

No one listens to you anymore
And your heart has broken down 
You don't need to move, love has come to you 
All you gotta do is turn around
All you gotta do is turn around, turn around

You don't have to
Take the broken road
You can turn around
And come back home

You don't have to
Take the broken road
You can turn around
And come back home

You don't have to
Take the broken road
You can turn around
And come back home

If you're scared that you don't matter
If you're lost and need to be found
If you're looking for a Savior
All you gotta do is turn around

No one listens to you anymore
And your heart has broken down 
You don't need to move, love has come to you 
All you gotta do is turn around
All you gotta do is turn around
I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with fundamentalist religion.

I mean, it's not like they're doing anything, but...

I don't know.

It's just like, Really? Your way is the only way? Ever? Really. Because it seems to me that things were done a lot differently than your way for eons. Your way is a product of a certain time period, a certain school of thought present in a certain era... Yet that now automatically becomes the only right way to do things ever in the history of mankind and anyone who deviates from it is hellbound.

I guess I'm just frustrated with the rigidity and the insufferable arrogance that precipitates the statement that "we alone have the truth". 

No, it's not about "being allowed" to do things or not do certain things. It's not about, "I never got to go to the movies as a child." It's not about, "I can't eat this or I can't drink that."

It's about being right. It's about black and white, truth and deception, and the idea that if you don't subscribe to a certain set of beliefs then you're deluded and will face eternal doom. It's about no room for relationship, for pilgrimage, for honest-to-god seeking and trying and working out your problems. It's about I'm too tired to try anymore. It's about too many people being torn down, stomped on, and damaged by the straitlaced certainty that Jesus is coming and you damn well better be ready.

It's about this.

Fb status update on my timeline--
"Different personalities praise God most genuinely in different ways. Different generations praise God most genuinely in different ways. So no one style of worship should be imposed on everyone as morally correct. That makes church services stifling. Worship turns into ritual. Everything begins to seem memorized. The most joyful worship happens when people find a language that speaks to their innermost emotions, that gives voice to their inner self before God. That language could be a certain style of music, it could be a certain kind of congregational sharing, it could be a certain experience that a speaker shares. What will help people find their worship language is to allow room in the church for a variety of creative expression."
{Steven Mosley}

Response from certainly well-meaning fundamentalist friend--

Hate to be an old stick in the mud, But there is only one way to worship God.

It's about how I wish we could all be free to be who we really are without that message hitting us in the psychological groin... You know, the Christian worldview. God made you in his image, so you were supposed to be good, except that we're all screwed up because of sin so you really aren't good, but you can be good with God in your life, except that you'll never actually be a good person, it's just God puppeting. Good puppeteer, bad puppet. Sorry kid, that's the breaks.

The sign on the church down the street blares this message at me every time I drive by: "God loves you not because you're awesome, but because he is."

Well, thank you for that.

No, seriously. You just taught me how not to parent. Think about it-- would you not be outraged if you heard a parent tell a child in all earnestness, "You're rotten, but I love you. See how wonderful I am?"

Uh, no. 

If we don't buy this on the human scale, why do we buy it on the cosmic scale?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not preaching the gospel of entitlement, here... I'm just advocating for intrinsic worth... something I feel that I have yet to find inside the doors of a church.

Maybe I'll end up a new ager. Maybe I'll end up a secular humanist. Maybe I'll realize that all this stuff I thought Christianity was saying was actually a misunderstanding on my part.

Whatever happens, I know I'm not going to be joining a church if I still hear this message from the people and the pulpit.

(By the way, ever read the book Sybil? It's horrifying and captivating-- an insight into a deeply wounded mind that did what it had to in order to survive. Guess what? Sybil's parents were SDA. That's right, she was raised among our ranks. Now, I'm not saying that's got anything to do with her torture, because her mom was legitimately insane and psychotic and a horrible, horrible person, SDA or not. However, seeing the religious compunctions and restrictions that come up during her recovery are... interesting. Obviously, having been raised in the 30's, the mindset was different. Decidedly more Victorian. However, considering it to be sinful to be unhappy? Yeah, I've heard that in recent years. Therapy is of the devil? Yup, heard that too. You just need to pray through your problems? I've definitely heard that one. Anyway, just an interesting side note. I resonate more with Sybil than I'd care to, on many levels, including the SDA background.)
Coming back out of it...

C told me some very good, important things the night I was freaking out... I didn't end up falling asleep until 9:30 a.m., but last night I was good and fell asleep by 12:30. I then proceeded to sleep for 12 1/2 hours.

School starts on Monday. I'm excited, apprehensive, and not as affected as I thought I might be.

Went to Jesus Jam last night and saw Remedy Drive. It was cool. My first concert. Not like I thought it would be... too many people. I was really tense by the time I left.

Still struggling with motivation. I didn't realize how much I do until I'm not doing any of it... which C is always trying to tell me. Heh.

Off to a baby shower and church!
Okay, you wanna know what's really getting me?

I feel like G is breathing down my neck.

I wanna throw up, because he's there, in my mind, inside me, and I can't get rid of him.

No, he doesn't have the power to ruin my life, but the bastard sure knows how to do a good haunting.

I don't even know how to describe, explain, or remedy this.

Why is he in my head? Why do I feel so gross? Why am I so on guard?

Why am I so agitated? There's nothing to be afraid of, there's nothing to be worried about...

I'm safe here. I know that.

But I still feel like my stomach is turning itself inside out... like a sewer has upended itself in my mind...

It's probably all the various abuse-related things I've been working on and associating with this past week.

I don't want to do abuse related things anymore. I'm getting tired of being triggered when I work with the girls or when I'm helping E.

It's getting real old, real fast.

On the bright side, Jesus Jam is tonight. Looking forward to my first concert.
I feel funny inside. I feel gross. I feel like I've been molested again. I feel... gross.



So long ago, I don't remember when
That's when they say I lost my only friend
Well they said she died easy of a broken heart disease
As I listened through the cemetery trees

I seen the sun comin' up at the funeral at dawn
The long broken arm of human law
Now it always seemed such a waste
She always had a pretty face
So I wondered how she hung around this place

[—Āhorus:]
Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There's got to be something better than 
In the middle
But me & Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight

She said it's cold
It feels like Independence Day
And I can't break away from this parade
But there's got to be an opening
Somewhere here in front of me
Through this maze of ugliness and greed
And I seen the sun up ahead
At the county line bridge
Sayin' all there's good and nothingness is dead
We'll run until she's out of breath
She ran until there's nothin' left
She hit the end-it's just her window ledge

[chorus]

Well this place is old
It feels just like a beat up truck
I turn the engine, but the engine doesn't turn
Well it smells of cheap wine & cigarettes
This place is always such a mess
Sometimes I think I'd like to watch it burn
I'm so alone, and I feel just like somebody else
Man, I ain't changed, but I know I ain't the same
But somewhere here in between the city walls of dyin' dreams
I think her death it must be killin' me

[chorus]

Word vomit

I'm restless... guarded...

My body and eyes are tired, but my will won't let me sleep. I'm on guard-- vigilant. Restless. Punishing myself?

I've been so to-the-core exhausted lately, you'd think I'd take all the sleep I can get, but last night was a very difficult night for me. I slept for two hours, woke up and couldn't sleep for another two hours. Then I was tossing and turning the rest of the night-- every time I rolled over or changed position, I'd wake up again.

Maybe I just don't feel safe right now.

And I feel under pressure.

Group.

School.

Unemployed (sorta).

People.

I'm overwhelmed.

I was overwhelmed Wednesday for sure. Yesterday, I guess it would be...

I almost cried several times just in the Walmart with C.

Oh, yeah, and my car's battery died. I had to get a new one. More debt on the credit card... it's not much, but still... it's more than I can pay.

Medical bills.

This medical mystery I'm going through. (How many of those can you have in one young adulthood anyway?!) I'm grateful for medical care, but I know it means more bills later.

Am I crazy? I must be crazy... but my credibility is on the line, here. Why can't I believe myself? Furthermore, why can't I be proven right?!? Crimeny...

Wanting counseling, but knowing I can't afford it. I can't even afford to buy a new pack of underwear at this point.

You try living off of $160 a month and see how it goes. Gas, food--everything.

If it weren't for the kindness of loved ones and friends, I'd surely be buried by now... or a hooker. Or both.

C is both trying to comfort and fix me... I think it frustrates him a little when I break down like this, because it's not entirely logical... and he keeps telling me to be logical and not to worry about things I can't do anything about. I grumped back at him that I'm not consciously worrying about it, but he says that I must be because I'm thinking about it. Well I'm only thinking about it because you told me to! You told me to figure out what's stressing me out! Okay, I'm sorry, I'm being a little defensive right now...

I feel like I want to throw up... physically and emotionally. I'm just feeling sick. That's all.

This will pass... maybe after the word vomit?