Welcome to Zombieland, Losing Our Collective Minds?, but I’m Enjoying the Quiet

1972

Even when I was three years old, I knew the value of stink eye. I hate having my picture taken, and I loathed it even then.  I also knew the value of staying on an escape vehicle when my sadistic sisters were nearby.

I still remember that pant suit.  Grandma made it, and it would have been great had it been made of a soft, light knit instead of a very thick, almost cardboard like, scratchy, hot, hot, hot polyester.  I had total body heat rash at the end of that day. It was August and about a hundred degrees outside. I wonder whose bright idea it was to take pictures that day (there are a ton more of them, especially of my obnoxious older sisters) because it wasn’t my idea.  Avoiding getting my ass kicked- and not sweating to death outside or fleeing flying, stinging insect life- was my idea.

I can still remember the way that old time polyester chafed. The early 1970s are a fashion graveyard for a reason. I remember the shoes too- little black patent Mary Janes with the oh so slick plastic soles, worn with white lace socks with elastic so tight it would cut off the circulation. Try to run…and land square on your face. Both sisters were wearing identical get-ups (isn’t it just adorable to dress your children identically, so it’s harder to identify the ass-kicker from the ass-kickee) but they could run better in those shoes than I could.  Then again, anyone can run better in any shoes than I could have when I was three.  The physical therapy didn’t start until I was four, when my parents finally were resigned to the fact that my motor skills were not going to improve without some kind of intervention.

In this current crisis I freely admit that I don’t miss crowds.  I don’t miss working in a fishbowl where God and everybody is constantly in my grill. I am thankful as hell that I can work from home.  I am enjoying the quiet and the autonomy.  I am still getting things done, although we don’t have the volume we would normally right now.

I would like to think that there will be lessons learned from the stay at home orders, especially regarding personal autonomy, space and work-life balance (things I have never had much of) but I am a cynical person.   I am sure the gropers and huggers are going to expect me to be physically present as soon as possible and they will be right back in my face as soon as they are confident I won’t give them a disease.

As an introvert and a person that isn’t really keen on group groping and huggy-kissy-feely stuff it’s kind of a relief, not having to worry about eye contact and body language and all the other things that vex me about navigating out in the world. The only people I need to be around right now are people who know me and care about me and for who I don’t need to run the scripts. I can blissfully let my guard down.

I will probably have the opposite problem than most other people will have.  It will be hard for me to go back to the constant scrutiny and constant presence of others.  My stress level has actually gone down knowing that I am not as much under the microscope and I don’t have to do nearly as much scripting.  I don’t know how I am going to adjust back when I have to go back to all of that again.

I like my ivory tower very much, thank you.

I think for the first time in a long time I’ve actually had some time to decompress.  I have time to read, study, pray, and just be a bit of a vegetable. The last time I physically had time away from work was in 2009 when I had my hysterectomy, and even then I had to deal with Jerry and his drinking and tirades, and his constant demands for me to go shop, cook and clean against medical advice.   So that wasn’t much of a hiatus either. Begging the Costco employees to load the dog food into the car for me because I wasn’t allowed to lift more than ten pounds, also isn’t my idea of a good time.

By the providence of God I’ve managed to remain somewhat free of respiratory funks this year which is bizarre because almost everyone else around me got that really nasty bug that was circulating, but “tested negative for flu” back in January. Yes it makes me think. I’m usually the first one to get any kind of respiratory funk- especially upper respiratory and sinus infections- even though I get the flu and pneumonia shots.  It makes me think that the Plaquenil I’ve been on for the past six or seven years for arthritis might be doing more than just mitigating my arthritis flares.  Just a thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Apocalypse, Take #354,427 (or so) We’re All Gonna Die!

the-plague

die

Got news for everyone.  The mortality rate is still 100%.  You’re gonna die of something.

The current pestilence- the coronavirus- is more or less a really bad flu.  It isn’t gonna kill most people. Millions of people get the flu every year and several thousand die from it.  That’s every year.  Four thousand or thereabouts die of flu every year just in Ohio.  So much for living in fly over country serving to any advantage.

I have my suspicions, and frankly I believe the dreaded coronavirus already made its rounds around here back in January when about 70% of my coworkers- all the outside sales people who were in one meeting, and all the accounting department- all got a really bad flu that held on for about 3 weeks.  One of the accounting ladies ended up in the ICU for a couple of days, but even she recovered. Yeah, that was a bad flu, and believe it, I had the Lysol spraying madness the whole time these people were wandering in and out in their various states of illness.  By the grace of God somehow I didn’t get it, but I stayed the flying hell away from everyone, even more than I normally do. I’m all about social distancing. You don’t have to tell me twice to put at least 6 to 10 feet between me and other people. I prefer it. Especially when I have Lysol to spray.

But since it’s an election year, let’s take a page from the Marxist handbook (desperate Democrats) and never let a good crisis go to waste.  Let’s attempt to destroy the economy, while blaming it on a particularly bad flu season, and try to sell socialism that way.

It will backfire.  The crisis will end, sooner rather than later, and that’s all I really have to say about that. I hope and pray that all the overreacting will serve as even more fuel to pour on the dumpster fire that is being created by the Democrats and their corrupt enablers.

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Granted I don’t want to see people die.  I particularly loathe respiratory illness because I have chronic sinus issues even when I am well. My biggest fear is strep throat (which could be more lethal to me than any flu because of my history with rheumatic fever.)  So yeah, I wash my hands and use a lot of sanitizer anyway, especially in the winter when I am surrounded by the hacking and coughing multitudes.  I get the flu and pneumonia shots. I don’t like being in crowds or in loud places and avoid them when I can.  I’m not a huggy-feeler either, and I don’t go around fingering people, or kissing on strangers so I have that in my favor.

The bottom line even with precautions taken – and I have a sharp eye for the macabre as it is- is that we are all gonna die of something. 

I’ve already defied the longevity odds for a person with autism.  The average age of death for a person with autism is 37 years. I made it to 51. Yay me!  To be honest though, I remember my doctor telling me once when I was 30 that if I didn’t do a whole lot of things differently I wouldn’t make it to 35. I did change my lifestyle to a certain degree. Now I know why, but still, the fact that even with a boatload of meds that I am still vertical and sucking up valuable oxygen amazes me sometimes.

Part of the abysmal longevity projections for autistics, I am sure, is that we have a horrendously high suicide rate, as well as a plethora of co-morbid conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, various physical and mental illnesses, lack of social support, and the list goes on.

But coming from the perspective of an autistic, I think I can explain why we die very young.  We aren’t made to live in your world.

Of course everyone experiences stress.  But “normal” people don’t experience the stress of trying to live in a world that isn’t made for them.  Autistic people have to adapt to the “normal” world in much the same way as space travelers have to adapt to the unnatural atmosphere of space.

Some of us learn to navigate almost seamlessly- you can’t see the space suit or the oxygen mask- but they’re there.  We script.  We mask. We mirror.  We do what you do and perfect our acting skills…and it takes a ton of energy to hold up the faςade. Over time this takes a toll.  We have hypertension. We have stress headaches. We deal with anxiety 24/7 because we can’t script, mask and mirror forever without stepping away from time to time.

Those of us who can’t learn to navigate are even worse off than those who can. Those of us who are non-verbal and/or who have cognitive or severe physical deficits on top of autism are at the mercy of the medical industry (whose only “care” is the almighty dollar) or even worse, the public educational system whose lack of common sense and dearth of efficacy is only equaled by its lack of care.  So for people like me- you either figure out things and navigate for yourself, and live with an eternal stress meter pegged out on 11, or you’re doomed to a life of marginalized, institutionalized poverty.

No wonder autistic people die young.

And yeah, every single human being out there, whether you’re “normal” or autistic, we’re all gonna die.

Get used to it.

 

 

The Epic Fail of Liberal Ethics, or Antinomianism Doesn’t Negate the Law, Snowflake.

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The phrase “liberal ethics” is quite the oxymoron these days, unless one considers that there are good ethics and bad ethics.  I will quantify right away that my political and social opinions are generally just to the right of Reagan, so there will be no tree-hugging, mollycoddling, brainless touchy-feely nonsense from me. Good and bad are black and white, and this is the first point on which liberal nonsense fails.  Morality is not relative. It came from God in the form of the Ten Commandments.  Not the Ten Suggestions, or Ten Things that are Kinda Nice to Try.

This being said, I will give a disclaimer before I am shot down as some crazy Bible-worshiping hag belonging to a Westboro Baptist or worse type church.

I am conservative both socially and politically in regard to the left hand kingdom. My citizenship in the left hand kingdom is necessarily related to and informed by my citizenship the right hand kingdom.  If my personal assertions smack of confessional Lutheran theology, that’s completely correct and most intentional. Reader, be then forewarned.

If we remember that the Ten Commandments are God’s Laws- not options, not nice sentiments, we also know, if we are honest with ourselves, that every single one of us breaks every single one of these laws every single day.

Even though the best of us break these laws with impunity, the fact that they are laws doesn’t change.  Try to break the natural law of gravity and see how that works. That may help one understand why human beings earn the penalty of death if we are left solely to the judgment of the Law.  Save by the grace of God, humanity is completely corrupted and doomed.

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Crazy politicians are not helping anything.  And BTW, she’s anything but Roman Catholic.  Molech worshipper, maybe.

Liberal ethics openly defy God’s Law.  It is as if they have intentionally taken the Commandments and turned them around into hedonistic, self-serving bromides.

Instead of the First Commandment- You will have no other gods, the liberal command is: Myself, my god.  MY body, MY choice, MY entitlement-MY right to never be offended or challenged.  The demands of so many screaming, mollycoddled toddlers.

Instead of the Second Commandment- You will not take the Name of the Lord in vain, liberals preach all sorts of false gospels in the name of themselves, and to the cause of obtaining the Almighty Dollar.

Instead of the Third Commandment- Honor the Sabbath Day and keep it holy, we get “all praise to the Almighty Dollar.”

Instead of the Fourth Commandment – Honor your father and mother, legitimate authority that belongs to parents is usurped by the state.  Children are indoctrinated with all manner of subversive and dangerous ideologies via public education (that is, if they survive to be born) that turns their hearts and minds to despise their parents and reject sound authority.

Instead of the Fifth Commandment- You shall not kill- liberals celebrate the slaughter of unborn children in the name of “choice.”  Except that the individuals being slaughtered were never given a choice.

Instead of the Sixth Commandment- You shall not commit adultery- every sort of sick sexual deviance is celebrated, from serial monogamy, to sodomy, to polyamory, to even pedophilia and zoophilia.

Instead of the Seventh Commandment- You shall not steal- liberals work to “legalize” theft through excessive and oppressive taxation upon the working poor to give resources and money away to illegal immigrants, those unwilling to work, and “protected groups” such as “refugees” from terrorist harboring countries whose aim it is to destroy our nation.

Instead of the Eighth Commandment- You shall not bear false witness– the news networks are alive and corrupt with lies that seek to make deviant lifestyles come across as normal, to demonize those who try to live in an upright manner.

Instead of the Ninth Commandment- You shall not covet your neighbor’s property- the race to acquire property and to have the latest stuff is all the rage- whether it is gotten by legitimate means or not.

Instead of the Tenth Commandment- You shall not covet your neighbor’s spouse, livestock or employees, the media glorifies promiscuity and disloyalty to one’s spouse with TV shows such as  “Wife Swap,” and “Temptation Island.”  The tabloids are thick with the who’s who of “who is involved with so and so this week.”

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I don’t claim to have the answers for sinful humanity, and I freely admit that I am part of the problem.  I don’t follow God’s Law 100%.  No one does.  No one can. The only thing that knowing the Law can teach me is just how sinful and wicked I really am, and that I desperately need Jesus.

But just because no one can be 100% perfect does not mean that society loses its obligation to maintain order and standards.

Antinomianism- behaving as though there is an absence of law- does not negate the reality of the law.  One can deny the law of gravity until one is blue in the face but the reality is that if one jumps off a cliff, no matter one’s view on the law of gravity, the bottom still comes quickly and very hard.

This is the fail of liberalism and the fail of liberal ethics.  Denying a that there are consequences for breaking a natural law does not make those consequences go away. And I can say that without invoking my faith.  Natural laws- and the consequences for breaking them- can be proven by science and logic.

That sort of denial, that there are absolutes and laws that cannot be broken without consequences, only breeds more of the irrational self-glorifying navel gazing that is so prevalent today.  The false concept of “multiple genders,” the acceptance of all sorts of mental disorders as being “diversity” and the straight up denial of history are just the beginning.  John Calvin had it right about the total depravity of man.  It’s too bad that in these days we are seeing it played out.

 

All That Really Matters…

It’s that time of year again. Most of my life I have approached the holidays with a combination of dread and loathing. From my earliest memory I still can feel the disappointment and fear that comes from being a child in tough economic times – money, or more rightly the lack thereof- was guaranteed to get Mom and Dad at each other’s throats.

Christmas time was always a really turbulent time of the year. Dad, especially, always wanted to do the large and lavish holiday things but the money wasn’t there. So he would get bitter and depressed. If only he would have known that a quiet and frugal observance of the Incarnation and birth of Christ with sharing and love would have been so much better than just another series of money fights.

It was better to put up simple decorations and lights and to make homemade candy with Grandma than to dance around the tension at home.

I have gotten to the point where I can barely tolerate the retail bonanza that accompanies the holiday season. I love Advent and the religious observance of Christmas. I can even get into the decorations and baking, but no, I am not into buying tons of crap for people who (like me) do not need tons of crap.  Meaningful, needful and useful gifts are one thing, especially for someone you know is in need, but simply procuring a piece of vapid kitsch to wrap up so you can say you gave someone a gift is just not my thing.

Maybe that sounds sort of Scroogish but there’s no need to get me anything either. I do not need any bath sets, Walmart knockoffs of colognes that give me migraines, or socks and granny panties.  I don’t mind a good gag gift, a raunchy calendar or good theological books (that I would have to choose…)   The only things I really want are intangible anyway.

And off to the intangibles. I really want that one thing I have found to be so elusive- to be loved, to belong, to be accepted the way I am even though I wasn’t made for this world.

That’s a lot to ask, and maybe even wrong to ask, but who know

But “He Said He Loves Me,” Lies from the Pit of Hell, and Boiling Frogs

love and lie

I’m not into telling people how to live their lives.  If I had the cash to buy myself a remote mountain retreat with an indoor pool, hot tub and Internet access to have everything I need delivered to me, believe me, the only people I would communicate with or see face to face would be people I want around.  That would be less than 3 people on most days, up to a maximum of maybe 10.  Quality matters a lot more than quantity as far as humans with whom I choose to share physical space.

I think that sometimes my outlook has to do with the fact that I am still recovering from and will always probably be recovering from the effects of toxic relationships.  I have been bitten enough times to be a lot more than twice shy.

My default in relating to other humans, if you are familiar with the first stage of Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development, is mistrust. As far as being in my inner circle, you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.  It’s practical and it’s pragmatic on my part to be wary, especially if you have endured what I have endured at the hands and whims of others.

I don’t share this to troll for pity.  I don’t want anyone’s pity.  For the first time in my life (and that’s 50 years, folks) I am thankful for where my life is right now, and for what I am NOT putting up with.  I am not getting the hell beaten out of me by older siblings and by the kids at school.  I am not working for psychotic, coke-head bosses, nor am I working 80+ hours a week for a pathetically inadequate salary.

I am not married to an idiot who didn’t want his own son and proved it by signing off his parental rights for the low, low price of $7500.00 in back support.  I am not married to a drunken sot (who admittedly was a slight improvement over idiot #1) who put on a good show in front of people, but behind closed doors engaged in more than enough verbal, emotional, financial, and yes, even physical abuse at times over twenty years to last many lifetimes.

boiling frog

I’ve seen the metaphor of a frog in boiling water- the hotter the water gets the more of a tolerance the frog has, until he just boils to death.  I didn’t know what normal was, so as the heat got hotter I blamed myself.  I tried harder. If I could just do more, earn more, if I could be something other than a frumpy klutzy nearsighted scared puppy…

It wasn’t normal to have to sleep in the car because of the loud music and tirades in the middle of the night.  But he claimed to love me. So I slept in the car many nights.

It wasn’t normal to be tossed around by the hair.  But he claimed to love me. So I cut my hair super short, so he wouldn’t be able to get a grip on it.

It wasn’t normal to make excuses for Jerry’s drunken behavior or to try to mediate between him and his drunken friends.  But even through his drunken stupidity- he claimed to love me. So I kept making excuses.

It wasn’t normal to clean up after a 40 or 50 something year old man with the toileting skills of a toddler and a supreme ability to trash an entire house in minutes. But he claimed to love me. So I kept cleaning up after him.

It wasn’t normal to be ordered to do laundry, cook and clean right after coming home from major surgery. But he claimed to love me.  So I tried to do what he wanted even when it was against medical advice.

I didn’t have the clarity of mind or the sense of outrage I should have had to simply get out of the boiling water and to jump out of the pot.

Nothing was ever enough. By the time Jerry died I finally understood that there was nothing I could have done that would have been good enough to keep him from abusing me. Whatever was in his psyche that caused his behavior didn’t mean I had to stand and take it.

It’s easy to see the best course of action from the outside of the hot pot- get the hell out- but when you’re on the inside of it, it’s normal, it’s familiar, it is reality, even if it’s killing you.

I made excuses with the best of them.  I was afraid of losing my housing- which was a very real fear because the house we lived in was provided by Jerry’s employer.  I was afraid of being alone.  I felt worthless because he kept telling me how nobody else would want a weird and physically “damaged” person like me and that I should be grateful for him.

He mocked me because of my surgical scars and reminded me constantly how physically unattractive I am.

The longer he’s been gone, the more I can see the bullshit and lies more clearly.

I can look into the boiling pot from the outside and say no way in hell am I going to land in there again.

If anything I would want to teach by example, even if the example is of what NOT to do.

Don’t stand for being degraded and controlled.

Fight for your child(ren) to the death no matter what that might look like.

Remember that you have the right not to be abused.

 

 

 

 

Wisdom of an Ancient, If I Could Revise the Past, and Hyperlexic Hazards

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This can’t be real. She has lipstick on. And mascara. I was in maternity clothes for the following 4 months after my son was born because of my poorly done C-section incision….and looked like a complete train wreck for months after that!

Sometimes I read the garbage on various newsfeeds when I’m bored. I shouldn’t do that for many reasons. Hyperlexic people like me speed read, and are compelled to read anything and everything that’s in print (even though I have become more discerning in later years) which means I still take in a lot more unsavory stuff than most people.

I’m pretty good most of the time at scrolling past fake news and garden variety bullshit that I find offensive, or assorted drivel that just pushes the wrong buttons.

Media consumption is much like food consumption. Some stuff is good for you, but difficult to wade through. Some stuff just plain tastes nasty and will make you sick. Other stuff is ok in moderation. Then there is just plain poison.

Normally I don’t read mushy tales of devoted spouses (mostly because I am pissed at myself for tolerating 20+ years of drunk-n-stupid abusive bullshit from mine) or stories involving joyful motherhood. The birth of my only child was many things, none of them pleasant, with the exception of the fact that somehow by some miracle he came out of it healthy, in one piece and blissfully unscathed. Otherwise my “birth experience” was an exemplary display of Murphy’s law in childbirth, a harrowingly narrow avoidance of maternal mortality due to medical ineptitude, and being brought to the realization that my then husband and male genetic contributor of said offspring is a worthless, contemptuous ass.

Being reminded of that experience is painful.  I should have been able to enjoy my son when he was first born, but instead I was sick, browbeaten and powerless.  It was a horrible feeling. Especially wondering why I survived all the medical errors when technically I should have died- and I survived for what?

For many years I wondered why I didn’t die- my parents would have gotten the son they wanted but never got. One can question God and wonder about His decisions and ponder the moral question of why expendable and broken people with deep scars and missing pieces who still linger about suffering and dying a little more every day, suffering slowly while children and young people with lives worth living just die.  I’m still sucking up valuable oxygen for what it’s worth. I really wonder why.

These things disturb me.

Hindsight is 20/20, and with this in mind, I realize that after all these years it shouldn’t bother me. But it does.

I will freely admit I am jealous of women who have men who support them, men who actually love them and their children.

It pisses me off that when I had the one child I could have that his entire birth and infancy was made a nightmare first by my own health complications and the poor medical care I received, then by my worthless ex and his selfishness and hostility.

I’m sorry but I can’t forget being completely at the end of my strength, barely able to stand, being held together with way too many stitches, crying endlessly, holding my newborn while my ex rages, “How dare you bring that thing in MY house…what the hell are you going to do with it…” and so on.

All I could do was sob uncontrollably, helpless and mired in the deepest despair I’ve ever known. It’s hard to find words to describe this even now after a lifetime of space and time in between. Forgiveness, yes, but healing from such a vicious wound, probably not this side of eternity.

And it still took me two years after that to leave the son of a bitch. He would put up a good front in front of my family. He played the game when people were looking, but behind closed doors I was afraid. And he was downright hostile.

There’s something about being hit when you’re down that sticks with you. There’s also something about reading about perfect husbands who love their wives and kids and actually help with the nightmare during and after childbirth that fans the flames of that resentment, sharpens the sting of that pain, and even stirs up my jealousy toward the “perfect people,” even after almost 30 years.

I have a thick skin and am not easily rattled over most things at my age, but I still should not read those kinds of sickeningly sweet stories. Maybe there are guys like that, and more power to the women who find such gems. I just never personally experienced such bliss.

I should have held out for one of those even had that meant I would have lived alone as a “mother” of only dogs and cats. Then again, the axiom: “hindsight is 20/20” applies.

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Cats don’t drink beer, smoke cigarettes, or yank me out of bed by the hair at 11PM so I can prepare food for an ungrateful sot who will pass out before he can eat it, just sayin.

I don’t regret my son’s existence or my granddaughter’s for that matter, but if I had things to do over I would have followed my gut on that hot, hot, stinkingly humid hot day in August of 1990 and said hell no, a million times NO to my ex.  Something in the back of my head was telling me I was insane to marry such a self-absorbed basket case mommy’s boy, and Something was right.

Should have said the same thing to Jerry five years later too, but that is another story.

The wisdom I have to pass along on this front is that it’s probably better to hold out for the highly improbable than to settle for the unacceptable.

Some young women- me included, long ago- fall for a man just because he’s vertical and breathing. That’s not enough. It’s not worth it if he has nothing to bring to the table.

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Granted, I have my sensory, emotional and relational issues, and I am not physically beautiful by any standard, but I still deserve better than moochers, drunks and narcissistic ne’er-do-wells.

And I am better off to hold my standards high, even though it’s too late for me to have a positive experience becoming a mother and raising a child.  Said child is 28 years old with a child of his own.

I have no tolerance for drunk-n-stupid, or of being berated, devalued and used. It took me over 25 years to figure that out, or more accurately, to decide they were wrong and I deserved better.

If anything mine is a cautionary tale. I can’t change the past but I can move forward.

And I can stop reading cheesy clickbait pieces especially when someone is gushing about their perfect man, children, family, etc.

Humor and sarcasm are more appropriate domains for me when I have a hankering for the trite or mundane.

I should try to keep my reading confined to higher pursuits such as Scripture (always timeless,) scientific and historical non-fiction, and selected classics. I gave up the bodice rippers and various other sleazy tomes that would be porn if they were illustrated in high school.

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Sadly, I had quite a collection of said bawdy literature during my freshman year of high school.

The occupational hazards of the hyperlexic…

Maybe I should go and read some Stephen King.  His politics may be dreadful, but his stories are great this time of year.

Unpredictable Grief, Hopelessly Whitebread, and Only by the Grace of God

It’s probably a sad commentary on my current mental state that I really miss my dogs today. I’m ashamed to admit it but my heart aches so much more for these guys than for my late husband (hard to say, and sad- but true.)

It’s been almost three years since Jerry died and mostly when I think of him I guilt trip because I really don’t feel sad about it. It’s like I should…but I don’t. It feels like when Mom dragged us to Confession and I knew I should confess all the unforgiveness I held on to for all the shit my sisters and their friends did to me, but I just didn’t feel the remorse. I was going through the motions because I knew I was supposed to.

This condition of knowing- you- should- feel- bad- but- you- really- don’t caused me a lot of theological cognitive dissonance, (i.e. Catholic guilt…) until I realized that it is God who grants the gift of repentance, and it is God alone in Christ who forgives my sins. This is fantastic news, because in and of myself I just can’t do it. I can’t force myself to regret or feel sorry or to forgive. Back to Lutheran theology and Christ Alone. I get the sufficiency of Christ alone, if only because I am so pathetically weak and emotionally and spiritually impaired. Luther’s explanation of the Third Article of the Creed states it pretty clearly:

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. – Martin Luther

Most of humanity, quite honestly I can do without, which may not be right, but I freely admit it. Clara and Lilo, I miss them both, and painfully at times. Even though they were dogs. I love the dogs I have now (Brutus and Lucy) and I am incredibly thankful for them, but there are days. Clara, especially, was my heart.

Emotions are just so damned complicated. Then again no dog ever did anything to hurt me, and I can’t say that about any relationship I have ever had with other humans. Especially Jerry or my sisters, because, well because. The wounds are deep and the scars profound. Can I forgive anyone by my own choice? I can only forgive by the grace and intervention of God, and it’s a long, hard process. The old Adam fights that one with a pernicious tenacity.

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I know part of the human condition is that no one gets out of life alive, but knowing my vulnerabilities and blind spots it is almost impossible for me to be open with anyone because I don’t know what weapon they are going to use against me. I don’t read people well at all. I’m fine with keeping everything on a superficial level but the deep dark secrets? I don’t mind letting others confide in me, but the converse is most certainly not true. I don’t want to rely on anyone because people use me and let me down.

I can’t say I understand what “normal” people think or feel. I’ve never been “normal” or anything close to it. All I know about “normal” is what I can see and script for navigational purposes. I put up a good front, but that’s exactly what it is, a front- a stressful and draining, but necessary, front.

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I don’t think I would have done well with the 1950s housewife gig.

I can only see where I have been and I can only navigate through the mechanics of my own wiring, which has got to be skewed. I am sure that a psychologist would have a field day with me at this point in my life. It’s been over 15 years since I’ve seen a counselor (that probably would be a good idea, but I don’t have the scratch to afford it, nor can I take time off work.) There’s been a ton of crazy shit that has gone down in my life since then.

Oh, yes, crazy shit. Living with an alcoholic and the insanity and crazy-making that goes with that for 20+ years does wear one thin. Then he gets a terminal disease on top of that…which makes him even meaner and more irrational, even though at first he does try to do the right things to a degree. Add having to watch your best friend die, then having to dig her grave, (and I am referring to Clara, who was a dog, so don’t get any macabre ideas) then having to move in a fire sale, desperate sort of way, all while my terminally ill, alcoholic husband is screaming and raging as much against me as he is his inevitable death.

It’s hard to write that. Maybe the delayed reaction is kicking in after all. PTSD – the gift that keeps on giving. We can add in all the other right psychological terms too- learned helplessness, chronic anxiety, and our miserable old companion major depression, who is always camping out on the door mat waiting for the slightest opportunity to slip in the door and come in to stay for a good long time. It doesn’t help that anxiety and depression go hand and hand with autism, and there is mental illness galore in my family history. I even took one of those genetic screening tests for shits and grins (as if I didn’t already know my ethnic ancestry…oh yeah, living advertisement for the Most Whitest Anglo Saxon Ever…)

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The ethnic info was no surprise. It also showed I carry specific genes that increase one’s chances of being bi-polar, and of suffering from major depression and schizophrenia. That explains Mom’s family…and her to an extent, which is scary as hell because there are days when I seriously doubt my mental stability.

Sometimes I want to scream, cry, sleep, run or stage a twisted combination of all of the preceding. I’m afraid to even mention some of the good things happening in my life (and there are a few, and I thank God for everything with everything I can) because I’m not convinced it’s really real…and I’m afraid I’ll jinx it if it is.

There is something deeply sweet and undeserved about being able to be safe and loved in one’s home, and that is both majestic and terrifying because I have never been in such a place before.

There’s still a LOT of pain- emotional, spiritual and always, physical, and I don’t know where that’s going to go. I think it wants to translate into fear. I don’t want to give in to fear. The panic attacks are thankfully getting less frequent and less severe but they still happen. As for the arthritis flares, medication usually keeps it down to a dull roar, but when the fire is on, it’s on, and not much will touch it.

I spend a lot of time in sacred music and Bible reading these days even though I know that forgiveness and healing are not things I can do- but what God does for me.

Kyrie Eleison…

Part of Ancient History, Under the Radar (which is where I like to be…)

68toyotacoronacoupeThe above pictured Corona is older than me.  Not by much, because this is a 1968 Corona.  Unlike me, when this car was new it had 90 BHP and would (theoretically) do 90 MPH. Maybe it would with the standard “four on the floor.”  I can assure you no conventional automatic transmission paired with a 90 BHP engine will do that unless one is traveling downhill with a hefty tail wind.  If only Toyota had discovered the wonderful benefits of treating their body panels with rust preventative processes before 1988, there might still be some of these around here in Ohio. The drivetrains on these old beasts would last forever.  Sad thing is, today when one says “Corona,” it is usually in reference to an overrated Mexican beer.  Then again, I am biased because I simply don’t care for any kind of beer.  It all tastes like ear wax smells.

corona beerYuk.

In some respects there isn’t a whole lot lingering around that is older than me, at least things that haven’t been demolished, renovated or added onto.  That’s difficult for me in terms of appreciating architecture because I am very much a purist and I hate to see modern junk tacked onto beautiful old façades, windows bricked over, or lovely varnished woodwork painted over.

I understand today that nobody cares about the aesthetic in architecture- function is all that matters, even though that has led to the proliferation of churches that look like pole barns and houses that look like cardboard boxes. The schools that were torn down in the 1990s were replaced by prefabbed monstrosities that are reminiscent of prisons. It is wrong to warehouse children in such bleak surroundings devoid of light and beauty, but in a way it’s “right,” if you think about what’s going on behind those walls.

Today’s schools are little more than holding cells to help prevent the kiddies from shoplifting, battery and assault during the daytime hours.  Their minds are being filled with feel-good garbage while their parents are out scoring drugs and creating more children they can’t support and refuse to educate.  There is a sad irony in this only in that today’s educational system is all about political and social indoctrination and not about critical thinking or aspiring to something beyond one’s self, but I digress.  The dumbing down of public education was just beginning when I was in elementary school. I dare say that the quality of public education will not improve until every person who cares about his or her offspring’s education refuses to enroll them in the public schools.

I can appreciate the beauty of a Gothic cathedral, though I admit I seldom have time to seek out a time for prayer and solace in one.

canterbury-cathedral.jpgIf I ever make my way to England, I will have to check out the Canterbury Cathedral.

I know it’s dangerous to wax nostalgic, especially because not everything was better in the “good old days,” but there are some things from 50 years ago (not necessarily the old Corona pictured above) that might have been worth keeping around.

Penny candy is a good example.  Especially those wax cola bottles with the mystery liquid inside.  Or candy cigarettes.  Political correctness be damned.

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Then again, the fact that candy is significantly more expensive keeps me from being tempted to indulge in it.

Of course, music.  My playlists pretty much end by 1985. There are a few notable exceptions, but for the most part, there is not much beyond Steve Perry.

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I like remaining under the radar on my birthday.  It’s kind of fun to just observe the day quietly.  Every day that Obama is NOT president is a good day. Sort of like it’s a good day when I’m remaining vertical and still sucking up valuable oxygen.  Been doing that (more or less) for 50 years straight now.

In some ways it’s hard to come to terms with being 50 years old.  There are days in which I feel like a piece of ancient history, and others when it doesn’t seem that long.

I’m old enough to know that there is no such thing as permanence- at least not in this lifetime.  Entropy is alive and well in this world.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…

A Dearth of Reference Points, February Funk, and Wisdom from Dante

 

winter miseryIt’s February again.  That shortest month of the year, and the month in which the most people die. I think people just give up in February.  Christmas is long over (not that I am a great fan of the holiday hype,) and winter seems to just keep hanging on.  Most people are still paying for the crap they blithely and wantonly purchased for Christmas, that the kids have either broken or gotten bored with already. If you’re going to go, why not now? All hope abandon, ye who enter here.

That is a morbid thought, and I am no stranger to morbid thoughts.  I am always pulling worst case scenarios out of my imagination.  I should write horror movies, or at least get to narrate a guided tour of the Mütter Museum.  (I should get to actually go to Philadelphia to see the Mütter Museum…it’s on my bucket list.)

This morning’s drive was particularly sucky.  40-50MPH winds combined with temperatures in the low 20s and snow squalls meant that not only was the car being blown around, but there were little patches of ice hiding beneath that blowing snow.  I got here OK and with little incident, but some jackwagon in a Jeep Wrangler bought a trip to the ditch, likely arising from the erroneous assumption that 4 wheel drive makes one invincible.

Days like this remind me of my own fallibility and mortality more than I would like. Yes I know I screw up (a lot) and that every passing day I’m (to quote Pink Floyd’s song, “Time”) one day closer to death.

Days like this remind me of how not normal I am too.  Maybe it’s the overwhelming fatigue, or the inevitable joint pain that accompanies a low barometer, but I suspect it’s something deeper than weather. I went to the Dr. just the other day and my labs and such are mostly normal, so I probably don’t have any additional health failures. Even so, I am so tired I could sleep for weeks.

Maybe I am still guilt tripping.  Call it survivor’s guilt or maybe worse.  It’s not right to feel as if a weight has been lifted from me.  I feel like I don’t deserve a normal life…and maybe it’s not.  I don’t have a clue what “normal” is, nor have I ever had an accurate frame of reference and it scares me.  I don’t know what I am supposed to feel.  Then again, feeling anything always seems foreign to me.

I needed an extended sabbatical a long time ago but for various reasons that wasn’t able to happen. So I have to take bits and pieces of mental rest and reflection where I can get them.  Sometimes drive time is good for that.  Not lately, because driving is stressful when the weather sucks, but sometimes. I should have a Cougar Nap Saturday coming up and I will take advantage of that if I can.  If I take a few hours to just nap and watch reality TV (Botched is a good one, or The Incredible Dr. Pol, if I am in the mood for watching farm animals) on a Saturday, who can blame me?

I do need to set up a time (probably next Saturday) to get my oil changed and tires rotated, or I might arrange to drop the car off one day next week and drive the truck.

I am not looking forward to my birthday, which I hope most people I know will overlook. Usually they do because it’s at the end of February, when the winter funk and the it’s-not-quite-winter but-definitely-not-spring blecch season is in full swing in Ohio.

I think I might decide to set up some sort of weekend getaway sometime soon.  Maybe.

And it is quite OK to forget my birthday.

 

 

The Dismality of February, and This Will All Thaw Someday

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Oh, the dismality of February yet again.  There is a reason why February only has 28 days (at least for three out of four years,) and that’s to put a lid on the number of people who die in February.  If February were 30 or 31 days, half the damn population would die in February, and that would just be weird.  We have to spread the death throughout the year better.  Not that everyone should die from heat stroke in July, but jeez.  I can understand losing the will to live when it is 90° and 100% humidity if there’s no air conditioning, perhaps a bit more than most, because I am not at all equipped for high temperatures.  I can abide cold a far sight better than extreme heat.

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But at least in July there is sunlight, and Ohio winters are notoriously dark and sunless. I can go all week without seeing sunlight save for maybe a ray or two on the weekend-  unless there is a damned blizzard going on.  And even if the damned blizzard is going on and it’s 4° below, Target still has nothing but bathing suits, tank tops, sandals and sleeveless dresses on display.  If I need a parka, I will have to wait until July when they put them back out.

Here in central Ohio we have been enduring a rather harsher than normal winter.  Oh, yippee skippy, because I just adore driving in ice and snow.  I’m all about those below zero temperatures too.  There is simply nothing like one’s ass freezing to the toilet seat unless I break down and turn on the space heater in the bathroom.

“Spring” will arrive someday. Probably sometime in May there will come a day when my back yard will transform from frozen tundra into Dog Shit Lake overnight.  Oh, the smell of Spring in the air.  Temperatures will go from -4° to 90° and 100% humidity within the span of about 12 hours.  There is really no Spring in Ohio. There is just arctic cold and wind, followed by stygian heat, usually accompanied by torrential rain.

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This is Brutus, the Catahoula^ (Catahoula Bed Hog Dog)

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This was Clara^ (God rest her sweet soul) the Malinois

Note to self: the 80# Catahoula shits according to his size.  For those unaccustomed to dogs, for an example, a 65# Malinois has the strength to overpower a 300# man.  The 65# Malinois consumes, and disposes of about the same number of calories as a 300# man every day. Imagine that kind of waste load deposited in your back yard every day for six months from October until the May Thaw arrives.

In all fairness, since a Malinois is an ultra high energy, high metabolism dog, a 65# Malinois and an 80# Catahoula are pretty much identical in strength, energy consumed, and waste put down.  My paradigms have been pretty much the same for awhile.

There’s going to be a lot of dog shit to deal with.