Nothing That Years of Psychotherapy Won’t Fix, Pragmatic Politics and Obscure History

I’ve never been a true believer in Freudian psychology, especially his premise that all behavior goes back to sex.  If that’s the case, and everything revolves around sex, I’m in really big trouble, because in that regard I am extremely low mileage- as in barely driven off the dealership lot.  That vehicle’s been sitting on the lot so long the tires are dry-rotted and the battery’s dead and the upholstery smells like locker room funk, if my sex life could be compared to a used car.

But it only has 200 miles on it!

I also have problems with the touchy-feely approach that some psychologists take where it’s all about “embracing your inner child.”  When I was a child I didn’t want anyone touching me for any reason.  “Touching” usually involved getting my ass kicked in some sort of way.  I was the geek kid that nobody associated with unless it involved me getting an ass kicking, or it involved someone trying to bribe me to let him/her cheat on a test.   If you’re trying to improve my self-esteem, then why do you want me to “embrace” the geek kid?  I have to wonder about that approach.  I have to wonder about all the hoo-hah about self-esteem.  Today’s kids are all about self-esteem, even if they suck.  I would rather know I suck than have some lying ass pilot fill me full of crap about how great I am.

I was the butt-ugly geek kid.

My childhood was not nice. It was mostly hell.  There were good moments- but they were few and far between.  I won’t blame my parents.  They did the best they could with what they had, and in their defense, they got dropped a raw deal.  There are no child development manuals that could have offered them any help.  No parent asks for a child with physical deficits, and no parent asks for a child whose intellectual, emotional and social development can only be categorized as highly abnormal.   There was no option of specialists or special schools, especially when it was a struggle for them to afford the bare necessities.  Hell, Mom was at the zoo herself most of the time, being bi-polar and untreated- and unpredictable.  Dad was at work just about all of his waking hours- partially out of necessity and partially because he didn’t know if he’d come home to Jekyll or Hyde.  When I say that my grandmother (actually both of them, but more so my Dad’s Mom, who was within running distance) saved my life many times, that is an understatement.  I know Mom probably didn’t appreciate Grandma’s interference (when she was aware of it) but it was Grandma who stormed the principal’s office and kept me from getting the hell beat out of me waiting on the bus.  It was Grandma who took me to the Dr. and stayed with me when I was sick with rheumatic fever.   It was Grandma who gave me a safe place to go when my sisters and/or the neighborhood kids were looking for someone to pummel again.

I will say that Mom’s unpredictability set me up to deal with future coke-head bosses pretty well though.

Given what they had to work with, it’s a miracle that I am vertical, gainfully employed, and not a serial killer.

Needless to say, I have spent several years in various types of counseling- some more effective than others.  The first counselor I went to, when I was 13-16 was tolerable.  Better yet, it didn’t cost my parents anything for me to see her because she was a family friend.  I learned fairly quickly the answers she wanted to hear- no, I’m not going to kill myself, yes, I am thinking positive today (retch,) but truth be told more than anything I appreciated getting out of school early every other Tuesday to sit and pretty much just shoot the shit.  Because she was a family friend, I don’t think she believed me when I told her that my oldest sister was a sadist and a psychopath, but by that time my oldest sister was so much more interested in whatever money and assorted favors she could extort from the boys that she didn’t have much time to waste torturing me.

The second counselor I went to truly wasted my time and money.  About a year after Steve-o was born I was having panic attacks and full-blown PTSD, as well as I was going through a rather nasty separation and divorce.  I thought it a good idea to seek counseling because I truly was freaking out.  The only thing she did after a couple of sessions was to tell me to buy a copy of the book Codependent No More and wished me happy trails.   In hindsight I think it was because I had shitty insurance and she was afraid she wouldn’t get paid.  I got really cynical about the whole counseling thing after that, and figured that mental health must just be too lofty a goal.   So I decided to just deal with life the way I’d always had since I’d become an adult: chain smoking, binge drinking whenever I could, obsessive overwork, and indiscriminate liaisons when I could get away with it.  I was a Ruthless Bitch, and that worked for about seven years- until my physical health really started to go south.

Thankfully my path necessarily changed because of my health failing.  By the grace of God I got back into a relationship with Him and got involved in a church.  Also by the grace of God I gave up smoking.  I went to a counselor for a couple of years who wasn’t in it to either bullshit me or rip off my insurance company, and learned some helpful ways to navigate the way I’m wired and to deal with my past (which is an ongoing project.)  I also acknowledged that I have inherited and organic tendencies toward anxiety and depression that require medical treatment and medication as well, which has helped me deal with PTSD and work beyond it.   It’s a journey, not so much a destination, but I would have to say I am mentally healthier now than at any point in my life, which is almost scary.

I registered to vote on my 18th birthday- for what it’s worth.

This year is another year in which I not only have to be careful not to get caught up in the rhetoric (which is easy for me to do) but I feel as if I have to stand back and look at the election with a pragmatic eye.  Voting for a third party or a write-in, i.e. Ron Paul, Mickey Mouse, Ron Jeremy, Dennis Kucinich or even posthumously, Ronald Reagan, effectively is a vote for Obama.  Staying home and not voting is also effectively a vote for Obama, and it would also take away my right to bitch about him should he be re-elected.  And I am going to bitch about him, re-elected or (hopefully) not- believe it.   I would rather have fire ants poured down my underwear than to be complicit in re-electing the worst president ever, and I state for the record that Obama is The Worst Ever.  Even if I include Pierce, Buchanan, Wilson, Harding, Nixon, Carter and Clinton, Obama takes the Worst Ever prize hands down.

I’m still not a huge fan of Mitt Romney.  The last truly good president this country has seen is Ronald Reagan, and sadly, he’s been in his grave for eight years.  But even though Mitt is no Reagan, I can think of FAR better choices to be sitting in the Oval Office than Obama.

Sheena, the mentally challenged Husky.  Bonus: her birth certificate is just as contrived as Obama’s, but it’s a little more creative.

Ron Jeremy

Karl Pilkington (yes, he’s a Brit, but hey, BO didn’t have to be a citizen!)

The guy on the Quaker Oat box

Satan

Just remember, folks.  The people who voted for Ross Perot bought us 8 years of Bill Clinton.   That was bad, but Obama’s a million times worse.  As much as I hate the adage, “choose the lesser of the two evils,” what do you do when one of the choices is overwhelmingly odious, the other one is less odious, but still not quite good?  <Sigh…>

More Sins of Omission, Explaining One’s Offspring to Others, and More Awesome Tunes

Old-time Catholicism is a bit masochistic, but you gotta love the artwork.  I have nothing against Catholics- some of the best Christians I know adhere to Catholicism, and I’m not going to argue the small points- other than to say that by definition I cannot be considered a Catholic because I don’t agree 100% with the Catholic Church.  Agreeing with Church teachings 100% is part of the deal.  I’ve read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and I agree with a good deal of it- but I do disagree with some key points of what the Catholic Church teaches, and I don’t agree 100% with their theology- especially what I consider to be the bizarre extra-biblical stuff like purgatory and indulgences and praying to saints.  It would be dishonest for me to claim to be Catholic when I don’t agree with everything the Church believes and teaches.  So those who claim to be Catholic but embrace some very un-Catholic and very un-Christian thought processes are effectively lying their pants off.  You either take the whole hog or not at all- that’s the way that Catholicism works.

Joe Biden: claims to be Catholic, but if my grandfather were still alive I think the descriptive would change to “Crazy as a Shithouse Rat.”  Though in the end he- and we- are accountable to God alone.

As a confessional Lutheran I don’t fall terribly far away from the core beliefs of Catholicism, and theologically I am well within the sphere of orthodox (small “o”) Christianity.   I’m not into weird stuff like God being a space alien (who knows, He might be, but I doubt it) and I don’t believe that I’m part of some elite nerd tribe whose destiny is to be spirited up to heaven in a space ship with Marshall Applewhite and company.  I’m definitely more conservative both socially and theologically than most of the people who go to my church, which does give me pause at times, and does cause me some cognitive dissonance, but there’s an important point to be made with that unease.  If I were to seek out a very literal, fundamentalist church (at one point I almost became a Southern Baptist) I wouldn’t hear any viewpoints remarkably different from my own. (I do differ with the SB’s on the subject of infant baptism, which is an important point of dissent- but otherwise I can pretty much get right on the bandwagon.)  I need to be challenged to see viewpoints that are different than mine, and I need to be challenged to be compassionate to those who are coming from a different perspective.  As a confessional Lutheran I have considerable freedom to ask theological questions and to hold differing opinions on non-essential issues without being considered heretical or completely outside the box of Christian orthodoxy.

I think we can agree: This dude was one crazy mo-fo.

I don’t like to argue theology with anyone.  I will gladly explain what I believe and more importantly in Whom I believe- and why, but I’m not going to pound anyone in the head.  It doesn’t work.  Some of my closest friends are atheists and agnostics, who likely view my faith as something archaic and quaint- but they still talk to me and there’s still a relationship there.  Jesus was all about building relationships with unlikely people in unlikely ways, so if it worked for Him, why not?  I learned long ago that the number one way to dissuade people from faith and a relationship with God is to act like Dana Carvey as the Church Lady.

Could it be….SATAN?????

I may differ even with some of my more orthodox cohorts in that I believe Satan is real and that there are real evil forces at work in this world.   But most of the ills of this world can be attributed to human beings doing what we do best- screwing up.  The sin of the Garden was not so much, “The devil made me do it,” as “I screwed up and did the opposite of what I was told.”  Is this not the underlying theme of human history?  I know it’s the definitely the story of my life.  I am an example, and a good amount of the time I am an example of What Not to Do.

A sin of omission is knowing what you’re supposed to do, but not doing it for whatever reason.  I know I should refrain from laughing at Jerry when he can’t find the beer in the fridge because it’s behind the milk, but I laugh anyway.  Technically that’s a sin of commission because I did laugh, though.  Sins of omission are more like knowing I should iron Jerry’s shirts, but not doing it because I hate ironing, and because I know it’s something his lazy ass can do for himself.  He should be happy I’m washing them and hanging them up for him, but if I were really good I would be doing the ironing thing too.  That’s the omission thing, sort of, anyway.   I should be a missionary in Africa giving out food and water to pitiful orphans, but my selfish ass is too satisfied with sleeping in the A/C and not having dysentery.  There’s always something I should be doing but for whatever reason I’m not.  Take it right on back to the old Catholic guilt trips perhaps, but there’s a grain of truth there.  I know full well I do things I shouldn’t and neglect to do things I should.  Which segues quite well into my hit-or-miss parenting.

This won’t be the last time he will be cajoled into sporting his daughter’s clothes- heh-heh!

As far as Steve-o goes I am delighted that he is remarkably normal in many ways.  He is gainfully employed, only has a couple of weeks until he graduates from college (YAY!) and is very close to Independence from the Parental Units, which in my mind is the ultimate goal of parenting to begin with.  As far as I’m concerned, I did not give birth and work myself into the ground to end up with a thirty five year old acne-ridden, obese couch jockey stinking up the basement with greasy Taco Bell wrappers whilst clogging up his brain cells with assorted online interactive video games 24/7 on my dime.   I do wish Steve-o would have listened to Mother a little more intently in regard to abstinence, chastity and so forth, but hindsight is 20/20.  I love my granddaughter and wouldn’t trade her for anything, but it would have been better if they would have waited a bit.  However, life is such that you wish in one hand, or shit in the other, and we all know which one fills up first.

The two most common elements in the universe are:  Shit and Stupidity.  Figure out how to convert either into energy, and screw foreign oil.

Today’s playlist is just as awesome as Friday’s:

“Urban Angel” from Neal Schon’s I On You

“Double Vision” – Foreigner

“Evil Woman”- ELO

“After the Fall” – Journey from Greatest Hits Live

“Somebody to Love”- Queen

“Smells Like Teen Spirit”-Nirvana

Ground Control to Major Tom, Aggressive-Aggressive Revenge, and Forgiveness is Divine

I adore spring flowers, especially in the depths of Central Ohio winter.  Right now the weather alone is depressing.

I am thankful that I dragged my sorry carcass to church this morning even though venturing out on a Sunday morning when it’s seven degrees out is difficult when compared with staying in the comfort of my own bed.  But as far as going to church goes,  I don’t “deserve” to be there- I need to be there.

Today’s sermon especially hit home.  Right now our Pastors are teaching on the parables of Jesus.  Today’s text was Matthew 18:21-35, the parable of the unmerciful servant.  Talk about hitting me where I live.

I’m not a very forgiving person.  I do tend to scorekeep, mull over past slights, and I’ve not been above aggressive-aggressive revenge as well as all of my signature forms of passive-aggressive revenge.  God forgives me for all the crud I’ve done- and believe me I have done some pretty shameful and terrible things (no this is not repressed old Catholic guilt resurfacing.)

I find myself more often than I’d like in the position of the unmerciful servant- God cuts me a break, over and over and over again, but I end up feeling slighted and wanting payback every time someone does something wrong or bad to me.

I have to admit that sometimes forgiveness is the last thing on my mind.  Yesterday when my Saturday nap was rudely interrupted and then postponed, I admit that forgiving Jerry for his total lack of consideration was pretty low on my priority list.  He did come off of enough money for dog food (Nutro ain’t cheap- Clara has corn allergy and requires a corn-free lamb and rice diet, but it is a high quality food and they do well on it, so they all three eat it) so coming off of $51 for a 38# bag of dog food assuaged my angst somewhat.  But I shouldn’t be concerned with keeping score.

I am really bad about holding grudges, and I admit I adore getting even.

This is not a good thing because in spite of my sense of humor and oft times salty language, I do take my faith seriously.  I take it seriously enough not to candy coat it with false piety.  Martin Luther said, “Sin boldly.”  I think he meant it as, “Live honestly.”  Don’t put up a front and be who you really are.

Some of the pettiest wieners I’ve ever known are the “Dana Carvey as the Church Lady” types.

Granted, I believe there is a spirit world.  I believe Satan is real, but I don’t attribute everything remotely bad as being of Satanic origin.  Most of the evil in this world is simply the result of fallen and fallible human beings screwing things up, because that’s what we do.

I also believe that those of us who believe Jesus and are following Him fail to do the world any favors by acting “holier than thou” and/or putting up those lily-white goody-goody fronts.

If there is any holiness in me, it doesn’t come from me, believe that.  I am a human being who is most fallible, who screws up constantly, and who therefore has a deep need to be a little more compassionate even when other people are being stupid.  I do enough stupid things myself- let’s see- abysmal choices in relationships, career choices in which I got screwed, disastrous financial mistakes, being gullible, being taken advantage of, taking advantage of others, et cetera, ad nauseam.

I’m pretty sure I will continue to laugh at my own stupidity and the stupidity of others- but I can only pray for a greater compassion and understanding when other people continually do stupid things that piss me off or inconvenience me. (i.e  Jerry is currently whining for me to get him his pills, a task that an adult male of reasonably sound mind and body should be capable of doing for himself but he won’t, so I will have to do it so he will shut up already…)

Tomorrow’s Monday.  I’ll have my chance for good or ill to apply the lesson of today’s sermon.  Lord help me! I will need it.

I know Jesus wouldn’t punch him out or tell him where or how high to shove the pills (perhaps they are more effective administered rectally?) so I will try to follow His example.