Friday, May 28, 2010
Yes, I love my run-on paragraphs.
In the grade eight yearbook, my English teacher wrote "Don't conform too much in high school." Sarcasm... the language of the perpetually annoyed.
I have two reports due in under four hours and have only just begun the in depth research needed. These reports must be delivered orally and last eight to ten minutes each. For me, that's about four pages of single spaced, 14pt Times New Roman typing.
Here I sit, last minute looming, melting in a stifling bedroom, lukewarm coffee to my left, research scattered about the desk and desktop screen... blogging.
I've not yet figured out the particular combination of procrastination and self-doubt that drives my insistence to take everything down to the last possible moment... but even this moment of introspection is fueled more by the desire to put off the inevitable than to look inward at what cracked cogs make me tick. There is a basic fear of creating anything to be submitted for grading, critique, assignment of value or judgment by others that makes me seek to avoid, avoid, avoid.
Even knowing the outcome, I avoid.
I'd love to write the post-in-progress comparing fire ants and their stings to the words of the all-too-often-poisonous words of edification and correction that raise so many spiritual welts... but I have reports to write.
I guess I'll have to put it off til later.
It's 5:02 pm and class starts at 6. One report is complete. The other is still in pieces. *sighs* So typical. No excuses... Until I found inspiration for the completed report, I struggled with getting behind the subject of the one that is yet to be completed. I will do it tonight when the house is quiet so it can be handed in tomorrow. At least I can say my focus was relatively undisturbed. I'm not going to kill myself to get it done tonight. I'd rather save what's left of my energy to pay attention and be a good little student in class.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
That's a close tie between Helen Keller and Mother Teresa.
Both did what no one really believed could be done. Both overcame incredible obstacles in their lives. They were both symbols of strength, even in their perceived or genuine weakness. They lived their convictions... made a difference... earned respect in times when women weren't much respected... questioned themselves and had the strength to answer honestly... and they are both the most truly beautiful people in the "inside where it counts" department.
Their character is something to be admired and emulated.
After scripture, their words and observations on life are the ones I most often recall when a nudge of encouragement is needed.
I first read this question and immediately complicated it to the point of confusing myself. Immediately creating a separate set of circumstances under which certain jobs would be the ideal.
RAWR... forget complications.
The first thing that comes to mind is Parent. Already living that dream.
Assuming a paying job is the goal answer, it would have to be On-Air radio broadcasting... preferably a Christian station with music which doesn't make me grind my teeth. Locally, that would be WAY-FM... not sure how realistic a return to radio would be but that would be it. A forum for communicating, listening, reaching people but not necessarily being crowded in by them... A chance to minister, share, pray and entertain in a way that wouldn't be 'performing'. Yeah... that's the one.
Having been hacked, stalked and just creepily lurked, I'm fully aware of the false sense of security privacy settings can give to people.
That said... and with no illusions of privacy... I choose to shed some of my carefully applied armor and write openly again.
Realizing my blog and my FaceBook are linked and knowing that for the first time ever, this means no more separation of extended family, church, blog, online friends, irl friends, etc... It's all well and good to say "I am who I am with no reservations" when keeping a whole group of people from the thoughts reserved for blogging... but it's not fully honest. Safer, maybe... but not honest.
It's funny that I wrote the first three paragraphs of this entry before John's comment about not hiding feelings. His opinion was the very same thinking that led me to the decision to stop secluding and shielding myself. Without blogging honestly, I doubt oneness would have occurred in the relatively short 8 years of therapy involved. I also doubt I'll be able to keep moving forward in health, faith or maturity without it.
I don't need compartments and boxes quite so much anymore. It might add some complications and require standing up for my convictions a bit more often... but I'm okay with that.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Later everyone, well almost everyone, is jammed in the living room, hanging out. The school year is winding down, exams are almost done and so Becka and Rachel are a tad less... um...touchy.
9pm on the dot, Daniel jumps up, comes into my room, grabs the phone and locks himself in his room. That's when I went outside and found John killing the next hour of exile from his bedroom by visiting with the vehicles in the driveway (see facebook status). Rachel asked at one point why he could climb up on top of the van and she wasn't allowed to when she was younger. Um, because he's sitting. You used the car roof for a trampoline, remember?
Later, sitting outside enjoying the mild evening, I looked up and realized I was the only one of four people outside not wearing a captioned shirt. Chris has one that says "I live in my own little world, but it's okay, they all know me here." It's the first time he's worn it in the 8 months he's lived with us. It was his way of reminding me he now knows he belongs. Rachel is wearing her Holy Grail shirt with the caption "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries". It never ceases to amaze her how few people get the reference. John's shirt says "Sometimes I pee when I laugh." He only wears it for bed. It's a hand me down from Becka... who sometimes did...
Krys headed out before leaving to pick up Steve from work and go home. I don't remember what we all talked about in the driveway... just that there was a lot of laughter. Krys is so excited about her garden.
Yesterday she showed me the plot of land they'd tilled with Steve's peppers and food stuffs planted on one side and Krys' sunflowers on the other. Then we wandered the property munching wild blackberries. We joked about how the grand kids will learn all about wild edibles and foraging because Grandma's just crazy that way.
After Krys went home tonight, Rachel and I came in and had a poking fight. I can't believe my laughing didn't wake up Charlie... especially as she'd shoved (I never did get out of the computer chair) me into the foot of his side of the bed.
Becka and Noeli are the only ones left in the living room now. He was up at 5 to go to work at 6 and hasn't been able to keep his eyes open much since we got home from the ultrasound. She's at one end of the couch, sound asleep... and he's at the other. Just before she fell asleep she let me know they're ready to get the crib next week.
I went back outside and sat watching the clouds floating in front of the moon. After a minute or two, John came out with tears pouring down his cheeks. "I need some snuggles, Mom."
"What's wrong Babe?" I pull him into my lap.
"I miss Patches."
Our older cat, Too Socks... the one who has always been a bit crazy, has taken to sleeping on the top bunk with John. The place that had once been Patches'.
"Maybe Too Socks is missing her too and knows just the person to help her feel less lonely."
I asked if he wanted to plant some flowers over Patches' grave tomorrow. We talked about her and her beautiful colors and chose flowers that each represent the colors in her fur and eyes. Then he drew a picture of what he'd like to put there in place of the heart-shaped collection of river rocks we have now.
I'm suddenly reminded of when he was 4 and drew a picture of the house of his dreams.(Even then he knew we'd need an elevator and more bedrooms.) He drew it in 4 sections then planted the carefully folded drawings around the perimeter of the house, so his dream could grow... and I think 'what if'? Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the fulfillment of a child's faith?
John's finished his drawing. It's "Dedicated to Patches: a friend to one and all, a second mother, ball of beauty, love and compassion. Rest in peace. (You'll need it!!!)
I asked him why she needs it and he smiled through his tears... "For when I get to Heaven."
I asked if it was okay to share this in my blog and he reminded me "Feelings shouldn't be hidden." Collectively, I sometimes think these kids are wiser than I'll ever be.
Everyone but Chris and I are in bed. It's so quiet in the house. There are programs I could catch up on but... not tonight.
Tonight... I think I'll enjoy the quiet... I'm almost relaxed even.
Sometimes it's just nice to be.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Also trying to congratulate myself for letting it be. So not my style. I like to pick myself apart way too much.
John's interview will have to be redone. He spoke so quietly or so fast he was hard to understand. I think we'll do the rest of them in the garage where there are no fans, fish tanks or other stuff to create a loud background hum. John will enjoy this and I'm certain will make a reference to "Man Cave" in the second interview.
The requirement that applicants keep down the background noise is a difficult one.
The idea of not 'fidgeting' is laughable at best. Krys, Becka, Rachel and I all talk with our hands. Krys and Becka to the point I believe they'd be rendered mute if they ever lost use of their hands. While watching my interview, I complained about the amount of hand movement visible onscreen. Charlie said, "Considering it's you, that's pretty good." Turkey. Apostle Baker once jokingly commented to the congregation that he didn't think it possible for me to be still. So, okay... I guess given the situation and the pressure of the whole thing, it wasn't too bad.
I'm hands off this project from here out unless Charlie wants me there for his taping. I'm willing to do the exterior tour... but the less I'm involved from here out, the less my stupid anxiety can affect everyone. I trust them to speak from their hearts. Que Sera, Sera, right?
Today is going to be pretty low key. I haven't really been in the garden in the last week, though I did rip up some honeysuckle behind the fence yesterday. I'm paying for it today so will take the hint. Maybe a shark tooth excursion would get me outside without too much physical strain. I've tried walking... bores me to tears. It's like I have to feel I'm actually accomplishing something immediately visible or it isn't worth the moving.
Meh... it's thundering. Guess outside is no longer an option. Maybe Charlie and I can work in the garage or something.
Working on a song with Rachel... Corny as interpretive or signed worship can be... "Never Alone" by Barlowgirl seems made for it... and I think it can be done in a powerfully moving way. The older folks at church are simply going to have to get used to the Drama team using contemporary music.
I'm a little worried about how John will take the news that he's likely to repeat sixth grade. He's certainly intellectually capable but was nowhere near prepared emotionally for the challenges of middle school. As much as he'll hate it, I hope he will be able to see it from Mom and Dad's point of view... he'll be able to start the year fresh, with an education plan tailored for him. They couldn't do that before we had the diagnosis. He'll have the summer to enter counseling and begin the process of learning new ways to adapt and deal with his emotions... he seems almost entirely unable to assume the words of his peers are ever intended as anything but a jab. His stormy relationship with Daniel doesn't help this. I understand how hard it is for Daniel, sharing a room with John. Daniel is the quietest and least chaotic of all of us. John's need for clutter in the room drives him crazy. Daniel's need to lock John out when Kalynn calls makes John crazy too. Neither of them realize that with or without the extra people in the house, they can't have rooms of their own unless we get a bigger house. I can only pray for that possibility.
The meeting with the pastor and his wife went well. I'm reminded again that certain (rigid/military) personalities tend to bring out the rebellious and irritable child in me. I need to have more patience and take the time to look for the best in the pastor instead of assuming the worst. Talking with him, it was much easier to see where he's coming from and what his heart means, despite his words. We've all committed to talking more often, especially about the youth. We cover worship stuff on Sunday mornings before service... I'm willing and able now to see these meetings as the Pastor and Worship leader seeking to be on the same page rather than his way of making sure I'm not stepping out of line.
I hate admitting how much growing up there is still to do.
Rachel and Craig broke up last week. I saw it coming months ago but hoped it wouldn't be necessary. I think it best though. She's got to learn to compromise and he needs to learn to stand on his own two feet instead of swaying to the opinions of others. When the problems started months ago until they made their decision to part, it seemed, to me at least, to be variations on the same theme. When an issue arises, she approaches it like a pitbull and he, like a rabbit. Until they can learn to communicate through things... it's best they stop living an imaginary relationship. Charlie and I are proof that opposites attract... but... meh. I won't say any more. I just pray they can work things through personally before they try things together again, if at all.
Charlie told me he can't watch United States of Tara with me anymore. It's gotten too real and close to home this season. I don't blame him... but watching it is helping me to... unlock... examine... feel some things I've avoided since integration. I hope to get to a point of being able to really write about it again.
It's no coincidence I've written more this month than any previous month since starting this blog. The unleashing of grief the other night was something I've needed for a very long time. Now it's happened, I hope to keep things from building to that point again. Life is easier when I can dump the emotional and mental overflow to print. I miss the feedback from the old days of writing... but the writing alone still helps.
So with no real purpose or subject... I'll try to sit down more often and use this available outlet.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
the written word is so much easier...
-Why your family is unique (do they volunteer, etc)
We’re active within our church community… in the Youth, Drama, Worship and Sound Ministries. The time we spend with the youth within our church is some of the most challenging and exhilarating of our lives right now.
We’re a big family… in more than one way. Charlie and I have 5 biological kids and at least a dozen others who have come through our home over the years. It was our dream way back when we only had one child to live our lives in such a way that we could open our home to those in need… whether for a place to stay, financial assistance or any other spiritual or practical need. We’ve been blessed to be able to do this in times when finances were strong and even now, when we’re struggling just to keep food on the table and lights on. Currently, in addition to the 4 kids still at home, we have two other ‘kids’ and expect a third in the next few weeks. They are 12, 15, 17, 18 and 19 years old, so there’s never a dull moment.
-How you all have overcome adversity
I’ve struggled with mental illness my entire life. I was in and out of hospitals in my teens and early 20’s and written off as hopeless by more than one doctor. In 1998 I was finally diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder… What Charlie and the kids had lived with our whole lives together was finally identified and the road to recovery began. The next 8 years were focused on somehow balancing an intense journey of recovery with raising a healthy family. My multiplicity was normal to the kids. It was what they knew and a part of our daily lives. Somehow we managed to navigate through it all, even after Charlie lost his job and could no longer work, we’ve kept our home open and a safe haven, especially for young adults. I blogged the last 6 years of my recovery and have worked online for years to create awareness and understanding of DID and mental illness.
I don’t know how we make things work right now. But our home is open and we're making it work. We’re living pretty much on faith…
-How much you all love each other
How do you describe that? In a large family everything is multiplied… the joys, the sorrows and the squabbles… but of all our imperfections, Charlie and I know beyond a doubt that if we’ve done anything right, it’s raise each of our kids to know they are loved intensely and without condition. I couldn’t imagine a moment of life without the joys and adventure of life with Charlie and our kids.
Oh, and laughter. We know how to laugh, loud and often.
-How it would improve your lives if we make the house over
Krys and Becka are both pregnant. The young woman coming to stay with us in a few weeks is also pregnant. This soon-to-be grandma wants to be available to help with childcare while the adult kids continue with work and school. We can’t do that right now. The house is unsafe for us already. I don't want a newborn having to live in these conditions.
The physical health of everyone in the house would improve if we received a makeover. Our youngest, John, has Autism… I don’t know how much if any of his challenges would be improved if he didn’t have to live with dust mites and mold but I hope it would help.
-Why do you all need a makeover NOW?
The carpets are nothing but a health hazard at this point. We have no heat or air-conditioning. Some of our windows don’t have screens, allowing flies and other bugs into the house. Fire ants have moved into a downstairs wall, shorting out electrical circuits, We have holes in the ceiling from an AC unit that was never large enough for a house of this size, much less such a large family with so many fur bearing members.
-Tell us why your kids/parents inspire you
One of the best gifts we have in this house is the ability to laugh. Charlie, especially, has taught us all to find humor in nearly everything. That ability to laugh in difficulty has helped encourage us and keep us going when things get rough.
I’m in awe of my kids… constantly. They’re smart, they’re hysterically funny, they’re challenging. The girls especially had to grow up pretty fast during my recovery… their maturity, compassion and understanding of others in incredible to witness. The boys think with a depth beyond their years and their comments and observations often amaze me. They simply are my inspiration and my joy.
- Tell us a short funny story about your family- (something that when you think back- it still makes you laugh)
We used to answer the phone, “Summerville Zoo, how can I help you?” It’s been common knowledge among our friends and family, literally worldwide that human or animal… if you need a place to go, call the Feathers. Yes, we’ve learned to say No when it’s needed but Charlie and I tease each other about having “SUCKER” tattooed across each other’s foreheads… it’s simply not in us to turn a life away without good reason.
-What is your biggest fear for your family as it relates to the condition of your current home?
I’m afraid that with our current lack of health insurance, Charlie’s breathing equipment will totally wear out and he’ll stop breathing at night again. Before He was treated for sleep apnea, he’d frequently stop breathing for a minute or more if I didn’t wake him first. It’s becoming harder and harder for him to navigate the stairs, move, sleep or even sit comfortably. I’m terrified of losing him.
The mold in this house can’t be dealt with if we have to keep windows open year round. I know that’s making all of us ill, with frequent headaches of not more.
Constantly having to spray for the ants that get into the walls under the siding can’t be good for anyone’s health and I’m afraid to flip a switch one day and start a fire because of ants in the wiring.
I’m afraid my grandchildren won’t be able to live or visit in this house because it simply isn’t healthy to be here.
open in a new window.
scroll down to the last two pages.
that's what we have to do to finish this thing.
look at the questions on page 19.
we ALL have to sit and answer those.
i don't care anymore if the house is even remotely tidy. I WANT TO GET THIS DONE BEFORE IT DRIVES ME INSANE! the anxiety is beyond ridiculous but no amount of prayer or self-pep talks changes a thing. i think about this, i hyperventilate.
i can't figure out why anyone would put themselves through this, much less why i'm doing it.
okay, i know why i'm doing it. i'd walk naked through flames on live television for my family. comparatively, i guess this is easier... and more likely to do some good.
once, Lord... just once i'd like something easy. k? like, before i'm too old to make it to the bathroom by myself?
i've answered the questions on paper. i don't think charlie or the kids, even through all the discussions we've had, began to comprehend in the slightest until today that THIS IS A GROUP EFFORT! EVERYONE gets their turn on camera, in the hot seat, answering questions that make most of us stutter just to think about.
Caitlin dear... our sweet neighbor who is nominating us and has volunteered (martyred herself?) to videotape this cluster f... family video may end up hating us all before we get done.
I'd ask for encouragement but honestly i'm past encouraging. i think the best i can hope for it to find some headspace that allows me to get through this before everyone in the house decides to have me committed.
oh, and their cooperation on something other than the potential commitment would be nice.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Letting go is like that. Sometimes it takes more than one good cry... or a good verbal rant like the one I dumped on Charlie today... sometimes it takes months or even years of going back and reminding myself I am not the labels others try to pin to my flesh.
It's almost a gift that today the business of living and the extra joy of Becka's 3D ultrasound weren't marred because I couldn't ignore words worth ignoring.
Time was, such things would roll around in my head for ages. The battle to convince myself of the truth could be so consuming, I'd miss out on living. I even predicted as much to the person whose words hit cruelly below the belt yesterday. Yet... nothing.
It's new... the silence of the condemning voice.
I could get used to this.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Nothing like having a dark church to yourself and laying at the alter where you can sob, scream and grieve without drawing the attention of others.
Up until the apostle walked in on my screaming diatribe at the devil.
It's all good.
We ended up having a good talk.
Things that still need to be addressed will be addressed in a meeting on Sunday.
Everything else about today... I managed to let go. I know who I am in Christ. I know my calling. It's a sad loss... but it's over and I can move on in peace.
Plus I cried that messy, loud, slobbery cry I need to cry when I've held it all in too long. I'll just have to keep stomping down that wall when it tries to creep up again.
The compression may be positional (caused by movement of the clavicle (collarbone) and shoulder girdle on arm movement) or static (caused by abnormalities or enlargement of the various muscles surrounding the arteries, veins, and brachial plexus). (in my case it's abnormalities and enlargement.
Symptoms include neck, shoulder, and arm pain, numbness, or impaired circulation to the extremities (causing discoloration). Often symptoms are reproduced when the arm is positioned above the shoulder or extended. Patients can have a wide spectrum of symptoms from mild and intermittent, to severe and constant. Pains can extend to the fingers and hands, causing weakness.
Treatment can include stretching exercises (which I already do several times a day, medication, cortisone, blah blah on up to surgery. Until this morning, stretching at home was my only option. One of the local free clinics just added a physical therapist. Awesome news. The only glitch is having to cancel youth so I can attend. We'll figure it out. Maybe I can unleash Charlie on them for a night. Bwuahahahaha
I sat down with the plan of listing the more irritating things in life right now, in hopes getting them out would help... I'm sort of stuck between self-pity and rage right now and it's an unproductive combination.
The TOS more than anything is frustrating right now. It affects EVERY THING in life. As I carry all my tension in my neck and shoulders, it's no surprise it's been triggered.
A good old-fashioned slobbery cry would help a lot but I've yet to find the key to unlock that particular skill. I'm sure talking is involved but I'm not up for ranting to a person... I've had some great conversations with God out in the garden but people keep wandering out and interrupting my time with Him. That and I seem compulsively incapable of being out there without pulling weeds, puttering or in other ways aggravating my shoulders. I'd love a quiet corner where I could be truly alone for a couple of hours. Considering going to the church to do this. With no secretary, it's often empty... It would be worth the effort to do, if for no other reason than to face that it's not the building but particular individuals I've allowed to make it hard to want to be there lately.
I know I'm where God wants me to be. Charlie and I both agree on that but... we need to talk with the pastor and he's practically avoiding us. God forbid we pop another one of his happy bubbles of delusion. oi... That had a lot more snark than I'd intended...
Actually, I'm not sure I'm where I'm supposed to be. Truth be told, the youth are the ONLY thing keeping me there. I can sing anywhere. Who needs a microphone? I can praise with greater freedom apart from the vague direction I'm getting these days anyway. Rachel and I can choreograph dances, perform skits or monologues anywhere as well... Heck, even our living room works if we feel we MUST perform or die. I don't need or want some BS title of leader of anything. I just want to be a part of ministry in Christ and that requires no title. It does benefit from accountability but it's hard to be accountable to someone unaccountable.
The youth. I love them so much it's a physical sensation. I want to see them grow. I think of them, pray for them and do my limited best to be a good example for them. I know how much some of them rely on our weekly gatherings and hate to think what would happen if we leave the church and they are left with no one who truly respects or even acknowledges them in a nurturing way. I can't see walking away and leaving them with no buffer between those who would make decisions on their behalf, without their input then hold them accountable for those decisions.
Between physical stuff... gout, disintegrating teeth, TOS, carpel tunnel and rampant osteo arthritis... all of which is aggravated by stress, I'm nearing my limits. I've been working on this entry 3 days now.
Hooking up to the mp3 player helps. The downside is it more or less shuts out the whole rest of the world. Okay, that's not really a downside but I can't live that way and it's getting harder and harder to unplug. It would be cool to get one of those little MP3 bibles. Holding the book makes my hands go numb. Sitting at the computer on biblegateway helps but it'd be nice to take it outside.
This is why I haven't written much lately. It all sounds like a massive whine. I've got to unload some of this garbage while there's still energy to chase down that joy I'm missing.
Enough whining. Time to turn up the mp3 player and take a nap. Maybe when Charlie gets home I can sneak up to the church where there's room to just dance in whatever clumsy way I can. It would be so good to dance... even a little.