Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting Games and Other Things Beyond My Control

I'm a control freak.

Yeah, shocking, isn't it?

Stop with the feigned heart attack. I can feel your sarcasm oozing from here.

Anyway...while we wait for someone from Charleston County to come assess the value of the property, there's not much to be done as far as planning to buy the property.

There's 2 possible scenarios... Either the land is worth very little, meaning raising 66% of that is entirely doable... or the land is worth so much we're better off letting it sell and taking our third to buy elsewhere.

Until we know, we're waiting.

I hate waiting. Things beyond my immediate control are Scary Things. They invite worry, which is something I've yet to learn to avoid. They inspire what ifs which are usually the base of worry and I'm really skilled at the what if game... which would be a great talent if it did anything other than steal energy... What if is right up there with I can identify any TV show or movie from 5 seconds of dialogue or music as far as interesting yet totally useless skills.

I've enlisted the boys in helping me create a dedicated workspace for Etsy creations. Right now, I have to make use of whatever tiny space is available at any given moment and it's rough on the creative process. I do a lot better when I can spread out some materials and let my mind wander. By tomorrow, it should be possible to spread out on the dining room table and get to it.

Assuming I don't let what ifs get in the way there.

Oh look... the table is clean and there's plenty of work space.

Meh... this is another disappointment of an entry... but maybe I can do something else creative today.

Assuming a freak brainstorm doesn't fry my few remaining neurons.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Looking Back as I Move Forward

This entry from The Crew diary is scheduled to post in a week but I wanted to share it here now. It's a reminder to me how much my faith plays a part in my life and recovery. It's also a reminder that my battle against stereotypical Christianity isn't a recent thing... I'm proud of this writing done more than a decade ago. This man reminds me a lot of a certain ass hat over at Huffington Post.

10/7/2002

this was written to a man who has, for several years now, hosted a series of pages and message forums devoted entirely to claiming that DID/MPD, recovered memories, or treatment of ANY kind for psychiatric reasons, to be not only invalid, but *contrary to the Word of God*.

if Christianity is triggering or offensive for you, this is where you might want to stop reading.

we first saw this site (i will not link to it) last year when this man posted links in several message forums for littles (alters younger than 9). we were outraged, hurt and so upset we nearly had a fight with charlie over his refusal to hack this guy's site and take it down.

in doing some research on FAQ's about DID or relating to someone with DID, we happened upon this site. this man does all this in the name of God, which is a perfect example of the hypocrisy that turns so many from religion. he further shows his truly hateful nature in the 'attack of the MPD's' game on his site. the purpose of which is to zap the therapists and DIDers *invading* the earth and save it from destruction thru deception. yeah folks, this guy is for real. this guy's message forums are not intended for true debate on the validity of DID or recovered memory, but rather a place where he can bait multiples into an emotional argument he can throw scripture and finger pointing into, in hopes of proving the *sin* nature of multiples.

anyway, we wrote a response to one of his rantings and want to post it here. there is no anger or offense here. more a tremendous sadness for someone whose own wounds fuel his own nightmare....

"Check out the newspapers. Also check out the talk shows, or your neighborhood therapy group."

I find it sadly interesting that these areas are where you tell people to look for evidence that those with DID use it as an excuse to escape responsibility for their sin. The first two involve secular media, clearly a bad choice when one is seeking truth. As to the local therapy groups, the simple fact is, that wounded people are often so busy taking responsibility for the lies their woundedness has planted in their hearts, that they are not immediately able to take responsibility for their own choices and actions. Learning to accept responsibility is part of not only the healing process but the walk of one who follows Christ.

The first concern I have about your site is the blatant and proud hatred you sow. The game at the bottom of the first page is beyond cruel and is the equivalent of a game for klansmen to play at lynching those they also hate. (My spell check tells me that klansmen is a *proper* noun. I refuse to capitalize such a heinous word). The second concern is the lack of not only truly scriptural backing you have for your beliefs but the questionable sources of physical evidence and proof of your statements. They too are just as fallible and hard to prove as the stories from multiples you so angrily point a finger at. There are a number of scriptures it would be tempting to point out about loving your brother, casting judgments, and taking splinters from your brother’s eye that come to mind. As well versed as you seem to be, you should have no trouble locating them.

Paul said that when he was a child he spoke as a child, understood as a child, and thought as a child but when he became a man, he put away childish things. (1 Corinth. 13:11) Before I get to the point of that verse, it is recommended you read the entire chapter as well. This is not a matter of taking one verse out of context. The simple fact is that you and I only know in part and it will be before God in Heaven when we will know, face to face, the entirety of His Word, His love, His truth. This same chapter also reminds us that these three remain; faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love.

As to the verse paraphrased above; the phrase 'put away' is literally translated to 'render harmless'. Is that not what turning from the sins of the world does? Is that not what filling your heart with scripture that negates the enemy's attacks of condemnation does? Faith comes by hearing. We speak the scripture aloud so that it comes to the brain through both the eyes and ears. As its truth takes root in our hearts we are able to answer the one who taunts because we have trusted in His word (Psalm 119:42). The lies of the worthlessness and filth or stupidity of those who have been wounded in life, that you feed in your site, are the very lies the enemy would want a wounded person to believe. Because of God's grace and wisdom, WE are able to shrug off that which resembles the lies the enemy has filled our life with and embrace instead the words of God.

Can any of you say with honesty that you have never behaved in a childish manner in your adult years? Of course you have. We are human, created in God’s image but imperfect because of sin. Anyone who has suffered trauma, whether abuse related or not, carries it with them until, by the Grace of God and our Lord Jesus Christ, that sorrow is healed. The very mechanism of dissociation that is at the heart of DID is something everyone does to some extent in their lives. Highway hypnosis being a classic example, but more recently we heard stories from survivors of 9-11 speaking of being in the stairwell only to find themselves four miles away with no memory of having got there. People in the moments before an accident may describe feeling as if time had stopped or drastically slowed in the moments before impact. That is also dissociation. A child living with repetitive trauma will learn to escape the unbearable through dissociation.

That does not mean that the memory has to be blocked, only to be ‘recovered’ years later. In my case, most of the abuse was never forgotten, only the emotions and the acceptance that those things had happened to *me* were locked away. When one is hurt as a child the emotional growth is often stunted (that would be a soul, rather than physical or spiritual, issue), causing that person to retain the childishness within them for many years. Phobias are a very good example of that. When Christ is given authority over that event, the maturation of emotional responses can be accomplished. It is highly doubtful that anyone on this list can say they have not one area of their life that does not resemble a child more than an adult. It doesn't even have to be related to trauma. A child coddled and petted their entire lives will remain childish throughout his or her life because they were never taught to grow as one should.

To address the concept of emotional healing being a soul issue; we know we are created in the image of God, correct? In His image in that He is three in one with The Father, The Son (who is the body), and the Holy Spirit. We also are three in one with a soul (our mind, will and emotions), a physical body, and our spirit, which belongs only to God and cannot be divided. It is the soul that is left wounded by trauma (the word trauma means any event which has a powerfully damaging effect. It does NOT have to be abuse).

The soul of a man is often referred to as his ‘heart’. When we are sorrowful or wounded we are said to be brokenhearted. The word brokenhearted appears only twice in the bible as one word. (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18) All other references to a broken heart are two words. The literal translation for ‘broken hearted’ is sorrowful. In the original texts the word ‘brokenhearted’ is translated to fractured or broken soul. That, my friends, is exactly what DID is. Because Christ came to heal and not to condemn, there is no fear that He would turn away from healing the brokenness of my soul. There is not one promise in scripture I have not seen the Lord fulfill. Just as much as you may despise us (scriptures about brothers turning against brothers come to mind), God loves even the multiple.

He does not require me to be one mind. He forgives the fact that I am a ‘double minded’ person, because He is slow to anger and knows the cry of my heart is wholeness in Christ. Just as Jesus reached out to the very dregs of humanity in His walk on this earth, so does God reach even the shamed and broken. One is not required to be perfect in order to be acceptable in God’s eyes. He sees us as He created us, as we are and as we will be. He knows the journey we take and has lovingly provided both Christian and secular people to travel with me. As with Much Afraid in Hind’s Feet on High Places, these people have been sent by the Great Shepherd, not to heal me, for only God can do that. Not even to ‘guide’ me, for it is His Word which guides this healing, but to be my companions and friends on this walk. They are there to help direct (even the agnostic doctor has yet to advise anything contrary to scripture) and to be by my side when my enemy would try to attack.

Yes, I am many. Yes, I bear guilt and shame for the evil done to me. I take responsibility for the sins committed by choice, no matter which ‘part’ of me chose. They are all parts of me, like a broken mirror that remains in its frame. There are no ‘lost’ pieces. God knew me before I was formed. He knew that this child of rape would live a very hard life. He knew that every pedophile I came across would recognize an easy target. He knew that I would be wounded by people I don’t call my abusers. They are my adoptive mum and dad. Two incredible, giving and sincere people who loved in the best way they knew how. Two people who, even at their worst never intended harm or to leave lasting scars. They too were imperfect children of God. They still are. In part because of my multiplicity, not only have my parents sought healing for their hearts (not through counseling but through their faith in Jesus) and forgiveness for sins committed in ignorance, it has brought a family of 11 closer because we were all able to acknowledge that as hard as we tried, we were not the perfect family. We have all done things for which we need forgiveness. In the 3 years since the ‘official’ diagnosis, this family has moved far closer in relationship to one another and to God.

This process has validated me as a child of the King, has taught me oh, so much about God’s perfect love, about truly trusting all things to Him. No mere man can sway *us* from our path to wholeness. Were I to die tonight, it would be one spirit who would stand before God and only one soul. I know that whatever imperfection remains when I stand before Him, will have already been healed. Until I do stand before Him, it is my responsibility to give each piece of myself over to Him (bottom line, it’s no different than being saved while still holding onto sin. We must choose to hand it to Him and repent that we may be healed), to heal and put back in its rightful place. Father God has given me many gifts, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have witnessed His mighty works, in the form of broken bones healed as we (my pastor’s wife and I) watched my daughter’s shattered and purple face, return to normal in moments. He can do ALL things and I long ago ceased questioning or angrily condemning that which I do not understand.

I do not understand why only one part of me has a heart murmur, or why some are severely allergic to things others aren’t, or why the astigmatism in both eyes only shows up when a certain ‘part’ takes the yearly eye exam. I do not understand why these terrible things in my past had to happen, but I know that it will ultimately be to His Glory because that which the enemy desires for evil, God can bring to His Glory. I know that because of scars on my arms and the things I’ve been through, I can be a vessel for God to do His work. Like Dave Roever, my scars are a bridge between the wounded and the Love Of Christ. We do not feel compelled to offer ‘proof’ of our multiplicity, nor do we care if you refer to us in the singular. We are accountable to God for our shortcomings and wrongdoings. We are accountable for how we live no matter what has happened or how hard it is to turn these things over to Him. I will answer to Him for every hateful word I think, speak or write. As will you.

The Body of Christ has been at war with one another from the days of Paul. There is no light that can be shed through a cover of darkness. Salvation and freedom can never come from hatred and bitterness. For all the people who have been hurt or outraged by the pages here, it is those who propagate this shameful example of Wisdom in God or Love in Christ who will truly pay the price.

May God have mercy on you,

Marisa and Crew

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Home is Where the Crazy History is...

Last week, I took a deep breath and created a page on GoFundMe. It was a hastily created page as I didn't take another breath until it was up and shared. Count it as another in the collection of Big Scary Things in life right now.

A few close friends have made contributions because they've known us a long time and have an understanding of the importance of this fund-raising project.

No, it's not for charity or for covering someone's medical costs. It felt selfish to post because it's a plea to help us buy a 4ish acre piece of land.

We're trying to save our home.

One of the highlights of the last year. Walking our duck on a leash.
This is not the first time we've tried to save our home. We once owned a house in a subdivision. When the house & Charlie's and my health were beyond repair, we did a video submission to Extreme Home Makeover. The show was cancelled shortly after we mailed our submission and due to a decision to help someone else rather than make the mortgage on time, we lost the house. It's not a decision we regret and if given the choice, we'd do it again. All this was during a time when it seemed most of America was losing their homes. It was devastating but we knew we weren't alone.

We received a paltry settlement from the bank after a class action lawsuit against the bank for predatory lending practices... but we still lost that home. It took some time but we're okay with it. It was no longer where we were meant to be.

Around this time, Charlie's mom received an emergency, quadruple bypass. In the following months, it became clear she would never be able to return to her home of 45 years or live independently. Despite the abominable condition of the home and land (which had one been a junkyard), or daughter Krys and her husband Steve agreed to move into the house to help keep it standing and to prevent the looting of the property. The rest of us moved into a nearby rental house.

Over the next 2 years, Momma moved to Texas to live with her sister, Krys, Steve and my brother from another mother, Jonas, all took care of the house and land. in 2012, Jonas had to move up north to care for his mother whose health was failing.

That fall, we invited a family to live in the only other building on the property. They needed a place to stay and we wanted to fulfill our promise to Momma that we wouldn't let everything fall to pieces. The family moved in with the understanding they weren't in a position to pay rent but could do repairs to make the place reasonably livable.

In November of 2012, Steve took a job in Boston which meant he and his family would be moving just after that Christmas.

Our lease wouldn't be up for another few months so after Krys and Steve moved, Rachel stayed in the house until the start of the new semester. When she went back to school, Dan, John and I took turns staying at the house several days a week so someone was always there. Krys was not able to take her pets so Bella, the greyhound mix and Keif, the epitome of a barn cat, joined our pseudo zoo.

Over the next several months, we did our best to clean the property, clear land, plant gardens, repair structures and gather ton after ton of scrap metal into sheds to improve the overall appearance of the property, discourage the looters who continued to wander on the land (that's a story all its own) and prepare for what we hoped would be Momma's eventual return to her home where we would care for her for her remaining years.

Clearing brush so a car could travel the driveway... and being a dork.
Despite the work, we were never able to bring Momma home. The money needed to bring the house to code and safe for a wheelchair bound woman was beyond our reach and hers. We couldn't secure grants without her being in the home and we couldn't physically care for her while the work would be done.

It was a frustrating, losing situation that left Momma feeling abandoned and uncared for.

Here we are, a year later... Momma has passed away and now comes dealing with the will, the land and the occasional (ex) family member who is looking to get everything she can after finding out she was never added to the will.

Wow... this is a longer story than I had intended.

We want this land. Charlie's brothers do not. We need help to buy their shares. This is why I created the GoFundMe page.

No, it's more than that. It's a request for help to fulfill a dream. We're seeking assistance in attaining more than ownership of a piece of property but also in laying the foundation for what Charlie and I have wanted for as long as we've been married.

In the next post, I'll share that dream... as well as where we are in pursuit of it... Our plan to make it happen and how any contributions will be used.

We're not giving up. Our kids have too many memories here to walk away. Our kids want their kids to know this place... and we intend to do our best to make it happen.



Friday, March 21, 2014

The Corruption of Our Foods Stuffs

If the title gives you the idea this will be a food purity rant attacking GMO's or tossing out buzzwords like Paleo or gluten or *puke* kale, this isn't that post. Such a rant may well come one day but there are people with far more passion and eloquence filling the interwebs with information and righteous rage right now and I'll let them take the helm.

No, the corruption I wish to address tonight is cereal companies bastardizing the simple pleasures of setting fire to marshmallows speared on a green stick.

Some corporate demon, whose name I won't mention, mostly because brand names go in one ear and out the other has released what they claim is a S'mores flavored breakfast cereal.

Let's forget for a moment no one has ever scientifically proven what soilent greenesque ingredients make up the marshmallows found inside cereal boxes and hot cocoa packets but let me clear up a common misconception... MARSHMALLOWS AREN'T CRUNCHY IN NATURE unless applied to an open flame... or if you eat the raw root of the plant for which the true memory foam food was named.

Also, if the marshmallow, when placed in a microwave, doesn't expand like a magic balloon and subsequently fill your dwelling with the smell of scorched sugar, it can't be considered a marshmallow. If there isn't an FDA ruling on this, shame on them and their screwed up priorities.

A S'mores cereal? It can't be done! Sure, you can approximate the flavors of graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate in a prepackaged box of chemicals and (rumor has it) alleged grains, intended to be eaten while it drowns in some type of milk-ish liquid... but the only milk that goes with s'mores is lukewarm, close to turning milk pulled from the bottom of a Coleman cooler and served in tin mugs around an open fire.

Look, I know I'm one of the privileged few to have the experience of leaving the warmth and comfort of home and electricity to sleep in a canvas shelter on rocky ground while swatting mosquitoes and praying the snakes don't seek out my sleeping bag for warmth. Not a lot of people in younger generations understand eating fresh caught fish for breakfast or finding out just how versatile canned beans can be when fish aren't biting. (Sadly, not great bait) I grew up eating s'mores the way God intended... standing around a smoky fire, in the dark, having pretend sword fights with the cooking sticks and seeking the ideal degree of browning on your marshmallow. Growing impatient and setting it on fire, quickly extinguishing the fire, peeling off the charcoal crust and rushing over to the adult with the Hershey bar and graham crackers while the marshmallow is still squishy and warm enough to melt the chocolate causing both brown and white sweetness to ooze from the side of your cracker sandwich.

That is a s'more.

Also part of the tradition of s'mores is when at least one person goes out of their way to remind you the origin of the treat's name. "Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts/Your Native Ancestors happened upon the concoction and they were so good, everyone was compelled to beg for s'more!" Without the passing of the legend, you are doing nothing more than stealing the rituals of proud campers and pyros of generations gone by. This muddying of our limited culture must be stopped.

Part of the appeal of the treat is the conditions required to do it properly. If you don't go to lengths to set the proper tone, you're just stuffing your gob with something you can replenish with a trip to the pantry.

Now, I'm not a s'mores addict... merely a purist. We`ve done them in the fireplace, over gas flame, over beeswax candles when the power went out... we, as a family, have tried them several ways, including (I`m shamed to admit) an electric oven... but the true s'more is cooked over an open, preferably wood, flame.

THIS is NOT a S'more. This is chocolate marshmallow pie
 
This is a true and properly constructed S'more
 
This infographic outlines proper s'mores construction

S'mores and open wood flame are so inextricably linked in my psyche, the house could be engulfed in flame and I'd be looking for the marshmallows... But that's just me.

Just know, if I ever see such an abomination as s'mores cereal in your home, our very relationship could hinge on you learning the difference between this horrible, chemical filled, atrocity and the time-honored chemical filled treat of the campfire.

The difference.
Learn it
Understand it
Live it

You don't know what you're missing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Etsy Shop and other Scary Things

So....

This is the banner for my Etsy shop
Calling the shop CraftivityDisorder. It will go live as soon as I put together a few things to list. It took the better part of five hours to get it this far but I'll consider it a win for now.

At first, it seemed like setting up the shop was another mental masochistic move because, I don't have enough things to occupy my energy and brain space, right? But I've wanted to do it for years and never had the courage. There are still so many things in life I allow to corner me into a paralyzed ball of panic... if I pick one to fight it's possible to keep moving forward.

It's what I'm telling myself, anyway.

Back in the day, writers block pretty much meant not having inspiration for a few days. Lately, it means so many things stuck in here, I can't sort out enough to pick a topic or attempt sentence construction... for weeks on end. Frustration doesn't seem a strong enough word to describe this feeling.

There are lots of topics to choose from but once I grab hold of one, the words do a spinny, twisty, catch me if you can thing and I end up having a mental flail.


Have you seen this? It's mesmerizing in a way hard to describe. It's also where my mind goes when I'm trying to write anything serious or heartfelt... bizarre, surprisingly well coordinated dance of pointlessness.

Lost you yet?

Still making progress on the Resolutions, though a few are continuing processes and one depends on Charlie's ability to help. Perhaps it would help to revise them on a quarterly basis and add new ones here and there...

- move (yes, it's a problem)
- breathe (also a problem but not because of lingering smoking effects)
- keep exercising my shoulders. what I've done entirely on my own is working.
- look at myself through eyes of grace.
- rest
- play (totally slacking in this area)
- write
- begin attending open mic night each Tuesday
- get the boys to more young ASD meetings and generally teach them to socialize
- sell whatever, do whatever is necessary to have the necessary exams to find out of my euterus is trying to kill me.
- hide less
- forget about finding a church and develop relationships with people outside any specific building.
- make something, ridiculous, extrodinary or beautiful from found junk at least once a month.
- learn welding.
- finish weaning myself off SSRI's. 3 steps over the course of 6 months to go.

There are several Scary Things going on right now... and not all of them are in my head. The sooner I commit them to print, the sooner I'll have head space for coherent writing and creative making things pursuits... and raising money to keep our home.

Ideally, by the end of the month, I'll be able to settle enough to write about our trip to Texas, Momma's funeral, meeting a friend and spending time with my brother Ben and his awesome family. Maybe I'll manage to find the funny again and, if nothing else, poke a little fun at the weirdness of life.

For now, this will have to be another bookmark of a post to let you know there's nothing to see here but I'm not dead.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Keeping Our Home

I'm going to post this link to each new post for awhile.
It's a lot to ask.
But it's a worthy dream.

We have a chance to stay here. We have the chance to build a new home here... and to create the place we've always dreamed of having... to share with family and those in need.

It took everything I had to create the page so I'll leave it here for now.

Take a look... and think about it. We have 3 months before the land has to be listed for sale. For the first time in a long time, I'm certain we can do it... because I know it's the right thing.

Go Fund Me

Bah

It's sad how little time it takes for blogging to become difficult again.

Charlie's Momma passed away February 20. Since then, I haven't been able to face an open blog window and with each day it grows harder. I'm fighting to breathe and type at the same time as I type this. Blasting Queen in my ears helps a little but not enough... so expect rambling, incoherence and um... stuff.

*headdesk*

It's probably better to post this as is and let it be a marker. A reminder for me to just do it and not worry about how it looks or sounds and to keep fighting to put whatever is bopping about in this head to print. It's the not writing that allows it to become this choking alphabet soup of maddening confusion.

The mighty Mississipi... and also my mood

It will get better. Just have to keep opening the window and trying.