Category Archives: musings

I am still angry

Well, this morning I had a lovely little shit surprise waiting for me at work. I was quite justifiably frustrated and I did let those responsible know that their actions were unacceptable in the future. But it did get me to thinking about something else that’s been lurking in the back of my mind for quite some time.

I am angry. Specifically, I am angry with my father. Not just for raising me in such a strict, stifling environment, although I consider that pretty reprehensible as well. I am angry because he wasn’t really there for me. I am angry that he failed me so hard. And not so much that he failed me, but that he never owned up to it and he continues to live his life thinking that everything was hunky dory when it was far from it.

It wasn’t. I suffered for years under him. And even when I tried to escape into a world he never fully prepared me for (because, as he put it, he’d been expecting me to stay at home until I got married) and I ultimately ended up stumbling and falling, he was never there for me in a truly supportive way. I could not qualify for the FAFSA until I was 24, and I could not get help getting into college on my own, but since I wasn’t “living right”, he refused to help me. Not very helpful when the one person that can help you not only refuses to help you but also berates you for your poor quality of life and for not doing anything to change it. I wanted to scream at him so many times, I can’t change it by myself! I need help! And you won’t help me! I guess his sports car and his luxury apartment in a gated community were more important than a daughter that was living in an unheated camper trailer for two and a half years in Pennsylvania (which, dunno if y’all know, but Pennsylvania winters get mighty cold). Oh, he did pay my car insurance for the car I had that was paid off (it was under his name, as I’d never had the title transferred to me when I moved out, and part of his divorce decree was that he would pay it until I was financially ready to take over). So there’s that I guess, even though he was basically ordered to do so, he still did it without giving me any hassle. Until of course the car was totaled in an accident and then I had no transportation at all, living in the middle of nowhere with no public transit whatsoever. Oh, he had extra vehicles after my first stepmother passed, but I’m not sure what happened to them. It would have been very helpful to have a working vehicle living where I was. But that would have been asking too much, ya know, because that would have required that he gave a shit.

For full disclaimer purposes, he did eventually end up helping me. Eventually. After I suffered for almost four years in poverty, he moved me out to where he was in Ohio and rented an apartment for me so I could start over. I qualified for the FAFSA at that point and I went to school through an accelerated program and I finished an associate’s degree in fourteen months. He also generously put me on his insurance because I didn’t qualify for Medicaid in Ohio (he previously absolutely refused to, so for a while I suffered without insurance until I finally caved and got Pennsylvania Medicaid and had to keep reapplying for it because I had no other options; it was far from the best coverage, his would have been much better and more beneficial to me, but he outright refused). He paid my rent until six months after I graduated, to help me get on my feet (which, I actually ended up moving to Minnesota because the landlords were horrible to me and I didn’t want to live there anymore). Oh, and when I moved to Minnesota, he did give me some money to help fund my cross country trip. But probably only because I was breaking up with my ex and moving because of that, as he didn’t like him.

So, I mean, while it’s not like I was totally abandoned, and I wouldn’t want to portray it that way, he really seemed to do the bare minimum and wait until things had reached critical mass in order to help. When he decided to help me move out to Ohio, it was because I begged and pleaded with him to help me because I wanted to go back to school. I wanted to change my life. Nobody wants to live in poverty. But I needed help and I finally got him to see that. I had found a program I wanted to do, that I could do from home, but I needed an internet connection because I had none and I had no transportation to get to classes (remember the totaled car and the no public transit?). He refused to help me with just a basic connection and I remember that I almost broke down and finally told him that I did want to change my life, but that I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed help. I think he finally realized at that point that I truly wasn’t looking for a quick fix. Somehow, something I said made something click in him that made him present the offer.

The fact that it took me four years to do so is ridiculous. In my honest opinion, a truly caring, empathetic father would have reached out before then, and not at the insistence of the child. While I don’t have children yet, I can’t imagine subjecting them to nigh-homelessness and two years of Pennsylvania winters with no heat just because I didn’t agree with how they were living. Not to say that he should have catered to my every need or given me handouts left and right, but for fucks sake, help me in some tangible way! Help me get into school so I can better my life! That’s what I wanted. That’s what I had to wait four years for until he finally gave me the opportunity.

I would think a former pastor would be more empathetic. Not him. He was never empathetic to anyone that I personally saw, much less to his own family. My mother had to constantly remind him to call his own mother. Now, I myself have difficulty keeping up with people, I admit, but even I remember to call and text (or now, facebook with) my own mother on at least a semi-regular basis. Because I care about her, it’s easy to remember. My own fiance regularly calls and messages/texts his mother as well, just to check in with her and make sure she’s doing okay. I really can’t fathom how self-absorbed one must be to never, ever remember to call or keep in touch with his own mother over the course of his entire life. I seriously remember being very young, perhaps three or four, and I remember my mother telling my father, “Don’t forget to call your mother!” Seriously. And that was a constant thing for my whole life. And not just his mother, but also other family members and a couple of pastor and missionary friends. I suppose if he could have, he would have just lived in isolation from everyone, reducing any social interaction to the bare minimum.

So, how exactly did this revelation come to me? In a dream. In the dream, I had already come out to my father as pagan (which I have in real life, as well), and for some reason I was visiting him and I was forced to go to church. I hate going to church, especially since I get flashbacks of bad memories whenever I go. I dread it. I don’t go nowadays and I don’t usually like to think about it too much more than just in passing. But, for some reason or another, he forced me to go with him. During the dream, I kind of had a moment where I snapped and had enough and I turned to him and started leaning into him, saying that this whole dragging me to church thing even when he knows I’m pagan is just rude and inconsiderate beyond anything. I started leaning into him regarding something else as well.  What exactly I can’t remember, but what I do remember is that I actually shamed him into silence. He couldn’t give me any answer, because he knew he didn’t have an acceptable answer.

It was one of those dreams where I woke up and my throat was hot and raw, like I’d been yelling. I laid close to my fiance, willing myself to settle down, but it took a little longer than normal to finally fall back asleep.

I think my subconscious channels the anger I still feel toward him. Anger at emotionally abandoning me (though, if he was never there for me to begin with, is it still abandonment? Or is it something else?), anger at the mold I was forced into for the formative years of my life, anger at the absolute passiveness he exhibits when it comes to his own family members, anger at the lack of love and true care I felt from him at any given time (no, paying the bills =/= true love and care). He has disappointed me in ways that I truly cannot even describe.

I have tried so many times to put together a letter for him, something from my heart, something to tell him how I feel. Not that I think that he would really change, just to basically clear myself of him. But every time I try to commit words to paper, the anger flourishes in my words and before I know it, I’m screaming at him through the page. And that’s not what I want to do. Letting him know how angry I am is not what I truly want to do, because that will accomplish as much as yelling at a brick wall. I want him to realize that he damaged me in a nigh irreparable way. That it was his specific actions that hung over me like a dark cloud. That it was his lifestyle that made me feel like I could never measure up, because I could never measure up to its standards. That it was his lack of any kind of empathy that drove me to certain depths. That the father that I should have been able to look up to, to look for in time of trouble for comfort, to look at as an example in what to look for in a significant other … that that father does not exist in any form for me. There is no comfort that I can find in him, no care or empathy or love that a daughter can draw out. To me, he is merely a shell of a person, lacking any true substance.

I hope it was all worth it for him. I was forced to suffer the consequences of the lifestyle and his personal issues, but he will be the one to ultimately live with it. He’s pretty well alienated himself, as far as long-term friends go. He’s also alienated himself from a lot of his family, including his children. I can’t speak for my sister (although she interacts with him minimally, I think so as to limit the frustration levels of doing so), but I know my brother has written him off. I personally will not be wanting him at my wedding. He won’t be walking his last daughter down the aisle. He won’t be giving the marriage blessing (not that I would want his Christian blessing anyway). And he won’t see any children associated with me. I don’t want them to have such a disassociated, disconnected, un-empathetic grandfather. To me, that is far worse than having no grandfather at all. Sorry to my future kids, but I will spare them the pain of what I went through. I know they’ll understand eventually.

And this, this right here is why the fundamental lifestyle just does. not. work. People are isolated. Children are forced to measure up to impossible standards, and when they inevitably don’t, it’s their fault for not having enough faith or giving in to the devil or whatever they want to use as an excuse. True empathy is discouraged in favour of rules and regulations. Doing the right thing is done merely for a future reward, not because doing the right thing is doing the right thing. From what I have personally witnessed, it encourages sociopathy, and, frighteningly enough, psychopathy. IFB especially can basically just make it up as they go along, based on their own little twisted interpretations of scriptures, and call it a day. Some of those can be very damaging.

I’m sure some of my readers (if I still have any 😛 ) might have heard of Alecia Pennington. A group I’m a member of have been following her mother’s (frightening) blog for some time, but we had specifically been following her since her escape. She finally came out with the issue that she now can’t even prove she is who she is because her parents did not properly document her and she is having trouble gathering the necessary documents for proof. When I first watched her video, I ached for her, ached because I understood how difficult working with parents like hers are. Difficult to get through the narcissism and sociopathy associated with shunning family members at the drop of a hat simply because they don’t share your beliefs. I had been rooting for her ever since I’d heard of her escape, but now her access to a new life was blocked in a way she could not overcome without the help of the parents that more or less pushed her out.

Fortunately, more than likely due to social media pressure (as her mother shills essential oils for a living and depends on how she is presented to the public, and her father is a CPA), her parents finally backed down from their “offers” (laden with strings attached, if I know anything about people like them, and I do) and agreed to help her, period.

I hope she is able to work through her feelings about them. I know she’s fresh out of that environment, so everything is still so raw and gaping and there must be a whole gamut of emotion that she goes through. I do hope, however, despite her difficulties, that she is able to make a life for herself, a life that she wants and that she creates on her own terms. Considering her mother went on and on in a blog post detailing what basically seemed like grief associated with a child’s death – and then proceeded to shill her essential oils immediately after – I sincerely doubt that they will ever come around to the gravity of their damaging beliefs and actions.

Honestly, I doubt anyone like that will ever come around. Truly, you have to have some sort of ingrained empathy in order to recover from that level of fundie, and they just don’t have it. Like my father, they will likely flounce around forever, wallowing in their own little narcissistic world, just as full of themselves as ever. If there’s a way to truly get through to them and knock them down a peg, I have not found it yet. If I do, though, my father will certainly be hearing from me.

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Happy New Year! It’s resolution time.

Hey y’all. 🙂 I haven’t forgotten about the blog, it’s just been quite the time lately. I had taken my self-imposed break, and then the holidays hit, and I’ve had quite the time recently. Because of a bank fuck-up, we had next to nothing to spend for the holidays, so I didn’t get to be all domestic as I’d wanted. Fuck it, it is what it is. I got to spend time with my fiance, that’s the most important thing to me. Same for New Year’s Eve. Because of the fuck-up, we had to sink most of our checks into rent for this month, so we just didn’t have the money to do anything “fun” with … though honestly, I quite enjoy staying home and hanging out. We watched Mr. Nanny in full MST3K mode and had a blast. Who says you need a large party to have fun?

So, as far as resolutions … man, I suck at them. I really do. I don’t think there are too many people that actually are good at keeping them. I think it’s because we make a broad, sweeping, large goal that sounds good and that we probably do want to do, but we ignore the fact that in order to accomplish the large goal, we must make little goals to achieve. There is one remnant left over from my Christian days, a quote that I still find to be true: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” While it poses the odd goal of eating a large creature (are elephants even tasty?) it speaks to the true nature of achieving large goals: there must be clear, concise, easily attainable little goals that build up and lead to the achievement of the large, overarching goal. You can’t change everything overnight, but at the same time, you must change something in order to get it started, or else (if you’re anything like me) you’ll procrastinate and put it off until Oh shit, it’s November, and I haven’t done anything.

So, what are my goals for this year? Weight loss, same as last year (did not get any weight loss done last year 😛 whoops). But instead of making a big goal and that’s that, I’m making little goals that I can easily achieve. Using one of my checks this month (depending on what I’ll need out of each of them) I will put in an order for DDPYoga. I’ve heard great things about it, and even got a recommendation from a personal friend, so I’m going to go for it. I need exercise, but with my asthma the way it is, straight-up cardio is just a no go. Plus, I really want to increase my range of motion and flexibility, and I think this is will be my best bet. I’m going to make a much more concerted effort to cut out pop (or soda, or coke, depending on your regional preference) from my intake, even diet pop. I’ve found great flavoured packets to add to bottled water, and I also have some recommendations from a few friends on substitutes. My little goal for this? I’m not going to buy it at the grocery store, and I will start limiting myself at work by one less per week until I get down to none. As far as more diet-specific things go, I’m still looking into nutrition and working out a plan that will be affordable for me, but I’ve decided to not push myself into an overload by focusing on minutiae that I can’t do anything about right now. Until the DDPYoga is received, I will focus on portions and eating more slowly. It’s actually easier for me to eat healthier food than it is to eat better portions.

This is actually a much more feasible way than what I did last year, and just joined a gym (that I ended up not going to very much) and grabbing some healthy food with no real plan on keeping it up or cutting out junk. I need to do this for my health, and I think that this will be the year it will get done.

Another little resolution I have is to put more content on my blog. And not just this blog, but another blog I’m running. I have one a blogspot connected to my Google+ (that I never really use), but I’m actually contemplating moving it over here, because I actually find it more interactive and I like the interface better than blogger. That will be a bit of an undertaking, but I think the move will be worth it. Once the transition is completed, I will make an effort for at least one post per week per blog. More is okay (and personally encouraged!), but the bare minimum will be one per week. The reason is because I’d like to start looking for a more writing-oriented job, but in looking through them, I’ve seen a lot require some sort of demonstration of writing, like a blog, which is perfectly acceptable and reasonable when hiring for a writing position. But I don’t want a bare bones blog to offer them, so I’d started my body mod blog back in August (I think) to start putting stuff out there. I faltered in September when internet at our house got spotty, and then I got busy with other things, but I’m going to put a renewed effort into it, because I want to show that not only can I write, but that I can write consistently over time.

So far, I’ve accomplished one small goal so far: writing this post! Yay! I love achieving goals. 🙂 See? It’s only the second day in January 2015, and I’m already on it. Small goals > large goals. I have a blog post mostly written, so next week I plan on finishing it and posting it. Also, if I find an essay that I wrote in college, I will post that as well. I had kind of wanted to post it after my friend’s death, as I had written it about my uncle’s death and I thought it would be appropriate, but I haven’t had the time to look for it lately. If I find it before I finish and edit the other post, I’ll write it up and post it instead. I’d seen it before the move, and I’m pretty sure I know where it is. All in all, though, things are going pretty well, as far as my resolutions go. I hope to keep them up throughout the year. To anybody who sticks with me through it, thank you. 🙂

Video games & being truthful with your kids

I just happened upon this topic last night, as my fiance and I were watching some random YouTube videos on old video games. Quite a few I had never even heard of, but he had and had played them. This got me to thinking about my history with video games and eventually led to a decision of mine regarding my future kids that my parents did not do with me.

When I was a kid, I obviously knew that video games existed, no matter how sheltered I was. I asked my parents before for a system, not even one in particular, but they said no. I eventually bought one myself – at a discount – once I had my own job, and while I enjoyed it immensely, I am far from a hardcore gamer. There are many games that are just out of my league, talent-wise, the kind that you get how to play with a lot of experience behind you that you just can’t grasp otherwise. I enjoy watching someone else (like my fiance) play games I’d never be able to, but he grew up playing them. I didn’t. I got my first system and games at 17, which, for all the gamer friends I have, is pretty late in life compared to when they started playing.

Whenever I had asked my parents for a video game, they had said they couldn’t afford it. My fiance’s parents, on the other hand, were able to provide the occasional system and plenty of games for them, because they waited until the inevitable price drop and specials and sales. His family certainly was no better off, and in fact it’s a pretty good guess that they had less income than my family even did. Yet they afforded a small luxury here and there, at a discounted price. My parents refused, cost being their reason. Nowadays, I see their refusal for what it was: they just didn’t want me to play video games.

Now, if they had just come out and said they didn’t want me to play video games…sure, I would have been upset (yet another thing barred from me for religious reasons) but later on I would have admired the fact that they had been up front and truthful with me. Just like with my one normal Halloween, however, they had to dig an excuse out of a barrel that just plain wasn’t true. I think it’s ridiculous lying to kids like that to save face. If you don’t want them to do something, shouldn’t you be able to sit them down and explain it to them in a way they’ll understand and accept? And even if they don’t fully accept it, at least understand it? Why the lies, especially when they become so blatant later in life? I know my father orchestrated the whole thing – as he really did just about everything in my life, like a puppet master – so my respect for him has gone down even more (and it wasn’t very high to begin with).

Which brings me to my decision: I will not lie to my kids about stupid shit like this. If I don’t want them to participate in something or have something, I will have an actual reason (not a stupid one like “oh our religion prohibits it” which I won’t be forcing any kind of religion on them anyway) and I will be able to explain it to them. They don’t have to fully accept it, but they will understand my reasoning. And, I think, later in life…they will respect me more for being up front and honest with them rather than throwing out some flimsy excuse. My kids will be able to say that their mother was truthful with them. They won’t have to go back in their memories and dissect everything and judge whether it was the truth or not, because they will know it is true from the get go.

Another layer to the issue is, knowing that my parents – and my father in particular, as I know he bullied and forced my mother into doing and saying things she wouldn’t otherwise – outright lied to me on certain things, even small things, it brings into question everything they ever told me and taught to me throughout my life. “Do as I say, not as I do” is not a principle I want my children to have to follow. I want to be a living example for them as much as possible. While my parents talked the talk about living in Christ and being an example, they weren’t always that way themselves. While I’m no longer a Christian, I will strive to live what I preach and let that speak for itself for my children. I think that is so much more important than hauling them to church every Sunday and Wednesday and forcing them to memorize scriptures and barring them from “worldly” distractions, because if I can’t practice what I preach, how can I expect my children to really listen to what I try to instill in them?