Sinners, Honkys and Misfits.

I never have loved to run. But for whatever reason, every Spring, I try to convince myself that I do. That’s how I ended up here. Staring from the top of these old concrete stairs, completely out of breath—not only because I’m overweight and out of shape—but because of the staggering flood of memories that have just come rushing back in.

It’s been 30 years since I’ve huffed and cursed and clawed my way past this overgrown chain link fence, with my college boyfriend, C, clapping at my back. We met my Freshman year, at a Christian school in the Pacific Northwest. He was on the basketball team, and a couple of times a week, we’d drive up to this wooded park in the city, and run these stairs: him with his long legs and perfect stride, and me, whining and complaining and pretending to limp, while he yelled “Faster Honky Girl! You’re not fooling me with that!”.

I should probably mention that we were an interracial couple. Him black. Me white. It was the late 80’s, and in our predominantly white, passively liberal microcosm, bigotry and racism had kind of slithered back underground in that way that ugly things often do. But while everyone around us gushed and congratulated themselves on equality and open mindedness and “how much better everything was”, we knew that something entirely different, was actually going on.

We knew that Tom Metzger and his Neo-Nazi slobber dogs were well established in our area. And we knew that they had just beaten an Ethiopian college kid to death. And we knew that we were shadowed in stores by suspicious clerks, who kept an extra protective eye on their Little Debbies, any time we were around. And we knew that we were routinely pulled over by the police, for no good reason at all. And we knew that we had racial slurs thrown our way—mostly from whites, but sometimes from blacks—while we were shopping for groceries in Food 4 Less, or sitting in traffic singing our favorite song, or waiting in line at the bank, or eating dinner at the Taco House, or taking a walk along the waterfront with our dog.

One guy even yelled at our dog.

He was a demented little Shelty, who could eat all 4 legs off of a solid wood coffee table, in an anxious fit of rage. And who sharted minefields of crap around our bed in the night, if we left him for more than a few hours.

“That’s what we get” we’d joke sometimes, about the “messed up kids” that we were told “selfish people like us”,  would inflict upon the world. But then for some strange reason, if you were a swamp dwelling jerk off with a bugged out lazy eye, and a sideways front tooth, who screams racial slurs at dogs, you could procreate all you want. We all see how well that one worked out.

The Christian School that should have been our shelter, was sadly, anything but. It was just as bad the outside world, but in a more subtle and practiced way—which actually made it worse.

The outside world was like opening your mailbox to a find a Peeps frosted liver fruitcake, with a note written in cat crap, that says “Hey. By the way. I hate you.” Nasty, yes. But also to the point, so at the very least, you knew you didn’t want any.

Our Christian world, was like having a home baked pie, with a warm flaky crust, and thick fruity syrup, bubbling off the side, delivered right up to your door. But when you take a bite, it’s filled with fake ass sugar and tiny shards of glass, that leave you cut up and bleeding on the inside—with a sickly bitter aftertaste, that only The Nicest of Racists leave behind.

Not that it was always covert. Every now and then, they’d forget their Bless-Your-Heart Manners, and something downright overt would slip out. Like that day in the cafeteria, when the lady who took our meal tickets, grabbed my arm, and hissed in my face, “You would do well. To stay. With your own kind“.

I  still remember how I stood and stared, in a complete zombified stupor. The secret (that wasn’t a secret), had just poked it’s snaggly head out of it’s Louis Vuitton bag, and the unsaid rule about being hateful in the most Christ-like way possible, had officially just been broken. See, it was perfectly ok for her to smile right past me, and take everyone else’s meal ticket but mine. But to show outright disapproval without even bothering to cloak it, in some sort of Deniable Oopsy Bullshit, or a thinly coded Bible Bomb in a weird sing-songy voice (“Be ye not unequally yoked” or “What fellowship hath dark with light?”), was pretty darn unheard of.

Which sort of made me hate her less. Because at the very least, something real and concrete, without blurry lines of debatable insinuation, or deniable innuendo as to what was really meant, had finally been said out loud. Which was honestly better than running every little thing through the Passive Aggressive Decoder Ring, that was issued to us all at birth.

It didn’t take long after the cafeteria incident, for the rest of the faculty to join in. Many of these people, had known me for years. I had stayed in their homes. We had shared holiday meals. And when school first started, they had gone out of their way to ask, “Are you finding your classes ok?”, or “Is there anything you need?”. But the minute the image of a dark skinned boy, cast it’s shadow across my Lily White Mrs. Degree, they turned their heads and pretended not to know me—even if we were the only ones standing there.

The innuendo of superiority, was pretty hard to miss. I think we all suspected that the reference to Light and Dark wasn’t being used to describe our skin. They were talking about the light and dark of our very souls, not that anyone—including us—was ever going to admit it. Same goes with that “unequal yoking” bit. So just who was the weaker animal? Helpful hint: it wasn’t white. Although the animal reference, was pretty spot on, because that’s really how we were treated: like prized cattle, at the Higher Education Breeder, to create more superior stock like them. Moo.

The women’s dorm was completely fenced off, and was clear across campus from the men’s. They probably would have built a Piranha filled moat, if they could have pulled the city permits. We had to sign in and out, using a big spiral notebook, and leave a detailed list of of where we were going and who we’d be with. If you weren’t back by 10 pm, there was a “strike” taped to your door, and a nasty-gram was mailed to your parents. Although sometimes I’d get lucky, and my Accountability Buddy would sneak down and log me back in, as long as she wasn’t already out with her dealer.

The Den Hen, Miss G., was the stone faced creature they perched at the entrance to the dorm, to ward off Impure Thoughts and Unbecoming Acts from everyone who came and went. I always thought she looked like a perfect cross between the Church Lady, and that Golden Girl who never smiled.

Every so often, she’d lure me to her apartment, with special attention and a granny-like kindness. I’m thinking that must have hurt. A lot.

“I just wanted to know how you’re doing”, she’d soothe, as I picked and fidgeted in an old floral chair, that smelled like Dippity Doo, athletes foot powder, and corn nuts.

“And also” she’d add, offering a plate of stale cookies. “I’d like a list of everyone who’s having sex”.

“Well I’m sure it’s no one“, I’d say as convincingly as I could. “You know, I’m only an incoming Freshman.”

I had a list of Boot Bangers, a mile long—but she was the last one who was ever going to see it.

“Well, with the kind of company you’ve decided to keep……you seem like the sort of girl who would know…..”

Oh, how I  hate those high frequency insults—finely tuned—to just the right pitch, so that only certain ears can hear them; the kind that leave you slut shamed and humiliated, by a racist old gargoyle, who then pins it on another person’s skin color.

But isn’t that the brilliance behind Passive Aggression? It’s that Believable Deniability, that makes you look like the jerk, if you ever try to call them out on it. “What do you mean I insinuated that dating  black boys makes you a whore?!? That really hurts my heart. I was just saying you seem to be a popular girl, who obviously has a lot of friends…..”

What I wished I could say, was “Actually Miss G., I’ve been a slut for awhile now. Maybe it’s a result of that weasel fingered Holy Man, who put his hands up my Tinkerbell underwear when I was little. Or maybe it’s the one who swirled his paws down my sweater, as his good submissive wife watched it happen. Or maybe it’s that time, as a fully developed teenager, I had my pants pulled off, and my bare ass beaten. Beating the shit out of girls is The Lord’s work you know—how else will they learn their position below men? Or maybe it was all of those scripture quoting shame mongers, who reeked of fart dust and their own disappointment. Especially the one with a monster stash of porn piled high under his bed, with a lubed up “back massager” lying right next to it.

Or maybe it wasn’t any of that—and being a slut can just be kind of fun. But I’ll tell you what absolutely isn’t the reason: the color of another person’s skin.”

But I didn’t say any of that.

I nodded. And ate stale cookies. And appeased. And drank some tea. And never told another soul, about the Sexy Time Witch Hunt that was being launched all over school.

Looking back now, I wonder what would have happened, if I would have let the truth spill out like a bowl of our murky cafeteria soup, oozing down my chin. Not just about the sex, but about the addictions, and the pregnancies, and the abortions, and the STD’s, and the clinic runs, and the psych evals, and the suicide notes, and the Satan worshiper, and the gay kids who kept trying to be straight kids, so they didn’t lose their families and spend eternity in hell.

No. They definitely couldn’t have handled the gay kids. They would have taken Satan worshipers over that.

When all of us got together we were like The Merry Band of Misfit Christians. Minus the merry part.

We had far too many terrifying thoughts and haunting questions, about God; and Hell; and our harsh, legalistic, graceless religion, to feel much more than misery, shame and fear. But we didn’t have the words, to begin to say how we felt; and even if we did, we wouldn’t have had the courage, to ever speak them out loud. So we met in cars, and parks, or some rat-hole apartment that belonged to a friend, of a cousin’s, pissed off ex-communicated friend, and we’d use the biggest cuss words we could think of.

Like shit.

And probably damn.

And we’d drink, and smoke, and have unprotected sex, because everyone knew that the premeditated sin of using a condom, was worse than the accidental sin of tripping into the backseat of a Corolla, and unintentionally falling on a penis. (I guess that explains the pregnancies, and the STD’s, and the abortions). Then we’d cry and lament and wonder if the fires of hell would be a dry heat, or a steamy heat, which could have catastrophic effects on our hair.

We were like the blind leading the blind through the big stuff. And the hard stuff. And the real stuff, that people our age, on the verge of being adults, should have already known how to do. But being so well steeped in The One World Order, where ideas, and mistakes, and questions were a clear indication of Satan possession had left us stunted and delayed.

Adultus Interuptus.

Like watching Bambi and ET about to get bitch slapped by the world.

And we didn’t know what to do with the fact that we were slowly coming to see, that The Real Things in life, like sex, and addictions, and loving who we loved, no matter how long we’d burn in hell, and questioning our beliefs, and making mistakes, could no longer be rationalized by our religion, or explained away by the same old games of Twisted Scripture, and Pin the Satan Tail on the Sinner.

Because Real Things don’t work like that.

Real Things don’t come with a pre-written script, or neatly packaged, in the same old box, with the same toy surprise (that really wasn’t a surprise) buried in the bottom.

Real Things are unpredictable. And imperfect. And full of mystery. And of surprises, that really are a surprise.

Some good. Some Bad.

And we wanted them all; because it was better than living life as a church factory product, with predetermined lives, that were fully assembled for us, before we ever even had a choice.

But Real came at a price, because nothing—and I do mean nothing—made The Powers That Be more uncomfortable, than having the greasy fingers of humanity, smeared all over their shiny facade of perfection. And their rage and fear, of not having control, led to an entirely different kind of hell: the special kind, here on earth, that gets handed down from generation to generation.

My earliest memories aren’t of balloon filled birthday parties, or of hugging my favorite stuffed animal. It’s the fear of being scooped up, and thrown out, like a Hefty Bag full of human garbage. You know how some families pass diamond rings and gold watches, down from person to person. Our family heirloom, was being Shunned and Disowned—and it has yet to skip a generation.

There were lots of things that could get you shunned and disowned, but there were 4 that would land you there the fastest: Leaving our Sect was an obvious one. Being gay (or similarly abominated) was another. So was having too many questions in your “mentally ill” head, and spreading the poison of free thought through the herd. Then there was marrying outside of our religion—which was treated the same as marrying someone black.  I think that one confused C the most, because I already had a black uncle, and two cousins who were just like my brothers. But then again, in a tribal society full of disordered people, not making sense, is the one thing you can depend on.

Being Disowned was usually saved for irreversible offenses. Like that half black baby that couldn’t be stuffed back in, in hopes it miraculously came back out white. Or the son who lives in a one bedroom house with his “room mate” of 10 years, and the dog they named Barbara Streisand.  In these situations, there’s no point in shunning, because their sin can’t be shamed or bullied out. Besides, they’re embarrassing, so it’s really much better, to use The Magic God Eraser, and rub them out of existence.

Being Shunned, at least our way, was kind of the same, but it was more like Disowned’s little mean buck-toothed brother; and it came with this bizarre expectation, that no matter how bad it got, it was your Christian obligation, to keep showing up for more. I’m pretty sure it’s written in the Bible somewhere: “Thou shall accept every invitation, so that you, and anyone connected with you, can repeatedly be treated like shit, because you’re bad and you deserve it”.

Yes. I know it’s not.

But it truly is like showing up to a lobster and prime rib dinner, knowing ahead of time, that there’s a place for you on the floor, right next to the cat dish, with a stale biscuit and a cold wrinkled hot dog. But the minute you stop saying “Thank you for having me, that was the best shriveled wiener I’ve ever eaten”, they accuse you of being disrespectful, and of being the one who abandoned on them.

“We have no idea why she won’t come around anymore, especially after that beautiful dinner. I guess all we can do is keep praying, bless her poor little mentally ill heart.”

It’s astounding how we’ve been trained to give the same pound of flesh— over and over—one tiny slice at a time.

If I had to make a choice, I’d take Disowned over Shunned. At least when you’re Disowned it’s an honest transaction: you’re told up front that they don’t want you anymore, and then you leave.

Kaput.

The End.

Being Shunned is an endless game of abuse and manipulation—where you’re the one who gets demonized, if you ever decide to stop playing.

In the 3 years that C and I were together, we never had an in-depth conversation about the bigotry, and racism that we either experienced ourselves, or saw happening all around us, in our elite little bubble of religion. We may have touched on it now and then; mostly as we lay in the dark, taking turns humming songs, and guessing what they were, in our own version of Name that Tune.

“Do you think we can ever go to Mardi Gras? I hear they hunt interracial couples like nutria down south, and then skin ’em in the backs of their trucks”

“Would anyone come to our wedding, do you think?”

I thought his step-father probably would.

But then we’d distract ourselves with another song, and another guess, and we’d never take it deeper than that—because going deeper would have opened the door, to all of the scary places that we weren’t ready to go. Places that may make us see ourselves, and the world, and the religion that we clung to, in ways that we didn’t know how to talk about. Places that may make us question our belief in our church, and if The One True Way, was ever even true at all. So we went on treating the hatred we saw like it was my four inch tall mall bangs, or his Arsenio Hall flat top—just some kind of late 80’s fad, that somebody, somewhere, would someday say was over; then we’d laugh and joke about how weird it all was, and go Mardi Gras like everyone else. But it wasn’t just a fad. And we haven’t moved on. It’s a tragically repeating horror story, that destroys families, and lives, and spirits, and faiths; and the “somebody”, “somewhere” to finally say it’s done, ultimately has to be us.

As I stand here still, at the top of these stairs, pulling dark and dusty memories, out of a 30 year old trunk, a quote keeps running between them, like hard set rocks in the middle of a constantly moving stream: “We turn, looking back to see the broken image of what we were, in the journey to discover what we are”. I wonder what kind of journey C, and The Misfits, and even the people who didn’t treat us very nice to us, have all taken since we left school. I hope it’s been brilliant, and messy, and unpredictably imperfect, and full of mystery and surprises—some good, some bad—and that they wanted them all; because at the very least, they were Real.

I’m still on that journey, of constantly looking back to who I was before; and not just 30 years ago—sometimes 30 minutes ago—to learn to do things differently, or think things differently. I hope it always works like that.

But you know the one thing I’m pretty sure, hasn’t changed at all? This Honky Girl, still hates to run.

It’s More Than Just the Poopy Revenge.

 

 

 

 

The first time I saw The Help, I fell in love with Minny. She was a Truth Telling Nightmare, who fought back, regardless of the risks; and shined a light so bright, that the Doers of Darkness, had nowhere left to hide. And while tale after tale of bravery and heroism had me cheering the whole way through, nothing compared to Bad Ass Minny, taking a dump in a Narcissist’s pie.

For anyone who hasn’t seen The Help, here’s a quick re-cap, so we’re all on the same page: It’s about black maids, in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960’s, and a journalist who asks them to write a book about the abuse they experience while working in white households. While they all wanted the truth to be told, speaking out had consequences; and fear of retribution was holding them back from what they knew in their hearts was the right thing to do.

Minny worked for the the family of Hilly Holbrook; the church going, casserole baking, heart blessing, committee heading, honey talking, truly evil, if-you-can’t-just-kill ’em—kill ’em-with-kindness-instead, Malignant Narcissist Queen.

Let me just pause here to say that yes, I do understand this was a story about Civil Rights and Racism, not Narcissism. And no, I’m not going to hijack the entire thing so I can squeeze it through a Cheese Whiz can of my own life filter. And yes, this really is going somewhere. I promise.

One night, during a dangerous thunderstorm, Minny uses the “white” indoor bathroom, instead of risking her life to use the “colored” outside one. Hilly fires her on the spot, and then blacklists her from ever finding another job in Jackson, by accusing her of theft.

A few days later, Minny shows up with an offering of “peace”, she knows Hilly can’t resist: her famous chocolate pie.

I guess no one wants to hire a sass mouth, thief” says Hilly, reaching for her second slice. “But what DO you put in here that makes it taste so good?”

That good vanilla from Mexico” says Minny with smile. “And something else……reeeeal special”.

Right about then, Hilly’s mother reaches for a piece for herself. Minny grabs it away, explaining that it’s a “special pie, just for Miss Hilly”. Hilly glares at Minny like she’s a naughty dog, pushes the pie across the table, and orders her to cut a piece anyway.

And that’s when she does it. Minny looks her square in the eye and says, “Eat My Shit”.

Have you lost your MIND?!?” seethes Hilly, with a hand on her chest, and eyes wide with surprise.

No Ma’am”, says a smirking Minny, “But you’re about to……cause you just did.”

Then Hilly gags. The maids write their book. And the crowd in my mind cheers wildly.

And not just for the poopy revenge.

Ok, so kind of for the poopy revenge.

But mostly because Minny uses that story, she calls The Terrible Awful, along with Hilly’s massive ego (the Achilles heel of a Narcissist) to give everyone else the courage to admit the truth, and have the hard conversations that they were too afraid to have before—with themselves, and each other, and the world.

Life is full of hard conversations.

And we hate them.

Because just like the maids—even if it is for different reasons—we’re afraid too.

We fear losing community, we fear hurting people, and most of all, we fear losing love. But the problem with avoiding the hard conversations, is that closet rent is never free, and the one who pays the price isn’t just us. It’s the people around us too. Some of us pay with sadness, anxiety and depression; some of us pay with an inauthentic existence and unrealized dreams; some of us pay with our health; and some of us ultimately pay with our lives. But whatever the price of our silence is, it’s rarely worth it in the end.

The difficult truth that I have to tell is about Narcissism and Psychological Abuse. As a child, my entire life was influenced by it, and later on as an adult, I was almost destroyed by it. But one day, I found a Facebook page about Narcissistic Abuse, and for the first time ever, my experience had a name besides “You’re broken”, “God doesn’t love you”, “You’re un-savable”, “If it wasn’t for us you’d be a druggie in a ditch”, “You’ve always been the problem”,  “You’re crazy” and “You’re bad and going to Hell”.

And look. No one wakes up one day and says “Ya, I know I could write about puppies. Or cupcakes. Or my favorite red nail polish. But no. I’ll pick this life altering, misery creating, destroy-you-from-the-inside-out social disease, with far too many S’s for someone with a slight lisp to pronounce.” But when that’s what has been put in front of you, there are choices to be made. One of those choices is hiding it away in the cobwebby attic of dysfunction and pretending it doesn’t exist. Another is saying “What the hell.”, and tossing it all in the middle of the lawn for anyone and everyone to see. 

Sometimes I really doubt myself; and my motivations; and the wisdom of living out loud; without apology; on my own terms; and in my own words, instead of reading from the script that was written for me, and playing the role that was given to me, long before I ever had a choice.

More often than not, that doubt eventually leads me right where I am now: with one part of my brain running towards the toilet with a hand over it’s mouth screaming “Omg! It’s happening again!”.  Like vomit. But with words.  While the other part of my brain is sitting cross legged in a corner, with leopard print reading glasses propped on it’s head, making a solid list of pros and cons, that looks a little something like this:

Reasons, I shouldn’t write a series on Narcissism called ‘Tales From The Narc Side’:

#1-infinity.) I’m afraid

 

Reasons I should write a series on Narcissism called “Tales From The Narc Side”:

1.) Because if I’m being honest, it’s one of the reason I started this thing in the first place.

2.) Because up until I was 40, my entire life felt like an effed-up combination of the shows Survivor (schemes, manipulations, broken alliances, and the inevitable blind side that always ends up with someone being voted off the island), and The Sons of Anarchy (mafia-like tribalism, minus the dead bodies; just an endless trail of broken souls, spirits and relationships). When we know better, we do better. But that can’t happen until we give ourselves permission to even admit it should be better in the first place.

3.) Because the people who don’t like me, already don’t like me. This isn’t going to make it worse. Once you’ve gone bankrupt, there’s nothing left to take. The life I once had, doesn’t exist anymore. And the one I’ve rebuilt, doesn’t drift and crumble like water over sand. Most of the time, it’s stable, and solid in a way that only comes from being broken—and learning that broken places can heal up stronger, than they ever were before.

4.) Because I wouldn’t even be here unless other people had been brave enough to tell their stories first. And by “here” I don’t mean sitting in this second hand chair, at an Ikea hack desk, with an empty chipped coffee cup, thinking panicked thoughts like “You’re not really going to post this are you? Please tell me you’re not going to post this…..”. I mean “here”, as in, on this planet.

5.) Because I’m not a therapist, or a mental health care professional (In fact I need a mental health care professional; and being a half-way normal, semi-functioning adult, surprises me every day), but there are some things, that only another person who has lived it, can fully understand or validate.

6.) Because I didn’t fight this long, and this hard, to get where I am for silence. Silence made me sick. Living in the truth made me whole….ish. And no one gets here alone.

7.) Because the poet Rumi says that being human is like a guest house, with many different visitors. While some of those visitors are going to show up for tea and help you plant flowers, others are going to barge in with a keg of cheap beer and totally trash your place. When that eventually happens, there’s no such thing as having to much help picking red cups up off the lawn and skimming puke off the top of the swimming pool.

8.) Because I never want to be so “healed”, that I forget who I used to be, and the journey I’ve had to take to even get where I am. True healing never stops; and it’s the cracks, and the breaks, and the places that still hurt, that keep me reaching forward for help from the ones who have gone ahead of me, and reaching backwards to grab, the ones who are still behind me.

9.) Because I can’t keep waiting for “someday safer”—when this person gets dementia and forgets my name, or when that person graduates and doesn’t need my protection anymore. There is no such a day. And we need each other now.

10.) Because years ago, I heard a voice in a dream that said “Why are you living like a prisoner, when I’ve already set you free?”.  There is nothing more powerful that hearing the words,“Me too, I believe you, and I believe in you.” Being that voice for someone else, is part of living free.

11.) Because the first indication that something is wrong with the people in our lives is often anxiety, and depression, and addictions, that don’t seem like addictions—to drama, and chaos, and outbursts, and victimhood, and facades, and a nameless, faceless rage that shows up in all of the places, that it doesn’t have a right to be. Not a single one of us, deserves to live this way.

12.) Because life is only as good as our crappiest relationship—so knowing what a Narcissist is; the tactics they use to abuse people; the traits in our personality, that make us good Supply for their bottomless pit of Need; the unconscious ways we attract them; and the conscious ways to repel them, not only changes our lives, but the lives of those around us.

13.) Because giving a destructive disease a name, and sharing the tools I’ve found to overcome it, can all be done without ever detailing times, or places, or exposing a single person’s identity. It not about them anyway. Or revenge. It’s about the fact that everyone suffers in one way or another. It’s our common ground. And it only takes one person telling their truth, to open the door for someone else to tell theirs, and start a journey of their own.

14.) Because you don’t actually have to shit in someone’s pie, to make them cough and gag and act like you’ve just shit in their pie. To a Narcissistic Abuser, healthy boundaries, truth and reality are the shit in their pie. And once they see you’ve mastered those, they won’t be back for another slice.

One of the most powerful tools an abuser has, is the ability to make us feel guilty or afraid to tell the truth about what they’ve done. Or worse yet, they’ll try to convince us that the abuse we experienced first hand, never really happened; or in the off chance that it did happen, it really wasn’t that bad. Then they’ll try to shame us for being “overly-sensitive” or “over reactive”. They’ll tell us that we take “everything too seriously”, and that we  just need to “chill out”, or “get on some meds”, or “learn to take a joke”.

We’re not.

And we don’t.

It’s just a way to keep people quiet, so they can keep on doing whatever they want, whenever they want, to gets their needs met. All on someone else’s dime.

It works, because it threatens our basic need for love and acceptance. And if it happens in a group, it plays on our primal fear of being an outcast in the tribe. It’s also the reason that an entire group will ignore what they know is right, and stand by and watch an innocent person suffer without intervening to help.

Doing this. For me. Is the opposite of that.

So here it is, I guess. The first installment, of what I hope is many, to a series I’ll call, Tales From the Narc Side.

Being afraid isn’t nothing. But it also isn’t everything. Our stories deserve to be told. Even if we do have to add “a little something…..reeeeeeeal special” to get the job done. 

 

Dear WordPress. You’re the only one who truly understands me.

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Dear WordPress,

So here we are again.

You: still waiting patiently.

Me: cursing and crying and digging a hole in the wall in front of my desk with an anxious big toe, as I Write. Erase. Repeat. And then press my fingers into my eyeballs as far as I can without causing permanent blindness, and think “Who even does this?”

Like really. What kind of person feels the burning need to vomit words into space where anyone.

Or no one.

But mostly anyone.

Can read them?

For the last month. Every time I’ve tried to write this post, that’s the only thing that comes out.

And why do I need to do it? For the love of all things holy WHY, when it’s way easier, and far more enjoyable to eat my feelings the way normal people do.

Maybe I should have known these things, before spending an hour on the phone with The GoDaddy Saint, who toddler walked me through choosing packages, and in-depth explanations of technical terms, after I spent weeks and weeks of googling “WTF IS A WIDGET?!?” with teeth gritting angst, all on my own.

“I’m sorry you got me today” I said.

And I really was.

That’s what I’m here for, he assured me. Which was both a comfort, and a disappointment, because I was half hoping that the minute I called, the wise millennial owl on the other end of the line would say “No. Absolutely not. We do not sell blogs to people who have no actual proof that they have anything new or important to say. So piss off, okay?”

Then that would be it. I’d take their word for it, piss off, and I’d finally be free.

“What will your blog be about?” asked Saint Daddy.

“Narcissistic personalities.” I blurted out. “And abusive relationships. And toxic families. And cults. And faith destroyed. And faith restored; well, sort of.  And being adopted. And finding your birth family after your life is half over. And missing them so much, that even when they’re standing right there in front of you and you’re squeezing them tight, your heart still feels like it’s trying to pump cold molasses through one of those little green coffee straws. And how not to drive yourself off of a cliff when you finally hit 40, and realize that the stories you thought you had neatly stacked and hidden, weren’t really hidden a bit. And now they’re hanging out all over the place, like the identity crisis closet of a teenage girl, but instead of the real stories you wish you could tell, they look like anger, and sadness, and outbursts, and phobias, and depression, and all sorts of socially acceptable addictions that make you feel weirdly cozy, and absolutely miserable all at the same time. And it’s about hatred, and healing. And bitterness, and peace. And finally telling the truth, for the first time in my life. And you know…..maybe some cute animal stuff too…….”

“Oh.” was his reply. “Well, good luck with that”.

Yeah. Good luck with that.

And now every day since, It’s been you and me, and some combination of Oreos, Fireball, and Trader Joes Turkey and Stuffing potato chips (strangely delicious btw ) in front of a dead white screen. And besides the fact that I can’t seem to sleep, or get rid of that sandpaper feeling that’s itching beneath my skin, I’ve pretty much convinced myself that I’ve just spent $119.99 to finally figure out that I’m not strong enough, or brave enough, to even do this kind of thing.

Except I am.

I know I am.

Or at least I think, I know I am.

A little over 8 years ago now, my friend J.—and by friend, I mean therapist, but whatever—asked me what I wanted most in my life.

I told her that I just wanted to be a real person.

Not that I knew what that meant, because even as a married adult, with a real job and a real family and all sorts of other things that seemed really, really, real, I was also fully owned—body, mind, spirit and soul—by everyone, and everything, other than myself. And no matter how real I looked on the outside, I had no idea what it was supposed to feel like on the inside. What I did know, is that driving down the freeway and staring longingly into the eyes of an oncoming semi, and silently begging it to wipe me off the planet, probably wasn’t it. Neither was spending day after day, sobbing next to the dog dish on the laundry room floor, while my kids binged on Animal Planet, and picked trail mix from between the couch cushions instead of asking me for a snack, because “Mommy was sad and scary”.

And for whatever reason, writing it down, and sending it out, makes me feel as real as I ever have. Fear has a way of doing that, I guess.

So maybe that’s the reason why, I feel this constant need. Because I desperately crave the realness and the clarity, that only writing brings. And because until I started writing my own stories, on my own terms, life was the opposite of clear; it was a murky green soup with bits and chunks of the nasty unknown, and I was choking on every bite.

I fully believe, that either consciously or unconsciously, functionally or dysfunctionally, we’re always telling our story. Knowing and accepting the real story, is what keeps the rest of our lives, from being nothing more than a metaphor, for the things we’re too afraid to say. And reconciling the truth, means stepping into the life we were made for, instead of wasting everything we’ve been given, on surviving the one that we weren’t.

Healed people, heal people. But unless we tell out stories, that’s kind of hard to do. Not that I’d call myself healed. I’m too stumbling and bumbling and reaching and slobbering to ever live up to that. But I have done some heal-ing; so I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I’m showing up, and I’m ready to share—run on sentences, iffy punctuation, crap grammar, and all.

Even if it’s just with you, WordPress.

So just as a little side note: I hope it’s ok, that I’ve started to see you as a weirdly attractive, slobbish older man, in my mind. Not too hot, or I’d start picking my nails, and laughing like a goob. And not too interested in what I have to say, or I’d think that all of this matters way more than it does, and end up right back where I have been; miserably frozen in that hellish combination of Imposter Syndrome and Fear-of-Pretty-Much- Everything (besides eating chocolate covered nuts, on a broken-ass recliner, and binge watching Netflix, while I pretend not to notice that the dog is scrubbing his butt on the carpet again.) I’m picturing you like The Dude. Maybe a little more sober, but definitely in your underwear, and listening just enough, through half closed eyes, to say something kind of encouraging, and kind of rude, like, “Get over yourself girl.  And just do it already.  It’s almost time for my second morning nap.”

And will you look at that? I think maybe, I just did.