Monday, December 18, 2006

Identity Wars

Well, it's nice to just have some answers.

I know now that this whole falling away was catalyzed by the shock of the miscarriage. If a person decides that they're done being a mommy, what's left to... be? That is the question. I rediscovered where I was six years ago, all my old aspirations, all my previous sense of identity. Then I had to lay it back down as soon as I conceived just six months later, but, I didn't know how.

That's a conflict that I am conscious of now, and while it is still a battle, at least I know what the opposing forces are. My hope is that, in the end, when I am done nurturing babies in the semi-near future, I will have enough maturity to find a balance. I can draw some lines for selfishness and aspiration, and that can be okay, without forsaking how much I love babies and everyone else.

They really do not get along, naturally. The mommy in me would sacrifice, to all ends, for other people. The woman in me wants to realize my own ideals for the sake of empowering myself.

Obi Nurturer: Come, 'Persona, come with us to the good side. I know there's good in you yet.

Darth Persona: It is you who must succumb to the destiny of your youthful passions. And now I must kill you for your betrayl.

Obi Nurturer: You won't kill me; search your feelings, you know it's true. 'Persona: I am the Mommy, in you.

Darth Persona: Noooooooooo!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

By Way of Passing Out

It has been a long time since I've written about the LORD.

Let me confess.... I've misplaced my bible. I think it was in my car for about two weeks and I didn't even think a second about it. For months, now, when I would see it lying somewhere, my thought was "Yeah, yeah." My prayer times have been sporadic, and when I've been off, the idea of talking to God seemed... unpleasant, for almost any request. Signs, of something gone sadly wrong.

To explain such disappointing news, I incorporated some previously discussed stories of where I have been. Childhood was a time of stress and restraint. I was molded into someone ready to be dogmatic for whatever I found. Once released, yeah; I became one of the most devoted and pure kind of a Christian that maybe people can be made to be. People who face death, like for instance cancer patients, realize how precious life is and go through a reprioritizing of goals as a result to maximize purpose verses time remaining. Well, I've been riding a similar wave of motivation, since I was set free from my parents. Riding the wave was a piece of cake. But the wave has crested, now, and washed me ashore.

Now, I have nothing left. This is probably natural -- shock can't be a means of motivation forever. This is a stage that will in the long run, make me a better person. I've always been such a serious person. Laughing and relaxing just didn't fit in while I worried about where to live, or eating, you know. I never really had a sense of humor first for others', and always, till now, for myself. For the first time in my life, I am able to have enough fun to try and tell jokes. Hmm. That's a change I am glad to see happening.

Most worrisome is simply facing the immaturity of my self. Released from dogmatism, I've lost my blinders which kept my focus narrow and forward-facing. Now, I see the variety of life and ways and the world, and find my Christianity in crisis, and not just the good kind of crisis which makes me more trustful in God, but also the crisis of seeing sin in many forms and thinking that it also looks like a comfortable place to get cozy with life. This kind of distraction causes my faith to go underused and my interest in following God very tested. In the privacy of my own mind, I have been a really bad girl.

Once that stuff came into my heart, life got hard for me. I have never had to think critically of my persona created by former circumstances: Innocent. Strong. Determined. Idealistic. Capable. Compassionate. I think of myself as having these traits naturally, because of how deeply I dug into my self during hardship. And if it were true as I have always thought, that these things came naturally, then why was it, again, that I needed to ask God into my life, exactly? So, for almost a year, I've been arrogant. Self-reliant. Thinking I'm the stuff.

Of course, thinking that I'm awesome, I found out, took a lot of time and hard work to make sure that I was indeed as awesome as I associated myself to be. That kind of work never seems to stay put. That's why I can't stand being overweight right now, for example. Thinking that you're awesome, by the way, also makes almost any kind of relationship you have with other people, get frustrating. Because my sense of verification isn't coming from God but instead through the praises of man, or even the praises of my own evaluation.

"You were wearied by all your ways,
but you would not say, 'It is
You found renewal of your strength,
and so you did not faint.
Whom have you so dreaded and
that you have been false to me,
and have neither remembered me
nor pondered this in your hearts?
Is it not because I have long been
that you do not fear me?
I will expose your righteousness and
your works,
and they will not benefit you.
When you cry out for help,
let your collection of idols save
The wind will carry them all off,
a mere breath will blow them
But the man who makes me his
will inherit the land
and posess my holy mountain." Is 57:10-13

There is a way in which I truly was innocent, as a young person. It wasn't my fault, what happened to me. But innocence has certainly little place for a mature Christian. Do I or do I not need forgiveness? I'm supposed to be aware that I am a sinner. What a hard stage to agree to endure -- in a way, harder than taking a hitting when I knew I didn't deserve it. It makes me bitter to think, that, with all that I suffered, with all that I endured, that I did not make myself really into something lastingly awesome. I want to hold onto that belief. If I did not turn out better because of it, then can I really feel like I am saved from those evil times?

I'd rather not see how evil I would become if I had my appetite quenched, for all that my eyes behold. I'm still lingering like I'm capable and awesome, and, so it makes me tempted to sin because, if I gain all kinds of things I haven't been given, it would prove my awesomeness to have obtained them. And so as a result I see all the damage I could cause to everything good God gave me. Damage. Isn't it amazing that He let all this happen in a controlled realm (my mind)? What a grace. So, I'm learning the slow, hard way, that I am a sinner. That I am incapable, not innocent, not truly compassionate, not truly one who has endurance to hold to good, not truly one who can hold fast to principles. The exact opposite of the persona I gave myself.

The most clear thing to me, is, I will never be done with this stage of falling away from God by being lifted out of this pit of seeing my sin. That's not the way it's going, and that's not the way it's going to go. I'll keep disappointing myself so long as I can "find a renewal of my strength, and so I will not faint." The way of escape is by way of the fainting.

When my persona passes out and dies, I'll go to heaven and live a new life:

"'I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite
and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the
contrite.'" Is 57:15

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

(Shh! I'm Going to be Naughty)

I've been poorly digitalizing some exposures of me when I was younger, including some from when I got married. Having no luck trying to find my wedding album for a couple of days now, I can't reminisce, with my anniversary being this Saturday. All I could find was some loose pictures lying around. So they're on my myspace, but one day I'll do a better job with a better camera.

Now I'm starting to get a little upset. All these six years of nutritionally being a mother have kept me from doing what I really want to do. I've been thinking almost every day during this pregnancy how, maybe when I'm done this time, I'll learn pointe. Or maybe latin ballroom if my husband and I can do it together -- I feel that may be my spatial-movement calling. When I listen to music here at home, my mind is moving to the music but I cannot. Argh. I want to begin, now. I can't do anything, now. I feel a little stir-crazy. I need to throw myself at something; after all, I canceled most my schedule just so that I wouldn't hurt myself -- so I have a maximum of free-time and nothing to accomplish that's lasting.

I was so close, this last summer, to being where I was, and I could feel it. Dang. And here's where I'm going to get a little naughty: I tried to find some backwater website that would tell me how to diet while pregnant. Every one of them said that I couldn't. I remember how I lost 10 pounds in three weeks. I did that, and I didn't mess around; I just quit eating pretty much altogether.

It's tempting me.

What I did find was plenty of information about all the things I *should* be eating. And then I realized that, if I did a sneaky, moderated diet, I'd get really good results. Consider the diet I'm supposed to eat:

7 fruits and vegetables

6-9 breads

4 milks

2 meats

6 glasses water

A total of 2300-2500 calories I have been told I ought to eat a day. Ha! I ate half that or less when I was on my diet. So, who's going to know, and who would really criticize me, if, I ate for example only 4-5 breads a day, and one meat? Hmm?

Let my baby eat my body away -- there's plenty for everyone in storage.

Okay, so I might not be completely rational right now, might be a little on the revengeful side.... I'll call my nurse-friend Jenn and make sure she doesn't think it's too bad an idea. I'd also appreciate any feedback from anyone reading. Barring that it won't work out, or that I've made an impulsively stubbornly bad decision, I'll move forward and see what happens.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Girly Fun

Turning three can be a disgusting business.

Emma turns three about two weeks later.

Grace poses without being asked, whenever the camera is turned on her.

Colette Grace, and Emma. Grace just turned five and Colette was only a couple weeks from being 5 herself.

One leg would definitely be lighter than the other. But both have equally illuminated faces. Emma is twice the weight Liz is, even though Liz is older.

At the playground. It's a magical time whenever the four are together.

Liz will willingly go # 2 in the bathroom just for the privilege of wearing a dress.

I purchased the copyright of Sears' photo. This was made for Ben's mom who has breast cancer and just had surgery.

Time slows down when I have two little girls in my hands and the world is in front of us. With Colette in with the pumpkins that her father is carrying, and Ben behind him.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Midnight Insights

That last post was supposed to be the end of a series about my past. I woke up though, last night at 3:30 after having a bad dream. My dream was something akin to the same punch and flavor as the movie "Dogville," and "Dogville" (starring Nichole Kidman), is about the most explicit way to depict what it was like for me growing up.

It wasn't my dream I find interesting, just the emotion in me it reminded me, I used to feel. That emotion helped me to remember why it was that I hated being sheltered, why I wanted more exposure to the world.

I have to warn whoever reads that this could be upsetting to listen to. So don't continue if you don't want to.

I used to be spanked with a wooden ruler, not the school-kind but the old-fashioned quality type that was made out of a solid wood, with a bare butt till I was either fourteen or sixteen. Thinking that now, makes shivers go down my spine, but I remember I used to get shivers back then, too. At some point I thought I was too old for that so my sister and I talked to my dad and we said we were too old for spankings, and he said he agreed. But then he took that back a few months later although sometimes we were allowed to keep our underwear on. His reasoning for reverting backward was "the only thing you understand is pain." But the effect on me was that I essentially felt like it was a violation for which I shouldn't have to go through. I thought that at some point I ought to have passed some kind of milestone of maturity or age by which I would be treated with more respect. I thought that spanking with my pants down when I was seventeen and eighteen was probably taking things too far for my comfort level about my person. And so I tried again to tell him that but I didn't know how to say it, and he decided that he was going to do it anyway. And so, when I deserved a spanking, anger would flash in my eyes at him, because he didn't understand that I didn't deserve this kind of treatment, not because of the pain, but because of the humiliation. He took great note of that anger, and I think he learned something about me by learning of it. Looking back, I wonder if he did understand that he was able to humilate me, because he became more confident and arrogant about using it as I went along in age. As he used it more plentifully, I only became more angry, which made it more useful for him. The effect was that I had purple black and blue skin which no one would ever see except me, but that wasn't the part that upset me the most. The more I stood up for myself in my attitude, the worse my skin looked.

Now I moved out finally, and I was on campus for three months. No one ever addressed my problem nor did I learn anything specifically important to help me regarding it. Just the effect of beginning to make my own decisions, and learning that people cared and that I had other options, though, was enough to help me when I went back home. This time he said he was going to spank me (being 20 plus) and I said to him, "I am aware that I have done these things wrong, but if you decide that I need a spanking, I am not going to stay here, I'm going to leave." He tried to tear that vow out of me, and I think he did eventually for a short time, and convinced me to take spankings again. But I did follow through after a short while, and I called my friend, and I walked out. He wanted me back, guilted me about my flaws and obligations to come back to stay, between being 20 and 22. That is when the spankings ended and the hitting became inventive. He saw my resolve to follow through with stopping the spankings, but hitting didn't have quite the drawn-out ritual. He could come up behind me and push or hit. It could happen very fast. And so the tradition during this time was, how fast could I find my shoes and later, my keys, and get out the front door? That was the game, my anticipating and doing a race to the front door, till the week before my wedding. He didn't want me to make it, and he would try to lower my guard when he saw that I was wanting to get out. I think this is where my diagnosis of being PTSD came from. I'm not PTSD anymore.

That's the reason why I don't like thunder during a storm, I have to have my back up against something solid. It's just a little too scary for me. Hmm, is that the only vestige left over from the damage of those times? There might be one or two more little oddities I still exhibit, but like I said, I'm pretty whole, now.

Duh. That's the reason why I needed exposure to the world. If I could get a sense of what I was or could be, then I could start to draw lines for myself with my father. Yeah. I wanted some reason to say no to the parts that I could know were wrong. And that is what I found, and what I did.

I also noticed for the first time, the reason why I constantly describe events with the age that I was, was because I had no other way to measure what should have been appropriate for me. I kept longing for a sense of milestones in my life, so that I could begin to make decisions regarding my own person. He never let me have any.

I look back at the way things went from spanking with no cooth, to hitting, and it makes me want to conclude that I was kept for so long, close, and incapable, as his important cog to build his self-esteem, which never got satisfied. But I won't forget what I've learned: not all of my childhood was bad, a lot of it was normal, even good. Who knows if my assessment is correct. That's one of the means by which I learned to forgive him. In the first year of our marriages my sister's husband and mine would argue about our dad and get heated about what exactly he had done. I'm not upset now. I am, when I remember that I was angry when they happened. But I learned by God's side to forgive and I don't plan to backtrack. If I could be an object of God's forgiveness, I ought to also be prepared to be a conduit. I know that these memories mostly fade, and sometimes come back out of nowhere. I don't mind treating them as real events, though, if I can get something important out of them. Otherwise, I have every desire to move on and I enjoy every morsel of adulthood, and all the freedoms I enjoy.

And despite these upsetting stories, because my hope was so strong, I turned out to be rather innocent of all the disturbing things that happened to me. They didn't turn me into their image. I delight in delightful things only. I spent too much time forced to wait to live... why would I agree to let it be diminished in any way, by evil?

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