The Almighty Dollar

Another snow storm means another morning I spent debating on weather or not I could financially handle taking a full day off of work. Considering a gas bill that needed paying next week that would take a large chunk of my already dwindling bank account, I decided I could at least afford a half day.

So I left my post at noon along with the only other coworker who showed up to work.

As I took the snow blower to the driveway I began to ponder the kind of society I’ve grown in. When did it become so important to risk your own life for little piece of green paper? Why is it we invest so much of ourselves in money that we are willing to risk ourselves for it? How have we sunk so low?

In the struggles of my faith I find myself reading my Bible more. Just trying to understand this broken place I’ve found myself. I understand now all those verses about how it’s hard for people with wealth to enter the kingdom of God and I ponder this frequently even in my lack. How we have come to replace most of our gods with money was really no mystery. It is what makes the world turn…and I’m doing so it is what controls people the most.

In a bartering system, kindness tends to prevail. Mainly because your reputation with others has a greater impact on your success. Your character. Your reliability. The quality of the service you provide. How generous and reasonable you are. All of it factors into your success and thus the success around you.

In a primarily monetary system, your character doesn’t matter as much if you have the wealth to excuse it.

Which is why the owner of our company comes down on us so hard for not coming into work. He pays us, and therefore excuses his behavior with the obligation that he owns us from 8am – 4:30pm. E accept this, and are hesitant and fearful to not comply because it means the money could run dry and we too cannot pay to excuse our own wants and needs.

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Running on E

Between each crisis I have been able to find small moments of calm, but as the weeks have gone on winter has done nothing but wear me down. Ice storm after ice storm makes the world a little colder, and in that cold I find a little darkness.

Still, the weeks bring combinations of pleasures and pains. Friends have been getting together and we have been building positive relationships with colorful people. People so colorful that they boggle the mind, and bring me to such laughter that I often come home beyond exhausted and in desperate need of recharging, but still longing for more exhausting nights just like it.

The truth is, the past few weeks have been a struggle. A struggle in patience. A struggle in spirit. A struggle in mind.

I’m going through the painful experience of a faith crisis, one that seems to leave me with more terrible questions than answers, and makes me feel more and more abandoned by God and desperate to stay in communication, but at a loss as to how. In a way it makes me feel a little crazy because all the emotions piling up are sort of a whirlwind of anger and fear. What does one do, when they lose faith, and how does one get it back if they miss it? Are you even allowed to miss it when it is lost? Have I really lost it at all?

I’ve been getting into more metaphysical stuff lately. A scary realm for me, yet I am no less drawn to it. It feels like a complete swing of opposition, and yet, I feel like God is so much apart of the mysteries of the universe that I cannot help but feel a little of what I’ve read can be supported by a Christian faith, and yet, some of it I find completely unconvincing. I don’t know weather to seek more information on such new things, or if I should just stop altogether and protect myself?

This all comes at a bad time too. While I have not had a huge crisis in my life I have had many small ones to deal with along the way that have just been that much more difficult as I’m dealing with the faith crisis….that and my husband is not good at dealing with any crisis, big or small, and has allowed the burden to fall on me more often than not. Which is exhausting. Little things like my husbands battery not starting, severe winter weather that keeps one home from work, and scuffles with coworkers that have bad attitudes have added only more to the deep tired I feel within me.

All of this I think directly correlates with my spiritual issues. I’m spiritually exhausted. I want to crawl in a hole in the ground and be planted there to rest until I’m recharged and renewed, or just sleep for eternity. I’m not sure which yet. It’s hard to say. I’m just so deeply depleted….of what I do not know, but it is so depleted that I feel like I’m falling apart.

Nothing to Do

“Do you know how many people killed themselves in the past few months? It’s because there is nothing to do around here!”

“What are you talking about? There’s tons to do around here!” I retorted shocked.

“Nope. Sorry.” He said condescendingly.

Firstly, people kill themselves because they are sick and dealing with complex mental health issues, not because they are bored. Seriously what kind of ignorant bullshit is that about?

Secondly, there really is tons to do around here. So many festivals in the summer. Year round farmers markets. An escape room shop. Museums. Tons of events at the Library. Nature trails that become beautiful ski trails in winter. Biking trails. The lake. All kinds of great restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. Wonderful little boutiques to visit and antique stores. Great public parks. An active Historical Society. A thriving artists guild. Tons of industry. Golfing. Live music events year round. A large gaming community. Tons of book clubs. Church events. Fish boils. All kinds of wonderful community events.

After a moment I began thinking about his interests and realized he had very few. At least, very few that he didn’t get burned out on after a week. So no wonder he was bored. It was because he was boring. Boring mostly because he demanded to be entertained instead of finding ways to entertain himself.

I volunteer on weekends. I own a small Business and work a full time one too. I do nothing but occupy myself by offering my time to others and being extremely active in what I find interesting. I throw myself into it because of my passion. Even though I am introverted, I force myself to be out there and active and making my community a better place. I believe in growing where I am planted, and right now, I’m here, and I love being here because it is never boring.

He’s not like that though. He’s a complainer. He’d rather have something to argue about rather than finding ways of making it better. It’s an unfortunate flaw in his personality, he’s so negative instead of seeing and responding to the positive. His attitude isn’t great, which makes his overall outlook pretty grim.

He’s also never lived anywhere else. I’ve been a few other places, and I missed being here. When I came back it was all brand new, and I realized what I had been missing about this place. It made me appreciate it again. It made me fall in love with the community I had left. It made me want to be here again, and glad to be.

Some people just can’t be pleased.

The City of TR

“Why did it do that?” my husband exclaimed as the water seeped into his clothes and dripped from his face.

“Welcome to home ownership!” I laughed.

 

My husband had never done any kind of handiwork in regards to plumbing, and recently the city issued us a Public Nuisance allegation about our sump pump, because it pumps out into the rain gutter in the street and has been causing ice build up. According to the past two owners that drainage had been there since they had both owned the house. So it’s at least over 10 years old. But, of course, the cops only just noticed it recently, and decided to pick on us about it. We hadn’t known that it was an issue really. Our street doesn’t have a storm drain, and it had passed inspection so for all we knew it was perfectly legal. It wasn’t. So we had to deal with it.

 

Of course, the weekend I was going to get my dad to help me route it to the backyard, a snow storm hit and dumps 10 inches of snow on us, and since the ice was building up rapidly in the street, I decided I would just make an emergency reroute into the sewer drain I have in my basement. However, I had forgotten to warn my husband that pipes tend to unload whatever is left in them when they’re disconnected, very rapidly, and I didn’t realize how much water was still left in the pipe. So of course, it became a lovely violent fountain, made our sump pump hole overflow, and gave us a very wet basement, which in-turn, made more work for us.

 

When I finally got the sump pump hooked up to the makeshift resolution we had with spare pipe and saw that it was working for now…My husband and I proceeded to clean and dry up the mess in the basement. I called off from my usual day at the printing museum and got to work moving plastic bins and getting fans to dry up the basement. Every rag in our rag bin was used. My poor husband had an attitude about the whole thing, and in the midst of the issues with the city, this just felt like icing on the cake for all the frustration.

Not only was the city being jerks to bring up this issue after we had only lived in the house for two years, but we also had another issue. The city forgot to check the meters on our block and the block before us to send us our utility bills. So we got charged for two months this month after a series of complains from us and our neighbors that we had not yet gotten our bills. Just after this is when we were issued our Public Nuisance allegation, given only 30 days to comply with the option of an extension if we could prevent the water off the street for now. After speaking with the city we found out we had to reroute the water, remove the pipe, and fix the hole in the curb on our dime, then have the cop who filed the complaint take a look at the changes to make sure we’re doing it all legally. Which we were more than happy to do…up until we saw on our bill that we have a storm water charge we’ve been charged…but our street doesn’t even have a storm drain for our sump pump to connect to, which is the city’s preference.

 

I’m all about removing the pipe and rerouting the water. I wanted to fix that anyway when I first bought the house, but I thought I would have more time to solve that problem. It’s my concerns about fixing the curb, because I thought that was owned by the city. Am I even allowed to touch it really? Am I going to be fined if it’s done incorrectly? Why am I paying a “storm water fee” if my street doesn’t have a storm drain? Furthermore…if the gutter and curb act as my storm drain that the fee on my bill maintains…then why am I paying for it twice when I didn’t damage the curb? What is that fee even for?

 

In all of this there is so much to be thankful for…like all the old pipes the former owner had laying around that have proven remarkable useful. My husband in his funk was still so helpful when I was fixing things and cleaning up the water. Nothing was damaged. The basement is drying as we speak. The water is not spilling into the street or into my basement anymore (though I know the city will not be pleased it is going into the sewer because that’s not legal, but its 12 degrees F and we just had a blizzard overnight so nothing further can be done until spring).

 

The other good thing is Pinterets is full of ideas for solving this type of issue, and I may finally get a water feature in my back yard like I have always wanted…assuming that once I have the water draining on my property…they don’t care what I do with it.

Coming Out of the Woods

I finally took the plunge and got medicated in December. I wasn’t really thrilled about the decision, but as I filled out the mental health questionnaire that most doctors offices make you fill out every yearly checkup, it became more and more clear to me that I wasn’t doing as well as I thought I was.

I brought it up to my doctor again and since the last medication we had tried last year was giving me so much stomach and sleep trouble, I had weaned myself off of it shamelessly. I admitted this to her, and she prescribed me Prozac.

Isn’t that for the people who are really bad? I thought to myself trying to push away the guilt and shame I felt for needing help. I had to give something a chance to at least discover if it works. I was desperate, though I hadn’t known it before. I was desperate to not feel so anxious and depressed that thoughts of suicide were frequent. I was desperate to find out if this was really myself or if there was something working against who I really was.

I realize medication doesn’t work for everyone. I had low expectations of this experience, because I had been so failed for so long before. I know pills are not cures, but treatments. I know that some people are very discouraged and emotionally effected by their depression to the point that they often give up on meds before they even have a chance to start working, or they stay on meds that are hurting them because they desperately want it to work and hope if they just wait longer it will. Medications are never cures. They are helpers as well as hurters in some cases, and by no means was I willing to give up on myself now. But, I struggled with this decision for the first week. Because nothing seemed to change, and I wanted a quick fix like so many others.

Still, I had to try.

The third week into my medication my manager came into the office and addressed me.

“You’ve been quiet today. You okay?”

“Me? Yeah, I’m just really plugging away at these package designs today.”

“I see that, you’re usually not this quiet though.”

“Oh…well nothings wrong just really focused I guess.”

Wait…what? I’m focused? 

I have never been an organized or focused person. Most days at work I’m a busy anxious  bee buzzing around the office unable to focus on anything…and I’m super chatty. I started realizing after that encounter I was able to sit still. I was able to work through the whole day without having to get up and pace. I wasn’t anxious, I just was working. That was the first time in a long time.

In the lunch room a few days later a few snacks were laying out for the employees. Cookies and doughnuts as usual. I was refilling my water bottle when my coworker came in and made a comment about the snacks.

“Hey Em, are these good?” he said pointing to the cookies.

“I don’t know I haven’t had one.”

“What? You never pass up snacks.”

“Just had lunch dude, I’m not hungry.”

When I sat at my desk and began working again I thought about the scenario. I wasn’t hungry. I had never once in my life had a moment where I couldn’t eat. I never really felt full, and even if I was full, I never didn’t at least nibble on something little by little. I could usually eat anything at any time. In fact I’d say I was a constant over eater. How was I not hungry ?

What really sealed the deal for me was last week when we had a terribly icy rainy snow mixture. Since my car accident last May, I’ve struggled with weather, and as I pulled into a parking space at work I realized that there hadn’t been a moment of panic while I was driving in this weather. I wasn’t afraid of the weather. I didn’t even think of it until I was at my destination.

I was feeling normal.

It was still hard to adjust to the medication, not because I was experiencing symptoms, but because I began identifying what was a personality trait, and what was a symptom of my depression. That was hard to swallow for a little while, but the more I began to identify the changes I saw in myself, the more I realized how dysfunctional I really had been. I hadn’t had a stress cry in several weeks. I hadn’t had a suicidal thought in as long. I hadn’t had a panic attack or moment of feeling panicky either. My brain could actually reach a state of quiet…something I never thought I’d be able to do. I could read better. My memory was improving. My blood sugars were lower because I was no longer as anxious as I used to be and I wasn’t over eating. I was remembering to shower more frequently. I was able to get up in the mornings and not feel like I was hit by a truck. Social interactions didn’t feel so jarring or depleting, though they still were tiresome and I still felt like a nap would be very nice.

I was realizing I was becoming myself.

As of right now, I feel really encouraged. I’m starting to value myself more, and I’m better at setting boundaries. Self care is improving and my health is taking a turn for the better. I’m really encouraged by all of these things, but for the most part, I’m just so excited. I didn’t realize how crazy I had felt until I had it all calm to quiet and got rid of all the terrible anxiety that paired with my depression so violently.

As I said before, I understand not everyone has this kind of experience, and for those of you who were like me, I realize lots of people will be discouraged themselves over reading a success story. I had a lot of inner conflict about writing this post, mostly because I used to be really discouraged by people who were successful. Now that I feel like I’m getting better, I have so much empathy for those who are struggling and ready to give up.

Don’t give up, but please also don’t expect it to be immediate either. All you can do is be honest with your doctors and therapists as well as yourself and take life 5 min at a time if you have to. Celebrate small successes like actually eating breakfast or taking a shower and try hard not to be discouraged by all the things that feel like failures. If meds aren’t working, don’t settle for feeling like crap because you want it to work. If you can’t afford mediations, talk to your doctor about assistance programs. Do what you can and exhaust your options. It will suck. It will drain you. It will be a roller coaster. But there is a possibility of getting better, and it is worth trying for.

I know, it’s easy now that I feel like I’m getting to the other side of these problems to say things like that. I know that will make people who were like me before angry, and you know what? You’re so allowed to be angry. What is happening to you is not fair. Depression is mean. It’s violent. It’s so painful. It can turn on you in a moment. Even as I speak I know my body chemistry can change and suddenly these meds might not work. I could be back at square one. I just want to let people know that there is hope, and it’s allowed to be conflicting and complicated and make you upset because things feel so hopeless. Give yourself grace. Do what you can to keep trying.

 

 

A Letter I’ll Never Send: Spiritual Abuser

Dear “brother” in Christ,

May I remind you God created woman with the intention of coming into the world through one. There were female judges in the Bible. God used a lineage that includes and mentions a harlot to come into the world. God saved Armies with women. God used women for great political and spiritual change in Scripture.

Don’t take your toxic masculine Christianity and call me the weaker sex. I have known women Biblical and otherwise who saved nations on rebellion and disobedience to men. I’ve known women who are stronger than most men. Don’t force my submission to you. Because my submission is meant for God honoring men who have earned my love and respect, not the ones who believe because they have a dick that my respect is an obligation. Also, my submission is MINE TO GIVE based on how I discern who is worthy of it.

I know who God says I am. Do you?

You can take your watered down Bible stories and toxic pride that you’ve so lovingly mixed into a cocktail of religious heresy and SHOVE IT. You can take your condemnation and eat your own bitter words. I am loved. I am forgiven. I am made beautifully and wonderfully by a creator who doesn’t see my gender and uses it against me or to exert power over me, but rather sees the state of my heart and washes it clean and renews it with love, and with that love earns my wayward heart back everyday.

Take your words, and take your lies, and get behind me Satan! You have no power here.

Flat Earth

So I have always suspected that people who follow the Flat Earth Movement do not actually believe the Earth is flat. I have always suspected that the Flat Earth Movement was always meant to be a satire. Much like the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It’s something that in an extreme way is actually protesting some kind of common mentality.

Or maybe they’re just stupid. I don’t know. I just have a really hard time thinking people could be that foolish since we’ve been in space and know.

Though honestly I cannot think of what they might be protesting if it is, in fact, a form of satirical protest. Other than a protest of placing blind faith in things. Could be a protest of media being the “ultimate resource” for current events knowledge but proves time and time again to be unreliable? Still, that goes back to the blind faith thing again, and if it is in protest of people putting blind faith in things…it could be in regards to anything from religion to politics to science to…well…everything.

Maybe it’s just one of those futile groups that wants to protest everything? Maybe that’s the point?

Or again, maybe they really are stupid.

Or maybe the movement doesn’t actually exists? Maybe it’s like what the media was doing to my generation back in middle school. It kept saying stuff like “The New Sex Party Trend…” or “Watch out for the new thing kids are doing at parties” none of which had actually happened or was reported to have happened. It was media making up news and giving a generation a bad wrap for something that never happened. So what if the Flat Earth Movement revival, is just the media making up fake news for the sake of drama?

I’m probably over thinking it, but I can’t help but wonder.

Christmas Eve

As a child, I don’t ever recall believing in Santa. It’s just not something that my parents perpetuated. We believed in celebrating the birth of Jesus, and by giving to each other and spending time with family and friends. Of course we did lots of other traditional things. My parents kept our gifts a secret and they didn’t appear under the tree until Christmas Day. We went to my dads parents in the afternoon and my moms mother in the evening and stayed out late. We usually fell asleep in grandmas guest room and woke up the next morning in our own beds. Christmas Day would usually be spent at home so we could stay in pajamas and play with our new toys.

There was still plenty of magic in the air. Especially if there was snow.

This year my husband and I are attending our church for one of the three Christmas Eve services. Afterward and friend is coming with us as we do a short Year Walk in the woods to contemplate all that has happened and pray for all that will. Gifts have been under the tree for a few weeks now, and my husband and I are really good at keeping secrets. We plan on giving the kitties extra treats and catnip before bed, and waking up extra early the next morning to open gifts and rest on the couch before heading to my parents house for lunch and Christmas movies.

I’m actually looking forward to it.

I leave you with one of my favorite Christmas songs. Feel free to post your favorite Christmas song in the comments. I’m always a fan of music.

It Ended with Silence

The funny thing is, nothing about me has changed since the day I cut him out of my life. I am no less the self I was then, only now I have a little more experience under my belt, and hopefully I’m a little wiser. I hold no animosity, though I have plenty of reason to in our case.

Still he tries to have the last word. It’s been nearly two years, and he’s still trying.

Today he tried to contact me on Instagram, under a new account with a new alias. Nothing threatening, just the usual petty remarks about how I look or what a bitch he thinks I am. I deleted the nasty comment after taking a screen shot and saving it to a folder of potential harassment case material. I blocked him. Again. Probably the 3rd time now.

But today was different…

Today I wasn’t thrown into chaos by fear. Today I wasn’t worried about running into him in the street. Today I wasn’t afraid of seeing him. Today I wasn’t afraid of the next attempt to harass me. Today I recognized what all of this was…a show. A show he’s putting on for himself in hopes others will watch and be amazed, only to be disappointed when I refuse to retaliate. Because without my response, he isn’t a show at all. He’s just a man child crying out for attention and making a spectacle of himself. Or worse. He’s nothing if no one notices.

Retaliation means something to play at. Silence means there is nothing but the sounds of angry wails on deaf ears.

Some would say ending my friendship with him with silence was cruel. In his case, it was the only way. You cannot win with Narcissists. They will find ways of blaming you in their own mind and twisting it so they truly believe they are never to blame. So to be silent is the only way to keep him from having reason to retaliate, so if he does harass me, it is entirely of his own choosing.

I keep choosing silence every time he tries to contact me, because with silence I have chosen absolute rejection. When I choose not to retaliate, I ultimately reject his thoughts, his negativity, his bad energy, and his feelings…none of which I am obligated to take responsibility for since ending the friendship. I refuse to acknowledge them. I refuse to be a victim to them.

Still, I wish he would just move on. The only “crime” I committed was out growing him. That’s not a crime at all. As long as this continues I intend to retaliate with silence.