Changing ain’t easy

I have had a raging case of PMS since yesterday evening. TMI you say? Perhaps, but hey, it is what it is. Everybody and everything has been getting on my nerves. When I’m not angry, I just want to sit and mope. I want to eat all the things, and it makes me a little angry that there isn’t any chocolate in this house. Well, there might be some cocoa, but I sure as heck don’t want to cook.

I did do some work though. I did a couple of hours of coding, which did not improve my mood even though it was slightly easier coding in Dreamweaver than just typing all of it manually. Of course it didn’t work, and that pissed me off. But really, I have never written any code that worked the first time. And I love troubleshooting. Since then I have realized why it isn’t working and it’s not my code, but at this point I am not going to log into GoDaddy and upload it. After all, I need to save some work for tomorrow. ;) And I practiced for Sunday.

Anyway, I couldn’t stand my bitchiness anymore so I texted Petra to whine. She told me to organize something. HAHAHAHA! Right. Like I even know where to start, but I did remember about partially cleaning the toilet this morning and gave her all the details of that. That led me to make myself go finish cleaning it. Which was oh so gross. Once that was done, I looked at the shower curtain and decided it needed to be washed. Well, heck, might as well clean the shower too. It just snowballed and I cleaned the whole bathroom including baseboards and walls. Then I thought, “Huh. That was a lot more productive than sitting on my pity pot wishing I could drink a glass of wine.” Because of course it would be at least a whole bottle.

During one of my many breaks, I read this blog post: The Problem with Asking for Advice. He hit me right away with this:

Often, when asking for advice, a person isn’t really seeking something new. They’re just looking for validation, affirmation of a choice already made. And this is a problem.

That hits close to home. But, after reading that and looking back on what I have done today, I can see where I am making changes in my behavior when the crazy creeps in. I didn’t want to write code today. I didn’t want to call the security office at work to see if I can get back in the compound yet and work on site. I didn’t want to practice. I definitely didn’t want to clean. But they were all things that needed to be done, and they all kept my mind occupied with something besides obsessing over escape. I mean, for real. It’s just freaking PMS. It will pass in a day or too and then I can piss and moan and whine about having cramps for a couple of days and look all miserable like Brownie when she has her “special time.”

I was telling my therapist last week about the trip to Arkansas and some things I did to make a little bit of peace with the past. She didn’t let it pass and “forced” me to go more in depth about one of the things. Then she asked me what I had done about it at the time. I kind of laughed and said, “Well, I avoided.” Then she laughed and sarcastically said, “Really? You avoiding?” because she called me out on that months ago. That has been a hard change to make. But as I work on changing that behavior, I can see that it really is easier to confront something or someone that is legitimately bothering me in some way than avoiding the situation and storing up resentment. Go figure. ;)

And funny enough, just writing this has chilled me out.

Moving on

My name is Martha, and I am a Missionary Baptist deacon’s kid (DK). And I’m an alcoholic. I just reported the latter to my security officer so it can’t be used against me now. My co-workers know too. My mother does not, and I intend to keep it that way because that might be the one thing she doesn’t forget. ;) And I got sober before I got the nose ring. haha! :)

I was told not too long ago that I have been pretty open about blogging about my “junk.” Well, now that I have dragged all of my skellingtons out of the closet to my sponsor (and lived through it), I feel much more comfortable sharing my junk publicly. Because I kept a lot of crap bottled up for so long that I nearly imploded. It’s been a year now since my emotional breakdown which could in a sense be considered my rock bottom even though it took me a while after that to admit that my drinking was a problem that was perpetuating my other problems.

I read a couple of articles this morning that hit home and prompted me to be willing to put some more of my junk out there.

5 Reasons Pastors Kids are Leaving the Church – Guest Post by Emily Wierenga

Do Prodigals Feel Welcome At Our Churches?

I learned as a DK very early how to keep up appearances. I knew the right way to speak around the right people. I learned how to smile and pretend everything was okay. I might have missed my calling as an actress because I kept up quite an act. Things were not okay, and I was not okay. My dad was verbally and emotionally abuse to my mom and I, and it couldn’t be shared. So we suffered in silence. I can’t speak for her, but I can speak for how it affected me. It nearly destroyed me. I learned not to trust anyone, and not to respect authority, but to go through the motions as if I did. Of course that can’t be maintained, and so I would act out. I felt different from everybody like I didn’t fit in.

Then I got drunk, and that changed everything.

It was my 3rd time drinking when I hit that sweet spot of drunk where I felt good. I was confident and relaxed for the first time. I could be myself without analyzing everything that I or anyone else said or did. I enjoyed life, at least until I sobered up. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I never did drink like I “normal” person. I drank to get drunk – trying to get back that feeling of that first good drunk. Sometimes I did it, but more often than not I went way beyond that sweet spot. It became a means to escape. It didn’t matter how many hangovers where I swore I’d never drink again, I was going to end up doing it again. And when I did, I was going to drink until there was no more alcohol or I passed out or I was throwing up. I would feel guilty the next day, but still kept drinking.

I was extremely fortunate that drinking never got me into any trouble with work or the law. I never missed work because of my drinking, didn’t go to work drunk, and rarely went in with a hangover. I never got into any trouble with the law. But for the grace of God, it never progressed farther than having Petra tell me I needed to stop for a while. Which, of course, I couldn’t.

What really stood out to me in the first article I linked above is: “PKs aren’t given a chance to experience God’s grace and mercy; they’re just forced to memorize the concepts.” The same was true for this DK. Grace and mercy took a back seat to following rules to maintain your own reputation among other people. Or rather my dad’s reputation which he destroyed himself.

In the second article, there was this: “And when prodigals bottom out, they often return home and to the church.” I returned to the church before I actually bottomed out, but I nearly left again. I did leave the Baptist way behind because I could still see and feel that pressure to maintain an outward appearance of righteousness. I couldn’t live up to that standard as a child and I can’t live up to it as an adult.

What I can do, though, is learn how to rest in the finished work of Jesus. It took over 30 years for it to finally sink in, but I am not accepted and loved by God because of anything I have done, am doing, or will do. It is through Jesus and Jesus alone that I am made righteous. He paid my debt. I have nothing to earn. The best work I can do on my own is like a used tampon before God. Oh yeah, that’s the literal translation of “filthy rags” in the Bible. But if Christ’s death on the cross is not enough to pay for my sin, it’s not enough to cover anyone’s and none of us have any hope. The justification of salvation is an instant event, but sanctification is a process rather than an event. That is why I can put my junk out without wallowing in the pit of self-pity from guilt and shame due to not being perfect. That’s why I no longer look at trials as punishment but as instruments of growth because they are chipping away at my self-centeredness and my guilt and shame of not being perfect. Only Jesus was perfect.

I have 5 1/2 months of sobriety by the grace of God, one day at a time. I am making peace with my past and letting go by the grace of God, one day at a time. I am learning to open up and call people when I am feeling the insanity of the committee in my head and need someone to talk to and to talk me down, by the grace of God, one day at a time. I am learning to live in the present and not reliving the past or trying to control the future, by the grace of God, one day at a time.

Adventures in Arkansas

I really should have sat down and written last night when I had things to say. Or at least made a note of what I wanted to write about like I suggested to Petra. Haha! But in my defense, I was sick as a dog from the flight back from Arkansas. But Enterprise hooked me up with a sweet rental car:

I almost didn’t make that trip. I really didn’t want to. I didn’t want to face my mom’s health issues because avoidance is my default action (or inaction as it were) when I can’t practice full on denial. But I plucked up the courage to do it anyway. Oh my word. Her short term memory is completely gone. She had a stroke while she was in the hospital recovering from pneumonia (and she has COPD), and while the memory issues could be attributed to Alzheimer’s, her inability to say the right words is not something she had prior. It was hard. Hard to listen to and watch her struggle to get out what she wanted to say, and hard to figure out what she meant. But she gets around fine, and I wore her out! Because that’s how I roll. ;) She’s in the nursing home for rehabilitation, and they let me check her out and run her around.

I took her to the Veteran’s Walk of Flags by the hospital first. We did not walk the whole thing.

But my cousin Sharon was interviewed later that day while she was there:

Flags Flying for Veterans In Morrilton Today

It is such a beautiful and humbling display, and I feel honored that I now have a flag among so many others. I am so very grateful to Sharon for making sure all the Eoff family veterans got flags.

Then we went out to the Bishop family reunion and I didn’t take a single picture of any of my family. :( I did take one down at the creek:

Because the reunion isn’t just complete without a walk down to the creek. It was the thing to do when I was a kid, and it still is at 44. Not that I got off the bridge because the possibility of falling and getting wet doesn’t appeal to me anymore. Mainly because I didn’t want my phone ruined. haha! But I had a great time, and didn’t get glutened. Mom seemed to know everybody and that was great! I had a good talk with my sister-in-law even if it was short and kept semi on the down low given what I shared with her. And throughout the weekend I got to have really good visits with family and a couple old friends and my mom’s neighbor. And then after I dropped Mom off Saturday night and left the nursing home, I drove around town and bawled.

Now, I don’t like to fly, and have been terrified of flying since 1999. So as I drove up to RDU to leave, I thought I would try a little something different than I normally do. See, normally the DragonLady doesn’t get on a plane sober. Granted, last summer I flew sober, but I was a wreck the whole time. This time, drinking wasn’t an option I was willing to entertain so I prayed and asked God to remove my fear of flying. You know, it worked. I was not at all scared coming or going. Even with the turbulence and thunderstorms around Charlotte. And no, I didn’t ask God to give me a good rental car. That was pure bonus. hahaha!

Learning

I wrote a pretty lengthy post last week, but I couldn’t come up with a title for it. Then, after a few hours I decided the whole thing sounded whiny so I just scrapped it into the draft oblivion. So I decided instead of pissing and moaning I would just share some stuff I’ve been learning/coming to terms with lately.

1. It’s ok to be vulnerable with friends. In fact, if they are really your friends, it is pretty safe, and it helps build the relationship.

2. You shouldn’t ever hold on to guilt that isn’t yours. Ok, you shouldn’t ever just hold on to guilt at all, but you can only make amends for what you do.

3. You can’t earn grace and you don’t deserve it. It’s not an entitlement. Neither can you lose it.

4. Relationships are more important and more valuable that material things, but are harder to make and keep. Which makes them more valuable.

5. You don’t have to know everything. It’s impossible anyway.

6. You can’t do everything. And nobody is self-sufficient.

7. Hurt people hurt people. That doesn’t make it ok, but keeping that in mind helps considerably in being kind and loving to people who have hurt you. I don’t advocate allowing physical abuse, however.

And knowing is half the battle

Petra (who needs to blog) diagnosed me as an Aspie. And then I took like 3 or 4 Asberger’s/Autism tests, and I scored pretty stinking high on all of them as being on the spectrum. I also tested likely to be dyslexic and something else with a similar d name that I can’t remember and can’t be bothered to search my email for. She also diagnosed Jamie with Asberger’s, and Jamie took the tests too and self-diagnosed. What have I done with that? Not much besides mentioning it to our therapists, and I wasn’t really able to convince any of them. But all that said, it explains some things beyond just being introverts.

I had a session with my therapist last week, and I ended up telling her the one thing I haven’t ever told anybody. I really hadn’t planned on dropping that little skeleton to her, but it came out. And I didn’t even have a meltdown in the process, though I think my tear ducts are broken. ;) Anyway, after talking though the whole situation, she told me that I seemed to have a kind of survivor’s guilt even though I was not one of the victims. Just collateral damage.

Not being one to just sit on that, I looked up survivor’s guilt and it is a facet of PTSD. Then the lightbulb turned on, and it was as if all the pieces finally fit together as to what the heck is wrong with my head. It’s no longer “What the heck is wrong with me?” Now I know. Now I understand. Finally. This is why I either overreact or shutdown. This is why I bounce wildly between high and low and angry. This is why my fight or flight is so extreme with flight being default. This is why I am such a control freak.

But knowing is half the battle. Now that I know the why, I have a long road ahead of continuing to process and let go of what wasn’t mine to being with and own what is mine.

serenityzz11

There are days

There are days when all seems well.

There are days when everything is dark and foreboding.

There are days when it seems like everything is going wrong.

There are days when all is bright and light as a feather.

There are days when the darkness is so thick it can be felt – heavy and soul-crushing.

There are days when there is just too much, and it’s overwhelming.

There are days when you just can’t stop smiling, and everything rolls off of you effortlessly.

There are days when the pain is so great that you don’t think you can possibly take another breath.

There are days when the fear is all encompassing, and you feel like you are going to explode.

This too shall pass.

“Like I always do”

Insanity is often defined as doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Been there done that. Still do it. But some other things have occurred to me lately that expand on that. One glaring thing has been my obsessive need to control everyone and everything around me in an attempt to maintain my protective comfort zone bubble. That bubble burst last summer, and I have to remind myself sometimes every few minutes that I can’t put it back together. Nor should I even try.

Another aspect of that is perfectionism. Or better yet, perfectionism on top of thinking you can and/or have to do everything. That’s another bubble of mine that burst last summer and almost got me and Jamie arrested. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. (Why must I look up that word to spell it correctly? Every.Single.Time?) It would just have been a ticket. And I should tell that story sometime. Anyway, point is, it is not weakness to need help. You can’t do everything, and you can’t do everything perfectly.

You can’t hear if you’re not listening

There is a story behind that picture. I was scheduled to play at church this past Sunday, and there were several emails throughout the week regarding the song lineup. The first had to do with one particular song (video below) that only really had 3 instrumental parts: drums, bass, and keyboard. Bradford said that I would be playing keyboard. I laughed at that part of the email. He added not to worry that the keyboards would be tracked, and I just had to look like I was playing. Which made me laugh more because if I could fake playing a trumpet in college, I could definitely fake play keyboards. After listening to the song I thought that if I still had a keyboard and the time to practice (and the sheet music), I could have played it for real. But people thought I was really playing. Those who mentioned to me how cool it was that I play keyboards too got to hear the truth that I was keysyncing (like lipsyncing). And that was the only song I didn’t screw up. :cheesy: And I was glad to do it because otherwise I would have only been doing vocals, and I couldn’t do the clapping right. Plus clapping hurts my hands. Regardless, it gave me something to do with my hands.

Before rehearsal last Thursday as Bradford led us in a devotional, he summed up Pastor’s Nate’s sermon from the previous Sunday (which I missed).

Just because God is silent does not mean He isn’t active.

My experience has been that whenever I am going through a hard trial or a period of depression, God is not only silent, but He seems absent. I feel like I am completely alone and overwhelmed. Once it passes, I can then see that God was there the whole time working while I was wallowing in fear and/or self-pity. I’m starting to see, or hear, that He isn’t always silent in the pit.

I usually have ministry hangover the day after I play at church. Yesterday was no exception, and life compounded it. I felt it when I (finally) got out of bed, and I started praying while I showered. My shower is my “prayer closet” because generally speaking, I can be alone without interruption. This is also why I named my shower “the confessional.” So I was praying and as it progressed, I began praying about my self-will. I don’t remember what I asked, but I remember hearing the answer. I have already been set free.

Jesus is stronger than my self-will.

I have a hard time remembering that. Partially because of self-will. Partially because of bad theology. But hearing it helped. I immediately felt peace. And then life reared its head again, and the peace was gone. But over and over and over all day, I went back to my prayer time and reminded myself of what God spoke to me, and it got me through.

Pastor Benji said something during his sermon Sunday morning that really made an impression on me.

If I didn’t already know what the Bible has to say about my self-will, I don’t think I would have heard God’s voice as I did.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26 ESV)

But additionally, I don’t think I would have heard it if I hadn’t been willing to hear something that might not be what I want to hear. Nor do I think I would have heard it if I wasn’t willing to give up my self-will. And I wouldn’t be willing to give up my self-will if living according to my will worked.

Living the dream

One line. At :28. By Blair. :)

So there I was right, on my way to the dentist to get my permanent crown when I had a thought. The thought was 2 years in the making, but I was finally going to go through with it. Probably. To ensure I would, I texted Petra to see if she had anything going on. See, it also wasn’t something I was going to do solo. haha. She didn’t so I told her what I was planning, and she was all like “I gotta see this!”

I decided to get my nose pierced.

I’m pretty sure we had discussed it before, but it seemed to genuinely shock her. But, she was going to base her decision on my experience.

With his finger all up in my nose. :)

With his finger all up in my nose. :)

What is up with that spare tire I am carrying around?

What is up with that spare tire I am carrying around?

Oh. My. Word. At least he warned me about what to expect. The actual piercing didn’t really hurt that bad. It was getting the ring in that was the issue. You know, because I’m not going to be normal. I have really thick cartilage. So it took some work to get the ring in. Then Petra says, “You have blood on your boob.” Wait. What? When he got the bleeding pretty much stopped and I looked down, I was all like “Holy crap!” It wasn’t just on my boob. It was all down my shirt. I said I was going to wear it to rehearsal like a badge of honor, but I didn’t. I changed.

IMG_1622.JPG

We both wished she had gotten a shot when the needle was sticking through. And it was a HUGE needle. I commented that it was like blood donation needle. Because it was. Petra now refuses to get her nose pierced. I called her a puss. I mean really. She’s had 7 kids. What’s a big needle through the nose? ;) She’s getting tattoos first though. If she has no reaction to the ink, then I will feel it’s safe(ish) to get one. And maybe by then I will figure out what I want. Besides the mushroom cloud tramp stamp, that is. ;)

This is hilarious!

H/T to Stephen Altrogge.

Random Randomness of Random

I should just go ahead an announce a blog hiatus because every time I have ever done that I’ve been able to write. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write, it’s just organizing thoughts into something coherent. Of course, there will be no coherency in this post just because. ;)

I took off work Friday so I could take the hubster to court. Told him early in the week that I had the day off. Late Thursday night he informed me that he had another ride. Alrighty then. He nearly got arrested due to the county rescheduling and not letting anyone know but him. So he goes back in June and I will not be his transportation this time.

Since I had the day, I took care of some bidness at the insurance agent, and went to Chapel Hill to pick up my race packet for the Tar Hell 10 Miler.

I love how fancy it’s all personalized. More on the race later.

I was a little hungry and definitely thirsty, so I stopped in Pittsboro at Chatham Marketplace, and they had what I wanted. I decided to have some fun and sent my sponsor a text saying, “So I picked up a 6 pack for lunch…” I followed that up with this pic:

6-pack

After eating the second one, I sent Petra a text saying that I had just had a mouthgasm. Yes, it was that good.

About the 10 miler. I woke up at 4:30 am with abdominal cramps from hell. Same thing happened about a month ago. So rather than treating it as a stomach bug, I took some ibuprofen and the pain was gone around noon. I don’t know what is up with that crap, or the hot flash from hell that had me up from 2-3:30 this morning. My knee is hurt also so there was a valid(ish) reason for not racing other than the fact that I haven’t run in so long I don’t remember the last time I ran.

After the meds kicked in Saturday, the good idea fairy showed up and convinced me that since it was such a nice day it would be a great idea to wash and wax my car. I’m pretty sure running 10 miles would have been less painful. 4 hours, and I am still sore today. I got some good sleeps that night and didn’t wake up until 9 yesterday.

photo 3

Oh, and Amber hatched Easter Sunday:

2 are already spoken for, thank goodness. She had 4, but one didn’t make it.

Enjoy your Monday.