Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Day on the Floor

This post was written two days ago...I just saw it when getting ready to upload a new post. But apparently I was feeling so bad that day that I didn't trust myself to be able to live with the shame of this honesty. Yesterday I started feeling my spirits lift slowly out of the pit, and today is a little better than that.  

If you suffer depression at any level, work (or wait) your way through to the next part of the cycle. Even if you don't believe it's coming, if you are considering suicide PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR HELP. If you are familiar with the feelings I describe below, realize that I don't feel the same way two days later. 

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It could be anything. PMS. Peri-menopausal symptoms. The oppressively hot air outside. The amount of things to do just to be caught up, not to mention get ahead. Also, it's not like there's been a shortage of pain or trauma in my life over the last year. And it seems like when necessary I can muster up just enough energy and determination to do anything. And to be enthusiastic enough that I believe I'm becoming the person I want to be. The person who can answer yes to every, "Does anybody happen to have any _____?" Safety pins. Aspirin. Bandaids. Super powers.

It lasts enough to feel really good. And then inevitably I sink into a pit of stagnant self-loathing, self-pity, and insecurity. I spend a lot of time chastising myself. Like, it's because I drank too much last night (which always means 1 drink above my 2-drink limit) and alcohol is a depressant so I'm just living a well-deserved day of depression and misery. Trouble is, I find other reasons to explain it if I didn't drink last night.

I usually try to work my way back into my own good graces, then feel overwhelmed and go back to sleep for (hopefully) a good dream and a reboot.

There's also L-theanine, which if I don't feel TOO terrible might help a bit...giving me enough energy to lift my eyes above the quicksand of poo and see a butterfly off in the distance. But have you ever felt so bad you can't bring yourself to take the cure? Like -- it's right there on top of the fridge, and all you have to do is take it down and chew up two of the minty, TUMS-like tablets and most likely feel at least some relief from the oppressive weight. But you (I) walk right past. Because I can't believe I will ever feel better again and why take a stupid mint-flavored, chewable supplement?

So that's today. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sermon Me Not

This past week I attended the funeral of my uncle, who could easily have vied for "most gentle man ever." I remember him from a very young age, when he was dating my aunt and then right after they married and lived in a house on the street behind ours. I never saw him express ugliness, never heard him bark at his kids (my dad-- lotsa bark, lotsa bite), never felt afraid of him. Everything he was was right there, worn like his clothes, deep all the way to his heart. As a young mother and wife, my husband (now ex) and I spent a lot of time with my aunt and uncle, as she helped me navigate breastfeeding and he encouraged my kids' dad to get his HAM radio license and then we all played with then-burgeoning technology. He taught me to write batch files and to download games from bulletin boards, and we would play a particular game over our computers while he and my kids' dad talked over their radios. He was there when my kids were born. In one instance, he used his HAM radio to tell my kids' dad to hurry back to the hospital because I was about to deliver (I had sent him out on a fool's errand because he was driving me crazy).

My uncle was born in Nigeria to missionary parents, and he and my aunt met in Campus Crusade for Christ when both in college in Austin. He did many different jobs in his lifetime, and in each of these positions made friendships with people who were drawn to his gentleness, and in most of these cases people were led to believe in Christ, very much a case of "What you have I want!" That's who he was.

Last year he was diagnosed with, treated for, and conquered leukemia. Then a couple of weeks ago he collapsed, his system having been attacked by an unknown virus. By the time they identified it and began treating it, he was in near-total organ failure, and though every day there was some spark of hope, in the end he was removed from life support and slipped away; even after life support was removed he was alert and went on for many more hours than expected, surrounded by family and, I believe, being a comfort to them before he left. He was that kind of man, husband, father, grandfather...uncle.

Now, I'm not the right-wing conservative Christian I was raised to be, and my uncle and his family for the most part toe that line. Actually a little over half my family stays in that range. So it should have been no surprise that his funeral would be a somber Baptist service with a sermon-come-alter-call, complete with fire and brimstone. Actually this one was about stillborn babies rubbed with bloody sheepskins, but it's all the same. It's the grace of Jesus with the threat of horror, trotted out before a room full of grieving grandchildren who should not be hearing this shit.

I know, if you're a Christian that's part and parcel. I won't get in to why I object and how I came to my belief against church services and sermons in general. I have come to feel confident as I study the Bible and other religious texts myself, and seek out conversations and traditions outside what I was taught as a child and through my young adulthood. There is absolutely no reason on earth that I should sit still for an hour and be threatened by an angry man from behind a pulpit.

FUCK THAT.

(See, the gentleness isn't as strong in me....my uncle married into our family and shared his with us, but it's all nurture, not nature!)

My uncle's life was a sermon, an offering of grace to everyone who was blessed enough to be in his sphere of contact. During his funeral, voice after voice told stories of how they met him, how his nature touched them, and how he eventually led them to Jesus. There was NO ONE in that room that needed to be exposed to the grotesque and gory pictures "just in case" they weren't saved yet.

I think I was a little mouthy afterward and although I believe I kept my voice silent to all except the person(s) I was talking to, I visibly objected, and I was angry! The truth is, the man who delivered the sermon has been on my poo poo list for many years because of his perspectives and the manner in which he delivers them. But that's another story altogether. I may tell it one day.

Don't get me wrong...there is a time and place for teaching about what life would be without grace. But when people come together to comfort, to be comforted, to say goodbye and be held in loving tenderness while they grieve...that's not right. I have instructed my children that in NO WAY should there ever be a sermon of any kind during my funeral or at my grave or wherever they decide to dump the body. If anyone scares or threatens my precious grandbabies or great-grands (yep...my non-gentleness will probably see me through another generation) I will come down and stomp their ass. I will be watching!!!!

Our lives should be the only sermon others ever need. Our funerals should not be a "captive audience" opportunity.