The “Because I Said So” Method of Parenting, And How It Supposedly Saves Lives

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load of crapMaybe it is just my obstinate nature, but I have always been one to reject traditional wisdoms, especially Christians ones, should they fail the common sense litmus test. Some may take some time to flesh out, but usually, I can zero in on a weak spot if one exists. My mother was not gifted with that talent, and her embracing of some truly illogical things throughout my childhood used to make my head hurt. It was just one of many reasons I felt pretty sure I’d been switched at birth.

My mother was a unique blend of sophistication, beauty, and naiveté, and this was never so evident than when Oral Roberts tearily extorted money from millions of viewers by announcing God was holding his life for ransom to the tune of $8 million dollars.  I was flat-out offended by the whole disgusting display of snot and tears, unable to reconcile all that I knew about God’s nature with this pathetic spectacle of blackmail, greed, and frankly, blasphemy. I can find reasons to be merciful in just about any situation except when people use God to make themselves a buck. That is just plain repulsive to me, and always has been.

I felt like Jesus was used in a shameful way, painted out to be an opportunistic weakling who

These hands mean something completely different to me.

These hands mean something completely different to me.

depended on us to take care of His people, unable to provide for them Himself. I verbally declared my hopes that the man not receive a damn penny, both loudly and often. I desperately hoped he’d be called to the carpet and actually have to drop dead because of a failed budgetary deadline. To me, since God does not work that way, it would be flat-out hilarious watching this man come up with God’s technical loopholes for sparing his life, since opportunistic leeches rarely have the stones needed to commit suicide. But alas, I was sorely disappointed.

I had no idea so many people would buy into this load of garbage, but my mother being one of them was just too much for me to process. I argued, explained, and even bordered on mocking my mother and her lack of understanding this God she was serving. My words fell on deaf ears.

Oral Roberts not only conned his way into $8 million, but when all the money was finally counted up, he’d collected a cool extra million dollars. I still want to vomit when I think about it.

My mom shorted our already stretched household budgets and mailed a nice chunk of money to the momOral Roberts Ministry amid some pretty stringent arguments from me. I was a teenager by the time this was going on, and had survived some of my mother’s other Christian-based disaster decisions. Despite what I believed were clear, irrefutable arguments about such things, my mother seemed unable to see the long-term consequences of some of these actions. Instead, she accepted without question interpretations or opinions of people she respected or admired. I, on the other hand, rarely respected and admired the same people, and as time would show, I was considerably better at judging the outcomes of some of this stupid stuff, even as a child.

quote-bizarrebehaviorOne of these illogical but massively popular suggestions that just drove me over the edge was the Christian-hyped parenting tip that instructed parents to teach their children blind obedience. I don’t know how widespread this theory was, but it raged through our church like a wildfire in deep summer. A pamphlet…pamphlet!! not even a whole book!!!…. was distributed around explaining the parenting procedure and how it was the formula Christian parents needed for raising godly children. It advocated strictly disciplining children for any form of misbehavior, consistently, and without explanations. I called it the “Because I Said So” method of parenting, and it seemed ridiculous to me from the very beginning.

Now that I am a 45 year-old mother with three grown children, I have a new appreciation for what a insanityreal pain in the ass I must have been to my mother. The “Because I Said So” method went over with me like a fart in church. I already didn’t trust the people raising me, and this sudden excuse to communicate even less to me about all the spankings I seemed to be earning those days seemed to fit just a little too comfortably in my mother’s arsenal of insanity. My mother’s brain did not work at all like mine did, and she found my willingness to point out fatal flaws in a lot of her logic annoying. She won almost all of our disagreements by simply announcing her victory and dismissing me from the conversation. I always left feeling cheated. She clearly had no debating skills whatsoever.

adam sandlerWhen my mother announced her intention of becoming a better parent by ensuring the godliness of our souls with this blind obedience tactic, I had questions and concerns, to say the least. She and the stepfather insisted that by blindly obeying their voices, our lives would be saved, not just spiritually but also physically. Like when she told me that she showed me how much she loved me by spanking me, I sensed I wasn’t going to enjoy this protection measure any more than her new love gestures.

Here is their argument as it was explained to me:

“If a child is playing on a busy street, and a bus is about to hit him, a parent doesn’t have time to explain why they need obey their parent’s voice. When a parent yells for the kid to jump out-of-the-way of the bus, there isn’t time to explain. Blind obedience will save that child’s life.”

I was twelve when this new hellish discipline tactic was introduced to me, and to say I was appalled with the logic is a giant understatement. I had some thoughts.

  1.  If a twelve year-old is still playing in a busy street at that late age, let the bus hit them. It’s Nature’s survival of the fittest gone industrial.
  2. I think the tone of the screaming parent plays a much larger part in any immediate response by the Hit-By-The-Bus-Illusion-Funny-Illusionsmoronic kid playing in a busy street than any of the words do. It’s just a hunch.
  3. Can blind obedience actually work against someone in these sorts of scenarios? What if the parent is distracted and the dumb ass waits for the command that never comes, and gets hit by a stray bus?

My acerbic wit was neither welcomed nor appreciated, and I found myself living out the rest of my disturbing childhood doing things because my mother told me so. In my case, it was especially hard to understand my mother’s reasoning anyways, so her refusal to explain her decisions to me often left me assuming the worst about her motivations. Our already dysfunctional relationship was damaged even further by her acceptance that some words on a pamphlet...a  pamphlet no less!!…. were words straight from God’s mouth.

In order to develop a trust between my children and myself, I refused to embrace this way of parenting. I didn’t discuss with them every decision, but when the opportunity was there, I would try to explain to my kids my motives, even the selfish ones,  and my reasons for denying them something they wanted, or saying no to things they wanted to do.  Happily, not a single one of them ever got hit by a bus.

good adviceIt took a little time and maturity before I could clearly see my mother wasn’t well. She would be hysterically happy for a few days, then become depressed and sleep for what seemed like weeks. She seemed fragile emotionally, given to fits of crazy laughter that made me uncomfortable, or quiet weeping that made me feel even more uncomfortable. She’d been raised with an entirely different set of priorities and values, none of which fit comfortably into Christianity, and she spend her lifetime trying to tear up unstable foundations and lay down Godly ones. I think she genuinely loved her children, but because she did not trust her own instincts, she felt obligated to embrace someone else’s opinions about child-rearing instead. I can see how life must have been so much harder for her than it has been for me, and I try to go a little easier on her these days.

I think it wise to examine any advice given to you about anything important in your life, especially bad adviceparenting, and do it thoroughly.  On the surface, almost anything looks benign and maybe even helpful and righteous. But take a minute to really examine all aspects of these kinds of suggestions.

In the “Because I Said So” method, the flaws just leaped out to me, but a great number of people I knew fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. God does not advocate we accept anything we hear from anyone without thoroughly examining it against His Word. Blind obedience is absolutely not a good thing to train in to a child, nor does the Bible ever suggest that it is.

Be wise as serpents, and do not let your kids play in busy streets.

~ Bird

Everyone Has A Back Story Too

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What??

What??

It would seem that I’ve stirred up some stuff about cheating spouses, angry wives, and mistresses bearing the brunt of the blame with my last post. I guess I’ve really been healing up nicely… I forgot how I desperately crawled through the internet looking for some answers to questions that weren’t even clear to me, and how easy it was to read things into what people said that they might not have meant.

I admit, I did not see the quick post about not being harsh with women who’d been hurt stirring up so many people’s emotions.

In an effort to explain my reluctance to verbally bash all Other Women for their membership in the club that ruined my own marriage. I’d better spill something that I failed to address during the The Dark Year, when Chef and Tanya were the new Chef and Bird, and I was just some lunatic codependent living in the ghetto who was writing her crazy on a blog for the world to read.

I won’t lie to you and say I didn’t think about this a lot while I was terrorizing Tanya. I did. I have a runner upconscious.

Here it goes.

The man who is actually Rebekkah’s biological father was married, and we lived together for a couple of months before I kicked him to the curb for cheating on me.

Horrible, right? I was The Other Woman.

The problem with living a life being dictated by only black and white scenarios is that rarely does anything in life ever really falls in either of those categories. Most of what a person does that really gets our attention started long before a bad decision is made.

I’d been trying to find a way to leave home. I was attending college, but still living with the person who molested me, and I felt almost desperate. I’d asked a relative who lived in the same town if I could live with her, and she didn’t want to become involved in this sordid mess, and flat told me no. Don’t you just love family??

doucheI worked the evenings at a 24 hour restaurant, and had gone on a couple of dates with a guy I liked okay. I will admit, I would have seduced Norman Bates if I thought it would buy me a ticket out of the hell I’d been living in for years. Turns out, a misunderstanding and a guy afraid I would tell his secrets were about to take care of my problem for me.

I went to work as usual, but a few hours later, I began to feel sick. I spoke to my manager who let me punch out, and then I called home for a ride. No one answered, so I left a message. My manager had me lie down in the break room. I fell asleep…and woke up there the next morning!! I called and called home, and still got no answer. Finally, I called the guy I’d gone on two….TWO…dates with, and he came and picked me up to take me home. When I arrived at my house, all of my things were in garbage bags on the lawn and my family were all in the house ignoring my calls and knocks. The person who could be hurt by my knowledge had decided that since I hadn’t come home that night, it was the perfect opportunity to kick me out, and my mom was soothed by scriptures about rebellious children and how it was God’s will to make me suffer so my soul would not be lost.

Sidenote: I hate when people twist the Bible to justify something a moron naturally knows is just plain wrong. I ended up smack in the middle of the stupidest “Christian” crap constantly. It’s a wonder I didn’t go atheist….

Patrick, my two-date guy, was freaked out. He did not come from a dysfunctional family, and the experience of witnessing it worked in my favor. He was angry on my behalf. He loaded the sad two sacks of junk and clothes my family had packed for me up in his car, settled a stunned me in the front seat, and I found myself living with a guy I didn’t know.

A few weeks later, Patrick and I had just signed a lease on an apartment. I felt grateful to have a place to live, and more than a little unsettled about living with a man who had some glaring flaws. Patrick was, and is to this day, the most intelligent human being I’ve ever met.

He is the kind of guy that does long multiplication in his head, and then explains how that number is the equation that explains how a cow in Africa’s hair color is related to the orange orchard that his father worked in as a kid….Bizarre, but I believed him. If anyone would know, it would be him. I spent a great deal of time listening to stuff that made no sense to me and nodding when I thought it was appropriate. He never seemed to notice or care that I was never adding anything to any of our conversations. He was obviously just happy to have a captured audience. I remember thinking this must have been one lonely kid…

WThe night before the big move to our apartment, we were awakened by a pounding on the door of the trailer we had been staying in. Incidentally, it was parked in his parents’ back yard. I could go all sorts of hilarious places with just that, but I won’t. He did give me Rebekkah after all.

Patrick jumped up and headed towards the door, telling me to stay in bed. I’m pretty sure we both thought it was a cop. It was worse. It was an angry wife.

Patrick recognized her voice screaming obscenities before he made it to the door, and instead of answering the door, he had a yelling match with her through it. She knew he had a girl in the trailer with him. In other words, she wasn’t retarded. Why else wouldn’t he open the door?

After he tried lying to her about me, he then resorted to name calling. I don’t remember much about what she was saying. I remember her crying. I remember thinking Patrick was a douche, who’d taken me on two real dates while he was married to a woman who was home taking care of the kids.

I also remembered I had no where else to go.

This guy had failed to mention a wife, and five stepkids he’d raised for years. It had been bad enough being a Fornicator. Now I was also an Adulterous Woman. I felt pretty positive that Patrick wasn’t going to be the true love of my life. I watched in pure horror as this professionally dressed, attractive woman pulled off a high heeled shoe and beat it against a window in an effort to break inside. I hadn’t ever experienced having my heart broken, and frankly, it was just unsettling to watch her act like a complete nut job. I tried to blend into a corner in the living room/dining room/bedroom and not be noticed.

The wife, on the other hand, could notice nothing else, and it was the site of me cowering in a corner that made her hell-bent on getting in that trailer. What seemed like an eternity went by before she limped back to her car, broken high heel in her hand, and drove away. I tried tentatively to discuss his marital status, but Patrick was upset about his wife flipping out, and needed time to think. We went to bed, both of us doing a lot of thinking.

In the end, I moved in the apartment with him, knowing full well he was married, and that his wife revengewas devastated by what he had done. It didn’t matter an iota to her what my story was, or the reason I had ended up in bed with her husband.

We lived a very unpleasant existence together for a few months, and then I found out about my pregnancy. He was delighted to have a baby on the way…not. We had a fight, I went to work, and the next morning, I caught him in bed with two...two...women. I did not love this guy, and it was pretty apparent when I flipped out over them trying to steal my clothes, and not saying all that much about finding them both naked in bed with my boyfriend. After they left, I tried to talk to Patrick about all of this, and he locked himself in the bathroom and wouldn’t come out. Two hours later, Patrick still hiding in the bathroom, I had a suitcase packed, a relative on the way to get me, and I was shipped off to live with some distant relatives in Central Texas. Rebekkah was born and the rest is history.

I tell this story to say this: there is always a back story. The people who want to like me will tend to agree that me being The Other Woman was strictly by accident, and Patrick is the Douche Bag in our scenario. People who don’t like me will wonder why I didn’t call those distant relatives instead of moving in with him after I did know. Life is all about a point of view.

What happened in the case of Chef and Tanya and myself can’t really compare to my experience being The Other Woman, other than I learned first hand how pain can make a normal, intelligent woman beat a window with her high-heeled shoe. It isn’t a mystery to me anymore.

I don’t judge people mainly because at some point or another along my way. I’ve committed sins that disqualify me. I’ve struggled with addictions, sexual promiscuity, and fornication. I lived for almost a decade with Chef before marrying him. Don’t even get me started on what most people consider smaller sins….cussing, lying, taking revenge for perceived injustices, not honoring parents, letting things be more important than God…I think you get what I’m saying. There aren’t many commandments that I haven’t trampled on repeatedly on my way to this moment. I’m a Christian who has blown it a lot.

I know first hand how much a person who is forgiven so much feels toward the One who forgave her. It is no small thing for me to try in some small way to spread that feeling around to others who probably need it as much as I did.

~Bird

Mercy For The Temporarily Insane

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that girlYesterday I started catching up on some of the blogs I follow, and I ran into a post that made me really think about my reactions when I found out Chef was having an affair. I’m not going to link to the woman’s site, mainly because I don’t want to accidentally send a wave of pissed off blogging wives to jump her and verbally pound her face in.  That would have been my first reaction not all that long ago.

The site is written by The Other Woman who a married man is seeing, and the man’s wife obviously knows about the affair. She wrote a post that included an email from the wife and her own responses back. It wasn’t a pleasant exchange.

I know it must seem odd that I would follow people who were publicly embracing infidelity since I’m so only just recently scarred from just such an experience, but it really isn’t so weird for me at all. PTSD’s gift to me was an obsession to understand a problem from every angle so it can never hurt me. So much for the power of PTSD symptoms….. Knowledge has its limitations.

The betrayed wife was so hurt and angry, and it showed in every word that she was writing. Pain, the other womandespair, and rage dripped from her accusations. She was protecting the betrayed spouse, making excuses for his behavior, and laying the full blame almost entirely on the mistress. I realized just how different things seem when you aren’t in the storm yourself. From just the little I had seen between these three people, it was easy to form the opinion that the wife was being unfair, the mistress defensive, and God knows what the husband really was doing throughout this twisted experience. Almost exactly the same scenario I was involved in not that long ago. I was doing exactly what the wife was doing — making excuses for a grown man and blaming the girlfriend, or anything else I could blame that wasn’t Chef. It made me hurt for both of them.

There are some subjects that I don’t really get involved in when I’m cruising the internet. I don’t care to argue the existence of God with atheists, or the rapture with Christians, and I avoid mistress vs wronged wife drama like it was contagious. But somehow I felt drawn in to explain that psycho rage that a woman feels and her obvious inability to see who was really to blame for all the pain she was in, at least from my own understanding of it.

I hated everything I went through, starting the second that I had proof my husband was cheating. I hated realizing I hadn’t been able to hold on to my own husband. I hated that I looked like a fool to so many people, (in my own mind, at least). I hated the insecurity of an unknown future. I hated that my emotions would fly haphazardly from one direction to the other, and I had no control over them whatsoever. I hated that this woman had written me scripture filled thank you cards and had been my own daughter’s friend. I hated satan, meth, and motorcycle patches that had been more important than me.

I hated a lot, but Chef wasn’t really on the list much. The truth is that love doesn’t die quickly or easily. All the people and things that we don’t love are simply going to get wrecked by us first, and will  probably stay our focus for a while, until what we feel for the cheating partner dies to manageable point. I haven’t loved anyone in my life before like I did Chef, and I am still surprised at the amount of slimy betrayals, cutting words, and abuse it took for the love that I had for him would even begin to fade away. Even this very minute, there is a remnant of love that I still feel for him, despite everything. I’ve accepted that it will never go away. I’m okay with that. Who wants a love that gives up so easily?

I am no person’s judge, and I don’t presume to know what anyone else should or shouldn’t do with their own lives. I just know that this experience is tough enough without the added stigma of being forever classified as a raving lunatic in everyone’s eyes that are watching you. In my case, I consider it a form of temporary insanity, and not my usual nature and disposition at all. Hopefully, mercy can be extended to wives like me who lost something big, and like this woman who just had her life derailed. As for The Other Women, I would only point out that in all of our lives, we make decisions that impact others. If the risk is worth it, by all means, do as you please. But we also all come to point where we have to pay the piper for the dance we just had, and the anguish and anger of a person you hurt is part of it. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, right?

Just my thoughts….

~ Bird

 

Blogging With Expectations That Will Only Disappoint You

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So very true.

So very true.

Some bloggers don’t last very long in this cyber world. They write a post or two, set up the About Me page then disappear forever. Sometimes, it is clear they left because their expectations were never something that could be achieved, by themselves or anyone. They become defeated, rejected, and defensive and quit.

I think some personalities were designed to absolutely thrive in the blog communities. People who are interested in how life looks through other people’s eyes, for one. People who like to read. People who are fanatically surfing the internet day and night, ever in the pursuit of knowledge. People who can’t sit still.  People who like writing. People with crazy curious brains that have never yet found a subject that was too random or too boring to google. Also, all me.

I’ve had about three thousand different hobbies throughout my 45 years here on the earth, and not blog adviceone of them made it a whole month. I’ve tried knitting, painting, sketching, pottery, embroidery, woodworking, and leather crafts. FAILED at all of them. My mother was a writer and my father is a sculptor/painter. The desire to create is in my DNA, and yet I was worse than just bad at all of it. I’d tried writing as a teenager, and staring at an electric typewriter was just depressing. When my youngest daughter sold a painting to a gallery when she was a pre-teen, I had to settle with the thought that even if that talent had skipped me altogether, I still had given birth to kids with a lot of talent themselves. That sucked for me though. I have never even once lived vicariously through my kids, and their achievements have always been their own, and not mine at all.

blog picI accidentally found this hobby when I found myself waiting for days for my tweaker husband to come out of the spare bedroom he would lock himself in to for days at a time. I was worried, hurt, and needing something to take my mind off of it. One evening, I ran across a blog my sister had set up and wrote in. I’d never even heard of a blog before, much less knew any of my family kept one. I set one up for myself, and the rest is history. I’ve finally found something creative that I don’t suck at. Yay!

This blogging hobby has been bumping along for me over two years now, and shows no sign of boring me yet.

I ran across a fairly new blogger’s site where she was wondering how bloggers felt when they missed one of their follower’s new posts, and basically, deal with disappointing their new “friends”. I remember feeling exactly like that when I first started, and I have to laugh at how I was forced to change my expectations for my blog before I was driven crazy by disappointing all of those people who have been so loyal and kind to me.

I’m not ashamed to admit that when I first set up my blog, I was afraid no one would like me or

blogging isn't this gentle

blogging isn’t this gentle

anything I wrote. I felt fairly confident I could guilt my kids into reading it, but even then, my kids aren’t at all easy to manipulate into doing anything they don’t want to. Still,I’m just low budget enough to try.

I wrote and wrote for a whole week. Not only did not one person “like” a post or “follow” my site, but all three of my kids didn’t either. That was pretty humbling. Feeling a bit miffed, I didn’t answer any of my progeny’s phone calls for two days. Schmucks. Then, out of boredom, I started going through the stuff on my dashboard, and came across an option to keep my site private so no one could find it. Guess who had set up a private site? Yep. That would be me.

Please note: It did not, however, explain the three brats I gave life to who knew full well I’d set that sucker up and wanted them to read it. They hadn’t even tried to find the thing, all three claiming to have been too busy….yada, yada. I dealt with that lack of loyalty swiftly and firmly…. :-)

I made the site public, and tried to boost my self-esteem up enough to handle the rejection that I would feel if someone never showed up. Ten minutes later, I had my first follower!! I danced around the room, and even called Chef at work… because I’m a total geek who does actually dance around like a lunatic over trivial crap. Then I spent the rest of the day cyber-stalking the little guy who wrote a tiny blog about men’s fashion and had two followers — me and himself. I wrote a comment about how I liked his site and how the clothes he was writing about were cool. I wear the same blue jeans and t-shirts daily until they literally fall off of my body, and I was married to a Bandido who wears blue jeans and leather when he dresses up. What do I know about fashion, especially men’s? Still, I made the effort because of my gratitude. He never once answered back, and then disappeared from the internet completely.  I scared the little guy away.

I got a few followers every few days or so, and lots of comments, but I was unable to understand hamburgerexactly why most of them liked anything I was writing, or how they seemed to be completely misunderstanding the point of anything I was writing. Their sites explored subjects like travelling, tech tips, and in one case, pornography when I was successful at finding one, but most of them couldn’t be found when I clicked on their link. I was happy to not look like a total loser, but I had a suspicion something less desirable was going on here. That’s how I learned about spam, and also how I might have known that if I had read even the barest of instructions. When the confusion had been cleared up, I had maybe four comments from real people.

I removed all traces of my dorkness from the blog, and connected it to my Facebook account, and I found people from my life, both past and present, interested in what I was saying. That went a long way to helping me feel better about risking my entire self-image. The growth after that probably had more to do with me flipping out so publicly about my marriage falling to pieces, along with all the harsh reasons why. Also, people can’t help finding drunk posts fascinating. I fascinated people that way more than once.

People who could relate found me, and I looked for them. That’s how blogs grow organically. You share your experiences with people who can relate, and they share theirs with you.

I tried valiantly to keep up with everyone’s blogs, but between being dumped, drunk, homeless, and pissed, the time just was not there to keep up. I spent marathon days visiting hundreds of sites, and finally I threw up my hands in defeat, and announced my inability to do more than try to make it around once in a while. I felt bad, but what could I do? I quickly found out that people were very understanding and not as quick to feel rejected as I had feared they would.

I also found out something I don’t think people know about when they first start out. Blogging is a very successful way for writers to launch writing careers. It acts as a testing ground, sharpens writing skills, and publishers will often consider an unpublished author’s work if a large base readership has already been established. This is why often you find your site is getting a ton of new followers, but you never see any of those people back again. And this is why I always follow someone back when they follow me. Breaking into writing isn’t easy, and I’m happy to help the little bit I can.

loser (1)The unspoken rule of blogging is that if someone follows your site, you follow theirs. I’m pretty sure this goes without saying, but I still will, no human being on the earth that has a site with 2300 followers keeps up with all of those sites. It isn’t personal, it’s impossible.

I have a few blogs of people that I like their writing or I know personally that I read regularly. I go through my reader and read as many post titles as I can, and often click interesting ones that make me curious. I comment occasionally, but not always. It has nothing to do with arrogance, and everything to do with physics. Many, many of you are clearly much better writers than I am, have better topics, and are seriously on your way up to the top of your craft. And it is likely I just haven’t found you yet, despite being one of your followers. I’m thinking I have the same thing going on around here, as well.

A common problem I’ve run into with some bloggers is that they try to please everyone else. Blogs are great for practicing your skill at writing. They are not good for determining how awesome you are.

Trial and error has taught me that using “followers” or “likes” to gauge your worth instead of a method to improve your writing skills,  is the internet’s equivalent of a popularity contest. The cool kids are cool because their confidence in themselves attracts others who want some of that in their own lives, but multitudes of people who think you are cool doesn’t prove you are, in fact, actually a cool person. You are the one who has to decide that, and then don’t spend that much time worrying that other people might disagree. People are fickle, usually under-informed, and diverse. And that includes every human on the planet, including myself.  No one is ever going to capture a 100% vote by their fellow human beings. Approval is nice, but don’t make too much of it. It comes and it goes. Be someone that you can like and respect. That will go a lot further in your life than anyone else’s opinion.

Writing for some people, like me, is something I do more for myself more than anyone else. I’ve got issues, and this is cheap therapy. I like to interact with others who like the same things, or have the same experiences,  and I feel honored by people who keep coming back, or take some time to show they care. I want to help people if I can. I am building a writing career myself, and blogging has helped me develop better writing skills and build a fan base. Blogging has been good for me.

fine.jpgBut I also know that me, my life, my ways of dealing with stuff, aren’t for everyone, and that means nothing at all in the great scheme of things, and certainly has no impact on my own self-esteem in the least. It simply has no impact on my opinion of my worth as a person. There is a huge list of things I suck at in a spectacular way, but that doesn’t mean I’m worthless or dull. It means I can’t do some stuff other people can. Nothing more, and nothing less.

You should decide who you are, and work to become what you would like to be. We all have the ability to strive to be someone we can be comfortable with in public, and most of us are still working on ourselves. Your blog should be something that helps you with that, not a meter of how likable you are to others. If it makes you happy, and you like it, that is about all that anyone has the right to expect from their personal blogs. Odds are, there are plenty of people that will like it, and you, as well, eventually.

~ Bird

 

My Writing Process Has Some Problems

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Yes.

Yes.

Or, Can I blame my retarded writing process on Adult Attention Disorder?

Developing a writing process requires at least a tiny pinch of self-discipline, more focus than a newborn baby has, and probably some parenting software that limits access to the internet during certain hours, all of which I seem to not possess….My process looks like Playtime with Birdie. I can’t even look myself in the eye right now….

My book has not been progressing to my satisfaction, and probably in yet another effort to avoid actually writing, I decided to examine and improve the process. I am past caring over ever word like its a newborn child; now I am just happy to see words on a page where there once was none. I’ll edit my edits when their finished. I needed to locate what was holding me up from my goal.

As I like to do, I took a logical approach and mind-mapped my process so the areas to improve would be clear. Plus, it gave me a chance to use the $40 program I’d just bought yesterday. Turns out, it is a little more complicated than it looks, and the instructions are way too long to read. I could easily figure everything out in a shorter amount of time anyways. Surprisingly, it came out looking odd, deformed, and revealing nothing I didn’t already know, except maybe a need to read instructions to some of this stuff once in awhile.

This is how I write a book: 

1. Before beginning the creative process, I have to loosen up. So  I “liked” every single page that every single friend and/or family member on my Facebook account has ever recommended to me. That little icon, along with the games icon that people recommend I try, have sat there since Facebook was still just some college guy’s girl ranking system, and there were hundreds of them. I didn’t even stop to see what any of those pages stood for. I just aimed for the finish line. Afterward, I developed a theory about the amounts of clicking and how many pages I could have done with that same amount of clicks.

2. Sat proudly basking in the after-glow of having completed something so time-consuming, annoyingly repetitive, and fraught with potential unforeseen consequences.

3. Pointedly refused to feel stupid for feeling a sense of accomplishment for something so stupid. Listened to Bekkie explain stuff she’s learning and realizing the only words I understand coming out of her mouth are mainly the prepositional phrases and one or two of the verbs that don’t really do anything..like “is” and “will”.  Feel stupid about the Facebook page thing.

4. Wrote a small paragraph.

5. Googled MindMaps because I remember I’d wanted to do….. sometime before 2011. Decided not to risk forgetting again.

6. Fell in love with the MindMap concept, shopped around for one I liked and could afford, then downloaded a free trial. Promptly got distracted and played with the many different features for about an hour.

7. Ate some chips and watched The Hunger Games for the 405th time this week.

8. Wrote another paragraph. Reread the first one, and decided to delete it and write something else.

9. Re-wrote the second paragraph because it didn’t work with the new one.

10. Spent the next two hours using the mindmap software to outline my story.

11. Basked in how awesome my outline looked, and how the colors I had chosen were so pretty. Also was surprised how much it actually did help, thus proving to myself I’m full of shit when I say I’m doing something for anything other than to amuse myself.

12. Wrote a whole page about being abused, then promptly freaked out, making all sorts of jokes that made my kids laugh. Briefly worried I might be a bad mother, then decided it was too late if I was. Decided that ship had sailed years ago, and they would just have to figure their way out of it like the rest of us.

13. Wrote a post on my blog about writing a book and how I make really dark jokes that I laugh at when I am upset, which feels like it must be weird to see because it is just so weird, even to myself.

14. Rewrote some parts that were to frantic-sounding, and then took a two or three hour break finding all the Google Communities that I had any kind of experience with, or any interest in, no matter how tiny, and joined every single one of them.

15. Firmly set better goals, worried briefly about my digital footprint, and made all sorts of decisions about being more disciplined and less of a weirdo starting tomorrow. Brushed my teeth, washed my face, and chatted a bit with Bekkie where she told me not to distract her with things I know she’ll enjoy, like Quora but got lost in her explanation why, and will return to that subject at a later time.

16.  Laid awake until 3 am creating in my head a story I suspect may be work to rival Shakespeare himself. Also, laid awake wondering if I should just get up and write. Spent twenty minutes arguing with myself.

17. Rationalized my decision to go to sleep instead of write, trying numerous reasons until one gave me the desired excuse.Spent two minutes acknowledging I’m getting harder and harder to fool.

Yesterday when I had the time, environment, and laptop to get the work done, I spent chunks of it doing random, stupid stuff. It was highly unlikely I was going to do much better than I did yesterday, despite what I tell myself.

It’s really a wonder I ever get anything done….

~ Bird

 

Mood Music For The Discerning Molester

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grim reaperI absolutely love to write. I am a freelance writer for a magazine, work a steady job in human resources, keep this blog updated, and write little articles for Yahoo that no one will ever find. I love every minute of it.

Until I feel like I have to.

When I first started this blog, I would write a post every single day, and sometimes more than one. It was my escape from Meth Hell, where Chef was losing his mind, and the constant panic I felt about just how bad things had gotten.  I seriously am convinced that this blog, and you guys, really contributed to my ability to not get stuck indefinitely in that pain. It felt like an eternity getting to the point where I was able to make it through one entire day without weeping. I look back now, and I’m kind of blown away that this time last year, I was still a human wreck.  Now I have this whole experience with love, betrayal, blogging, journal therapy, trust, honor, motorcycle clubs, Christianity, ghetto living, laughter, forgiveness, codependence, and of course, drug addictions gone really, really wrong. I should write a book, right?

Great.Caesar’s.Ghost.

Why am I finding this so hard???

I’ve written this stupid book twice now. The first time was when my life was just freshly broken, still lying darkshattered around my homeless feet on the floor of a dive motel room, and I’m sure no one is going to be surprised by this, but the perspective was a bit morose for my liking…..I HATE IT. I hate the sad, whiney tone, the implied lack of any hope, and the obvious attempt to make excuses for some really shitty behaviors in a grown man who should have counted the costs before throwing his...and my...life in the toilet and flushing it. I feel a fear to blame anyone but myself coming through it too. It was a phase I needed to go through, but no way is that going in my book!! That isn’t my normal nature, and I can’t edit something I no longer like. Manuscript number one has been retired to the trash bin.

humorThe second one is better, but I’m going to be honest with you. It wasn’t all that hard to beat Manuscript #1 with its Life Sucks, Then We All Die format. That’s the only reason Manuscript #2 can be classified as the better one.  It goes the complete opposite way, making fun of some seriously dark crap I’ve lived through, and I have a suspicion I shouldn’t confirm in writing how warped I really am. Even I giggled nervously at some of my own writing…

I tried rewriting some of the really horrible stuff, trying to really convey the cracking of a little girl’s psyche, and my involuntary instinct to “lighten” the moment with humor kept getting the best of me. Then, of course, I say it aloud to my kids because let’s face it …..some of it is irreverently hilarious. My kids crack up, which in turn, cracks me up too. It’s a vicious cycle.

I don’t seriously know how much longer I’m going to try this. I have other books with less disturbing stuff that won’t dredge up things I don’t want to remember anymore I can start on. Still, somehow this story is the only one that I think will ever really matter, and I feel a need to finish it no matter how much it hurts, or how badly my image as a decent human is going to tarnished.

My compromise with myself is that Manuscript #2 with its Making Molestation Funny theme is to try to explain why I need to laugh at these things, because the alternative is so much worse, at least for me. Laughter has been essential for me to cope with knowing the real monsters don’t live under our beds at all. They can be parents, teachers, spouses, and friends. They blend in, set traps, and steal away chunks of their victim’s lives. I am blessed that I have somewhere in my mind to hide. I’ve seen some of the poor souls who never recover, and I believe that their fate is worse than death.

That’s my rant. I guess I’ll get back to it.

~ Bird

Excerpt: “ I’ve watched television reenactments of a kid getting molested, and the scenes always go a certain way, as if we victims all feel and act the same way…confused, scared, sad, frightened…. Maybe I did. I don’t remember those parts exactly. I do remember the stuff that was disturbingly trivial, though. Like what music was played to cover up the sounds.One time, I was inexplicably super focused on the damn Bee Gees tape he played every single time, for years and years, and wondering what the FUCK was wrong with this man? Who plays the Bee Gees when they are molesting a little girl? Worst taste in music ever.  I still can’t hear How Deep Is Your Love without thinking how I would have probably done the world a favor by killing him, if only for his crappy taste picking out the Molesting Mood Music.” …Bird, in Manuscript #2: Making Molestation Funny

Quotation-Margaret-Cho-life-humor-sense-Meetville-Quotes-107191

I know. I’m working through it….. I’ll understand if you never come back. :-)

The Devil Made Him Do It

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50-tremendous-grunge-for-your-desktop-noupeRecently, I went back and re-examined one of my posts, Satan’s Favorite Drug Ever – Meth. It is by far the most viewed piece on this site, and a glance at my analytics shows most of the traffic I’m getting these days are people looking for answers about drug addictions either in their own lives or in the lives of their loved ones. This is a big difference from the once reigning The Ministry of Mike Warnke and 3 Boobs, because neither of those pieces can really help or hurt someone reading them. I feel differently about the meth piece because when I wrote it, I was in the throes of a lot of pain, not having found some emotional stability yet from the crushing blow of losing a lot of things in my life I really cared about. Since I remember how desperately I looked for help on-line, I feel some responsibility to not steer others in the same predicaments in the wrong direction.

I stand by most of it, but the clarity of some time and healing makes me want to caution about some of the things I was doing when I wrote that piece.

  • Don’t Hide Things Until It’s Too Late For Anyone To Help

It blows my mind just how illogical things are when you go through something like this. When my husband photo (3)became a drug addict, it took me months to tell anyone. Instead of going to certain friends I can trust for some help and direction, I let things build up to insurmountable heights. By the time I knew I needed help, things were so bad, and I was in such a panic, I looked like a raving lunatic. I believe it was hard for my friends to understand why I was flipping out. As far as they knew, this had all just begun to happen. They didn’t know I’d been sitting on this time bomb for six months.

I tried to change my husband myself. The crazy thing is my sole motivation for doing this was so that he wouldn’t be embarrassed.

Embarrassed?!! After it was all said and done, the amount of humiliation he and I both suffered is immeasurable. One of the true regrets I have is not asking for help until things got too bad. Addictions never form overnight. They seize a person slowly, gradually, and the hold is never so evident until the person actually does try to stop. Chef tried several times to quit, but it was too powerful by that time. When I finally asked for help, there was nothing anyone could do.

  • The Devil Made Him Do It

iloveafoolThe second thing I would like to address is the obvious reluctance I had to hold Chef accountable for his own actions. I am a Christian, and I believe with my whole heart that satan made an appearance in my life through all of this. But Chef was the sole captain of our ship-wrecked lives.

Infidelity is a weird thing to experience. Even though I had been betrayed by this one person I trusted the most in this world, I had a really hard time launching my full anger at him. It is always easier to blame anyone and everyone else, because love doesn’t take bloom in seconds, and it certainly doesn’t die in seconds either. I’d never even once had my heart broken, and I was ill-prepared for just how much it hurt, and how long it took for me to accept that Chef had chosen to break that trust, and blaming satan wasn’t going to help him.

Satan presents us all with opportunities, but we ultimately are the ones who choose to accept the shit he relationshipoffers us. In my case, I found a pattern I’d fallen into for decades with Chef. Anytime he’d do something really hurtful, I’d play down his responsibility for it, and accept part of the blame for things I really had no control over, or blame the devil. I’m not afraid of being wrong, so I helped teach Chef  all these years that he could always depend on me to make him feel a little better about what he’d done because we could blame satan, or I could see where maybe I’d done something that made him stumble. This is not a good thing for any wife to fall into. Even to this very day, Chef is struggling with accepting the full brunt of his own actions without trying to lay at least a little of the blame on those in his life he hurt the most. We do no one any favors sugar-coating the truth. No one held a gun to Chef’s head and made him pick up drugs again, and not even the devil can be blamed for his decisions.

  • Advice Is Nice, But Therapy Is Quicker

cropped-ocean.jpgI’ve been dating a man we’ll call Simon for a while now. Before I launch into this part, let me say this — this has been an on-again, off-again thing, I never dated anyone else when I was with him,  and I don’t write much about him because he’s part of my life that I protect fiercely as my own. I had a little sniping argument with Chef one evening where he tried to make me jealous, so I changed my relationship status on Facebook in retaliation (because sometimes I can be petty and spiteful myself) and People Went Nuts. Yikes!! I don’t know if I should be flattered so many of you care, or insulted that so many of you thought I couldn’t land me another guy. :-) I’m going to choose the be flattered. I also would like to note for the record, I learned a very valuable lesson about cans of worms and unforeseen consequences, as well.

Ok. Back to the story at hand.

 

Sometimes, you just have to let it all go. Some things aren't worth saving.

Sometimes, you just have to let it all go. Some things aren’t worth saving.

For months after I left Chef, I found myself interacting with him daily anyways. I would call him pathetically hoping he’d have some magic words that would fix all of this pain he’d caused. I lived for every text, despaired over every day my phone wouldn’t ring, and hoped for his knock on my door, and cry, cry, cry every time he’d let me down, which was every, single time. Even though he’d moved the girlfriend into our home, gave her my clothes and jewelry, and made a mockery of everything I loved, I still seemed unable to be angry at him specifically. It was easier to be pissed at the girlfriend, the motorcycle club, the drug dealers, the devil…but not him. I was stuck in this tar-ridden hell for months, until Simon started to help me break free of these very codependent actions.

During that time, I had a whole little army of people who loved me and wanted to help me get through this, including my children. My son Dj would sit and listen to me for hours, and he would point my thoughts to Bekkie's Favoritethe good things about his dad, which actually wouldn’t help me much. It made what I’d lost feel so much harder. Rebekkah refused to talk about any of it, so I knew I couldn’t even mention his name around her. Weirdly, that made me want to talk about him more. My youngest daughter, Caitlyn, hadn’t really been around for much of any of it, being stationed in Japan, and she tried helping me by shaming me into being stronger. I promise you, that is a really, really bad tactic. No one stops doing anything because of shame. It just makes you feel worse while you’re doing it. At the heart of all three kids, though, was a genuine desire to help me.

sad girlI had friends, too, who tried one or all of these tactics on me as well, and it was pretty obvious, I was emotionally stuck. Then Simon came along, and he did the very best thing that could be done for me at that time. He just listened. He didn’t try to fix any of it. He let me be angry when I wanted to be angry. He let me cry when I wanted to cry. He waited patiently when I shoved him away and he was kind to me even when I’d taken something out on him because of Chef. He didn’t side with me, per se, or join in when I was verbally tearing Chef to pieces; nor did he defend Chef even when it was obvious I wasn’t being fair.

Basically, he listened to me sort through how I felt about all of it all by myself. He couldn’t have known that while I was attacking Chef, I’d be the first one to defend him should someone else attack him. He couldn’t have known that had he risen to my defense, I would have felt pathetic and weak, and wouldn’t be at all happy for the help. He only expressed confidence that I would find my way out of all of this eventually, and assured me that I had every right to find all of this very hard to handle. He expressed the logical opinion that any person who’d lived their entire adult life with one person is going to be codependent to some degree, and that wasn’t something to be ashamed of. I wasn’t sick or weak, I was wounded. There was no shame in having loved someone as much as I had.

I think God personally dropped Simon in my life right at the moment I needed someone like that in order listening with birdto begin healing. On my best days, I’m not a very easy person to even get to know, and people misread me daily. During the whole separation process, even I was surprised at some of my own reactions, and I really couldn’t have guessed what any of them would be from moment to moment. I needed someone to have a little faith in me, and to let me figure it out alone.

If I was to ever re-write Satan’s Favorite Drug, I would want to blame satan less, emphasize that it’s okay if it takes you awhile to accept that the person you love bears the lion’s share of the responsibility for the pain you are experiencing, and to encourage people to ask for help the minute something like this makes an appearance in your life. Not so that you can rescue the person you love from the clutches of addiction, but to set up for yourself a support system for the flood of destruction that you will soon find yourself in the midst of.

That being said, I also would want to emphasize caution about taking to heart everyone’s advice. Most of what truly good-motivated friends were telling me didn’t work for me at all, and in some cases, it even set me back a bit. Simon did what most people go into therapy for…he just listened. Good motives don’t always equal good advice.

  • Appreciation For The Experience

love-rupture-broken-heart-even-shines-with-loveI went through all the stages of grief, but I’ve found something else lately. I’ve moved past the acceptance, and I can honestly say I now have a true appreciation for the whole experience. I’ve come out of it all a different person, but not a worse one. Yes. Knowing what I know now, I’d have still loved him.

~ Bird

PS. Man. I’m seriously glad it’s over though! I thought that hell on earth would never end!!