Introducing…

Tonight I’m going to talk a little about the cult I was a part of for 10 years before narrowly escaping with what was left of my sanity.

This may be all over the place.  While playing piano, Beethoven, I was thinking about one of my few true friends from that time and place…which, first let me start by saying that most of the people who were truly friends are no longer there either, with a few heartbreaking exceptions (heartbreaking because what a f***ing waste of one’s lifeblood and potential!).  There was this beautiful couple who came in with their 6 (at the time, there were new additions later) beautiful kids not long after I started going to this cult (I wasn’t aware it was a cult at the time, but, then, that’s how people get sucked in, by not knowing).  The wife and mom, I’ll call her name Starla, is one of the sweetest, purest souls I’ve ever encountered, and there’s not a devious or spiteful bone in her body.

So this family was there for pretty much as long as I was.  I learned that a few years after I left, the couple ran into some personal crises, and how the pastor chose to handle it was to slander them before the whole congregation, virtually making it impossible for them to continue on with the ministry (if you can call it that).  Many of their kids were grown, married, and having children of their own by that time, so there was no leaving as an intact family.  And, last I heard, the grown kids were having little to nothing to do with their parents because they “weren’t right” with God, or whatever the f*** the trip is.  As I thought of that tonight, I burned with anger.  Burned!  Burned that some megalomaniac had the power to subjugate people to such a point that their parents could become an unclean thing in their eyes, objects of scorn to shun.  These are very same parents who invested their whole selves and lives into their kids, making sure they had every advantage they could give them – as well as the whole bit of changing their poopy diapers, going years without sleep to care for them, going without so their kids wouldn’t have to, parents who loved their kids fiercely (I watched them, and there’s no faking fierce love like that).  I’m sure they weren’t perfect parents, but no one is.  The kids were sweet too, and I cared for them a great deal, but how dare they???  How f***ing dare they?!

So, kids, let that be a lesson to you.  Don’t let your parents join a cult.  You’ll grow up to suck as human beings if you do.

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Jitter #32

This poem took my breath away! It’s not only a stunner of a poem, is heart-stoppingly beautiful in its truth.

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Who I Am

I am white,
black, brown,
yellow, red…

But that’s not who I am.

I am male,
female, man,
woman,
yin, yang…

But that’s not who I am.

I am Christian,
Muslim, Jewish,
Buddhist, Taoist,
Hindu, Wiccan,
atheist, agnostic…

But that’s not who I am.

I am straight, gay,
lesbian, somewhere
along the
continuum…

But that’s not who I am.

I am American,
European, Indian,
Asian, Middle Eastern,
a child of the world…

But that’s not who I am.

I’m a lefty, a righty,
a leftist, a rightist,
liberal, conservative,
centrist,
ambidextrous,
bisexual,
queer…

But that’s not who I am.

When you label me,
you marginalize me.

When you see me only
as part of a group,
you diminish me.

When you assume
I act and think and feel
as others like me,
you delude yourself,
because there are no others
like me.

I am unique,
not a…

View original post 137 more words

Days…too many to count.

I may start titling/categorizing these blog posts by week, and if that proves to be as cumbersome as trying to keep the days straight, I may start going by months.

So this is now, Monday, day 36, week 5, and it’s now into the 2nd month since starting all this.  Having let so many days pass without blogging, it seems I have lost some days…as in, I can’t remember what I did last Thursday, last Friday, a good bit of Saturday, and even a little bit of Sunday.  I don’t like that!  It was really good to sit down at the end of a day and take stock.  It felt like a really positive thing, and perhaps may have indeed been the catalyst for all the great projects that got started – and completed (yay!!).

Thankfully, I tend to take a lot of pictures with the mobile, so that helps to capture some of the events of the past few days.  Thursday, Steve had completed the repairs to the rattan chair he started the other day (see pics, about the 5th one down, from previous post), so I started working on the cosmetic changes.  It’s too bad I didn’t think about pictures before, because the chair did look pretty rough – which is probably why the thrift store had it priced at $5.  I had thrown out the cushion that came with it and made a whole new one – and added a matching throw pillow.  There is one place that needs new wrap, and that’ll happen by and by.  By Friday, into the wee hours of the morning, it was all done and looked like this:

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The chair is for Mom.  She occupies a very small studio apartment in the independent living facility where she currently resides and had borrowed a chair from me, but it took up a pretty big portion of the room at an access point to many of her daily functions, and I was concerned for her safety maneuvering while trying to adjust the heat, or turn on her floor lamp, or take out or put up her saxophone, or open her patio door with the previous chair taking up all that space in the awkward way that it was.  The new chair is unbelievably lightweight, and the wheels make it easy to move out of her way – plus it’s much easier for her to get in and out of if she decides to sit on that side of the room.

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I cannot remember what the hell happened on Friday.  Did we go out?  Did we stay in?  I haven’t a clue.  That’s pitiful!  And irritating.  Getting older is kinda great in a few surprising ways, and kinda bites in quite a few other ways.

Saturday, Mama wanted to go out for Mexican food, so that’s what we did before band practice.  It sounded better this past week, and felt like we were started to gel once again.

Later that night I started smearing paint on the living room walls from sample I’d recently picked up, and I think the color’s going to work.  It’s a pretty intense lime green, but it’s pleasant and complimentary to all the stuff in the room.  Areas of all 4 walls were painted with it, and…so far so good.  I’ll give it more time to make sure the shade stays agreeable.

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Sunday we put the house back together from practice the night before and ran a few errands.  Steve set my keyboards up with a different system in terms of amplification, and I’ve practiced on my own now both yesterday and today, so whatever he did made it much more inviting to sit down at the keys.  The typical tendency previously was to not sit down at the keys until the band showed up.

Today was the usual day of cutting hair for the residents of the veterans’ retirement home.  A new man came in today, and I asked what kind of music he liked, and he said, “Classical.”  Most guys like to hear vintage Country: stuff like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, etc.  I’ve even started playing the old, old stuff making a Pandora station of The Carter Family, and I’ve been loving that channel!  Today, though, listening to Classical inspired me to go home and try Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 27, Number 2 – also known as Moonlight Sonata.

I’m pretty adept at playing by ear, but I also read music.  It’s a lot more frustrating to play from reading music, which is why I never actually learned to play this piece by following the written score.  What has inevitably happened with this Sonata is the runs never were quite right.  So when I got home in the evening, I did an exercise where I would stop myself if my mind started to drift into rote and lead me into playing by ear – thus losing my place in the lines.  I even made it part of the exercise to play as much as possible by only looking at the music with very little looking at the hands.  It’s a painstaking process, but there are sure to be benefits.  Tim, my brother-in-law, has been writing new songs, and inspiration for the keyboard part has eluded me on a few of the songs.  I’m hoping this exercise will help conjure up some enjoyable parts to play.

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Overall, since disconnecting, I’ve found myself in a very good place.  It’s been easier lately to organize thought processes, which has led to all this recent productivity!  Loving that!!  Even the rough patches haven’t seemed quite as rough of late.

Day 31, Wednesday, and a new month begins!

I start the month of February with a renewed sense of optimism now that the shadow of what to do about facebook is no longer cast.  It’s the month of our 6th wedding anniversary, and Steve put in for some time off the week of.  I’d asked if we could go exploring the Buffalo River.  A few days later, though, he said he would like to visit his brother who lives south of us and also visit his mom and stepdad in the new home and town they just moved into.  I felt it was a lovely idea!

I asked my son if he would consider house sitting for us that week.  He likes having a whole place all to himself, and I was hoping he would be open to it.  It was a thrill to receive word back that he was.

Today was a beautiful sunny day, and I was able to get some flower beds trimmed up and cleaned up before the sun went down.

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That little rock/green thing in the corner was a surprise Steve left for me one day.  When he first put it there, it was hidden behind plants and went unnoticed until I started doing some clean up later in the growing season.  It’s from Mama’s fish tank.  It tickled me so much that he’d put it there for me to find, I decided to leave it.

 

Trimming back the sage meant I had a nice amount to make smudge sticks.  I’d never made them before today.  I don’t know if I did it right as I didn’t google or youtube instructions, but they look right.  Guess I’ll find out soon enough when I start to burn one of them.  I don’t even really know how long to let it cure.  Guess I’ll have to at least look that up.

20170201_16524620170201_210253.jpg20170201_1724421abcThat’s Steve repairing a rattan chair that we got for Mom.

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After the sun went down, I got some of the rockwork in the above bed freshened up.  Maybe I’ll be able to get a good picture of it in the next day or two.  I love doing rock work.  It’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, and it lends some beauty to the flower beds during the dormant months as well as protection from a lawn mower pushed around by an indiscriminate husband whom I learned the hard way doesn’t seem to know the different between a flower and grass.

Speaking of flowers, as I was thinking about the pollinators that will be coming around come spring, which is what I plant the flowers to attract, it’s become time to begin talking with the city about their mosquito control methods.  They’ve been sending trucks around spraying throughout the summer months the last`2-3 years, and that is the precise amount of time that honey bees have become a rare sighting.

Days 29, 30 – Monday, Tuesday Rogue Darn Socks

We are probably the last 2 people on the planet to do so, but last night (Monday), we finally saw Rogue One, the 10:00 showing.

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SPOILER ALERT:

I thought it was a good story well told.  They didn’t make the ending seem as sad as it actually was, which is to their credit, I suppose…?

I was curious about the re-creation of Princess Leia, so I looked it up.  I recall marveling how Tarkin looked the same as I’d remembered him as well.  I had no idea that the actor who played him in the original Lucas film had passed away years ago.  The story of how he appeared in the film is even more fascinating than how they digitally re-created young Princess Leia.

Rogue One filmmakers explain how they digitally recreated two characters

What was actually even more extraordinary was that Steve and I went out.  Not only so, but we went out 2 nights in a row!  Are we becoming party animals in our old age?  Not a chance, but it’s a fun rhetorical question to ask.

Just to punctuate the point of the boring homebodies we are, here is what I’m doing tonight: catching up on This Is Us on Hulu and darning these wool socks that I’ve had for years and years.  I keep patching them because I cannot find wool socks that are true sweater socks.  I keep looking online and ordering socks that are described as sweater socks, but, apparently, sock makers don’t actually know what sweaters are like, so I keep getting disappointed and keep mending my old real sweater socks.

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So it’s been 30 days!  In Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous a chip is given for 30 days clean and sober.  I marked my 30 days by deactivating.  Still didn’t look at the notifications and didn’t actually open any private messages either.  I have to say, it feels like my soul has become lighter.  The pressure is off.  It feels as though life can begin again.

Days 27, 28 – Saturday, Sunday

I haven’t deactivated yet.  There’s this pesky little matter of having to go onto the site to do it, and I haven’t been able to scare up the stomach to get on there as of yet.

Practice on Saturday went well.  It’s a completely different feel here in our house, and we’re still figuring things out and finding our groove here.

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Tonight (Sunday) was an extra special rare treat.  My son was doing standup comedy at a local brewery.  Such a gutsy thing to do, and he was funny!  The rest of the people in the audience seemed to really be enjoying his bit.  It was a lot of fun.  I snapped only one picture, and it was pathetic!  But I didn’t want to mess up his flow or embarrass him or anything, so I snapped the photo hurriedly while his attention was focused on a different part of the room.  It’s the first picture I’ve personally taken of him, though, so it stays and goes here.

Goodness, but he amazes me!

Day 26 – Friday Decision

*caution: foul language ahead*

I may give it a day or two, but I’ve pretty much decided to deactivate my account on facebook.  It’s taken a while, but after much thought and soul-searching I believe I have identified exactly what’s so gotten my goat about this social media monster.  It is a tool where people want to show only their best but end up revealing their worst.  It’s just too easy to sit there, scroll after scroll, and let judgments about others run around in our heads unchecked.  I say unchecked because, when we had only voice and face-to-face communication, more often than not, we didn’t usually say out loud the judgments running around in our heads.  Now, thanks to unlimited ways to express oneself on a social media platform, we let those very things we wouldn’t say be the driving force for where and how our fingers do the walking, and we never get to see or feel the impact or the face the damage we’ve done to each other.  We just keep scrolling, blocking, picking, nitpicking, and making decisions about people based on faulty logic and a serious lack of compassion and understanding.  Things sound differently coming out of the mouth than it does roiling in the head and only coming out at the tap of a letter key.  On a free-for-all format like facebook, we never get to hear and truly see the horror of it all – yet we experience the horror of it nonetheless, alone with our thoughts, alone with our electronic devices, and we suffer in silence…yet we keep on scrolling, and on and on it goes, day in and day out.

So, based on my experience of this, both on the giving a receiving end of it, I have only this to say: Fuck facebook.

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Time to break the fucking cycle and stop the madness.  I can’t stop it for anybody else, but I can give myself the gift of sanity.

Days 23 – 25 Tue – Thu

Tuesday ended up being a night off as the owners closed the shop early, so Steve and I made the most of some precious time together, running a few errands, going thrift shopping, and trimming his now unbelievably long hair.

Before:
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After cutting 3-4 inches off:
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He does have gorgeous hair!

We capped the night off with a late dinner at a wonderful Italian place called Pesto Cafe.  A local musician who’s been around for years was playing to a small audience…it was like being in old Fayetteville again.

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Wednesday it was back at the sewing machine.  I finally did it, drove a needle a millimeter or two into the inner dermis layer of a finger.  What gets me is this weird hardness of the entire fingertip and discoloration.  I really don’t understand that part of it.

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Tonight (Thur.) was another night off spent melting into the couch in and out of sleep after a fairly busy day at the salon.  After waking up and springing to life, as has been the manner of things after 11pm throughout my life, I made a big pot of chicken soup.  There is nothing, but nothing, like homemade chicken soup! I’ve been trying to find the best brand of canned chicken soup for years, and after having tried pretty every brand available, it’s time to concede to the reality of there being no such thing as a good chicken soup in a can.  It just isn’t the same as homemade, and there is nothing more comforting.

Day 22 – Monday

I knew there would be times that this challenge would be hard.  Tonight, for some reason, I am acutely aware that this road I have chosen is a lonely one.  But sometimes loneliness is part of the process of self-discovery.

This is either a real nagging feeling that there may be more personal messages on fb that need attending to or it’s just the aforementioned loneliness doing the thinking for me.  Over the weekend, I started thinking that I may have to modify my plan to include checking in for personal messages once a month.  If I do this, I’ll pick a day.  At this point there are bound to be more notifications than when I went in to check personal messages last time, and I didn’t look at those, so I think I’d like to stay consistent with that.

I am leaning toward not deactivating just so people know I didn’t fall off the face of the earth.  My husband is very active on facebook, so people can check his page if they are worried, as I’m sure he would post something in the event of my death – not that I’m expecting to die any time soon…just thinking out loud.

Since I don’t really know how to feel or think about this, is checking messages once a month cheating on this challenge?

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Days 20 and 21 – Saturday/Sunday

We had our first band practice at our house tonight and were very happy with the way things sounded.  Now that all this band stuff has been set up, somehow, motivation came to rearrange things.  We’ve had the living room the old way since we’ve had a house together.

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Having 2 new pieces of furniture didn’t hurt the motivation either.  I’d been wanting a fold up shelf for years.  The other day, Steve came home with the shelf that is now behind the chair.  He had no idea that I’d been coveting one like it…he did well!  Then Saturday morning my brother came by with a sewing chest that had belonged to my maternal grandmother.  I really wanted to put it where I could use it where I like to sew, which is the couch.

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I’m so happy to have it!  The 2 pieces really brought the room together nicely.  Now if I could only paint the living room….

Sunday was one of those chili dreary winter days, the kind of day it’s good to be able to stay in, keep the heaters going, and take a long winter’s nap.  I did have to get out, however, to give my new boss a new do.  I don’t usually work on Sundays, but I will if it’s the only time a client can make it.  I really should have taken before and after photos.  She looked amazing!