Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mothering Daughtering

In the last few weeks abuse allegations against a popular former QF family have been aired by one of their many daughters. I've been reading the daughter's blog and the reactions by many former homeschoolers to the news.

It's triggering, it's disturbing, to many people, including me. I don't know what to thing as I've had interactions with the father in the past at NLQ and sort of liked the guy. But... no one can deny that his child is in pain, the kind of deep soul-fracturing emotional pain that calls out for justice, for acknowledgement, for recognition.

Over the years in the survivors out of extreme Christianity movements I've seen similar things play out, grown children coming to confess the memories and pain of abuse that parents unknowingly inflicted on those children, thinking they were doing the absolute best for those kids.

What this family did after the accusations was akin to pouring high test gasoline on a smoldering campside fire, causing it to spiral out of control in an explosive fashion. They defended themselves in a pod cast and attacked the accuser. Instead of being concerned with the obvious pain and distress of their daughter and seeking to do what they needed to do to ease her pain they came out with guns blazing to destroy her, beat her down emotionally. Which strengthens in my mind her original allegations.

I don't know what the truth is in this situation, who's lying, who's truthful, but I do know one thing is so very true, the pain of the daughter is real. She needs support, encouragement, love and healing. That is what this family needs to be focused on right now, healing that pain, not defending themselves. Her pain is genuine. That matters.

No one is a perfect parent, just like no one is a perfect child. We all just try the best we can. While I'm sure those parents did lots of wrong things, we all do, I'm just as sure they did some things right. Only time will tell. I hope they all find a way to love each other, heal the abuse, forgive and move past this.

But I do find it interesting that some of the young mothers in the survivor movement talk about their mothering in the same intense obsession way that those of us that were in the movement as young mothers once did. They are convinced that theirs is the only right way to raise children, speaking with unbending conviction and lobbing stones at those that don't praise them or line up with their vision of motherhood.

Yeah, get back to me thirty years from now when your children are grown and tell me then how you did, if your methods worked out so well. If you've launched successful adults that support themselves and aren't serial killers then I might consider your methods as good. But not before then.

I've raised my kids, they are all fully supporting educated adults with good lives, with loves and careers and lives. Even my eldest daughter I sometimes struggle with. I consider that success, not if my child is wise or can read by two or sits quietly when I require it. The end product. Don't you dare lecture me on my methods when my end results have been good and you're still slogging along in early motherhood. Your ideas are meaningless at this point to me.

I've been a daughter, I've been a mother and none of it is easy. I've learned there is no one fool proof way to raise children. Each is different and each family is different.

*edited to remove some rather mean things I said about someone I have been only complimentary and kind to through the last few years. It's never right to return ugliness with more ugliness. Please stop it!*

Monday, October 13, 2014

Traveling

Last night I arrived back from my week in South Louisiana and time with my mother. It was a good week.

That first day on the road was a bit brutal in one way, the temperatures dropped the farther south I drove. When I left the Virginia Piedmont I'd dressed in the warmest clothes I'd packed for the trip, a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt. By the time I stopped to pee and gas up in South Virginia I'd had to layer on the only sweater I packed and was still shivering. Once I got to Bessemer the radio said that the temps in the morning were going to be in the high 30s I had to buy a heavy sweater, jacket and shoes. I'd packed only for Louisiana, summer clothes and a pair of sandals. Brrr.

On the way down I stayed at my usual hotel in Bessemer, Alabama and got to have a long, laugh-filled, breakfast with my friend Terry. I think the next time I go home I'm going to work a few days stay in Bessemer just to hang out with Terry at the waterpark. Plus her sister and I share an interest in the paranormal. It would be good to meet her sister and answer her questions about my experiences through the year.

Got lost in Mississippi because I decided to take a short cut only to have my Iphone drain the battery and croak. I had no map, but I managed to go in the right direction and arrive at my mother's home. I knew I was on the right track when I passed the exit for Chatawa, Mississippi, home to St. Mary of the Pines Convent. I'd spent one miserable semester there and every summer for many years. I have to wonder if my training bra is still looped over the pipe emerging from the cafeteria forty years later. It was a tradition to see if you could slingshot your bra up over the pipe on the roof. That's when we weren't climbing the fence to hitchhike to town to try and score 3.2 beer.

The week flew by. I managed to talk to my mother about the things I needed to know, wills, plans for the future and other important things. She's considering moving up here, possibly to Leisure World in Lansdowne, Va., not far from myself and my children living in their far-flung Northern Va. suburbs.

My only issues with the week was the very uncomfortable conversation we had involving my father and the fact that after my parent's divorce I'd believed what my father had to say about why they were splitting up. I had to apologize for that, and tell my mother that I stopped believing much that came out of my father's mouth once he introduced me to his mistress and the terrible story about his funeral when several of his girlfriends showed up at the wake at the same time with his wife right there. My poor step brother and I ended up in the family room, bent double in hysterical strange laughter over the mistress and the girlfriend daring to show up, the bizarreness of it all.

I think my mother is doing better than I feared. I managed to keep my mouth shut and not complain about the things that did get under my skin a bit. For example, instead of me staying upstairs in the garconniere, I shared my mother's bedroom with her. Turns out that every night she can only sleep after turning on BBC World Service radio and nothing helped for me. Ear plugs didn't seal it out, pillow over the head. By the end I'd managed to tune it out enough to sleep a few hours a night.

Saw old friends, visited places I worked, I lived, disappointed to see my old apartment building burned to the ground. Baton Rouge hasn't improved, as usual it looks like the politicians still think that the city is disposable, old parts abandoned with zero investment in infrastructure.  Exxon still stinking up the joint with the pollution from the various refineries. On a clear day you can smell the paper mills forever.

Mom wanted me to stay another week, but I'm starting a class on Wednesday so I had to leave. Plus Jim wasn't wild about me being gone. The drive back was rough, not the first day, that breezed by, or it did until I arrived at my hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Had to change rooms twice due to people smoking either near or in the non-smoking room I'd reserved. By the time I tried to sleep around 11 pm and I pulled down the comforter and found that the sheets on the bed were crusted with who knows what. I am sure the manager of the hotel likely hates me by now because I insisted he send someone up to put fresh sheets on the bed.

It wasn't the cheapest hotel and it definitely wasn't the most expensive, but it was one of the chains I've stayed at many times so I was pretty surprised this one was so awful.

The last day of the trip it rained, it rained cats, dogs and horses, it rained like crazy. Slowed down the drive quite a bit and was stuck behind four different wrecks on the interstate. By the time I got home after way too long on the road both Jim and the cats were happy to see me. Today has been petting cats and laundry. Plus gratitude for being home again. My waterbed is the most comfortable place on earth.


Friday, October 03, 2014

We'll All Have Chicken and Dumplings!

Even though I've suffered through a cold followed by the flu and topped with strep throat I think I'm absolutely doing the right thing going home to South Louisiana for a week or two.

Why? Because I am getting very worried about my elderly momma. Especially after we had the same conversation three times this week on the phone. It goes something like this:

Mom: 'Suzanne, I'm going to have Chicken and Dumplings waiting for you when you arrive.
Me: 'Mom, don't bother doing that. I'm taking you out to dinner that night.'
Mom: sounding very confused 'But I thought Chicken and Dumplings was your favorite meal?

Here's the scary part, besides the repeating of this conversation three times, Chicken and Dumplings has never been my favorite meal. I have never expressed a like, much less a love for them since I was maybe six. I avoid wheat heavy food like the plague.

So it makes me think even more that my mother is starting to lose it mentally. I may have mentioned liking that meal once as a kid, but where in the world is she getting this? Misfiring memories? The onset of dementia?

She's started to seriously repeat herself when I talk to her on the phone.

Which is why I'm going down. I cannot put off talking to her about her wishes for the future, her insurances, her will. I do not want a repeat of my father's situation, he died without a will or letting any of us know his wishes.

I'm also going to try to talk her into coming up here to live in the luxury retirement community in our town. That way she'd been close to us and to her grandchildren. There's no one near her down in Louisiana that can check up on her. Most of my relative abandoned the area post-Katrina.

My mother doesn't live in New Orleans, she lives in that golf-crazy country club gated estates where our former governor lived before he went to jail and where all the white folks were scandalized and outraged when Snoop Dog and other rappers bought houses there and tried to turn Baton Rouge into the new Rap Capital. It's a beautiful neighborhood, but it's so lily white it is almost funny.

Her house sits on the edge of one of the fairways, way too much house for one lady. I know getting her to leave for a more manageable situation is going to be difficult at best. But it's worth a try. I'd rather she cooperate with me, but I have a feeling she's going to fight me on this.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Dishwashing

Pedro doing his part to assure the dishes are clean
So yesterday my favorite plumber, the one that's hard to schedule with because he's always booked up weeks in advance, finally made it over and installed the new dishwasher that's been sitting in it's packing in the garage for two months now. He's just that good that he's worth the wait, unless it's a plumbing emergency.

I am back in love with the dishwasher! Our old one was such a piss poor excuse for the dishwasher that I finally started mostly handwashing our dishes. I hadn't used it in several years. Didn't realize what a constant chore handwashing is until I started being able to use the new dishwasher. It even does pots and pans~

Also we got a new  kitchen sink installed and they redid the crazy angled tangle of pipes that the original builder installed under the kitchen sink when the house was built. The plumber that originally plumbed the kitchen seemed like he was making it up as he went along, just using left over bits and pieces because no one puts those angles and tangles under a sink unless they are a) on drugs or b) trying to cut corners and save themselves a few pennies. We've been patching and repatching and tightening to keep all those strange angles from leaking until yesterday, when I asked our plumber to make it right. He did.

Which is pretty rare in this day and age. There are also some out there that need to make a few things right, like those that say they don't look at blogs yet the next day you see they've clearly used something from another blog yet not bothered to say, 'uh hey yeah, I found this at X blog' I'm having conversations right now with tptb about that issue and a few others.

It's really a pain in the derriere when those you've said nothing that wasn't positive to them or about them, and they suddenly decide to go all shitty on you without any warning.

But NLQ is not going to go away regardless of what rumors or lies or 'borrowing' that does go on. The whispering campaign isn't working and it might just backfire on those arrogant whisperers. We're replacing a few pipes, spiffying some things up and moving forward from a few past missteps.

Now I have a dishwasher to fill and run. Oddly enough when I ran it for the first time yesterday both Pedro and my other fur baby Kiki freaked out at the sound and refused to come into the back door while it was washing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This Stranger in a Very Strange Land

I know this is only Tuesday but it is already shaping up to be a sideways-shaped week. I've been out of it for a week or more with the flu and knew that no matter what shape I was in, rotund, oval or obtuse, I was going to have to go to our CPS's office.

Mr. CPA has been asking me for some months to come to work for him, make his various locations and computer networks all work together in a more efficient fashion. I could delay no longer, I needed to go in for a few hours every morning this week to take a look at the new software and figure what needed to be done or upgraded to make everything copacetic, not epileptic.

Jim has wanted me to work there so that we can rebuild up our emergency fund savings and not have to dip into the stock portfolio if an emergency came up. Which is probably a wise idea.

Really do not want to work for Mr. CPA, but, I feel like I don't have much of a choice. He's helped us out many times and I spent hours with him the last few years figuring out the costs basis for our stock portfolio for taxes. I always struggled to get that right and have had problems with the IRS over it a few times. It's just not that cut and dried.

I owe him and yes, I'm grateful for the help, grateful enough to try and ignore the fact that his office is a little on the unusual side. How so, I hear you ask, it's sort of the town Tea Party Central.

I went into this knowing that Mr. CPA was a gung-ho, gun-toting, flag-waving Conservative. The minute you step into the office you are greeted with the sounds of Fox News television blaring through the building. The walls of this place are covered with photos of Dubya and other Republican bigwigs and flags abound. But, I'm an adult (sometimes) and I figured I'd just try to graciously ignore all of these things and come on in to start on my tasks for him.

It didn't quite work that way. I felt like I had landed on some strange planet where no one spoke the same language as I. I haven't felt this out of place since I left my old church. Strange, jarring, dislocation.

What I didn't count on is since he made me the job offer Mr. CPA sold the business to one of his employees, who still wants me to do the job offered me. Surprise #1

Surprise #2 is realizing how incredibly sensitive to aural stimulation I've become in the last six months. I get easily popped right into sensory overload with too much noise. And boy of boy is this office filled with noise! The new owner brings her toddler to work, who runs around eating candy and shrieking. That's not too bad, I find the child bothers me much less than the fact that Mr. CPS still works there with his Fox News turned up full blast. It doesn't help that two of the other employees spent the mornings so far listening to far right radio stations or Youtube rants about the government conspiracy over childhood vaccinations or how Obama is about to send the National Guard out to seize your hunting rifles.

But the capper was Surprise #3 when I talked to the new owner this morning just to make sure she was aware what I charge to do IT work and software conflict resolution she told me that no, no, no she could not afford that and quoted what she would pay me. I told her that it was so far below my minimum that I was going to have to think about if I could continue to work there. I gave her a break and quoted what my rock bottom offer is and walked away. I really do have to think about it.

When I get back from my week back home in South Louisiana I'm going to go by and see if we can work something out, but I'm not working for pennies. Just not happening. I will go ahead and install all the software, I did promise that and I think doing that should be payment enough for the help Mr. CPA has given me on figuring those stock purchase costs.


Ready to Raze Ruth

Curious how cowardly bitches like to hide behind fake names while they complain.

Just stumbled across something that would have made me pull down Razing Ruth's story from NLQ even if I had not become convinced that she was likely plagiarizing elements of her story or just plain old vanilla lying about it. It's this posting from right around the time Vyckie Garrison and her daughter Angel were having their disagreements (which I'm not going to comment on. Their business, not mine. Recovery is hard on everyone in the family.) But did you see that Angel wrote a wonderful ode to her mother's courage that I posted this evening at NLQ? Love the photos of her and her husband!)

It's from a Ruth posting titled Ambivalent Egoist and it makes me sort of disgusted. Why? Because of what it claims about Razing Ruth's popularity and how Vyckie and NLQ had nothing to do with that, in fact, Ruth claims that NLQ might have been diverting/stealing her web traffic numbers. I think she likely does owe a majority of her blog traffic back then to NLQ. To say otherwise is simply disingenuous.
 Misconception number one - I owe all of my blog traffic to Vyckie and therefore have some sort of obligation to her. This is not true. I owe *some* of my blog traffic to Vyckie. Mostly, however, my blog has traffic has increased by word of mouth and a few other means. I don't promote my blog, really. If anything, and this is no slight on Vyckie or NLQ, NLQ takes traffic from my blog because my stories are reposted there - no one has to come here to read them. I'm fine with this. I don't really care about the numbers. The thought that I "owe" Vyckie suggests that she's done something for me that wouldn't have happened without NLQ or Vyckie herself. This gets tricky. In some respects, NLQ has meant a lot to me because it's a gathering place for people who have lived in this system and decided not to continue. It's been great having Vyckie to turn to when I had questions about why my mom might have made the choices she did. However, and I have said this to Vyckie, given the accusation that she suggested Princess Jo start a "doubters thread" about me on QF - I have also had my feelings hurt. Because, whether she did or didn't do that, it makes me feel manipulated. Either a woman I trusted enough to disclose my identity to, after the fact, started the stressor that resulted in me giving up information I wasn't totally comfortable giving - OR- I am now being put in the position I was in most of my life ("Who can I trust?", "Am I trusting the RIGHT person?", "Is there anyone trustworthy out there?") by someone (Princess Jo) who has walked this road, too, and knows what an issue trust is. Neither of those is good. 
There is nothing I despise more than when someone that has benefited from the help of another, help given without cost or strings attached, then decides to display flagrant ingratitude. Flippant dismissal of the aid rendered. Or deciding whatever help you received is negated by rather flimsy reasons.

Sadly Ruth is not the only one out there like this, lacking all gratitude, graciousness or .memory of what they came from.

The internet seems to breed one upmanship to toxic levels, everyone seeking to be the alpha in whatever large or small internet pond they live in. It's unhealthy and unrealistic. The worst disgraceful aspect of this is when various people who are survivors of the same sorts of things end up in direct conflict. Survivor Wars. Really, let's all survive various toxic cults and then snipe at each other. Whatever happened to putting aside personal junk to achieve unity of purpose?

Ruth claims she doesn't care about her numbers. Clearly that's a lie or she never would have brought up the issue in the first place. She cared greatly about hit numbers. Which, of course, is what informed the subjects and lines of thought on her blog. I don't know if she started the Ruth blog to try and scam people, or if it was a concerted effort to try and win approval from strangers.

Another internet truth. You cannot write for an audience merely to achieve numbers and/or popularity. Eventually faking it is going to be too much the gargantuan task and you'll mix up the post it notes on the wall that you store your fakery on, your character guide you've developed. It will come out.

Be grateful, be honest, don't write about things you know nothing about. Numbers don't matter really in the long run.

I've had time to ponder all of these things as I've been mostly offline for the better part of several weeks with a particularly nasty case of the flu. But I'm back, at least until I leave for a fall vacation at the end of the week. And I don't give a rats ass about hit numbers. It's too petty.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Shake It Off

One of the things I'm realizing in this month of triggers is that I don't have to allow things to affect me so deeply. To shake them off.

On Sunday I nearly decided to stop going to my big mainstream church because the actions of some of those around me were triggering me mightily, causing me to go into almost a panic attack. Sunday had it's roots in Tuesday of the week I spent at the retirement seminar.

When I got home late on Tuesday I had a Facebook private message waiting for me from one of the guys in church leadership I'm very friendly with. Young guy, Sam, mid 30s, married to a very shy, sensitive lady name Stacey.

I'd known Sam was having a rough time because he's shared with the entire church that he was having issues pertaining things that happened in his childhood. I don't know the details, nor do I care to. He asked for prayer, that was good enough for me.

His wife Stacey and I had been talking about meditation lately. I knew she was doing yoga and attracted to aspects of the more Eastern religions, but, hey, everyone has to walk their own spiritual journey. I listened to her, tried to encourage her to hang in there to find out what her path is.

So the Facebook message had to do with Sam asking for prayer for Stacey, then sharing a big big big load of stuff about Stacey, blaming her for many things including saying she was walking away from Christ to chase "insert church name here" and Buddhism and it was wrecking their marriage.

I didn't want to know all of that, I've only recently started to establish a tentative friendship with Stacey and didn't think the searching she was doing was necessarily a bad thing. It's hard for me to lower my interior guard to let people in close enough to be friends after what I went through at the hands of 'friends' at my old fundigelical church. Between that and my childhood I have problems establishing healthy emotional boundaries.

My reply to Sam was that Stacey was searching and needed to have the freedom to search, but I'd certainly pray for them.

I hit send and realized that Sam had sent this whiny request of his that didn't honor his wife to twenty one other women in the church, all of which I know and aren't much more than surface cordial with. I hadn't realized it was a group message.

After that boy did the disapproval towards me and the fawning all over Sam start by the other women on the list. The more it continued, the more irked I got. The things that Sam shared or complained about in that message, and there were quite a few, weren't really things you should be sharing with someone that isn't your best friend/counselor/pastor. The entire thing was inappropriate.

The more I thought about his message, the more I was sent into a shame/panic PTSD type funk. I posted again on the list saying that I thought it was inappropriate for him to wholesale share this amount of marriage dysfunction to a group, how badly hurt his shy sensitive prone to depression wife would be if she ever found out, and that the nature of prayer list gossip being what it was it was almost certain she'd find out.

After a few minutes the ladies started to go off on me for being negative, etc, etc, etc.. and I removed myself from the prayer message. I've seen this stuff go haywire and hurt innocent people too many times in my old church, I wasn't about to partake of it now.

I lost a great deal of respect for Sam plus many of those ladies and wasn't looking forward to church. Sure enough, when I got there Sunday and said, 'Hiya' to the ladies on the list I was semi-friendly to I was either snubbed, treated like I was invisible or chewed out. I nearly walked out on church forever because this is exactly the type of happening prayer list goat rodeo that had too much poisonous explosion potential.

Jim said, like he always does, 'Shake it off!'

I cannot tell you how many years I've hate, hate, HATED that phrase of his... but... on Monday it hit me that he's right. Shake it off. What can they do to you and why are you letting someone elses ideas impact you at all!

For me this was a huge breakthrough. It's helped me be able to talk to those this week I had to talk to about some not so pleasant subjects and I'm forcing myself to listen to this song, which is silly but profound at the same time.


The video is kind of silly and insensitive but the message is a good one to remember.. I don't have to allow everything said about me or to me to bruise me or effect me at all. Good to remember on a week when I have had to do things that I know will cause others to criticize me.

Those ladies at church? Heck with them, let them gossip and babble. I said my piece and they don't have to like it and I don't have to listen to them either.

Also, I wish to correct a false statement someone pointed out that was on Free Jinger board - All postings by Razing Ruth have been put into 'unpublished private' status, meaning there is nothing by her on No Longer Quivering at all. It's all down. She's been completely erased off NLQ a long time ago.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gullible

It's been a full couple of weeks, I've been busy with going into the city every day with Jim to go to a retirement class followed by my friend Joe Sands coming to town. We met up for Mexican food and Air & Space museum. To quote 'Pride and Prejudice's Elizabeth Bennett,  I dearly love to laugh and Joe seems to be on a similar humor wave as I. We talked and talked and laughed. He's such a cutey too in his own way.

The thing about the retirement class is that I learned we have put aside enough money for retirement now. Jim will be retiring within about a year. I also learned that Jim has a death wish/thrill seeker side that involves waiting to go to the train at the very last second and flat out RUNNING!

Good, because I'd foolishly listened to the media and their tales that no one has near enough retirement in our baby boomer generation. But I've noticed I'm not the only really gullible person out there this week. A not-so-funny satire site announced that the Duggar family show was being cancelled and before you could shout, 'Sin in the camp!' Duggar fans were busy believing it.

Sort of reminds me of the time that one of my high school pals posted a photo of a McDonald's meal with photos of a scowling Michelle Obama on the wrappers as fact. I had to point out to him that the photos were straight out of The Onion, a funnier parody/satire site. He was relieved.

If I was Michelle Obama I'd scowl a lot too. Imagine being constantly under the scrutiny of the media and the Republicans? She's a better woman than me, I'd hide in my White House bedroom.

Back to being fooled. I've fallen for a number of dumb things over the years, like that time in high school when a date told me he was taking me to the submarine races out at the LSU lakes. When we arrived I jumped out of his car, raced to the edge of the lake and asked where the submarines are.

Several years ago people tried to warn me that one of NLQ's writers, Ruth, was a fake and I chose to ignore some of the more obvious signs and gullibly believe she was who she said she was. Turned out I was very wrong.

It was with some hesitation, because of the outcry over Razing Ruth, that I set up a fundraiser last night for Vyckie Garrison.People like Razing Ruth give everyone that tries to raise money a bad name. I'd like to see her prosecuted at some point for the money she's gotten by false pretenses from others.  But this time I know I'm not being hornswoggled or lied to. Vyckie is about to lose her house because of credit card debt. We've been discussing her situation for about a month now and I felt it was time to try and help her avoid filing for bankruptcy or losing her home to foreclosure.

The thing that made me hesitate is that I knew the ladies of Free Jinger message board would jump all over the fact that Vyckie was in need. Vyckie has history with FJ, and sure enough, they're already discussing the fundraiser for Vyckie. Good for them. I hope at least a few will consider donating towards the total.

I may be gullible, I may be pig headed and sometimes really really wrong on issues but I know I want nothing more than to help out a friend.

A pile of questions has arrived in my email box about the fundraiser and I'm going to answer them on the fundraising site. Let me just say that every penny raised will go to Vyckie and her debts. I get nothing out of this beyond the headache and carpal tunnel syndrome I was dicing with last night trying to get the fundraiser up on the site. No, Vyckie will not be riding around on a gold plated llama or using the money to do anything foolish, it's strictly to save her home.

I hope people give. I hope there are some non-cynical people out there that love Vyckie enough to donate.