Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Boiling The Frog - When Churches Turn Into Dangerous Cults

Yesterday blogger Libby Anne wrote a very disturbing piece titled "I Was in a College Cult".. Why was it disturbing to me? Because it was highly triggering because it almost described my last three years at my old church. I was awake much of last night ruminating on the supernatural cult the church turned into after turning to healing ministries.

Like Libby Anne I'm going to ask you to stop and read this first before proceeding onto my story of how weird the church and I got towards the end - The Seven Signs You're in a Cult in The Atlantic Magazine

Got it? Yep.

What happened was sort of like that old story about putting the frog in a big pot of water and the frog not realizing till it was too late that he was being boiled alive. Our church turning into a cult happened a lot like that.

Our church was a typical part-Quiverfull, part-Evangelical, part-Fundamentalist non-denominational church that pops up in the Bible belt area like mushrooms in the forest after a hard rain. I'm not sure exactly who brought into our church the ideas of healing and healing conferences but it happened. I seem to remember an East Coast evangelist/profit/healer that used the phrase "Wow Mom" while applying football jargon to spiritual issues, like the retired high school football coach he was. He ushered it in I think.

We started studying books like "Christ The Healer" by F. F. Bosworth and our pastor preached that healing was for everyone, that Christ took all sickness to the cross when He was crucified and that as a result the Devil had no right to put sickness on anyone. It had been paid for on the cross.

The church cycled through healing teachings from The Healing Rooms and other Evangelical churches. There was a man brought in to teach healing that said that most illness was the result of spinal misalignment. I was told my severe asthma was because one of my arms was 3/4 of an inch longer than the other one. They prayed and manipulated my arms until both were the same length. I was told to go home and throw away all my medicines, take that step of faith to prove I trusted in God to completely heal me.

And the ideas pushed about healing became increasingly strange: If you talked negatively about your body or paid much attention to your illness or the symptoms you were putting a curse on your own body and opening a door to Satan to make you sick. Your thoughts, actions and words had to profess that you were 100% cured. Very, very close to what is being pushed in the story told in the book "Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood", the same sorts of horrible stories about people that didn't change their attitudes or embrace their healings the right way, coded Christian-ese language spoken only.

Even as I ended up at the hospital a number of times with my breathing problems, woke up once entubated in ICU from an attack and ended up having to have a complete hysterectomy to help with a bleeding disorder I have, I still talked the talk and walked the walk enough that I was selected for the healing team and the altar ministry

Then things got very weird.

During the altar ministry training the books we started to read morphed into the supernatural - things about being a spiritual warrior, demon-chasing off, cleansing houses and individuals, casting out demons, discerning evil spirits and dealing with them, claiming God's favor for and in everything.

Example? Once we did an outdoor soup kitchen ministry in the poor part of town and it was threatening and spitting rain. I stood up in the middle of the square and ordered the weather to clear in the name of Jesus because we prayer warriors were there to feed God's people and the rain was "Satan's PLOT" to keep us from going about our Father's business. The rain stopped and I proudly strutted off thinking, "Wow, it's all so simple, why haven't we been doing this all along? Taking authority over Satanic plots and actions and forcing them to yield." I cringe thinking about that moment now. Talk about deluded. But I wasn't the only one...

Every Saturday we opened the church tor healing prayer and ended up doing a lot, and I mean a lot, of exorcism rituals along with prayer and proclaiming God's desire was to heal everyone, if the healing didn't happen, then there was some open doorway to the Devil that prevented the healing. We asked probing and prying questions of the of the prayee and led them through prayers of repentance over whatever opened the door and firmly closed it. We made people denounce all sorts of things as idols, like televised sports or even focusing too much on one of their children. It all led back to the Devil and his imps.

Only once in those years did I see what looked like a full fledged "Exorcist" type encounter - and I wrote about it and the church's unnatural obsession with demonology several years ago in the post titled "Exorcism"

From that post:

But on the other hand I clearly recall an evening about eight years ago when I was one of the chaperones at our Old Church (referred to from now on as OC) during a teen worship all night lock in. We were doing creative worship when I heard a growl, looked to my left just in time to see one of the youth slam to the floor, growling and foaming at the mouth. The kid began to speak in weird demonic sounding voices. It took six young men over six foot tall and big to hold him down. As I watched my friend Lynda she performed a several hour exorcism on him. The things I saw and heard that night will always be with me. I have no explanation for it at all except to say if that kid was acting then he should receive an Academy Award. I didn't participate in the actual exorcism even if I was trained, I shepherded the rest of the kids to the other end of the sanctuary and lead them in a prayer circle while the screaming, thrashing, barfing and animalistic behaviors were going on and they were holding him down praying. What I witnessed seemed to be genuine but... I don't know what to think.
Looking back I'm so glad I didn't jump right in and help remove the 'demon' but things just spiraled from there. We started to prayer walk the streets and make a concerted effort to drive the tarot card readers, I Ching people, palm readers and others that were not Christian from the Charlottesville, Virginia historic downtown mall area by prayer walking, setting up to give prophesy over folks and act not too much different than those we were trying to pray away.

By the time my husband dragged me out of the old church we would routinely have knock down drag out verbal fights about the issue of God's healing, depression, demons, anything supernatural. Once we on the prayer teams started to take dominion over and cleanse houses of demons it was a weirdness too far for Jim. We left shortly thereafter.

I look back, thinking about the words I spoke, my believing in a demon under every bush, the arrogant ways I would pray to bring about what I thought God's will was and how much time we wasted on demons and spiritual strongholds, and I am ashamed of myself.

Sure, Jesus healed folks and He drove out demons, but... he didn't go off the deep end into exorcisms, demonology, looking for evil, being inwardly proud of his praying these things away. But we did all that.

We were a cult and I helped bring that about. May the victims of our cult forgive me.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Honesty Really is the Best Policy

I just ran into a former coworker here in my tiny town and she told me what went down at the national floral wire service we both used to work at. They got sued and lost to the tune of five million dollars if I'm reading the court documents right!

The whole thing just goes to show you that it really does pay to be upfront about things instead of sneaking around and mentioning the truth out of the side of your mouth like a sneaky used car salesman.

For the record I have to say I hate lying, particularly lying about what's behind the facade. That's one of the things that's always irked me about the Duggar family. They present the lifestyle they live as if it were easy, sweet and charming, instead of the hard work, control freaking, way it actually is.

The company I worked for was Blooms Today. I worked there close to three years and at first I liked my job. It was fun, there were always contests and special events, prizes for top sellers and it was friendly family type atmosphere. Plus the wages were great! But that all changed once they decided to push a product sort of like The Entertainment Book that they had branded called Blooms Rewards.

Sort of like the Duggars as they started out with their specials where not much was glossed over, it was plain to see what they followed and their belief system. But as Blooms Today pushed those of us that worked there to keep pitching their discount program with a script that was only borderline true and concealed the fact that the program wasn't really worth the price, so the Duggars also went increasingly disingenuous on their program. Going from talking about "blanket training" straight out of Michael Pearl's dangerous child rearing book "To Train Up A Child" to completely dropping any mention of child discipline. That is merely one example of their slide down a slippery slope to conceal the truth.

As time passed at Blooms Today they added other special 'programs' you could sign up for to protect your identity, credit score and an auto club membership along with a few others I'd forgotten. As the pressure to sell all of these programs besides the flowers some of the agents cracked and quit, a former supervisor of mine quit rather than practice what she believed to be deception. The rest of us sucked it up and tried to sell what some of us personally believed was a bad deal. But customers always pick up on insincerity and truthfully, towards the end of my time there my percentages were bad, really bad, at selling these add ons because I just couldn't sleep at nights and spout those scripts in a believable fashion. Management pressured me to quit instead of them having to fire me for not doing a good job pushing the whole Blooms Rewards. I did. I was having a hard time with my asthma then and didn't realize that being on the telephone for a ten hour stretch with vocal cord movement dysfunction was affecting my health badly.

But unlike Blooms Today the Duggars seem to get away with what started out as lies of omission and now seems to be showing the public that nice, fresh, sanitized, fake version of what living the Evangelical Patriarchal Quiverful life is really like. I don't get why the public cannot pick up on the insincerity and the cognitive dissonance that those of us who have escaped the same sort of cultesque groups pick up on.

Blooms Today didn't so much pay the price like the workers did. By the end of my time there I was officially disgusted with being pressured to lie to customers and I'm glad I got out when I did. My friends that stayed were the ones that paid the price for the law suit over the lies - most of the agents lost their jobs and now the company has a very small workforce and rewritten website. They still offer Blooms Rewards, but now the fine print is bolded. Not that Blooms Rewards doesn't benefit some consumers, those folks that travel, eat out or shop a lot, but for many people, like me, it's a huge waste of dough.

I wonder how long it will be before one of the kids escapes the Duggar family and writes that tell all book, the equivalent of the five million dollar lawsuit? Because you know it is the Duggar children paying the price of television fame and everything the parents have done to seek it. I used to think it would be Jinger, now I'm thinking it might be poor Jana, eldest daughter. I wonder.

Lying, even lies of omission, always comes back to bite you on the rear. I try not to lie because it's too hard to remember what you said so it's always easier to tell the truth.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Coded Language: When Words Have Other Meanings

These last few weeks I've been reading through the new book out of John Piper's camp - "Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood" and I posted one puzzling piece at NLQ. Mel also wrote a valid criticism or the book at her site When Cows and Kids Collide.

It was a story of a disabled boy who's adoptive Good Christian (tm) father determined that the main thing wrong with the child was that he had a mental picture of himself as disabled, weak and whiny. The father decided that the thing to make the child readjust his attitude and change his mental self image was to force him to try to walk.

Yeah, all without consulting a physical therapist, a doctor or anyone with any genuine medical or physiological training. The story is disturbing on literal levels as well as the hidden coded thing it hides.

It’s a story of a little boy whose body was weak. He couldn’t walk, and he was carried everywhere he went. Over time, he became needy, weepy, and constantly made requests of those around him. If you saw him, you would have pitied him. He was not even ten years of age and already way behind.But then something happened. The little boy had spent most of his life in foster care. Then, one day, he was adopted by a Christian family. This was no ordinary family, however. It was one led by an old-fashioned father, a man whose blend of kindness and authority drew respect from his wife and children. His wasn’t the ultra-modern home you see on Hulu nowadays—teens eye-rolling, chaos reigning, dad zoned out on his iPhone, mom trying to tame the far-past-gone toddlers. This was a home where a father trained and pastored his children, and a mother devoted herself to her kids. This was a home where you were expected to pull your weight, pursue maturity, and sacrifice your interests to those of others.This was the home the little boy entered. He couldn’t have articulated his feelings, but he knew something was different. There was order. There was discipline. And there was love, abundant love, that spilled out into laughter and playing and real conversation. But the boy wasn’t the onlyone watching. The father was watching, too. He thought to himself, This boy isn’t lame. He’s not gonna be a track star. But I think he can walk.After a couple days, he decided not to keep these thoughts to himself. He gently prodded the little boy, his new son, to try walking. So the boy did. At first it didn’t go well. This wasn’t supposed to happen. His self-identity was fixed. But then something clicked. The boy took one step, then another. A lurch became a walk. Pretty soon he, too, was caught up in the whirl of the home. He wasn’t the fastest, and the other kids had to help him at times. But the switch was back on. The boy had come alive. His strength was bigger than his weakness. His identity was refigured.This true story elegantly illustrates what happens when the gospel speaks into our sexuality.
What I find disturbing about the story, much more dangerous than the idea that pushing a kid to deny his condition and change is the entire idea of coded language and ideas exemplified by this piece of the book. Did you notice that the last sentence is chilling in that it spells out simply what the story of the boy is meant to actually be. Let's look at that sentence again.

 "This true story elegantly illustrates what happens when the gospel speaks into our sexuality."

In non-Christian-ese this entire sad story has been an analogy for changing someone's sexuality by stern training of the True Christian(tm) family. Replace 'needy' and 'weepy' with 'feminine' or 'girlish' and 'couldn't walk' with 'homosexual' and the true meaning leaps out.

Why the coding? Because if they came right out with their agenda honestly and talked about training swishy little boys to be he-men the media and the world would seize upon it as the hate it is. Hate speech, attempts yet again to say that sexuality is a choice, a choice that can be trained out of someone or a choice that can be conscientiously changed as easy as changing your shoes.

That changing is a old falsehood that the extremer parts of Evangelical Christianity and Biblical Patriarchy clings to so desperately that they code their talk about it now instead of being upfront about it.

Apparently it is the new society-impacting tactic that fundamentalists and evangelicals have seized upon as their best chance into tricking people into thinking that their ideas aren't so bad. Over the last year I've witnessed in my local newspaper when some editor was fooled into giving a local woman, Amanda Dilday, her own column titled "Birth Matters"

The scary, dangerous and very disingenuous thing about the writings of Amanda Dilday of Culpeper Times and the Culpeper Star Exponent newspapers is her carefully coded language to advance the beliefs of the Quiverfull culture as 'normal'. She writes pieces subtly slanted against traditional medical care, both for birth and general health concerns. She's another one of those home birth only Quiverful Christians that things everything else is wrong.

However, she is just clever enough not to quote scriptures or come right out with the Christian-ese in her columns. But anyone with a basic knowledge of the beliefs and foibles of radical evangelical right cults can see that she is trying to inch along their agenda in our part of Virginia in her coded language way.

I'm not sure how she got her weekly newspaper space or how she keeps it considering how bizarre and home birth-focused her writing is. Every week is the same old same old. I consider women like Amanda Dilday to be as responsible for the death of babies as abortionists. At least abortionists are honest, she  isn't with her language. I object to what she writes because I have no desire to see any Benaiah Chmielewski's in our small town, egged on by those with scant real training or knowledge of medicine.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Goodbye Withdrawal! Bonne Chance!

I am finally starting to feel not so sick again. The awful withdrawals symptoms have passed and I swear I am never again going to allow a doctor to put me on an 'off label' usage of a SSRI drug to control something not mental again.

Thankful I can stop living on ginger ale and saltines as they've made me regain six pounds, thankful the dizziness, agitation, sweats, stomach aches, and muscle pains have stopped! Thankful I can eat again without feeling every bite of regular food might make me hurl!

I'm also just a little bit proud of myself that I rode this out and came out the other side without caving and going right back on the drug like I have every other time I've tried weaning off.

Of course, during my Bible-thumping fundamentalist days I would have never gone to the doctor in the first place, merely prayed my severe asthma and colitis would come into alignment with the word of God, stop acting a fool and tell Satin.. errr, Satan, he had no right to put those things on me because I am a CHILD of the MOST HIGH GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111Eleventy

And as a result would have spent more time in the hospital and more time feeling like I'd been sat on by an elephant, right on my lungs. More time dragging around looking like death warmed over a few dozen times.  More time in ICU from trying to slay a dragon with a toothpick of over the counter drugs.

The sick sad thing about those days is that when I did break down and see a physician I was told I wasn't trusting in God, but trusting in the idol of modern medicine.

Sometimes changing your attitude isn't enough to 'cure' you.

Now I'm much more balanced. I hit a wall in my withdrawal last Wednesday afternoon when I visited my new pulmonologist. I was crying in her office, telling her how incredibly frustrating it is to try and get disability payments for something that kept me too sick to go to work around 50% of the time.

Her response? I needed to go to a therapist to work on my frustration levels because crying is an unacceptable and mentally unbalanced response to frustration.


The more we talked, the more she started telling me to get on some sort of SSRI or psych drugs or go back on Lexapro and do the talk therapy thing. She seemed completely unwilling to consider that the withdrawal was kicking my ass and driving some of my emotional response. I have a therapist and I do go when I feel myself in need of it, which has been quite a long time now. But the drugs are now on a big no-no list for me.

Her reaction to me upset for a day or so, until my darling Jim did something so sweet and wonderful it helped me get past it and helped me hang in there to get over the drug. He told me about myself, reminded me of who I am and how I react and why he loves me for it.

The truth is that I am sensitive and cry easily, or I deal with my sensitivity with flip sarcasm. Jim loves that I'm sensitive. I guess that's a good thing.

One of the ways I coped more successfully with my agitation was to go up to my sewing room and quilt daily. I've churned out three quilts in two weeks, one of which I am putting the finishing touches on now, a Game of Thrones quilt.

Sometimes the medical profession, and always fundamentalism, wants to squish you into a one size fits all box and insists you stay there.  Thankfully we're all different and our boxes are a rainbow of colors and infinite shapes and sizes.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Keeping 'The Unity of the Body" Without Being a Martyr: You Have the Right to Protect Yourself!

How emotionally triggering has the last week or so been? So triggering that last night I had to post this on my Facebook wall:

"Dear Former Fellow Church Members From Raccoon Ford Christian Fellowship - If you are not currently on my friends list and someone I actually still have a positive relationship with please do not send me a friends request. If you behaved hatefully towards me when I left the church I really have no desire to be 'friends' now. I've moved on."

Last night, after another week having withdrawal symptoms from that damned drug and dealing with the world, I was in no mood to see the friends requests from four former RFCF members, one of which is a sweet girl that annoyed the piss out of me the last time we were Facebook friends with her pm's telling me that God told her I was in a bad place spiritually and needed to turn back to Him. Duuuh! Ya' think? She didn't need a direct pipeline to God to figure that one out. I admin a site for survivors of spiritual abuse and am not shy or reticent about it on Facebook.  God didn't tell her a thing, she made a lot of assumptions. That was only after she pmed me asking for my phone number so she could give me a weekly free psychic reading word from the Lord for me every week. I ignored that request too.  Intrusive much?

The other three requests were from ladies that had confronted me, whispered about, secretly bashed me and were part of the brigade determined to constantly remind me that I was busy decorating my handbasket bound for hell by leaving the old church. Considering these three were close friends the likelihood of them all randomly trying to friend me on the same day seems sort of slim. More likely it was a concerted 'Come to Jesus or ELSE!' scheme. Not having any part of that either.

They don't get it that they have no say and no power over any spiritual journey or life I may or may not have now. I've had nothing to do with them for years now. Forgiving someone from the things they've said and done to you doesn't mean you have to allow them back into your live to try and wreak more havoc. Sometimes forgiving means moving out of the path of destruction and getting on an entirely different path your forgivees will never understand.

But, Suzanne, I hear you say, you're not keeping the 'Unity of the Body' by ignoring those sisters in Christ.

Sometimes the 'Unity of the Body' is better maintained by keeping away from the sicker parts of the 'body'. You don't do or say anything evil or revengeful back, you do nothing to them more than forgive them and move just far away from them in the body so that they cannot try and harm you again.

Suppose you have a family member you love, perhaps a cousin or an in-law, someone you know you have to see at family reunions or holidays yet each and every time you see this cousin they whip out a wooden stave and start knocking you about the head. At first you're shocked and frozen, unsure what to do. You forgive and the wounds heal, but the next family pot luck and you get seated next to this cousin and he pulls out his wooden cudgel and proceeds to whomp the crap out of your poor noggin again. And this continues every get together until one day you decide to sit at the grownups table in the next room, far, far away from psycho cousin with a stick. You're still part of the same group/family, you still love that person and you are not excluding them or doing anything harmful to them, but you are protecting yourself.

Allowing those who've repeatedly hurt you or abused you to be a close enough part of your life to be a 'friend' on Facebook is like going to that family holiday and saying to your cousin Bam-Bam, "Okay, so you flay me every time I see you and cause me harm, here I am again,  please start to beat me about the head violently. I'll just forgive you later and everything will be yippy-skippy peanut butter fine! So what if I'm bleeding profusely!"

You should not have to martyr yourself to others to keep the "Unity of the Body". Let Bam-Bam find other activities while you keep your skull free of new stitches and bumps.

You have the right to emotional an spiritual safety even if it means denying friend requests on Facebook or refusing to participate when someone wants to cudgel you.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rolling Six Feet Under The Prairies

One of my friends from NLQ and Facebook, Tapati Daniels, posted a link to a story from last summer in the Boston Globe newspaper - Little Libertarians on the Prairie.

The entire premise of the article is that author Laura Ingalls Wilder had been heavily edited and rewritten by her daughter, professional writer Rose Wilder Lane. It's not new 'news', anyone that has done any in-depth research on beloved children's author  Laura Ingalls Wilder turns up Rose and her editing and rewriting. Rose was the engine driving the entire thing, she was the one with the contacts in the world of publishing and written word. The most Laura had done in the arena of writing was to pen a farmer's wife column for the local Mansfield Missouri newspapers.

The Little House books arrived at a perfect moment in American history, during the Great Depression, at a time when most American families were being forced to practice an austerity unknown to many of them before. The fact that the Little House books outlined a happy family life with financial hardships faced head on and together made them appealing to a struggling nation.

I was surprised to learn that Lane had injected enough Libertarian thought into the books to make Rand Paul weep with joy, yet at the same time it was unsurprising. I remember all the outcry and rejection of the Little House books by my former sisters and friends in the fundamentalist evangelical circles that these books smacked of feminism and female self-reliance. The Prairie Muffin brigade really seems to hold Little House as hated for those reasons.

It was known by Rose Lane's history and own words that she was virulently anti-government and pro freedom, so it's not unbelievable that she injected her own beliefs about the free market system, hard work and personal liberty into the books. What she also did was to edit out some of the unpleasant truths of those days.

Just compare the descriptions of life in a railroading camp in "By The Shores of Silver Lake" to others written about the same subject, to AMC's "Hell on Wheels" and it's source materials and tell me that the Little House books were heavily edited and sanitized for children?

Which is too bad, because I would love to know what that summer spent by the Ingalls family on the frontier with the dregs of society carving out the track beds for the railroads was like. Did Pa Ingalls have to spend every night sitting in front of their shanty door with a loaded rifle to keep the riff raff away?

Still even with the heavy editing the books stand the test of time as well as shows how far as a society we have come.

When life hands me a particularly shitty time and I start feeling ungrateful and grumbling I will go back and reread the Little House books, especially 'The Long Winter'. It always makes me very grateful that I'm living in these times and don't have to worry about going out to chop firewood just to keep from freezing to death. It's taught me not to whine quite so much about my more modern problems.

As I was growing up in an extremely dysfunctional family filled with infidelity, alcohol abuse and neglect in South Louisiana I found great comfort in the Little House books. That book series was one of the things that helped me survive my wretched childhood and know that families aren't supposed to be filled with drinking and fighting.

I have to say that of all the Little House books my personal favorite is the one that is the most grim "The First Four Years", published after Rose and Laura's deaths about the first four years of Laura's marriage to Manly Wilder. This was the one Little House book that Rose Lane did not edit and that was published just as Laura had written it. In the first four years or Laura and Manly's marriage just about everything that could go wrong did. I was blessed by the fact that as horrible as things worked out the Wilders made the best of it and moved on into the future as best they could. I know in modern times a couple might have divorced after having lost everything to forces beyond their control and losing a child.

To me that is the ultimate message of the Little House books that the fundamentalist evangelicals could benefit from, life isn't all lollipops and sunshine, you push on through with your family. It seems to me that is a family value that they claim to have but I rarely see in practice.

My only problem with Little House is that Rose Wilder Lane ignored her mother's wishes and left all royalties and controlling interest in the books to her attorney Roger MacBride. Roger MacBride settled in central Virginia to raise his only child while starting to establish the Libertarian party. He ran for president as  Libertarian during the 1976 elections. He could well afford to run with the Little House money.

It's not Roger MacBride I object to, it's his silly daughter Abby MacBride. During the several years I worked for Bitchy Galore, a drunken woman with her own insurance agency in Virginia, I got to see what the Little House legacy has created. Bitchy and Abby were good friends and members of the same country club and Abby showed up at the agency occasionally. Abby lives in a way that would have horrified Charles and Caroline Ingalls and their ways of thrift. Abby in those days ran about Central Virginia in an expensive foreign convertible, dressed in expensive clothes, living like some horrible rich Eurotrash tourist. Towards the end of my time at Bitchy Galore's agency Abby married the local golf pro of the country club.

I know that the Ingalls have to be rolling in their graves that their lives of economy and hard work have enabled some silly thing to live like a 'Real Housewife'. It's a slap in the face.

~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~  ~ ~

About Bitchy Galore: I named her that because her father is a powerful man with the Republican party in the state and with the State Police.

When I worked for her she was around forty five and on husband number six. Loud mouthed, vile words, outspoken and bitchy, made even worse by the fact that I was still drinking the koolaid of my old church. She made me gasp and blink in shock at least a dozen times a day. Screeching about her ex husbands, fighting with her current husband, listening to her police scanner to know everything happening in the county, drinking, drinking and driving, trying to get me to drink with her.

We knocked heads once when she accused me of looking at pornography on my computer and was majorly embarrassed after I pulled up computer history and showed her that the porn sites had all been accessed by HER HUSBAND while I wasn't even working.

I remember when a lightening strike burned down the womens dressing room cottage and Bitchy got the bright idea to make a nude calender of all the female golfer members of the country club to raise money to rebuilt the dressing room. She came up with the idea after sitting her office drinking and watching the movie "Calender Girls" one day during work hours. I tried my damndest to talk her out of it, but like a bull in a china shop she rambled and ranted about it during a country club member meeting and the other ladies shot her down. I'm glad because the local rednecks would have gotten their hands on that calender and been hooting and laughing all over the hollows.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

More Dead Kids

I have to confess I am very fed up today and it's not just getting off of that prescription. The news is yanking my heart around. Another school shooting leaving two kids dead in Oregon this morning.

No word on how the shooter got the gun but it's pretty obvious he had to have taken it from his home.

Didn't we just go through a shooting this weekend in the Vegas Cici's Pizza and Wal-Mart? Oh yeah, that one is 'okay' because it's not a school.

I believe a statistic I saw earlier today said that there had been something like 74 school shootings since the December 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary that left twenty children dead. I almost can't wrap my mind around those numbers. And to think that nothing has been done about gun violence in our schools is unacceptable. If there was ever a time to draft and pass legislation to keep guns out of the hands of the nation's youths it would have been in the aftermath of Sandy Hook. Instead our leaders shilly-shallied and played political games instead of addressing an urgent problem in our country.

This morning shortly after hearing the news that more kids were dead and the nation is no closer to having any sorts of restrictions on weapons I went to vote. Today was a Republican primary between Eric Cantor and Dave Brat. Sort of like having to hold your nose and pick a skunk. Which one will stink the least is what you're voting for, not who you'll think will do a good job.

When I walked up to the voting polls I had to ask one of Brat's supporters where Brat stands on gun control. I already knew exactly where Cantor stands, he's in the NRA's pockets and those are some deep deep pockets. Dave Brat's supporter told me in no uncertain terms that Brat was against any type of gun control, Brat supports open carry.

With what happened in Oregon and the avalanche of school shootings stretching all the way back past Columbine with every politician flapping their jaws that something must be done but voting down every ban on assault rifles (used at a number of shootings) or even simple laws making the adult of the household responsible for keeping the weapons out of the hands of those under the age of eighteen I sort of..err, hemm, ekk, went off on him about the lack of any responsible gun laws.

His response to ending gun violence in the schools? Make every 6th or 7th grader take mandatory gun safety and shooting classes and allow any kid that wants to after going through the course to carry a weapon, even in school.  Right, like that's a good idea. Give someone already boiling with scads of hormones and the interpersonal drama of middle school a lethal weapon to keep them safe, yet insist they will not react in a situation that they might find threatening, when it actually isn't. School shootings would sky rocket. You cannot mix immature people with lethal weapons and expect they will make the right choice all the time.

Let me stop and quantify here, I'm not opposed to guns, I don't want to ban all guns. Having a hunting rifle or a shotgun you use to keep the crows out of the corn is perfectly acceptable, unless you use them to commit a crime.

I would like to see assault rifles banned number one from everyone but law enforcement or the military. What does the average citizen need such a high powered weapon for? Try hunting with that thing and you're going to end up with ground round after you shoot.

Plus I would like to see much tighter control on hand guns. Hand guns for law enforcement or those who need them as a part of their job duties. Back in college I worked for an air freight company that required I carry a side arm and qualify with the gun. I wasn't crazy about it, but it was part of my job. Thankfully I never had to actually use it, but I was prepared to if necessary.

But the core issue to me is making sure people who should never have access to hand guns cannot obtain them. Make the penalties for your child or anyone else's kid taking your unlocked weapons and committing a crime much harsher. Gun violence crimes should have higher mandatory sentences as a deterrent. If you own a gun keep it secured at all times or pay the price of a stiff fine and jail time. Better background checks, close all the gun show loopholes.

"What about the criminals with guns?" most of the 2nd amendment rights folks shout. Simple. Tougher and longer mandatory sentencing for ANY crime committed with gun violence attached. Make the gun shops legally culpable if they allow someone who cannot pass the background check to obtain a gun.

I hate the idea of throwing more people in prison considering we already have the highest prison population per capita than any other developed nation, but something has to be done.

Example: Back in 1994 my then 16 year old cousin took one of his father's hand guns from the unlocked gun cabinet in the living room and put it to the back of my 13 year old cousin's head and blew his brains out all over the living room wall. This is a family where my uncle told the rest of us that we were nuts for not having guns in our houses and training our kids how to handle weapons.

We buried my cousin Chris that November just before Thanksgiving. As tragic as it was I hold my uncle Kenny responsible for the death of his youngest son and I wish the court system did as well. Kenny didn't believe in locking up his guns and ended up paying a high price for that mistake. Your irresponsibility should not go unpunished when a life is lost.

Actually, two lives were lost that day. The shooter, my older cousin Andrew, has had his life ruined by what happened. Since the shooting he has been in and out of mental hospitals, struggled with substance abuse and been on government assistance, unable to hold a job due to his mental issues. Andrew stood no chance of having a normal life after the day he was goofing around with his dad's gun.

Haven't enough kids died already? It's really time to do something about the issue of children and access to weapons in the home.  No more dead kids.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Very Cold Turkey

I haven't updated. But I've been having a hell of a time of it.

Remember when I mentioned that a couple of months ago I started tapering off the SSRI drug I'd been put on for my IBS/Colitis that I've tried more than once to get off of with no success? That I was determined to do it this time? I had a plan and had done research?

Throw all that out of the window, because the reality of trying to oh so slowly taper off of Lexapro hit a huge snag more than me being super cranky with everyone. This last week, just in time for my birthday, I developed the worst withdrawal symptoms. My plans fell apart and I fell into the arms of my doctors at Hopkins yet again.

Now I'm having what feels like a bad case of the flu with jumpy anxiety and brain zaps thrown in for shits and giggles. This morning I had a near meltdown at church because Saturday and then Sunday I started having sensory overload. I had to hide Saturday afternoon in my darkened bedroom reading "Game of Thrones" in silence. Today I hid down in the darkened fellowship hall, had breakfast and read "Game of Thrones" in silence. It was like all the chattering of the people and the worship music was like electricity zapping around my brain causing pain.

This last week was dreadful and involved a great deal of lazing around trying not to puke and with the way I feel at this moment I'm thinking this week will be more of the same. I think I'm personally keeping Canada Dry ginger ale company and Nabisco's Saltine division afloat on my own this week. Clean eating went out of the window.

Birthday was dreadful, but that's a tale for another day, involving whining about insensitive men and feeling emotionally and physically like, well, you know...

According to my doctors this should start going away sometime in the next week or so as my body adjusts to the lack of SSRI.

I need a beach week so badly~