Thursday, March 30, 2006


When I was younger, I never had to doubt that I was strange. It was obvious in everything I said and did and reminders were everywhere. No one at home or school would let me go on for very long without pointing the fact out. It was bad for me, no doubt. I've never exactly had high self-esteem or been one of those self-confident types.

But maybe it's harder now because, for such long periods of time, I forget.

For instance, right now I'm sitting in the computer lab at school. I should be in my psychopathology class, but I'm not. I'm not because I got here about twenty minutes late, had what basically amounts to a panic attack, and now can't coax myself into going into class. But my conscience is keeping me from leaving.

So I'm sitting on campus, directly underneath the class I'm supposed to be attending, thinking to myself: What if I get caught? Hopefully I get caught! God it would be miserable if I were caught, but I would deserve it!

I'm so stupid. I can't even identify my fear. It's not just that I'll be embarassed about being late or that my professor will freak out on me. Normal people can conquer that fear. I'm just sort of generally freaking out. What if, what if, what if?

This morning the God of Peace filled my soul. Right now I can hardly bear to be. Chalk one up to personal failure.


Joseph the Visionary.

It's strange how the day takes away the power of dreams. I haven't been sleeping very well lately. I've been having a lot of bad dreams for one thing. And for the other, I haven't had very much time for sleeping.

For whatever reason, I'm very affected by dreams. I'm not the sort that gives a lot of credence to hidden meaning in dreams or whatever. I don't think that every dream I have is the key to the inner workings of my psyche or that every dream that is set in the future will in fact prove to become my future. I think that those things can happen. My religion sort of requires my belief that dreams can have meaning (haven't you seen Donny Osmond in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?)

In church this past Sunday and also last night we talked about spiritual gifts. Coming from a "high church" background, it's not a subject that I've really given a lot of thought. I've a natural tendency to disregard anything charismatics say on the matter mostly because I always suspect them of bringing the entire matter up solely so that they can once again interject speaking in tongues into the conversation.

I have never spoken in tongues and I have always been quite certain that I never will. For most of my life I viewed it as outright charlatanism. And while I have lately found that there's more to it than I liked to admit, it really didn't seem like the sort of thing I would ever do.

Part of my problem is just outright classism; my thinking I'm more sophisticated than I am. I have tremendous battles with my pride just trying to pray, much less by allowing the holy spirit to pray through me. I don't like giving up control. I only begrudgingly allow that God is greater than I am. That is, I only admit it in my worst and most beaten moments, and even then, under protest.

I realize that that's a stupid attitude. But like most of humanity, I continue on my merry way, content in having a stupid attitude.

The part of the sermon that interested me last night was when he brought up "discernment of spirits." I've never really listened to a pastor speak on the subject and until last night I only had a half-formed idea of what that was. I always assumed it meant calling people you didn't like demoniacs and talking about the sweet spirit of televangelists.

But my pastor was talking about seeing the world the way that God sees it. He was mostly talking about people. Seeing nasty criminals as little children, for instance, and loving them inspite of their sin. But the idea of seeing the world the way that God sees it is very interesting to me.

I was originally drawn to Eastern mysticism mostly because I have these, I don't how to describe them, experiences, in which the world of solids and objects and rules suddenly goes melding into this gooey, undulated and warm mess that I can only describe as God. I thought for sure I'd end up some sort of Buddhist until I realized that the study of the philosophy of nothingness was really doing nothing for me.

Mind you, I'm not saying that Buddhism is bad or evil or that it does nothing for anyone. In fact, I learned a lot from that period in my life. I learned how to fast and how to meditate; I learned discipline and, to a certain extent, how to control fading in and out of "reality."

I found a home in the Christian mystics of the East. I started fiddling around with the Jesus Prayer and reading the Philokalia, all of which, I must admit is far, far too advanced for me. I didn't understand any of it. And while I do find myself drawn to it, I can never stick with the practice of anything because I am simply too overwhelmed by what I find.

All of these factors are sort of converging on me. It's almost a crisis of faith, but sort of a sweet one. How does a quasi-Catholic-Pentecostal-former Buddhist reconcile horrifying fear of the holy spirit, an insistence on only one baptism, rejection of sola scripture and a slight tendency to slip in and out of the known world?

I want to write more, but I have to take The Boy to his book fair and then wrestling practice, and then, joy of joys, I have my first psychopathology class tonight.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Kidney and Sinus Infection.

I don't have a lot to say. But I know it's been a while since I last wrote and I know I promised to do better with this.

So, this week I had a kidney infection and a sinus infection. The doctor thinks that one possible cause of my blood pressure issues is that there is a leakage in one of my heart valves. The leakage isn't serious, so that's good. And they can maybe just fix it with medication or whatever, and that would end my regular near-fainting spells. This is good news, I think.

The Boy and I went to his wrestling tournament today. He lost both of his matches, which blows. I think it may be harder on me than him. I hate to see him upset. I hate to see him fail. But I know that it's a good learning experience for him. Life isn't easy and you don't win every game. Still. Damn!

School ended last week. I'm sort of pissed because the hippie professor who offered me drugs gave me a B+ in his class. WTF? Maybe if I would have consented to take his vicodin he would have given me an A. Does that sound mean and nasty? I'm kind of in that sort of mood today.

I don't like it when people love me when they need me and want me the hell out of the way when they don't need me.

I'm tired of being sick.

My mom went to the doctor this week and was diagnosed with gout. How painful. And odd. Medication has improved her condition substantially, which, I guess, is good news.

I've been having weird dreams lately. They're like recurring dreams, kind of. Only I haven't had them since I was eleven. I'm trying to figure out if there are some circumstance in my life that are drawing out old themes. When I was eleven, my parents split up and I went to live with my sister. I was pretty much miserable. I'm not miserable now. What could the common theme be?

Like the one dream. I'm either on a field trip or in some kind of group home. My room is in the attic and a bunch of other kids are sleeping there too. This boy and I hook up and he gets in trouble for something. I don't know what. I don't know if it's for being with me or if it's something totally unrelated. Anyway, they're going to punish him severely and he decides to run rather than face the powers that be.

I decide to run with him. Not with him with him. He runs first and when I hear about it, I make a break. I don't know if he's inspired me or if I love him and want to be with him. I do a good job of escaping; down hills, over streams, through the woods. I run and run and run until I'm so exhausted I can't run anymore and when I hear dogs in the distance I run more. The whole time though, I'm very confident I can get away. I'm fast. I'm faster than even their dogs.

Finally I get to this fork in the road. Well, there's actually not a road, but it's like a realization that I either have to run right or run left. So I run left, for no particular reason except it seems like the road less travelled, and I see this door. I hear people shouting in the distance and I figure there's nothing left to do but hide inside somewhere, so I open the door and run in.

There are doctors and policemen and social workers already waiting for me when I get inside. They grab me and restrain me and tell me everything will be all right when we get back to the home. I ask how they knew I would be here. They reply that they already know everything I'm going to do, even before I myself know that I'm going to do it. Even before I realize that there is a choice. They're so happy and I hate them so much and I'm disappointed.

The dream has almost the quality of those Build Your Own Adventure stories I'd read when I was a kid. "Do you want to fight the monster? Turn to PAGE 28. Do you want to try to flee? Turn to PAGE 127." It's bizarre.

Yeah, so that was sort of random. There are other dreams too. I don't know why I'm having dreams that I've had before. I had them so long ago I'd totally forgotten that they existed until I had them again.

Anyway, I have to run. Will try to blog again soon.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Swiper, No Swiping!

I had a really good weekend. I've been missing Ty more than I realized. I really love the age he's at now. He gets so excited about things. He can say: "Scooby Doo!" and "SpongeBob!" which, I know, I know, should make me worry about how much tv he watches. But you know, it's winter, and there's not a lot else to do. He also gets excited when Dora the Explorer comes on. He waits for the part where they're like "Swiper, no swiping!" and he goes "Oh man!" with Swiper. I love that. I love that his favorite character is the bad guy.

Mystery Baby's favorite character is Backpack. She'll ignore most of the show until Backpack appears, then she'll dance while he sings. Then she'll put on her monkey backpack and walk around and pretend to find things.

We took the kids to a Mexican Restaurant on Saturday. It was fun. Especially for me, because my baby was mostly well-behaved. Okay, so he did toss a couple of french fries. But Mystery Baby cried and refused to sit in her booster seat. I don't know how much fun my brother had. But hey, the kids and I enjoyed it.

Ty got into a brawl with a girl in the church nursery. Well, insofar as brawls go for infants in church nursery's that is. The girl watching the nursery said she didn't see what caused the fight. She only turned around just in time to see Baby K whack Ty in the head. She tended to blame the little girl. However, I know Ty's true colors. He was almost undoubtedly trying to steal her toy. What he didn't anticipate, however, was that in the real world, people don't just shout "Swiper, no swiping!" They whack you in the head.

Hey, it's good to have a reality check every once in a while. Oh, man!

Friday, March 10, 2006

TyTy's spending the weekend.

It's a new day. And I'm glad because I woke up happy.

This weekend will be sort of fun, I think. I get my baby (excuse me, toddler) nephew from sometime today until afternoon Monday. I think I have it worked out so I can have him every Sunday for a while. I'll really like that; I've missed having him all the time.

Today marks the official last day of the quarter, barring finals. I already did my final in my Race and Ethnicity class, so I only have a Stats final left to do. I'm halfway done with it, and of course, should totally be working on it now. But it's not due until Wednesday, so I'm not terribly worried about it.

I'm glad this quarter is over. It's been a rough one. This was the first quarter I've had in grad school where I sort of freaked out a little about getting things done. It worked out though. I've gotten through it, and hopefully next quarter will be less demanding.

I'm going to have a psych class next quarter. I'm not totally looking forward to it, because I've never enjoyed a psych class before. But I guess my experiences in psych are limited. And this is about drug addiction or something, so I suppose it has obvious useful applications in the life of a social worker. So hopefully it will be all good.

My classes got switched to Tuesday and Thursday for next quarter, which makes me quite happy. I hate having class on Monday; it's a bad way to start a week. And I really hate having it on Wednesday because it means I miss church every week. Tuesday and Thursday is nicer.

I wonder how my classes are going to mesh up with the soccer season. At least there are always Saturday games. I suppose Monday/Saturday is a bit much to hope for, so far as soccer seasons go.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Testing 1...2...3...

It's been a memorable week. I got the echo test thingy done on my heart on Tuesday. Wednesday they did the Holter test. This morning they took it off. Tomorrow I go back in for blood work.

I'm not really good with medical stuff. It embarasses me when people think I'm sick. Wearing a heart monitor kind of tips people off to the fact, so, I didn't enjoy yesterday very much.

It makes me think. It's not that I don't want attention. I do, of course. But I want it from the right people. I don't feel better because random strangers, or people I only sort of know, ask me if I'm all right. I'd prefer they didn't mention it, really. But when people who should care don't say anything, I spiral into self-loathing and depression.

It's wrong to be upset when people who don't have time for themselves don't have time for you. Why should they, after all?

Regardless, I'm not having the happiest of weeks. I need to work my way out of this.

I've been thinking a lot about my depression lately. Maybe it has something to do with my being sick. I've always done such a lousy job of listening to my body. I usually only figure out I'm sick after I've totally freaked out or the symptoms have gotten so bad they require hospitalization. Maybe if I can get my body fixed up, some of this emotional junk will clear up, too.

I just hope this is over with quick.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Public Indecency.

Since last March I’ve been having a problem with losing weight. Namely, I’ve lost a hell of a lot of it totally unintentionally. It’s very disturbing to me, for a good many reasons. Today, perhaps most of all.

I had to buy some new clothes around Christmas because all of my old clothes, which had never been tight to start because I hate clingy things, could have fit approximately three of me in them and still been loose.

So my mom got me a pair of jeans for Christmas, which I initially didn’t like because they were too tight. But, given a few weeks, they grew on me; or rather I grew into them and they kind of became my favorite pair because they were nice and baggy.

Today I thought it would be fun to take my dog for a walk. So I put on my jeans, buttoned up my coat, and off we went. I got about a quarter of a mile from home when I realized my shoe was untied, so I knelt down to tie it, and when I did, Izzy pulled and got away from me.

I ran a couple of feet to catch the leash and when I did, you guessed it, the pants started to fall off. I tried pulling them up, but between the dog trying to get away and my giganto-coat barring easy access to my waistline, and my thick gloves making me less than totally nimble, it pretty much wasn’t happening.

I figured I was going to have to get the dog home before I could do much about it, so I started doing the walk where you stick your legs out as stiffly and as far apart as you can to keep your pants from falling down. I prayed that no one would drive by and notice my sagging pants and retarded walk.

Isaac, fine animal that he is, did nothing to help me. He pulled and ran and generally drove me crazy the whole way home.

I finally turned into my driveway, laughing triumphantly, for I had emerged victorious! And then my pants fell the rest of the way down.

Oh yeah, I was standing in my driveway with my pants down around my ankles.

I don’t think anyone saw me. If they did, they must have thought I was a freak. Thirty-degrees, grey as hell day, and I’ve got a parka, a dog on a leash, and pants round about my ankles in the middle of my driveway.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Mother's Love: One Heart Broken; Another Heart Healed

There are so many reasons I love my mom. When I tell these stories, people often think I’m being mean or complaining or that she’s being mean to me. Maybe you can’t understand it unless you grew up with it. I don’t know. We have a funny way of showing affection in my family, but it’s affection nonetheless.

On Sunday I was really sick. I ended up crashed out at Jasmin’s house while everybody went to choir because I was too weak to stand up and was seeing double. I think it’s my blood pressure nastiness again.

In any case, the big debate of the night was: should I go to the hospital or not? Jasmin wanted me to go, my mom didn’t. They both had excellent points. Jasmin’s was, umm, you can’t walk you damn fool, go to the hospital before your vital organs shut down! My mom’s, well, you have to go to the doctor on Thursday anyway, and they’re not going to do anything permanent for you at the hospital. They’ll just straighten out the immediate attack with a super-expensive IV and refer you back to your family doctor. Ride this out and save a few hundred bucks.

I’m broke so mom won out.

Anyway, I finally dragged myself home at like 9 o’clock. I walked in and my mom was like: “God, you look awful. Pale as a ghost! Maybe you should have gone to the hospital after all.” I was like: “Yeah, this sucks, I’m just going to go to bed.” She responds: “Okay, well, hey, while you’re up could you bring me some grapes out of the fridge?”

All sympathy, my mom.

So this morning I went to the doctor. He heard how low my blood pressure was getting and kind of freaked out. In fact, I was supposed to be there because of my vertigo problem, but in the midst of all the blood pressure stuff, we never even ended up talking about that.

He ordered an ultrasound of my heart, blood work, and I guess I’m going to have to wear one of those 24 hour heart monitoring things. I called my parents when I got out and told my dad, who all freaked out and was like: “THEY THINK YOU HAVE HEART TROUBLE?” After calming him down, I talked to my mom, who, of course, couldn’t have been more cheerful. Our conversation went something like:

Me: Yeah, so I guess if the 24 hour monitor doesn’t catch anything he’s going to order another one for thirty days.
Mom: Oh, that’s not so bad. It’ll be a hassle, but no problem.
Me: Wow, I thought you’d be kind of upset, given the family track record with heart stuff.
Mom: It’s just like when I tell you “I’m going to die” and you’re like “Oh, we’re all going to die someday.” Same thing.
Me: Yeah, but there’s kind of a difference, mom, you say that every day. I don’t walk around saying “Oh, I’m going to die” all the time.
Mom: Not yet you don’t. Wait ‘til you fail that heart test!
Me: Mom! I’m actually worried here!
Mom: Trust me, once you fail that test, you’re going to worry a whole lot more!
Me: Oh my God, mom, your youngest child is sick and suffering and you laugh?
Mom: I can’t help that it’s funny!
Me: You are a sick, sick, cruel human being!
Mom: ::laugh ends in a sigh:: Yeah.

Thanks for the reassurance, mom! Nothing quite like a mother’s love.

I really do feel better about it all, though. Which probably makes me a pretty sick human being too.