*crickets*

So, i suppose while i have a bit of a mellow spell for a while, i should probably update here.

i know the vast majority of people actually still subscribed or reading either have me on facebook or are from one of the site that i moderate… but if you aren’t, feel free to add me on facebook (its under blue raindrop, with a pic of a bird named zee for pic). I tend to update things a bit more there, because i’m on there more, because i usually leave it open when i’m in the room or around close enough to hear it, so that people can catch me using the chat system on there.

so much going on in so many different directions.. i suppose the best way to attack is to break this up into smaller halfway-same-topic posts.

Emotional blackmail

I’d been introduced to the guy online in November, as he was a friend of two of my friends, and had just joined an online group moderated by a guy I’d been with long-distance for 3 years.

A relationship which would end just after Christmas, in a huge messy battle which not only took my connection with him as my best friend, but also my best female friend, and the church I’d been involved with where he was a member of their national board of elders.

He was close friends with my formerly 3rd best friend now turned best friend, and so we ended up getting pulled into 3 person chats.. and he started flirting almost as soon as the battle had begun. In february, it officially turned to a relationship, at the time online only as he lived about 3 1/2 hours away.

At the time, I was a college student, knowing that I was going to have to drop out one semester shy of graduation due to my stepdad refusing to allow a copy of their tax return to be used to allow me to qualify for student loans.

Needless to say, I didn’t want to return home. I’d been planning to move to the area of the three year relationship after graduation, but that was now out. I’d formerly been offered a place to live with the best female friend, but that was now out as well. So I really had no idea what was going to happen at the end of the school year.

He was more than willing to tell me whatever I wanted to hear. That all I needed was some stability. That I was exactly what he’d wanted. That he’d do anything for me. That he wanted to know every detail about everything that happened each day.

And so in April, I made the trip to spend the weekend with him. And he was just as obsessed about me in person.

And on sunday of that weekend, during a drive through the country, he asked if I would marry him.

Honestly, at this point, I don’t even remember what I said.

The next weekend, I really needed to study, but he was all upset and sad about my not being able to visit, so I eventually caved, and decided to go anyway and take my books along. He ended up sick for most of the weekend, so he slept quite a bit, but would wake up and call for me to come sit by him until he fell back asleep again to make sure I was still there with him.

Sunday came around again. And he was feeling better. And on the way home from dinner, he parked his truck on the street beside the courthouse, and told me that if I came earlier in the day the next friday, we could be married.

I don’t remember anymore what I said then either.

But the next morning, after driving home, my head was so swimming that I ended up skipping the two of my classes that weren’t critical.

And that afternoon, I wrote an entry on my blog. (Which wasn’t really called a blog at the time yet, it was still a public online journal)

In it, I discussed how confused I was feeling… how fast things were moving… how scared I was at the same time how much this was what I’d always wanted… how much this relationship was different from every other one I’d ever been in and that I wasn’t sure what to do with a guy who was more into me than I’d been able to get into obsessing about him yet.

The next weekend, I went to visit again. It was now May, 3 weeks after meeting in person for the first time, 3 months after starting to date online, 5 months after my world had crashed with the ending of the previous relationship, and 1 month before I had to figure out what my plan was for what happened next.

He didn’t mention getting married at all, but suddenly, he was kind of cool and distant the whole weekend… pretty much the opposite of how he’d been before.

Sunday afternoon came around again. I was wearing a skirt, and we’d been sitting on the side of his bed looking at something or another on his computer, when suddenly he became affectionate again.

Things got moving too far really fast, but this time, at the point where I told him we needed to cool it down (admittedly, later than I should have), he didn’t stop.

He pushed me backwards onto the bed, pinning me down, and then abruptly telling me “I read your journal.”

He still doesn’t stop as he tells me how he found it from some link based on some old email of mine that he’d found on some other online profile on a program I didn’t even use anymore… a long line of unlikely connections that had obviously taken some near stalking to accomplish.

Tells me that I ought to know better than to be telling people those things…. than to be thinking those thoughts..

Eventually, he pauses…. ready and in position… and asks me if I love him.

My yes was apparently also consent.

And I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I had said no. But given that he’d ignored my previous protests and requests to cool things off (before I was too shocked and stunned to even continue giving them), I suspect it probably wouldn’t have mattered.

As it eventually ends, he tells me that I need to choose between him and my journal.

He then leaves to go to the bathroom, and it’s only then that the shock and panic have worn off enough that I’m fighting tears… a mix of hurt over what had just happened, and from the first sign obvious enough to catch my attention that not all was as it seemed with this guy. The first clue I’d gotten of the abuse and chaos that would come to pass in the next two months.

He returns, now completely without clothes, and acts like everything is completely normal as he pulls me over to the side of the bed. He pulls up my journal on his computer, clicks to the login button, and tells me to log in. As I do, he removes my clothing that he’d pushed out of his way earlier, then after it loads, he tells me to hit the delete button, as round two began.

The symbolic timing of the two things happening at once always amazes me, though I doubt it was intentional on his part. The moment it was decided twice over that my thoughts and feelings didn’t matter when they were contrary to his, as I chose to comply rather than fight for myself.

While I don’t think the “no” at the earlier point would have made a difference, and doubted I could have ever said it under those circumstances while very much stunned and in shock of the situation… it’s this point where I often find myself regretting my decision, and wondering how much different things would have gone, for that matter how my life would have ended up, had I chose differently.

My shoes are attacking me!

My shoes seem to be attacking lately!

I’ve had the same crosstrainers for about a year… when suddenly about a month ago, they start rubbing my big toe sort of weird. I ignore it, and after a session on the ellitical, notice that part of my toenail has ripped.

I had to trim it shorter, but the rip went deep enough that about half of my toenail went purple, and it hurt really bad for a while when I had shoes on.

About 1/4 of the toenail is still purple.

Then, I had some sandals on.. the sort that are sort of like flipflops. And I’d gotten something on my foot, which was making it stick a little bit when walking.

Again, I ignore it… even when it starts feeling sore… and later come to notice that it had been rubbing on the top of my foot on one side enough to rub the skin raw.

Those scabs are still there. On the same foot as the purple toenail.

So then, on a day when that injury was hurting, I needed to wear some shoes to the store and didn’t want them to rub it worse, so I’d decided to put on a pair of my ballet flat style shoes that I usually only wear on sundays. These ones are made of squishy crocs material, so they are soft.

And yet, somehow I have a blister on the back of my heel from them. I know that I’ve worn them to the store before when I’ve gone directly after church… but apparently, this time was different.

And so… I currently have injuries at the front of my foot, on the top of my foot, and at the back of my foot.

I’m having a hard time wearing any shoes I own that don’t hurt at least one of the three!

Hair restlessness

Every spring and summer, I get the urge to chop off my hair short again.

I think it’s mostly just a heat thing.

But, I know if I do it, I will regret it before it has grown back.

Though it does grow fast. Spring 3 years ago I had it chopped to about an inch above my shoulders, and it was already down to waist again.

Another good part of it though is frustration with my hair type.

When it’s short, its curly.

When it’s about shoulder length, its very wavy.

When it’s about midback, it gets to this really weird point to where it’s not quite wavy enough to wear it wavy without curling it and putting effort into it. But, it’s still not straight enough to wear it straight either without either having to flatiron it, or have it turn into a giant poufball.

Given that I’m towards low effort, it’s usually poufy. LOL

But it also starts to drive me nuts by getting in the way, so it moves to ponytail most of the time.

That only buys me so long though. When it gets to waist length, the pony gets long enough to get to the same point of driving me nuts. So then it starts getting braided all of the time.

And I’m not good at braiding unless its already in a ponytail first.

But I still like it long anyway… even as it annoys me. And it always makes people gasp at me when I chop it off.

I was looking for reviews on a hair treatment, when I ended up on a long hair site, with lots of people very passionate about their hair.

Which has given me some things to try, and some ideas. And has helped calm the desire to chop it.

Though I did end up trimming it myself… using instructions from there… to even out the ends into more of the shape that I wanted from how it had grown. Which also took about 3 inches off the middle part.

But theres a bad side.

Now it’s renewed a desire to use henna on my hair.

I’ve considered it several times. Basically, the henna on the dark hair adds red tones to it. Which my hair already does a bit on its own when I’m in the sun really extendedly during the summer.

I’ve done the sample wash-out dyes supposed to mimic it some years back… enough to know I like the effect.

But its so permanent!

Even though it’s not harsh on the hair like a chemical dye, and is actually supposed to smooth the hair, it’s still a ton harder to dye over or remove if you don’t like how it turns out.

As in almost impossible in a lot of cases.

And, it’s a bit unpredictable. Depending on the potency of the henna, the timing, and all sort of unknown variables, you can end up anywhere from barely visible highlights to “bozo orange”.

And, it usually starts out a lot more orange, but then darkens over the next few days as it oxidizes to its long term color.

So you can’t just wash out a strand to see if its where you want it yet.

Thus why I’m reluctant to do it.

Even though I want to.

I didn’t actually intend this post to end up at the same wishywashy point as my last one… but I guess somehow it ended up there anyway! lol (maybe i should be wondering if I should read more into that…)

But anyway… so my hair is sort of teasing me and tempting me to do something to it. And I’m trying my best to ignore it.

In band-aid

Next to the last of the major kc lessons… (though the last one is a bit hard to explain… so we’ll see if/when thats posted). Seeing why worth the trip? lol

Many of my dear lurkers know, though some of the rest may not, that I’m a moderator on the website of the musician whose concert I was attending when I’d become a Christian, and remain a big fan of his music. And frequently his music is one of the things that tends to really connect with me. So it’s music that I’ve heard a lot, and am really familiar with, and have been touched by a lot, more than just saying that it’s a favorite artist.

But this time, this one snuck in… lol

As I was getting ready to leave for kc, I’d ended up changing shirts… grabbing one out of the closet quickly, and had randomly decided to grab one of my dozens of these concert tshirts… mostly for comfort i think. Normally these only get worn to concerts, sometimes to workout, and sometimes lounging around if laundry really needs to be done.

So I’d grabbed a shirt and put it on, not really thinking much about it. Not really one I wear a lot even when I do grab concert shirts, as its in the right size and usually when I’m grabbing for comfort I’ll grab the baggier ones that are a size larger, but one with pretty coloring.

Fast forward a couple of hours, and the worship team starts playing a particular song thats a somewhat common worship song, but that was the title song from the artists album 2 albums ago. A song I’ve only actually heard done in the prayer room once before, but that i’ve heard about a million times before.

One of the lines, with weird spacing to annoy google into ignoring this, is “with armshigh andheart abando ned” (poor ned..)

But the version that came to mind during the song was something that my friend’s daughter, then about 4 or so, used to sing when the album had just come out… replacing abandoned with “in band-aid”.

This just sort of made me smile at first.

But about the third time around or so, I got the mental picture of a knee with a band-aid.

The knee had already scabbed over, but the band-aid was still on, and that was restricting the movement of the knee more than the actual injury was.

But the knee owner didn’t want it off. Because they thought it was still keeping it safe, even though the scab should have long ago been enough to do that, and because it hurt to pull against it to start to remove the band-aid.

Followed by the feeling that a heart in bandaid feels safe. But it only feels that way. And it will never have free movement while its being guarded in the name of safety. Only a heart abandoned, knowing the risk of re-injury, is able to love freely.

And I pretty much knew right away which defense mechanisms it was about.

Things that were good for safety when wounds were fresh and easily open for infections, but have become more of a hinderance than they are a help now.

Even when they feel safer. And even when their removal feels painful.

About an hour late, I went over to the school building for the awakening services. And within about the first half hour, they played the song again. (different worship team)

Then, when changing into dry clothes, I realized that the shirt I’d grabbed had that line printed on the back of it. (Like I said, I’ve probably heard this song a million times before…)

And then, after I’d flipped the radio on to keep me more awake on the latter half of the trip home… they played it… the first time I’ve heard it on the radio since back when the album was new.

Wish I could say it was followed by complete and total change from that moment, but its a work in progress thing when I notice I’m slipping into using the defenses, and realizing that in the situation, its really not needed or helpful.

Though, normally, the song coming to mind is actually a different one… actually related to the prayer room… break the chains by misty edwards

“Come break the chains,
The chains that hinder love.
All that remains of yester year.
Come break the chains,
The chains that pull me down.
Come break the chains and draw me near.”

Babyish things

I’d had a post mostly written pre-trip, but hadn’t yet figured out how to make it sound less whiney to feel ready to post it.

Over the past while, I’ve been feeling frustrated that a lot of the things that have needed work have been things that I’d thought were long since mastered in the past, only to now be floundering with them again.

So it’s kind of been making things worse that the more I find myself needing to work on them, the more frustrated at myself I get because I feel like I should be way way past that point already. And have been.

A week before the trip, a sermon I’d heard had mentioned the spiritual milk vs meat discussion, attempting to inspire growth. Again, this just aded to frustration I was feeling at having issues choking on even baby food again in some areas.

So then there was the trip. And this got addressed.

Not in the abrupt way of the previous one, but more in a series of steps at different times.

First by a feeling of being ok with where i’m at, and needing to just accept them as they are, rather than beating myself up over them. That it is what it is. (This was sort of a theme on some things… and more related to other things that carried over)

Then by a feeling that its where I was supposed to be with things. Totally and completely against my logical opinion on the matter… but thats where the pulling was towards.

Then in the prayer line, one of the guys (who knew nothing about me at all) mentioned he was getting the feeling like I felt like things were moving backwards and no progress was being made, but that things were seen, and progress was being made, strength was being built, and it was where it needed to be at for the moment.

Probably a bit universal that could apply to anyone in some way or another… but nice reassurance anyway.

But some time later, I got an explanation for why on this one too.

While on the baptism topic mentally, I got a strong feeling… almost to the clarity of more direct words…

First a feeling of understanding that I’d gotten a rough start with the situations that I was in when I first became a Christian. In a way, sort of like a “no hard feelings on the delay” sort of feeling.

But then into knowing that things went differently that they might have under other circumstances, because I’d needed them to. In a situation with little support and even less access to resources, I needed to get my feet under me quickly.

And with it, a feeling like a lot of what is hitting me now, is what was less critical then, when basic stability was of a higher need than greater depth.

But now, in a different place completely in many ways, needs to be refined and deepened and filled in. For having the greater strength needed. And because I’m able to do so now much more than I would have been able to back then with the situations going on.

Not so much the “should be past this” I’d been seeing it as, but more a need to reinforce the bare basic framework that was functional to deal with the critical needs at that place, but doesn’t have the structural setup for some of the future.

That one I can deal with better without fighting it so much and being so frustrated by it.

Though I suppose it’s counterproductive to hope it goes fast, when the fast was why in the first place? LOL

Left brain clutter

The books from the two previous reviews were finished in the last half of the week before heading to the prayer room. (except the last two chapters of Anatomy)

Anatomy mainly served to remind me of issues from the past, and that they aren’t entirely gone even when they are better and no longer obstructing daily life, and that they need work. Not a particularly positive effect, though maybe a needed one sometimes.

Wired covered a lot of the same brain discussions… in a much more easily understood way… but with a completely different effect.

I’ve mentioned previously that i HATE praying aloud, especially in front of people, because its hard for me to both connect spiritually and form complete sentences at the same time, especially with an audience, and so it turns into focusing on just the words, and feels fake. My private prayers very rarely use sentence form, and are sometimes lucky to even be using phrases, and so don’t translate well to verbal prayer at all. And working on focusing on praying out loud more even privately seemed to hurt more than it helped.

Wired explained that, though not really intentionally.

He was aiming at explaining why it was hard for him to pray after his dad had died, and why different other methods worked really well for him, such as using prewritten books of prayers, that took the effort off of the left brain side having to compose prayers.

Left brain=logic and verbal processing. Right brain=nonverbal, emotional, and creative processing

The more I went through the book, the more I realized I totally lean on right brain in prayer. A ton of the things he was mentioning completely sounded like things I do that work well for me.

Many of them I was very familiar with, but didn’t have names for or good ways to explain.

Others, such as stillness, I’ve tried but not had much luck with. His suggestion that stillness is not nothingness, but directed and dedicated focus on one thing until it quiets all else has been amazingly helpful.

However, when I switch to left brain more, and start trying to compose verbal sentences, the logical side doesn’t feel the connection, and so the more I focus on it, the more it pulls away from the right brain processing, and into left brain logic. No less sincere, no less heard… just don’t feel the connection with it, and I’m not very comfortable with it.

So Wired was a really good book to be reading right before deciding to spend a day in a prayer room. I felt much more encouraged in my prayers being normal in spite of being more of focus on key words and phrases, a lot better about holding people in thought before God being an ok strategy vs laundry list style prayer for them, and more willing to embrace the repetitive motion as helpful (rocking in my case, walking in his) instead of attempting to stop it. (though, it might help that at ihop, about anything goes… you could do jumping jacks while reciting the lords prayer and while it might get intrigued looks, it wouldnt be much out of place from those pacing or dancing to music that isnt the music being played by the worship team, etc)

So I was pretty much happy in having an explanation, without having really stopped to wonder why. I guess I just assumed it was just a random quirk.

Which, reading Anatomy may have helped, having recently had planted in my head that disconnect between left brain and right brain is a sign of insecure attachment. And having completely different things going on in my emotional feelings vs my logical thoughts is nothing new to me.

But, during the weekend… there came a word.

Clutter.

Just the word.

But I instantly knew what it meant.

The reason I have issues with connecting between left brain and right brain in spiritual matters is left brain clutter.

Issues, baggage.. whatever you want to call it… the word was clutter to me. And it fits pretty well.

Not trash that you just easily pitch, but not of any value or usefulness either. Just stuff that needs gone through and sorted out and some put in its place and some tossed to the side. Junk taking up space that it shouldn’t normally, but in a long term way.

It wasn’t really a feeling like “you must get on it and fix this now”, just sort of an FYI feeling. That it is what it is, but I needed to know what it was… and not think it was just a set thing.

At the same time, it told me that it isn’t just prayer, that it’s what causes my frustration with bible readings too.

I’ve been going through the bible in a year plan again, with mixed success again, and for a while I had been leading a thread on a website I moderate about it. But the more time went on, the more I noticed that the things I was picking up were basically trivial… imagining how hard some tasks must be, or how huge that number is…. not the sort of deep insights that tend to happen more with spontaneous, unplanned readings.

Left brain reading mode, vs right brain being lead. Hadn’t even made that connection yet. Wasn’t even thinking outside of prayer realm yet.

And the third thing it told me was that it was why creativity has been the strongest expression of my gifts. Because it operates through the right brain side that connects well, rather than being gifted in things like speaking or teaching and such that operate mainly left.

I didn’t really get a feel as to whether this was to say that its the way they will be shown in the future, or whether there are things that arent active yet because of the clutter. Just that it’s why they have been shown as they have to this point.

The next weekend at a prayer meeting at my church, I got put on the spot by one of the leadership team members wives on what I’d been hearing from God lately, and tried to explain this.. as it was the first thing that came to mind.
And with my wonderful verbal skills when suddenly put on the spot, I didn’t realize until about midway through their resulting prayer that I hadn’t made the point clear that I was referring to mental clutter, not physical. LOL Ah well… with kiddo home for the summer, my house probably needed the prayer anyway. 🙂