Games and goals

So I fell victim to a few rounds of games while waiting for the
comforters to wash.

About two rounds each of a tetris knockoff and the bubble shooter with
the cute little guy loading bubbles.

My dollar quickly reminded me how different games used to be, back
when someone had a financial incentive to have you lose around level 3
or so.

I’m usually fairly decent at both games, but I was quickly killed off…
all four rounds took about 10 minutes.

Games just aren’t like that anymore.

But then, they don’t have a reason to be.

When you’ve bought the game already, they already have all of your
quarters upfront, so it’s not about keeping you losing, it’s about
making you feel like you got your money’s worth so that you’ll buy the
next one they put out. They want you winning, but feeling like you’ve
earned the win.

When you are playing the game for free online, it’s all about keeping
you playing to keep you seeing the ads paying for it. They want you
winning a bit, then losing a bit, but just barely… enough to keep you
trying again and again.

And so the games may have the exact same elements… and still be
completely different experiences based on the goal of the developer.

Which makes me think… about the goal of my developer.

And be very glad that it isn’t for me to pay as much as possible for my experiences.

Nor is it to give me unearned and meaningless victories.

Skill learning may not be the most fun all of the time… but I have to
remember that it does make me the best “player”.

Even when it feels like that stupid wall keeps pressing my bubbles at
me way too fast… the developer is still programming with my best
interests as the goal.

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Its on my side.

So.. moving on from the post about the elements of the blessing being what I’ve seen from the world but rarely from the church.. I’ve been trying to figure out why.

When I know that there are a lot of exceptions, why do I feel so.. well.. like an outsider.

This hasn’t been going far.

In good part because I know a lot of why I feel that way is that I’ve been treated that way previously. Again, I’ve gone into discussions before about the negative experiences with the first church I attended… so I’m not going to get into that again here.

But I know that’s a factor that is in play still…. and so it’s easy to write it all off as just being issues from that.

And then there is the whole past with many of these same congregation members and feeling like they were really insincere. Again, easy to write off the feelings that way.

But I’m just sort of getting the feeling that isn’t the whole story.

And part of the reason why is because of a certain church… that wasn’t actually even my church. It was a group gathering of some regional house churches, that I had a particular connection to through one of the leaders.

And so, I got treated well.. in spite of the fact that there were good sized areas of their belief system that did not match with mine. Many of my closest friends of that time, and mentors in my life, came through that church connection.

Its a pretty clear example that shows the exact opposite of the impressions I hold.

And yet… I still felt that way.

Even in the middle of being totally accepted in spite of all of my issues…. I still felt that way.

So.. I know that it isn’t just based on the actions of this church, and that even if they were the greatest church ever, it wouldn’t be enough to overcome it.

It’s just a personal issue.. my problem to deal with.

And so, as this is mulling around in my thoughts… in a random internal conversation with myself this morning, I came to suddenly realize something.

As I mentioned in the previous post, the time in my life that I’ve found the most love and acceptance and connection to others hasn’t been in my time in the church…. it was in my time outside of it, living life with a pretty hedonistic group of friends.

But then it hit me.

That was also the only time in my life I’ve been on medication for emotional issues… at that time going under the diagnosis of social anxiety.

Well duh! Gee I wonder why that time in my life would have less social issues? LOL

There are a number of reasons why I’ve made the decision not to continue the medication… many of which I’ve gone into… and I don’t particularly think this really changes that. But it’s definitely a factor that needed to be realized in this equation.

But again, it reinforces what I was already getting…. that this feeling isn’t coming from anything from people, it’s coming from wound seepage.

What to do with that is still a question, but it’s always easier when you at least realize more where it is coming from.

What was lost.

So I’ve figured out more of why I’m getting the crummy feeling response.

The more I think about it, the more I’ve come to feel like these elements in relationships are pretty much exactly what I knew that I was making the choice to lose in returning to Christianity after the rebellious spell… and exactly what I’d found in leaving it originally.

I’ve sort of gone into this on here several different times in several different ways… but never really connected together.

It’s just been a few months back when I went into some of the details on the physical touch element, particularly with the hedonistic leanings… both in dating relationships and in just more physically comfortable friendships. Friendship cuddling level of comfort just doesn’t really happen in christian friendships much.

Though whether or not the words “appropriate” or “meaningful” could be applied might be somewhat debatable in some of the instances. Even if I might debate against them now, at the time they did hold meaning and did feel appropriate, so I’ll give it that one.

Attaching high value is another big one that I’ve gone into a bit on here in terms of working on issues. And how much it felt like leaving the religious value system meant that I suddenly went from being the fat chick with too many issues to being measured under the world’s standards… which are much more kind in my case.

The same circumstances that look like a mess to most church people look pretty average, or even pretty stable, to the rest of the world.

It’s really weird to go from the broken home, not quite together, never quite being right feeling…. to suddenly being surrounded by people who see none of that. Things like sexual relationships and single parenthood have no real major weight factor in the equation anymore.

Compared to a lot of the drama and messes and chaos and addictions, and everything else that is more typical of past family issues… having emotional baggage that doesn’t have a whole lot of massive damaging behaviors is good enough to pass for healthy and sane to a lot of the people I was connected with.

Honestly, even in appearances… I found that worldly friends gave a lot more latitude… and non-christian men willing to date a fat girl are pretty easily found. Even for one with a kid and baggage. Where church going men who take their faith seriously pretty much have pick of the litter of being easily outnumbered by single christian females just about everywhere.

Picturing a special future is pretty tied into that same thing.. worldly standards that hold less against you seem to be able to see much more of a bright future.

My friends in the hedonistic community thought I could do anything. They were the ones who would usually suggest jobs for me that were way above my head and experience level.. telling me that I was smart and could totally pull it off.

My christian circles… well… I’ve already gone into it on here about my frustrations at being told that maybe I just shouldn’t be trying to find a job, and need to work on improving myself and trying to trap a men, because that’s probably what I’m supposed to be doing instead of working anyway.

And even in areas of active commitment…. my non-christian friends were the ones who just sort of shrugged off all of my spells, good and bad, as part of the ride… and hung on for the trip.

My christian friends started bailing pretty much the minute I’d admitted having any doubts. Or decided to foster a friendship from far on the other side of the tracks.

And a lot of times even now, they are the ones that I feel like approve only conditionally… and quickly turn a cool side when I start leaning in directions they don’t agree with (even in things like going back to school, that should be a fairly neutral effect on a friendship.

And so… the more we get into this, the more it starts to make me feel crummy.

Because that’s totally and completely not how I see the church.

There are exceptions…. and probably the handful of you still actually reading this blog are the exceptions.

But in the majority of cases, I just don’t see that side of the church. I see it to some select popular people… just like the high school world was kind to certain types of people.

But not to the rest of the world.

And that’s where the blessing goes with its solution. It says that’s how you fix never having received the blessing, is that you turn to the church.

The first time I read that chapter, the only thing I could think was “Seriously???? Really??? Are You Kidding Me???”

And so somewhere in the midst of all of this… I feel like I’m watching an episode of Leave It To Beaver. Nice for the people who live there, not so much for the rest of us just watching and comparing up how much ours lives never had the slightest shot of coming close.

But the spot is even more sore for the time spent outside of the church…. and knowing that if I really wanted to, it could be mine again. All it would take to have a boyfriend and even a baby would be to settle for a guy who isn’t a christian. All it would take to have buddies to hang out with any weekend would be to settle for activities that I’ve decided lead to too much compromise in morals. All it would take to be around people who think I’m pretty normal and think positive about my chances in life would be to spend more of my time associating with people who don’t see sin as an issue or internal issues as worth worrying about because their lives instead focus on seeking the best balance of indulgence and responsibility to best maximize pleasure in life with fewest negative consequences.

And so I’m reminding myself that I’ve been on that side, and the grass wasn’t any better for seeming greener.

The decision to turn away from all that was made for a reason, and knowing that doing so meant that I would be giving up those things as part of the result.

But I suppose you got to love the irony of a sermon series that you know is aiming into another small group push… instead making you feel like running headlong into sin again instead.

A touching discussion

Touch is something that tends to be a sensitive thing to me. (pun
somewhat intended.. lol)

This is a very divided thing.

If it’s someone that im really comfortable with, it’s a very good
thing. In the whole 5 love languages thing, its pretty much my
highest.

However.

If its not someone that I know, it tends to be just as dramatically a
negative thing.

As in, I’ve been known to occasionally even respond with a completely
unintentional shudder when someone I don’t know well decides that my
shoulder needs squeezed or something.

If you don’t know me, it greatly annoys me when you touch me. In a
crowd or something its unavoidable, and only mildly annoying… and the
same with people like doctors who have a legitimate reason.

But the touchy feely people who decide they must intentionally touch
everyone drive me nuts.

And I’m actually not even that restrictive on my level of how much I
have to know you for it to be ok… coworkers and classmates are usually
ok.

I’m still having to get used to patients a bit… most of the time it
falls under the legitimate reason category, but occasionally one will
still trip off the annoyance factor, especially if they are also a bit
odd.

But the biggest area where this gets “touch”y is actually in churches.
Ive been to a few places that get all instructional during the greet
time…. Telling people to give each other hugs, and that sort of thing.
I really don’t like those places, and try to avoid them.

Unfortunately, charismatic leaning churches also tend to do a lot of
touching in the name of prayer. One would think that laying on of
hands would trigger the legitimate reason response, but with me it
doesn’t.

Generally this isn’t too hard to avoid… though with our church this
means that I’m not about to go forward to pray on anything because
they have a policy of always having someone pray with people and it
always seems to involve hands on them.

But right now, my church is kind of starting to annoy me on the
touching thing. You see, the current series is going through the
elements of the blessing, including physical touch.

What this means… is that right now essentially the whole church is on
this application kick, and making these efforts towards deliberately
touching people.

Because they assume that is blessing them, without considering whether
or not these people actually want to be touched.

Just hand me the bulletin… I swear, I really don’t need to have my
forearm touched in this process. Just say hello while walking by, you
really don’t have to tap my shoulder or pat my back to do so.

But of course im not going to say that… so I just focus on hoping they
don’t catch me offguard and get a reflexive wince.

Im starting to feel like a grumpy gus… but I’m really hoping this gets
over with and forgotten fairly soon. Aren’t we on the next study yet?

Really love?

There is a difference between loving someone for who they are, and
being nice to someone in spite of who they are.

I sometimes wonder how many people really get the distinction that the
latter does not create the former.

You can choose to be nice to someone even when you really do not care
for them at all. It’s a good thing to do.

But when you are using phrases like “potential”, “could be”, “if
only”… with your mind on how much they might be able to completely
change who they are, that’s a good sign that you aren’t really in the
realm of love.

You are in the realm of charity, or even the realm of pity.

I get that you are taking the effort to help the person. But you can
easily hand him a sandwich and talk to him, and still not actually
love him.

You can see how much value he could have if it he just turn his life
around, and that’s a good thing to be able to have that vision. But
can you tell him how much value he has right now, completely as-is,
even if he’s high as a kite, wasting his time and what little money he
gets, and doesn’t even feel like trying to see that vision? Would
sitting with him be worth your time even if you had nothing to give
him and nothing in mind to talk about?

Do you really value who he is an individual person, a very specific
person, and not just do something nice for him because he happens to
be the body sitting in front of you?

You don’t have to like where he is in his life. You don’t even have to
like his personality.

But if you are being nice to him out of pity, or because you should,
or because God said to, don’t mistake doing nice things for someone
with loving someone.

Back me up

At work, we have several policies that don’t make the most sense from a customer service perspective.

I think everywhere does to some extent.

Sometimes, what makes the customer unhappy at the moment is what works out best for customers at large in the long run.

And I get this.

And so, even with the policies I don’t agree with, I follow through with them anyways.

What seriously annoys me though…. is when the same supervisors who have a hand in creating these policies…. who tell us we much enforce these policies…. get hit by a customer, and instead of backing me up, they completely turn and break the policy… making me the jerk for trying to do what they told me I had to do.

Sometimes I have to be the bad guy. But if you’ve got a policy making me be the bad guy, it’s really lame when you get to decide to just toss it to the wind and be the good guy you won’t let me be.

Just a random peon frustration moment.

The groove

I’ve discovered I have a groove in my head.

Well, 2 of them.

Not the musical sort. The dent sort.

It’s sort of weird… and even more weird that I’ve never noticed it before… but when I have my glasses off, and rub my fingers along the area in front of my ear for about 2 inches, there is a very clear groove that’s been made.

I’ve never had glasses that fit particularly tight… usually they are actually a bit loose and have issues with sliding forward.

But I guess even gentle pressure, left long enough, is enough to create a major dent in what appears to be solid flesh, firm with bone behind it.

I sort of want to get some sort of weird shaped arms for my glasses to make dented shapes… or maybe put some shape between the arms and my head… but then, that would probably look a bit crazy and take way too long to be practical.

But a good lesson to remember in the power of persistence… even if soft and low pressure… making grooves into my head where I may not want them to be, or even realize they are having an effect.