Category Archives: politics

words and affirmations

I sometimes have dreams as I am falling asleep, in that odd twilight before I am fully asleep, when my brain is still capable of conscious thought, but the subconscious starts to take over.

In that twilight I sometimes have panic attacks, or vivid dreams. In my dreams, vividness is usually bad. But fortunately because I am still slightly awake, I can wake myself out of the dream fairly quickly.

Last night I dreamed I was in the middle of the bottle dance scene from Fiddler on the Roof – all the Jewish men dressed in black, dancing around with bottles on their head, then the music got wilder, as in the movie, but instead of setting down the bottles and changing to the next part of the dance, the men all changed, suddenly there were bright clothes and familiar, but undefinable, faces. I thought I knew them all, but I could not actually point out who any of them were. They broke their bottles and began scratching words into my skin, wherever there was room.

bad mom, bad wife, bad woman

diet failure, sickly, weak, lazy

ugly, unlovable

loser, incapable

disappointment

failure, hopeless

bad

I could not see the words as much as I could feel them, all cut into my skin, my arms, my legs, my chest – pushing my dress up, shoving my neckline aside to make more room for the words, stinging, bleeding words.  Everyone was crowding up to me, pushing others aside to get to me.

And I just stood their, still and quiet, crying.

And then I was not seeing it from my eyes in the dream, but watching it, watching all the bright people, and me, in my pretty white ‘Thelma Lou’ dress, the one all covered in purple and pink flowers, covered in all those words. This all takes much longer to tell than it took to see. It all was very quick. It was slow and quick; dream speed. And I willed myself to move, to shake off all the people with their broken glass and their labels. And in the dream I started flailing my arms, fighting them off, and watching the dream, I shook inside my brain and woke myself up just as my dream self was starting to chase off the people.

I was in bed.

I curled against Luke with a whimper, and he wrapped his arms around me, shhhhhh, I’ve got you, I love you.

Safe with Luke, who builds me up, who creates me with words –

beautiful, precious,

talented, creative,

good cook, good wife, good mom, helpmate,

worth more than jewels,

kind, beloved,

light.

 

But the other words are still there. They did not come from my dream, and they did not brush off when I shook off the dream.


I wrote that a few years ago. Some dreams have to be told. that one burned in me all day until I got a chance to write it.
Words mean a lot to me. Harsh, hateful, judgemental words cut me deep.

We went to the Renaissance Faire this weekend. I got dozens of compliments on my purple, pixie cut hair. I felt giddy each time. I couldn’t help but smile, every single time anyone mentioned it.
I wrote a comment on a blog today, about an experience i’d had, and the writer responded calling me ‘courageous’. I smiled and almost cried and felt very silly. i just got a comment saying something i wrote was ‘well written’. Well written! I wrote well!
Yes!

I feel silly, for being so happy when people affirm my unusual hair choice, or say i was courageous, or that ‘from what i see, you seem like a really nice person’ (from a new twitter friend), or that i wrote well. I almost want to squelch that little glow. After all, it can be dangerous to accept what others say about you. It can be really dangerous to rely on other people for affirmation.

But when you have been controlled and hurt by words, and wrong expectations, and judgments of your heart and motives, any little affirmation of your choices and efforts are like a healing balm – if you allow yourself to feel them, to admit you need the healing and that, in a sense, you are worthy of it.
I allow myself to accept compliments, instead of deflecting them. And, when i can, i give them to myself. I call myself strong words:

I am brave. I am smart. I am a writer. I am passionate and I am angry and I am healing and I am not sure who I am, exactly, but I know I am not weak or worthless.
I have depression. I get unfairly angry at times. I worry a lot. Those are strong words too, because they are true, and they help me to heal and change into the person i want to be. But the real strength in them come from the fact that i choose to take them on myself, to help me heal and not to burden myself. I know they don’t mean ‘i am a bad person’, as i so frequently say when i am spent and sad and speaking from the dark places inside.

I used to think that to be humble, I had to think i was worthless. That to help others, I had to think they were better and worthier than me. That to be a good mom, i had to always put myself aside and serve everyone like a willing, doting slave.

But i think humility is not self-deprecation, and helping others and parenting from a place of strength, of conscious decisions and a healthy mind, is better for everyone involved than slavish dependency on constantly serving and finding my identity in my children and others.  I have my own identity, and from there I can help others and raise my children to be their own, strong people.

i wonder sometimes if i’m just very vain and self centered. but i think i’m just finding my voice, my identity, and my strength. The old cuts are healing into scars that are part of who I am, but don’t have to define me any more. I am learning to accept both the good and difficult words about myself.

While we’re on the subject of words, Defeating the Dragons is doing a series on learning (or reclaiming) certain words, as a part of healing and growing, called Learning the Words. In fact, it’s part of why i was thinking of that old piece about words that cut me and had to dust it up and reflect on it again. There are some good posts in the Learning the Words series so far, and i saw a few people tweeting their ideas, so i am excited to read the upcoming posts too. I hope to write something to submit this week, because I’m a little obsessed with words. they shape how we talk and think about ourselves, the world, and our lives, and therefore how we feel, act, and live.

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The Great and Perilous Day of Judgment

And lo when they stand before the throne in the great and perilous day of judgment, the judge will separate  them, and to those on his left he will say, you did not spank your children. You did not punish them for throwing a fit when you were at walmart.

And they will reply, ‘but my children were exhausted and we were out too late so I showed understanding’

But he will say to them ‘ I wanted you to teach holiness and provide a witness of perfection. Depart from me for I love you but do not like you right now never knew you.

 And he will say ‘you showed leniency in forcing people to conform to scripture. You accepted homosexuals, and those with gender confusion. You supported those seeking unholy matrimony and put red equals signs on your web pages. Do you not know that to  identify with those who do wrong is as the sin of eating with tax collectors and prostitutes?’

Then he will say, ‘Depart from me for I never knew you.’

And to others he will say, ‘you did not push little children to forgive their abusers immediately and face-to-face. It would be better for you to have a millstone hung around your neck than to allow any little one to delay in forgiving his molestor. Depart from me you stumbling stones’

And they will say ‘But, Lord, we believed in you and followed you”

But he will say, “if you did these things, obviously you were not truly mine”.
And they will depart and burn in Hades forever for their evil deeds.

If anyone does not condemn these sins, he too deserves the fires of hell.

Do we want a ‘Christian Nation’?

Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism (one of my favorite blogs) writes today about ‘the Bizarre Libertarian/Christian Reconstructionist alliance’

Her point today is mostly this:

“But this leaves me puzzled. I understand how people combine Christian social conservatism with libertarian positions on economics, but I do not understand this combination of pure libertarianism with pure Old Testament law. This is entirely contradictory. You can’t idolize liberty and believe in freedom from government intrusion and also believe that the civil government should be stoning anyone who breaks Levitical Law. It just doesn’t work that way! But apparently, when it comes to The Ron Paul Curriculum, it does.”

She then warns libertarians that their party is being invaded. I’m not really a libertarian, but I guess I fit there better than any other major party. Ultra conservative Republicans – especially christians – claim to want minimal goverment intervention. Except in things like marijuana, alchohol, abortion, same sex marriage, divorce, whether homosexuals can be foster parents…

They want the government to allow them to hit their children and homeschool them without any supervision, but they want the government to make sure the rest of the world does as they think the bible says they should.

I think I believe in small government all around. Except for laws protecting children 😉 Seriously though, i think the government should protect people from other people (I’m not sure what the true libertarian stance is on this, actually.) but that it isn’t the government’s job to legislate morality or to protect people from themselves.

I know that many people think that homosexual relationships should be illegal. I don’t think I know any one that thinks we should start stoning people like in the Bible. My parents, however, did frequently remind my brother that if we’d live in Israel thousands of years ago they could have him stoned for rebellion…. However, there are many people who honestly want to bring back stoning, into 21st century America.

Gary North, Rousas John Rushdoony, and other christian reconstructionists think we should bring back the levitical laws regarding stoning homosexuals, rebellious sons, and adulterers.

Libby Anne quotes Gary North

“Why stoning? There are many reasons. First, the implements of execution are available to everyone at virtually no cost. Executions are community projects—not with spectators who watch a professional executioner do ‘his’ duty, but rather with actual participants. … That modern Christians never consider the possibility of the reintroduction of stoning for capital crimes indicates how thoroughly humanistic concepts of punishment have influenced the thinking of Christians.”

Yep, Christians who don’t want to participate in the ‘community project’ of stoning a rebellious teenager (because rebelling against parents is a ‘capital crime’) have been influenced by humanism. And as any good homeschooled christian knows, humanism is dragging our country into hell in a handbasket. What exactly is humanism? I dunno, i guess basically it’s worship of people instead of god which is basically what satan tricked Adam and Eve into, so basically, run.

I know what humanism is now, but I didn’t back when humanist thought was a huge danger to be wary of when I want to college. Apparently I have now imbibed so much humanism that i can’t see the good in Gary North’s very Biblical solution to the moral problems in America.

But that’s the thing, isn’t it – most people i know would immediately decry the idea we should stone gays, and yet Gary North’s stoning solution is as ‘biblical’ as saying homosexuality should be outlawed, or that children should never rebel against their parents. Maybe it’s even more biblical.

The problem with a ‘Christian Nation’ and ‘Biblical’ laws – the problem with biblical anything- is that it is never clear what exactly the Bible means. The Bible might seem clear to you, but dozens of people with dozens of interpretations all think the way they understand the Bible is THE BIBLICAL WAY. And they all claim to have God guiding them through the holy spirit.

So, I don’t think we should legislate according to the Bible.

I don’t think we should pick and choose what we think God wants for the country out of the Bible and call it God’s Solution.

And for the record, I don’t think the country is going to be wrecked because men marry men or because children forge their own paths and make their own decisions.

A country full of loving, thinking people – if it isn’t a ‘biblical’ solution at least it sounds like a better idea than stoning people we think are wrong.