Thursday, June 28, 2018

My Lecture on the Transcendental Movement

                             [picture source]

My UU church is very interactive. They have us do readings or talks on the topic we are doing that Sunday. I have enjoyed my time there very much, even on an intellectual level it is quite wonderful. I was assigned doing a talk on the "Transcendental Movement". What's odd about this is I loved a lot about transcendentalism as a young UU, though Christians led me to temporarily reject it's precepts. I would feel some awe in nature and think "Oh no!" but there's aspects of it, I believe never left me. This was the short talk I wrote and gave. These are the notes. We are assigned 3-5 minutes for the timing and asked to make our examination of the topic "personal".

When I was young and in high school, I read Henry David Thoreau's book "Walden". This was probably my early introduction to transcendentalism. This book made quite an impression on me. His individualism while a negative to many people was not to me. I realized in some ways I resonated with his ideas and of wanting to go his own way. He was not the type to let the crowd dictate what he should do with his life. He taught following idealism and one's intuition. These were all things that appealed to me.

Here is a quote from that book.

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”

Transcendentalism. Most people don't even know what the word means. I actually learned what it was, when I went to **********in ***********[my state] around the age of 18 and learned about the transcendental movement influencing the Unitarian Universalist church. Many of its values resonated with me, not depending on established authority, relying on experience, and seeking out meaning in things including nature.

It described in some ways who I was. Later my spiritual journey would take me another direction but I would definitely return to these earlier foundations. I was an art ed major in college, but also had an extreme fascination with spirituality. Some may have called me a "seeker". Maybe some would have called me pretentious, but during this time in life, I studied religion too on the top floor of the ********* [my college] library during rare free moments and read the Bhagavad Gita as well as other religious writings.

Today we live in a society that is very math and science oriented and I believe both have their place but I am no good at math. I went into art. Art was a huge part of my spiritual seeking, and of my life. While I rejected those who claimed to have all the concrete answers in religion leaving my family's Catholic church, the same can apply to life. We live in a society that is growing more and more "technocratic" and "materialistic". People just want to deal with the numbers. They think in a linear fashion instead of a big picture. The forest is not seen for the trees. Life is cut down into pieces of data and being a human and meaning is lost. The transcendentalists, provided an alternative kind of life. In losing what they were trying to tell us there has been a corruption of the human condition. There are things to live that go beyond what numbers and lab graphs can tell us. The transcendentalists were showing us a way that has been too departed from today.

Transcendentalists believe in individualism. They believed in thinking for yourself despite the rules of a society. Thoreau wrote on "Civil Disobedience". In going beyond human traditions and authority from on high, the transcendentalists opened the door for individuals to stand up for what they believed in. Even today our protests against racism and various oppression in society are centered in ideas of civil disobedience. Most of human society had always emphasized conformity but Transcendentalists paved the way for individualism. While some think they over stressed the idea of self-reliance, the power of the individual guided America at least in our earlier history to be a place where the rights of the individual became important. I was the type of person who always asked "Why". I didn't want to conform just for the sake of conformity.
Art was a way, I practiced a lot of transcendentalism. My foray into evangelicalism for a time did not help my art. I felt like doing art was rebellion always when it came to those who taught simplistic answers to life.  Romanticism in art was a movement that would become very connected to the transcendental movement and is where emotion, imagination, and freedom from social conventions would become important. In many ways this movement would pave the way for modern art as we know it today.  Transcendentalists sought to seek out the soul in art.

Another way was nature. Transcendentalists believed in living close to nature. Thoreau definitely advanced this in his book Walden. That was another way that book spoke to me. I came out of a family that rejected me for all these ideas, they were people only interested in business and the here and now.

Spirituality and nature were intertwined for the transcendentalist. Emerson wrote about finding the sublime in nature. All my life, I had this attraction to nature and the outdoors. I worked at a camp and liked being outside as much as my health allowed. The nature center is a place of peace for me, and I like to collect rocks, especially geodes

Transcendentalists believed in seeking out life as it really was outside human social constructs, in nature and finding meaning there. During my time in evangelicalism, I noticed how nature was just an instrument for man to control and dominate, it lost beauty in that realm. I felt divided even in my early years in evangelicalism as I used to do some environmentally based volunteer work. I had a lot of cognitive dissonance in this area. Fundamentalist preachers would always go on about nature-worshipers and how "bad" they were. What did they mean? Why were they bad? Even while in I had thoughts like, "Aren't we part of nature?"
I was made to feel guilty for my propensity for it, now I am not of course. There was a narcissism to those who felt it was man's job to destroy the earth and that God would just give us a new one. I couldn't tolerate that anymore. When I filled some holes in my science education and read a book called "The Ends of the World" by Peter Brannen, and learned of the 6 epochs scientists had studied, I realized how limited the evangelical world view was on multiple levels. Mankind was simply one form of life that had arose, the earth itself had been filled with what many would have seen as "alien" life right here if they went back enough millions of years ago. 
Star Trek's theories of life in the universe seemed closer to reality then a 6,000 year old earth or one that had been created for only man's benefit and usage. To be frank, study of science can bring more awe, in many facets. Learning the sheer number of galaxies out there showed me how limited evangelical answers were for the world. The Hubble Space Telescope showed scientists there were at least 100 billion galaxies out there in space. They knew this number would advance with technology, we were only seeing a certain percentage of the galaxy. One astrophysicist named Christopher Conselice,  University of Nottingham, in 2017 estimated the number of galaxies to be around the 2 trillion mark.

Keep in mind transcendentalism arose, as natural sciences came to the forefront and discoveries were being made. There's a reason this philosophy arose as human knowledge increased past what scripture and written ancient revelation had described the world.  In  a way the transcendentalists were attempting to express the human poetry and art of science discoveries. One can ponder the fact and number of 2 trillion galaxies, but think about what that means in a transcendental sense, the sheer vastness. Emerson said, "But if man would be alone look at the stars."

First Sewing Project

It was going to be a dress but I made a tunic out of it. It's a nicer material then what appears in the picture. My next project will probably be a skirt. I am learning to sew to make new clothes. The cost of clothes for supersized people is very high.

A kind friend donated me lots of nice material and another good friend, sewing supplies and thread. Learning to use the sewing machine was a big deal for me and figuring out how to re-thread the bobbins. This shirt took me 1-2 days to make and I had to hand draw the pattern, they don't make patterns for people with my measurements at least on the retail market. I put the shirt over a purple dress I was wearing to take the picture.

Happy 5 Year Anniversary Freedom Day....

I do mark the date. June 28th, 2013. My friends on Facebook know what Freedom Day means. You change even 3, 4 and 5 years in. It's strange, sometimes I ponder that stuff. How it even changed me during the 4th year.

I was hoovered too a few months ago even this deep in, it's strange to ponder how they keep trying in the "same exact way".  They are like robots who always revert to the same default program. They think the same person is there, of 5 years ago. She's not.

They never do change while normal human beings do learn, and grow and change. That's one of the creepiest things about narcissists, they don't change with age like normal people, even the fact they are aging doesn't occur to most of them. I am aging myself and want to make the best use of the life I got left.

I have been meeting more nice people lately too, so that's one advantage of clearing the narcissistic decks, it leaves more room for the good people. It leaves space. The world will think you are crazy for ditching your whole family but the freedom on the other side of the door is worth it. I can't say it's always easy. I still get that pang when I see happy and loving families, and still imagine the people that should have been there, but no contact did open a door out of the cage. I no longer had to be what they labeled me as, I could become my own person.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Regret of Religion


Since the deconversion, I've pondered the wasted 16 years, in Christian fundamentalism.I suppose, that I did learn a lot. Ask me what is in the Bible I can tell you. I can quote off the differences between almost every church in the USA. However I do have a lot of regrets. I literally do feel like I left a cage escaping Christian fundamentalism.

 I am fortunate unlike other people deconverting from Christian fundamentalism, that I am married to an agnostic, I am already no contact with the family. I had the past UU roots to return to. There was no bad homeschooling nightmares to recover from. I wasn't left empty handed without a direction to go. I drew a map to escape in my youth and re-found it. First no contact matched the first deconversion. Second no contact produced the second deconversion.

However I have cried over the lost time. It's hard to explain.  Even if I understand how trauma and religious abuse in my youth took me into fundamentalism and realize that I really truly moved to one of the most extreme rural and conservative places in the nation, I have mourned the time spent within. I wasted a lot of time, believing and studying things that simply WERE NOT TRUE.

I noticed another blogger wrote about my religious deconversion. I won't link to her blog. I still don't agree with a lot of her world views on narcissism or "victims" but decided to post this because there's a few truths in it. I have major regrets about where fundamentalist religion took me:

"A few years ago, I had a falling out with another blogger who wrote about narcissistic abuse.   We are still not on speaking terms, and probably never will be again, but recently I started to read her blog again, not just because she happens to be a good writer, but because during the past few months I’ve actually found her blog inspiring.   I won’t go into all the details of what led to the falling out, but one of the reasons was because of the woman’s religion.   She had made some critical — even cruel — comments about and to me, using what I felt to be her fundamentalist Christianity as a weapon of judgment and intolerance.   From what I could observe from her older writings, she appeared to be stuck in a victim mentality, unable to move forward in her recovery due to her tendency to judge others harshly because of her fundamentalist Christianity.   I saw no evidence of any real self awareness or willingness to self-criticize.   So, at the time, I dismissed her as a covert narcissist masquerading as someone with “only” C-PTSD.

But apparently I was wrong.  It seems like Trump’s election changed her in a positive way.     She wrote about what she saw happening with politics and the religious right, and became increasingly critical of both.   She began to realize that her fundamentalist church was infested with malignant narcissists who judged her negatively for her poverty and health problems, believing, as they did, that wealth and good health were proof of God’s approval.   It wasn’t long before she ditched her fundamentalist church and began to seek answers outside religion.    

This actually didn’t surprise me, since I always got the impression her religion was a bad fit and she was miserable within its confines.  This woman was clearly intelligent and well educated, but it was almost as if she had been trying to force herself to adapt to a restricting mold that didn’t allow her to grow as a human being.   She was telling herself lies that she knew were lies, because of the fear of Hell and judgment.   Freed of that, suddenly she was exploring and seeking answers in secular fields like science and psychology, and her mind seemed to blossom.  At the same time this happened, she seemed to develop more tolerance and empathy toward others.  Most impressive of all, she began to develop an ability to self-reflect and as a result, began to make changes to herself.   Her writings indicated a new insight into herself I hadn’t seen while she was under the thrall of toxic religion.  

  She seems happier than she ever did, and a lot less angry in general.   She’s exploring old interests and talents that she had neglected while she was in that church, and more positive things seem to be happening to her now too.    I’m sure being happy and using one’s mind to question and explore the world aren’t sins, and God is not judging us harshly for doing so.   If God didn’t want us to ask questions or think critically about things, he would not have given us brains!

I won’t link to her blog here or even name it, due to the fact we stopped speaking several years ago, but her most recent article about the religious right’s war on science was one of her most enlightening and insightful.    It was also very dark and unfortunately all too true.   In it, she criticized the religious right’s scorched-earth mission of squelching all independent thought and critical thinking, which has led to an all out war on secular education itself and an accompanying celebration of ignorance and superstition."

 This blogger is right that I chafed within the confines of Christian fundamentalism. One thing odd about me, is I retained some liberal views while I was in, still protesting war, and refusing the Republican party which earned me a lot of ire in my IFB circles. I realized though that the religion itself was narcissistic, confining and as I tried to reconcile my religious beliefs and more liberal outlooks I was failing, and getting swept up into a morass of cognitive dissonance.

Fundamentalism did make me too judgmental. I am thankful that they didn't take me into full blown hate, I broke a lot of the church's rules, and kept all my non-believer friends. This actually got me rebuked twice in fundamentalist churches. I refused to treat gay people badly or adopt other nationalist and negative attitudes.  However fundamentalism preached to me against heavy rock concerts, tattoos, new age spirituality and I followed accordingly. It separated me from others dividing the world into "us vs. them".

It is hard to explain how Christian fundamentalism makes one afraid of everything. Now I feel like I can breathe. It's possible I rudely called the Catholic church, the "whore of babylon" or said my church taught it was a false church since she was a recent convert in, or something along those lines. I still don't like the Catholic church but my view of Catholics is far different today. Remember I used to be one too. Our main disagreement was about narcissists and their ability to "reform". Even that depends on the spectrum, if they are malignants, society already gives them more then enough leeway. They already have the majority making excuses for them.

Fundamentalism doesn't bring out niceness in people. I do believe I am a better person today.  I have major CRINGE moments from being a fundamentalist:

1. Once some people in my old town directly asked me, "Do you believe homosexuality is a sin?" It is a topic I usually kept my mouth shut on. I should have kept my mouth shut. Prompted on in my head by the pastors telling me not to be a cowardly Christian, I turned and said to this one lady and her gay friend, "Yes, I believe homosexuality is a sin" but then tried to soften the blow, saying there's lots of other sins and tried to drop that topic in a hurry. My views of homosexuality are completely different today. The UU is a LBGT affirming church.  I feel horrible by what I was led to believe about gay people in fundamentalism. Even as a Christian, I used to wonder why they had to be constantly harassed and talked about by preachers and Christian websites.

2. Speaking of homosexuality, one cousin of mine I am sure will forever hate me. It may not matter because my mother had turned him against me long ago before I was a Christian or deconverted later. I told him some Christians were cruel to homosexuals but I believed it was a sin because of what the Bible said. Problem was he was gay himself but was still in the closet then, and came out later. Both his children are gay [well one is trans] though they were younger at this time and I didn't know this either. Knowing that my secretive mother probably KNEW, put the whole no one is allowed to talk about certain topics battle in new perspective, but that's just more of the usual games in my family. I don't get that cousin, my mother is/was extremely homophobic, abusing me for being gay when I was not, and mocking me for it when I was in my early 20s. His whole entire family has come out as LBGT, I knew before I went no contact he was friendly with her.

2. I told some people in a ghost hunting club in my old town, that they would be messing around with demons, and needed to be careful lest one followed them home. The me of today remembers their pictures they got really excited about, and there was a lot of dust orbs in them. People probably thought I was a nut. An episode like this one when I met a schizoaffective woman with hallucinations, repeated itself, I said, "Take your medicine but look into the spiritual factors too, maybe they are demons."

3. One day getting very eager to witness and save all those non-believing friends I had kept from hell, I put up a "Jesus is the only way" banner on my Facebook that said all other religions led to hell. That created a bunch of social media fall out. I was fortunate that Aspie and other friends still stuck by me. They knew I was just sharing sincere beliefs at the time. However it was a fast way to piss off a whole lot of people. The me of today, now is horrified that I was even in a religion that taught almost everyone goes to hell, and it kind of depresses me and makes me angry too. Hell was used to be make me afraid from a very early age.

4. I told one woman, that I didn't believe in the Eucharist [she was a Lutheran in this case] and quoted Baptist bible verses at her. This was a friend of mine that is now an ex friend. We didn't fight that day, it was a friendly disagreement and obviously I don't believe in Eucharists now, or sacrifices for that matter today, but I am kind of embarrassed over this one too. Delicate religious exchanges are a minefield for Aspies.

5. I was visiting my brother years and years ago, there was some show on TV which brought the Rapture up, I was more post-mill so didn't believe in a Pre-Trib Rapture, but said to my brother, that I believed we were in the last days, and he laughed and laughed at me. That was a time of making myself too vulnerable. He still considered himself a Catholic though he never went to church except maybe on Christmas. Being mocked was no fun, but it just added to the overall disrespect.

6. I told two friends, I could not go to a casino, I was kind of smug about this. "Gambling was a sin too!" I play the Lotto now.

There were other moments like this. Unlike my IFB church members I wasn't living like them in a bubble of people who all believed the way they did.  I don't think most of the time I was a jerk about being a Christian. I was the type that left the tract on the public bathroom sink instead of confronting people to their face. I didn't bible bang with people or the family: they detested me just as much during my early deconversion and UU years as the bible believer years.

I had doubts that started some years ago before I deconverted. I am not sure why I stuck it out, fear of hell, fear of being wrong again. I had thoughts like "Well you already didn't believe, how can you circle back?" The usual progress is that someone deconverts when young and leaves their family church and it's left at that.

This blogger is right the religion was a bad fit. There were many years even when I wanted to "Do God's will" and follow the Bible, that it was like trying to hammer a round peg into a square hole. The intellectual freedom within the UU has been a life-saver. There was no such freedom in Christian fundamentalism by people telling me they had all the answers and saying that freedom itself was a danger.  Sometimes I wonder if all those threats I got from my family upon the first deconversion played themselves out where I thought I was being "punished" for the first spat of disbelief. Religious programming of a child can have life-long effects. Children who are spared the horrors of hell, probably are far happier people. I know fear took me in.

As I wrote before my abuse history led me in. It made me sad reading in my old journals about how I "had to improve my life" and how God was going to provide me with answers to life and living and improve things. I cried seeing the part where I wrote about how I would now find love and acceptance among my new "Church family". They always say people who are looking for love and acceptance most often find themselves in cults. I didn't end up wearing orange pajamas, handing my social security checks to a guru or minister, but ended up in a religion that claimed to have all the answers and was a cult in it's own way.

At the time I saw myself as fleeing endless horror, to enter into a bright and new existence. I had massive PTSD, and had just witnessed the poverty and severe crimes in a job with violence that I had written about many times on this blog in Chicago, and had just escaped. It was like running to safety.

Extreme religion was my new SAFE place. I moved from a city of 10 million to the most rural remote small town, of under 8,000. One friend I had years ago challenged me, saying I had moved to that small town to HIDE. She was right. I did. I guess that describes my mentality and I went from the UUs, to the IFB cult. I remember some people saying to me, that my philosophies and religion had become FEAR BASED. I did not heed these warnings.

The religion itself is constant fear fear fear. I never felt safe around a God who threatened me with hell. Even all the begging to him not to be squished, more impoverished, homeless, or not to let more medical horrors happen to me just increased the fear factor. Yahweh was just another stand in for my abusive parents. I am happy to be finished with him too. Think about this, think about how the evangelical and fundamentalist world is the most AFRAID and how we are suffering under their fear based politics NOW.

So I got tired of being afraid. I regret those years spent in fear. I got tired of being told I was in control of everything and everything was my fault and I had to beg to be "kept safe". There was part of my mind that said screw it, I'll try and do what I can, but there's only so much I can control. I got sick of this religion that wants me petrified every minute. I even had thoughts about the conspiracy and bible prophecies about mankind's end, if the world is that damn dark, screw it, I don't want to know.

That stuff is bad for people's minds too. It hurt my mind, and emotions. I do believe the economic decline and rapid changes in society are leading people to severe right wing religions and philosophies, they will be like me  looking for safety but they won't find it there. They will find pain, and regrets. The blogger is right, I am happier. I am happier being freed from this cage. In the UU, there is happiness via art, nature, poetry to be found again.

Christian fundamentalism and evangelicalism, I believe teaches a lack of empathy for others. One blogger wrote about How Faith Breaks Your Feeler. She is right.  Just look at our religious right today who has no empathy for immigrant children, I almost unfriended a bunch of people from my old churches this week, on Facebook for defending the children being put in cages. I was and remain disgusted.

There are many messages in the bible, how we are supposed not to faint, how we are supposed to never give up, the demands to be blameless and holy, and to be strong in affliction and distress, and I wonder if this limits empathy among Christians.Think about the religious right, they have some of the least empathy of any people when it comes to the disabled, gay people, poor people etc. Hell is pretty damn un-empathetic. If you divide the world into the few special people who go to heaven, while everyone else burns, empathy burns up along with it. I often felt that Christianity chafed against my inner human compassion and empathy. I didn't want to cast off people like Yahweh seemed so eager to do for "not conforming" after all it had happened to me!

One thing extreme Christianity is very attractive to people who have been traumatized or otherwise broken or facing hardships. That's exactly how I got sucked in and I regret it. While I am happier to be standing outside the religious jail-house, I've cried over this stuff.

We were told and I know I bought into this, that Christianity would provide answers to us in improving our lives or if we had problems that were not solvable in dealing with those said problems and getting to a better place. Christianity with this idea that God will 'fix your life" not even in the direct prosperity way sets people up with false expectations which brings in disappointment, self loathing, anxiety and more as time progresses. There is the constant insistence that one "lives God's will for their life" and "seeks daily guidance via the Holy Spirit". Truth, Wisdom and power are promised.

There is this idea of love, that you will be loved automatically--most of the Christian relationships to me seemed the most superficial and uncommitted. One thing they told me, is God would change my life and give it great meaning, and a "legacy" even for a childless woman, with the things done for God stored up in heaven. It's all so heady. I can see why I got sucked in. I was eager and excited. The high lasted for years in my case until I noticed...

Life was continuing on the same before I was a Christian with still many meaningless troubles. In fact some troubles worsened. As I aged much of the health stuff got harder. The relationships I was promised in Christianity never panned out. God was as absent as the church members were. Christian fundamentalism destroyed my social life too via repression. Appearances and status is still what mattered.

While I bitch about God here, leaving that ABUSER behind, it's like I have become a happier person in general. I am still sick and disabled, but I made the decision even if I am broke and poor and chronically ill, I want my later years on the earth to be happier ones. Severe religions do bring misery to people. I don't have to be blamed anymore for stuff going wrong.

I don't have to try to fit in and please people anymore. Trying to be a "good Christian" was exhausting. Where I had to work to try and please the giant Celestial Boogey-man. He was just like the narcissists I left behind, I went no contact from my whole family and when I removed narcissists from my life including some toxic friendships, as a recovering ACON [adult child of narcissists], Yahweh had to go too. He wasn't nice to me. He didn't respond to my phone calls [prayers] He never voted for me or had any loyalty, so BYE BYE.

Kicking the monster Santa Claus/Big Brother to the curb, opened the door for me to feel human again. I no longer have to worry about narcs judging me, and hurting me, I removed them all from my life and I removed this giant narcissist too. [don't believe anymore that a God exists in this way] I gave him 16 years to show me some love, or kindness and all he did was hurt me, so good riddance. Some people who read this may believe in God, if you do, I am okay with that, but try and find a nice God, not the cruel God of Christian fundamentalism.

Too much of Humanity is imprisoning itself with this mean cartoon character. When I think of religions now or any kind of higher power, I am going with the UUs in going where the love or kindness is. I am working on finding some happiness and doing what I can on earth for whatever time I got left. Leaving Christianity has taught me some happiness is now possible, while I am here despite endless challenges.
As I have deconverted I have assessed some of my own needs in life, for improvement of it.
I don't want to worry about being "holy" or "acceptable" anymore. I am sick of worrying about people liking me or trying to please them or a God. I want some people in my life, who don't give a shit, if I or God fix my life or not. I want to be accepted and loved for who I am TODAY. I am tired of fake shit.

I don't want to have to worry about always measuring up. I am tired of a God I was never good enough for, who matched the family who told me I was a piece of crap, and with the church's expectations of total conformity. I just want to be me. I will do my art work and do what I want for a change. Some Christians can call that selfish, I call it survival. I couldn't be who these people wanted anyway and I got tired of crushing myself into their box.

I have several old classmates and acquaintances on Facebook, some who have mental health disorders and one who faced severe abuse and homelessness, and they are new to the Christian conversion game, and I fear for them. They are traumatized people reaching for the Christian rope of "hope" thrown out to them. Little do they know it could pull them under the water to drown some more.

I feel more hope then I have in years. Does this sound strange to anyone. I am disabled and sick, but at least I don't have to prove myself to anyone else anymore and I don't have to impress or cajole or beg an uncaring silent deity anymore either. With this blogger, we still don't agree on many things but she was right about a false religion and it's chains around my soul. 


Are you the Family "Loser"?

Biological family is a prison.

Is that an odd thing to say....?

My husband joked with me and said, "What do you want the world to be run like the Brave New World? Remember Mao and other's experimented with removing the biological family." I admitted he had a point.

One now ex-friend [the Army person from the multimillionaire family] who is due to inherit millions from her parents in their late 80s, used to tell me that human beings were like chickens, and they would "peck to death" the weakest ones. She used to bother me saying this. It was kind of a strange obtuse thing to say to a disabled woman. Sadly there seemed to be a taint of truth to it at least for the least empathetic human beings on this planet. I guess she was one of the strong chickens but I digress.

I saw this old Dr Phil, it's from 2012. In it, a young woman in her 20s who lived at home with her parents and her own son, accused her mother of favoritism for her jock brother. The walls of their house were covered in his framed Jersey's and other sports awards. She was right. He could do no wrong, he was the golden child and had the arrogant attitude to go along with it. Dr. Phil sadly failed here too to address the realities of narcissism though he told the mother, she needed to show some love to her daughter and positive reinforcement. Obviously we had a girl here, who had trouble in school and got pregnant out of wedlock. She was considered the "family loser". Sadly as I watched this, I kept thinking her only way to have a happy life, probably would be to escape all those people. They were already destroying her self esteem. The show made me want to cry. She was stuck in that mud of pleasing people who never would accept her and used her as a scapegoat.

They always say family should be a soft place to land. Dr. Phil referred to family being a soft place to land and I found myself sneering at the TV and saying "Yeah right.". I suppose real families should be ones that do love and support each other, and there's probably ones out there like that.  However in America, in this dog eat dog country, so focused on competition, now competition doesn't simply exist at the office and the sports field, it exists at home too. In other words people never get a break from it. What is this doing to our young people? I believe the suicide rates are jacked up to the hilt in America for a reason. Now average people are told they are not "good enough" to make a decent living, you have to be a "superstar" [with plenty of narcissistic and sociopathic traits, and lots of friends] to make it.

How many young people's lives are being destroyed by their own families? Millennials are coming out to a dead job market, all the logistics of the normal life script are harder and harder won. Many attest to cold attitudes from their parents especially if they failed to become winning trophies. I think about how I was relegated into being a throw-away and have had negative thoughts about people who breed so much, they have extra children they can ditch into the trashcan. If one is an ACON, the doubling up of facing financial failure or other life problems and dealing with no "soft place" to land can be a double whammy. I remember how I was told everything that happened to me was my fault, and how I had nothing to show for my life. I get the feeling lots of young people today are going through what I did. So wonder they are depressed, and these shallow parents, actually are ensuring "more failure".

My family had it's own jock too, Uncle Narc and his baseball star son who got a full ride baseball scholarship. The generation that came up after me was odd, they were kids I didn't understand, they were all centered on success and conforming to their parents. The narcissists got their Eagle Scout, first chair orchestra placements, and baseball star, Unlike my upbringing, Uncle Narc invested in his children and spent hours driving them to baseball practices and dance practice. I was expected to be a success with no such investment, so I'll give the guy that, he put some effort into his kids "making it" but I often had the thought what if one didn't make it? The fall out probably would be a lot worse.

I find myself wondering though about families and who "makes it", is there any love in such competitive system, where to matter as a human being to parents, you have to make it career wise? I realize my family screwed me up here, telling me, that I had to be this certain person to be worth anything and then doing everything they could to sabotage it. With narcissists too, I think of the parents who didn't come to any of my graduations, and even when I had a DIY art show in 2006, that was written about in two local newspapers, she didn't show up there then either. There was no investment.

The more malignant Narcissists more often sabotage their kids to "fail", perhaps Uncle Narcissist while he is on the narcissistic spectrum is lower on it, because he invested in the kid's success but sadly if any of them fail in the future,  they may be asking for it. In narcissistic families, perhaps even the golden children and successes know deep inside they are not loved the same way. 

A lot of people from foreign countries, say something is wrong with America. They say it is all competition, and no cooperation. They say Americans live to work instead of working to live and have lost a lot of the joy in life. I would say this is true. These are things I have questioned about this society. I have even focused on the sickness of putting people in the "loser" vs "winner" categories. Some years ago even here, I wrote about the conservative people I met who were all focused on achievement. They wore me out. Everything was a competition. Are people like this ever happy? Ask yourself here, do all the successes in your own narcissistic family know it's game over if they ever slide down to the bottom? I know with all the successful teens right now, if any of them graduate and can't get a job right away, I can tell some of the golden children are already being hired by Dad's company, they will be facing the music.

One thing struck me thinking more about that topic, I had my own values, I didn't agree with those people. Their drives for success bored me. Same with the family, after I was deep into no contact, I had thoughts about life and thought I never wanted the dull suburban life, I never wanted to be them. I couldn't count body bags for war for the government to make bank or send legions of young men to their deaths in the Middle East like the ex-Army friend. I couldn't be any of them. So if your family calls you a loser, look at their lives? What are they doing for all that money? What have they accepted for it?

In my case, though I chose an alternative career when young, I was focused on success too. I wanted to make it. I and my husband had an odd conversation the other day, I don't remember what it was that started it. We turned to each other and said, "We really did try". I said well you made it with your books, he's publishing a book he co-authored this year. I discussed my hang-ups from the family with my husband. He has said, "They judge everything by monetary success". I said, "That's true". We talk about battling time and never giving up.

My family called me a "loser" so much, I know it was part of the abuse. Every black sheep goes through this. I would suggest to everyone if you are around people who are busy calling you a "loser" or if you have a family like that where they have already labeled you the "throw-away" that is "not good enough" or "has nothing to show for their life", get as far away from them all. They will only bring you down. Don't make the mistake of thinking into your 20s and 30s, that once you make it, they will then love you, because that won't happen either.

My husband was very supportive of me and once wrote me a list to show things I accomplished in life, to circumvent the trash my family told me. I think both of our self esteems have gotten better being away. I still have to work on mine. While I've been pretty sick, I have noticed life is blossoming more for me, I'm doing lectures at my UU fellowship on the transcendental movement, teaching myself sewing and getting more ideas. Being freed from the expectations of narcissists can help people "succeed" far more.

My husband wrote me this:
"Here's the list you asked for: But don't take my word for it. Here's a list of the things I've seen you accomplish:

1. Staying married -- and in a relationship -- for 23 years with Mr. Peep. In this society, no small achievement.

2. Becoming an art teacher. Yes, I know it didn't become a lifetime career, because your health short-circuited it. And you didn't make a lot of money doing it. But for the time you were in it, you enriched your students' lives in ways that would never have happened, had you never set in foot in their classrooms. That creates a longer, deeper legacy than all the billionaires who spend all their time shuffling money around.

3. Surviving those terribly debilitating earlier illnesses of your life, including your big weight gain. If you were someone who was content to play the odds, you wouldn't be here with me today.

4. Growing and flourishing as an artist, to the point of one-off shows that made money, -- hell, I don't know anyone else who's come near you in those departments!

5. Growing as a writer, including your blog-- including one with 68 followers (!) -- something that leaves me awestruck, knowing how many are quickly abandoned, or never get off the ground.

6. Creating your own comic, which will hopefully be the first of many more to come -- again, the effort and care you've invested in that project has put you leagues ahead of those who rabbit on forever about doing one, but never actually follow through. Believe me, I've seen that, too.

7. The effort and time that you've spent helping out friends when they hit a rough patch in their lives. Not all your efforts panned out, but when I see you sending a box of food to someone that needs it -- that tells me you care about others. A small ripple in a vast ocean, as the saying goes, but a big one in a society that preaches rugged individualism on such a comic, exaggerated level -- even the Lone Ranger wouldn't recognize it.

8. Your dedication to the weekly pickets, when time and circumstances commit. It means you're not waiting for a better community, and/or world, no matter how remote that possibility seems right now.

9. Your co-organizing, hosting and promoting of our monthly readings that we did at the Library for about three years -- again, you didn't wait for somebody else to do something, which turned out to be a classic DIY activity for both of us. Three years in Clubland (quote-unquote) is a lifetime!

10. Your commitment to those amateur publications in the late '90s, which lasted a good two or three years, and laid the foundation for you to become a better writer (whereas before, you probably thought of yourself mainly as a visual artist).

11. The handful of songs we've co-written, based on your lyrics -- such as ************ -- which have turned out well, and something that I'd definitely like to pursue more closely in the future.

12. Your turn to provide one -- but I think I've give you a nice head start. So, while sickness sucks, it hasn't been all about that. To me, at least.
I leave you with that nugget from the Fleshtones ("I Want The Answers") that I read you yesterday, for a further bit of perspective:
I wanna know why money doesn't just fall down from the trees I wanna know why fame doesn't just blow in with the breeze Why do the bad things feel so good When the good things find another neighborhood? Why does the upside always bring me down while the downside finds me lifting off the ground?
I wanna know why if I'm so good I didn't die young I wanna know why, maybe then I'd have a Number One Why does everybody wanna steal my act? And then I waste all those years, I'll never get 'em back Why does everybody always wanna bow at my feet When I can't earn enough just to make ends meet?
Gimme, c'mon, and gimme the proof Gimme, c'mon and gimme the truth
I want the answers, Just give me the answers, I want 'em right now!"

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Journalist Twitters Reports of Turpin Court Case

Warning these entries can be triggering. There is testimony about them being starved, chained and abandoned. This is some of the sickest abuse possible. Those two parents were monsters.

Journalist Twitters Reports about the Turpin Court Case

13 Siblings Held Captive By Abusive Parents

Monday, June 11, 2018

Natural Causes By Barbara Ehrenreich

"Like workout culture, wellness is a form of conspicuous consumption. It is only the wealthy who have the resources to maintain the illusion of an integral and bounded self, capable of responsible self-care and thus worthy of social status. The same logic says that those who smoke (read: poor), or don’t eat right (poor again), or don’t exercise enough (also poor) have personally failed and somehow deserve their health problems and low life expectancy."

 Natural Causes sounds like a great book, and one that definitely talks about an issue I am coping with in my life. Along with ACON matters, how much shame, blame and judgment have I gotten from being in this body? It looks like her book challenges the assumptions about health, that we all have total control over our bodies and it's outcomes. Sadly many are brainwashed into thinking everyone has chosen the state of their bodies.  This is used as oppression on fat people because too many believe if we all ate right and exercised that we would be thin, just like the trolls I wrote about. 

Just like the prosperity gospel has taken over evangelical religion, we have a health "word of faith" gospel that teaches people, do everything the "right way" and your health will be perfect and you will live to be very old. Well it doesn't work that way. I knew people far healthier then me, who dropped dead of a wide range of unprepared diseases, circumstances or accidents. We now have class oppression delivered on a health platter, where some of us feel that inside dread that we can't afford certain things we know would improve our health. For some of us, the day to day workings of being income challenged have increased our stress, cortisol and limited all the "mindfulness" moments.

Just like fat people are told their very weights are all in their control and their pounds will all magically melt off because we all supposedly choose to be overweight, and are just "too lazy" to know "how easy it is", others are served magical thinking too via the new health "gospel".
People with cancer are told to visualize battling cancer cells with little imaginary lasers, people in pain now are told they can manage their pain, and that "it's all in their heads" and they don't need painkillers because the drug war comes first. Reality is suspended. 

Some seem to treat life like a race, where whoever lives the longest "wins", and that's kind of sick in it's own way because what enjoyment are they getting out of it all along the way?

Charlie Brown Vs.The Wall

What I have Been Up to Lately

I'm still living oddly, I will go and do some stuff and then collapse into bed. It's a strange way to live life. My intent is to try and get more done and balance things out but the health is a constant battle. There was one evening I just wanted to lay in bed and not get up and do all these medical things, I have to be cautious of that. The rheumatologist never returned my calls, maybe one option is having the doctor do the tests the specialist would have done. The bloating and pain from Lipedema can be maddening, one day when I was out and about a little bit, I was limping and hanging over my walker, but you know, "I WANT TO HAVE A LIFE" even if it occurs in only small segments. This week was a non-housebound week, so decided to do stuff in between collapsing in my ever used bed.

1. I went to a Fan-Comic Con. They had cosplay dressers, comics, a theatrical battle team and a lot more. They advertised some anime conference in a town about an hour from here. Wish I had money for that kind of travel but that's a small hobby, I like to read anime, with the graphic novels. Japanese culture fascinates me. There were some one dollar Archie comics to be bought too. My husband enjoyed it a lot too.

2. Sewing may begin more in earnest beyond simple clothing repairs.  I finally had collected some material. Some nice friends donated me some, and some are great patterns. Sewing is new to me, I sewed a stuffed moose in home ec, and some quilt squares at one church years ago. The reality is I need clothes bad, and am going to be naked without any. The plan is to start with some simple jumper dresses. Hopefully there will be something wearable at the end of my ventures.

3. I did a lecture at UU fellowship, this church is far more interactive. One odd hobby I've had for years is studying everything that has to do with religion, it was my informal "major" even in college. I'd go to my art ed classes and then read books on religion during rare free moments. So when I was asked to lecture on the transcendental movement as one of the readers/lecturers, I did so. It turned out well. One thing I talked about is how we have lost the intuition, independence and exploration/value of nature and independent spirits pertaining to this. It was a good experience. Public speaking is not easy for Aspies, I can do it from some of the past teaching experience. For me the motivator is the intellectual pursuit behind it.

4. We are still going to the gym. No weight loss miracles yet, but I think it is increasing stamina. I am worried how I do not lose weight, but only can do what I can. I think its a good sign when you can increase weights a little bit too, even though that is slow going. I do hope one day maybe we can join the far closer gym, but it costs a lot more. We are averaging twice a week visits. It should probably be more but with his work, we are doing our best. I may see how taking the bus works to get over there.

The exercise has an odd effect on me like brain feels clearer at the end on some days but then I have to make sure to eat before I go too on the other end because exercise affects my blood sugars. I sweat all over the place which is kind of gross. I hope I can get on more machines.

Homeless Man is Working Full Time While Living in Homeless Shelter

I have known a lot of homeless people, most worked. That's a secret no one will tell you. Think about it this way, most of us who CAN'T WORK, get disability. Disability is low money but keeps you usually from the homeless shelter except maybe in early days when you are applying. So most people at homeless shelter either got laid off, in between jobs or are presently working. I knew people living in cars who had jobs, and no homes. I would offer a place to some past homeless friends but many knew how sick I was and probably figured my resources [correctly] were low. Most people on welfare have jobs too, but people listen to stereotypes about all the "lazy bums".

Why Don't Some People Believe Lipedema is a Real Disease?

 Troll online: "You're making it sound like you have some unfortunate disease. You made yourself morbidly obese. I can't find much sympathy to give here..."

I have faced this online and not in life. In life, I think they can tell something is "different" with me. Oh how do I explain this, my body is shaped like the MICHELIN MAN though bigger on the bottom and one leg is twice the size of the other already swollen leg, so most people BELIEVE me who see me who I have told, that something else is different and wrong.

I have attempted to go semi-Keto, and bought a tons of vegetables last week. I can't do a full Keto diet but need to cut more carbs. Today probably ate too many carbs, but most days this week I did better, got diabetes a bit under control again, 130s and 140s, instead of horrible sugars I had around time of the ear infection. We are still going to the gym, I'll be there tomorrow. We are making it over there twice a week, but maybe I should go on the bus if I can pull it off to get over there more. Last week, I made cabbage soup twice, cooked cauliflower, plated salads with cut up vegetables and meat, chicken stir frys with a multitude of vegetables and other dishes. I've had to cut down red meat, it's just making me feel like crud.

Online I have noticed when telling people about Lipedema, because it is a rare fat disease some people have been complete assholes. They have said things to me like you are so fat, you are five hundred pounds, you are crazy to blame it on Lipedema. What the hell do they know?  Our society is so fat phobic, that even if you are found to have a severe rare medical disorder in its most advanced form, you don't get a break. The same thing used to happen when I talked about having PCOS and endocrine problems, so why should I expect anything different.

Maybe these are just trolls online, they seem to populate money advice and economic boards. One I went to on reddit seemed to have some regular poorer people seeking advice and then you had the smug trolls.  I like to write and talk about economics, but because I am disabled and fat and seen as the Lowly of the low, some really go to town.

 I am not going to post in some places where I used a certain user name and my weight is evident, I kind of erred there. Same as fat people are silenced and told their issues and medical conditions aren't real, I noticed the trolls do that with the financial and economic end of things. It's weird when people tell me the economy is doing great. All I got to do is drive three or four miles and I see the closed buildings and rotting store fronts. The inner city looks worse and worse, and out in the country looks bad too. So strange like they are not in reality but then when it comes to obesity and related matters most don't want to deal with reality they just believe everything they are told.

Sometimes I wonder if multiple message boards are astroturfed where people make sure to "manage" them to keep the status quo. They don't want poor people talking about how the economy really is. They will say things like the economy is doing great, or all the things that have happened in your life are under your control. Some jerk wrote to people who had been laid off, "A Job is Not a Charity". Same with obesity, the diet industrial complex, doesn't want people talking about medical disorders and things that affect especially severe obesity.

One can see the open lack of empathy, understanding and education that is now advanced among certain circles.

Punk Cooking

seen on Pinterest/Ernie Bushmiller

This blogger's wife must cook like me. I sometimes just toss together what I got and not in order. I make up a lot of stuff when I cook too and probably have invented new dishes by accident.