Too many thoughts, too little time.

Purity Culture

Lately, I have been surrounded by people I know, who are strong, fundamentalist Christians.

And, one thing I am learning, for as much as purity doctrine is preached as a way to avoid heart ache and pain, it doesn’t seem to be doing any better than hook-up culture.

A guy sat at our table one day, and told us how many guys a girl could sleep with before she was a worthless whore. My husband tried to shut him up, and it isn’t working. Finally, the man said “what’s the matter with you?” and I interjected “Well, it could be the fact you keep calling his wife a worthless whore.” The man tried to back pedal, but it was too late.

Or how about the woman I know who was raped and then decided since she was worthless now anyway, she was ruined and dirty, why not just sleep with everybody?

Or maybe my brother-in-law, who sat here, night after night, crying about the fact that he gave his cheating wife the one gift he could never give anyone else. He can never have a first time again, and odds are against him finding someone who is a virgin, so, he will never again have a good or special sex life.

Or maybe the neighbor who talked about how women who wore white for their second weddings were just hoochies, and they weren’t fooling anyone, everyone knows they aren’t pure.

IMG_0609

And here I thought the kids gave away the lack of “purity” not the color of the dress.

What about all those people who were taught that any sexual thought or idea or act was strictly prohibited, and then, is supposed to be magically bestowed with a perfect sex life on their wedding night?

Can we just stop? Seriously. I’m so sick of it.

If you want to teach your children to save sex for marriage, how about we teach them there are risks that you may not be prepared for at 16? That it’s a lot easier to raise a baby in a committed relationship at 28 than as a single college student. That it can stir up complicated emotions and can make a relationship more difficult Maybe we can stop telling dozens of kids in youth group to spit into a glass of water, then try to get somebody to drink it and explain “that is how disgusting sleeping around is” or another good one, the chewed up, flavorless piece of gum. Stop comparing people to objects. Stop acting like people, women especially, are nothing more than a body, that can apparently be used up and thrown away.

Guess what? According to my brother, apparently, I’m a whore. That doesn’t make me worthless. It doesn’t make me trash. It doesn’t make me used up, and incapable of having a good relationship. It doesn’t change the fact I am smart, and I am funny and I’m a good parent. It doesn’t change my ability to see something in my head and create it. It doesn’t stop my love of learning, or my talent at cooking. It doesn’t mean I love my husband less, or am less committed to him. It doesn’t mean my sex life is meaningless.

I’m just aggravated, I’ve recently been called a whore, I’ve always been called a slut, and have listened to Mike, repeatedly, explain that he truly loved my sister, and that is why they waited until they were married to have sex.

you know what? Brad and I didn’t wait 24 hours to have sex. I’ve never doubted, for a minute, that man loves me like crazy. A person’s love isn’t more special just because you didn’t have sex before marriage. It isn’t more true love.

I’m not saying we’ve never had to deal with the consequences of those choices. We have had to deal with some issues that came up because of that. But, it doesn’t seem like there are fewer issues or happier marriages if you wait.

Nobody is worthless, or used up, or dirty. Everyone can change if they want to, but this purity preaching makes it real hard to want to, when you hear from every direction that you can’t. I mean, let’s think back to the glass of water. That is what you were compared to, you can’t go and take out every molecule of spit. You can’t take the germs out of the gum and put the flavor back in.

How about we compare to people to a notebook, if we want to use objects to describe people.

And, everyone you come into contact with gets to write a few lines. They are helping shape your story.

Sometimes the words are encouraging, and sometimes they are hurtful. Sometimes they words are deserved. Sometimes they aren’t.

But, you get to write to, draw over it, make it beautiful, change it, erase it. Maybe, if you look real hard, you can see how the old words, how the old story shaped that particular page…but you get tot change it. And, with time, the page will smooth out. And, sometimes you’ll make new friends, who come in with markers and paint and make those pages beautiful too. Or make the future pages so beautiful you don’t look at the old ones anymore.

It doesn’t matter how the book ends up shaping up, it isn’t worthless. There is something valuable inside.

And, the people who won’t want to open the pages and see it probably aren’t really people you want to be friends with anyway.

Not this

dirty-jar-of-water

But This

6a00d83451929069e201910406b865970c

 

 

Edited to add: I didn’t touch on the religious aspect of the teachings. I know many will argue that the Bible and God want them to teach this.

Really? And how do you come to this conclusion? Because I’ve missed it.

Yes, it does talk about adultery and fornication. It also talks about many other things.

We don’t tell a shop lifting teenager we will disown them if they get caught shoplifting. Which is what we tell teenage girls about pregnancy.

We look at being unable to “control” ones self when alone with a boyfriend/girlfriend as a huge moral failing, but we don’t consider being unable to control ourselves at the dinner table as a shameful thing. Gluttony is mentioned in the Bible too.

We don’t tell a defiant middle-schooler that now they are dirty. Even though the Bible says you should respect your parents.

We don’t tell our kids not to be friends with Billy, across the street, because you heard he puts away his laundry AND mows the lawn on the Sabbath.

We don’t put our arms around the crying 10 yr old, who is jealous Jessie got the brand new bike, IN HIS FAVORITE COLORS, and he has to make due with a too big one from a garage sale, and tell the child “You are used up and dirty now, because you are envious, and the Bible says that is bad.”

Let’s stop defining people by their mistakes, and judging their worth that.

We only use “worthless” and “dirty” to describe sexual sins. God can forgive, and people can change, but when you put this on such a high level, it seems like it is a lot harder to fix.

Leave Me to My Delusions

I have an aunt, my mom’s sister, who seems to like to be in the middle of drama, she tells a lot of info that is really not any of her business, on the basis of keeping everyone informed. I know this. So when she wrote to me the other day to ask how things were, I wrote back a nice long e-mail. About our anniversary trip, about my tattoo, about my youngest son’s broken wrist, asked about her family, etc. I also knew she was fishing for other information, so I said Mike was staying here, it’s been an adjustment, but I actually see very little of him, so it hasn’t been too bad. He mainly talks to Brad, because they are buddies.

I got back an e-mail. More probing questions, asking me about things that happened awhile back, things I know she already knows about. I replied with minimal information, basically agreeing to things she already knew happened, reiterating, I was the worst person to go to for information. She asked about the whole thing about my biological father. I gave a very quick run down, stating clearly, that I was not involved with it, I don’t know what was said, who was told what. I didn’t care to be involved, and I wanted to know nothing.

I got back a long e-mail telling me how she knew this would happen, how I should have been told sooner (I was like, 4 when I found out. She somehow thinks I didn’t know until last year). How she knew this was why my mom hated her, because she believed in telling me the truth, not hiding it.

And then, she proceeded to give me a lot of information. A lot of irrelevant crap. Yes, I could have figured out I was conceived in April, thanks for that.

And then was condescending with “Well, technically Lee IS your father, he adopted you. He just isn’t your biological father, so saying you know he isn’t your father isn’t exactly correct.”

Yeah…I knew that too. I thought the important part had been conveyed, I don’t need to be talked down to.

and, she ended with “Well, if you ever change your mind, I can tell you everything. Your bio father’s name, where he lives, or all about your half-brothers and half-sisters.”

I read that and have been a wreck since then. I didn’t want to know anything. I didn’t want to talk about it. I’m more upset about this than I am about the fact nobody in my family cares to speak to me.

This was the day after Mike brought it up that my parents wanted him to let me know, if I was going to go looking for bio dad, I needed to take a guy with me, because he was abusive and terrible. And, I told Mike I didn’t want to know anything, before he said that. That’s when he went “well, it’s probably for the best…XYZ.”

Look, I’ve spent my whole life being told I was so stuck up, and had no common sense because I was too smart, and I thought I was better than everyone if I used proper grammar. My family is a bunch of rednecks, for lack of a better description. I’ve never fit in, ever.

I’ve spent almost 30 yrs consoling myself with the fact I wasn’t completely related. Maybe bio left for Harvard and he didn’t want a baby to ruin his life. Maybe he’s some genius doctor taking care of poor people in Africa. Maybe I was conceived on a one night stand and will never know I’m secretly a Russian princess. Ok, I’ve never actually thought THAT one. But, in my head, I had decided Bio was a stupid kid, who got scared and ran away, realized his mistake and was a great person and a great father for a couple years to a couple kids, before he was killed in a motorcycle accident one night.  I can understand being scared and running away. I can understand learning from your mistakes. Of course nobody ever wondered about me, he’s dead.

Except he’s not. And, I feel abandoned all over again.

And now i know, there is at least 5 more people who don’t give a shit about me.

Thanks for your loving honesty Kris and Mike.

Kris did end her e-mail with this was why i was her and her husband’s favorite, because I’d been through so much, starting the day I was born my life has been turmoil, but I’ve always been caring and loving. That’s why it was important to tell me the truth.

But, I wasn’t dealing with any turmoil until that…

I haven’t responded. How can I even respond to this? I can’t, she doesn’t know my life well enough to know that her “help” has left me devastated, and I can’t even explain it well without launching into a 3 week, 24 hour a day, lecture.

So, I’ll ignore it.

Me assuming my bio was a nice dead guy wasn’t hurting anybody though. So, how was “I don’t want to know anything” unclear? Why tell me anything?

 

Perception

Can you be more Christian than you think you are?

Interesting thing about having Mike stay with us…we are having some amazingly deep conversations, Brad, Mike and I.

Mike is a Christian. Loud and proud. He isn’t pushy or a jerk, but he is definitely vocal about his faith and what he believes. He does the right things. When you ask someone what it means to be a Christian, they will either tell you my dad or Mike. Depending on how their past has shaped them. Positive or negative.

I am a Christian, but, a much quieter version. You probably won’t know unless you ask me. I try to be a good person, but, I keep my motives to myself. Plus, I am not a “good” Christian. Not by the stereotype anyway. I cuss and I don’t go to church and I lived with Brad for a while before we got married. And, honestly, while I love God, I am not real pleased to associate myself with many of his followers.

Then we have Brad. Brad doesn’t know where he is right now. He was raised Christian, but he’s sorting things out for himself now. I think he’ll come back around. He isn’t an atheist. He believes in God. He just doesn’t know what to call himself, and I don’t push.

So, we were all in the car the other day, when Mike began talking about faith and religion. And, Brad kind of shut him down with a comment about not being a Christian. I replied something like “You are more Christian than you think you are, Babe.” Mike laughed and said “That isn’t possible.” And, I said “Why not? There are plenty of people who are less Christian than they think they are.” And the car got quiet. Mike finally said “Hmmm…well…I just don’t think it’s possible. I mean, if you don’t think you are a Christian, then you can’t be one.”

But, is Mike right?  If he is right, then wouldn’t it follow that if you think you are a Christian, than you must be one?

If Brad believes in God, and loves God and loves others, then why isn’t he one?

What makes someone a real follower of Christ?

This has been an enjoyable few weeks, because the three of us actually have very different opinions, and ways of going about explaining them. But, at the same time, none of us get worked up, we don’t raise our voices, we don’t personally attack each other. We just talk. And, then we go on about our day. So, I’m not asking so I can prove anything to Mike, it is just a thought question. I’m curious to know other people’s thoughts.

With everything going on here, I’m learning a lot about what people think about me.

It would seem that several weeks ago, after the whole thing with my parents, my best friend Ann shouted “How can she be so different from everyone else?” and Brad answered back “Because she was the only one strong enough to be.” She told me about this the other day, it was sweet.

She told me about it when we went out for lunch, she wanted to go out so she could ask my advice about a guy situation. After listening for a bit, I said something like “Ok, so, you are a booty call.” And she laughed at me. she said “this is why I wanted to talk to you. You are going to tell me how it is, no matter how hard I try to convince myself otherwise. I needed you and your no nonsense advice.”

Last night I was talking to Mike, and he told me about all the other people he’s talked to and their advice (which seems to be “stay married, no matter what”) So, I heaved a sigh and collapsed dramatically on the sofa. “Mike, I feel like you need deprogrammed every time you talk to anyone. You get home, and tell me all this stuff. Which is all crap. It’s over. Done. You cannot sit here and tell me you want what is best for your kids, while going back and forth, and letting their mom blow all the money for bills, and going over there and screaming at each other every day.” Later, he was telling me about how divorce destroys children, and he was heartbroken hoping for years his parents would get back together, but his dad kept leaving. And I said “But you are MAKING this stressful. You keep going over every afternoon and pretending everything is the same, then leaving. Why wouldn’t they think you were gonna work it out. Stop it. if you are gonna see the kids, go get them, pick them up, go to the park, and ignore Sis.” and he said “This is why I love you and why I wanted to stay here. Everybody else is telling me what I want to hear, and what they want to happen. And, you are not sugar coating this, and you’re right. I needed somebody here to give me a reality check, because I know I’m not thinking clearly. You’ve always been the one who is thinking clearly and takes charge and gets things done.”

and finally, the other day I went with Mike to get his things, and my brother saw us and smiled. “Mike is staying with you? Oh good. You are the best place for him. You’re always the best place when things need figured out. Like, if we want hugs or tears or sympathy or a pity party, you are the last person anyone should go to. You are no good at it. But, when we need shit to get done, and it’s a jumbled mess, we come to you. You look at this big ball of mess, and pull one string and it all starts making sense and straightening out.”

So, apparently, I am who you come to when you are ready for things to change, and need tough love.

quotes-inspirational

I mentioned my brother in law is staying with us.

I had joked previously that that neighbors must be talking. And it had nothing to do with Mike. Brad has had a lot of driving jobs this year, so he gets a rental car and drives home Thurs. nights and we take the car back to the airport Friday morning. Then, 45 minutes later, we are home with his car. So, this year, late Thursday night, various cars have pulled in. An Outback, a Ram, a Flex, and Fusion, an Impala, a Taurus, etc. Now, Mike is there, so one night it was a Stratus, and then he took it back to sis and took her car, so the next night was a PT Cruiser. These cars are all there while Brad’s car isn’t.

Well, Mike is concerned now. He keeps apologizing for ruining my reputation. Or…further ruining it, I guess.

It got me thinking, and I told him my thoughts, but I wanted to write them here as well.

Your reputation is what people think of you, your character is who you are. I think there is a strange element of pride in worrying about your reputation. I could let my pride stop me from helping out someone who needs me…so that way other people think I’m a  better person.

Do you see how ridiculous that looks when you word it like that?

I can help him and look bad. Or I can look good and let him suffer. Why on earth should I worry about what other people are THINKING while I’m DOING?

My brother said it the other day…”Punkie, you are who we go to when we need help. Because you help. You don’t worry about it. You just help fix it. If we need hugs and prayers we’ll go somewhere else. You aren’t so good at those things.”

So, my reputation may not be so hot, but who I am is pretty cool actually.

And, I told Brad when we discussed it. Mike is in a really bad place. I’ve been there. I’ve had the “I’ll pray for you” with no actual help given. Mike has fallen down a hole, and people are walking by shouting “I’ll pray for you” and “Well, maybe you should have taken some rope so you can pull yourself up.” and just a bunch of crap answers. And, they continue on their merry way, nice and clean and pretty and looking like good people, and they can tell their friends about how they saw this person who needs their prayers, down in a hole.

And here I am,  climbing in and out of the hole, filthy, I certainly don’t look like somebody you want to talk to.

But the people who are seeing the circles under my eyes and the mud and the scratches and judging, don’t know I’m taking him food and water until he’s strong enough to climb out with me.

I’m not saying this to pat myself on the back. I’m saying this to say, help where you can. Don’t worry about what other people think. Don’t worry about your reputation.

Once I let go of trying to save everyone else’s thoughts about me, I was able to actually help and do and fix things. And, it’s been really nice.

My family and my tiny house.

My family is huge, and untangling is not an easy feat. I have a brother in law I love to death, Mike. He’s married to evil sister.

Mike is living on our couch for the week. I’m not sure what after that.

I see no reason to be mean or hurtful to Mike. I actually have no intention of being mean to evil sister.

I deleted my family from various social media sites while back. So, I missed the exciting start of yesterday.

Where calm, cool, and kind of wimpy Mike outted my sister, and her affair, to her 1200 friends.

You know why evil sister got that name? She’s mean first of all. But, as my marriage was falling apart, she was SOOOOOO in love with Mike, and their lives would be prefect and they would get married and ride off into the sunset together, and God would bless them because they were virgins, and that is why my X and I had so many problems, we didn’t wait till we were married. When my ex cheated, it was my fault, I could have/should have been a better wife. She knew exactly how she would keep Mike happy every moment of every day, and they would never deal with that.

When she found condoms in my bathroom, I was a whore.

When I got dressed to go to work, where I was a bartender, she lectured me about how I must have such low self esteem if I was going to show strangers my cleavage.

And, when I refused to change clothes, she tried to convince my parents, whose car I was borrowing at the time, that I was racing their Wrangler, I was irresponsible, I was the reason it was having a problem, and she really needed it more, so she could get to church, while her husband worked. And…IT WORKED.

I spent many, many years, being called a whore by her and told I was going to hell.

And, I held my head high, and moved on with my life, and am in a good place. I let my life and my actions speak for themselves, and I quit taking the bait she was giving.

Yesterday, Mike found out ES has been cheating on him, for about a year. He found out months ago, but was assured it had stopped. It hadn’t. He found out it was still going on, he found out about other guys. And, he left. ES said she’s not sorry, the other man is her one true love, she never loved Mike. she doesn’t see any reason to try to work it out, she planned to leave him once he was done paying for her degree anyway, her plans just got pushed up a bit.

She called the other man’s wife. Who is 7 months pregnant.  And, basically taunted her, saying OM didn’t love her, otherwise he wouldn’t cheat. He would stay, but not be happy. And, he could cheat whenever he wanted, because the wife would never leave and he knew it.

Sis decided to do damage control and come tell me first. She was too hysterical to understand at first, but soon I realized the tears were from embarrassment and losing her boyfriend. I bit my tongue. I didn’t gloat. I told her she was wrong, about everything. I told her I was sorry to hear that she’d done that to her kids. I told her the OM was not a true love, and she wasn’t special. She asked me a couple general divorce questions, and then she left.

So, we called Mike. He came over late last night. He ranted for a few hours, then we told him he needed to sleep, and everybody went to bed.

He’s a wreck.

I’m going to Cleveland tomorrow, otherwise the husband might be concerned about him being here. But, Mike needs someplace. The things she said to him were designed to be as hurtful as possible.

I went with him today to get his car and her wedding ring. I guess my whole family is telling him that he can win her back, don’t give up. I’m the only one who said “pawn the ring, file the paperwork, she can win you back if she realizes her mistakes.” and he’s thanked me for it.

A friend said “well, I hope you helping him doesn’t cause a division in your family.” You know, there already is. And, I’ll take Mike’s side and deal with the fallout, if any.

Though, today as I helped Mike load his things, my brother pulled me aside.

“I’m impressed Punkie. You are cool and calm and even being nice. But, don’t pretend,there is a huge part of you inside that is thrilled this is how ES’s life is turning out.”

No…not thrilled. Sad for Mike and their kids. And, I guess, there is a part of me that wants to say “I told you so”. There is a lot of me wanting to say “What the hell? I was single with a boyfriend, and I was a whore? But, you can commit adultery, with another married person WITH A PREGNANT WIFE and that’s cool? You can use Mike and then trash him? You owe a lot of apologies.”

But, I don’t think I’ll ever get one, because she’s different, and this is special, and I don’t understand. And, trying to get one just stays entangled with the crap. So, I will help Mike, because he is rightfully devastated. And, he needs a sofa and a hug more than I need a battle over who is more of a slut.

Mike did apologize for the crap she’d said, which was sweet, but not his responsibility.

My house always seems big enough for one more. And my family just isn’t worth any of my time or efforts. Two facts that are being driven home more and more often lately.

A Houseful

IMG_7143

There are currently 8 boys in my living room. There will probably be more later. It’s raining out, so they are all in here.

When I had my boys, everyone wanted to joke “are you going to keep up with your parents?” I’d just respond “No, I don’t actually like kids.” Everyone thought I was joking, and I was serious. I liked MY kids. And, I have been told on more than one occasion, I have no maternal instincts. I won’t argue with it. I remember clearly, sitting in the car, crying to my husband, that I was not cut out for this mom thing.

But, apparently, once children turn 8 or 9, I like them. I like preteens and teenagers. I just am not crazy about little kids.

It would seem all the kids in the neighborhood missed the memo that I am not good at this parenting thing.

Brad laughed at me the other day “Well, Miss I’m Never Having More Kids, how do you feel about your decision now?” You know how I feel about it? Great. If I had more kids would I be as patient? Would I be as willing to overlook the messes? Would I accept one more hug after having little hands pulling on me all day? Would all these boys enjoy being here as much if there were babies eating their Legos and chewing on the Pokemon cards?

I am loving being the spare parent. The person here when there are no other parents here. The one who hears about this one’s fear of lightening, or that one not wanting to tell his parents about his report card. I was happy yesterday when the 13 yr old came up to me in the kitchen and told me of the epic battle that resulted in 5 stitches in his ear, then he got quiet and leaned in “Hey…have you ever had stitches? Does it hurt really bad to have them taken out? I’ll be ok, you know?” I’m there handing out popsicles while another boy is telling me he isn’t worried at all about the mass they found the last time his mom went to the doctor. And, she’ll be ok, right? I mean, doctors know what they are doing, right? I’m the one holding the 8 yr old girl on my lap while she cries because one of the boys called her ugly, and I’m the one yelling at the boy who said it and making him apologize, even if he meant it as a joke.

These kids are getting to the ages they can be left alone, and they are left alone, often. And, they seriously just want somebody to talk to. Somebody to attack hug. Somebody who can calm them down about mom, so they don’t have to upset mom.

I wondered why the kids were here all the time. This area has 200 hundred houses, all built in one of 5 styles. We have the smallest one, and back when Brad bought it, he purposely got the smallest yard, so, why are these kids here all.the.time?

A mom came by the other day to find her kids, and we got to talking. She thanked me. She knows why they are here all the time.She just got started on OCD medication, because she realized she was mad at her boys all day, every day. Because they were boys. And they were messy and loud. She wanted everything perfect, all the time. And, when their 11 yr old selves were less than perfect, she got mad. She was glad they had a safe place to play and make messes and just be kids. And, after sending home messy, exhausted kids all summer, I am the reason she realized something was wrong.

So, I guess I will keep having my tiny house full.

And, it will seem tinier as time goes on, since already the 10 yr olds are my height and they aren’t getting any smaller.

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 51 other followers