Three Things I’m Obsessed with This Week

After leaving a controlling, abusive environment it took me a few years to start enjoying life and allowing myself to feel happy.

Happiness is a choice, some people say.

A lot of my readers who have know me, know that I’m pretty bubbly and happy. I smile a lot. From the looks of this blog, that part of me doesn’t always get expressed. This blog is about abuse and the evils of it; however, the best part to my story is that it’s a happy ending. A lot of my other friends from Master’s Commission and other cult-like groups also have happy endings. We’re living life free of the mind captivity those groups had on us.

I’m turning a new blogging leaf.

I’d like to talk about inspiration, happiness, and things that bring me pleasure.

What makes me wake up each morning, now that I live a life that some Master’s Commission students will notice is largely different than what I used to live? I don’t find my comfort in morning prayer anymore. I don’t read the Bible. I don’t attend church.

Can one be happy without all prayer, bible reading and church attendence?

I can be. I assure you, you can be too.

To each his/her own, though.

I’m going to start off my inspiration talk with Three Things I’m obsessed with this week. I’m fashioning this after Andy on BravoTV. He does this on his show and I love it. So here goes…

 

Reading is my first obsession of the week!

I’m obsessed with reading Emily Giffin’s books. The past two weeks I read “Something Borrowed” and now I’m reading “Something Blue.”

I love ChickLit (a genre of books dedicated to stories about young women living in the City, dating guys and finding their place in the career world). Though my all-time favorite writer (of ChickLit) is Jennifer Weiner, I’ve read all her books over and over. I needed a new writer.

Upon seeing the movie preview of “Something Borrowed” with Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin, I decided to pick up the book. It’s great! It’s about two friends, Rachel and Darcy. Rachel is the shy, smart nerd who most guys aren’t attracted to and Darcy is the attention getting whore who has it all. Anyway, I breezed right through that book and am on to “Something Blue” with the same characters, told from Darcy’s perspective. I love what Giffin is doing in this book. She’s writing the kind of characters that seem like people.

Fresh Air!

This might sound cheesy, but I am so grateful for fresh, cool air. I grew up in the desert of Central California and we had the most wretched summers of over 100 degrees just about everyday. I moved way South of my hometown just minutes from the ocean either direction I look. We’re finally reaching days where it’s 80-90 out, but the area has such a fresh, coastal breeze blowing through the air most times of the day so I never feel like it’s blazing hot like my hometown did. I love taking mid-afternoon walks outside to clear my head and get some Vitamin D.

Snuggling with my Kitten!

There’s nothing like a good snuggle with a purring kitten to make anyone smile. Maybe even cry. My kitten isn’t so much a kitten as he is a cat, but to me he’ll always be a baby. 🙂 He’s a shelter cat, who barely escaped euthanasia to come home with me. The first few weeks, he was so scared and afraid of hands. It’s my theory that whoever had him before me abused him.

I named him Boo, since he was such a scaredy cat and since I got him toward the end of October.

At the end of a long day, Boo sometimes crawls up on my bed near me and starts purring up a storm. He usually does this long enough to get me distracted, and then he drops his favorite toy (a pipe cleaner) on my feet. What in the world is a cat doing with a pipe cleaner, you ask? He’s trying to get me to play fetch with him.

What Three Things are you obsessed with this week? What brings you inspiration?

Home Again: My Mom’s Return from Alaska

My mom has been hiding from real responsibility all Summer by living in Alaska in a house with ocean views and ample wildlife outside her door. She’s been like the runaway young adult living her dreams somewhere beautiful.
I’m actually happy for her, but I had Empty Nest syndrome all summer while she was gone. I’d go visit her house and take care of my Grandpa and I’d miss her. It’s like the roles are reversed and I’m the mom with the runaway daughter.

She’s home now and I picked her up from the airport on Friday night. It was nice to have my mom back. Since she isn’t living in Alaska, her phone will work. I’ll get her text messages and when I call her she’ll be able to answer.

I know she misses gorgeous Alaska and our boring desert town isn’t much to look at but I’m glad she’s home again. 🙂

Bitter and Unhappy

Contrary to popular belief, I’m not bitter and unhappy. I’m the opposite. So much so that I’m even jealous of my own-self.

I have the most amazing boyfriend in the world. I mean, this is the kind of amazing human being I could only hope for back in the day when I used to be a Christian and used to “pray for the perfect man” and bullshit like that.

The thing is, there’s a little truth to this one Christian “courtship” belief: the fact that you should be the best version of yourself and you should be open to self-improvement and self-growth. I think we can always be happier, more ethical beings; although that isn’t just a Christian ideal. It’s also Buddhist and a belief many mystics take part in.

But besides that, the “thing” I wanted to be when I “grew up” was a writer. Of course as a child, I wanted to be an actress, a waitress, and a zoologist. But I started reading on my own and fell in love The Baby Sitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin. All of a sudden I felt what some writers call a “calling.” And it feels like the Universe did pluck me down in a central California, in a desert oilfield town ripe for an artist to live in. Top it off with a serious memoir-esque life, the perfect seasoning of anger and passion.

And then somehow in High School, in my small desert town, I was just hanging out enjoying life and a cult rolled in like the circus.

I Wish

I wish I had one of those mommy blogs where everyone talks about their kids all day and I gave away My Little Pony apps. But I don’t.

Instead, I have one of those blogs where the weirdo fundamentalists come out of hiding every once in awhile and act all bat shit crazy, misspelling their grievances about me and wasting my time.

I’m not gonna lie, it sometimes makes me want to quit. I have a great sense of humor and can think of a hundred ways to cuss them out, but sometimes I just don’t understand them. And who wants to spend all day cussing them out? I have a life. Remember yesterdays post about enjoying life? My life is filled with days at the beach and I like to keep it that way.

They want me to quit, though, right? They want to silence me, because I’ve left my “pastor’s covering” where I was silenced for years. So they tell me I’m narcissistic and “just like the church I’m writing about” and that I’m stupid.

But the thing is, I’m not stupid and I’m far more ethical than any church and I might be a tad narcissistic and I might even be angry or bitter or hurt but I admit all that to you. So that’s not news to anyone, and if it’s news to them and they think they’re making a huge claim that’s going to “out me” then they’re dumb.

And then there’s the “you won’t post my comment” bullshit. Hey, mother f*cker, I pay for this website, so I essentially can do whatever I want with it. But to be fair, read the comment policy because I have one and I follow it. Or check back later, because I do approve nearly all of the comments posted here (even the hateful ones). It just takes time to get through them–especially because I don’t get cell phone service on the beach.

 

Lukewarm Christians and Infidels

The other day an old friend of mine posted a scripture on his Facebook wall about not being lukewarm or God will spit you out. It got me thinking quite a bit.

For starters, I was always a very “passionate” Christian. I’d hear a verse like that and do whatever I could in my power to be “hot” for Jesus (sounds kinky, right?). I didn’t like the idea of being cold for anything. That’s one of the reasons I decided to attend a year of Master’s Commission (which turned into 7). I thought it would make me a better Christian.

But, now that I’m not a Christian, what am I? Am I “hot” (read: passionate) about something else? Am I “cold”? Will God spit me out of his mouth?

How I always looked at that verse was a way to claim my superiority over another Christian. I was judgmental. Very. I was pious and perfect and looked down on anyone who failed to get it right. When I decided to follow the rules of Christianity, I excelled in following them and attending Master’s Commission only made me more cocky.

Some people call that legalistic. Some people call it fundamentalism. What’s interesting though, is that was preached to me, so I wasn’t just becoming legalistic on my own terms. I was being taught to have moral superiority over those who weren’t as passionate about God as I was.

That moral superiority carries over into other religions. Osama Bin Laden wrote a letter to the Jihadists saying that the Western world (and those who were not passionate enough as Muslims) were infidels. An infidel means one without faith. Bin Laden encouraged attacks on people who were without faith, or who didn’t have strong enough faith.

Christianity and Islam are very similar. Their holy texts call for extremism in cases like this. Yes, you can interpret the Bible or the Koran more liberally, but it’s no surprise why people interpret verses in either to claim a moral superiority over those who aren’t religious enough.

As for me, I’m not hot or cold, or lukewarm. I just no longer believe in Christianity as a powerful, righteous force.

My Date with an Agnostic

I had an interesting date with an Agnostic last night. I self identify as somewhere between Agnosticism and Atheism. I’m not a huge fan of Richard Dawkins and am okay with people celebrating different traditions and myths, as long as they don’t proselytize me.

My date asked me if I was agnostic, though, and I explained the above. Then, he asked if I thought God could be proven or disproven. “God doesn’t exist,” I said.

“Then you’re atheist.” He told me.

“I think the question of whether god exists or doesn’t is irrelevant. To me, god is a myth–something people believe in because they need to verify their sense of self, make meaning and develop a sense of community.” I explained.

“You’re definitely an atheist.”

So, maybe I’m an atheist. I’m okay with that.

We then went on to talk about how I took a turn from being a reverend to being “so extreme” on the opposite spectrum, as he put it. I told him I ask myself that all the time. I ask myself, Do I just have a capacity for extreme beliefs? Am I a zealot, no matter what my beliefs are? often.

I’m not above questioning myself and my lack of beliefs, or where they stem from. As a child, I was a member of PETA, because I love animals and they started sending me literature about the cosmetic industry testing on rabbits. The pictures were disturbing and I would tear up seeing the torture the bunnies went through just so we could wear eye shadow, or use a certain face cream. I was a member of the World Wildlife Fund first, and had a desire to be a Dian Fossey, Jr. saving mountain gorillas.

Essentially, I was an activist as a child. I was always fighting for the underdog, the abused. It’s probably normal that I went into ministry, because from the outside it seemed to line itself up with humanitarian work quite nicely and I felt I could help those who were disadvantaged and misfortunate by working with a charity group, like a church. Now that I’m not a Christian, this blog is sort of my service to those who were abused (by the Church).

In my opinion, atheism wasn’t a random choice. It’s sort of a natural progression of who I was a child, a learning from my own experiences. Trusting myself to make the best decision for myself.

Chubby Kids (Like Me) Love Sammiches

When you were a kid did your mom ever make something to eat that was special–just for you? Mine did. It was mashed avocado on toast. Come to think of it, there was also bbq chicken in the crock pot (just for me) and pork chops.

What can I say?  I was a chubby kid.

Well I haven’t made an avocado sandwich since–well I’ve probably never made one. My mom always toasted the bread, buttered it and smashed up the avocados and OMG it was so good. A few months later, my savvy mother would say things like, “Why don’t you butter the toast?” So, I would. And then she’d say the next time, “Why don’t you smash the avocado?”

Pretty soon I was making the whole damn sammich on my own!

Does Everyone Cheat on Their Spouse?

This weekend, my mom, sister and I were at Disneyland. A Saturday in May at Disneyland is the worst day to choose to go to Disneyland–lines are long and the weather is warm.

Have no fear, though: my mom, sister and I have a game we play in line to keep us entertained. It’s where we people watch (usually my mom starts) and come up with a storyline for the chosen set of people’s lives based on something we notice about the group.

For example, we were in a long line for Space Mountain and there were two 50-ish year old couples in front of us. My mom spotted a rip in one of the men’s shorts, which he had crudely tried to fix with two safety pins. He did a poor job fixing the rip and we could see his chonies (underwear).

Based on that one observation and the body language of the couples in that mans group for the entire hour long wait, we concocted the following three scenarios.

Possible Scenario 1:

The man with the torn shorts is either newly divorced or widowed. He has no wife to notice that his underwear are showing in front of all of Disneyland, or at least in the lines for the rides.

Possible Scenario 2:

The man in the torn shorts just cheated on his wife. She’s pissed off at him, so she’s giving him the cold shoulder in line–and at home. This is why his pants weren’t fixed, or why he was able to wear them outside without anyone telling him to change.

Possible Scenario 3:

The wife of the man with the torn shorts just cheated on him and is trying to conceal it, but doing a poor job of it. Since she’s so preoccupied in her mind about her affair, she didn’t pay attention to his shorts in the morning and he made a crude attempt at fixing them.

This whole people watching guessing game really stemmed an entirely related conversation about cheating, mostly because you couldn’t tell the two couples were married to each other (we assume they were) as they were really cold to each other. My mom is at the age where a lot of her friends have had a spouse cheat on them or has had women flirting with my dad for months at a time, etc.

We argued all kinds of possibilities as to what makes married men and women (even happily married men and women) cheat on their spouses. We mostly focused on long time married couples. We never came up with a definitive answer, but a compilation of answers:

  1. Some people who cheat get married too young, before they’ve “sown their wild oats.”
  2. Maybe it’s genetic or learned behavior from a parent who cheated and got away with it.
  3. If a man or woman doesn’t cheat, they may have another hang up or flaw that’s almost unbearable to live with.

Do you have any theories as to why people cheat, even in long term or happy marriages?

Arnold Schwarzenegger  and Maria Shriver are getting a divorce because Arnold kept his secret “love child” from her for ten years. They were married about twenty five years ago. I’d consider that a long term marriage, and we (the public) and Maria are only now finding out. How is that possible? It was a child he had with someone in his own household staff!

The Post quoted Political consultant James Carville who “called it ‘stunning’ that this never bubbled up. “I would not be surprised if a lot of money changed hands,” he told [the Post].”

A lot of money? It takes a lot of money to shut the mouths of some people when its such a high profile relationship, but what keeps couples that have affairs who aren’t rich from talking? What’s the big deal about being honest? I know, I know, that’s the morally upstanding answer–Just Be Honest. But isn’t it time that people just be honest about wanting out of a marriage, instead of ruining it?