Things I found online

This Christian blogger has raked Mark Driscoll against the coals quite finely over this Tweet:

mark driscoll is a douchebag_thumb

She writes an awesome post, which you should check out and then nails him with this:

Not all of us have the daddy issues or broken background that makes your brand of leadership attractive. Some of us don’t find shame to be a spiritual motivator…Why not seek some professional counsel for some of these issues?  Why not humbly and prayerfully consider if there are some areas where you need growth?  (emphasis my own)

She then acknowledges that even though she knows and loves people associated with Mark Driscoll’s Acts 29 network of churches, she cautions them:

Note: I realize that I am going to have some readers who are Driscoll fans, or who belong to his Acts 29 network of churches. I have many people in my life who I respect who are a part of Acts 29. So let me say this: I started this post thinking I was addressing an annoying shock-jock pastor. As I went deeper in reading his quotes and watching videos, I became deeply disturbed. I now suspect that he is a misogynist with a personality disorder and some serious issues with sex and women. If you belong to a church that is affiliated with Driscoll. I URGE you to do your research about this man. The links above are a good place to start. If you are also troubled . . . speak up. Hold him to accountability. He’s a charismatic guy and is described by many as a bully, and it’s time for people to stand up and say, ENOUGH. (emphasis my own, again)

 

Bravo! I’m so glad to hear people in the Christian community standing up to Driscoll, despite his apparent popularity. Yes, Driscoll is ruining the image of Christianity, and it is time people started standing up to him and pointing out what he’s doing wrong. Oh, and it’s a woman calling him out on his bullshit. Even MORE awesome! Go Kristen!

(h/t) to Stuff Christian Culture Likes for the link

Speaking of Stuff Christian Culture Likes, I just found Stephanie Drury via an amazon.com review of Driscoll’s book (which apparently just came out…I don’t follow Driscoll’s books):

I meet a lot of people who have significant spiritual and emotional wounding, and I’ve gotten to hear the stories of many people who have been involved at Mark Driscoll’s church here in Seattle (Mars Hill). The stories out of there cause me so much concern. What I hear about gender roles and authoritarianism manages to surprise me and make me cry even after six years of hearing them on a fairly regular basis.

I think Stephanie sums up how we all feel. Driscoll’s hatred makes us want to cry because we are baffled how many people love his style.
Then, the author (Alisa Valdes) of the newly published book The Feminist and the Cowboywrote a very heartfelt blog post about how she wanted to come clean with her readers and let them know that she isn’t with the cowboy anymore. She said some of the horrible reviews had made her see what she wrote was actually not what she intended to write, and she’s deeply disturbed by it all now:
…While I set out to write a memoir that was a love letter to a man I was deeply in love with, a man who challenged me in myriad ways, a man who changed my life profoundly, a man I respected and honored greatly at the time, what I actually wrote was a handbook for women on how to fall in love with a manipulative, controlling, abusive narcissist.
Unfortunately, the blog post which she wrote the above in has now been taken down, but you can read some of it in this condescending post here.
As a writer, I wish Alisa all the best during her book launch. I’m sure this will actually be a very emotionally challenging launch for her, but I’m sure she will come to realize that it’s okay to write about you feel and have those feelings change. After all, we writers are human and one of our greatest strengths is our ability to tap into our feelings and create stories around them. I know I have written about my life in a way that felt very authentic at the time, but is something I wouldn’t write today. I’ve even written about ex-boyfriends and former lovers in a way that maybe villainized them too harshly or put them on a pedestal. Maybe an embarrassingly high pedestal.  Luckily, my feelings weren’t intensified by a number of negative reviews and the pressure of your whole career being affected.  I hope Alisa knows that history is filled with sonnets and stories and letters to lovers from writers who would probably change a lot of their writing, if they could.
Life is not a fairy tale, after all, and no one’s love lives are perfect.
Best wishes on your book sales, Alisa.
big_thefeministandthecowboy

Things I Despise

There are things I absolutely can’t stand.

Mayonnaise, liars, and vinegar begin my list. But further down, and perhaps as I get older and more irritable, the list grows to feature things like other people’s unsolicited opinions on a regular basis.

I can’t tell  you when this first started re-appearing as a theme in my life, but it used to happen ALL the time. Then I turned mean. I cussed everyone out all the time. No one really offered their advice or their two dollar bullshit. But my pendulum started swinging back down to normal Lisa again–the one who has always been way too nice (so much so that she’s been walked on more than once). What can I say? I care. I care way too much about people who really don’t give a shit about me and I can’t seem to shake that trait. I even cry at all the dying kitties that flood my Facebook feed daily.

Lately I feel like I can’t have a conversation with anyone without hearing their unsolicited advice. “Quit your job,” “Go back to school,” “Get saved,” “Corporations are evil…you’re working for the Devil,” “I don’t think you’re ready to write this book, just stop writing it,”…the list goes on and on. It’s as if people think I’m completely incapable of handling my own life and navigating through my own decisions. The problem is, I may go to a friend to talk or vent but I rarely complain about how shitty my life is and how I just need everyone’s advice. The other problem is, my life is so “together” right now it’s not even funny so I really don’t need a bunch of opinions.

Here’s what’s really going on:

As a writer, I’m expected to write constantly–by myself and others. It’s nearly impossible to keep up the pace I need to in order to complete a book while I’m working full-time. In the past, this wasn’t always so, but with the position I currently hold it’s just not going to happen. Sure I feel a little guilty about that, but a large part of me feels relieved. A writer writes for herself first and foremost, and she needs to be careful not to be overtaken by popular opinion because that’s one of the beauties of being a creative. YOU get to decided what is art to you and what isn’t. If a writer feels like genre writing is art, then it is. However, she must then divorce herself from the literary world or be scorned forever for her “pedestrian attempt to draft a work of art” or scolded for “becoming a best seller” or making money. Ultimately I’m not sure I’m cut out for a world of criticism. This is why I never Google myself.

That isn’t to say I’m not going to complete my book, but I am going to come home from work and watch TV on weeknights instead of slave away on another draft (for now) or by building another website full of content that takes me hours to create (for free) and minutes to be devoured only to be instantly attacked in the age of instant online criticism. I’m not Superwoman as I have tried to be and all this trying really has me being on the verge of burnout if I’m not careful. I don’t like a lot of the things out there that I read and I’m certainly not going to contribute another piece to the trash pile of books. I’d rather be appreciated posthumously.

I’m also at a crossroads. Having almost finished my degree in creative writing and having surrounded myself by literary types, I find myself wanting some distance from many of them. There’s a powerful message literary writers and professors send to young writers: You SHOULD NOT write for fun or for money. In fact, you shouldn’t do anything for fun and certainly not for money. I’m becoming so fed up with poor/artsy creatives who feel they are more noble than RICH writers because they fit a certain mold. Sure the poor types win awards, but they look down their noses at anyone who makes money on their writing. THAT IS NOT ART, they scream. Damnit, shut the hell  up and let a fucking person live and have fun. Stop stifling my fucking creativity.

Maybe I’m turning Republican again. I don’t know. (That’s a joke–lest I start getting bullied by liberals angry at me for SUGGESTING I’m a turncoat.) Maybe I’m just PMSing. Maybe the person I’m in love with doesn’t love me back. I just don’t want to necessarily participate in any specific group right now. I want friends without expectations to always say the right thing or have the right opinion or to offer them advice. Why do I have to constantly fit into a mold? Why does changing my mind on something or having a different opinion make me feel like I’m bucking everyone’s system? Jesus fucking Christ. Leave me alone people and just take me to coffee.

I know I should be blogging daily, but let’s be honest. If I were to rely on the money I make from blogging to support myself, I would literally be a hobo. Or a hobo’s dog. Or the dog food the hobo’s dog eats. And because I founded my blog on a very snarky persona, which was very fun, it’s hard to keep up with that persona anymore. It’s also really fucking hard to know that people read this and email me on a regular basis all of their bullshit opinions.

For the past three months I have fantasized of deleting my blog, deleting my social media accounts and packing up to head back to 2000 before I gave a fuck about checking-in or sharing articles or debating religion and politics in cyberspace. Back to when I used to  actually meet up with people face-to-face and discuss ideas for extended periods of time or go dancing or drink the night away. Back when people wrote things of quality rather than pushing something out just to get it to post before someone else did. Before HuffPo got destroyed and all news sources lost their credibility in an attempt to be “relevant.” (Yeah, I’m turning Republican–I’m reminiscing about the “good ol’ days.” ha!) It’s so tempting to just leave cyberspace, yet one of the reasons I don’t is because there are still abusive religious youth programs out there torturing kids and I’d like to keep a presence on Google so those who leave know they aren’t alone. And you know, blogging was a really beautiful thing for me for awhile–probably until I met DiGa Vision Production company who wanted to turn my blog and my investigative journalism into a freak show (aka reality TV show). I kind of lost all desire to go public with my life after that and their 20 page contract of signing my life away and my desire has diminished more and more. I didn’t want fame badly enough…I wanted stability in my life. I also am sick of everyone wanting a piece of my life story. And I mean EVERYONE. It’s a tragic story, one that I grapple with making sense of still, and one that I certainly don’t want exploited.

I went to college with a bunch of English majors and writers. Along the way, I’ve met more writers. It seems like every writer has an opinion of what I should do with my life or my book or my career, all the while forcing their ideologies on me, and I don’t like a single one of their opinions. I wish there was a polite way to tell colleagues to shove it–I just haven’t figured that one out yet.

I really don’t want to talk too much shit about people who may read what I write here, but I’ve been very discouraged in the past few months. (I knew I wouldn’t make it through this blog without crying…here comes the water works.) I have worked and worked and worked on a memoir that needs to be published to what feels like no avail. I have written several hundred pages, edited, read other memoirs, talked with other writers. I’ve met with editors who were flakes, or trying to pull the wool over my eyes by trying to charge me way too much money to complete my book proposal. I’ve met with people who just want to serve their own vision via my talent. But I’ve met very few who really truly see what’s going on–that the trauma I’m revisiting by writing this book is really breaking me down (some of you DO understand that and you know who you are. Thank you.).

So for that reason, I’m so relieved that I am forced, via my busy day job, to pause on writing altogether. I’ve worked or thought about my book and blog non-stop for two years. I don’t know if this is good-bye–I certainly didn’t intend to say good-bye to it tonight when sitting down to write this but maybe that’s what I needed to get off my chest. I need to say this so I don’t internalize the pressure I feel from others (but mostly myself).

I really don’t know what I want from a lot of things in life–I don’t know if I want an MFA like I once thought I did. I’m not sure if I want an advanced degree in anything else right now. What I DO know I want from life, and have wanted for a few years, is a permanent residence and a family. It’s simple and it’s the kind of thing that my 20 year old self would have been shocked to hear me say, but it’s true. I’m happy with my current place in life–working toward paying off my college student debt so I can buy a house. I’m sick of spinning my wheels and investing energy in trying to change people’s minds about really horrific religious experiences when the fact is, I just don’t care about changing their minds. I care about helping people who reach out to me for friendship after leaving horrible programs. Those other people can go fuck themselves. I’m not trying to build a platform, or get a TV show or anything else. I’m not giving up, but I’m going to spend some time getting this pressure for perfection and success off my back so I can just LIVE a little bit. It’s hard out there for a pimp.