Thursday, March 19, 2015

March Madness

One thing I don't miss about television is March Madness.  I'm sure things are a little different now since there are a bazillion different channels to watch, but I grew up with only 3 or 4 channels - it depended on the season as to how many signals came through; we got WNEP 16 better once the leaves had fallen off the tree.  And that meant each March when the basketball playoffs started...there was nothing else to watch.  While I enjoy watching basketball in person, I have never liked watching it on television. (give me hockey any day!)

I've been going through my own personal March Madness this year, and not because of anything on television.

Where to begin?

I guess the most important wrench in the waterworks has been the postponement of my foot surgery.  It was supposed to have been this past Wednesday, but the doctor’s office called me on Monday to say, “Not yet kiddo.”  That’s not what the nurse actually said, but it suffices for my dramatic storytelling!  Needless to say, I was a little upset.  And understandably so.  I mean, I was ready.  I’d been practicing on my crutches and was comfortable enough with them, although I hadn't tried the steps leading into our home yet.  I’d taken Monday and Tuesday off as vacation days not only for the full 8 hours of paid vacay, but also so I could have a few relatively less stressful/painful days and so I could wrap up a few loose items here at home.

BUT – I have to wait a couple weeks so that the doctor can get numbers from me concerning my blood sugar.  I don’t completely understand the connection of my blood sugar to my apparently super high risk of blood clots, but I agree with the doc – I don’t want to end up dying on the operating table!  So, I take my morning blood sugar as usual and record it; and in the evening I take it again 2 hours after my dinner and record that as well.  He says that he doesn't care what they are, he just needs to know what they are.  I did feel a little defeated since I had just gotten my 3-month blood sugar average back down to almost 7 after it had crept up to almost 9.

Of course, I could only wish that were my only problem I’ve faced this month.  Don’t we all?  Life has a way of throwing us several curve balls all at once.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes Life feels more like game of dodge ball.  Except in dodge ball you have a better chance of dodging because you can see where the thrower is trying to aim!

It does not surprise me that my strife this month has been in the area of relationships.  And Facebook.  Facebook is a wonderful tool, but sometimes like everyone else I spend too much time on it.  Which is why the one issue did surprise me.

I encountered trolling/bullying from one of my half-sisters.  Like many people these days, I come from a blended family.  Nothing complicated, there are no step-siblings.  My father had five children with his first wife, and five with his second (which is where I fit in). On the first day of my ibuprofen-free week before the surgery I thought I was going to have, I was having a rough day at work.  I have numerous joints that ache so I take the painkiller for more than just foot pain.  Knowing I have several friends on Facebook who would understand exactly what I was going through and would have encouraging  words, on my first break at work, I posted a simple status “every.thing.hurts”.

And I was right.  I did receive several encouraging replies.  I should have stopped reading when I was ahead.  Out of the blue, one of my half-sisters pretty much told me to suck it up.  Say what?  I wasn’t like I was whining about it, I was just stating a fact!  It was not a pleasant conversation and to be honest, her words – especially when she threatened to block me because she didn’t want a self-centered brat like me as a sister – cut deep.  Honestly, her words still hurt.  When I was young, I pretty much worshiped my older siblings. Not in a bad way, in the normal annoying younger sister way.  Two of them were more than a little guilty of spoiling me rotten, and this sister was one of those two.
So yeah.  Her words hurt.  A lot.  I've had more than one person tell me I handled the situation fine, but it doesn't feel it.  Especially since I unfriended her in an effort to protect myself from further meanness.  She can still see what I post publicly, which I've been doing a lot of recently.  If she wants to follow through on her threat to block me because I’m somehow embarrassing her or not living up to her standards – then she will have to do that herself.  While I understand what has happened, either because my “foot pain” posts were all Facebook ever showed her because of their separating Recent Stories and Top Stories, or her lack of understanding of that separation, or whether it’s due to her just not being online often enough and it was just bad timing, none of that excuses her bad behavior.  And while I certainly still love her, I do what I have to in an effort to protect myself.  If she trolls in somewhere else because of my decision to live ‘publicly’ on Facebook, then I’ll take that extra step and block her myself.

The other issue which has my Emotional OCD all tied up in knots is the church I haven’t been to in almost 7 years until just recently!  This is far more complicated than the previous issue.  At least there I can blame it on my sister being … well, too old and crotchety for Facebook.  Parts of me are still healing, even after 7 years, that I’m a little scared to even include it in this blog post.  People don’t like hearing bad things about a church, and they always pull out worn out lines, “Don’t touch God’s anointed” (God will punish you if you do!) and then come the judgment verses.  I was even told “Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you do.” And of course, “You can be 100% right and still be wrong.” Which really means, Yes, you're right but you're making waves and disturbing the status quo - so shut up.


I feel, whether rightly or not, that after 8 years of not attending this church regularly, nobody there has any reason to mention my name outside of ‘remember when Robin wrote that funny squirrel story and pastor read it before the congregation one Sunday and everybody laughed?’ type reminiscing.  And even though one of my younger brothers goes there, I don’t think the people there who know me really ought to be voicing any comparisons of the two of us.  Is what they said untrue?  No.  My brother is more laid back than I am.  And why wouldn't he be since he’s the youngest of the brood?  That’s really very simple and basic psychology.  Not that hard.  Do I tend to show my emotions more easily than my brother?  Uhm, in a public setting, yeah.  Always have, always will.  I really wish I could go back and record some interactions between me and my brother, what an eye-opener it would be for some people since we are always more relaxed at home amongst family. (in general)

So, since it was true, why does it bother me?  Because I know the negativity behind that ‘she’s emotional’ line.  While it could very well have been an innocent observation, I question it because of who said it.  This person and I have had contention between us for years, even when I attended the church and even though it was not always so.  Indeed, I once looked up to him and considered him an unofficial mentor.  But for many reasons that changed, and once again because I was not lining up with other people’s expectations of me, I was somewhat looked down upon.  One of many issues leadership had with me was my habit of living with my heart on my sleeve…which I thought I could do there since I felt safe.  I was easily moved to tears (maybe I had pent up sadness I’d never before been able to express?).

I also heard how one person (which means it was really more than just one) also feared I would make a scene the day of my brother’s baptism when I attended this past Sunday.  That one blew my mind.  Because this person doesn't know me well enough at all to base that fear on!  We may have had dinner together once when his family invited mine over, but to tell you the truth, I’m not even sure he was present that night.  Talk about another lifetime ago!  So this person who has never hung out with me, has never even had a conversation with me, was voicing this baseless fear.  He could only have been basing this on things he’s been told about me from other people.

Of course, I made the “mistake” of voicing my thoughts about it on Facebook.  I thought it was actually a very polite but pointed post myself.  But it brought about the judgement lines I mentioned above, and cost me at least two friends on Facebook.  Basically I’m supposed to overlook the fact that I feel as though my character is still being judged by people who no longer have that right, and they’re voicing it to others.  I guess it would be taking the high road.

Except, I’m really kind of tired of being intimidated into silence.  It is not wrong to speak truth, nor to express emotions.  If I am expected to forgive others for not being perfect, it really is only fair for the same courtesy to be extended to myself from them.  I will never see that happen, but it is a fair and reasonable expectation to have of people.  It is also a reasonable expectation that people who profess believing in the prophetic gifting of Christians to actually listen to the words coming out of their mouths.

See, this is the irony of this situation.  The last few years that I was there, one of the prophetic words given to me, by a person in leadership, was how I was like an iceberg.  In short, there's more to me than meets the eye and people judged me by the small portion they could see, not realizing just how deep of a person I was.  Was this “word” really for me, or perhaps for the leadership who had counted me out in many ways?  Same with the ‘dormant volcano” word, although in that case it was a word given to me out of state and I should have shared it with the people who had authority and influence in my life at the time.  That’s my error.  And then there was the prayer over me about thinking deep thoughts; prayed by the pastor of the time.  A case of “careful of what you pray for”?  Maybe.  All I know is that God tried His best to get them to listen, but they would not hear.

When you look into a broken mirror,
your image will be distorted.  Don't
let others' opinions of you, distort your image.
So here I am.  Back to constantly second guessing what I post online, on Facebook and even here.  Feeling as though I've screwed up ‘like usual’.  Feeling as though doing the best that I can isn't good enough.  Really?  Really.  Problem is, I know I’m good enough…I know that my best is all God asks for…and I know I am nobody’s doormat.

I promise my future posts will contain less person issues, as I've got some great ideas sitting in drafts.  It’s a good thing I have 9 more months to complete my New Year’s resolution of getting all my drafts published this year!  My third book is currently at a standstill, but it is never far from my thoughts and I look forward to telling you all about it when it is progressing again.  My second novel is available for Nook now too, and near the end of April the first one will be going back on it as well.  I continue to look into other avenues to get my books to people who want to read them.

If nothing else, I am persistent!  I also promise to post sooner than a month’s time.  Until next time!!