Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (Part Two)

Picture from a google plus page about coping with grief and loss
Picture from a google plus page about coping with grief and loss

Friendship, Deconstructed or The Final Nail In The Coffin

At the end of November, 2014, a couple that we thought we had a significant friendship told us, after I’d asked them about their recent lack of communication with us, how they really felt. The husband, (hereinafter referred to as “A”) said rather condescendingly: “We want the best for you” and “I can’t be around sad people because of my job” [Translation: we want the best for you, but please fuck off]. The wife (hereinafter referred to as “B”) said to me: “You’re like my sister—fragile, lack self-confidence, and need therapy. I have more in common with (your husband) because he’s a professional.”
“I hope this was helpful” “A” said as they went out the door. Helpful? Hmm, not so much. Illuminating, yes. Painful? ABSOLUTELY.
I was devastated. Analysis, and grieving, ensued.
Two days later, at church, “A” acted like nothing had happened and, a week later, they sat with us at a church lunch. [Are you fucking kidding me?????] I could hardly look at them, much less talk to them.
In December I tried to “win them back” and “fit in” by hustling for worthiness as Brene Brown puts it. This “hustling” consisted of gratitude Facebook posts. You know, something like: “Today’s gratitude: the sky is blue.” Once I realized what I was doing, I stopped.*
For months, I would even dream about these friends. A professional said it was both an attempt by my unconscious to make sense of what happened and a form of grieving.
Please understand: We had done numerous things with this couple: gone to each other’s homes, we’d spent weekends with them, been part of the same church group, we’d looked after their dog whilst they were away, etc. There was literally no area of our life where their fingerprints weren’t on it. Now, it even hurts to look at our kitchen backsplash as I painfully remember how “A” helped my husband tile it, and I wonder if painful memories such as those are enough to justify moving.
Gradually, a review showed how little of a friendship it actually was except perhaps in my own mind. Eventually self-esteem returned: why would I want to be friends with people who thought so little of me?
Early in 2015, this couple requested a meeting. Thinking okay, God wants reconciliation here, we agreed. After initial chit-chat, “A” stated he’d noticed how unresponsive I’d been and how much pain I was in. They asked how I was doing. I decided to be as blunt with them as “B” had been with me. Among other things, I told them I rejected “B’s” characterization of me and if they knew me better, and all I’d gone through, they’d think differently too. I went on to say I’m friends with people from all walks of life. I also stated I’m not a person to be fixed with books and pamphlets [they like to lend people books and pamphlets when said people share their heart about a struggle they are dealing with] but a friend to be loved. (I stopped just short of saying I’m not a project to be managed—one of them is in management).
Virtually all communication between us ceased after that, with the exception of occasional encounters at church. It seems apparent God didn’t want reconciliation after all, and that meeting was just an opportunity for me to share what I’d been feeling since that awful day in November.

The latest brief encounter a few days ago made me very sad for what used to be.
The demise of this friendship played a definite role in our decision to leave the church. Awkward encounters for the rest of our life? I don’t think so.
*Hustling for worthiness means, according to Ms. Brown,

When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving. Our sense of worthiness – that critically important piece that gives us access to love and belonging – lives inside of our story. ~From her book The Gifts of Imperfection

The wise Brene Brown on fitting in vs. belonging:

Fitting in is about becoming who you need to be to gain acceptance. Belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.

Behind the Lens

Why I do what I do:

 

Sugar Beach, Maui, C. KS Dueck
Sugar Beach, Maui, taken by Far From Fundie

Behind the lens

or holding a pen,

my pain disappears,

it seems to end.

 

The focus required

for both to take flight

robs my illness of power

it seems to take flight.

 

Such creative endeavors

I forget I’m not

the girl without illness

the girl who’s fraught.

 

A sick chick no more

as I walk through that door

‘cuz a creative i.d.

has a hold of me.

*Research has shown healthy distractions such as hobbies help those with chronic pain and other chronic illnesses.

Video For Social Media {ADL310}

SONY DSC

How useful would social media be for me in my work context?

Some of the ways I could use video for social media purposes are:

  • As an author, I could post videos with excerpts from my writing, make book trailers, do Q & A sessions, other author interviews, book reviews of others’ work, giveaways, etc.
  • As a food blogger, I could definitely see the advantage of using videos to do cooking demonstrations of recipes, product reviews, giveaways, or to demonstrate tips and tricks to help people with chronic pain move more ergonomically in the kitchen, and elsewhere in their home.
  • My own work could be publicized and marketed as well via video.
  • On a personal note, writing can cause me to experience hand, arm and neck pain (hello, repetitive strain injury – in fact I’m feeling pain in my hands right now).   Using video instead on days like today when my pain is flaring from typing and other activities may help alleviate that.

 

Skipping Christmas

I basically grew up in foster homes. I had no family of my own .  After my mother died, my father remarried and abandoned me to an institution and the foster home system.

I think I spent one Christmas with my father and his second wife before being institutionalized.

I don’t remember much about my childhood or teen Christmases.  It’s unlikely they were of the story-book, fantasy kind, however.  In Canada, we celebrate Boxing Day as well, which is the day after Christmas.  I remember one singular visit from my father on Boxing Day when I was in the FHFH (“foster home from hell”). That being said, he could have visited more and I just don’t remember. I don’t even remember Christmases at the foster homes.

In early adulthood, after my first marriage fell apart and I was single, at Christmas I’d “borrow” another family to spend Christmas Day with. No-one should be alone at Christmastime. Other than that, I didn’t put up a tree or acknowledge it in any way. I didn’t really even have anyone to buy gifts for.

Eventually Christmas got a bit easier and I started celebrating it in small ways. A tree, some decorations, like Mr. and Mrs. Claus, antiques I inherited from my mother.

P1020811

One year, a guy I was dating took it upon himself to meet with my father. I guess he was appalled at “my story.”  My father gave him a token gift to give to me, I forget what it was.  My boyfriend gave it to me Christmas morning and I burst into tears. Overwhelmed and in shock, I said to him: “You shouldn’t have done that, you shouldn’t have done that.”  [I just remembered this and it happened years ago; seems like I’m pretty good at forgetting anything to do with my father.]

Still, I don’t get too attached to Christmas. More like, I go through the motions of it.  The shopping, putting up a tree and other decorations, celebrations, and attending church services where there’s the usual mundane skit about “How many times can we re-tell the Christmas story in new, fresh & exciting ways.”

I spend Christmas and Boxing Day with my second husband’s family.  I get a bit worn out by all the visiting.  Typically on Christmas morning, the Christmas story from the Bible is read. One year instead I read a chapter from a Brennan Manning book.  The chapter was called “Shipwrecked at the Stable”:

The world does not understand vulnerability.  Neediness is rejected as incompetence and compassion is dismissed as unprofitable.  The great deception of television advertising is that being poor, vulnerable, and weak is unattractive.  A fat monk named “Brother Dominic” is cute and cool because he conquers vulnerability and helplessness by buying into the competitive world with a Xerox machine.

The Bethlehem mystery will ever be a scandal to aspiring disciples who seek a triumphant savior and a prosperity Gospel.  The infant Jesus was born in unimpressive circumstances, no one can exactly say where.  His parents were of no social significance whatsoever, and his chosen welcoming committee were all turkeys, losers, and dirt-poor shepherds.  But in this weakness and poverty the shipwrecked at the stable would come to know the love of God. ~ Shipwrecked at the Stable, from “The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus” by Brennan Manning. You can read the full chapter here:  http://thevalueofsparrows.com/2012/12/20/advent-meditation-shipwrecked-at-the-stable-by-brennan-manning/

One year at Christmas we stayed home because it was held a province away and we didn’t want to drive in unpredictable winter weather. Staying home that year was such a relief.

Mostly I’d just like to skip Christmas.  Our massage therapist suggested to my husband we create new traditions of our own like attending the Nutcracker.  Yeah, no.  Ballet? Not a fan.

A tradition of Christmas I’d like to create is the one where I pull the covers over my head on December 24 and take them off on December 26.  Especially this year.  That’d be okay, right?

Dear Dad

handmixer

Well, I used the only thing you ever bought me the other day.  The hand mixer I purchased with the gift card you sent me for Christmas a few years ago. That mixer’s my inheritance, your legacy to me, and pretty much the only good thing you ever gave me.

Oh wait – when you gave me up to the government, you “gave” me a lot of things, but none of them were beneficial.

You got out of a lot in your life – supporting your daughter financially, emotionally, and otherwise – when you surrendered me.   What’s interesting is, shortly thereafter, you traded me in for two new models when you adopted two children with your second wife.  Like a do-over? I never truly realized the significance of that until after your death. I also did not realize you had separated from Mom, perhaps because her illness became too much for you to handle.  I only realized that after re-reading the synopsis of my life I’d received from social services.  Mom and I were living with her mother until my mother went into the hospital because of  colitis.  My aunt told me she was in there for a year.  During that year, you screwed around on her.  What a winner you were Dad. Cut and run when it gets to be too much.  Sometimes I wonder if I inherited that urge from you – I, too, want to run when life gets to be too much. But I don’t.

Too bad you couldn’t have manned up and done the same.

Your daughter