A Sad-Happy post

I need an outlet, so I guess blogging works.

Since my last post I found out my step-grandmother, who’s had Covid, is unable to eat and they think she will be gone soon. So my family and I are planning to say goodbye later today.

When I first heard she was sick, I wasn’t very upset, things happen, she’s been on the verge of dying anytime for ears now in Hospice care with Alzheimer’s.

This will be the first person close to me who’s died of COVID, I guess I am lucky it has been so long, and no one else in my family has died of it.

I didn’t feel much before, but now I think I was suppressing it, as I tend to suppress sadness, I was never taught how to handle it well, in my house sadness =depressed/suicidal, so I became very afraid of that feeling.

But just plain sadness is good, it shows you care about stuff that happens around you. I am working on that.

I guess I can commemorate this post to my step-grandmother, or Grammy, as we always called her.

Though we aren’t blood related, I was closest to her out of all my grandparents. before her disease got so bad we couldn’t really talk anymore, and I grew into an awkward teen who wasn’t sure of who I could trust anymore.

Before I had other friends though, she was my outlet to talk about my home problems. She’d listen to my complain about my dad and my other toxic acquaintances for 30 minutes, almost every day for a while. Looking back, I don’t know how she put up with it, but it helped me not become discouraged.

I got embarrassed about it after a while an stopped calling, though she still affectionately referred to me as her “phone buddy” and asked why I wouldn’t call anymore. I didn’t know what to say. I think the abuse and adolescence combined were getting to me. I felt stupid for complaining, and felt like I should handle it through church.

I don’t know, and I will never be able to ask, if she saw it as abusive, but she would at least agree m dad shouldn’t treat me that way. house she got annoyed at me from time to time if I pushed to talk longer, or called at a bad time, overall she was a great sport about it.

I know a bit about her background. She used to model, she was really gorgeous as a young woman. We look nothing alike, though I’ve been told I could model too, but we both liked make up and clothes and she gave me some of my first make up and beauty tips.

I guess in a way she was a maternal figure in my life. And when it went away, I didn’t know what to feel.

For several years her memory has been too bad to really have long conversations, and she’s been in hospice so I only see her once or twice a year, and it stresses her out to talk for longer than 10 minutes.

So i have focused on the thought that she is a Christian, and I will have to wait till heaven to really talk to her again.

I suspect my coping mechanism is not a very healthy one. It’s okay to still be upset about all this, even if I have hope.

I don’t know why I was so confused as to how to act, but I always felt guilty about not talking anymore, and I pushed it away. The whole thing made me uncomfortable, and then I felt guilty for being uncomfortable with the dementia and other stuff.

I know now that’s a normal thing to struggle with, but no one told me that, and no one really asked me if I was okay. I didn’t expect them to, I grow up with my emotional needs being ignored all the time unless I absolutely begged for attention, or even argued for it… and even then, I still didn’t get it, or I got it very grudgingly.

M grandparents were an exception tot hat, at least this one and her husband, though things still got awkward if my dad was around, as he liked to start fights. Still, about the only unconditional love I experienced as a kid came from that source.

When my grandma, her husband, died nearly 2 years ago, I wasn’t sure how I felt then either. We were never close, but he at least invested time and money into us, paying for my braces, and giving us gifts to help us with our interests. And listening to us sing and recite and stuff. I think my dad got jealous, honestly, and tried to make it awkward by telling us lots of terrible stories about how he grew up.

Knowing my dad lies and exaggerates now, I question if it was all true, or as true, as he told us, I’ll probably never know that either in this life.

I’m not sure it really matters, all us girls wished we’d just been left to pass our own judgment on our grandparents without feeling like we couldn’t like them because of our dad’s past. Maybe they were different people then, but who they are now is trying to be better, right?

At my grandpa’s funeral, my dad was upset, but also torn because he never liked his father or got along with him, or felt loved by him.

I wonder if I will feel the same when he dies, I hope not.

But it confused me, and I got confused about my step-grandmother also. She was a really nice lady as long as I knew her, but used to be into bad stuff, and an enabler for the other toxic people, she always had a very forgiving attitude towards people, for better or worse.

That made her by far the least toxic person in that part of the family, but my dad made sure we knew about the past, even at an age it was hardly appropriate for us to know about it at.

So, now what?

I’ve come to realize that I don’t need to hold my dad’s grudges. I value knowing the truth about people, but if it is in the past, I don’t think I always need to know, unless it still affects them now.

And I could know they were dysfunctional without needing the gritty details. Some things you should not hear about your family, especially if they became Christians.

I can say this much, Grammy would never take sides or bad mouth people like the others. I felt safer talking to her because of that. I didn’t feel safe with my dad or mom, they’d repeat stuff I said, sometimes to the whole family. Sometimes to strangers.

But I don’t want to go on about my abuse right now, I think it’s just a distraction.

Still, it does color a lot of my memories, making them more difficult to understand, and sort through.

I remember Grammy took us to museums, some really fun places, as part of our homeschooling, you could say. We loved one where there was a stage you could dress up and perform on, with working lights.

And before she got too sick to go out, she’d take us Christmas shopping, we’d get $50 each, to get whatever we wanted.

And we got to play all these cool computer games (back when they still had those, and not just apps and video games) on her computer, and play with old toys she had. The she gave us later some of her more prized possessions, these old china dolls, really expensive stuff now.

And I got some of her clothes later, I wanted something to remember her by, and a few pieces of jewelry.

Yeah, I guess we did do the most together. I’ve spent more time over all with my maternal grandmother, but our personalities and beliefs clash too much for intimacy. She’s a real nice lady, but it’s never going to be ideal, unless something changes.

Which, is okay, though I wish it were different, I can accept that.

But Grammy having dementia, as well as lupus, was just another sad thing on my list of sad things, and I never knew how to process them.

I don’t think I will stay sad for very long, I am at peace about her soul, at least, and I want her suffering to be over. After all, she will be far happier in heaven than she ever was here, and it’s not separation for forever. I believe that.

The Bible says we are not like those who mourn without hope, we have hope, though we still mourn. Knowing our latter glory will be greater than our former.

I don’t know if heaven is a place where we walk around like the classic idea of the afterlife, whether it is somewhere we rest until God recreates heaven and earth, or whether it is both.

I do believe, whatever it is, it is like Lewis’s idea of “further up and further in” that God is eternal, and we will always be drawing closer to Him, but never far from Him again.

From the stories I hear, people experience being taken to heaven much like going through a door, or transporting to a different dimension, but until I go myself, I won’t really know, and it wouldn’t surprise if it’s different for everyone, what in life is ever the same for us all?

Some people think pets go to heaven, others don’t.

My thought is, if we love it, truly, it will be there, in some form or another. That we humans give life to whatever we love, as the Bible seems to teach it was meant to be.

But, that’s a theory, and what can I really know?

Some people feel God’s presence strongly in grief, others don’t. For me, I tend to feel alone when I am pushing away my sadness, but when I welcome it, I find God is there, waiting.

I can’t write anything like “A Grief Observed” to due credit to the beauty of human life and love, I still need to learn so much more about both.

And while I like to forget about death, I know I can’t escape it anymore than the next person.

I don’t buy the “live forever in our hearts” line, because it seems too small to me.

I am glad at least that Grammy is a Christian, my only other deceased relatives were not, and that’s it’s own pain, knowing that.

I guess it still hurts, and I can feel it, when I let myself, but it doesn’t have to crush me.

I remember when my great uncle died, I kept thinking “The old has gone, the new has come” as my cousins had recently been born.

I don’t know why I had that line stuck in my head.

But I’ve thought of loss in that was since, old things pass away, all things become new. For Christians, growing old and dying means we become new.

Our final reenactment of what Jesus said about going into the ground and dying, in order to be reborn and bear fruit.

Why do Christians still die if we have eternal life?

I guess because Jesus physically died, and we are supposed to imitate him, and he who loses his life for Christ will find it. Our lives symbolically reenact Jesus, even to death. At least, we do not have to die alone, like him.

There may be some people alive now who will never die, who knows? But most of us will. That has been one of the main reasons people come to God over. Funny that now that fewer people believe in God, more people kill each other and themselves, as if the fear of oblivion isn’t enough to keep us from doing evil.

In the end, love is the only thing that really shows us how to be good.

And the loss of love is the worst loss.

And for that, I am still sad, but, I think, The Notebook has it right, love never dies, not really.

Interstellar pointed out that love transcends space and time, we love people who are dead, who are far away, who we haven’t met yet, like our babies, or even our lovers, sometimes (Like in Your Name).

I rather think that Love must be eternal also, that we love people before we know them, and after we’ve forgotten them, and only our mortal limits keep us from realizing it. You’ve met people you just clicked with, right? Why?

Something just happens with love.

We can love people we met once for one minute.

Anyway, perhaps my grandmother will pull through, I can’t know for sure, but whether she does not not, I wanted to honor her life a little bit today.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

The Yellow Truck

Stay tooned to the end for big news!

Well, I was happy to receive so much positve feedback on my lat post, after feling it was a bit ranty. I’ll put a link here if you want to check it out before continuing:

Yeah, I can only link all three together, still haven’t mastered this new editor :/

New Kitten

So, I got a new kitten last month. Yeah, I can’t believe I didn’t post about it sooner, but I was writing so much for other projects. Yeesh. BTW, I now have a fanfiction on Wattpad that’s hit 1.9k views! Yeah it just blew up since March. I will link it here if you want … Continue reading New Kitten

I review more of the Chosen (i. e. banging my head on an imaginary desk)

[This was going to be published sooner, but the site started giving me editing trouble, so sorry for the long absence, peeps.] I enjoy The Prince of Egypt, the Nativity Movie, many smaller portrayals of Jesus in film, and Veggie Tales, which is not words for word. Back with another post about the Chosen. Sine … Continue reading I review more of the Chosen (i. e. banging my head on an imaginary desk)

Right, so my dad went back to the hospital literally the day after I posted and I have not heard yet how he is doing.

My sisters and I are waiting to have a heart to heart chat with him till he’s out of danger, as that seems the kindest thing to do.

But there’s something I keep thinking about, lately, in regards to him. It’s not really about what he did, more like one of those signs of trauma everyone is embarrassed about.

Victims commonly get triggered by seemingly random or harmless things, to the casual observer. Glass breaking can be one thing. Certain words, phrasing, things you will say or a tone you will use that doesn’t bother your other friends, but this one will lose their crap if you say that to them, or curl up into a ball, or shut down on you completely, or a combination of the three.

So, one of the harder to guess ones is being triggered by sights or colors.

One thing my sisters and I have all been triggered by is a yellow pick-up truck.

Image result for image of yellow pick up truck
Not the actual one

Yellow’s not a too common color for a vehicle like that, yet somehow, I see them everywhere now (I think one must belong to someone not that far from my neighborhood.)

I developed this trigger about 18 months ago in the terrible week that proceeded my father moving out.

I haven’t talked too much about that that was like, since it was extremely unpleasant, but perhaps it’s time to tell more of that part of the story.

After my family got back from a disastrous vacation, and my dad began flipping out over my sister questioning his bad behaviors, and she and I started laughing about it, angering him further, we began to finally put it together: This is abuse.

It was shocking, for me, it was like it took seeing him turn on her, the Golden Child, to realize “oh crap, he’ll do the same to my other sister (who was currently a minor) and probably to my mom also.” He’d hit me once, and threatened my several times, he’d flung my younger sister out of rooms and chairs just like me, but I somehow thought he was just delusional, and that he really believed our middle sister was just different than us…yeah, no.

He did say I turned her against him. That was bull. He turned her against him by his childish tantrums on said vacation, and then cruelty towards me that I did nothing to deserve.

Well, that’s no surprise to any of you who’ve been following this story, but it sure was to us.

Until you’ve had that “Eureka!” moment where the blinders come up, you honestly believe it’s not all that bad. Sure, you’re miserable, but that’s just how family is, right?

Cue sitcom humor laughtrack.

When it hits you like a ton of bricks “THIS IS WRONG!” It’s like seeing the light, and having the rug yanked out form under your feet at the same time.

What followed that was a series of secret meetings with our friends first, and church leaders where they told us they’d help us get away from him, and encouraged us to try to talk our mom into it also. They also gave us much needed guidance on what we could legally do and what would qualify as abuse in legal terms. Our dad qualified.

We had a back up plan if our mom didn’t agree with us, we intended to get out of that house one way or another. When we told her what was on our mind, she was shocked at how serious we were taking it, but we represented to her how his behavior had not changed.

My mom, I have to give credit, is not the strongest person, but she was tough enough to seriously pray about it and realize we were right. She told my dad when he came back to the house that he had abused her, and couldn’t come in, and he needed to go.

My dad came back with “You abused me by refusing to sleep in the same room..”

My dad had previously threatened to divorce her just because she wanted to sleep in the office and get some space to think over stuff, and refused to comfort him after he got sad because we girls were ignoring him.

That was part of our ten point keikaku (Japanese for plan). We all decided that instead of talking to him about the blow ups we had had, or listening to his fake apologies, we would just stay together. We all decided not to leave our room alone, because with the anger he was radiating, we felt he’d try to hurt one of us at the slightest provocation.

I remember one dreadful point during that few days that he did catch my sister and I in the kitchen before we could scurry away, he told us he loved us and he was sorry. he said to me “I don’t hate you…” I looked at his eyes and his smile, and thought it looked totally fake. He asked if we could talk before that and I said “No.” but he still spoke anyway. We made as little eye contact as possible and got the heck away.

A few days of the silent treatment, and my dad, who hates being ignored above all else, was losing his mind. Literally. He blew up at my mom, cried bitterly in his room out of self pity (and to manipulate her by showing her how miserable he was), and weirdest of all, at one point he shoved something under our door just to scare us, I know because he walked off laughing after we jumped, which he always did after playing one of his mean spirited pranks.

I thought “This is funny to him? To terrify us?” But it always was. My therapist later pointed out to me how cruel it was, I never thought so at the time, it was just how my dad was.

He kept walking up and down the hall outside our room too, using really heavy footfalls, as if to say “I’m here! Pay attention to ME!”

If it was new, I might have thought it was an accident, but I knew he always stomped and slammed stuff when he was angry and wanted everyone to know it.

Well, he started buying chocolate and cards for us after that, he left a weird psychotic note on the table about how terrible he felt, later a “loving” note for all of us, I tore mine up and tossed it. It felt so good to be able to disregard this manipulation finally.

What does all this have to do with a Yellow Truck?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Obviously we girls didn’t want to stay in our room watching Fruits Basket all day (though that was fun, and also strangely mirrored our situation) so after he left for work, (thank goodness he still did) we would come out and go about our regular activities. I played a lot of Skillet, I remember. keeping myself in the belligerent mood so Fear wouldn’t conquer me.

Our dad’s work truck was bright yellow. Easy to spot form the living room. I spend the most time in the living room, so I was essentially the lookout, I’d yell that he was home, and we’d grab all our stuff and rush for our room.

Our dad at first pretended to be compliant by saying he’d write out a schedule of when he came and went so we could avoid him. That didn’t last more than a day or so.

I forget how long all that took till it got to the blow up and my mom kicking him out. I stood by ready to call the police if he got violent and tried to force hi way in. It wasn’t unprecedented, besides threatening me, my dad once said he’d break down his own door before he’d wait a few hours for my mom to get home and unlock it.

(I’m realizing all this sounds like a weird drama on TV, well, it’s just my life. I’m not exaggerating a dang thing here, I’m actually leaving stuff out.)

Luckily, we didn’t have to do that far. I think my dad thought he’d guilt us into changing our mind by compliance. That still hasn’t panned our for him.๐Ÿ˜‘

Honestly, when I read over my last post after getting comments on it, I realized that if it was someone else’s story, I’d think my dad was a psycho based on what they described… I’m still not sure whether to just think that, or to allow for his good points, small as they seem to be.

When I talked to him, it was like talking to a persona, not a person. I wonder if I’ve ever seen him be real, free of manipulation and deception. Maybe, in a few unguarded moments, I’ve actually wept over the loss of the good person my dad could have been had he become that part of himself, instead of running from it as hard as he could.

But here’s the skinny on the Yellow Truck, to conclude my anecdote.

For months after he left, I would feel a twinge of panic whenever I saw a yellow pick up. Even if I knew it wasn’t his, I’d always wonder. Especially if it had a ladder, as he carries one.

All the way to the end of last year, I still worried. He kept coming back to the house to get stuff, mail, items, etc. My mom didn’t stop him till we told her it was too stressful for us. But I always worried he’d come in the back, or in the house, if no one was around but us. I’d have my phone ready to call 911 if that happened. I had no idea what he’d do to me if he got the change, he blamed me for the whole thing, naturally. I accepted that unrepentantly, but I didn’t want to get smacked again.

Every time I saw that dang yellow truck, my heart would ounce, my stomach would twist. I’d warn my sisters to hide.

My dad threw tantrums so often, our fear was not irrational, that was the worst of it. If we’d been able to tel ourselves it was ridiculous, it would have been easier.

But, something I’ve been pondering for a few months is what I found out happened after my dad lost his house in the fire.

He had purchased a new truck since moving out, he has a lot more money only supporting himself, and he has to replace his truck every so many years because it carries so much stuff. I don’t know what his new one looks like.

But when I watched the news byte with him in it, they panned around showing his property, and there was a frame that prominently displayed the charred remain of his Yellow Truck.

Image result for image of charred reamins of a yellow pick up truck
Again, not the actual truck…you’d be surprised how many pictures of this I found online.

The truck wasn’t in use anymore, I don’t know how much it had in it. probably some tools. But he idd’t need it, so I felt it wasn’t unchristian of me to be glad it was destroyed.

In fact, to me, there was some kind of Diving Justice in it. Liek a sign from God that our onld life and fears turly had been burned up and destroyed.

A way to demonstate how God felt about our abuse. A warning, perhaps, but also a reassurance.

IT seemed very like a biblical sign.

It sounds incredile, doens’t it? I don’t know if I’d believe this story if someone else told it to me, but I assure you, all this is bare fact.

I saw my dad picking around what was left of his house too, and can say, I didn’t feel happy that he lost it all. I had hoped he’d find some peace on his own and finally let us go. I don’t enhoy his unhappiness.

But, I can’t say felt overwhelig remoarse either. Honeslty, after all he’s done, I thought, it was getting off easy to only lose one of his houses he rented and the vehicle he was’t even suing, true, most of his bleongs were alos gone, but, that’s still not as bad as losing the only house and car you have would be.

I wondered if God let me see all that, as I was the nly one besides my grandma who even eatched most of the news coverae on time, as a way to help me be reasured. I don’t have to worry abut that truck anymore.

I still get bothered when I see Yellow Trucks, because it reminds me of unplasant things, but I no longer feel panicked. I immeiatley rememver “God burned that thing up.”

You can see that as vindictive on God’s part, or as karma, I see it as love. love can be fierce.

Plus, some of you may feel my dad got off entirely too easy. After all, he ruined our lives as much as he possibly could, and only God prevented him from succeeding.

To that, I say, vengeance is God’s and I don’t really care about taking it myself. I don’t write about this in order to incite people against my dad. I want them to understand so that they can recognize the same thing somewhere else, we never know when someone might tell us something, and be ready to hear”Hey, that’s not right.”

It’s because of my own ignorance of what abuse looked like that I was fooled for so long, and while I am not really sorry because we acted at just the right time, I think not everyone should wait.

Plus, it’s unusual for a Christian to tell the story of how God got them out of a situation from the inside out like this, think that story is worth telling, and might give people hope.

To quote Things we lost in the fire (Bastille)

“I was the match and you were the rock, maybe we started this fire… do you understand that we will never be the same again? The future’s in our hands, and we will never be the same again!”

We played that a bunch after my dad moved out, I felt it described what we’d done by setting fire to all the foundations my dad had laid for us, and cutting ties. It felt destructive, but in a good way. The Word says “our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29)

But when I heard that my dad had lost it all in a fire, that happened much like the song, I felt strange.

I didn’t literally mean for his stuff to burn when I prayed that the sin and torment would be burnt away by God’s fire, but God seemed to want to do something dramatic to make a point.

You might wonder if my dad ever saw this as some kind of karma. The truth is, no.

He questioned God, I know, and I am sure he blames us for kicking him out because it wouldn’t have happened to him otherwise. Though he never said as much to us, because we never gave him the chance. It is what he would think though.

But I never told him I prayed that, so it is doubtful he’d ever connect the dots.

That doesn’t matter. To me, I think it’s imporatnt that I know, and dont’ assume too much.

Though I mayt hink twice about what analogies I use when I pray in the future ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, now for the announcement:

I have upgraded, yet again, since I had a discount, and now connected accounts so that I can receive donations, if you check under the comment section, you’ll see a Donate tab.

I have never been super cofortoable with chargine people for servise I would galdly do for free, but I’ve gown out of that as I realized part of it was my lack of self worth, I didn’t feel anythin I did was worth compensation.

Part of it was I had no confidence anyone would support me. My family has not been the most help in this area, and I have had friends flake on me too.

But, I am trying to trust God, and put myself out there a little now. Sometimes people can be surprisingly kind, and even if they aren’t I need to treat myself like I deserve credit for things. I’ve put years into this blog and developing my writing skills to a professional level, what’s wrong with thinking I should get some reward.

Though, helping people and getting feedback would also be enough reward for me, I never want this to be about money.

My test is: If I would do it for free anyway, than I am safe asking for payment, because my priorities are still on quality service.

(Which, btw, is why some employers wisely take volunteer work into consideration. Someone who will work for free values what they do for it’s own sake and does it better than someone only motivated by money, so put it on your resume if you have one.)

Anyway, if any of you amazing people are interested, PayPal donations are now available at the bottom of the page. I will be trying to start things like memberships and premium content soon so I can give people even more bang for their buck if they do support. I have some ideas for making this site even cooler than it is.

But for now, that’s all I got, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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Why not just reconcile?

I hit 200 followers! *party noises* thanks you guys!

Want to hear a crazy story?

Life happens weirdly doesn’t it? Yesterday we were just minding our own business, and we got a message that our dad was having a medical emergency, alone at his house.

My energetic aunt who lives, like, a 1,000 miles away from us, was somehow the one trying to organize all this, and my dad was calling a bunch of people, but didn’t think to just call a taxi.

Later we found out, to add insult to injury, he’d actually almost passed out several times earlier in the day, but neglected to go to the doctor then, instead he still drove home. I believe they call this “dumb luck”.

After he finally was taken to the hospital probably an hour and a half after he should have just called a taxi or 911, they discovered he had a heart attack and he went in for immediate surgery. The attack was bad and could have killed him.

I haven’t talked to my dad in about 18 months, give or take, and this was the first time I spoke to him, but, with an emergency like that, it would have been cruel not to.

Getting on the speaker, we all talked to him. Almost the first words out of his mouth, once he said “I really would like to talk to the girls in case this is the end for me” or some rubbish like that, were “God has really been working on my heart, and I’ve changed a lot… and I believe with forgiveness should come reconciliation, that the Bible makes it clear they go together.” (I paraphrase a little for clarity, but I assure you I am not exaggerating, I don’t do that, the truth is bad enough on it’s own.)

I suppose it sounds innocent enough, to someone outside the family, but those of you with toxic family members know hot there are certain phrases and words and tones and references that have been built up over the years a s part of an intricate web of manipulation, usually disguised as harmless so that others don’t catch on. But the family members know themselves what it means.

You see, my dad will use the bible as a weapon to cover his own bad behavior. He’d yell at us and rage and throw fits, and use “honor your father” as an exude, ignoring “don’t provoke your children to wrath.” He’d storm about not being respected as “the head of the house” but ignore “love your wives as Christ loved the church.” You’ve probably met people like this too.

Abusive parents tend to use love as a requirement only when they want love, and then deny it to their victims especially children if they are the most insecure about children, or their wife, if they are more insecure about romantic relationships. Depends on their own background usually. Most of the time, it’s both.

My dad also swore to us more times than I can count that God was working on his heart, and he was a different person. He treated us exactly the same every time, and treated God the same too. My dad lives in a fantasy world when it comes to spirituality. It’s simply a game of rules and appearances to him, not depth.

He also said he’d been healed of a lot of stuff, I don’t buy that for an instant.

Later on, he told us that if this was his last request to us, he wanted us not to hold any bitterness or resentment in our heats because God wouldn’t like it. And that he loved us so much, and missed us, blah blah blah.

He didn’t ask once how we’d been doing, my sister told him, but he barley listened. He talked about how he’d been doing most of the time, and how he might die, (though it wasn’t actually that likely), yada yada, and reconciliation, and it was so nice to talk to us again. It was almost worth it for this to happen just to be able o talk to us…

I sympathize with the fear and terror of a medical emergency, I’ve driven my sister to the ER when no one else was home and she was throwing up and having other signs of a concussion. I’ve taken care of my other sister after she fainted from sun poisoning. I’ve had terrible moments myself, especially last year. I am not one to put that down.

But, none of us use medical emergencies as an excuse to be vindictive and manipulative. Amidst all this chaos, my dad still managed to impress me with how petty he can be.

I mean, if it truly could be your last words to your children and wife, would you spend it going on about how terrible you were doing, and how they made you so lonely by not calling, and poor you.

I know I would want to spend it saying things that would leave good memories, if nothing else. It’s not he time for final digs.

I concluded he never really believed he was going to die, as indeed, it was past the point where that was likely anymore. It was an attention grab.

It may sound terrible of me to think so, but his mom pulls stuff like this also, and he’s done it before, and it’s really much sicker to do it at all than to realize someone else is doing it.

I suppose we knew deep down he used his health to manipulate us for pity and attention, I just didn’t think of it much with all the other, more violent stuff, but this one was always so blinking unfair because how can you get angry at soemoen who’s sick? Even if they are making it worse on purpose?

The man says he intends to go right back to work instead of resting like you are supposed to do, I doubt he’ll actually do that, but he wants us to talk him out of it. These tricks are as old as our lives.

I don’t intend to try, but it’s very frustrating to hear someone be such an idiot, and just to garner sympathy.

My aunt was no help, she just encouraged it, and event old my sister “can’t you put aside your feud for a short time?”

Yes, a feud, that’s all 20 years of abuse, neglect, and folly was… sure.

Because none of us have proof of physical damage, our family has elected not to take us that seriously, at least, the one who listen to my dad and aunt in the first place.

Based on my studies and comparing to others who’ve undergone the same treatment, we more than qualify for all three types of abuse, with Emotional being the crowning one.

My dad is something called a “dark empath” if I understand right. He know what you want to hear, and need to hear, but instead of genuinely giving it to you out of compassion, he gives it in a fake twisted way, that always brings the focus back to him. I’ve almost never heard the guy shut up about himself in the whole time I’ve known him.

In conversation with me, it has never been about me. Same with all of us, including my mom.

He’s not totally without sympathetic feelings, but it’s a superficial kind that always ends up becoming about him after about 5 seconds. I don’t doubt he feels bad, but empaths can take our feelings into themselves, and then reflect them back. A dark empath can do that, in a bad bay, making the misery all there own and expecting you to feel sorry for them, when you’re the one suffering.

In proof of this point, my aunt entered her late son’s name in a walk-a-thon for charity that she asked us all to participate in. She asked my dad not to start telling stories about the past and making it about him. That was what he immediately did after she asked, including telling them her embarrassing nickname and encouraging us girls to participate. I declined.

My father is cruel, he was cruel as a kid, he’s cruel now.

Yet, he has the audacity to say he loves us so much while crying and acting like he’s in the worst pain in the world. Like we ever did anything to him. Sheesh.

Okay, as you can tell, I am blowing off steam and I may regret being so raw after I’ve had a few days to think about it.

But I bet you’ve felt the same, and maybe you even understand why it would bother me how he acted.

But is it worse that none of it really surprised me? I didn’t call him when he got Covid-19 because I knew he’d say stuff I didn’t want to hear, and I wouldn’t be comforting him at all, save for the sick satisfaction he gets out of having us pity him and kowtow to him. Perhaps he imagines he is making us feel guilty.

And I called this time only because it might have been my last chance, and however terrible a person he might be, I don’t want anyone to die without hearing some last kind words form the people around them.

I didn’t expect him to really appreciate that, and I was not disappointed in that, but he went further than I would have believed, it took him less than 5 minutes to say something manipulative.

All the nice things he said just because he’s been told to say them. It’s nauseating. I felt my throat tighten up.

I wanted to laugh, my sister held me back, she felt the same but didn’t want me to visibly show it while he was still on the line, especially since we were on speaker. I held back, but if he hadn’t been about to go in for heart surgery, I’d have given him a piece of my mind.

I hope you understand I am not advocating bullying someone who’s potentially dying or in a lot of pain. I am saying it was out of basic decency that I didn’t do that, but I assure you, had our position been reversed, he would not have afforded me the same courtesy. That’s how delusional he is.

I believe we have to show mercy, so I told him I loved him, and we’d forgiven him. That was when he came back with that “reconciliation” crap.

Since he brought it up, and some of you might have similar problems, perhaps I should answer here what the Bible’s idea of reconciliation is.

In the Old Testament, there are far more examples of reconciliation than in the New, because it talks more about people’s stories. The best examples or Joseph with his brothers, Jacob with his twin, Esau and also his uncle Laban; David with Saul; Hagar with Sarah, and Hosea with Gomer.

In only two of those examples did reconciliation involve establishing close contact, or living in the same house. Joseph, and Hosea both stayed in close touch with their family, though we don’t know how often Joseph saw his brothers, or how much Gomer reciprocated Hosea’s love (that was a direct assignment from God to give an example of loving an unfaithful woman. But Gomer was not abusive.)

Joseph did not reconcile with his brothers until he was in a position of power and it was entirely safe to do so, and after testing them to see if they really had changed. Once they proved they had truly repented and regretted their wrongs, he revealed himself.

This is where most therapists will leave it, if you have proof they changed, then you can become close again. I don’t think Joseph intended to kill his brothers if they didn’t change, but I doubt he would have revealed all to them in the same way.

In the other examples I listed, peace was made, and the people went their separate was to live out their own lives. Even Hagar eventually left Sarah’s service, and she was a slave who couldn’t legally do so on her own, but Sarah chose to send her away, and God made it to be for the best. Later in the New Testament, Hager is used as a metaphor for how the slave to sin must be driven out so the child of the promise (us) can flourish. A powerful symbol for abuse also.

“Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? โ€œCast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.โ€” (Galatians 4:30)

So, my dad has no real basis for using the bible as leverage here, but it’s an old trick he clearly thinks we will still fall for.

As for the New Testament, it was actually or inspiration for kicking him out. When we talked to our mom about it, we reminded her of how Paul kicked some people out of the young church till they could learn respect for God and stop teaching false doctrines. Two people who tried to deceive the believers dropped dead on the spot (harsh, I assure you it doesn’t happen often, I’ve near heard of another case, I think it was just to make a point).

Paul also says that while we are not to judge the world for being the way it is, we are not to associate with people in the church who claim to be holy but still act like the world.

“I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.” 1 Corinthians 5:11 (This version includes “abusive” others don’t, but the idea is there.)

This gets me to thinking about how people tend to split into two camps about abusers:

There’s the people who are so angry about it they stop seeing abusers as human. You should see the death threats against fictional characters that Webtoon and YouTube are littered with, and probably concerning real life stuff also.

Then there’s people who recognize abusers are still wounded human beings, but use that as a reason to stay with them and give them a sort of emotional life support that just barely keeps them functionality at status quo, usually worse.

I am not in either camp, but I do lean more toward staying away from them, as I think the Bible teaches to do anyway.

There’s an anime coming to mind that depicts this struggle well, called Torodora

Image result for Toradora images

(Tiger Dragon for you language buffs) in which the main girl had a toxic father, and the main guy encourages her to “reconcile” and give him a chance when he shows up randomly in her life, her dad says all the right things, and seems really repentant.

Image result for Toradora images Taiga and her dad

Then after things go well for a few weeks, there’s a play that Taiga (the girl) is going to have the lead role in, and her dad promises to come see. As you can guess, he doesn’t show up, and instead of calling her himself, he calls Ryuuji, (the main guy) to ask him to tell her for him, that something came up.

Ryuuji can’t understand how the guy could be such a jerk, after seeming so sincere, then Taiga’s best friend drops the final death bomb on him by informing him that the same thing happened a year or so ago, same act, and Taiga went with it, only to be disappointed. Ryuuji feels horrible for not listening when she warned him, and pressure in Taiga based on his preconceived notions of her situation, but he learns from it.

Ryuuji makes the same mistake I’ve made myself, and have felt other people made with me, and still do. He judges by his own experience and the very few things he sees about someone else.

People who haven’t had abusive parents tend to hear how we victim-kids talk about our parents, and think “Wow, they’re a brat.” Because we’ll say things like “My parents don’t love me” and “Yeah, that’s my dad, what a jerk.” “I just can’t believe him” “I don’t miss him” etc.

And yeah, bratty kids do say it, but we have to remember, everyone who fake whines about stuff that’s not actually bad is doing it in imitation of people who have had serious problems.

Like people jokingly say they have depression because depressed people abound so much right now, but it’s not a joke to someone who really has it, and it probably feels like overstating it to them, whether they say so or not.

Or people saying they have a problem with binging when they really couldn’t, while people suffer with real additions around them and don’t think it’s funny.

It’s the same with having bad parents, people will joke and whine about it who shouldn’t precisely because of the attention it gets them to sound like people who do. It’s the difference between real and fake ailments.

And anyone with experience with learn to tell the genuine victims from the fakers very quickly. I’ve gotten fairly good at it myself in a short amount of time.

But I’ve been treated like a faker. Faking my problems to get attention has always been disgusting to me, I can’t say that even as a kid I would do that very often, if at all, and as an adult, I don’t pretend to have problems I don’t have.

The lasting damage from being emotionally abused is that I assume everyone disapproves of me, constantly, and it’s taken a whole year and a half away form my dad to even crack that image enough for me to see some light on the other side. I hope one day I will not feel that way at all, but it’s been hard to shake, even after years of trying.

My aunt has been treating us like fakes who are making a mountain out of a molehill, and our dad talked to us the same way. It’s like it’s nothing to them that we got so miserable we had to kick him out or we’d run off ourselves. They don’t get it.

Well, people who refuse to see the obvious cannot be taught, it’s the sad truth.

Remember my last post, when I talked about PH, and how the truth sets Lauren free?

See post here:

Losing the Value of Life

Today I want to write about a phenomenon I’ve been noticing for years, but, somehow, it was just this week I began to draw connections as to why. First, I want to illustrate what I’m thinking of: In simple words, this phenomena is “a loss in the value of human life.” I think, in general, … Continue reading Losing the Value of Life

The Chosen

I recently joined the millions of other Christians in my country who have been watching the new series “the Chosen.” Some say it’s the best show about Jesus to come out. And I’ve made it through all the available episodes, and I’ve been enjoying it. This wouldn’t be a very interesting post if that was … Continue reading The Chosen

Well, it does when she accepts it, there’s plenty of truth she’s still fighting in the story, that’s at the basis of her dysfunction.

And to tell the truth about yourself is very, very hard.

For me, it’s a question I have a lot. Am I a worse person than I realize? Do I lie to myself. Am I not as kind and compassionate as I think?

But even asking that question, in earnest, shows I am more those things than someone like my dad, who will make excuse possibly to his dying day, if yesterday was any indication. I know his father did, I visited him just a day or two before he died. Still full of dishonesty, though he had made huge strides in forgiveness compared to how he’d been a few years ago.

I will say, trying to be better than your abusive parent is a low bar, my dad aimed for that, and failed because he had a warped perception of what “better” really meant. If better meant not smacking us as hard, and raging at us over every little thing, he only succeeded at one of those things. If better meant being less selfish, he never succeeded at all.

“It’s been a long road losing all I own, you don’t know what you got until you’re gone, and it’s a nasty habit, spitting at all you have,

but if you’re doing all the leaving, then it’s never your love lost, if you leave before the start, than there was never love at all.

Heaven knows I’m prone to leave the only God I should’ve loved, but you’re far too beautiful to leave me.” (The Oh Hellos, In Memoriam.)

You shouldn’t aim to be better than someone else, you should aim to be as good as you can be. As loving, as pure, as brave, as wise, and then you have no real limit, you can always grow.

My family and I will find some way to deal with the crazy of our relatives, but we don’t intend to be a part of it.

My sisters and I laugh about how whacked our situation must sound to people who don’t know the intimate details. Our little unit was supposed to be the “normal” one in the dysfunctional family that was the stuff TV shows are made of. My grandmother once attacked some police officer. My step family got into occult stuff. My uncle was in a cult for years. Because my mom is the “sane” one, no one could believe she married my dad, and it’s the main reason us girls turned out as normal as we did. No one thought we’d be the ones to kick someone out and actually mean it, not just doing it for a power move like the rest of the family.

I am learning to think about it less often, I’ve gotten used to it.

I wonder what my dad would think if I told him we’ve been perfectly fine this whole time without him. In fact, we rejoice in his absence, and all of us have had nightmares about him returning. I’ve said I’d go through it all again before I’d live in the same house as him ever.

You can’t imagine till you’ve gone through it what an utter relief it is not to feel your life and happiness depend solely on one person.

I’m sure he can’t fathom it. He thinks we’ll cave. We’ll get tired of this. He doesn’t know I’m already planning my whole life out without him in it as more than a vague figure. Sometimes, the abuse seems unreal to me, like the difference between then and now is so great, I almost can’t believe I was ever in that place.

I am getting used to not being treated like dirt, and I’m determined never to go back to that willingly.

Because I am doing better, it’s easy to question if we have overreacted. If I were just going by my awareness of it, I might think my aunt was right.

But, I know what God has directed us to do, and I do have people to confer with to remember what happened. I don’t think we should harp on it, but it’s important not to forget, because you have to be able to protect yourself by setting boundaries.

All this progress could go away if we let ourselves be deceived again, but we don’t have to let ourselves, it’s a delicate matter, but it’s not impossible.

As far as I’m concerned, reconciliation means we forgive and can be on peaceful terms. We are ready for that, my dad is the one incapable of letting it go. So, it’ll be on him, and there’s nothing more I can do about it.

And that’s okay.

And if you have someone like that, just try to believe, it is not your job to take care of them. You don’t owe them anything.

All we owe each other in this life is love, and respect for each other’s humanity, anything beyond that is something you have to choose carefully to offer the trustworthy people. No one can demand it, if they try, they won’t get it.

I think that’s all I got for now. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Losing Anger

I guess it’s time for another serious post, isn’t it?

Getting so close to 200 followers here, it’s interesting to wonder why they are all here. I write about so many different things, I think it’s hard to get a sense of what this blog is about.

That being said, I’ve been thinking about my dad again lately. I tend to get reminded of him a lot, with all the Webtoons I’ve been reading, abuse and dysfunction are very common elements in a Webtoon. I could only count a handful out of the dozens I’ve read that didn’t feature it.

I guess because it’s a part of so many people’s lives, especially the ones that want to escape into the world of Webtoons, I don’t know many happy people who feel the end to immerse themselves in that kind of fiction. Oh, a happy person might enjoy it still, but binging and obsessing over it, that’s for the sad or discontented among us. Sometimes, the quietly hopeful that our lives will get better.

Which means I am admitting to myself that my life is still not what I want it to be. Well, I think I’ve heard learning content is an art from somewhere, if that’s not a saying it should be.

One of the big things that was a problem while I was miserable was feeling angry at my dad for all he seemed to have caused in my life.

“Thanks Dad, let me down again” –Shoto (only in a comic dub version of this comic though)

It’s funny how fast you can go from not blaming one person for anything they do, to blaming them for stuff that they didn’t do.

Some extremely defensive people are ones who recovered from abuse only part of the way, enough to know not to take all the blame, but not enough to take criticism maturely. I have trouble with this still, but then again, it has only been a year.

I still remember so many humiliation experiences. People talk about the pain of abuse, but sometimes we forget it is humiliating. The abuser often uses their lack of shame against their victims who still have a sense of shame.

My dad was not ashamed to discuss our personal arguments with random strangers at their homes when we worked for them, I’m sure some of those poor people were embarrassed on their part. I was mortified, all I could do with stay silent and look the other way. I suppose he thought it would make me too ashamed to keep arguing with him–that didn’t work.

So, taking criticisms is a bit of a sore subject for me, and anger over that is still something I deal with. Still, I can’t blame it all on him.

At this point, it is impossible to say if I am naturally obstinate and incorrigible, or if my dad made me rebellious by his unfair treatment my entire life. I can say I got much more resistant as I got more fed up with how he talked to me.

My dad has strange psychological issues, when I was about 11 he told us all he would quite gaming, and doing a bunch oft other stuff, ad he wanted us to hold him to that. I wasn’t sure why playing his War Games was so bad, but I took him at his word. At that age, I didn’t realize how much my dad lied. I had not been exposed to it the way my mom had. I later learned the same behaviors had continued since they were first married. Him deceiving her, swearing he’d give up the stuff he was addicted to, and then years or months later, getting back into it.

I was also too young to know addictions can’t be broken by sheer willpower. I called my dad out on it when he went back to games. My dad was diagnosed with ADD, playing video games can be almost the same as drugs for him, it’s too stimulating. I had a similar problem at first, but I worked hard to control it once I noticed the tenancy, and now I can play a game without getting too hooked, but I mostly avoid gaming at all now just so I won’t be tempted. I stopped before I was actually an addict, partly because my mom wouldn’t let me play all night like he did.

My sisters and I all have fond memories of our father screaming profanities at the computer in the wee hours of the morning when we were suppose to be asleep. If we told him not to, he’d yell at us. Once, he flung me out of the computer chair because I was still using the computer when he wanted to be on it. Mostly, he just threatened us till we got up.

It was scary. I confronted him on it, and on other stuff he said we should call him out on. To my shock, he told me I shouldn’t be correcting him, that is was disrespectful, and I was too critical of him. He’d tell me he didn’t need the added stress of me arguing with him. But he had no problem criticizing me, I can’t even tell you for what anymore. Any little thing would set him off. If I told him I didn’t want to hear the same story again, he’d come down on me and say I was ‘unteachable.” Later, he’d often exclude me from a family video session or devotion by saying “We don’t try to teach (Natasha) any more in this house.” Unbelievably petty, I know.

I’m usr some of you are seeing your story in this. There is no pyological tomern quite like malicious hypocirsy is there. Both scary and infuriating.

As you can imagine, I retaliated by defending myself, to no avail. Then I learned to shut up and ignore it, but I’d hold my ground. It hurt, but it seemed better to do as I wished than to give in to that kind of pressure. Somehow I knew it was wrong, even if no one ever told me it was.

My life coach told me when he father hit her, she’d leave the room, and say “That’s wrong, don’t hit me” and defend herself. We both agreed we’re the rare person who gets abused and still retains any sense of the injustice of it. Most victims know deep down it’s wrong, but believe they somehow deserve it and can’t get out.

I tell you all this now, not because I wish to dwell on it, but because, when talking about anger, it can be so easy to forget. I don’t have a victim mentality. Which means that I can’t always get angry ad whiny when I am treated unfairly. I just have to deal with it. Not perfectly, I do complain more than i should, but I try not to put myself on a weird pedestal and say everyone else is always at fault. But because I choose not to blame my father for it all, it can be easy to slip back into the deception of thinking he really wasn’t so bad.

All these behaviors were what I was used to after all, it was just how he was, compared to worse people, is he really all that bad? He himself would say not. His sister would say it was not his fault only, he has trouble understanding other people.

But my dad has no issue understanding people outside our family, I’ve heard him quite accurately discern the issues in other people’s lives, he is not incapable of understanding feelings. His blindness to ours was willing.

And that does make me angry, but, that anger is not as bad as it once was. Now that I am feeling better, and doing more things I enjoy, and the dark haze over my life has almost lifted completely, I don’t feel a need to be angry.

I was angry because it seemed he really could reach even from a distance and ruin my life, but the longer I am away from him, the less power I feel like he has. it takes awhile for any victim to feel safe, but bit by bit I am starting to.

I read something last week, in the latest free episode of my favorite Webtoon, that resonated with me quite deeply on this issue, and I think it’s worth sharing here:

The Purple Hyacinth - Webtoon Dub [OPEN] | Voice Acting Amino

“I know I’m not in any position to say this… but maybe you need to let go of this grudge against your brother. Not because I think you should forgive him. But holding onto anger is like poison you think you’re offering the other person. Only you’re the one who drinks it. He stole your past already. Are you going to let him have your future too? And look… one day he might be gone for real and then this resentment is all you’ll have left of him.”–Kym Ladell, Purple Hyacinth.

I have to credit the authors for how amazing this speech is. It’s not dramatic, but it is simple truth. Something someone who’s been through the difficult process of recovery would have discovered at some point.

The prominent theme of PH is truth. And how the truth is often harder to accept than lies, or ignorance. The truth can be ugly in a way, it can change how you look at people you loved, it can change how you look at yourself.

Minor spoilers ahead (I won’t reveal the plot, but a few key events may be slightly spoiled for you if you care to read the comic):

When Kieren hears from Lauren that what he does is terrible and he’s a monster, the truth of that is too much for him and he lashes out at her. He embraces the truth of his terrible deeds, but rejects the truth that he feels regret for them or was ever not the way he is now because that is too painful for him to accept while he still does what he does.

When Lauren learns some truths about her family, she is conflicted, she is not sure how she should feel about herself now, or her quest for justice. When Kieren confronts her about her more selfish motivations for their partnership, and hypocrisy, she is not sure if she is a good person anymore.

When Will is confronted with truth about his family, he is not sure how to feel. If he can ever let it go.

That is when Kym gives him this advice. She’s had some stuff happen that she’s still getting over, but unlike the other three, Kym has a slightly easier time admitting she has issues with what happened. She has realized that the truth about people is not always simple. Sure, they do bad things, they may even be bad people, but the way we handle it is not going to b simple. A simplistic solution, like resentment, just ruins your life.

Healing is harder, it takes a long time, and there are anyt imes along the road you will feel like giving up, and like you will never be whole.

Whether Kym is an optimist because she’s had better influences, or because she’s had help even from Will himself and Lauren to give her more hope, she seems to understand that she can’t keep sitting in the past, anymore than they can keep sitting in the cold snow that his scene takes place in. You have to get up and get moving eventually.

Healing and Peace are not a place, as the Oh Hellos said in “Theseus”, so much as they are a way. Coping mechanisms are not solutions, they are supposed to be temporary, people who park there are not healing, they are just surviving. you have to keep moving form one thing to another. My biggest obstacle to wholeness has been monotony. Stuck with the same thoughts, places, people, and problems for months, it’s like being in prison.

One way I coped was finding new shows and stories to read and watch, breaking up the sameness, but even that sameness became a part of the problem. Now I am changing it up with more social events, and going out and doing other things, if I really need to. So far, I’ve only tried it once, but even once was enough because now I know I can.

As I’ve changed, my anger has ebbed away. I no longer feel my dad is strangling me, or trapping me. I still face obstacles because of him. I wonder how long my trust issues will stay with me.

But I am starting to see how God is healing me and changing me, and more importantly, I have learned to say to myself sometimes “I don’t have to be healed all at once, it might take a few years, but that’s to be expected. It’s okay if it takes longer than this.”

I want to be ready for things like dating, working, and adventuring out into the world, but I am still preparing for that. I get tired of waiting, but the point is, I know I am waiting. This is not a permanent state of being.

Really, I’ve found even people who resign themselves to a mediocre life of sameness never get to keep it. Changes happen. Usually very suddenly. Trouble happens, or you are forced to step into a role you didn’t expect. Whether it take 1 year or 30, change comes to every life. Both World Wars interrupted the complacency of the 20th century. Awakenings can be quite rude. As last year proved to us all.

But we must wait actively. “Be ready in season and out of season” as the Bible says. If you are living a quiet life right now, still do as much as you can. I don’t want to be in college for the rest of my life, or doing nanny work, though I enjoy it. I have bigger dreams. I don’t want to be in therapy forever.

But while I am doing those things, I want to do them well, and get the most out of it that I can.

I reread some of my posts from a few months ago, and I was amazed at the world of hurt I was in. I wouldn’t change them, they were raw, but they were honest. That is my goal. But I am glad I do not feel the same way now.

It’s easier to feel happy when you feel good, but I think what I consider feeling bad has also changed as I no longer hyper-focus on it all the time. Turns out, it’s not so unbearable when I’m not having anxiety attacks over it.

I did have a bit of an anxiety attack last week. Much lighter than before, no breathing short. I got that tunnel vision thing where all negative outcomes seem the most real, and you can’t seem to shake the sense of foreboding or discouragement for the rest o the day, but it passed, and I stayed calmer than I had in the past. I hope soon I will no longer have them at all.

I now think not all of this was about the abuse itself so much as what the abuse made me fear about my life. I actually think most of the long term effects of abuse are probably far more about fear of repeating it than about what actually happened. Difficult experiences pass, but fear can last for years. Just like you don’t experience the pain of getting injured for longer than a few months usually, but the fear of the injury can prevent you from ever doing what led to it again. That’s good if what you did was stupid. If you get in a bad relationship by ignoring red flags, hopefully getting hurt will lead to wiser decisions in the future…but if you refuse then to get into a healthy relationship for the same reason, that’s Fear.

I’ve learned something since last year. I’ve learned that there area people who are what they are because of their issues, and there are people who are who they are despite their issues. And that difference is how you can tell a healthy person who’s trying to heal and grow, from one who refuses to change.

Also, everyone has issues. even people with good families have issues. Issues are part of being sinful humans. That’s why acknowledging them is so important, and it takes humility. I am growing in being able to do that.

With all this, my anger is so much weaker, I hope it will be all gone soon.

I have faith the Lord will guide me out of it, and out of any lingering fear or depression, because already, I feel I see so much clearer than before. But, that feeling may be the biggest sign I have a long way to go, often realizing it’s not the way you thought is just the first tiny step to true understanding.

With that, I think I will close this post, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Brought to you by Webtoon

I had a view from Israel today, my people! (not that they were necessarily Hebrew just because they were in Israel, but the odds are in my favor, right?)

I have to wonder how translate would do with English to Hebrew…? Ah well.

I have been wanting to talk about this, though I run the risk of exposing yet again how big of a geek I am. I mean, surely, only people with no life read Webtoon?

Just kidding. It actually took months for me to be convinced to try this app. Last January a friend recommended it, and I didn’t start reading it till like 7 or 8 months later. I didn’t really think I’d like it…well, now I’m hooked. I have daily updates on my subscriptions.

However, this doesn’t mean I spend all day reading it, the beauty of it is you can go through a few different episodes in 10 minutes, so it’s not an all consuming passion, though I did spend all day going through Lore Olympus to get caught up… and then regretted it because I had to wait a whole week.

I was kind of embarrassed by liking it so much, since I don’t usually read comics, and Spiderman and Mr. Miracle were the only ones that I felt really could be considered higher reading (both of those are very thought provoking, but Spiderman is superior, no offense to any DC fans, just from a written perspective, though Mr. Miracle has the more interesting concept. It just goes to show that any idea can be brilliant if you work it the right way.)

Not all Webtoons are really worth reading, a lot of them are translated from other languages, and the grammar can be sloppy. I still find them cute though, and the best thing is when the values of the story come across even with a language barrier. I read one called “Shoes For Cinderella” that is much like that.

Also, what I think draws (haha) the readers is getting to experience the author’s personality through their art. since Webtoon allows for more interaction between the creator and fans than in older serial comics. Of course, it’s also harder to get paid for Webtoon, but it’s free to use, so it’s a trade off.

I’d write on it myself if I could draw, but I can’t do art for crap, and I don’t do scripted stories well, I am literature all the way. I do enjoy them however.

So, I wanted to talk about a few of my favorites. I will say, most Webtoons are completely predictable, and trite, most of the time. Which is what fans complain about. The average Webtoon is written likes it’s fanfic for an anime. Most artists like anime now, since is does feature some of the best mainstream art available (the art in anime is far better than the script most of the time). However, I will give them credit, I usually find it less disappointing than anime. The stories do progress, don’t always rely as much on tropes to solve their problems, and the art can be more diverse too, if that’s you main concern, it’s not for me.

The ones I like the best are the most like stories, and my top favorite is one that I think actually is just too good as a comic to be translated well into a book or show, and that is the highest worth of praise.

The first one I read was, of course, Lore Olympus.

Lore Olympus Returns for a Glorious and Dramatic Second Season

I read it because my fellow mythology buff friend and sister recommended it, and I liked the development, (the color palette was little hard on my eyes though) and I love a good retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth.

I am not crazy about Persephone, as I find her a little hard to figure out, but Hades is cool, and the retelling is quite creative.

This comic has raised some controversy actually, because of the age gap between the two leads, and the sexualization of it. Some have critiqued it because a rape scenario was thrown in there just so the “hot guy to the rescue trope” could happen.

To be fair, those critiques were earlier on, and were based on what people projected would happen, and I would have had the same concern, but I read it later, so the story-line had already gone somewhere.

What made me stick with the comic was the portrayal of abuse, domestic and otherwise, and trauma, and how it affects you. I could relate to it, as could many people, and to the people trying to help the others out of it. I play therapist quite often myself, as well as ask other people for help.

I do like that girls in the story support each other, though I think more of the men could be better, some are also quite good. More on the topic of abuse later.

I started reading other toons after that. I read one called WindRose that was adorable, then I just kept sampling a bunch. As of now, I still try new ones on a weekly basis.

Not all of them are really worth discussing, but the ones that are unique even for stories are what I thought I’d talk about.

My favorite is Purple Hyacinth, it took a while to convince me to try it, (my sister also recommended) but then I realize it was perhaps the best comic on the app. It’s just a work of art how they draw, do dialogue, and use music and sound to enhance the experience.

Petition ยท Let's get an animated series of Purple Hyacinth- ยท Change.org
Kieren and Lauren

But you all know me by now, I’m here for the message, and anyone who isn’t, is lying. Seriously, no one actually is okay with a story having no point (I don’t want to meet them if they are, they sound scary).

Speaking of lying, the hook I absolutely love in this story is that the MC can hear when people lie. Not to give too much away, I won’t explain how or why (we don’t even really know yet) but that in itself was genius. Can you imagine, if you knew when people lied?

The catch is, if the person believes they are telling the truth, she won’t hear it. And it doesn’t give her the magic ability to know the truth, she has to lay the elimination game, so, naturally, she became a detective.

Lauren (the MC) is a great character. I wouldn’t consider her a role model, but it’s easy to understand why she makes the choices she does, ad to want to see more of them. Most Webtoons have very annoying MCs, even if I like the story, but Lauren isn’t one. She’s the right amount of independent, but not invincible, so she needs to get bailed out by her partner, but also can handle herself, by turns.

Kieren, the other MC, is a complex antihero, who seems to regret what he’s become, but is willing to sacrifice his own conscience in order to take down the final Boss in the story. Again, I don’t want to spoil too much, this is really worth reading if you are able to understand English (I know people do translate pages like this, so I can’t assume for sure you can read English). Despite how that sounds, he is neither Deadpool, nor the tragic stoic weirdo that girls think is hot but we all find kind of bland after awhile. Kieran owns every scene he’s in, even in panels. He almost outshines Lauren, but she holds her own. Their interactions are definitely the best part of the story.

Then we have Will and Kym, the side couple, who got more attention than I expected, and I love every minute of it. Kym can actually be my favorite character. She’s basically the definition of chaotic good, and Will is a good foil for her, though e’s the most boring out of the main four. Every group like this needs a straight-man to be balanced.

The Webtoon Community โ€” webtoon: NEW LAUNCH ๐Ÿš“ PURPLE HYACINTH Her...

Kym is actually the most consistent source of strong morality in the story, which is why she does more than the typical best friend character in a comic. She is the most loyal to her team, the most shaken up when a person ear her dies, and the most compassionate and forgiving despite her boisterous, often provocative personality. She’s a solid character, and I find my self agreeing more with her world view than any of the others.

Pin by Otaku & Gโ“mer on faceclaim | Hyacinth, Webtoon, Purple

So with a such a great premise, and such good charctes, this comic seems destined for success. Id on’t know for sure, since stories ofen drop the ball after a certain point, if they drag onto to long, but not a sinlge scene is theis coic is wasted, so i ahve hope sthey will finish strong.

A little writing tip for any new authors: The best way to pace your story is for every scene to have a purpose. When I write, the comic relief is put in between important dialogue in each scene so that the scene has a purpose, ad when i write action, the only exucse to cut away is to provide more info on wha’t happening that the audience needs to know beofore the fight can commence or continue. Otherwise, it’s just ogont ot ake t hreader out of the story. Hpwever, only pracitce and experience with hone your abilty to spot useless scenes.

An example would be, any scene devoted just to one charcter thinkng about how hot the other is and how they might like them, is a waste. I work that into the middel or end of scenes that actually build the relationship first, and the best comics and other stories i’ve read do the same thing.

There’s other examples, but that might be the msot common.

Anyway, since most of the comic Ir ead are not finished yet, I can’t talk about the enitre thing. But I do think it merits attention when they do something well. The use of red ink to desginati when soemoen is lying in Purle hyacinth, it’s clever. The use of eye color changes in other stories, when it’s sublte, is also clver. Whend one right, it becomes a whoel other experiene than a typical story.

When done wrong, it’s just more exhausting than a book emotionally, with less brain work to shaprne your skills.

I guess it’s sounds like I’m debating the merits of reading comics in general. It wasn’t something I did a lot of growing up, and i don’t consider them to be literature.

The best way to look at a good comic is a hybrid between a book and art, it’s not literature, it’s not just pictures, it’s both. So, it neither had the benefits of reading a true book, nor the same drawbacks of relying just on art to learn. Because, to be real, pictures only will not work for every scenario. But a comic can fit almost any subject.

I have found the comics enlightening in another way though.

Many of them deal with mental health, insecurities, problems with relation to people, and abuse and trauma. One I just found that’s been really good for this is Socializing 101.

They are a little too good to be true, usually. I’ve never had friends who talk to me the way people talk to each other in this, and I can’t talk that way myself. Often, it sounds like reading off the script in a therapist’s office. I suppose because so many people go to counseling and therapy now, it’s becoming part of our vernacular, which is good, because some people who won’t go to therapy may still here some of the same advice.

Still, wish fulfillment is part of most fiction, and there’s worse ways than solid relationship advice.

I had heard most of it already, and I don’t think all of it is actually that helpful in real life, it won’t fix your problem to follow those steps, but it can get you through some difficult moments at least. If you’re a novice, you certainly would benefit from following the advice, such as talking to people about your problem, and taking it easier on yourself, believing you are worth spending time on, and worth listening to.

Some comics put a lot of focus on finding out the truth, handling situations with maturity, and learning to overcome your personal flaws, like a hot temper, usually. And how to be patient with people like that and try to understand them.

And how to choose to date people who treat you right.

this helped me to start getting my head on straight about crushing on people who show no interest in my existence. I think I have always done that because I am more comfortable with no attention, after getting mostly negative attention growing up, and then neglected when I wasn’t being abused directly.

I don’t expect people to like me or want to be around me, but seeing myself in the Webtoon characters, it helped me question it more than just hearing about it had in the past. Seeing these people get talked to , it’s easier to think “maybe someone could see me the same way, maybe people don’t all hate me as much as I think they do. Maybe it is a misunderstanding.”

While it’s not a solution, often the first step is recognizing your perception could be off. And being open to being proven wrong. You got to lose the pride in your own opinion of yourself (and yes, people do take a sort of sick satisfaction in depreciating themselves, it’s very sad.)

I feel that my outlook has gotten a little better. It can be frustrating to read about happiness you don’t have, but the best ones make you realize that you need to believe you can have it, and will have it, if you seek it.

C. S. Lewis wrote that “all get what they want.” All of us, in the end, will get what we want. Whether in this life, or the next. We should be careful to want the right things.

Wanting a healthy relationship is a good start, but many people, honestly, don’t. They like what is familiar.

You see, you think you want someone to really love you, but then you spook as soon as someone shows they might actually love you. I had this experience myself quite recently.

Changing what you want is a step by step process, and can be ungraceful, people who stick with you through it are your real friends.

So, that was what was brought to you by WebToon, hope you enjoyed, I will see if I can link the comics I mentioned in the post, until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Not a Place but a Way.

Well, 2020 is almost over, and I got my Christmas shopping all done already. Yay!

I’ve had a full month of feeling much better too, praise the Lord!

So, let’s talk about that.

What happens to someone when they are first taking the stumbling steps out of the hell of constant trauma symptoms, to the middle terrain of starting to break free, before really moving into their new life?

At first you almost don’t believe it. My first few days without gagging, I really wasn’t sure what to think, I’d had a respite before. Then after 2 weeks I began to hope. At 4 weeks, I think I might have weathered the worst of this problem.

But I’ve had a month or so of respite before, it’s still a daily choice much of the time if I will believe this is more than a respite, but actually a change.

Especially when a flare up of allergies can cause similar tightness and gross feelings in my body, and I can’t tell which it is.

For me this is physical, but many people have psychological symptoms exactly like this (I do too, they’re fun), a small problem for one person might be the harbinger of a huge relapse for another… or it might not, in the beginning you don’t know.

I’ve heard in Christine Caine’s sermons where she mentions A-21, that after you rescue a girl from sex trafficking (there’s a few boys in it too, but the bulk of the victims are girls) they don’t know whether you are just going to continue their suffering, or you are actually here to help. Some are hostile, others timid, all of them are scared.

Abuse it pretty much the same, as with any kind of bondage, you go through a really terrible time, and then you’re so used to it that if that time begins to end, you’re scared. You’d almost choose the dank dark dungeon over the open highlands, because you know how to survive in the dungeon (barely) but you have no clue how to thrive out in the open. Like an animal that has acclimated to one terrain only.

Perhaps God would like us to become animals that can migrate, thrive in multiple places, and transition easily between them, but would we really like that?

In Mere Christianity, Lewis writes a chapter titled “Counting the Cost” where he warns that we shouldn’t think that Jesus will solve only the problems in ourselves that we think are bad, he will take all the problems, all the ones we secretly like, all the sins we want to pretend we don’t commit, and he will get rid of those too. “Give Him and inch and He takes an ell” He commands us to be perfect, “You shall be holy as I am holy.”

Being holy for us is like being free is for a victim of abuse, unnatural, new, frightening. Oh, it may be better, we know in our heads, but it’s just so gosh darn painful, can’t we just be “okay.”

God certainly would be one to say “It’s okay if you’re not okay” but what He will add is “Because I will make you more than okay.” Far more than okay. (My sisters and I once named an imaginary band of characters we liked “More Than Okay” as a nod to how God goes above and beyond what we envision for ourselves–yes we are geeks who imagine bands for our faves. Everyone has weird habits.)

I think another good analogy for this is the difference between getting a message and going to the Chiropractor. I’ve had my sister massage me for a long time, she’s gotten pretty good at it, I like really hard massages too, deep tissue. Sometimes he’ll spend an hour on it.

And it brings relief, but no matter how good it feels, within an hour or so, I can feel my muscles prickle back into a strained place, or a few days later, I need it again. A massage just brings relief, it doesn’t fix anything. Massages really are just meant to be temporary solutions. But some people make regular appointments, and some businesses have in-house masseuse, because they want that relief constantly.

When you think about it, it’s a great example of how we spend a lot of money to enable our unhealthy life choices like sitting at desks staring at screens all day. I’m not against a massage now and then, but if you need it every week or even a few times a week, you’re probably doing something wrong, even if you have no choice about it, your body knows it’s not meant to move that way.

By contrast, an adjustment at the chiro feels a lot less good, I personally feel a lot less period when I get adjusted. It’s a relief, but the real difference is how you can move afterwards. I feel looser, more balanced, or less bunched up in certain places. A massage just doesn’t get the same effect. But, I can feel weird for days afterward, and it’s a step by step process, improving a little more each week, but full relief does not come everywhere at the same time. Plus, it’s hard work to walk the right way, to choose purposely to stand on both feet the same way, to sit up straighter and not strain my neck as much.

But, I’ve been reading “Get Your Life Back” John Eldredge’s latest book (at least as far as I know) and he talks about something very similar, the difference between relief, and restoration.

He pints out how all our distractions like food, TV, Social Media, or alcohol, provide a short relief from our pain, but they don’t provide restoration, and they can actually prevent it because it becomes harder to tune in to what we even feel anymore.

I’ve noticed it in myself, one reason I am stressed so much is I moved more and more off relaxing activities like reading, being outdoors, and using my creativity, to things that involved my technology.

I have gotten into some bad habits, but even so, I spend less time online than the average person, if I feel this tired and drained by it, how much more does everyone else? (In the West anyway.)

I didn’t realize till this year how much of my approach to negative emotions was about wanting relief. I might give lip service to the idea of deeper healing, but mostly just wanted to feel better in the moment. The same with the physical stuff, I don’t really want to think about my body’s alignment and my digestive track being messed up from years of anxiety, I actually hate thinking I have bigger problems.

It turns out God was after Restoration in my life. As the Word says “I will restore to you the years the locust has eaten.”

A locust is much like an abusive cycle, it devours everything it can get it’s little claws on, and leaves you nothing. Locusts are a plague, we have grasshoppers in America, or used to, did the same thing, no getting rid of them, you just have to wait till it passes.

No denying it, having a dad like mine robbed me of a lot in life, I’m beginning to acknowledge that loss and I learned new ways he hurt me all the time, it may go on for a while.

And, I’m not like those people who deny they lost anything. “I don’t need that jerk anyway! I’m doing just fine without him.”

There’s a speech from a popular show, I don’t know the name, where a deadbeat father fails his son again, and the son talks to his real father figure, saying at first that it doesn’t matter, he begins listing all the things he learned how to do without his father, like drive a car, and such. The other man just listens in silence. Finally the son ends it with the honest, upset question “So, why doesn’t he want me?”

And yeah, I have to say, that’s a question that never goes away. I’m not sure even God can answer it.

You see, God, He can’t imagine not wanting us. He lives to Love, He Is Love. If there’s one thing that puzzles God, (if I can speculate about such things) it is probably when we humans don’t want to love each other, even the most innocent people to us, our children. God would never beget a child He didn’t want to Love, yet we humans are foolish enough to do it.

My dad began rejecting me when I was an innocent baby, how do you reason with a man like that? When asked, he told my sisters “It’s just the way I am.” Yeah, but you shouldn’t be that way Dad, you’re seriously broken, you need to be fixed.

So, I am left wondering why my father doesn’t want me.

There are some questions that can’t be answered because they are beyond reason, some people simply are incapable of love. It’s hard to accept, but it’s true. They can change, but they have to want to. Becoming dead to love is a choice, but it’s often made long before the person even realizes fully what they are doing, when they do, they may choose to stay that way in order to protect themselves.

My dad decided I wasn’t worth it. That cut deep, and still does. But I know that humans cannot motivate each other to change, very often. There’s exceptions to that, but usually, it can’t be done.

Its really nothing wrong with me, there’s nothing wrong with you either. Even if you’re a bad person now, and you know it, that’s not why you weren’t loved. Humans are simply broken, often empty creatures. It’s rare we are able to become good parents without God’s help.

So, since I did nothing to bring this on myself, I also can’t fix it. That’s why it’s about restoration. I need to be given back what I lost. Security, Love, Joy, Self-Worth. Things that were ripped away from me, I do not exaggerate (I think people with good parents can’t imagine how cruel bad parents can be, and that’s probably a good thing for them, but sometimes Victims get dismissed as being over-dramatic about our lives by people who just haven’t lived it. So, let me just say, I try not to exaggerate, when I use strong language, it’s because I think it’s appropriate.)

I guess in closing, I’m trying to say that Healing is not always fast. In the church, we often talk and sing as if healing is one prayer away.

That’s a product of our instant relief mindset. If you read the Bible, both OT and NT, you’ll see deliverance often takes time and patience, and we’re even told to be glad when it does (working on that still). There are the big time miracles, but things like trauma just don’t go away all at once.

There’s a misunderstanding in much of the Church, though not all, that all problems are alike, just attacks of something at random, or when we’re weak. Some problems are that, but many stem from patterns and years of trouble in our lives. Especially like in my case where the church was bound up in the trauma of abuse, though it was unwittingly so. It’s sickening to me how people like my dad can use the church as a tool, but within any human group, there are blind spots. At least if you look for them.

We sing that God is just one prayer or song or moment away… but what about when God chooses to make us wait longer than that?

The Bible has lots of examples for us, but we seem to forget the context for them. It’s something I had to reconsider of late.

So, praying for relief, and singing about it, have not got me very far. My anxiety isn’t calmed when I’m still focusing on it.

But when I slow down, and breathe, and just let it be, I get a little bit of traction.

Which is why I think this Oh Hellos song sums up much better what many of us need right now:

At the edges of my fingers, never quite closing round it, that peace like a river always flowing, never getting. Seems like maybe it’s not all that much a place, as it is a way. And ways don’t ever seem to want to stay too still, too long./

Isn’t that what’s it’s all about? The slow trickling that sets the banks in half, the sweet melody it makes as the canyons crack. I want to give it all I got, and I want nothing, no I want nothing back./ Whatever kingdom come, it probably won’t come quick, no might clarion to announce it, no single use ark to discard in an instant. Like Theseus’s ship, we’ll fix the busted bits. Till it’s both nothing like, and everything, it’s always been. It’s a wonder we expect a thing to stay the same at all./

Isn’t that what it’s all about? We keep fixing what we know is only bound to break, what’s worth saving’s never worth letting go to waste. I want to mend what I’ve got instead of throwing it away./

Ain’t nothing comes easy, no nothing comes quick, it’s gonna hurt like hell to become well, but if we set the bone straight, it’ll mend, it’ll fix, and we’ll be well.

Ain’t nothing come easy, no nothing comes quick, but I want for you this:That you are well. I want for us this: That we are well.”

The Bible says Peace is like a river. Isn’t it odd that it does not say Peace is like still water? A lake or pool maybe? No, it’s a river. Seems more like something Pocahontas would like, because it’s always moving. It’s not much like the eastern idea of serenity is it?

But, with the help of this brilliant song, I began to understand why the Bible might use the image of a river.

I found that peace if I chased it, and tried to treat it like a place to camp out, was fleeting. What comforted me one day didn’t the next, what worked one day didn’t the next. I can move one way and feel better, the next day I might feel worse.

But my understanding of healing and health was off. I wanted to just lie down and be at peace. But if I lay down, my mind would dwell on my fears. If I held still, it would catch up.

But trying to move, to make myself think of other stuff, didn’t work either. Trying to pray or worship out of it didn’t work. I was often scared even doing that and my mind went right back to worrying (I still have this problem).

What started to change that was when I realized a little that this is a journey of learning how to walk differently, to walk with God step by step, as Rich Mullins sang, and walk in straight paths. It really is a way, and Jesus actually calls Himself The Way, not a place. God is a shelter, a strong tower, but Jesus, our savoir, is The Way. Being saved comes by learning to walk in Him. God bails you out, but Jesus changes you until you no longer need to be bailed out (of course it’s more complex than that, but I’m trying to give a vague idea of how it works here, not a whole theology of who does what).

How can I describe it? I think the song puts it better than I can. Peace and Healing is the slow trickling that wears down the banks and cracks the canyons, which you might see as our problems and obstacle to change, just like water erodes rock now. It happens so slowly you don’t notice, it’s not loud, it’s not announced with a clarion.

It’s not something you can pray once for, not like the reference to an ark, this isn’t the Flood, a one time disaster, it’s an ocean we have to keep crossing, a river we have to float down.

And when our vessel (which can mean ourselves, in the Bible, and also a ship) is fixed bit by bit, it will be nothing like it was before, because it’s new, and yet it will still be us, far more ourselves than we were before, so it is everything it’s always been.

I think when the song says that I want to mend what I’ve got, be cause what’s worth saving is never worth letting go to waste, it means that if we think we are worth saving, we must believe we are wroth healing. That we should not hate what we are, but be willing to be fixed bit by bit, and not throw out our whole selves. We are given this raw material to work with, what we let God make of it is another matter, as Lewis pointed out.

Finally, the song reminds us that a truly good person will want us to be well. and tells us that it is never easy or quick, that it hurts like hell to become well (and often physical therapy is more painful than the original injury, if you totaled it up) but if you set the bone straight, it’ll mend. In other words, you have to correct what’s been wrong, you have to be set on the right path, you have to be changed, and then you will heal.

I will only heal when I have been changed, but you could just as easily say, I will only change when I have been healed. Both are true because it’s a simultaneous process.

That’s why human cures rarely work for stuff like this, many people I know chase a healthy diet, exercise, and outdoorsy lifestyles, and many are still sick all the time with serious problems. But they are only trying to heal, they are not trying to change who they are. They probably can’t.

And people who try to change how they are by force, will fail even harder. The bone has to be guided and held back into place, you can’t do it yourself.

Which of course, is why you have to be careful when you think about that river. Remember that you can ride down a river with no effort on your part except staying straight. That’s how Peace is, you let yourself be moved as God moves you. Not by your own power, not trying to stay still. It’s more work to stay still in a river than it is to move.

This turned into an essay, but I kind of like it. Until next time, stay honest and get healthy–Natasha.