Does Christianity work on me?

Hey fahm.

You know, I never talked like that before I liked Camie’s character in mha, it’s funny how you can change how you talk based on things like that.

Well, I think it’s fun to have more of an accent anyway.

How’s everyone doing? I know I haven’t updated this blog a whole lot lately. I’ve been writing a lot on Wattpad.

But hey, I’m up to 2.3k views on one story, if y’all want to go check that out.

[ https://www.wattpad.com/user/worldwalkerdj ]

I’ve also not had a lot to blog about, other than getting a new kitten (who’s doing great still btw, I wrote more about her here: New Kitten)

But an important milestone happened last month, it’s officially been 2 years since my dad moved out.

WOOOOO!

I cannot believe it’s been that long. Still feels like a few months ago he was here.

And I still can’t believe it was mostly my efforts that made it happen, with some help from my siblings.

It’s so weird. That’s a part I rarely tell people who actually know me, I feel like it would shock them. People already don’t get why I was happy about the whole thing.

In hindsight, I could have been more tactful about it, but I am an open book…

People have to get used to that about me, it’s a shock at first.

To this day, we do still feel bad about it at times. My dad didn’t hesitate to lay the guilt trip on thick when I did talk to him for the first time.

And it bothered me.

I still get dreams about it all too. They tend to make me doubt myself, my worth, my decisions. My sisters gets them too.

But the difference now is, he’s not here. We can replay all his words in our heads, but he’s not here to say them. At some point, either you embrace that or you don’t, I think.

Something that bugged me a lot about it all too is this:

Does Christianity really work?

If my mom and dad really believe, how can they act the way they do? Why are they not kinder?

But recently, I’ve realized I could ask myself the same questions.

Christianity ought to make me happy all the time, if it’s true. It’s truly an amazing belief. Puts everything in the right place, mean that life has a meaning beyond what we can imagine.

I think the very reason it doesn’t make me feel that way all the time is because humans cannot hold the whole truth in our heads for very long. You grow into it…

But really even a piece of Christianity is enough food for thought to last you your whole life, so the whole things is even harder.

Other religions usually just have piece of Christianity in them, and the make more of one thing than another. Then add their own stuff to it.

If we could fully realize it at all times, I think we would live completely differently always.

But our focus shifts from one element to another.

In my life, I’ve accepted that God highlights certain aspects of it for me when I need them. That I can’t try to focus on it all at once, I grow in one thing at one time, and another thing at another time. And hat is the only way I think we really can live.

If that’s not your life, you’re probably not grown at all.

And why would I want to exclude certain parts of it anyway? I want the whole picture.

All the immature Christians I know tend to end up stuck on one thing, and they refuse to leave it, ever.

You’ve met the type no doubt, if you life in the West. They harp on about judgment, or holiness, or grace, till you’re sick to death of it.

And you wonder “what about all the other elements of it?”

Yeah, being a well rounded Christian is kind of like being the avatar. You can’t rely too much on one element, you need all of them together, or you’re off balance.

God is a consuming fire, you have to know him as such–but he’s also the living water, and you need to know Him as that.

And really, that’s what make God interesting, isn’t it? As well as people, if you really get to know them.

We spend too much time in our niches now. It used to be you had a friend you learned different stuff about that friend.

But now I can have online friends for each interest i my life, and never need to go beyond that, ever. And it’s no wonder I feel like I don’t really know any of them that well.

That said, I can’t always know why some Christians don’t live the way I want.

But there’s two point to be made here.

  1. Christians are never promised to be 100% perfect while on earth. We’re told that will not happen, n fact–and we wouldn’t’ be able to relate to anyone else if it did.
  2. It’s entirely possible my idea of what everyone should live like is shallow and narrow minded. Do I know everything? No.

And those who criticize Christians for that reason are actually kind of arrogant. Like, you think you can judge us for still having issues? Do you have a better way of life? Are you doing so much better?

Christianity does not promise to fix all you problems overnight. It promises to save your soul.

What you do with that, is going to be a journey.

But whats the alternative?

I’m convinced that there is no way of life we can take as human that it will turn us into angels.

But Christianity is the only thing that will make anything close to it.

The idea is how close are we getting?

Christian re not always good peopel, but mor chirsitn are good people than people who have no God, and no faith. Or who have iath ina ahrshed God.

Not all charitiyes are chirsitn, but most of them are.

Not all world chagner have ben chirsitnst–but mst of the ones we still revere to this day were.

Not all really good books and sotreis are christiant, but many of the ones we still like after so many centureis were.

One has to look at the tendancies of man, not isioated indivuaile, sometiems.

While my dad was a jerk, and still is. I can’t being to guess how much worse it would have been if he did not at atle thav eto rpetend to be Christiatn. If it spared me one bad moment out of two, then it was something.

And he at least taught me to trun to God, even if he did not practice it himself the way I think he shoudl ahve.

My dad, while the most destructive force in my life next to my own human nature, also ushered in a lot of moments of truth for me.

Do I like him? No.

Can I ignore that? No.

God brings good out of bad, that’s what He does. He doesn’t just keep all bad away from us.

I find that view of life escapist.

I know that people often see this explanation as a christian cliche, and bitter, angry people do not want to hear it anyway.

But I’m to the point where I think: Well, sure, it’s cliche…but what else could you conclude based on the world around us?

God has to be good, I know, because if God was evil why would anything good still exist?

An Evil God would not bother giving us free will, would He?

You can’t reconcile the presence of Good and Evil in the world without a good God giving his creations free will, it’s just not possible.

If God was evil, we all literally wouldn’t have a prayer. If God didn’t care, then we would all be dead already from our own stupidly.

If God is Good, but does not force us to be, then we have our answer. Evil has consequences. To stop them is to render it meaningless to choose at all.

You can’t give your kids keys to the car, and then put it on autopilot, and say that they drove it. It’s just not how choice works. If they crash it, that was a a risk you took.

But it’s more of a risk to not let a kid learn how to do things for themselves, is it not? If you cannot coddle them through life, what will they do?

And God could do that for us, but he seems more interesting having adults, or at least kids with some sense of self.

Every child understands the idea of choice, it’s us older people who try to say we don’t have one.

It’s an old answer, but maybe let’s old because it’s true.

We should consider that, you know.

Some things are just true, so they are eternal.

I know that people who have been hurt do not want to hear that it had to happen.

And maybe it didn’t, I’m not sure sin ever “had” to happen.

But it does.

We all do it.

I’m inclined now, at 22, to think it’s a better use of my time to let God heal and teach me to live better, than to whine about how it all sucked.

Jesus suffered too, after all.

I still have lots of memories of self pity, but God willing, they are getting less.

And I do have some things I still need to work through, but I’m leaning also that it is not the most important thing in the world.

I guess, I’m saying, we can complain about our lives…or we can take the offer to have them made new.

But guess what, whether you take Gods’ offer or not, you’re life is still going to have bad things in it.

It’s just a matter or whether you ever want there to be more to it than that.

That has always been what Christianity offers. Not an escape from the world, but from yourself, and your pain.

With that thought, I think I’ll just end this here, this is short for me, but I think that’s okay.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

“I’m bad at love!”

Time for a confession: I’m bad at love.

I’m the blogger who’s always like “love, love, love” “The secret to life” “the truth about love…” etc.

But I suck at it.

I don’t know if anyone is actually good at love, though.

Is there a single person out there who prioritizes love as their goal in life who thinks they are doing it right?

Show me someone who does, and I’ll show you someone who’s not really as unselfish as they think they are.

It’s true that some people achieve a form of contentment with how they love. And that’s not a bad thing to an extent, feeling satisfied with the relationships in your life, but often that means you’re only focusing on a certain few relationships.

Like maybe you love your wife, but you don’t love your parents the right way.

It’s so rare that an human can perfectly balance all their relationships and ways of loving.

Some of us are good with loving our kids, but not our spouse. Some of us are good with friends but not as lovers.

Much more often though, we’re just good at certain parts of love. When we need to be firm, we’re good at it, or when we need to be soft, we’re good at that, but not good at switching gears. And in all love, you have to be both.

I speculate that even if we could be a perfect, romance novel type of person who never gets mad at their SO even if the do terrible, stupid things…we’d still think we could do better.

But to be honest, even that’s a are person.

Most of us are where I often find myself: Complacent. We think we’re pulling enough of our own weight to excuse any indulgences of selfishness.

I’m embarrassed to admit that even recently I’ve fallen into thinking “Well, I do all this, and I’m trying. And they (insert whoever I’m mad at right then) are not, so it’s okay if I feel disappointed and bitter, but they should try harder.”

And only after months of this does it finally occur to me, by some move of the Spirit maybe, that…” hey, maybe if I’m thinking this, it’s a sign I’ve started to drift away from love as my focal point.”

I mean, I think about love all the time–as something I want.

And, okay, I’m not the worst woman in the world. I do try. Even when I’m in a selfish rut, I will make an effort to show care to others because that is my standard. I believe I should.

And absolutely, in moment when we all get in that mindset, it’s important to have a standard we’ll hold ourselves to anyway, even if we’re doing it with a self pitying attitude, because it’s not okay to just lash out at and hurt others because you feel neglected. I used to do that.

A lot, actually, but since my Dad moved out, I’ve noticed how much like him that behavior is, and tried to stop.

I remember Hannah Hurnard’s brutally honest observations in “Hinds Feet on High Places” when she noted that most of our love, as fearful people, is “longing to be loved.” C. S. Lewis noticed the same thing in “The Great Divorce” and “Till We Have Faces.”

I think all people are afraid they won’t be loved. Sometimes even if you have really good parents, you fear it all the more, because you think you could do something to them they really don’t deserve, and lose their love. What else is the story of the prodigal son about?

If you’re like me, and you will never get love from them, no matter how much you try, then you feel you were doomed from the start.

And it hit me in the last week, that the real reason I find it hard to forgive and let go of resentment is Fear.

I think that’s the reason we all do, actually.

Fear motivates spitefulness and hatred and bitterness. (All things that plague Much Afraid in Hurnard’s book, interestingly enough)

I think it’s becuae as long as we fear someone who hurt us, we think they can keep urting us, and that maks us angry, and that angeyr make it impsosible to forgive them.

When I don’t feel afraid of my dad, I don’t feel like I hate him. But any time I ruminate on what he did and wants to do to be still, I get angry, because I fear it. I fear he can still hurt me, and that I will never heal.

And whether that is at all based on the truth or not, I don’t know. I doubt it. I think that time is passed. but, there it is.

I notice often bad dreams trigger me to start thinking of this again, I know that happens to a lot of people with trauma. We have to deal with them quickly. If I don’t the fear comes back. Even if I wasn’t scared in the dream, my mind ends up on those things.

I know my dad had nightmares of his messed up past even to the time he move out probably (which as of last month is now officially 2 years ago, whoo hooo!) and he never got over it, he wouldn’t face them.

My dad, in fact, lives in deep terror, whether he admits it or not, but he won’t confront that fear enough to move on. It’s easier to live in lies and self pity than it is to face your fear, and grow into love.

And really, I sympathize with him in my more clear headed moments, because I know I face those same temptations. And nothing makes me a better person that him.

I would have mistreated people just the way he did, in fact, I have, in the past And while I can write off some of it as I was a child and too young to know better if I wasn’t taught, there are people who never grow out of it (such as my dad…)

And so easily, even now, I an start thinking like him. The whole world is against me, no one likes me, I always get put down…I am lonely.

But I’ve begun to notice, after 2 years, that I am not open to people always the way I think I am.

I just never learned how to act normal around them. I’ve made some friends who are kind enough to overlook that, but I know sometimes I make them uncomfortable. I only realize it after I’ve done it, though, my foresight is not great.

I know how to react to people, that’s what I’m used to, but how to communicate the right way when I have to start it…I always feel like I’m too intense. All the confrontations I saw growing up were one person bullying another.

And sometimes it was my mom, not my dad, who was aggressive and violent, that was weird to realize. My dad was worse, but she could be savage too, not in a good way.

I thought it was normal. My default in confrontation is to jump wright into the crux of the issue without much of a warning, because that’s what I saw. I know in my head that in can be better to ease into it, but I neither know how to do that, nor know how to be patient if someone else tries it. I just want them to get to the point.

I’m used to being accused, so I wait for them to accuse me, and then I either decide to take the blame, or to fight it.

But while sometimes you have to be in that position, it’s not a good default mode to have. I know that now.

This is how I’m bad at love. I can know that, but I can’t act on it of my own volition.

I’ve spent two years now trying to learn how to actually love in the absence of my dad’s domineering presence, I thought it would happen without that toxic black hole in my life.

And some things did get better, but it’s not magic. It’s still work.

Trust is like a pond of murky water
Too dark to see, mysteriously undercover
I can’t jump off the high dive even though I really want to
My toes are hanging off the ledge

Trust is a tree that towers fifty feet above us
Grown over time through many seasons
Believing in something more than just the surface
I trust that this is worth it
But my toes are hanging off the ledge

Lord, help me, there’s a thorn in my side
I feel the tension and the fear in truth
I carry life in between the divide
But all the wrestling has left me bruised.

How sweet, the taste of certainty
That gift you gave is safe with me

Hold to this, significance
Lean into the process
Rest and know, the love you hold
Won’t be taken back, no

How sweet, the taste of certainty
That gift you gave is safe with me
Na, na, na, na, na

Trust is like the middle of the ocean
Can’t see the bottom but I’m floating here, supported
I know that it can take me even deeper if I let it
But my limbs are trying to swim away

Hold to this, significance
Lean into the process
Rest and know, the love you hold
Won’t be taken back, no

How sweet, the taste of certainty
(Releasing hope to carry me)
How sweet, the taste, never let it go, no
(Na, na, na, na, na)I see the walls that are torn and bent
The tug of war in the now, not yet
Holding back what they can contain
Can you tell me why I feel this way?

I have faith that the world I’m in
Will be redeemed to its place again
But there’s a weight that I can’t explain
So tell me why I feel this way.”

Like Paul said, “I don’t do what I want to do.” (Romans)

And like Shakespeare said, “I can easier teach 20 what it were good to be done, than be one of the 20 to follow mine own instruction.” (Portia, The Merchant of Venice.)

But, the answer came to me, as it always does, before I even knew I needed it. Before I had all this hit me in that last couple weeks, I reread “The Hiding Place” with my young cousin.

At the end of that book, Corrie Ten Boom says that when she had trouble loving one of the Nazi Prison Guards from the camp she was at, she told Jesus “I cannot forgive this man, give me your forgiveness.” And she felt a rush of love run down her arm for the guard.

She then writes “When He (God) tells us to love our enemies, he gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches, abide in me.”

And you see, my mistake, I now realize, has been I was trying become more loving on my own.

It’s laughable really. I wanted to prove I was no like my dad, (and thought I know from Todoroki that its not going to work if i do that, I still forget), and so I tried, but I didn’t’ pray to God for help when I should have, and I let myself try too hard on my own, for too long. Till I feel like I hate everyone around me.

And even if that didn’t turn me into a prick like Endeavor, it won’t make me more loving.

It’s like I think I can be exempt from the rule, that I’m not as bad as everyone else. What am I on, right?

But I’m also realistic enough to know I’m not more delusion that the average person…just no less delusional either.

But at least I can snap out of it. I know I’m lucky. God puts things in my path to set me back on track.

I had a thought last night too, I can see God’s hand in my life from start to finish. But why do other people not see that.

And my thought is this: Perhaps it takes opening yourself up to God to begin with to be given the insight to see your life the right way at all.

Maybe until you let God in, you will never see how your whole life has led you to Him, even the sin. Many people who come to God later come to think that their sin itself is what pushed them to Him, even as they were trying to get away from him by doing it.

I remember running from God when I was 11 to 13, and the harder I tried to get away, the more it haunted me. The more I knew it was just God I was afraid of. I could never lie to myself enough to think I just didn’t believe in Him. I wonder if anyone really does, deep down, think that.

But when I ran from God, I also knew He was the only cure for the disease I had. I was just too afraid of it. When I came back to God, it as because I accepted finally it would be worse to die of the sin disease than to embrace the pain of being cured from it.

And in typical fashion, God then made the curing of it far less painful for me than suffering from it was. I’ve had bad moments in my Christian walk, but even at its lowest, I can’t compare it to the horror of before.

And even if I felt as bad at times as a christian, it is always when I doubt the most that I am one. When I am secure in who I am, the suffering is not what matters most to me.

Another thing that occurred to me during all this, was how I know that all this is not just in my head.

I actually have a rather strange way to know that.

I’m the kind of person who dwells half her waking life in imaginary worlds. I write a lot, my sister and I reenact stuff in order to brainstorm, I act. I know what’s imaginary more than I know what’s real, most of the time.

Basically, I’m the type of person who always imaging talking to people who are not real. But I know they aren’t real. It’s fun, but it’s not like talking to a person. There’s no give and take.

And I know many anime weebs do what I do, and do it even to a perverted extent. If you’re in the fandom, you know…if your’e not, it’s probably better I don’t explain it here. Look it up if you care, but I don’t recommend that.

Suffice it to say human corruption runs even to the most innocent of shows. Sadly enough.

But many weebs are very lonely individuals, and loneliness leads to perversion faster than anything else does.

But the thing is, they are still lonely. Fantasy lives of the kind they have don’t fill them.

If you hang around fans, you’ll notice the frantic, almost rabid energy they have toward their favorite character, and their unfettered need to hate their lest favorites. It seems excessive.

But fans try to milk everything for the most enjoyment they can (which is fine).

Now, walking with God, I as a fan have used that energy as motivation to thank God for the stories I like that I think I learn from. My fan side turned back into devotion, though I do struggle with the balance, like anyone else would. But God wins out every time.

And oddly, it is exactly because I dwell in fantasy so much that I know God is not a fantasy in my head.

I know what it’s like to talk to people who are not real. What it feels like. You can be emotionally invested in them. All writers are. But they aren’t real. You now that. You know it’s one sided.

And a fan knows ultimately that either love is fake and one-sided, the character will never be real–no matter how violent you get when someone makes that completely obvious point. (If I was on YouTube right now and commented that under a video, people would jump on me, even though it’s just a statement of fact.)

Talking To God is not like that. I think most religious people would back me up on this. You feel like your are talking to a person. There’s a response. Even in Silence, there’s a response.

I mean, would you get mad at an anime character for not answering you when you call? Or do you get mad at your brother for doing that? Or you child, or your parent.

You can’t really be upset with someone who is not real. You can feel a dislike for them, but you know it’s all for fun, really.

We can even dehumanize real people to the point we treat them like the are imaginary…but it doesn’t go the other way around, does it? You can make something less real to you, but it is hard to make it more real to you.

Ever had someone ruin a movie or show for you by telling you the special effects they use to make that awesome scene? And it was fake the whole time?

As a kid, we all had that, right?

Did you ever feel the same watching it? No. Because it could be made less real to you, but it cannot go backwards. It can’t be more real to you.

I think the only thing that make things feel more real is our own maturity to appreciate them growing. And that process is hard.

C. S. Lewis wrote that children outgrow fairy tales, but adults eventually grow back into them. That’s part of life. Everything you like you must learn to stop liking it for a while, in order to like it in a deeper way later.

Which is why marriage can be tempestuous after so many years, but the couples who stick it out often find a deeper kind of love. Friendship too. Even sibling relationships play this out. and those ten to be the least antagonistic out of family dynamics (there are exceptions).

That applies to love too, doesn’t it? How we love? We have to grow out of it, so we can grow back into it.

If we don’t embrace that process, we won’t be able to really love anyone or anything.

Maybe you need to hear that, huh? It’s okay to let something go, it doesn’t mean you can’t love it…it means you need to give you over time to mature. Don’t try to recreate old feelings if they are just not there…embrace the journey. (I mean that when it’s applicable, of course.)

I don’t mean to give up on a relationship if it no longer feels the same. I mean, if you accept it is not the same, and decide yourself to make it the best of what it is now, you’ll either find you dont need it anymore, or, it will turn into something better, deeper, given enough time.

That’s why if you love something you have to set it free.

Well, I’m little better at love than I was, because I have a good teacher.

I hope this helped someone today, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

P. S. (Thanks to all the people who kept reading this even while I was gone for while, I appreciate that.)

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When you want to help…

It’s funny how telling the truth can open doors for you.

My sisters and I spent 4 hours yesterday talking to a girl whit a very similar situation to the one we got out of. Same kind of abuse, mostly, same hiding behind the church, same manipulation. Same fear too.

She seemed relieved just to be listened to her. Like us, she’s had people blow her off one too many times.

It’s hard to hear other people’s stories, knowing they are still suffering, but haven’t been able to break free yet. We encouraged her to have a plan, and reach out for help, but we can’t do it for her, not without proof.

I don’t know where it will go, but I do know she seemed a little lighter after unloading all that. Just not suffering alone can be helpful.

It’s funny, between being at home, the life of a victim can be pleasant by turns, just like anyone else’s. What makes abuse a little hard to explain is that you can seem like you do normal things, and the twistedness is always in how it’s just not done the way other people do them.

Like while we talked her parents must have called at least 4 times to ask if she was okay, but she was with us the “Super Christian purists” as her mom thinks, at a cafe two minutes from their house, just talking.

I was like “what do they think you’re doing to do? Drugs?”

But that’s her reality.

At least I didn’t have to deal with that, my dad was paranoid, but didn’t really care about me enough to check in most of the time. Only if I was out past 10pm usually. He did try to discourage me from liking most of my friends, and boys…and anyone who wasn’t in his circle.

Well, comparing stories is useless except to sympathize.

I could see plenty of myself in her experiences, and some things are worse. The physical abuse is worse for her, the emotional abuse was worse for me, but, really, it’s just as damaging either way.

It’s so sick to think how normal this is for so many people, and how often it is even in the church. I don’t blame the church for what these people do, just for not being open about talking about it so that people can seek protection there, like they should be able to do.

My church is better than many, and I can’t speak for every church, of course, just none of the other ones I went to were useful, but since my dad did pick the churches we went to, that may be a symptom more than a cause. He always picked ones where he could get away with it.

Perhaps other people may be wondering what it’s like for us to talk to others with similar experiences, knowing what we know now.

I think the hardest thing is, knowing how much to say. There are somethings I was only ready to hear after months of therapy, recovery, and healing. There are some things I was only willing to accept once I had already decided to trust God.

What I told her is what I think I needed most to hear when I was stuck:

That, I didn’t get explanations and answers until I had already chosen to trust. Understanding does come, faith does come, once you have left that up to God.

I also mentioned that I don’t know why some people get saved from these situations supernaturally, and others don’t. But that God did work in our lives, and I can’t deny that. Why do some people get the fairy tale rescue and others get the action hero type where you’re trained to do it yourself, who knows? Could have something to do with ones calling.

Not everyone who has been abused is called to help other people get out of it, but the girl in question is already one of the healers, I think, and like us, it could be she is supposed to learn how to overcome it so she can help other people.

Let’s be real, for every Christian in this situation, there’s probably 100 non Christians at least, if not more, in a similar or worse situation. Christians may still get abused, but, it can’t be denied it happens to us less often. It would be very strange if it didn’t.

To be able to enter that field and understand the kind of pain and damage those people carry, and knowing how God fixes it, you have to have felt it yourself.

I like to quote Betsie Ten Boom “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will believe us because we have been here.”

We were there.

I am still recovering. New breakthroughs in defeating anxiety are still happening for me every month. New memories that are losing their power. New things I realized about freedom. I am not the same person, but also, I have always been this person.

I tried to give our friend hope. I said “It’s not easy to choose that path, but if you choose it, years from now, at the other end, you will be a new person.”

It’s up to her and we know that. As much as I believe it’s morally wrong to give in and choose hatred and bitterness, I know it can not be forced to forgive and heal. You have to want that.

We told her how we wanted a better life than that, well, I did. And how I fed myself with stories about it so I knew there was something better out there, so I had something to hope for.

I still do that to this tday.

I read Webtoons obsessively sometimes, and sometimes just casually, I know they aren’t very realistic for the most part, some are better at that.

But what it does is constantly put before my eyes a best case scenario, a better version than what I saw growing up.

To the point where my idea of marriage is far more connected to what I believe it should be, than to what I saw. I realize that is actually rare for someone in my position.

I didn’t realize it till recently, talking to other people, and seeing how they hate men, they hate marriage, and they hate relationships, all because of that association with their past.

Like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, I was not informed just by my own family.

Trashy romances (of which many webtoons are not by the way, all due respect to those authors) have few uses in this world, but if you read it with an eye for what is real, even amidst what isn’t, you can begin to dream.

Its also good to read true stories of happy couples, realizing they really do exists, and not listening to bitter people who’ve never made a relationship work tell you that it never happens.

My father spoke very negatively of marriage, though he said my mom was the most wonderful woman in the world, he also referred to her “jokingly” as his slave, made fun of her weight, her singing, and would gross us all out on purpose and tell us stories we said we didn’t want to hear, if we protested, he got upset.

If I went by that, I’d think men were just what the angry feminists say.

But I’ve also read of men who are much, much more considerate, and been treated better by other guys I know, and had some stereotypes called into question even by my cousin.

Heck, men can be more emotionally damaged than women a lot in this country because of our gender stereotypes about them. At least people will believe me if I say it happened.

I don’t hate men. I do detest the kind of men who do thinks I detest, I detest women like that too.

I’m lucky. I was shown the foolishness of doing that much sooner than many women are. But I also wanted to be fair.

I think really, it’s all in what you want to be true.

Someone who really wants it to be true that true love exists, that gentlemen are not extinct, that women are actually compassionate (some of them), that freedom from trauma happens… that person will not give up until they find those things. The odds are, in this life, they will eventually, if you live long enough.

Someone who has already accepted that it’s all a lie will stop looking, and if you don’t seek , you don’t find.

Jesus promised that everyone who asks receives, everyone who seeks finds, and to whoever knocks the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:8)

He didn’t say it happens the first time you ask, he told us to ask again and again until we get it.

He also said he who endures to the end will be saved.

It maybe that some people do not make it out, but I believe, if they seek, if they ask, if they knock, either they are delivered in this life, or in the next. Usually in this life.

Lucky for us God also controls the next life.

I suppose that could sound naive, childish, and even crazy to many people.

Many people are bitter and jaded, and have never understood God to begin with.

To the true believer, the knowledge of God provides something that makes all this suffering worth it. What can we explain about it? It’s like breathing, or like sleeping, it’s not something you really overthink while you’re doing it, you just are.

Of course we have times of questioning if it really is worth it, but it’s my understanding that anything you really love in life, you only really love if you do it when it’s not fun, and believe it’s worth doing even when you’re not getting rewarded for it.

I don’t write for attention, though I do appreciate every view and like that I get, but it’s not why I write.

Just the same, I don’t believe in God and walk with him to get out of pain. I do get out of more pain because of that, I get through pain because of that, but it’s not why I do it.

Getting credit for hard work is the proper reward for the work, but so is just doing the work itself and seeing what you made. In the same way, getting to know God is the proper reward for putting effort into it, and relief form suffering is just the other natural outcome of doing it.

I mean most things have more than one good result. Sex gives pleasure in the moment, but it also creates new life, that takes a little longer doesn’t it? And it’s a lot more work to bring that to fruition than it is to have sex (so I hear) but neither one nor the other is unnatural, or bad. Only one might argue that the long term, harder pleasure of having children is more valuable than the short term pleasure of sex. I’d agree there.

Sometimesknowng God is like sex, exhilaritng, and instantous, and the eoffrt is met with a reward in the moment, you cna’t distuibngis them. (of course there’s going tob e some margin for erro here, just like in real life, not like the movies).

Sometimes knowing God is like having a baby. Plenty of pain, discomfort, and confusion before the final miracle happens, and that miracle tens to just start another series of miracles in the form of child rearing.

Not everyone likes children, not everyone likes sex, for that matter. Ad not everyone likes God. But it doesn’t change how the natural order of things works, and to my mind, whether I am liking it or not, this is the way life works.

If it seems naive, then all I can say is I’ve tried cynicism, and it didn’t do anything for me. Perhaps child-likeness is better in the long run. Cynicism doesn’t make you happy, only self satisfied, and that pleasure just isn’t worth it for what you sacrifice along the way.

all this is osmehting y firend is going to hav eto elarn for herlse,f htough, ad so will anyone else. All I can do is pointe them to wehre this could go, if you are willing. I can’t walk for them.

There are times we have to carry each other, but at some point, all of us will have to stand on our own tow feet and choose what to do with our lives. Love, or Fear; Forgiveness, or Hatred. Complaining or Patience; Depression, or Gratitude.

We can’t make that switch all at once, but in one moment, we can decide what we’re going to aim for. And get as close as we can until the day we die.

And that’s whay I’ve learned about it. I don’t know if oeopel will take my adivce or not, but it’s the trueht. And here, even secular thearpay agrees to a certiane xtent.

Hope this helped, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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Anime Therapy with Momo Yaoyerozu

I had to include the full name because there are so many Momos in animešŸ˜„šŸ˜‚

Well, I revamped my Bakugo post again, if you want to check it out– Anime Therapy with Bakugo.

I am still finding my level with how to write these posts, this one would be harder to do in second person form.

Ah well, just like before, this was partly inspired by CeCe’s Therapy at UA series, though she only has one Momo video.

Gathering Intel

CeCe’s analysis isn’t very extensive, just that Momo is one of the most over-powered characters so she should have more confidence, and that the heroes Momo thinks are stronger than her are “self sacrificial idiots” (which is true, most of the time, except for Todoroki probably).

I will have to expound on it myself, since, actually, I haven’t seen anyone else give the real skinny on what makes Momo an interesting character, especially through the lens of her issues. Though this will be less therapy oriented, and more an analysis of her character that includes her psychology and how it could change, but I don’t know if a therapist would give you this advice, since they are more focused on helping you accept yourself and be the best you you could be, not so much on transformation of who you are, that’s where being a Christian with a message comes in.

And if by chance you are one of the people, or know one, who thinks she’s boring and overrated, allow me the chance to change your mind, let’s go:

Momo has no real personality disorders like most of the boys do. She doesn’t overcompensate, she has no complex, and she isn’t mean or prideful, without being weak. She’s that anime girl we all love, the Classy Queen archetype. The Mom friend. The brainiac with a heart of gold.

So, naturally she’s my favorite, along with Bakugo. But she’s not perfect, and over time I picked out what I believe are her main issues and struggles that never get talked about.

Momo’s lack of confidence is not actually her biggest problem, when it comes to fighting itself. That’s easy to overcome, she just needed to succeed a few times, she’s already pretty well over it. And many might say that concludes her arc. But there’s way more to Momo’s place in the story than just her fighting ability.

Momo has been, from the start, highlighted by the story for her exceptional intelligence, perception, and use of her quirk. She’s the perfect student. A natural leader. She’s essentially, what Bakugo tries to be. To the point where even in season 1, when Bakugo is at his most prideful, he admits he agrees with her assessment of his actions (a little detail most Bakugo haters miss when they say he’s never humble, btw.) Since Bakugo never agrees with anyone, ever, about his actions, that’s noteworthy in of itself. Momo’s analysis is clearly superior if it can’t be argued with.

Yet, Momo often finds herself unsure what to do. It’s like, having all the talent and skill that most heroes dream of at such an early stage makes her even more uncertain how to apply it.

It’s been pointed out that, if she were a villain, the heroes would basically be doomed. Momo couldn’t be beaten if she were evil, she just couldn’t. Not by the students anyway.

And that’s interesting, because misusing her power as a hero is one of Momo’s chief concerns as the show progresses. It’s rather surprising that in the Bakugo rescue arc, it’s Momo who makes up the singular girl on the squad, instead of Uraraka, who’s loyalty to Deku and Iida you might expect to be more of a factor.

Momo’s reason is to keep them in line. She says she doesn’t think they should break the rules and use their quirks, but she “Understands how they feel” and will “Stand by her classmates”. This is an interesting point.

Momo and Iida share a lot of similarities, they are top students who value the rules, and can follow them with ease due to their status and gifting. They both veer more towards order and submitting to authority. You’d expect her to side with Iida on this issue. While she expresses agreement with him, notably her actions indicate more sympathy with the rule breakers. She understands how they feel more than she wants to avoid trouble. When it comes to the point, Momo doesn’t make any move to stop them from taking action.

What intrigues me further is that the MHA movies “Two Heroes” actually revisits this same issue, though I think it’s set before that arc, so you could also say it preludes it. In that movie, there’s a time in an elevator when the students all debate whether they should help or not, and Iida again says they shouldn’t, and Momo begins to agree, but Todoroki ask s “Is it right to just do nothing?” and Momo hesitates and says she’s not sure, “It’s complicated.” (Which, by the way, is one of the ways I ship them, their contrasting views have a lot to teach each other).

In the end, Momo still chooses to help, even to fight once it comes to the point. As, of course, they all do.

I have to love her, but all this wouldn’t have given me insight into her character if I hadn’t had someone else to compare her to, and that person is Bakugo.

At first, they seem nothing alike. But, as I talked about in my Bakugo post, it’s been pointed out by the fandom that he is “crushed by expectations.” That the pressure society puts on him is part of why he is the way he is.

But, look at it more closely. Bakugo is smart, talented, and has a great quirk. His strategy isn’t bad when he actually employs it, and he almost always wins. All that is true of Momo also, though, as girl on a shonen, she doesn’t win as often, but that she beats male characters at all is rather surprising (good for her and Mina, destroying sexism in shonen one small step at a time, right?) It’s not a stretch to say Momo is under the exact same pressures as Bakugo. She is able to please people more– so nartually that it’s too important to her.

The real problem Momo has is not her lack of confidence in her ability, it’s her lack of confidence in herself. She doesn’t believe she knows the right thing to do. She will yield to the judgement of teachers, and other students before she’ll trust her own. It’s brought to light in her episode with Todoroki where she worries that she has not done the “right thing” in the exam, but that could speak for her attitude toward life. Momo is constantly torn between what her heart tells her, and what her head believes because she’s heard it her whole life.

I some ways she stands to be more of a victim of her culture than the boys do. The very fact that she can fit the mold of what makes a perfect hero so well is not a good sign.

To fit any mold completely is to lose any individuality you have to pleasing others. It’s losing your spark that makes you human, not a Barbie Doll of an icon.

It was writing fan fic with Momo in it that made this clear to me. Confronting someone like her with ideas that question the whole foundation of society, you hit a huge wall. Can you picture Momo defying society? Can you picture her doing it, believing it was entirely the right thing to do?

See, not every hero needs to defy society to be considered a hero, but every hero needs to be willing to.

Society is just another word for what the Bible calls “The World” and warns us not to love it, “for the World passes away”. When the Bible warns us not to love the world, it doesn’t mean the world full of people, we’re told God loves the world in John 3:16, The World, in this sense, means all the sins and evils that are brought out by Mass Mentality, or a Mob Mindset, if you will. Peer Pressure, corruption of a whole country, glorifying evil as a whole. That’s the World. The World changes in what it holds up as the alternative to God, but, it never points us back to God. It will never be encouraging true Goodness, because the World doesn’t have any standard of it.

In the words of Switchfoot’s Rise Above It:

“Just because you’re running doesn’t mean that you’re scared, just because it’s law don’t mean that it’s fair. Never let another tell your soul what to fear. Here we go again, give it one more try, don’t believe the system’s on your side. Just another lover turned enemy fight…”

The Hero World, as the name says, is obsessed with Heroes as the alternative to any Divine Direction. Heroes are asked to be more than human. Never to be afraid, never to waver, never to make mistakes. And if they do, instead of it being written off as one person making a mistake, the whole society of heroes is called into question.

Really, it’s just asking for the League of Villains to knock down its scarecrow.

How does Momo fit into this?

Only too well, that’s the issue, as I said. She can be the ideal hero. There’s not one hero in a thousand that’s likely to have all she’s got going for her, on top of her natural talent, she’s kind and has major cash to back up whatever she wants to do. The girl doesn’t even need an agency, she could be her own Agency.

But, Momo is not just some ideal. She’s a kid, with fears and feelings of her own. Which her classmates understand, though it can’t be said many other people do. Aizawa even observes with a tinge of pity that she’s still got the emotional maturity of a 15 year old girl, like that’s somehow a problem. You could call it Pyrrha Nikos syndrome, as Pyrrha was the first character to introduce me to it

But, it’s a bigger problem if Momo becomes unshakable. Someone like her, firmly fixed in the ideals of society, with no filter to measure them though, is dangerous. She becomes a tool of that same society so easily. Much more than Bakugo is ever likely to, she can promote the ideal of perfection in heroes…until she snaps under the weight of it.

Momo’s greatest flaw is her lack of confidence, but curing that simply outwardly by giving her confidence in her hero skills, will actually be more likely to cement the deep issue she has of not following her own morality.

You can’t be a truly good person and spend your whole life doing what others tell you. Read that sentence again.

There’s a quote that’s gone around the feminist circles a lot, but it bears repeating here “Well behaved Women rarely make history.” –Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (You know that originally, it wasn’t “rarely”, it’s “seldom” but that’s another story, sorry, English class is kicking in)

It’s notable that anime preaches conformity, but fills its shows with characters who cannot conform. Whether because they are outcasts, monsters, or idiots. Any reason will do. The one reason you will almost never see is a rational, normal, intelligent person who simply decided the rules were stupid, and chose to rebel. (If you have a counterexample, please comment it below, I’d like to watch it for myself.)

Finally, Momo has one more issue that’s linked to all this, but is more of a microcosm.

Due to her exceptional ability, and her great levels of kindness and compassion, Momo tens to feel it’s her responsibility to fix problems win the class, even between other students.

She’s the Mom character. she wants to take care of everyone. I love her for that. It’s a good thing a lot of the time, goodness knows, it’s hard to care about other people sometimes, having a natural inclination to do that is a gift.

We see it when she encourages Iida in the festival, tells Bakugo and Todoroki to stop fighting in the Jump Fest OVA from season one, and tells the others not to pressure Jiro into playing in public. Momo is always trying to make people feel better.

But it is to the point at times where she feels responsible too much. Sometimes people should be pushed. Kaminari maybe understood better that Jiro really wanted to be valued for her musical talent, and Momo didn’t. Because Momo always wants there to be peace. But, peace is not always an option until issues are resolved.

Momo avoids conflict and confrontation. Because she is a people pleaser herself, and it’s easy for her, she assumes that it’s best for everyone to be that way. To not make waves. She gives way to others, even when it’s not a moral issue, but a matter of preference. She’s almost too giving.

She starts of in the class with this problem not being so developed. She’s willing to criticize and correct. She’s even a little sassy in the USJ incident. But what changes in her is I believe is the result of the trauma of people being hurt so often.

Momo can’t stop it, she can’t be in control and have a plan to keep everyone safe, and she copes with that by worrying even more about them constantly. Momo will treat every small problem like a crisis, even if it’s just someone getting minorly uncomfortable. She will downplay all her own accomplishments because it’s just not enough for her.

Momo might not have had this problem so badly, since she seems to come from a fairly stable background, if not for the UA trauma, but that’s kicked her to be in crisis mode almost all the time. It’s not that difficult to figure out psychologically.

I think it kicked in in the festival, but why did she take losing to Tokayami so hard? Because she felt helpless. When you’ve been in a life or death situation, any failure in training is going to feel like it’s endangering the life of you and people around you.

Even if in the actual crisis she always does something useful, in her mind that’s never good enough, because she couldn’t’ prevent it and handle it all perfectly.

Now that I’ve detailed the reasons behind her problems, what’s the actual therapy?

Believe it or not, this hits home for me too.

I’m not a hero, but I grew up in church, raised to believe there was one right way to behave. I still believe that, but I believe now that you can’t depend on one person to always tell you that. Or one system. There is no man, or man made thing, that will not make you into a villain if you listen to it exclusively. Just as C. S. Lewis pointed, there is nothing in human love that will prevent if from becoming devilish if you let it go unchecked as the Best Love, without moderation.

I don’t personally relate to Momo’s perfectionism. I was tempted to it sometimes as a teenager, but my personality makes it impossible for me to people please, I could never dedicate myself enough to destroying who I am to pull it off, and I’m not easy naturally. But, I do have a sister who’s a lot like Momo in that way. And after listening to her for years, I think I have an idea what it’s like. I also have a mom who’s much more like that.

It won’t be easy for Momo to let go. I think out of all our human failings, letting go of the need to control must be the absolute hardest things for us to do. Even people who embrace a chaotic lifestyle need to feel in content, notice how they usually flip their crap if you suggest any kind of order. To them control is not being controlled.

Other people love order so much it’s like an addiction, those people freak me out, but I imagine I’d freak them out too if they saw my room… yeah…

My sister had to work for a long time on it. She still prefers order more than I do, but she’s become less uptight about some of it. It took a lot of encouragement from us to get her to start loosening up on herself, not hyper scheduling everything, not having a checklist of things to do for every hour of every day.

She wasn’t happy that way, but there was a sort of satisfaction in it, there usually is.

But she’s much happier now, and less anxiety driven.

Another thing she had to do was learn to express if she wasn’t okay. For a long time, she couldn’t even form those words in a coherent way, she was so used to shoving it all aside to make my dad happy, or the rest of us.

I had to rag it out of her a lot of the time. And from what I’ve read, sometimes that’s what you have to do, push and push and push until someone tells you what’s wrong.

Just the thing Momo will never suggest doing, but she might need it done for herself.

I know a lot of people have probably been told that if someone doesn’t want to talk about something, you shouldn’t push them.

There are cases that’s true, but if you notice these warning signs, you might need to actually push them until they snap at you, and get some feeling out

  1. They never, ever, ever talk about how they feel.
  2. They always make it about your feelings, so you feel great, but its been years, and you still don’t know anything about what goes on in their heads.
  3. They constantly apologize if you do anything for them, and never ask you for help unless they’ve run out of every other option, and even then they feel guilty (I can relate to this one, though.)

If they do one or all of these things, you need to make them realize you seriously want to hear about em. They may start with just one, very vague negative feeling, but be understanding about that, and they may start to relax.

It’s important that they now it’s okay to feel that way, at least around you. Sometimes all someone needs is one person who they can be vulnerable with.

About people pleasing:

Again, I’ve never done it. I’ve tried to not offend people, that’s the most I can pull off–and usually I fail at that.

What I notice when other people do it though is that they never show me anger, or criticize me. They agree with whatever I say, and they make my happiness the verdict on how a conversation went, or how their personality is, or if they are succeed in life.

Yes, I definitely see Momo in this.

The only way to fix this is to work long and hard at figuring out what you want out of life. And then, choosing to tell yourself it’s okay to have it.

You won’t feel like that at first, if anything, you’ll feel like a bad person.

It’s then you have to choose to trust the people in your life, and the wisdom of many therapists, philosophers and even theologians that say it’s good for you to have dreams and desires of your own, and it’s good to show how you really feel.

Reach out for a hug sometimes. Other people aren’t mind readers. Try not to change the subject if someone asks how you are. Little steps, built up over time, will do wonders.

The deeper heart issues have to be resolved by feeling yourself different stuff. If you are around people who put you down, you need to look for better friend. It’s true, people who see you as a target will gravitate toward you, it just happens.

Even the best human will take advantage of someone they know will give in, I’ve done it. I try not to as much.

It’s okay to do that in a normal friendship, every so often, that’s just love. it’s not okay if it ‘s only ever you who’s giving something to them. Even if you are comfortable that way, remember, other people need to feel good for being unselfish too, it’s actually doing them a massive favor to make them feel needed. It’s critical to our psyche.

Read books that encourage you to see value in yourself.

In my case and my sister’s. it was getting closer to God, who values all of us enough to die for us. And choosing to believe hat, and t recognizing what our dad taught us was a pack of lies, and bullcrap.

I think the most fun thing you can do to get over this is simply choose to enjoy yourself.

My sister has started taking time purposely to hang out with people she likes, and do things she enjoys. It’s great therapy.

Some of you (I don’t think Momo is this far gone though) may be so damage you don’t even know what you like to do. I’ve been close to that place myself.

Then just experiment. Try stuff that sounds interesting, or at least different, try everything, like the song says. If you gravitate toward something, make it a hobby.

You will probably find friends doing that who will build you up because you enjoy the seam things. That’s the best way to become a real person, enjoying yourself. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.

Once you build up some confidence, don’t be hard to confront people to. Make boundaries. I would try to do with with the help of people you do trust first, my sister found that useful, even I find it useful, though I don’t need it.

Have good people back you up, especially if you are been abused or bullied, never try to confront that person alone. Have a witness. Record it if necessary. Police evidence might come in handy.

If it’s a decent person who’s just never been stood up to by you before, expect them to be surprised and to have a hard time adjusting to it, they never knew you had likes and dislikes.If they really care, then they will accept it once you explain why you never told them before, and forgive you (because eyes, it was unfair to them, but they’ll understand if they love you).

And that’s what I can tell you for now. That’s all a great place to start.

And I hope to see Momo grow in these areas, but, hey, if not, I’ll just write it that way myself.šŸ˜‰

By the way if you are interested in checking out my fan fictions, here is a link to my MHA story, I have two currently, and they are actually getting a lot of view right now. One’s only been up for 2 months we’re already at 600+ so not bad. Plus I have my own fan art that people made for me included.

MHA: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/195185530-my-hero-academia-mystery-from-another-world

MHA Fantasy AU: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/262518284-mha-fantasy-quest-for-the-sol

Hope you enjoyed this and found it helpful or insightful in some ways, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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The Memorial and the Speech

Sorry for the wait, I got majorly busy last week. I got a job though! Yay!

And it’s high paying too, at least for a non professional worker. Though at this point, I really am a profession, they just don’t give certificates in nanny and babysitter–well, I think they do, but how many people really bother to get them? (Maybe I should though…)

And some of you who read my recent posts may be wondering how my Grandmother’s memorial went.

Well the answer is, actually, very well, all things considered.

It was odd hearing stories from her sons and step kids, and granddaughter, and realizing I’d heard most of them from her personally. I’ve seldom had that experience at a memorial, I usually hardly know the person in question…which is less sad for me, but can feel like a waste too.

The weird highlight of the day was my Dad’s speech.

Yeah, brace yourself. This is just my crazy family.

My dad was glaring at me most of the time leading up to the actual service. My friend came with me, and he didn’t seem to dare to approach, and I walked away any time he got close. I think mostly, he just did it to reject me, and tried to make a sad face. The result was more of a sullen one, but he never knows how it looks.

I ignored him, and no one else took much notice of it. I’m sure he talked crap about me to whoever would waste time listening to it, but I didn’t hear any of it. I only know because I know him too well.

Anyway, so when he got up to speak, I thought “Why…oh.” and I knew exactly what was coming. I thought “He’s going to put some message directed at me in his speech.” And then I thought “But, at a funeral? And when it’s about Grammy?” Deep down, I knew though.

And I swear to you all, I am not making this up for dramatic affect, my friend has never met my dad before, and she told me he was looking right at me a lot of the time. And she could tell it was directed at me. My mom could too.

My dad chose 1 Corinthians 13 as his text for the speech, not that it was necessary, we weren’t preaching sermons. As soon as she said that, I knew what I was in for. I grabbed my phone and kept my eyes on that.

“I’m not given him the satisfaction of seeing me make eye constantly,” I thought. When I looked up, I made sure to look at the wall or my mom or friend I did steal a few glances at the others but I couldn’t’ tell if anyone else know what was up, but my aunt probably did. He maybe even talked the idea over with her!

Anyway, this was what he said, in a paraphrased nutshell:

Reference himself, he said there was a time when he didn’t speak to his parents for 2 years because he thought he hated them, or they hated him (or both, I don’t remember, it doesn’t matter).

Then he said a lot of stuff about love (1 Cor 13 is about love, if you don’t read the Bible). Dwelling on where it says love suffers long, is kind, keeps no record of wrongs, and all the other stuff about love and forgiveness.

He said my grandmother was a very forgiving person (which is true)

And that she was very loving (also true)

But the way he said it all, I had heard those phrases directed at me many times, always to wound. And I knew the tone he used was the one where he tries to sound holy and profound… but it’s really just begging for sympathy.

My chiropractor, who know my dad, told me he’d come in months ago, after I started coming, and had displayed behavior that indicated he’d had no change of heart. If I go into specifics, it would be too disturbing for many readers.

I wasn’t surprised.

But this speech sealed the deal. I already knew nothing has changed, but I really thought, my aunt will have nothing to say to me after this. If she even tries to tell me he’s different, I can point to this incident.

At a memorial!!!

My friend was disgusted, and she’s a much less judgmental person than I am. I warned her though.

Yeah… really, I was just glad he didn’t say it to my face… then again, if it was too my face, I could have told him off. Doing it this way was sure to guarantee I couldn’t’ call him out on it, he can deny it. No one would believe that who knows him well, but he could still claim it.

While it was less uncomfortable for me, since I knew, at least not everyone there would know it was aimed at me, it was underhanded and petty on his part.

It’s also impressively conniving. I mean, once you renounce any sense of decency about respecting the dead, it’s genius isn’t it? Perfect security plan.

Ugh….

Well, I endured.

It’s okay, when I Write my book about all this, everyone will know the truth. My friends say I should write a book, I’m sure I will… I just haven’t decided quite what I want to say yet. I mean, I can tell my story, but I want to know how God is going to get me out of it, even more than now, before I try to tell people about it. a blog is one thing, you can update it, but a book is just out there, unchanging, unless you re-release it…so it would be wise to be sure I was saying the right thing before I write one.

But maybe I will soon. I’m sure some people would be interested in the story.

I’m not about revenge, but it would be a real relief to set the record straight… and can you imagine the look on my dad’s face if he read it? Ha! Priceless.

I would definitely not name any names, just to avoid humiliating him… though that would, of course, not be something he would do for me. But I’m not that low, you know.

Well, that’s a subject for another time.

I guess the profudn tpoi o fhtis post could just be: What do you do when your toxic family just refuses to stop being toxic?

Well, you can two things (that aren’t unhelaty)

You can ignore it, learn to not mind it, by growing more and more apart from them, and forming bonds with healthy people who really love you. And not being around said family anymore than you absolutely have to be. In my case, they were all civil except for my dad. Who is probably just pissed that I didn’t care about his temper tantrum.

The other thing, which is what I had any writer and artist do, is use it all as fuel for the fire.

Difficult experiences are what turn your writing, (or art) from good to great. If it’s possible for you to achieve greatness, it is usually through pain or toil. My writing got exponentially better during the period of darkness following my dad’s exeunt form my life. It was hard, but I faced more gloom and doom than ever before, and coming out on top, I learned from it.

Even this blog changed. I never used to lie to share my personal business, I was ashamed of the situation, I knew it wasn’t right, but I though I could never complain. My blog had pretty doubled in size since I started sharing personal stuff. More of you comment, more of you like and share. And not that I do it for that, but I think it shows people connect to what I say more.

My blog has more of a theme than it used to.

And I have become a kinder person through all this. And more stable, as odd as that sounds.

I also have become a little craftier. I know how to get around a difficult situation. My dad may be petty, and childish, and psychotic at times…but I know how to prevent him from doing much real damage.

Folks, you have to get crafty sometimes.

Jesus told us to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” That should be a Bible Study series, I’ve yet to hear it preached on though, we don’t like being told to be wise and shrewd do we?

But we must be. If we wish to navigate this dangerous world we live in. Some risks cannot be avoided, but they shold be the smart risks, the ones done for the right reason.

My dad is smart, unfortunately, it would be easier for us if he wasn’t. But I am smarter. And God is on my side in all this, so, there’s always a away.

And if you’re in the same boat as me, turst me, God will be on your side too.

I don’t know why everyone does not get delivered the way we did… I do think, very few people would have done what we did. I’ve met no one so far who has, I’ve read no account of it.

All the prayer and healing I did for years alone was what enabled me to have the courage to go through with it. And it’s worked out amazingly, I must say.

All of us are happier now.

The hardest thing to convince our family of is that we could really be okay. The drama in the family (melodrama at times) has killed a lot of their joy and happiness in life. How can we be any different?

Jesus, that’s how.

I’ve stopped asking why it happened, mostly.

Everyone has bad stuff happen to them. I was lucky that through the bad stuff, I had good stuff too. I was lucky that I never got permanently hurt by it. I was lucky people helped me get out of it.

Others may get more or less than me.

But here’s what I know:

Jesus said that God will pay everyone the same wage, whether they worked all day or only for a few hours.

In the same way, God will heal everyone to the same degree.

We are not all given the same amount of bad things in life, or of good things. Anymore than we can compare the bad and good of humanity as a while from place to place, without having a hard time deciding where it’s the worst and best.

I was given more bad than some, and more good than others.

I do know, that once you give all that to God, the good, the bad, the ulgy, the beuatiful, He makes it all a par to fhte samething.

To God, compairng our evil is pointelss. He knows he can reedem it all the same, no matter how bad it is, just like luangdy sopa wil clearn both a shirt that’s been dragegd thorugh the mud, and one that looks fine, but has been worn for too many days straight. Both get clean in the end.

Sometimes it’s harder to clean something that looks fine to begin with, until you get closer and see it’s not so fine.

At least I can point to were a lot of my issues came from. That’s useful.

Some of you who feel you’ve had it way too rough my actually be better off than someone who thinks they are fine, bcaue they aren’t fine. And you aren’t hopeless.

Really, after all I went through, I circled right back to where I began. Like Chesterton said, we go looking for a new thing, and find that the old thing was right the whole time. We just didn’t understand it.

All right, I think I will wrap this up for now, homework is calling me, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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New Life, New Season

I suppose it’s unchristian not to do a post about Easter… have I ever done one before?

This may not be the most conventional subject for an Easter post, but I was thinking today about some of my old posts. Back from 2015 and 2016.

I wrote one post about how much I didn’t like being wrong. This was not long after I started my blog, probably just a couple months. Nothing has changed, I still hate being wrong.

Being wrong andĀ surviving

And I wrote another post about forgiveness, at this time I was about 16 or 17, I’d say. I know it was before I moved.

At the time, my dad was still at home of course, and would be for a few more years, and he was as awful as usual, though at that time we interacted less, he was addicted to video games and unless I interfered with that, or was working with him to earn money, we hardly spoke.

By then I was already reading books about healing and coming to realize just how much pain I had from him and my mom. This is an except from a post I wrote at the time.

Then

Letting it go-from anotherĀ angle.

“Forgiving is hard. Yet, I wonder why? We all make mistakes and so why are we so hard on each other for making them? Maybe we want to see a fairness in others that we don’t possess in ourselves.

Let me be clear; by forgiving I don’t mean letting people get away with serious wrong doing. Nor do I mean living in a sort of denial that the damage other people’s words do to you, is not that bad. It is actually much worse than most of us know. Forgiveness is actually acknowledging they did wrongĀ and letting it go.Ā In the words of Stasi Eldredge “It was wrong, very wrong, and I release you.”

Forgiveness is actually more for us than the offenders… Emotionally most of us have probably heard about the necessity of forgiveness. When you hold on to the actions of another, you build them into your brain. I don’t mean in a mind control sense. But when you hate someone you obsess over them, you think of them and the things they’ve said and done to you; if it’s someone close to you then you struggle with not having their approval on your life even as you despise their opinion. You feel indifferent to their pain and even glad when they suffer. You say you’ll forget them but you can’t, because you can’t let what they’ve done go. If you don’t remember who will? It won’t matter to anyone. And that is what scares us, that our pain won’t make a difference in anything. That we ourselves don’t matter. These people who hurt us were right about us then. The emotional and mental damage this does to us couldn’t be fully disclosed if we took hours and hours to talk about it. To not forgive is to agree with the people who hurt us and to sink to their level at the same time.

That is why the first step toward forgiving is admitting it was wrong and you were damaged. A lot of people don’t get this far. They won’t admit their weakness. Or in some cases they will only admit their weakness but never that they can overcome it. They wallow in their pain all their lives…

So, if you are willing to take step one and admit you have been hurt–bad (And someone may be thinking “I can so do that.” Well hold on.) What is step two? It varies. It may involve crying your heart out. Grieving the wound the Eldredges call it. (I highly recommend their books Wild at Heart or Captivating for more detail on this very important part.) In my own journey of forgiving, I cried several times; I shared my pain with trusted people–but don’t do it with the person who hurt you, that was always a disaster–I prayed about it. To which I attribute all progress I made. Pain can be scary because it is so deep. Sometimes we wish we’d left it alone in apathy and numbness. But really that’s even more frightening.

After sadness, or sometimes before it, will come anger. More anger. And fear. Here we face yet another choice, we can press on, releasing the anger and fear, or we can let it drive us back. At this point you will not feel like forgiving, nor will you feel like the person deserves it, it will be purely a choice. I suggest writing it down. Saying it. “I choose to forgive (insert their name).'”

Now

Now that I know so much more than I did then about the situation, this level of grace on my part astounds me. Yet, I know it wasn’t me, I wan’t that wise, I was simply following what my teachers taught me, I always did have that childlike faith.

Actually for some context, (sorry for burdening you with my dark past), at the time I was attending a very toxic church– not by choice, my father forced us all to go. I hated it. “

Well they hounded us from the pulpit about forgiveness and how unforgiveness would land us in hell.

I don’t disagree, the Bible is pretty clear about that… but this church took it to an extreme that ignored that real damage other people’s sins did to you. No talk of therapy, no talk of long term healing.. I ‘m not sure the idea of emotional healing was ever introduced. I know plenty of the parishioners had family issues.

My dad would repeat all this at home, expressing fears over himself not making it, and praying that we all would. His fear scared me, I would not have felt dubious about my own salvation, but he constantly introduced doubt. Small wonder I still struggle with it.

I’m not naturally much of a doubter, not anymore, but it seems sown into me. Popping up when I least want it to.

My dad also found testimonies on the internet about people who’d been to hell and back, or saw visions, and warned about unforgiveness.

I cannot say how much of it was true, all I know is the Bible has no stories of any Christian visiting hell and coming back, and no precedent for it, though heaven is permitted we know from Paul and John. Perhaps hell is not impossible, though no one would like it, but at the very least, many of the testimonies were too much like Dante’s Inferno, a human’s explanation of what hell would be like, and I am skeptical hell could make any more sense to us than Heaven, and no human would come up with what the Bible says about Heaven (read Ezekiel sometime)

That’s not really the point. I have to thank my dad in a way, that is what pushed me to salvation, finally. One has to learned to be thankful for what good did come of anything in our crappy past, though once I felt offended at the very idea. And I wouldn’t take kindly to anyone else telling me that, since they’d be dismissing what I went through.

No, my dad did a few things for me, though not really out of kindness in this case, it stands more to God’s power that the fear and doubt of those years actually led to something good for me, God truly can make goodness out of anything.

My dad also read the post I quoted above. Which I wrote with him in mind. I heard him talk to my mom about it while he was reading it. I remember what he said, I may never forget it:

“I was reading (my name)’s post… I can’t imagine who (she) could know that would have hurt her so badly.”

In said post, I wrote how talking to the person who hurt you did no good… thanks Dad, for proving me right.

I really didn’t want him to read my post, and wished my mom would have stopped him, but turns out I had nothing to worry about. I think that was one of the last times he read my blog at all. I know he doesn’t now, he’d not like what I write about him, I’d be sure to hear about it.

Now, I no longer think that telling someone they hurt you does no good, if they are a mature person who truly loves you. Or even immature, but not toxic (it’s not the same thing, after all), but I was right not to tell him.

Years later, probably a year before he moved out, my dad also said in one family meeting that he got a sense that I had very low self worth, and he prayed for me about it.

I was aware enough by then to be thinking “Thanks Dad, who do you think gave me low self worth”

Wasn’t you treating my like dirt my whole life, neglecting me, abusing my emotions, telling me I was responsible for all your problems.

Now, this is not a post just for me to whine about my life.

But, we’re talking about rebirth today.

I’m starting to, like Paul, boast in my weakness. If I can take pride in nothing else, I can take pride that I have this terrible story (though it wasn’t all terrible), and I still held onto my faith.

There are man things I am still waintg for, the fullr edmeption of my past, the full meaning of why it happened t o me. A chance to tell more peopel my story. I aprpeciate ou 220 or so followers, but IW ant to reach even more peopel, more and more.

I haven’t to dlit all here, some things I did not even realzie were significant until later. soem thing sId id not feel comfortable sharing yet.

What can I say about this trial that other, wiser, better peopel have not alread siad? All I jave if my own story.

I can tell you that I’ve never heard of anyone else doing what I did, reading the books, pupmping thmselves full of self-help, roads to healing, seeking and seeking and seeking.

It was terrible to go through that dark time last year when I feared all that was for nothing, I invented years of my life in healing, and I though I ended up just as screwed up anyway.

While no amount of reading could have prepared m for the shock of getting out of abuse, it did give me something to fall back on. I took the leadership role in my family in my dad’s absence. Not fully, perhaps, but as the other dominant personality, it just happened naturally.

I felt I had to protect them, that since I hatched the plan to get rid of him, I had to make sure they were okay.

It’s been a blow to crumble as much as I did, and not be able to work steadily either, but I had to let go of the idea that everything is my responsibility.

When my dad left, I got my life back.

Really, I was getting it back every time I wrote those posts like the ones above, that I was basing off my real efforts in prayer and self reflection. My dad put all that venom into my brain, and I spat it all out through prayer, tears, songs, and resolutions.

5 years later or so, I still do that. Thouh I make less resolutions, I’ve learned to be suspisonv of those.

While I was still deeply damaged by my dad, the way I handled it back then, by God’s leading, has gotten the poison out of the wound, so it could heal, and I’ve haled faster than I thought I would.

I still have bad days, today even, doubt assaulted me again, even in Church, but I didn’t give way to it like I sued to, I do not know when I will stop being tempted, but I am a lot stronger now.

I gained back the weight I lost too. I’m walking straighter than I ever have, and I have less stiffness and back pain.

My chiropractor tells me I will be a new person when the treatment is finally completed. It’s taken 3 times as long as I wanted to see results, but God never promised it would be done when I wanted, just that it would happen.

I eat more now too. I think I eat more now than before all this happened since I’ve learned when I feel bad, I’m usulaly hungry and low on calroies, not sick.

My gaggin epidose have been over for proably 5 months or more now.

New year, new me, is what I said when 2021 started.

But when I look back at those old posts, and remember how I was then, and see that my heart was more pure than I thought, and that I was trying my best to obey God, as I always have… I think, I’m also just ht old me.

Somehow, my dad never dseprtryon who I am. Though he treid. Somehow, I kept waht I wanted in mind. I’ve never waved for long on what I want.

I want to have a great ministry.

I want to write great books

I want a great marriage

I want many children.

Whether all that comes in the form of adoption, or whatever I end up dong, and travel, or staying home, I don’t care as much as I used to, I know that all this must be part of me for a reason. I was born wanting those things. Except writing, that came once I knew I could do it, but I was always a storyteller even before that.

For ears I eceived little t ono enocuagemanet form anyone about these deams, but I didn’t lose them. That’s a mircale, from what I hear form others, pretty much everyone loses their fdreams as they grow up. To raitne then till you’e 22 is rare. Bt hte ime I’m 30, it’ll be a minoritiy.

I have a feeling I will still wan the same thing at 30 as I do now, only hopefully, I’ll have some of it by then.

I’m a girl from a toxic, abusive family, I’m not supposed to be the statistic that gets a good marriage, and becomes a good parent.

I’m the one who got told she was wrong, and criticized for everything, I’m not supposed to succeed at my talents.

I’m the one who had someone sow doubt into me a lot, I’m not supposed to have a good ministry.

Well, flip all that, God is the God of the unexpected.

Sure, right now, I have small blog, smaller YouTube Channel, and only a couple short published books on kindle that no one reads. I’m not in a lot of ministry, and I’m at a point in life where it feels no one sees all that much in me.

Perfect time to be suddenly launched into something unexpected, God has a pattern, but He’s not predictable.

I don’t know what will happen in the next 5 years, but I haven’t waited all this time for nothing, I’m sure of that.

New Life means Old things getting a new vitality, and new things springing up. Jesus coming back to life didn’t just give us His old life back, it gave us an entirely new kind of man, as C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity.

An odd hybrid between the Divine and the mortal, that is what we are. One that you won’t find anywhere else in heaven or on earth, and how can I say what the purpose of it is?

John said “It is not yet revealed what we will be, but we know that when He is revealed, we will be like Him.” (1 John 3:2)

As I’ve come out of my depression and anxiety, they’ve begun to make less and less sense to me, I no longer understand the logic behind them. I am sure, that is God.

To be sure, I’m still tempted at times, and I won’t say I have the cure all for either of those two problems, since the path I walked had to be for me personally, and my fears, but some stuff overlaps in our lives.

I can’t even be certain I’ll never have another time of my life where I feel this way, though I can’t picture it fooling me ever again. Feelings are not the same as mindsets.

I do think some changes will last.

Someday, I hope, God will give me the words to describe what happened to other people. Just now, I am still too much in the process to explain it, and I’ve noted others don’t really understand me if I try.

But someday, surely, I will be able to look back and see it clearly. Hindsight is 20-20. (That’d be a good blog post title)

I get it, some of you are still in the darkness. I hope some of you have begun to see light.

If you wait long enough for something, with God, it will happen. Or something better will.

God showed me that, actually, one time I was talking to Him, and He brought it to my attention that if I just waited long enough something was bound to change, no state of being is permanent for a human.

We hate being told it’s just a phase, but everything is a phase. The Bible calls it a “Season”

I don’t know if any angry teen or young adult will read this, but if you’ve heard those words “it’s just a phase” I know, it’s annoying, but, take it from me, you’ll want to believe that. All pain can pass. Even the worst and deepest kinds.

And while I was not assaulted with what humanity considers the worse crimes, I’d venture to say I knew that deep pain as much as the next person. I take things very seriously.

At least I could not lie to myself that way. God made me this way for a reason. If I could be blind, like others, I might still be in that situation.

One thing I kept saying to my sister was this “No pit is so deep that He is not Deeper Still” (Betsie Ten Boom).

Well, I tink that is enough for today. Thank you for reading, and have a great day

Until next time–Natasha.

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