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? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”” (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:

Leave Will Smith Alone, gosh!

Can you imagine this happening 100 years ago? I can’t. Probably no one would have thought twice about it. And if there was a little hot temper involved, oh well, people knew you didn’t say things about other people’s wives in front of them.

So I watched Encanto…

But if you can feed yourself with colorful, but empty visions of meaning, you can fool yourself into thinking you’re being cultured, but you are really being conditioned

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.

True Beauty

Sigh… okay let’s talk about another Webtoon.

I won’t be the first person to express frustration with True Beauty. It seemed like it would be a story about what makes someone truly beautiful, not being make-up, or clothes, or hair, but what’s inside. For a Korean story, that’s quite a risk.

I didn’t know this ,but my internet savvy sister informed me how Korea is kind of obsessed with external beauty, that plastic surgery is not uncommon there, and people try really hard. Maybe that’s the reason behind the k-pop craze.

I’ve seen some pictures, and I think it all looks a little too plastic for my tastes, plus I don’t really like feminine looking men all that much, I like men that look like men. I mean, the idols are cute, but I couldn’t see myself dating one.

I also found out age is counted differently in Korea. I’d be 23 there.

With a culture like that, it’s not surprising that the huge influx of webtoons from Korea (most webtoons are from Korea) focus on the damages of being obsessed with appearance superficial stuff like singing, acting, etc.

I currently read “No Longer a Heroine” and “Your Smile is a Trap” two stories that focus a lot on those subjects. True Beauty does give some attention to it, but the fans began to get annoyed with how long the MC (I can’t spell the names) kept obsessing over it, and over which of two hot guys she should ed up with.

If you read it and care about my opinion, I’m team Suho,

Fan casting of 9 characters in True beauty

but I don’t enjoy either ship very much, I just find Suho more likable overall (and his is the only name I can spell, let alone pronounce). I don’t dislike the other guy, on his own, but all his interactions with the MC annoy the crap out of me.

Anyway, so in short, the fans feel the story promised one thing and delivered another. This is not uncommon for anime, from what I’ve seen, but for Webtoons, it actually is. Most of the ones I’ve read deliver on their message fairly well, I was quite impressed. They handle story way better than most shows I’ve seen do. Perhaps part of it is the lack of studio interference, let’s hope it stays that way.

I can’t accurately theorize about why the author chose this route, I actually believe their goal is still to explore the theme of true beauty, but they are not sure of the best way to do that at this stage. I think they set out to do that, and got caught up in the romance, but maybe I’m wrong, maybe they are just basic. It doesn’t really matter, I try to judge a story by its potential.

The trick with that though is, judging by potential can miss the point. My favorite anime is MHA, and the biggest haters of that show tend to criticize it for not doing what they think it should. My old fave, RWBY, got heat for the same reason.

While MHA is still good, RWBY devolved due to studio interference and too much fan hate into something that no longer make any kind of sense or even resembles its original self. It’s no longer about potential so much as the loss of anything meaningful at all.

But MHA drew me in because the author constantly subverts tropes and uses them in a new way. The angry character is sensitive and level headed, the ditsy character is actually grounded, the hero can sometimes be too naive, the villain can be evil but still able to be a foil for the hero without making him/her sympathetic. So, in the end, what I expected and din’t get was a good thing. The potential of the show is unlimited as long as the writing style stays that way it is. It’s not perfect, but it is unique.

So, as I said, Potential is tricky many fans are presumptions and pretentious about it, and I don’t want to be there. I will say, I was never really a fan of this comic to being with, I was on the fence, so I don’t think I’m blinded by fan-passion.

The reason I think it’s fair to criticize this story based on potential, is because there’s actually nothing of substance in the story, except for the backstory of the two male leads, which was quite heartbreaking. The MC isn’t a bad person, but she does nothing noteworthy at all, she has nothing profound to add to the story, and she is annoying.

I’m actually not that invested in the message of true beauty being only inward, as I don’t really believe that. I believe beauty is outward, inward, and beyond. Music is beautiful, so is art, so is virtue. I find stories that say that outward beauty doesn’t matter to be just untrue. The Bible actually doesn’t support this idea despite what is popularly believed. It tells us not to obsess over outward adornment, but many stories in it support being a s beautiful as you can be. Ruth, Ester, Abigail, Sarah, and others were all renowned for their beauty, and tried to be beautiful, at least in 3 out of 4 of those examples.

I personally believe if you don’t try to be your best self, outward as well as inward, you don’t respect yourself. I try to look good even when I’m not wearing make up and am in my comfy clothes. I still coordinate and clean up and brush my hair. I never leave the house with the kind of sloppy, messy bun I see other women walk around with. It’s not that I think I’m better than them, it’s that I think my appearance tells people I respect myself and I respect others. I have almost never been hit on or disrespected in public. I think the facts speak for themselves.

Given that I have this attitude, what drives me crazy about True Beauty is the MC’s toxic attitude toward herself. Her family doesn’t help her much, but still, she’s so grating. She acts like her face is the worst thing ever. According to the other characters in the story, she’s actually cute, even without make up, but she uses make-up to change how she looks.

True Beauty- My First Impression | Shoujo Amino Amino

I guess I shoudl address this since it cause a lto of conroversy in the world of make up.

I did my time watching tutorials on YouTube, I could even link my favorite channel below. I got into make up tutorials because they were artistic, I wanted to learn how to imitate characters I liked, and do themed looks, like Seasonal, Disney, Princess, Fairy, etc. So, I learned about changing how your face looks for costume sake. And I actually applied it while I was doing Shakespeare plays, I did a really amazing amateur job to make my sister look old and decrepit when she played Shylock. Since I didn’t have professional make up to work with, it didn’t show up much on stage, but up close it was quite impressive. I’ve done other looks since, with moderate success.

My own make up, I don’t use to change how my face looks, I lean into my natural beauties. I enhance my eye shape, rather than change it, and I bring out my lip color and skin tone by picking colors similar to my own.

I am blessed with very good base features to begin with, I can go out without make up on and feel perfectly confident of my appearance. Make up is a fun thing for me because I don’t take it so seriously, and I’ve seen other girls who have confidence say the same.

That being said, you can see why someone treating make up as a life saver would be unrelatable for me. and someone hating on their natural face is also weird, as I just don’t do that.

Yes, the thought crosses my mind, but I don’t humor it. I think every woman has temptations to judge her face too harshly, I think men do also, but for me it is a temptation, not a compulsion.

You may say (though I doubt you all would really judge me on this one) that it is easy for me because I am naturally pretty, and I don’t have a toxic family telling me how ugly I am all the time.

Well, to that I would say: You haven’t read this blog long enough, go back and check out my abuse category.

I grew up believe I was ugly. I didn’t like my nose, or my face. I thought my eyes were scary. I have very sculpted eyebrows naturally, and dark eyes, and I used to think I looked angry all the time, other people sometimes thought I did. But some people began saying they were pretty, and my mind changed.

But once I hit puberty and began doing make up and outfits on my won more, I wanted to be pretty. I still wan’t sure I was. I asked my family, my mom would tell me I was digging for a compliment (and she sounded so disdainful about it, I was shocked) and not answer usually, sometimes she would say I had nice eyes or a nice smile, but when I would still be insecure and need to hear it again, she’s say I was digging for it.

My dad was decidedly worse, I would ask how I looked (and not even direct the question to him) and he’d answer “Hideous” every single time. I think he complimented me one time in 6-8 years about how I looked. Once he asked if I was going to use make-up, I said I didn’t need it (tried to be confident, you know) he said “It wouldn’t hurt you to use a little make up and style your hair.”

My hair has been praise more than any other of my features. It’s a unique color, wavy almost curly, and long and soft. I usually leave it alone because it’s naturally styled for me by being wavy and curling it doesn’t really work, it’s too thick. And everyone else loves it, but my dad…I think he was being spiteful, quite honestly.

These memories don’t hurt as much as they once did, but they do serve as a reminder to me that my confidence is not because of my parents, but in spite of them.

So yeah, I did not have a family who lifted my up. I did make some friends who did, and it was through that, and reading some good books, and prayer, that I began to feel confident. I now can look at myself and think I look really good. I owe that to God and better friends and sisters who thankfully did not inherit my parents dysfunctional traits (or are working to overcome them as I am).

One thing that also change it for me was learning to give compliments and look for beauty in other people, even if I found them unattractive at first, if I looked long enough or know them enough I could see something pretty or handsome about them. Doing that to others taught me to give myself a bit more credit too, I realized if I could see it in them, they could probably see it in me.

Sometimes when I feel bad about my face, I think to myself “Well, I may not see it, but other people think I look good, so why feel down about it?” And that snaps me out of it pretty quickly. Really, almost everyone can be thought attractive by others, people have very diverse tastes. Some people like chubbiness, some like stock, some like beard, some like unsaved legs for crying out loud (actually, most culture don’t care about shaved legs, that’s very American, I think Asian too).

Given that I has this background I do, and I still became confident, I have zero sympathy for the MC of True Beauty. It’s not necessarily he choice to have issues to being with, but I actively sought out a way to overcome those issues, I put better ideas into my head, and she doesn’t. She goes to online forums that only encourage a shallow way of thinking, surrounds herself with friends who also care too much, though not as much as she does. And she doesn’t take care of her skin or body, to be the best natural self she could be. Then she whines about being ugly. I’m like “Girl, you chose this, it’s not like you couldn’t be pretty if you took care of yourself.”

I mean, if she stopped doing make up for a few months, took care of her skin, and ate less sugar, she’d be fine. But she refuses to drop her beauty facade for even a week.

At the end of the day, the cycle she’s in is one she made for herself, and it’s not anyone else’s fault, she’s not ugly, and she doesn’t have to do what she does, but she does it because she prefers the shortcut way to beauty.

And that’s the thing, True Beauty takes work. Being beautiful outside and inside.

I take care of my skin. I use facial scrubs, I use lotio, I wash it usuallyy at lesa once a day before bed. I put on chapstick. It all take a few mintues tops. When I feel like it, I do more, but doing at least that much has given me pretty cldan skin. And this is not reaching for the stars. Every woman who can fofrd make up can afford skin care, if we prioritzed that instead.

I didn’t use to think skin care was that improtant, but I’ve learned it actually seems to reduce stress and helath issues when my skin is soft and clean. IT just geels better, getiing tocxis and dirt off. So, hey, d it for you r mood if not for your body.

Plus, thats workin with wha God gave you.

As for body type, a think that the MC also gripse about, there is such a thing s style.

My sisters and I have tihs issue. I have a body type that is perfect for store-boufth mainsteeam clothes. They are all desgien to look good on someone with my specofic body type. I’ve been told I could model. I don’t think I could handle the ahssle and pressure f it, but I have noticed that my figure is the right kind. I am tall also.

Most people don’t reali that mainstream clothes are desgined to look good on only one kind of person. That’s becuase it’s easier to seel in mass that way. And if you don’t buy off the rack, you’re stuck with it.

However, there are away around it. My sisters and I use belts, hats, scarves, and different match ups of clothes to create our own unique mesh of styles that accenuate our good points.

My poont is:t’s not that hard to be beautiful.

But even if you do have deformities, or health problems whtat affect your appearance, you don’t have to think you’re ugly.

Even if you are ugly, it does not have to matter in the long run.

The truth is, bueaty only matters in circles that focus on i. If you don’t have that natural beuaty that people cracve, don’t run aorund social media, the entertaiment indstry, and modeling and other beuaty themed careers. Beuaty of that sort is just a gift, like any other, to be enjoyed, and used if you like, but it’s not quintessential to a good life.

IF you respect yourself, others will respect you even ifyou are truly ugly, and fe people are. Most are not as ugly as they think they are, even if they are plain.

And plain people can still be beautiful. Inner light shines out, it doesn’t matter whether you have a good face or not.

In the end, certai cirlse of people will never call you beautiful if you don’t meet a sstandard. They will not call a fat person beautifl even if they are, because fat is a disqulaifier for them. IT’s not based onre ality.

I actually see no real issue with this. If I’m casting for a role that matches a certain despeciription, it doesn’t matter how hot someone is, if they don’t match that depcirptin, I can’t use them. For better or worse, the moern beauty industry has one standard, and that’s thwy they are looking for. May of the peole in it might admit it’s narrow, and beuaty is bigger than a singlual body type, but it’s impossible to amek it competaive that way.

And competiton isn ecessary to have beaty be a sourc eof income.

And if you think hat’as unfair, tough. Becuae I think penty of peoel who support their family with their face, and take good care of their body and larnt he art of make upa nd style deserve some reward for it. Ther’s nothing worng with any of that. tRaing you boy like a canvas can incease your respect for the body. Just as becoign apainter yoursle finceras yoru repsect for paint and canvas. I love paper and pens in a way other s don’t because I am a wirter, I love books ad their smell and feel becuase I am a reader, I love the detail of FRench and ASL becuaes I am a language buff. I don’t see why beuaty is any different.

the insiantiy is that people don’t see it as having enres. They think all beuaty is one way. Mainsteam beuaty could be seen as the genre of fanstasy. That’s the goal, to be better than reality, or at least markedly different. Not relaistic. No one want s realizm in fantasty.

But the genre of beuaty could also be in athethic beauty, or old fashioned beauty, or a materanl family kind. I see beuaty in allt hose areas, I don’t expect a stay at home mom to look like a model, but she can be beuatufil, just in the way that makes sens for what she does.

I hope my poinnti is not too compbulted, It hink I got on a roll.

You see what I mean? Beuaty if different for differnt people, and honeslty, the people in the copetive egine often understand that just fine, it’s their job to conform to the standard os their profession, they wose ones will stay out of the other genres.

IT’s us who try to comibne them all into some disgusting mess that no one can keep up with.

YEs, the mainstream doe stkae it too far. ED should not be a common problem for models and actors.

But, it’s not all evil either.

I think Miss Congeniality made a good point about this, if you put no effort in, it’s not jsut that you think beauty doesn’t matter, it means that you think you can be subpar on purpose.

And any area of life you settle for less than your best in, you are still falling short.

IF the best osme people cna do is be 300lbs and happy, that’s all good. IF you can’t lose weight, don’t feel bad. IF you can’t gain weigh, (I can’t) don’t feel bad.

But if you choose to be 200lbs when you could be 180;bs with better helath decisions…well, I don’t want to listen to your girping. which is my issue with True Beauty.

If you choose to be unattractive, and have unattractive attitudes, I don’t think you deserve much pity. I hop you get help, but if you refuse it when it’s offered, why should I feel sorry for you? Or try to build up your ego when you will knock it down yourself?

There are people who have made bad choices and are now sorry. That’s not who I’m talking about. I think recovery is admirable and important, I ought to after all the recovery I’ve been doing.

I mean the ones who park there forever.

Depend upon it, how you treat your outwear self does effect you inward.

The MC becomes a liar and a hypocrite. I just got to episode 94 or so, where she chides her bf about not being honest with her, and then realizes she is not honest with him either. She evens talked to her her ex about this, and he encourages her to be honest, her sister encourages it also. But she stills flips out and runs form her bf the second he sees her without make up, and almost gets hit by a car. At that point, as her bf, I would have yelled at her and been really mad. That’s just stupidity. He’s very nice about it, instead, but that says more about his insecurities than hers.

Pin by CarrieMaxwell on *Web Toon saves* | True beauty, Photo editing vsco,  Anime people

I mean, if I found out my SO was hiding their face form me, for months, I would feel insulted. It implies they don’t trust me.

Now hear me on this, it’s true she’s insecure, and she’s got problems, so she believes he will be disappointed no matter what. All that is real, and I won’t make fun of it or diminish it, I have issues too.

But this is what I think: If you are going to be with someone, romantically, you need to be wiling to show them your ugly side, even if you believe they will hate it. It is only fair to them,and if you really love them, you will not lie. It may be hard for you, it may be all you hear is screaming in your head that you’ll be rejected, but it doesn’t matter. You must be vulnerable to be a in a real, loving relationship.

I have a crush, and I have not hesitated to tell him I had an abusive past, and now have no father. He has not stopped being my friend, or treated me differently over it, but if he had, I’d have wanted to know that sooner rather than later.

Does that mean my crush should be my bf? No, but it means, I didn’t hide anything, if it was to happen.

And it wasn’t always easy. I know some people see others as damaged goods. They have terrible reactions to hearing you were a victim. Or they are overwhelmed. That may happen to me, it actually did, with someone else… but, I refuse to act like I have anything to be ashamed of. I’ve found people to be much more sympathetic because of that.

And I don’t judge others as much now that I’ve come to see it in myself. If someone complains about their parents, I don’t assume that thy are just bad kids, I’ve learned it can be quite real.

One more thing:

I don’t like the attitude of True Beauty that you need your boyfriend to affirm he will not stop loving you if you don’t look the same without make up. If that is even a question, you are dating the wrong guy. Or girl, gents, if you have that problem too.

Hey, he may be surprised, but if you change your face, he has a right to be surprised, who wouldn’t be? It doesn’t mean you’re ugly, you idiot (I mean the MC.)

If I gave myself slanted eyes with make up and then took it off, I’d expect someone who didn’t know to be a little stunned.

If anything, the guy should dump her for lying to him for months, but he did the same so I guess he can’t talk. Great foundation for a relationship, I know. Ugh.

I detest dishonesty above almost all else in a relationship, and I don’t practice it myself. Sometimes I think I get lied to without knowing it because I expect others to be as honest with me as I am with them.

That’s a discussion for another time, however.

To wrap it all up, true Beauty is something hard to quantify. I think if you glory in looking good outside, that is part of your true beauty, and as long as you are not prideful about it, that’s fine. If you don’t care about make up and clothes, but you still respect yourself and take care of yourself, than true Beauty is in that. It’s also in your soul.

But if you treat yourself like you are ugly, you become ugly inside and out. That’s the end of it.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Link to my favorite Make-up channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/charismastar

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.

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.

Some thoughts about Self Love

Sorry for the wait, and welcome to my new followers, thanks to you guys I am almost at 170 and I didn’t even post for like a week.

Let’s talk about something that’s been catching my eye recently.

A lot of people in this culture, specifically Western culture, are now promoting the idea that you are enough for yourself.

Perhaps one of the most recent, famous examples is in the sequel to the iconic Frozen, as some of you know, my personal favorite movie.

Now the first movie is awesome, and I will dab on them haters over that, no one talks me out of liking a good movie just because it was over hyped (blame marketing analysts for that), and I finally, after forestalling for a year, watched Frozen 2.

I’ve heard about 50-50 good/bad opinions on this film, some people liked it, some hated it, pretty much everyone agrees it can’t compare to the original, standard sequel stuff, unless you’re STAR WARS.

But if you care at all about Disney, you probably already knew that, so I’ll cut to the chase:

The conclusion of this movie, despite some excellent ideas int he middle and beginning, is abominable. Elsa is told by her mom (by the way, how was her mom even there? It’s never explained if she was magic, or if Elsa was just remembering her, or whatever) that she is all she needs. She’s the answer she’s been looking for.

I, up till that point, might have been anticipating the answer to Elsa’s search, but at that point, I’m thinking “Bullcrap.”

Elsa starts this movie with a relatable problem just like int he first, she feels she’s not what she’s meant to be, and she feels the call of something more, something beyond herself. So she goes to look for it, and discovers a lot of truths about her world she didn’t know before…and the answer is, HERSELF? Talk about being disappointed.

I mean, put yourself in her place, you go off expecting to find someone, this voice calling you, and then you’re told “no, the voice was just you the whole time”…aren’t you doing to be disappointed?

Look, if I wanted to find myself, I wouldn’t have left home chasing someone else’s voice.

If it comes to it, how can she be hearing her own voice call her? If she’s the spirit…ugh, it just doesn’t make sense.

But it strikes me that it’s a product of our culture. I’m sure I’m not the first person to say so, but I haven’t seen anyone else talking about it yet, so I’ll give my take.

It’s known as the message of Self Love, usually. I don’t need anyone else’s approval, if I’m okay with who I am, etc. Accept yourself, love yourself, and so on and so forth.

In a world where we are addicted to screens, and spend hours alone in our rooms, even if we’re chatting online, physically we’re alone, perhaps it makes sense that we are feeding ourselves the lie that we are all we need.

I know many people, particularly women, embrace that lie, after failed relationships, and being hurt by their fathers, or mothers, and hearing the whole feminist speel, we want to feel empowered. I am my own answer, etc. Self Help,here we come

I used to think that way too. If you’ve been following my journey on this blood of this year and my life falling in on me, you probably noticed how much I’ve talked about how I can’t do this alone.

Yeah, being alone trying to love myself is what got me into this, along with my dad’s abuse, and my family’s neglect.

Actually, people like me are terrible at self care. I’m programmed to feel guilty if I ever prioritize myself. You take a church background, and add to it two parents who don’t model self care or healthy expressions of feelings, needs, or wants, and you get a child who is afraid to feel, want, or need anything. Feelings are scary.

But I read it in books as I searched for answers as a young teen, that I need to affirm myself. And my therapist told me the same thing. Other people have told me that too.

Crap, if that was enough, I’d be fine.

Contrary to what’s usual for victims of abuse, I don’t actually treat myself badly or think I’m rubbish. I have confidence in my intelligence, appearance, and kindness as a person. I don’t think I’m terrible. Not consciously anyway. I’m satisifeid with myslef on an averge day when it comes to the outer things, the thigns we want people to see us for.

I never have been one to hate on myself openly. I was a feisty little girl, and still am. I didn’t take crap frome people or my dad as a kid, I still don’t.

And that is why I can tell ouuo form the depths of my heart, that that was not enough.

i respected myself, I stood up for myself, I did everything I could to excape my situation: And I have lived through a year of hellish emotional issues and physical issues. STress, panic attacks, anxiwet , depression, suidical thoughts, self hatered. tension with my family, PLUS COVID!

If anyone should know that Self Love is not enough, it should be me. We cannot heal ourselves. We cannot even begin to do it. I loathe it when I hear peopel tell hurting people that they need to love themselves more. IT will never, ever, set them free.

(Before I move on, I wan to say I am not putting down Self Love it self. Of course it’s important, the Bible teaches that, but it’s important for other reasons than to give healing and meaning to our lives, we’re told to care for ourselves because we recognize our body and our life is a gift form God, created to be loved and to love Him, and we accept that, and love ourselves. It’s not a solution to our problems, just a return to what’s natural and right.)

One reason self love does not work is because we do ont see ourselves very clearly aat any itme,. Maybe you’ve heard teh analogy that we see hundreds of faces every day and the face we see the least is our own. Even when we do, it’s only through a mirror. You cannot look yourself int he face without help. SOme see this as a picture of how little we know ourselves, and how we need help to even know what we know.

And it’s true, if you can’t look at yourself clearly, how can you really know enough to say you love yourself?

G. K. Chestron worte in “Orthodoxy” that a manw ho believes fully in himslef is insane. He is compeltely convicned o f his own idea, he might think he was a poached egg, and beleive fully in his own judgment, so he believea in himslef…but he’s crazy.

Hitler bleieved in himself, you might say. HE certaily didn’t believe in God.

And in your own life, the people who believe the most int hemselve are not often your favorite peopel, are they? Narcissists cannot be questiong, ethey are always rigth, they believe that…and nobody likes them. They are insufferable prigs.

People with BDP often (unless they are trying to overcome it) beleive fully that they are alwasy the victim, and cannot be convicnec otherwise.

Really, who doesn’t prefer a little insecurity to the idea that we don’t need anyone.

We all like to say “I don’t need anyone” but when we are around someone who broadcasts that message to us, are we not completely uncomfortable? I know I am. I mean, why do they even need me to be around them.

Even basic companionship is a need we have, even if it’s expressed more as a desire. What we want and what we need are often the same thing, so if you say “I need no one but myself” you are essentially saying “I want no one but myself around me” and who wants to be around someone who hates people? (Am I making any social recluses uncomfortable yet? Hey, I’m not judging, I’m hardly antisocial but I get tired of people often).

C. S. Lewis also cautions us against the dangers of not caring what other people think of us in “Mere Christianity” when he write his chapter about Pride. He points out that if we truly cease to care what people think it is usually because we see them all as below us. You’ll hear this quite often now, “Who cares what those morons think? F— them!” “I don’t need anyone’s approval!” “To he– with your opinion”

And is it often the nicest, kindest people who spout this nonsense? Or is it not the rude, arrogant, selfish, self-obsessed ones who just want to do whatever they want without any obligation to anyone.

Usually I hear it from angry, or disrespectful people, often women, sad to say, in this culture.

Back when I also tried this, I thought it was my only escape from how my cruel father painted images of me to myself and my family and anyone who would listen.

My father would humiliate me to total strangers if I went to work with him by bad mouthing me to them and telling them things I’d say to him in private. Usually in a whiny condescending voice (you know the type people use to mock you). It happened more times than I can even remember, it happened with family friends, with family members, over and over. It happens to this day, I’m sure, as I know he calls my extended family to gripe about us cutting him off.

My father would nudge me in church whenever the pastor mentioned children respecting parents, and say, loud enough for half the congregation to hear “You hear that, insert-my-name?” My mom? Does nothing to stop him… well, okay, she would sometimes, but he wouldn’t’ listen to her and she wasn’t’ always there, other times he allowed it.

Not to mention the constant degrading things he would say to me. If I asked how I looked, not even talking to him, he’d say “hideous.” I remember maybe one time he said something nice to me about my looks, in 20 years, one time. Maybe two. He made fun of it when I got acne, when I got braces, when I became a woman, you name it.

When my writing endeavors took off, he deliberately criticized it unfairly, and encouraged my sisters to do the same.

All this to say, my dad set me up to be a real piece of work. And my only fallback, since my other family members were silent on this point, was to decide I liked myself, or believed I was in the right.

I have pages and pages of journals filled with outrage and the desperate attempt to convince myself I was not a terrible person. And I live with that doubt now.

As shocking as it is to me, I may actually have been angelic by most people’s standards, under the circumstances. Considering how my dad treated me ever since I can remember, I was surprisingly forgiving, even as a kid. And I was affectionate. It was never enough for him, but for a better parent, it would have been quite touching. At least I know I melt if kids treat me the way I treated my parents.

It wasn’t Self Love that got me to see I might not be so bad, it was a lot of help from others, and God. I still remember as an early teen when I first started getting told I was nice, cute, or pretty by people, and how much it shocked me. That was what got me to first question how my parents had taught me to see myself.

And just to expose the self love thing more, I remember two times I tried it. Once was telling my dad I didn’t wear make up because I didn’t need it (project confidence, you know) his response? In a rather evaluating tone he told me it wouldn’t hurt me to use make-up, and style my hair. (Now I don’t upload photos, but everyone loves my hair, and says I have a good face, even without make up. I do wear it, but not every time I’m in public, I like to go with my mood, so my dad was straight up blind or lying, or both.) Another time, I admired myself in a mirror, daring to think I looked a little bit pretty, and my mom called me “as vain as peacock.” Just for looking at myself. I didn’t eve say anything. If I ever asked if I looked good, she’d say I was “digging for a compliment.” This woman never praised me, ever, of her own free will, for as long as I can remember.

So, you see, both my parents crushed my attempts at self love with an almost savagely accurate cruelty. My mom is as least sorry and has come to see it was wrong. My father probably will deny it ever happened once enough time passes. He’s denied stuff before.

Even so, I kept trying to believe in myself. But my only real comfort in those dark years was knowing God loved me and saw good in me even if no one else did. It often seemed no one else did. I was in trouble at home every week, family friends (who I now know were toxic busybodies) criticized me to my parents, and people at church (also a toxic environment, remember my dad controlled all this) did the same.

Meanwhile, I was learning to write. Reading as mush theology and fiction as I could, and finding out what my interests are. I could have gone very wrong. But luckily, my parents did have good theology around, even if they didn’t demonstrate it, and I took it to heart.

Frozen actualy came out about a ear after I became a ture believer, and it was at the time I frist read “Captiviating” b John and Stasi eldege, that book coupel with that movie changed my life, not exaggeration.

It introduced me to deep inner healing, to God filling the void left by parents, and to the idea that I could say my father’s actions were wrong. The book is not about self love, but about learning to be loved.

That’s the real secret, ladies and gentlemen, you have to learn to be loved.

If you look closely at Frozen, you’ll notice that that is what that movie is actually about. Elsa is taught to hate herself by her shortsighted parents, and develops a bunch of toxic styles of relating to people and herself. Then when trouble comes, she snaps and runs away, like we all do. Then she has a breakthrough of relaxing those expectations on her were wrong, and harmful, and she throws them off. People think Let It Go is negative, but it’s actually a very important step in the journey to freedom to realize that the lies you lived under are wrong “conceal don’t feel” is terrible advice.

But recognizing the lies doesn’t free her, it just opens her up to realize the truth. When Anna finds her, she is able to express actual concern for her, but reverts back to fear once she feels guilty again. Of course wounding Anna in the process. Later Elsa becomes a captive, literally and figuratively to her fear and Hans, and runs away after giving up on helping. Finally, she is crushed by the idea that she killed her sister, and has no heart event o run and save herself anymore.

It’s significant that Elsa gives up trying to save herself at her lowest point. And that’s when Anna swoops in and save her life. Elsa can recognize it then because she stopped trying to run. That’s what makes that moment to powerful. Elsa finally receives Anna’s love by hugging her, and then it sets her free to heal Arendelle, and become the queen she’s meant to be. No longer alone.

Love is the answer. You have to learn to be loved. I was 14 or 15 when I first saw this movie, I am 22 now, it’s been near 8 years, and I am still learning to be loved, I only just realized what the movie is really about. That why the symbolism of doors is used so often. The door is like the consent to be loved. It’s never about Elsa refusing to love Anna, she always loved her, but she didn’t open the door to Anna’s love until she had nothing left t lose by doing it. Much like what happened to me. You have to open the door.

God can do many things, but I have never seen evidence that He can make us receive His love, it is always a choice to open up, even if opening up is just collapsing in defeat at His feet. I’ve done it many times.

Contrast that to the 2nd movie, and you notice they totally for got their own point. The writers did not really realize what they had with Frozen, so often that’s the case.

Frozen hit us hard because we so desperately need to hear this, that we can learn to be loved, and that will heal us. That’s all healing really is.

I stayed open to my parents love for a long time, long after I gave up expecting it. Most victims of abuse are like that. We keep hoping for the abuser to change, but with every other relationship we’re in, we find it uncomfortable to be loved, even if we crave it.

In my case, I still am not super at ease with being loved. I am only to the point where I don’t directly fight it all the time. I’ll accept the hug, I’ll ask for encouragement, I will let people give a little to me; I still feel guilty about it, but I try to ignore the guilt and remind myself that I have to be willing to accept this.

I wish I cold tell you it’s easy to do this, that I never doubt whether I’m doing the right thing. But I’ve doubted just today whether I’m worth all this, if I’m a good person, if I am on the right path.

I know that recovery is going to take a lot longer than one year.

It’s actually quite frustrating to realize how much I hate being loved, I find it irritating to be treated nicely quite often. though I also hate being treated badly. I am thrown off by kindness. People have told me I don’t take praise or encouragement really well.

I want so answer them “I’m broken. I can’t take it like a normal person… and you made me this way.”

What do you expect really? I grew up mocked, degraded, or given dead silence about y good points. Of course I find it uncomfortable.

I bet some of you reading this have the same problem. I’d love to hear if anyone has figured out how to solve it yet.

I don’t know what my process will be, but I know that God is the only one who can get me there. I know that people do get out of it. It takes time.

I know it is scary to need other people, my need for it has kept me up at night in agony becuae I felt so angry and misarable and alone.

I still get annoyed, but I now have made steps to acknowledge my need for people and to reach out.

It’s true I could get hurt again, and I will, but I don’t think that’s a reason to shut down.

I’ve had my time of using every negaitve expereince to justify my beleif that people always treat me badly, but I learned that I will be drawn to those people naturally due to my past if I don’t actively try to seek out better. Evetually, being drawn to healthy people will become the norm for me.

Anyway, I think this post is probably long enough to be an essay, so I should wrap it up.

In summary, all this is why I believe Self Love is a very dangerous band-aid to put on a gaping wound, but I do believe that being healed will enable us to love ourselves how we should.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Another post about recovering from abuse and anxiety

(Title says it all, you were warned. )

You know, when you’ve been abandoned and abused by your parent, it is real tempting to dull your pain by think there is nothing good about them.

It would be easy, I mean, all the stuff I’ve remembered, and experience, because of that jerk, I really don’t have any reason to like him or try to find good in him.

I am not one for sugarcoating. Not one for saying “he did the best he could” when I know, by his own admission, he didn’t really try. It was never that important to him to try.

I don’t want to miss him. Like Romeo, I want to cut out the part of me that belongs to my father’s bloodline, and be done with it. There are times that is a quite pressing desire, and I know my sisters have had it also. Like Todoroki Shoto from MHA, there’s a side of us all we hate and want to reject, even if it means rejecting our own selves.

I don’t know why I got to think of all this today, I’ve finally started to feel better, been eating more, I ate Thanksgiving dinner, Hallelujah! And I’ve eaten better since then, and felt far less sick, and no gagging has happen in nearly two full weeks if I make it through tomorrow, all this is reason to be ecstatic.

Yet, I also got to see some of the pain my other family members are in this week, the holidays tend to bring it out, I suppose. And I guess we all take turns having a crisis and breakdown.

Me, I’ve built myself a support system of friends, doctors, and counselors, as well as my own family, I can turn to a lot of people when I feel bad. People ask me how I am.

But not everyone in my family has gotten that far yet, and it’s rough on them.

I am slowly learning to let go of anxiety, but it’s nerve-wracking to know that at any time it could pop up again. I had a job interview today for the first time in over a month, my health has been so bad I didn’t even apply for several weeks, but now that I feel a little better, I decided to risk it, I’d like to earn some holiday cash, after all.

But I woke up and I felt he anxiety trying to grab me, my throat, which felt much better yesterday, tightened up. My stomach has been not really nauseous, but jumpy and twitchy, and though I ate, it remained nervous.

But I played my new Skillet CD in my car on the way to the interview, and sang out that I feel invincible, I’m undefeated, and I want to live (and if you know what CD has all 3 of those songs, congratulations, you’re a dedicated fan).

I don’t think I got the job, but I did good, and I am getting better at these interviews, plus my last one went very well and that’s a confidence boost.

Anxiety tends to whisper “well it might not have, you could have gotten sicker and not been able to do it.”

But the reality is I felt okay while working that job, and God gave me the ability to finish well, even if I only worked 6 days total, with kids that feels like a long time. I put my all into it, and that’s the important thing.

Reality versus Fear, isn’t that the constant battle of anxious people?

Reality? God did come through

Fear: That next time He won’t.

At some point, you just have to pick one. Either you try and fail, believing God will catch you, or you don’t try because you’re too scared you might fail even if nothing bad has happened yet.

It sounds ridiculous to people who don’t have anxiety, but to those who do, it’s like facing a dragon every single day to get up in spite of your fears and do what you need to do.

Id o believe it will be easier for me one day, I believe one day, I ‘ll wake up and the idea of gagging or being sick won’t even cross my mind. It could take a year, but I believe it will happen.

But until God has fully healed me, that’s not the case, and I have to choose.

The secret to Christian life, as far as will power goes, is that we choose something over and over until it cease to be a choice because God has made it part of our nature. Scientists call it forming a new habit, but a habit is something you can change without too much concern, this is a character trait that’s essential to who you are.

Right now, being a healer, being a brave warrior, feels like it’s not who I am. But one day, it will be indispensable to me, I won’t be able to not be that way anymore. That’s my idea of success, who’s with me?

Of course, Love is all that will enable me to do that.

For one of the first times ever in my life, two nights ago, I cried for someone else’s pain. Someone close to me. And I have never, not in my memory, ever been able to do that, much as I wished to. I was so out of touch with my own sadness, it was hard work to even cry for myself, forget someone else. Some women are so empathetic they can cry for a fictional character’s sadness, me? I rarely cry unless it’s a bittersweet ending, that gets me.

So, I knew that somewhere in all this pain and chaos in my life, God has made me more compassionate. I’ve gotten more in touch with my own feelings.

This morning, I acknowledged it, I said “God, I am nervous.” But I gave that to Him, and I was able to get up and not feel sick.

I’ll tell you all right now, I am still nervous about the job, I am nervous about my health going back downhill, and I am scared of the uncertainty of the future. Since that is what is really is. I don’t know what will happen, and that is what frightens me.

God has not tol me what wil happen, only tht I will be oaky.

And to bring it back to what I started with, I started thinking about that, as I remembered how my dad used to sometimes have a tender, soft look in his eye. Rarely toward me, unless it was mixed with a kind of pleas for pity, but with movies, books, and stuff that we aren’t as guarded about. My dad used to cry watching Hook, or A Walk to Remember, or Fiddler on The Roof.

How do I reconcile that with the cruel, spiteful person I know him to be the rest of the time?

It’s the hardest thing about coming to grips with abuse, the knowledge that your abuser, however bad, is still human. It’s easy to forget about a demon, if you believe in those, you might know that. When you’re dealing with a purely evil being, you don’t find it hard to distance yourself from what they do, you can’t possibly sympathize with them. People who try are fools putting human emotions on something that is not human. It never will be. (Paradise Lost is bull, if you’ve ever head of it. The evil would never be so noble as Milton makes him out to be, it’s ridiculous.)

But even the worse of humans were once human, and can by sympathize d with. It’s terrible to remember that humanity, a little. Because I remember how I wished it was something I could have access to. But I was barred out since I was born, and there was nothing I could do about that. I think my mom must have felt the same way.

The reason abusers have such a powerful draw on their victims is that glimpse of a soul that we have a sneak peek to, you see, abuse is all about deception, but the one part that isn’t deception is powerful the way a drug is powerful. When an abuser reveals their brokenness to you, they aren’t faking it.

They have the twisted ability so hateful to healthy people, to use their pain as a weapon. The pain is real, that’s why it cuts deep, but they can project in onto other people. It’s often used in anime, and it always gruesome when it is because it rings true to real life.

They use their pain, but it’s a farce because they don’t actually intend to let you help heal them, just to act as a pain killer, briefly before they take it out and beat you up with it again.

What stings is that they also have good qualities. My dad had them, but abusers use their good points as a weapon to. That’s whats so deeply twisted about it. It’s not just one or the other, everything becomes about ensnaring you and keeping you under their power. Their goodness becomes as hateful to you as their evil, worse even, because it tastes like honey, but like with that scroll in the bible, it turns sour in your stomach.

Still, I miss that part of my dad, I miss what could have been. The part of him that is still a real person, that he keeps locked up, even from himself. I know it doesn’t justify a thing, it’ just adds more regret to my memories.

And I thought of this, and of how all this has affected me, and how God has been there, and it make me think that maybe what an abuser really needs to hear might be what I’d like to tell my dad, if I could safely do so:

“Be glad, Dad, that we are not left to ourselves. That we do not have to live with the knowledge we drove someone else to suicide, or depression, or fear, because we can know that God takes care of His own, whatever we do. Be happy that everything is not about you, instead of resenting it, because no one really wants that who understands what it means.”

See, the really good thing is, other people’s happiness is not up to us. We can be part of it, for sure, and we should be, but we can’t determine it. However good we are, or however much we suck.

I think an abuser could only change, truly, if they knew that. They must realize it for themselves, in their lives, and then realize they don’t control the fate of their victims either (I don’t include special cases where they have killed them, clearly that’s not the same kind as I’m talking about.)

I wonder too, if someone might read this who has those kinds of regrets. For what they put other people through. Maybe you need to hear this, that even with all you do and don’t do, God is in control.

It hurts like hell to become well, as the Oh Hellos have put it, but if you really want it, God will do it, in some form or another.

I believe that both because I have to, or else despair, and because I am starting to see it in my life. Slowly.

It’s gotten bad, but here I am. It could get worse, but I think it will get better. As a friend told me, it will never be as bad as this again. Even if problems do reoccur later in life.

Anyway, even getting into all this can trigger anxiety for me, but I choose to do it anyway so that I will learn to let go. I can’t be afraid of my past if I want to heal.

And to all of you in the same boat as me, hang in there.

I speak as a person who has anxiety, who has had it, like an unwelcome visitor in my life, but who does not intend to keep having it.

No going back, only going forward. Yes, and Amen.

I encourage you to make that decision for yourself. That, whatever you’ve had your whole life and have now, you will not spend the rest of your days with it. You will get free, no matter how long it takes.

And if you’re like me, you will then go on to make the enemy regret the rest of his days that he ever gave you fuel for the fire of your passion to help other people get free also.

I think we have to get free for our own sakes, but once we are free, we can’t help but want to see others free also.

Anyway, until next time, stay honest and get healthy–Natasha.