When you want to help…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But that’s her reality.

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

Well, comparing stories is useless except to sympathize.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We were there.

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

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

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

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

I still do that to this tday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky for us God also controls the next life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bad At Love

A slightly late post for Valentine’s Day that’s not about being single or family love or self care!

Yay!

There was something in my post Why not just reconcile?, there was one part my sister told me she really liked.

“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.”

We talking about that, and I said “Love is exponential.”

What I meant by that, is that we tend to weigh and balance love by certain standards.

It’s kind of what Valentine’s day has become hasn’t it. You got to do the flowers, candy, stuffed animals, and if you have an SO, you got to have holiday sex (I might be a sheltered homeschooler, but I know how it goes, I read books. Yes, I’m aware that flex just makes me sound more sheltered, but it is like that for real.)

Great day for me, right, single since birth?

Well, like many people, I chose to look at the day as a day to remember to think of anyone I love. I get my family chocolates or cards, usually candy, since my card making skills suck and buying that stuff is pricey.

So, I don’t get depressed on Valentine’s Day, but it does remind me how we have commercialized everything now, how we put pressure on ourselves to love on just certain days of the ear.

I am all for holidays, St. Valentine is someone I look up to, anyone who stands up for love and marriage tot he point of death is going to be important to a romantic such as myself. I love the idea of having a day just to remember love.

What I don’t love is that holidays are often not just the public day of love, but the only private day of it for many people.

I read in a book once about one couple who’s kids were all born in November because Valentine’s Day was one of their only sex days, that’s just not right.

Not that sex has to be present if both partners are not physically able to have it, but if they are, then that’s just sad.

And that’s the problem. What’s the use of paying lip service to Love, literally (sorry that joke was horrible) on one day if you ignore our family the other days.

I also don’t like the Single’s Awareness Day jokes, because to me it disrespects the whole thing, very selfishly. You don’t have to be married or dating to value marriage or dating, in fact, if you only value those thins when you have them, you don’t value them truly for unselfish reasons.

Spending a day getting jealous of all your not-single friends is hardly encouraging you to think of Love on better terms.

And Love goes beyond that romantic kind. That stuff is really good, but it’s not the only thing.

Though, I will say, we are undervaluing even the erotic side of love these days.

If you read Song of Solomon, you’ll see that even our ideas of sex are far short of the Bibles in terms of the adoration between lovers and the purity of sex when it’s done right, ad the sheer joy of loving each other so deeply. I don’t see that too much anymore.

I think there are times, as C. S. Lewis even said, that you have to encourage your desire for sex with your spouse. That may be the most important thing to do at that time.

But any one with half a heart ought to see that’s really something you do because you have a deeper love that goes beyond your own conveniences or wishes.

And that’s what I wanted to talk about.

As a culture, as humans, we are just bad at love. There’s two songs, and at least one Webtoon titled that that i know of, and far more people who’d admit they suck at relationships.

Common reasons?:

Jealously

Fear of Commitment

Fear of Intimacy

Baggage (usually the reason for all of the above)

Do you know anyone who’s GREAT at Love?

If I do, it’s not many people. I know far more people who wish the were better at it, and even more who probably don’t even think about it being the most important thing in life.

This was brought to my mind even more by a conversation with my 10 year old cousin last week.

Ever since I started tutoring/mentoring her this kid has been giving me crap, throwing tantrums, trying to guilt me and blame me for all her stress and insecurities being triggered, and saying she’ll talk to her parent about it.

Of course she has no idea who she’s dealing with, I’ve heard all this before, multiple times.

Last week, she admitted to ling to me the whole week because she doesn’t like me being there, watching her. I told her I was disappointed to hear this since we had talked about trust. I asked her how I was supposed to believe her when she told me stuff, if she had lied to me for 3 days straight just to get around me.

She didn’t honestly have an answer to that, and I didn’t expect one.

But she got very emotional and finally she said “I’m just bad at love” or “being loved.” Like how she doesn’t always want hugs when she’s emotional, and how she used to be good at making friends, and now she’s not (thanks to some mean kids beginning to bully her).

Unfortunately, her home environment can be toxic too, her parents aren’t so bad, but their relatives and friends constantly expose the kids to ridicule over very minor mistakes that has caused both of my cousins to shut down in different ways. They are more open around us, but sometimes do the same thing if we ever show displeasure or disagree with them. To them, that means mockery is coming, though we never mock them ourselves.

I know how they feel, my dad subjected me to many humiliating experiences, and so do my relatives on their side of the family. I have never been comfortable around them, now that I am an adult, I’ve grown stronger and I usually am left alone by the relatives, but it took years to get to that point, and when you live in it, what do you expect?

That sad thing is, this is hardly abnormal now. In fact, my aunt and uncle are still above average parents, but they don’t have a clue how to do positive reinforcement. I support discipline, but not exclusively, it’s too discouraging. Giving people digs is just normal in our day and age in America, and I can’t change that myself singlehandedly.

But I am left to deal with the effects of it, because my cousin is to scared to confront her actual parents, so she projects it all onto me because I am nicer to her, and more considerate. When she got fed up and said she’s “bad at love” I was remind of myself.

I didn’t talk to anyone about it, but when I was even younger than her, I had trouble feeling love, and I thought there was something wrong with me. Looking bad, I did feel love when I was 4 or 5, but my anxiety and other fears took over sometime after that, though I remained affectionate for a while, til my dad’s treatment squelched it mostly. Then in my teens and pre-teens, it got really bad, with my dad actively trying to give me a complex. I only got through it because I came to Christ at 13 and began to mature in Love.

Love has always bee my primary focus as a Christian, when I came to Christ, I had been seeking out the truth about love, without even knowing it, reading certain books, watching things, and trying to understand. Once that change happened, the world became alive for me. I remember one of the first things was I began to enjoy Nature, I never cared much about it before, but I did after that, I read in “Hind’s Feet on High Places” of the same thing happening to Hannah Hurnard. I’ve known my sisters to have the same experience too.

Without love and life in us, it’s no wonder we turn to the over stimulus of electronics. It’s hard to be in Nature when you can’t love problem, it tends to remind you how empty you are.

Maybe it’s because real things cost us so much.

A fake bouquet can be bought for a dollar, a real one is going to cost you. Fake gold is cheap, real gold isn’t. Fake jewels, fake cards, everything digital and plastic is less expensive.

And somehow, less satisfying. Even the chocolate that’s cheap just doesn’t’ taste as good and we savor it less.

My cousin is a kid growing up in a culture obsessed with fake love. To the point where it’s semi-normal to have imaginary waifus and husbandos, and ou can get a certificate of marriage to an anime character, and be in a dating sims with one too.

I saw this dumb pick up line on Webtoon yesterday as part of some weird Valentine’s Day special “I’ll be your body pillow”

Do NOT look that up if you didn’t get it, it’s not worth it. I only know because I watch other fans talk about shows.

Hey, I am not knocking fictional romance, it’s actually therapy for me. At least seeing better examples of love than I saw growing up gives me hope. I know it’s not all like a story, but if it could even be partially like that, that’s way better than what I saw.

But, at some point, you have to get up and go put this into practice. You have to try to be the kind of supportive friend you read about, or boyfriend, or girlfriend.

The main thing that stops us is FEAR.

Fear and Love just do not go togheter.

Why don’t I confess to my crush? I am afraid of losing a friend, and humiliating myself.

1 John 4:18 says “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, for fear has torment.”

I was tormented by love growing up in a toxic house, and it’s gets complicated.

I believe in the sacredness of Love so much that few things seem worse to me than twisting it into a tool. That’s why my favorite books is “Till We Have Faces” which contrasts holy and profane love with each other.

Profane Love, as the MC of the book says “Can grow to be nine tenths hatred and still call itself Love.”

No one likes to be loved like this, but all of us can fall into the trap of loving this way if we don’t watch ourselves.

I read a Webtoon that also illustrated this well, called “Freaking Romance.”

Image result for Zylith

In this story, a girl and guy from different dimension find each other and fall in love, but the girl resists it because she hates love. “Love” was what her abusive father called it when he controlled her and stole form her and tried to force things on her. Reading that part was difficult for me, some of it was almost word for word what my own dad would say. Down to the fake apologies and gifts.

The guy i this story had an abusive mom, and in one of the best episodes of the comic, he tells another girl with a toxic past, that broken people tend to be drawn to each other, wanting to fix each other’s pain and thereby fix their own, and that can be good, with two people who truly want to be better, such as him and the MC, but in other cases, it can feed into it and recreate the cycle, which is far more common, sadly.

But he wants to be the kind of guy who heals. And the MC ends up falling for that despite her misgivings.

The story rather maturely acknowledges that her mistrust is more becaue of her own past than anthin the guy ever does. Wehn they finally decise to give it a shot, she learns to try to giv emore.

Spoiler alert if you want to read it:

At the climax, Zylith is given the change to be with Zelen forever, if she will get everything she ever wanted, ad then give it up just to be with him. it’s important, because she’s constantly chosen her career over love, and hesitated to to change her mind, even in a crisis. Zylith agrees, gets all that, ad finally gets to return to Zelen. He tells her he’d never ask her to give all that up for him,and she shouldn’t have to.

she replies that though it was great to get allt hat, it wasn’t satifuing, becuase she didn’t ahve him. And she makes an efoort after that to be a giver, not just a tkaer.

Notably, the cosmic forces at work in the story were firm but fair. IF you can’t give our all at love, why be in a relationshp?

That does not mean everone needs to be able to love like that gong into a rleationship, I don’t think any human being starts off that way, myself.

IT means that no matter where ou start from, ou give it all you can there.

That could mean taking our steps to get off an addiction, going to therapy for your mental health, and getting rid of your toxic influences. All that is love, if you do it to become a better person. And don’t ask your SO to fix you.

On the other hand, for some of us, it’s letting our SO help us, and support us, being honest with them, and working not to take out our issues on them when they tr to help. That is also love.

Love is not really about whether you give or you take from an outward standpoint. In true Love, giving and taking become indistinguishable.

Giving a service to someone is a gift, but receiving it is also a gift, I’ve learned that form personal experience, real love is never selfish, whether it gives or takes, because in a way, it is always giving, and always taking, since you get pleasure form loving.

Love then, is just a way of life. It is life. No one without love is really living.

The Bible doesn’t say that in so many words, because the Bible assumes the truth of that. God requires us to Love each other in order to be holy, and to love Him in order to please Him, but he doesn’t demand it. It is simply what we’re told will actually make us right again.

All God does is Love, and if the Bible reiterated that, it’d be every time God is mentioned. Though it does not always look like love to us, that doesn’t matter.

And truly good people do all they do out of love of some sort. That’s just the truth.

I’d tell you all what I told my cousin, for me, there is not way to stop being Bad at Love except through God. That is all that changed me, and all that does now, and all that kept me from becoming toxic.

With that, I think I’ll wrap this up. Happy Love Celebration Day, stay honest–Natasha.

I don’t really like this song but it matched the title so….
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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.

Welcome 2021

Happy New Year everyone!

It’s that time to do a obligatory post about the New year, how I hope it will be better, and what I want to change… yeah, not to be too “woke” but I don’t really see the point, you can read that anywhere else on the internet, and people talking crap about 2020 also.

2020 was not an easy year for me, as most of you know, but I don’t think the year itself mattered, even if people are just joking about that, I don’t like the idea that a year is just bad. I’m sure it was amazing for some people, and in may ways, my life was still much better overall than the previous year.

My dad was gone for the whole year, thank goodness, and I worked, if only temporarily, more than the prior year. I reached new heights in writing, got some actual fans on my YouTube channel, and of course, a lot of you joined my humble following this year. Plus, I learned how to cook a bunch of new dishes, mostly dessert, and got a car and insurance so I became mobile and much freer.

I also went to therapy and discovered far more about my body and soul than I ever knew before, that part wasn’t fun, bu I look at is as good because of what it make possible in the future.

My health is improving a little more each week, and my emotional state is gradually changing, though it ebbs and flows, I had a bad day yesterday and the day before, today I hope will be better, but it beats a bad week or month. Some of you people also battling mental and emotional problems know exactly what I mean. I hope that if you’re reading this, you are also on the upward slope, but if it doesn’t feel like it yet, I pray you stay in the ring until it does, it will.

So, yeah, that’s my outlook on 2020, nothing particularly profound about it, I just learned it’s better to be grateful.

I guess if the year taught me something, it was that as long as I looked at what I couldn’t do every day because I felt sick or depressed, I would always be depressed. I would always be anxious as long as I thought that was stopping me from doing everything remotely important. But, if I began to count the things I did do each day, even if they were small, and say “My problems didn’t stop me from doing this” then, I began to feel less helpless, and that made me more determined to kick this. I’ve heard similar stuff from others going through the same thing.

It’s really important to know that darkness in your life cannot blot out the light, in fact, it is realizing that that is half the battle of defeating the darkness period. Once you see the light as more important, darkness starts being displaced, it’s amazing.

I still have not gotten a miracle in the form that I envisioned, but I know that there have been miracles in this process, even so, and I hope and believe they will continue into the new year.

It might be interesting to talk about how God views human time, based on what the Bible says.

A lot of people make one of two mistakes about God, they either think He is bound by time the same way we are, and subject to its limitations so that He cannot act outside of it anymore than we can…or, they think that God is outside of time, and therefore, human dates mean nothing to Him.

The second one is closer to truth, but it’s not actually ture, if we pay close attention.

God is outside of time I think the same way a person who stands at the edge of a river is outside the river, you cannot be pulled along by the current if you are outside it, or even just in the shallows. However, if you want to do anything with the river, you will still have to follow its flow.

You have agency in a way a leaf floating down the river doesn’t, however, you can walk back up the bank to any point in the river you like, you can run ahead of it, or you can jump in and float along. But you cannot interact with anything on the river unless you are willing to be part of the flow, or else take that thing out of it. (What you might say death is.)

If God is outside the river, you could say He is putting us in the way you might put a toy boat. You can do it anytime but it will be in the flow until you take it back out. Birth, death, and life, are all like that boat’s journey.

I hope that conveys how God is not bound by time Himself, but since we are, He binds Himself by it in order to speak to us in ways that we can understand, and effect our lives in was that will matter on Earth. David, I believe, said “My life and times are in Your Hands.”

So, in the Bible, God often does use our timeline to order events. He sets a day of rest every 7 days, a year of rest every 7 years, a year of jubilee ever 50 years. Fasts go for 21 days, 40 days, etc. He puts Jonah in whale for 3 days, raise Lazarus after 3 days, and rise from the dead Himself on the 3rd day.

I don’t know why people find it strange that God likes time, who else would have made time but God? I find it pure nonsense to say that timing doesn’t matter.

But we are cautioned not to obsess over it. Paul tells us not to bother too much about what day we observe, and what we don’t, as long as we feel right with God either way. Christians argue (and so do non-Christians) about whether we should celebrate Christmas, Halloween, and other days like that, given the pagan origins.

And the Bible has examples of both choosing not to, and choosing to redeem it by doing something else. I don’t think it matters that much. God probably cares far more if we are kind to each other regardless than He does about a date on the calendar.

It’s not usually the number itself that God seems to find important, it’s the pattern. Certain things come in 3, 4s, 7s, 10s, 12s, and so on. What day on our calendar it is isn’t important, since several parts of the world use different cleaners, the Jewish one is probably the most significant, but I’ve never felt God blessed me less for not using it. It is what it is.

I also don’t really get the point of caring so much you go against the way your country is set up. Like, people who insist on doing it differently just because it used to be that way, even though it inconveniences everyone around them. Do you really think we have the exact calendar God used when He put this in place.

I mean, every year, someone predicts the world will end this year, the Rapture will happen, and we’ll all be out of here, or screwed, if we don’t believe. And none of them every seem to remember that Jesus said that ‘No one know the hour, no one knows the day, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.” See, even Jesus didn’t know when he’s coming back. Just SOON. And the bible says a 1,000 years is as a day, to Him. So, for God, all this time is like 2 days… I think it would be poetic if he came back in the year 3,000. I’m not sure this planet can last 900 more years though. So, hey, what do I know? Maybe he’ll come back 2,000 years from His Ascension and reign for the last 1000. But I’m not saying that will happen. Maybe there will be no pattern so that none of us can possible predict it, that seems to be what Jesus said, he said it will happen when we least expect it. That’s why we are supposed to live as if every year could be the last.

I used to get very upset by that idea, becuase I felt m life was so small, and if God came back now, I’d have wated it.

I think 2020 taught me something else about that too, I’m no longer really worried about it. And this is why:

Turns out, it’s all in the Bible whenever you need it. 1 Corinthians tells us the secret to a full life no matter our circumstances:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [b]puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is [d]perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

What fascinates me about this chapter is how it turns all our ideas on their heads. But then, the Word always does. All mysteries and knowledge, all doctrine, all clarity, is useless without love. In fact, if you don’t have love, the last few verse imply, you will not have Clarity. Love is the thing we try to see reflected int he mirror, dimly, but the more we know God, the more we will love, and eventually our love will become perfect as His is perfect.

The greatest saints have all basically ended on that note. By telling us that toe be Perfect in love is essentially the same thing as knowing all, and knowing God. That when we Love like that, we will not need knowledge anymore.

Which is why you will find the deepest wisdom even in the simple and mentally challenged individuals on this planet, because they care far less about the differences and offenses the rest of us do, and they just love.

I note that fiction has understood this better than philosophers have (perhaps that in itself is telling). In fiction, especially romances, (especially anime, oddly enough) the smartest characters are not usually the most loving. Often, in anime, one half of a couple is intelligent, but cold; while the other is a moron, but very loving and unselfish, eventually they thaw the other person out. While the trope annoys me, there is some truth in it. The shows, movies, and books, are not wrong to tell us that love is not bound by intelligence, if anything, it’s harder to love when you think you are too smart.

I think of the movie “Forrest Gump” when Forrest, in one of his best moments, tells Jenny “I may not be smart, but I know what love is.” After Jenny had told him he doesn’t, of course if you watch the movie, Jenny is the one who doesn’t know what love is.

Love is too profound for a genius to explain, but simple enough for a child to understand.

And, in this year, I’ve had very little to offer people, except for love. It felt like I was taking theirs more than giving mine, but I tried to stay connected, and show people I cared still, and be available when they needed it. They didn’t always take me up on it, but they knew, I cared.

And love is what I’ve needed the most from everyone this year. I grew up very unloved, thanks to my parents and my own demons, and being isolated. Unconditional love was not available to me, not because my parents set impossible standards, but because they simply didn’t offer love at all, for the most part. It was very sad.

I have forgiven them a lot, and my mom has made steps forward. She’s tried. I am glad of that. My dad probably never will, but I am learning to accept it.

I found that Love is what fills our time. People who have more outwardly successful lives than I do, feel just as empty. My grandma, who is far healthier than me overall, doesn’t get any enjoyment out of that fact. In my suffering, I was still more joyful than my family who are suffering form insecurities of a different kind.

My life isn’t perfect, but there is Love in it. And I really have God to thank for that, it’s still not mostly from the people around me. They do love me, but I’ve learned that isn’t enough either, unless I am looking to God.

So, even if all I was doing was making a dessert, writing a fanfic, blogging, YouTubing, or visiting a friend, if I did it because I loved them, it wasn’t small. At least no more than regular life as it comes to us is small.

G. K. Chesterton thought everything was small, in a way, if it truly meant anything to you. And that’s true in that what you value most you won’t see as a huge burden. Someone sees 500 miles as a long walk just to get fit, but if it’s to get to your family in dire need, no one would call 500 miles a long distance, in fact, no one worth their family would even think of the distance. That’s how love puts things in perspective.

I wonder if that is why people were so miserable in 2020. No love. Am I hitting home yet? It’s kind of sad if I am, but there is hope. Love is always available to us, thankfully.

If I had to pick a closing thought, it might be something I felt God gave to me the other day: I was praying about believing I was healed NOW, even though I did not see it. And God reminded me of the story of Daniel, praying for an answer, and fasting for 2-3 weeks waiting, when an angel shows up and tells him that God answered his prayer the moment he prayed it, but it took the angel a long time to defeat the demon in charge of the region. Daniel is quite amazed by this, but it tell us something we forget all too often.

NOW is now.

But NOW is also not now.

I thought of something else while I was pondering this, or maybe this thought came first, I don’t remember. Did you know that when we see things, we don’t see them NOW, but in the time it takes light to ounce off them and reach our eyes. It’s less than a second, too small for us to possibly measure it, at least without scientific instruments, but it reality, everything you see is as it was a tiny time in the past…

Makes you question everything, doesn’t it?

But I was annoyed by how my astronomy class used that as a reason to discredit our idea of time. how else can we measure NOW but by what we see, when we see it. Nitpicking terms is silly, Now is what we perceive in the immediate, there is no other way for us to measure it.

But this bit of info made me realize that there are in effect two NOWs. The scientific one, and the one that matters to us, our human now.

And I think God has arranged it that way on purpose. It doesn’t mean our perceptions are invalid, because there is too little time for anything to noticeably change between the light and our reception of it, but our body has to wait.

That’s a lot like how prayer works, if Daniel’s experience is any indication. His prayer was answered at once, in God’s NOW, but the time that was present to Daniel was weeks later.

Prayer is answered, now. But it would be a true saying if we said that Now both means when God actually answers it, and when we get the answer. Sometimes it is immediate for us, but most of the time it takes time.

It’ll spin your head if you let it, but in another way, it’s very simple. The way we decide to do something and we say “It’s done” reflects how we see the intention and the action as essentially the same if we are capable of pulling it off. Action movies use that a lot.

I challenge you to think of time a little differently. Intention and completeion, they really aren’t that far away, in God’s view. Just in ours.

In the same way, whatever we decide to do is what will happen, though it sounds hokey. Of course our plans get changed, but by and large, what we achieve depends on what we decide to achieve.

I hope that gives someone hope. That’s why I say 2021 will be a better year, because I have purposed in my heart, as the Word puts it, to make it better. i will simply see it that way, because I decided that.

2020 may have been out of our control, and 2021 is too, but you decide what you have ultimately. Even under tyranny, what you decide still has massive power.

To the new year! Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Curing Anxiety with the Cosby Show, and other things.

Sorry it’s been so long, I got kind of busy last week.

Whew! I may keep this short (which for me is less than 1000 words, of course).

I am starting to do a little bit better with anxiety, and I thought it might be a good time to share some of the ways I deal with anxiety, some are light, some are deep and heavy, but if I’ve learned one things about mental problems, it’s that you have to take a holistic approach to them, it’s never just one change, it’s a lifestyle.

The fact is, people who are anxious live an anxious lifestyle until the symptoms become indistinguishable from the cause. For example, not getting enough sleep causes anxiety, then anxiety causes you not to sleep enough, thereby creating a viscous cycle.

In my case, I have led a love deprived life for so long, it’s become hard to even recognize that as the source of my anxiety.

Lately, the anxiety has gotten worse with me trying to resist it, going so far as to have an attack, because you get anxious about being anxious. (Sanders Sides anyone?)

Anyway, let’s get to the meat of it.

1. Prayer

Praying Hands Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Before you do anything else, you have to prayer. Some people say meditate, I say that’s hogwash. Perhaps it can help some people, but for me, left to my own thoughts, I find no peace. I have to get outside myself, focus on a Higher Power being able to help me.

I will say, it hasn’t been easy. A lot of times God has felt blocked from me, by the heavy cloud of dark feelings I have. I don’t think He was ever gone, or even really silent, but my receptivity tends to wane with the more fear I feel. But prayer is still indispensable, especially if I am alone.

I do find it’s better, if someone else is around, to ask them to prayer for me, hearing them say it aloud builds my own faith. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God.”

2. Physical Touch

On the note of asking people for help, something that’s been doing wonders for me is just being hugged when I start to have an attack of panic or fear. Even when I feel sick, as I do a lot when I’m afraid, if someone hugs me for 10 minutes or so, I feel calmer, able to deal with it.

Sisters Hugging Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

This is part of my story, I was touch deprived as a baby, briefly; and then i developed a hypersensitivity to being held, kissed, or touched at all, and I started hating it, as a result, my family slowly stopped touching me for several years of my life, except every so often, or if I initiated.

I had no clue this caused deprivation and a lack of feeling loved, I began to feel the loss as a young teen, and reach out more for it, but my ad, as if in some kind of punishment, then said he’d respect my wishes about not liking touch, after ignoring them for years when I said I didn’t like it, as soon as I said I needed it, he wanted to “respect that” he’d already stopped touching me, but you’d think he’d be glad to get a chance to work with me on this, and figure out what I’d be comfortable with, y dad was never one for subtly.

The rest of my family really didn’t get it either, and up until the last two years, it stayed that way, I wasn’t hugged very often.

Now, they are starting to realize I need this, and reach out and do it, I still have to ask a lot of the time, but I am learning not to be embarrassed about this too.

Note: I am not saying you should push an anxious person to let you touch them a lot, even if they do need it, that trust may not be there to let you work with them on it. I recommend asking them what they are comfortable with, and starting with very small touches and if they don’t respond negatively, try hugging lightly. I’d say never do a bear-hug or full-frontal hug with someone who still acts nervous when you touch them, it’s just too rough. That’s just my experience though, not professional advice.

3. Moving

My sisters actually found out about this technique, and have been employing it longer than me, but with their encouragement, I’m starting to do it more.

Getting out of the room you’re in, especially if you can get outside, is a great way to stop anxiety, especially if you are having an attack where you can’t breathe. That time you feel so trapped, being out in a wider space makes it better.

Also, for me, walking, even if it’s just in circle, up and down, helps. When I get anxious, especially early in the morning, my body is stiff and tight and I carry tension in my back, throat, and shoulders. So walking in an upright position, stepping lightly, and trying to walk the way my chiropractor says to to practice stretching out the right way, relieves some tension. It seems to decrease the chances of a nervous reaction to food, or stress.

Pacing a Trench - TV Tropes

Walking outside is the best combination.

4. Drink Water

So many things feel worse when you are dehydrated, my appetite gets worse. When I feel anxious, my instinct is often not to eat, but also not to drink, to just hold still and try not to do anything to make it worse, which is the worst thing to do.

Here's how drinking water can help in reducing diabetes - Times of India

When I can’t eat, drinking lots of water keeps the nausea down to a more manageable level, and usually helps bring back my appetite. It’s important to stay hydrated after being adjusted too.

5. Relaxing Entertainment

This won’t be the same for everyone, but I find that watching a lighthearted, wholesome piece of media while I eat helps me feel less anxious while eating. Playing music will help too, but the more my focus is taken off myself, the better.

One show I’ve been watching everyday while I eat is “The Cosby Show”. say what you will about the actors, this had to be one of the purest, best, most wholesome shows ever made for TV, at least at that time.

Where Is the Cast of 'The Cosby Show,' 26 Years After the Sitcom Ended? |  Inside Edition

I can’t even describe how good the writing is, subtle, heartfelt, true to real life, without disrespecting a particular race, gender, or age group. Most of the episodes don’t have a “lesson” per sec, but are just about a family loving each other, doing kind things for each other and other people, and spreading that love around. Weathering life with each other.

Perhaps it’s because my home life was not like that as a kid, though it is becoming more that way now, that I like watching this. It shows me what could be, and reinforces the changes I am trying to make. I don’t have to roll my eyes and say “that’s such a toxic way to handle it” like with most shows.

There’s some movies I go back to also, when I need to be uplifted. Usually it’s not inspiring movies for me, just movies about family, and getting through life while finding meaning in simple things. Perhaps what I most need encouraged now.

Inspirational stories are great, but at a time like this, they can put pressure on me to heal faster than I can really heal. We are in such a hurry, as a generation, to outgrow our problems, and overcome, but we don’t want to learn patience in order to do it. We just want to be better Now.

And we can get better, quickly, or slowly, depending on God’s will, but what everyone needs to hear is that you will do both, if you life to adulthood and face struggles.

Sometimes healing is like getting surgery, you go in, it’s done, and you just have to recover afterwards.

Other times healing is like physical therapy, months and years of work and reinforcing and changing how you do things until you’re on the right track.

And if one thing gets to be quick for you, something else will be slow. It’ll be different things for different people.

Mental illness is often a long process, I’ve heard of people who got delivered of it in one go, and that’s great for them. God can do anything, but the majority of us have to walk a path. God is glorified whether it’s fast or slow, because it is still by His grace anyone recovers.

I believe even non-Christians owe their healing to God, who else gives us the things that cure anxiety? Most of them are God created things, Nature, Music, Love. Even art is just reflecting God’s creation.

Perhaps it’s even good to notice this stuff while you are still young, because if you walk it out for a few years, and get through it, you have the whole rest of your life to be free.

I may not like having this now, but when I’m 30 or 40, I’ll be glad not to have waited till then to realize all this, by then I’ll have been practicing living without fear for a very long time, maybe when I’m 80, I’ll have forgotten what it feels like to be anxious.

I don’t think anxiety is a permanent condition. The people who say it is usually have only been dealing with it for a few years, and usually without God, even therapists and counselors tend to deal with the same patient only for a few years. how do they know it wasn’t eventually possible to kick this stuff completely.

It may always be a part of your personality to be tempted by anxiety, but all us anxious people know the difference between being tempted, and actually becoming afraid. The suggestion flashes before your mind, and you either latch onto it and sink, or you ignore it, and swim ahead.

I have been anxious since I was a kid, but not all the time. If it can go for a season, surely it can go for a lifetime.

I may not be out of the woods yet, friends with similar problems to me say it’s taken them a few years, or longer, to get free, some are still in the process; but they did get free.

It probably takes 2 years on average to change your lifestyle enough to not encourage anxiety, and it may take 5 years or more to not be tempted by it hardly at all. If I had to guess, assuming you were working on trusting God, and building up better habits all that time. For those of us who give up on it, of course it takes longer.

My dad has had anxiety since he was born, pretty much, and is now almost 60. I have come farther in one year than he has in his whole life. Though I think there were times he did better, but from his stories, he’s never been rid of it.

But my father doesn’t try to be rid of it. He prays, but makes no lifestyle changes with that prayer, and doesn’t seek the kind of counsel and reassurance that would help him, unless a lot has changed since I last saw him.

Me? I’m changing everything, one step at a time, and my life is becoming the kind of life I wanted for so long. It’s far from finished, and it will never be perfect, but what is Possible in my mind had expanded a lot.

I think that’s a good place to stop. I hope you found some of this helpful, or enlightening, or fun, and that you are continue to fight your battles. If I helped even a little, t was worth it. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Me, my name, and I.

To add to this list of things going wrong in my life, our microwave is busted, and we live off leftovers and homecooked meals in my house.

Oh well, I guess we’ll have to rediscover the art of reheating on the stove or oven until we can get a new one. Maybe by the end of the week.

It’s funny how stuff piles up isn’t it? C. S. Lewis observed that when things begin to go right they generally keep going right for a while, the same when things begin to go wrong. It’s like our life is a pendulum. The old saying for it goes “it never rains but it pours.”

With a slight dying down of my physical symptoms, my depression and anxiety and intrusive thoughts re-surged, this seems to happen every time, the two really seem connected.

But every time, I am starting to reach out a little more. To more people. Broadening my range of who I will rely on for help. It’s not easy for me to do that, as I’ve been burned many times even by Christians, by people who say they want to help but never call you or want to talk it out.

This is not an indictment against the Church itself, I blame this culture of distance and isolation more, we’ve forgotten not just how to support each other, but I honestly think we’ve forgotten what people even need from each other. Why else do so many self help books try to explain it to us?

It’s funny, I bet people from centuries ago would find it ridiculous. We humans have always advised each other about what others need, but we used to keep it to a basic religious philosophy with personal experience, not thousands upon thousands of options.

I think one of the only true differences between this age and the past is the options.

It’s actually interesting if you study communication throughout history, you’ll note how as it increases, so do people’s options worldview-wise. The invention of the newspaper and pamphlets basically was the reason the Revolutionary War was fought and won.

The telegram made the Railroad more effective and safer, and made War News easier to relay over long distances in a short time, changing how we fought wars.

And now computers and internet have made knowledge about anything and everything accessible to people who are barely literate.

The true change throughout the world is the swapping of ideas more easily and readily. You can see it as a good or a bad thing, but it’s a fact, and it’s not likely to go away.

I almost think this crisis has got us all thinking way too much on a global or national scale. If you think about how miserable other people are all the time, how can you ever let yourself be happy? Anne Frank wrote of that in her Diary while in hiding.

Personally, I only feel more depressed when anyone alludes to COVID. It disheartens me to be reminded of how everyone supposedly is discouraged and depressed.

I get the same feeling when I watch anime, maybe you other weebs have experienced this, but is anime not the most depressing crap ever? Even the happy ones can be depressing.

I think it’s the unfinished feeling of their storytelling, no problem even feels truly resolved by the end of the story, the message is generally, “they’ll just keep going with the same problems, for all eternity. Gleaning happiness briefly form others, but never forgetting their sorrow.”

Come on, that literally could be a tagline of an anime or manga.

Western stories are entirely different. Something gets resolved at the end, whether it’s sad, like most European stories, or happy like English or American stories usually are. At the end, you can say as Jesus said “It is finished.”

Oh sure, you know theoretically that the characters will live on in the fictional setting, but the story you need to know is over.

I think that’s why there’s arguably more fanfiction about anime and other Asian mediums, at least more that is constructing a cohesive storyline, and not just having fun with it and trying a few different settings out. I mean the 200+ chapter longs stuff. (The kind I write)

All my longest fan fics have been about anime or anime inspired shows. Save for one, but that one was done more sporadically in some ways.

There is just something so irrevocably depressing about the idea of going on forever trying and never quite succeeding, like a bird in the water toy.

I think anime is addictive for that reason, because it never feels finished, people always want more, most probably don’t even realize they are waiting for that ending. That’s why weebos hop from anime to anime, trying to find one that satisfies that need for a good ending.

Yeah, I know, one year as a weeb and I’m an expert? Maybe I’m wrong, but I know the affect it’s had on me is exactly what I’m describing, I am never satisfied, and if I like the ending, I still want it topped by something else, I still have something to be desired.

Unlike stuff in my country. I have wanted plenty of sequels for my favorite movies, but that has never made me unsatisfied with the original. Not like anime.

I imagine plenty of weeboos would be mad at me for knocking anime in this manner, or they’d sheepishly agree with me, sometimes they are surprisingly honest or self deprecating. They are also by and large, depressed.

I know maybe two who aren’t, at least I haven’t heard form them that they are, but I’m not sure.

And the fandoms have to be some of the most depressed sounding people I’ve ever heard.

Why am I bringing it up? Maybe you alredy guessed I see a connection between this and how depressed young people are in general.

Oh, I’m not blaming anime, though a lot of it is not helping. I think youth are drawn to it because they already are discontent with their lives. But I think anime magnifies it, I’ve noticed it much more since I started watching it.

The truth is, I don’t think young people actually mind being depressed that much. They are so used to it, it’s popular to gripe about it on line, and if you are the rare person who isn’t (not an anime person definitely) you feel no need to talk about it. Misery loves company, right? Contentment is quiet.

I never feel the need to write about it when I feel happy, because I am just happy, it’s when I am suffocated by sadness or fear that I need an escape.

I never am clear on what I’m escaping from exactly, a lot of empty possibilities that will never happen? Myself? Reality?

I got to say, young people are more afraid of spectral threats than we are of real ones.

We’re hiding out form the trouble in the world, the possibility of the apocalypse, the looming threat of society’s well being being left to us and the fact that we are not as a whole, the last bit prepared for that.

I digress.

I’m trying to figure this out because I want not only to be saved from this horrible trend of depression and discouragement in my age group, but I want to be able to pull others out of it. I get heavy hearted when I think of the amazing, sweet, kind people who feel like they are crap because they have depression and anxiety and mood swings.

I wonder if I was the only one who struggled with this, would I feel better? It would suck to be a loser (as I’m sure I’d feel like I was) but it’d be encouraging to know most people aren’t like that and there might be a way to be normal.

Jesus said “I did not come to call the righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” and “it is not healthy people who need a doctor” But being healthy is meant to be nomral.

(Is it even normal anymore? Seems everyone has a diagnosis of something nowadays. A lot of it is neurotic too.)

Well, I am not trying to add to the depression. I want to suggest that a lot of it is just… false.

Not that the feelings aren’t real, of course they are, but I know half of what I get depressed over is not reality. It’s what I fear my reality is, or will be. But in a moment of clarity, I know it’s not true, and probably never will be true.

Getting depressed over how dark the world is is easy, but it’s not based in Reality.

The World is Dark, the world has been dark since the fall, but people have never derived their joy from the world, if they were smart, but form each other and from God and from doing good work. Solomon wrote that that is the best thing to take Joy in.

Everything in the world is vanity, without the Love of God to give it meaning.

The most lasting man made things are the ones that reflect God’s Nature the most. Beauty, Simplicity, Courage, Glory, even Terror, all feelings God invokes in us, and symbols of those things have stayed with us.

I don’t write to you as someone who’s got this figured out, I’m seeking it. I’m trying to find how to Live. I am sure at least it involves getting outside myself and my own head, forgetting what I think I know about coping with my life, and embracing what God actually says.

All of which seems impossible, but God is a God of the impossible.

In the words of many Christian songs, I am reaching the end of myself. I am running out of my own ideas. And whenever I really do finish, I think I am gong to find God waiting there, and it’ll be clear at last, what I only got glimpses of up till this point, it’ll be in full color.

I must be so close now, if I can even guess that’s the end of all this.

I think if I had that revelation, I would not need medicine, or therapy, because those are for people who have not yet found it, but are still looking.

I am waiting to me other people my age who feel this way, who will encourage me to think that way, who are not willing to give up and succumb to the depression of the world.

I get really tired of it you know, not just of being miserable, but of thinking of what a nuisance it is.

I literally get anxiety about driving the new car I wanted for ages and was so grateful to get, yet I can’t take it out many days without feeling afraid I’ll crash it, either on purpose or on accident.

That really ticks me off, because it’s a gift, and I want to enjoy it, and how dare the devil try to ruin that for me.

I go to hang out with kids and I feel sick, or I feel sad or out of it, even if I felt fine beforehand. and I just get so freaking ticked!

I wish this anger was enough to propel me out of this mindset, but anger does not destroy fear. I can still feel that chain to it, even if at times I almost forget it.

Hannah Hurnard describes that well in “Hinds Feet on High Places.”

And anyone who’s been set free knows that you know when you know that you are free, when that last shred of hesitation has gone from your mind. When you have stopped drawing back.

Maybe it takes a thousand baby steps outside your cage before the door really slams shut behind you.

I don’t know.

But I am not content to just get a patched up version of wholeness. Where I can function, but not flourish. I know I could probably have that, if I took pills, and was willing to be selfish the rest of my life, always taking, never giving except when it didn’t feel like a risk, I could take the easy route.

I could have gone in for that a long time ago, I’ve considered it, and while it may be a step in the future, too many people park there who don’t need to.

I still want to me mad enough to believe God actually does heal us completely, and set us free. I know people He’s done it for, I’ve read the stories, I want a piece of that. Why should I settle for less than the Best?

Why should I settle for less than what God would give me, if only I would receive it?

Oh, but I do.

You all don’t know how often I choose to feel worse than I have to. I’ve done that for many many years, and been warned about it before. It’s sad.

And I want to stop doing that. I’m tired of treating myself like I deserve that. I may not be able to fix myself, but I don’t have to sabotage the help I do get.

Lastly, if you’ve read this far, here’s a fact about me I haven’t mentioned here before.

Natasha is my pen name, but my first name means “Joy” or “Rejoicing.”

It’s always struck me as ironic, from a very young age, how I never felt happy. If I did, it scared me. It wasn’t joy.

Someone even once told me that, they were one of my peers. And my father used to mock me for it all the time.

I’ve experienced joyous times since becoming saved, but many times my name still felt entirely inappropriate, yet people have prophesied for me constantly throughout the years that I will have so much joy.

And year after year of not seeing it, I wonder, “what the heck?”

And now, dealing with serious depression, anciety and helath problems, I want to laugh.

But… I heard at an event I was at that “if you struggle with depression, you’re meant to walk in Great Joy, if you struggle with fear, you’re meant to walk in Great Faith.”

Supposedly, one of my gifts is Great Faith.

Funny, isn’t it?

But at some pint, ladies and gents, you have to decide what you believe. Yourself, your family, your fears… or God.

I fight it, but at the end of it all, I have always chosen God because I know that is right. Paul or Peter said “Let God be true and every man a liar” (meaning not that all men are liars, but that that it is better to think that than for a second to think God could lie, because then we’re all lost).

So, I will keep doing that, and keep you posted for whenever my breakthrough finally comes. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha