Resting B**** Face in the Church of the Poison Mind

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said I find it hard to move on yet I have decided today to purge some of my ‘friends’ on Facebook and to simply not engage with horror people IRL. 

This has come  from the realisation that I am surrounded at times by women who can best be described as having ‘resting b**** face’  syndrome. (RBF). No matter how hard I try to be friendly I get nowhere.  And they call themselves Christians!

I don’t really know why they don’t like me but there it is!  They make me feel like the white, blonde/ginger bitchy girls at school did or used to. Yeah, you know the ones… The shiny people! 

Actually some of the men are as bad.  There’s a couple I can think of right now – arrogance personified!

I really don’t need this stuff in my life.  Be gone!

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When Pastors Reach The Divided Path

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1-divided-path-tracie-kiernan.jpgWe said goodbye to the best pastor today as he and his wife are moving onto pastures new. I’ve been really upset about this for a few months – Both of these people have had a very significant impact on my life and I think of him as a nephew that I never had – but I’ve come to terms with it now as it is right for them.  He will be a real loss to us, as will she, but I also know that we reach ‘the divided path’ many times on our journey through life.  

Pastor B and his wife  need to be in the new place and I also am taking steps towards a different kind of life. Whether I will stay with this church or not I do not know. I am not somebody who moves on easily. However I know that eventually I will want somewhere which is nearer to New Home as the journey to and fro is quite time consuming and tiring and also I am not a member of the community where my present church is.  I will stay with them for the time being until I feel more secure and settled in my new life.

The tyranny of the ‘Fat’ Brigade

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vintage-1107700_960_720One of the most distressing symptoms of my prolonged health relapse is that I am very underweight. I’m 5ft 1″ and under 7 stone. I eat like a starving donkey, take supplements, including whey protein powder, I am having tests on my repeated GP visits.  I hate being this thin.  It makes me feel unfeminine, weak and insubstantial.

Yet people feel free to tell me,  most  emphatically, that I am too thin… in a concerned voice.  It seems never ending.  I find it patronising and hurtful. It is socially acceptable to tell me I am too thin  but how would they feel if I said: “Hi! Still fat, then?” or “Crikey, you’ve put weight on. Bit of a porker!”

Constantly telling someone they are too thin seems to imply that you’re starving yourself, (you’re anorexic) or just plain difficult!

I think some people genuinely are concerned but it does make me wonder if some are they’re doing it to make themselves feel better about themselves and THEIR bodies. To be fair, no-one at church has said this; it’s my secular friends! Go figure! 

I’m going to have to think of a good riposte next time somebody pipes up!

 

Still Part of the Fellowship

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abstract-fine-color-waves-910x300A church friend contacted me yesterday and I wanted to share how encouraging she was.
I was explaining how sad I was that I haven’t been able to get to church as much, although I have made it to life group a few times and the Christmas concert.

She said: “But you’re still part of the fellowship. Every single person who can’t get to church for one reason or another is still part of the fellowship.”

This is such a powerful thing for me to hear and I realised that the fellowship IS all still going on: texts, letters, visits, support, prayer, music, podcasts and reading.

There are lots of people who can’t always get to the services, through ill health or distance.

I just wanted to say it’s true: “We are all still part of the fellowship.”

Praying for Healing Isn’t Enough

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Praying for our health isn’t enough. I’ve learned that we have to pray to God to be shown what we need to change –  how our thinking and behaviour need to alter, no matter how painful the execution of those things may be.  We need to meet God halfway and take responsibility for our own part. But sometimes we need God to show us what those steps are.  

Just vaguely praying for healing for ourselves and our friends, for example, in Life Group, which is what we do a lot of, isn’t enough. We need to get specific. 

 

Kindness of Friends Brings Startling Revelation

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Had a wonderful time with friends this weekend.  One of them, P, I have known for 31 years and his partner, J, I’ve known 25 years! We went to a very posh hotel and they treated me to dinner!

They treated me brilliantly, with such care and attention,  making sure I was comfortable etc. It certainly made me realise how little my former husband valued me but, more importantly, shone a light on how poorly I valued myself. I must hold myself with little regard to have put up with much that I did. (I was no saint either, I may add.)

I have been overwhelmed with how kind people have been since I moved house. Many  of them have given me presents, for example, totally unexpectedly. S, for example, cooks for me! I don’t ask her to – she just occasionally hands me something for the freezer. 

It has to be said that old friends really do make me feel happy and secure.  There is something very powerful about having a shared history.  Also, the fact that P knew me before I became ill is very healing because his memories of me are not just of “the sick, fragile one” nut as the energetic one who was leading a fairly normal life.

 

Dr Sarno Makes Me Realise I’m a Bitter Hag!

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I am doing a lot of mind-body therapy at the moment, following the teachings of Dr Sarno, author of The Divided Mind and inventor of the term Tension Myositis Syndrome.  It’s fascinating stuff.  Basically, the idea is that many chronic conditions are the result of holding in, or rather repressing, difficult emotions, especially rage/anger.  The process is unconscious.

You have to list all the things in your life, past and present, that make you angry or cause other negative emotions such as sadness, fear, etc.  My list is very long –and I haven’t even finished!

I have realised I am criminally envious of and bitter towards two Christians I know.  These two seem to live the perfect life and it really gets to me.  It pains me to admit it but I really do not like one of them.  It is hard to say it out loud but I think this person is spoilt and they have made me feel like some people in the past have made me feel: lesser, lowly and a bit grubby.  I appreciate that that might be more MY problem than theirs.

I am seething with vitriol right now!  It’s not a nice feeling but at least I’m being honest with myself.  This person, of course, has no idea I feel this way and, as it happens, I have not seen them in real life for months and months.  But, boy, do they like to flaunt their lives on social media! And hopefully they will never know of my dislike. These feelings may pass now I’ve acknowledged them.

Well, that’s my vitriolic posting for the evening. I think I feel better for it!

Sweet Memories of My Friend Who Died Saturday

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My friend PJ died on Saturday. She was friend, neighbour and some time client – and I was her client too. She was a nurse, a high flying one, and a holistic therapist. Hugely talented.

I thought a lot of her. Admired her. Envied her. She had the family I would have longed to be part of, a great job, great friends, smashing kids and a brilliant husband.

I’d listen open-mouthed as I heard about all the energy she’d expended – over the weekend, say. I could only dream of being that well. I don’t mean she was flighty or an adrenaline addict, no! She just had a zest for life and a lot of stamina.

Her youngest daughter was the very first person who spoke to me when I moved into that leafy, middle-class street 16+years ago with my now erstwhile husband. The daughter invited me into her house to a benefit for the Tanzanian tiger! I bought a fairy cake. I recall that, PJ, the woman who later became my friend, was sitting at the dining room table chatting while lots of well turned-out children did their best for our big cat friends. It’s a nice memory.

Although I knew her for 16 years she knew me better than I knew her. Most times it was me seeing her for treatment and there was a good measure of counselling/listening involved on her part. She understood about boundaries and professionalism.

I was also lucky enough to be a guinea pig when she was studying aromatherapy. Her massages, in her fantastic, elevated summer house, were awesome. When I had to go into hospital for surgery in 2013 PJ made up an aromatherapy stick for me to calm my nerves. It comprised rose oil and frankincense. Still got it and it still smells divine!

She helped me no end: when I was undergoing some awful stress related to my ex’s family, (2009) and during our break-up, (2011) and after that too. Her generosity was much appreciated. Incidentally, her acupuncture treatments were one of the few things that truly helped me out of all those I’ve tried.

The last time I saw her was Autumn 2015. She had moved away by this time to the North but she was back in the city to meet friends for lunch. I kept bumping into them and she was really giggly from lunchtime wine and lively chatter. She looked as glowing as ever and very happy.

Just weeks later she was diagnosed with cancer. It was aggressive and unrelenting. She died around 7 months after diagnosis.Within the last two days her eldest daughter has raised over £1,310 via http://www.justgiving.com for Hospice at Home.

I’m heartbroken for PJ, her family and close friends. As a Christian I don’t know what to make of it. I can pray for them.

I’ll always remember PJ. At 52 she really is gone too soon.

 

A Man Needs to Drive (And Needs ‘Drive’ Too!)

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Call me sexist but I believe that any man wanting to woo a woman needs to be able to drive. Not necessarily be a car owner – but he needs to be ABLE to drive.

Platonic Male Friend (PMF) does not drive. He doesn’t have the confidence to learn to drive. I do find this difficult. Unfair because with my chronic illness there are tons of things that I can’t do! But thinking about the right sort of man for me… he’s got to be a driver. I would find it hard to compromise on this.

Why?

  • He can take the strain when I am too tired. (This is something most women would appreciate, not just poorly ones).
  • holidays are better when you share the driving.
  • a man can drop by to see you if he drives. The PMF lives nearly 20 miles away and his last bus goes at 6.30pm. A taxi back to his home from the city is £20. Or you have to make a full evening of it. I don’t always want that or I may not be well enough for a long evening.
  • A man who drives well makes you feel cherished and safe. I always notice how a man drives. Ex did not make me feel super-safe but he was great at driving long distances.
  • Being able to drive is a sign of self-confidence. A man who does not have the confidence to learn has low self-esteem. (This is different from the man who chooses not to drive for environmental anti-consumerism reasons.)
  • It’s sexy. I like men who can do practical things well.

A non-Christian friend, T, a man, said the other day: “Any man hoping to get with a woman these days – he has to be able to drive. It’s a given.”

J, a Christian woman friend said, “He doesn’t drive?! Oh, no. I couldn’t do with that!” All my male Christian friends drive as far as I know.

I am sure there are lots of hale and hearty women out there who aren’t bothered. A man with a bicycle or stout pair of shoes is fine by them. I’m not one of these women! Maybe my illness has made me that way. I don’t think it’s just that though.

 

 

 

 

How Hearing of A Friend’s Shortened Life Expectancy Can Galvanise Us

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Hearing yesterday about a beloved friend’s terminal cancer (could be weeks, months or years – not sure yet) has made me aware that I’m spending too much time living in the past and the future and not concentrating on the now.

I’m determined to make some changes in my life, even just little ones, like not being involved with too many things on Facebook! I do the Christian business club page, update my church’s public page, then there is our prayer group, where I am the admin, and I also am admin on a client page plus have my own business page. Time to do something else I think.

There are some bigger changes I want to make too but I’m working my way through those and how I might proceed.

 

My Diaries Spanning 40 Years Don’t Lie

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40 years a slave to journaling! 

I’ve kept a diary since I was 12 years old – that’s nearly 40 years!

I’ve been re-reading them over the last few weeks.

Man, talk about a shock! Many of the events are clear in my head but some of my attitudes and behaviour were awful. What a cow I could be! And how much I took for granted.

I’m learning a lot. Maybe I’ll share some of my revelations here.

I see the diary reading as part of my spiritual journey and attempts at growth.

The Ease of Old Friends at Easter

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Back in my home town yet again for Easter and went to meet two of my oldest friends, both men, P and G. I’ve known them 31 years – since 1985 or thereabouts. P now lives in the South West, and reads this blog, and G lives in London. I hadn’t seen G for nearly five years.

But it was as if I’d just met them yesterday!

That’s the solace that old friends bring. You all have your foibles and ‘broken’ parts but you accept each other. With your newer friends you always have to be on your best behaviour to an extent, I think, ‘cos they are more ready to drop you for any infringement, real or imagined.

This I have learned vis a vis my neighbour who has turned out to be a nightmare. I made the mistake I always make: thinking that someone is going to be ‘there’ for a good few years. It’s a shock when you realise that people aren’t who you thought they were, even though, when you look back it is clear that all along they were telling you, showing you, who they really are! But we choose to ignore red flags and plough on.

I’m pretty naive sometimes when it comes to friendships. I expect too much. I read that that is a common thing among only children (I am an Only) – to invest a lot of time and emotion in friends who we often view as substitute siblings.

robert and paul

 

Politically Active: Back to My Senses

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This latest thing with the proposed cuts to Personal Independent Payments (PIP) for disabled people in the UK has galvanised me at last!

I know a LOT about PIP and have been glued to developments. Eugenics by economics. Govt must be shocked at level of anger and outrage out there.

Have reconnected with my disabled friends who are more active politically than I thought, even if it is mostly online.

Signed up for General Strike on 4 July.

Have signed PIP and ESA petitions and mum has too – for 38 degrees. Have given them quotes they can use in media also.

Thinking about joining Christians on the Left (formerly Christian Socialist Movement). I’ve been too concerned about alienating my conservative Christian friends (who are mostly lovely yet somewhat deluded) but enough is enough!

 

A Fire Burns Tonight, Lent, Day 17.

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_65108948_peterfarrellHad an evening at a friend’s house with some of her friends. Well, actually, it is the house of her parents, a farm estate that’s been in her family for 200 years. She’s living back at home and what a very lovely home it is! The new things were that I met two of her friends who I’d never seen before.

I felt out of place, even quite shy, to start with as they are all about 10 years younger than me and have known each other years but I tried not to let that hinder me. Most of them are Christians, but not all, and they tend to belong to looser, more liberal churches than the one I go to (which is too fundamental for me but I love the place and the people and the pastors).

I really enjoyed the evening and ate my own body weight in Pringles, dips and spaghetti bolognese and loved the large, blazing woodburner.

Coincidences or Divine Intervention?

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Feeling awed! Mum and I were standing on her front doorstep in the town of my birth, waving off my very old friends, Bristol-based P and J, who I see just 1-2 times a year, when who should drive down our fairly out-of-the-way street but my friends/former neighbours, E and S, from the town where I now live (about 50 miles away.) E and S had NO IDEA my mum lives on this street and that this is the family homestead. Sheer coincidence.

Then… At the very same time my old hairdresser drove passed them in the same make and model and silver coloured car as E and S own, waving, AND at the same time mum’s neighbour, Brian, came out to tell me that I had a flat tyre – I had not noticed. There was a nail in it. He pumped the tyre up for me and I rushed off to Kwik Fit and got it replaced. Brian probably saved my life ‘cos I’ll be driving on the motorway tomorrow.
Coincidences or not?!

I had been feeling tearful and forsaken earlier in the day but these coincidences made me feel like there was some sort of pattern work going on!

 

 

 

Not Suffering Fools Gladly

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The Last Judgement 2 Bosch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s such a thing as compassion and also we must confess that we too are not without fault or ‘sin’ but here are some things that I’m not giving energy to:

  1. Couple of church friends came to my house and more or less insulted me – in my own home! Well, one did. I am sure they have absolutely no idea I feel l this way. Talk about feeling judged! The grown up thing to do would be to mention how judged I felt but I have not, partly because they are under a lot of strain themselves. I think people act all ‘hissy’ when they feel like they have no power in their own lives. I’ll just back off from these people for a while – and also take into account that actually these people can be very judgemental. (And kind too. It’s not all bad.)
  2. Male Platonic Friend consistently disrespects my boundaries. I am furious with him too! No matter what I say he tries to push the boundaries in the amount of time and energy I have to devote to him. He knows I’m chronically ill. Whatever I give, it’s not enough, as far as I can tell. I talked about this to a great friend yesterday and that helped. She totally gets it. I don’t see him IRL that much but when I next do I think I will say something. I think he says all the right things but his actions don’t always match his words. He wants things that I can’t give. And he needs to get some therapy for the things he’s not dealing with in HIS life.

Unchained Melody as House Sale in Jeopardy

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Faith House, Tufton Street, Westminster

Faith House, Tufton Street, Westminster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chain for my house sale and flat purchase is in a state of semi-collapse. Solicitor’s secretary has tried to calm me down! Situation: My buyers’ buyers withdrew their offer. (My buyer can’t purchase my house until he’s sold his.)

Fortunately, he already has another 4 viewings at least on his house this week (complicated, huh?) and the chain could be reinstated.

I feel permanently thwarted in my efforts to move on from the marital home. First my dad died, then I had major health probs, then surgery, which took months to recover from, then all the work involved to get the house ‘sale ready’. All this while coping with an as yet incurable chronic illness.

I genuinely feel like some malevolent force is keeping me prisoner in this house. It’s pathetic. And if any soul tells me “it’s all in God’s plan” and that “he has wonderful things in store for me” I shall either commit hari kari or scream. Loudly.

I am tempted to think that faith is a load of bunkum. But then I meet people for whom faith is a real, solid entity. Are they just deluded? I don’t know. My faith is shaky.

The Prodigal Son in Modern Life by James Tissot

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This evening’s message (sermon) was on Praying for Prodigals, i.e., praying for those who have been Christians but abandoned a Christian life and who have gone AWOL. Quite a complex subject, especially for me as I don’t know any prodigals. I have either Christian friends or non-Christian friends, on account of coming to the church relatively late in life.

I’m sure my non-Christian friends would see this as an ethical matter, saying, we have free will and it’;s up to us what we do or believe whereas my Christian ones see it as a spiritual crisis that must be prayed for.

Not sure where I stand. I have non-Christian friends whose actions are Christ-like (they just don’t know it or know God) and I see some Christians who are judgemental and small-minded! But I also see some great Christians and some pretty awful non-Christians.