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It’s something my shrink has tried to help me with, and there are times it works. Then there are the times when it doesn’t. Say, for example, when I have a date coming up. My brain has now fixated on this, focussing on possible outfit choices, flailing about the awkward factor because I’m weird about actual date dates. I’m fine to hang out, go to a movie, get dinner or whatever, but the second it gets called a date? PANIC!!!!
Heaven help me.
Not physically, and not face-to-face, but via the means of this very forum, tumblr.
Defamation is a nasty thing. And that is what was done to my parents. They were named as the abusive leaders of a cult. (These names have now been removed, and some of the content edited, as the writer involved has been told she could be taken to court over what was said.)
Given than I grew up in my parents church but never was a part of it, I have seen an awful lot of what happens behind the curtain. My mother will not stand for certain behaviour (it’s one of the reasons we’ve had issues in the past), and she will step down any member of her leadership group and congregation if she sees that there could be any double standards, she has stepped down as pastor in the past as well due to going through her own issues and knowing that it wouldn’t be right for her to lead at that time. She has done the same to family and congregation, with no discrimination. If you can not behave in a manner befitting a child of god and follower of christ, then you shouldn’t be up the front.
But the other thing about my mother is that she trusts people, even when she shouldn’t, and this has left her open to being attacked.
A little over a year ago, two girls (I hesitate to call them women even though they are my age) left my parents church in a blaze of scandal. I didn’t know what was happening at the time, because I had been avoiding these two for a while at this point, but due to the lovely thing that is FB, I saw them rip into my middle sister (who is probably the nicest, sweetest, kindest person you will ever meet), and I got angry. Then they both tried befriending me again (because I was not a member of the church and they thought this meant that I was a possible ally, not realising that I value loyalty more than I discriminate on faith), at which point I told them both that they were sad, pathetic little people who should step off or I would make them step off.
They then moved on to my mother.
They went to every church that would take them and told them all what a terrible person my mother was. Some of the churches told them to shove it. Some of them approached my parents and asked for their side of the story. Two accepted them with open arms. And so they started their manipulation of another church family.
It wasn’t enough to simply gossip and badmouth her to every church in the vicinity, they had to go online and name her in an act of slander.
My parents are the leaders of a church. And whilst I do not share their religious beliefs, I know that they try to do the right thing. They provide counselling, and shelter, and guidance, and help, and care. If they do not know/have access to the best solution to the problem, they will put you onto someone else who can help.
They helped to shape the person I now am, and even though that means that quite often I stand apart from my family, they are still a part of me. And when you attack them, you attack me, and you know I’m not the kind to forgive and forget.
I am a work in progress
Chipped edges and smudged paint
Blurred out charcoal sketch and misshapen clay
Battle scars and hot steam burns
A broken-hearted heartbreaker
Torn down and put back together so many times I can’t even tell what pieces are missing anymore
I am a broken doll
Held together with string & sticky tape
Rubber bands stretched until they snap
Empty scotch glasses & empty words
Empty hands, empty bank account, empty bed
I am pulling it apart to see how it works are putting it back all wrong
Scratched CDs, warped tapes, the story mistold
I am a work in progress
And I shall never be done.
So I spent the entire first hour or so of my shift tonight fighting back a panic attack. “But Arri, why were you having a panic attack?” I hear you ask. And I’ll tell you. The company I work for has a competition it runs every three years to promote great customer service. I am good at my job. I engage my customers, I am polite, cheerful, even a little flirtatious, I know my product and my store. I constantly get good feedback and I haven’t failed a mystery shopper yet. So I got nominated to be a part of the stupid thing. When I was told, I asked if I had to do it because I really didn’t feel comfortable. I was told that I just had to think of a story of when I gave a customer outstanding service and that I’d be “auditioning” next Wednesday (aka today). I repeated that I really didn’t want to and was dismissed. If you hadn’t picked this up by now, I get serious anxiety about presentations. This also applies to interviews and other situations, particularly where I have to talk myself up. It makes me super uncomfortable, which paired with my need to make other people happy or proud, and the fact that I have been scarred for life by expectations of perfection, means that I have a tendency to freak out in situations like this. Today I rocked up to work, fully anticipating I’d missed the auditions because they were being held around 12pm and I didn’t start til 4pm. But no, I get called into the store managers office as I walk thru. I once again repeat that I don’t want to do it, and my store manager lets me off, albeit reluctantly as he was sure I’d have some great stories due to the feedback they’ve had about me. I apologised and rushed into the change rooms where I proceeded to burst into tears. After I’d changed into my uniform, I went back out to the tearoom to get a drink as I still had 15 minutes before I had to start, and it was at this point that the service manager came out and started to try and convince me to reconsider. I spent the entire conversation trying not to cry, trying to come up with an excuse she would accept or understand, because I don’t have a story. I just do my job. I do it well because I take pride in who I am and what I do, even if I am just the girl at the deli counter. I know I do I good job because I put the effort in and I work hard. By the time I had to start my shift it was all I could do to not throw up. I spent the next hour on the verge of tears and I would have gone home if there had been someone to cover me. Thankfully, no one upbraided me for not participating, but I’m still not happy about the whole situation.
Get home from a day of running errands in the city, find no sign of cat. Think he must be hiding in Charlie’s wardrobe or something and think nothing of it, until I hear the pathetic mewling of a trapped cat.
I scour the house for him, checking the cupboards, tops of shelves, behind the washing machine… Even the yard, although I know I locked him in the house when I left. Rechecking Charlie’s room, I discover he has somehow fallen down in the corner behind one of her bookshelves & her tallboy. Now I have to get to him.
I move the knick knacks & picture frames from atop the drawers and grab a chair from the kitchen. There’s barely enough space for me to manoeuvre myself into the gap but I can just reach him, although he seems more intent on batting at my fingertips or rubbing up for scratches than stretching up so I can grab him by the scruff, but dammit, I am not moving this fucking chest of drawers to get him out. Eventually he catches on and stretches up so I can reach his neck. He yowls as I pull him up, I couldn’t grip him properly so I pinch him more than I’d like, but I’ve got him, and pull him out to safety. I swear to god, I’ve never been smooched more than I was after I pulled him out.
I don’t have many regrets. I do wish I had done some things differently, but I don’t really regret all that much.
The notable exception is a more recent one, and it taught me a lot about myself and what I really want.
I regret allowing myself to be talked into taking a relationship to a level I neither wanted or was ready for.
On the upside, the ensuing fallout forced me to rethink everything. I had to put words into action, and I did. And I’m happier for it.
I’m not going to lie, it’d be nice if there was a guy in my life, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my sanity and my heart for someone who is less than worthy. And let’s face it, I have a history of getting involved with guys who are not good for me, and who are nowhere near as “nice” as they seem on the surface. (Emotional abuse & manipulation is super fun!)
I’m not going to lie, I’m still attracted to my “type”, it’s just that now I recognise that they’re toxic arseholes and I don’t deserve that shit.
But on top of that, I’m finding myself drawn to men who are genuinely good people. I’m finding myself attracted to men who I don’t find physically appealing at the start, but as I get to know them better, become dead sexy.
I’m learning to see the charm & allure of a well-formed mind. The sensuality of self-confidence & assurance. The sexiness of knowledge without being a know-it-all.
Now if only I could meet a single guy like that… and find his mind as depraved & dark as mine.
I’m having one of those days where I just don’t want to be strong anymore. I want to just curl up and cry in the arms of someone who loves me and doesn’t think less of me when I break down. And apart from my mother, I don’t have anyone like that. I don’t trust anyone else enough to let myself go and just cry, and that just makes it worse.
So here’s the plan. In 5 years time, I would like to move overseas for at least a year. That’s 3 years for me to complete my current degree, then 2 years to save/organise. The catch is this – I also want to go back to uni and study some more, this time, zoology. And yes, I realise that I am certifiably insane for wanting this, but screw it.
This also leaves no room for a relationship. (Unlike some, I don’t expect someone to give up their life for my dreams. )
Somebody shoot me.
The thought that people could change. That people who have treated you badly in the past will suddenly care and start treating you with respect. And then the realisation that they don’t care. That the only thing they ever did care about was themself and what they could get.
I wish I was more cynical sometimes.
So it’s the start of a new year, and I guess it’s time I talked about what I plan to get out of this year. I’m not talking about resolutions per-say, but there are a few things that I would like to achieve this year, so I’m going to give it a shot.
1. Write more – I want to get published. More than that, I want to be good enough that people will want to read what I’ve put out there. This means practice. This means writing. I want to finish writing the novel I started in November last year before my birthday. I want to improve my craft to the point where I can actually make my living from it. And just as an FYI, if you know me in person, you’ll show up in a story at some point. There is no escaping that. Keep this in mind when dealing with me.
2. Exercise more – I have done much better with exercise in 2012, but I could do more. This year I plan on kicking it up a notch. This means that I will have to take special care of my knee (I cannot afford a repeat of last Feb/March and the pain/annoyance of a dislocated knee).
3. Vlog – Yes, I said it. I actually want to start vlogging this year. Don’t ask me why, I just do.
So, yeah. Nothing overly special, and nothing that’s going to cause the end of the world if I fail. It’s really more a matter of giving it a go.