My Thoughts on the Kneeling Thing

At first I was just not going to invest too much thought into this kneeling thing.  Okay they’re practicing their first amendment right whatever.  But I keep hearing about it over and over from the NFL level to the High School level, and the thoughts started coming, (and I can always use the practice writing anyways) so here I am writing a blog on this thing.

I thought I’d write because out of this whole kneeling protest which seems rather harmless at first something didn’t sit right with me.  When you are kneeling during the playing of the American Anthem, you are not disrespecting Trump, you are not bringing about awareness for injustice.  When you kneel, you are disrespecting the anthem, the flag which many people fought for to bring you the freedom to do dumb things like this kneeling protest.  When we stand for the anthem it is out of respect for our country.  A country which has given us so much and no place in the world is still as free as this country.    Try doing this in another country.  Do you think you would get the same response?  To me by kneeling during the anthem, you are committing a hate crime towards this country, and the very thing you say you are protesting (hate crimes).  I think that is why it feels so wrong.

Hey by the way, you NFL players have a means of helping others that is not available to most – millions of dollars.  Instead of kneeling, why don’t you stand up for those you feel have experienced injustice.  Help them to find the best lawyers available.  Use your money to pay for their lawyer fees.  Start some kind of program that helps against injustice.  Help kids in the inner city to get the help they need so they don’t have to live a life of crime to get by.   If you think Trump is the problem, use your money and position to support the next presidential candidate you want to win the next election.  Do something, cause kneeling is actually doing nothing.  Believe me, we are already aware of the liberal hatred of Trump, the black lives matter movement, and the injustice of the underprivileged.

In the end, this is really just a trend.  We had the ice bucket challenge, planking, and now not kneeling during the anthem.  Are these NFL players going to be doing this 5 years from now?  No, they will not be.  I watched a movie recently called, “Hacksaw Ridge”, based on a true story.  That man had conviction and stood up against violence.  He didn’t want to carry a gun in war.  I don’t agree with his stance, but I have great respect for him because he followed through on his belief until the day he died.  None of these athletes are going to be doing this till the end.  Injustice is never going to end.  This country will never be perfect.  There will always be evil.  Sadly, there will always be rogue police officers who go to far, there will always be racism, and injustice.

Again if they really cared, they would be doing more than just kneeling.  If it bugs the players so much why don’t they try to cancel the season or quit so they can practice what they preach.  “Instead of playing football, I’m going to help those in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico to rebuild their lives.”  Or go and be the voice for the people they feel don’t have a voice.  Hmm, I wonder why they won’t do that?   Isn’t that what Pat Tillman did???  He had a belief and he followed through with it until the day he died.

In the end, they are just puppets for the Liberals and the media who try so hard to divide this country.  They should not just be standing for the anthem, but kissing the flag and thankful to live in a country where they have so much freedom.  I know many foreigners who would love to take their place.  Oh yeah, and did those people ever leave when they said they were leaving if Trump ever became president?  I don’t believe so.  See that didn’t last either and neither will this.  We are definitely living in the era of the demagogue.  And these demagogues are going to destroy our country.

 

 

 

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Life Overwhelming

Why is it in life you have some many things pulling you in so many directions?  Why can’t life be a little more simple?  You have kids, family, friends, health, faith and spirituality, work, financial, homelife, Me Time, and so much more just pulling and tugging at you in all directions, neverending.  And it is so hard to balance and to keep up.  Before you know it you are dragging and just don’t know what direction to go.  It is like a looming mountain in the distance all these things and obligations just fighting for your time.  Then people tell you stop your whining or cut more out of your life.  But you can’t because all these things that consume your time are equally important.  I just can’t cut out cleaning my house or not just hang out with my friends.  I need these things, they are very important (even though I have cut down time with friends considerably).  I can’t choose between my health and my faith.  They are both important.  I need to go to the gym to feed my health needs, but I also need to go to Church to satisfy my Spiritual needs.    Also, if I choose church over my health then I can burn myself out instead of getting the rest my body needs.  I would love to cut my job out.  That would be the first thing that would make the cut if I didn’t need the money to make a living.  Ugh.  It would’ve definitely freed up more time though.

LIFE….why are you so overwhelming?!?!?  Some days I just don’t know if I can do it anymore.  But what good comes from giving up?  Everything is just going to pile up anyways, and then I’ll be behind.  It’s neverending………

Oh shit, I just realized….why am I writing this blog when I could be doing something else.  *sigh*  Alright, I’m outta here.  Time to go to work.

Autumn

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  Whenever the weather starts to change, I feel so invigorated.  I was feeling a little down and depressed recently, but once the weather started changing I was feeling uplifted.  It is amazing how such a simple change in the weather can make a person feel so much better.

I like Spring and Summer, but my spirit never gets uplifted that much.  I love the newness Spring brings, and the sun’s warm rays for Summer.  But it’s when Autumn finally gets here that I feel so happy, inspired, and so alive.  Autumn gives me a pep in my step.

I know it ends with Winter, but that realization doesn’t even seem to get me down.  So welcome Autumn.  I am so glad you are here.

Welcome bonfires, apple cider, candy corn and peanuts, the beautiful, colorful foliage, pumpkins and Indian corn, Autumn brews, winter squash, Halloween and Thanksgiving, and the amazing Autumn clouds that let the sun peek through with glorious bursts of sunbeam.  Autumn is here!

Shame

When I was going to my therapist, Nancy, she helped me to attain some revelations about myself.  I had mentioned to her when I talk I often freeze a lot or have a hard time getting my words out.  She had mentioned that this could be a sign of “Shame”.  After she had told me that, I was taken aback.  I had knew I had experienced anxiety, fear, unworthiness, loneliness, self-loathing, but shame?  This was new to me, and it also made sense.  It really clicked with me.  She gave me this list with points about shame.  I guess a guideline on how to recognize shame in your life.  I wanted to share it.  I can relate with so many of these.  It’s actually kind of scary.  It is helpful though, and maybe you can identify, too.

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Shy

When I was taking riding lessons, there was this pony that had just moved into our stables.  The pony was pretty isolated previously, and wasn’t socialized properly with other ponies or horses.  The pony didn’t know how to act with the other horses and ponies in it’s new environment because of the lack of socialization.  I felt so bad for this little guy, cause I knew what it was like.

I know when my OCD began, but I really wish I could go back and pinpoint when my social anxiety began.  All I remember was before I was five, I was a pistol.  At church at the children’s sermon, I would get in trouble all the time because I would run around the altar instead of sitting and listening.  I definitely wasn’t shy then.  I believe that was when we lived in Alexandria, IN.  After that we moved to Mount Vernon, IL, and that I believe was the first time I attended Sunday school class by myself.  I remember the anxiety of that.  I wanted to go with my sister, but I wasn’t allowed to go to her class.  I remember feeling very awkward and not saying much.

We then moved to Midland, MI.  I remember not wanting to go up to the children’s sermons at our new church.  Then I started Kindergarten.  I remember starting out being pretty boisterous there.  I had to sing the loudest, I sang while I colored, and I prayed bent over basically reaching my feet with my hands.  Kids started making fun of me, and my Kindergarten teacher was pretty hard on me.  I remember practicing for a Christmas play, and the teacher had us sit boy girl boy girl, and at that time I didn’t like boys so I wanted to sit next to a girl, and I let a boy slide over so I could sit next to a girl.  Guess who got in trouble?  The worse part of Kindergarten though, was my teacher made me drink all my milk.  After lunch was nap time, and the kids who didn’t drink all their milk had to sit at the table and not participate in nap time until all their milk was gone.  Usually I would sit out the whole nap time.  It was me and another boy that took the longest.  I think I even had a dream about it once.  I remember her putting me and this boy in a closet to get us to drink all our milk.  I believe this had to have been a dream.  I never liked milk and I found out later in life that I’m lactose intolerant.

I also did make a friend in Kindergarten who was an odd duck like me, but he was held back the next year, so by the time I was ready for first grade I had no friends.  I stuck to myself, and barely talked to anyone at my school.  I did this for 8 years straight.

During those awkward teen years, I think that’s when I really started to self sabotage. That’s why I wasn’t successful at making friends with my best friend’s new friends.  It wasn’t intentional, I just didn’t know how to get out of the rut.  I wanted friends so bad, but I couldn’t figure out how to go about getting them.  I would start to make a friendship, and then I would say something stupid or embarrass myself, and then I would go back in my shell.  I didn’t realize you had to just pick yourself back up from your stumble and move on like nothing happened.  When things would start to go sour I gave up.  And why was that?  Because I was nothing.  When I was with a group of people I would stop and let them keep walking to prove, they didn’t even notice my existence.

I eventually moved to South Carolina.  I would think this is it.  Maybe I can finally get a group of friends.  People there really wanted to befriend me, and I had even gotten my first boyfriend.  I was actually looking forward to going to school in the morning, then I stumbled.  The self sabotage started to kick in.  All this self doubt would creep in and after a great 2 week relationship, I broke up with my boyfriend because he was immature once.  It didn’t bother me at all to friend zone him because I really didn’t think he would be in love with me.  Now that I look back I think he was, but at that time I couldn’t see it because I was unlovable.  You’d be a fool to be in love with me.  I guess I just thought he enjoyed my company.

Every once in awhile at that high school, a friendship would start to form, but then I would freak out because people would start to notice and I would have to start making friends with them and their friends and then I would just freak out and clam up.  It was definitely a pattern.  It was like I didn’t know how to make more than one friend.

Then the pattern followed me into adulthood.   I couldn’t make friends on the job.  I felt like a robot.  When I had conversations with people my personality didn’t really show through.  I would talk about things like toilet paper and swimming pools, and I felt as if people’s eyes would just glaze over.  Then I would notice and clam up.

When I became an adult, I was still quiet, obsessing, and self sabotaging my friendships.  I met my husband when I was 19.  He was handsome, and charming, and the closest thing to mentally stable compared to the other boys who liked me.  For some reason, I could open up to him even though I still couldn’t with other people.  I remember going to functions with him, and I would hang out with him and the guys while the girls would be in their own group.  My husband even mentioned, “Why don’t you hang out with them?” And honestly, I didn’t even know why I couldn’t.

I longed for close relationships with my husband’s sibling and their spouses, but I just felt like I would ruin them because I was too quiet and not fun.  Who would want to hang with a loser like me?  I was just so self conscious and judgmental towards myself.  I would dwell on the stupid things I would say, too.  They would come back to haunt me, and I would beat myself up.  Sometimes in the middle of a conversation even.  I would think I said something stupid, and then just withdraw as I would mentally over analyze everything I had just said.

It wouldn’t be until my late 30’s that I would start to overcome this.  With therapy and just taking some bold first steps, did I slowly come out of my shell.  I am still coming out of my shell to tell you the truth.  I am an introvert so I am always going to be a more quiet person, and I really don’t have any desire to become an extrovert either.  I am definitely learning about myself and accepting it.  Instead of trying to be what people want me to be, I am being true to myself.  So many thing have come together to help me to get to this point.

Now my husband no longer has to hear me ask him if I sounded okay or if I was too quiet.  I can handle holding my own now in a conversation.  I am also a good listener, and I think I am coming to realize how much people appreciate that, so being quiet sometimes isn’t a bad thing after all.

 

Oh and by the way, if you are shy don’t you hate it when people are so eager to point it out.  Like “Oh my gosh, you are so shy.  You never outgrew that.”  And so on and so forth.

Unlovable

It was bad enough having OCD, but having OCD and Anxiety brought about some unwanted ramifications.  Through these some bad seeds were planted, one seed that would come to bear fruit later in my life.  The feeling that I am unlovable.

I put my mom through torture and hell asking her the same questions over and over again to fulfill my compulsions.  One year on her birthday, she begged me to please not ask the “questions”.  She just wanted a break, a birthday present. But I couldn’t even do that.  I felt so bad.  I felt like I was a terrible daughter.  It didn’t help when someone would rub it in and remind me multiple times later in life of how I treated our mom.  It was like a cloud over my head that would never dissipate.

There was one person who thought I was doing these OCD things to get attention.  I would stare at usually the carpet until I got my release, and that person would say something like, “Don’t talk to Tammy, right now she is having a psycho moment.”  That person would also call me “Psycho”.  I believe that was their way of coping with what they didn’t understand.  OCD was still relatively unknown to most people at that time in the 80’s. This triggered me years later, just a few years ago actually, I was on the phone with someone at work and jokingly they called me “Psycho”.  I hadn’t been called that in so long, so it extremely triggered me.  I think the room started spinning.  I could have ran to the bathroom and cried at that very moment, but fortunately, I kept it together and took it in stride.

There was my perfect sister and then there was me.  Everyone looked up to her and she was popular.  Me I was the weird quiet one. She had the awesome 80’s hair that everyone wanted, was on homecoming court, and had boyfriends.  And me, I was an ugly duckling.  I had big glasses and braces and one friend.

Apparently, she did everything right, too, because I hardly ever seen her get in trouble, but I always seemed to do everything wrong.   My dad seemed to be a lot harder on me than my sister.  I didn’t eat right at the dinner table, and it would always bug my dad.  My mom would switch my seat around at the dinner table to avoid supper disappointments.  Sometimes my teeth would hit my fork or I would cut my food wrong, and he would fly off the handle.

One time I was riding my bike by the house, and he called me and I shouted back, “What?”  He screamed at me over that.  I guess I was being disrespectful because I didn’t get off my bike and run over to him.  If a remote was missing it was my fault or if I accidentally broke something, it was because I didn’t take care of my stuff.  He was a workaholic so he was always at work.  I was happy about that since I always felt like I had to walk on eggshells when he was home.

I always felt like my sister was his favorite.  One time an opportunity came when I could get her in trouble.  I was watching a tv show, and my sister came in and just changed it on me.  Dad was home, and I thought this is my chance to see my sister get in trouble.  So I went and got my dad.  He came in, and I told him what had happened so eager to get my revenge.  We both ended up getting in trouble, and that is when it sealed the deal for me that my sister was indeed his favorite.

I had a best friend in my elementary school years.  She didn’t go to the same school as me.  We were neighborhood besties.  She helped to make those years some of the best years of my life.  If it wasn’t for her, my life would have been so bleak with the social anxiety and OCD.  She was an actual bright spot in my life. But she eventually left me during those awkward teen years.  She was a quiet person, but when she started middle school, she started coming out of her shell, and became quite popular.  Back then I felt betrayed, but now when I look back how could I blame her?  I was different and quiet. She did try to incorporate her friends in my life, but I just couldn’t catch on.  That really was the best move for her, but it still made me feel unlovable.

There’s not much to say about high school.  I just got into a pattern of messing up budding friendships.  I would get optimistic going to a new school (when we moved to South Carolina), hoping to make new friends, but it just wouldn’t work out.  By then I had pretty low self esteem and continued to self sabotage any potential friendships.  One time, I decided to take a risk, I went up to a group of the popular girls, and acted like I was going to hang out with them for lunch, and they looked me up and down.  I instantly felt rejected.  I stood there for a little while longer and then took off.  I was incapable of ever having friends.  I was a psycho.  I was crazy.  I was a flake.  I was unlovable.  I hated myself.  My high school years were some of the most loneliest years of my life.

I did have one boyfriend during my high school years.  The relationship lasted like a two whole weeks.  I broke up with him because I caught him being immature once.  Now that I think back, I really believe he fell in love with me, but at that time I didn’t see it.  How could someone fall in love with me???  I guess I just thought we were just curious about dating.   Sometimes I kick myself when I think about that relationship.  I did like him.  If I would’ve stayed with him at least I wouldn’t have been so alone.

My senior year was the worst.  My parents were planning on moving my senior year, and I missed my sister, so we had the (not so great) idea to have me live with my sister and her husband for my Senior year.  (A lady at my church in South Carolina offered me to stay at her place when she heard we were moving – I should’ve took her up on her offer.  I really did like my high school in South Carolina even though at the time I would’ve told you no [I was in denial]).  So yeah I lived with my sister my Senior year of high school …….and it ended up being the best years of my life.  The End!  Ha, ha, ha…Psyche.  No actually it could’ve been a lot better.  New school, nice people, and I self sabotaged it again.  My OCD doesn’t do well with change, so my sister got to see my freak side, and I don’t think I was what her husband was expecting either.  Instead of getting a sweet popular party high school girl, he got a lazy, quiet, weirdo chick.  So it didn’t go too well and after my graduation party, I got shipped back to South Carolina to live with my parents again.  But on a high note….I came back with my driver’s license.

My OCD wasn’t as bad as when I was a child, but I still had my moments when I would ask my mom some compulsions.  So I pushed my mom away cause I didn’t want to torture her anymore, and she never heard from my OCD ever again.  At least she was now free.  Her and my sister would go on to form an inseparable bond while I was trying to prove my independence.   I always felt like the odd one out.  My OCD and anxiety ruined my relationships with them and with most of the people in my life.

Today, my OCD is under control, and my anxiety is going down.  Now since that isn’t taking up all of my time, I am dealing with the ramifications.  All those years wasted dealing with this mess, when I could have been living life.  Now I have to work on my self- loathing, shame, guilt, and regrets.

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What’s wrong with me? Part III

CONFESSION – my OCD’s next move.  I had always been a confessor.  It was one of my many OCD compulsions, but I didn’t know how to explain my way out of this one. Because as Christians, aren’t we supposed to confess when we do something wrong and ask for forgiveness?  This was hard for me to sort out.  Is it OCD or spiritual?

Chris would warn me, but then I would think maybe his faith isn’t strong enough.  A psychologist warned me once, well maybe his faith isn’t strong enough.  Maybe I’m like Job. He couldn’t listen to any of his friends since their faith wasn’t strong enough.  They were steering him wrong.  Maybe my friends were steering me wrong and I needed to stick to my strong faith.

So it just got worse and worse.  I just talked bad about someone behind their back therefore I sinned against them, I need to confess this to them so I can be free.  I just stood up for myself and my anger showed.  In anger, I sinned and have to ask for forgiveness   I’d get home and realize the cashier gave me too much change back, I’ll  have to go back the next day and make it right.  I was really wrapped up in this.  If I couldn’t justify it in my brain, then I was stuck.

It was starting to affect my work and people were noticing.  I was becoming an emotional wreck.  This was the most outward my OCD had ever been.  I was sooo good at hiding it, but I couldn’t anymore.  I ended up taking two weeks off from work, and finally got on some much needed meds.  The doctors got the prescription right the first time.  They put me on Lexapro, and it improved my life so much in just two weeks.  Since the Lexapro was so expensive my doctor gave me a bunch of samples, but eventually they ran out and I couldn’t afford it.  It was like $106 a month.

I ended up finding a different job during that time. I wanted a fresh start especially since I knew my co-workers knew something was up with me, and I was embarrassed about that.   I was doing well with my new job, but shortly after, we ended up moving to North Carolina.  This was around the time, my Lexapro ran out.  So for both me and Chris anxiety was high.  North Carolina didn’t work out, so we came back to Michigan with our tails between our legs.  One blessing was my workplace loved me so much they wanted me to come back, but I wasn’t the same person as I was the first time I worked there.  My anxiety was really showing again.  My OCD was becoming less and less, but my anxiety was still high.  I was still a mess, and I really needed to be on my meds.

I took a step of faith and took a new job which was full-time and had benefits.  This job would help support Chris in school and get us out of Chris’ dad’s house where we were living at the time.  I knew I couldn’t mess up this job because if I did we would end up back in Chris’ dads house.  There was a lot at stake here.  And of course because of that my anxiety soared.  My OCD was almost non-existent, but now it was time to learn how to deal with my anxiety.  I ended up going to a counselor named Nancy  who ended up being my most favorite counselor of all time.  I had a lot of breakthroughs with her.

The thing I loved about Nancy is that she was a Christian, but she was logical in her faith.  I didn’t feel she was judging me, but truly wanted to help.  She helped me get to the root of my problem rather than tell me it was because I didn’t tithe that week or that God was convicting me.  She realized I had a non spiritual problem.  As we got to know each other, she told me I reminded her a lot of her daughter cause she was a tender soul like me.  I had a lot of breakthroughs with her, and I was becoming more and more in control of my anxiety.

I started to thrive a little better in my new job, and slowly but surely came out of my shell.  They also came out with a generic for Lexapro so I was able to go onto that for awhile, and it was affordable especially now that I had insurance.

I had to stop seeing Nancy, since I ended up moving.  I was really hoping for a long-term relationship with a therapist, so I could fine tune some things, but as usual something comes up and I have to stop.

On a side note, I do believe that if you have severe anxiety problems and/or OCD like I did, that the best course of action is therapy and drugs.  I don’t think it is good to just be on drugs and not be getting any help.  I know that can be hard to do since it is so expensive, but you need to learn how to deal with your anxiety.  Therapy is the best help since you can learn how to deal with it.  Now Nancy thought since I had anxiety so early on in life that I may have a natural imbalance that can only be corrected with drugs.  Because of that, I may be on anxiety meds for the rest of my life.  But I do plan on getting off them to see how I do eventually.

As I look back I realize I have come a long way.  This is the best I have ever felt…..even though I just turned 40 (yuck).  I am loving the new me, and I am not hating myself so much anymore.  I have a lot of regrets, shame, and self-loathing I am working through.  (I know I need to go back to therapy.)  But I am getting there.  I have made it this far.  There is no way I am turning back now.