In church yesterday, the pastor was talking about how we should judge people, that is God's job. He was talking more about how to judge people Biblically based. Anyways, there is this person at work who many, if not all people, do not like. Myself included at times. Though, there are things about her that I do see as good. There's a LOT of gossip surrounding this person, and at times I do get dragged into it. After church yesterday, I felt this very strong conviction to work on that. Today I made the conscious choice to not gossip about her or anyone else at work and to really try not to judge people. I did get caught once or twice today (considering it was a PD day and there weren't any kids, there was a lot more talking to colleagues), however, this is the FIRST day I came home NOT stressed from work. Giving her a chance, I have come to realize that she has good ideas to make our work better, to really educate the children. There are a lot of changes coming at once which are incredibly frustrating because I really believe we need to take things one step at a time, but, that is not my job, nor my position to say. Needless to say, I think this may work. Though I do realize there will be days that are harder than others, but I think that in the long run this will make me an all-around better person.
In other news, I'm having a really hard time with my Mom. I have written this already, and it was hard to write it the first time, but it accidentally got deleted...so here we go again. My Grandma was my best friend. I could talk to her about anything, she'd always show interest in what I had to say, she'd show enthusiasm when something exciting was happening, she always wanted to talk to me. I miss her terribly. I have tried calling my Mom more to forge a better relationship (to which she believes we are as CLOSE as thieves) but I just get more and more angry every time I call her. She shows no interest in anything other than what she is going through or what is on her mind. It's always all about her. I tell her something exciting and she goes "that's good"...but it's faked enthusiasm. I fully believe she is bi-polar, and she's well aware she needs to see someone, but refuses, she has a lot of medical issues, but doesn't take care of herself, and she has financial problems that she won't swallow her pride and get help with. She is the very definition of a pathological liar. She lies about everything, even very insignificant things. She "believes" that's the way it happened, only it's not, no matter what anyone says, she's always right. And, maybe, that's the way her brain really remembers it, but she says a lot of things to make herself, or others sound better. An example is; she tells people I have more degrees than she can count. I have ONE degree.....a B.A. in Criminal Justice. I then went back to school and got my teaching license. I am soon to have my Master's degree, but she makes it sound like I have all these degrees that I don't have. She also continues to tell people I have a degree in psychology, which I don't, I don't even have a minor in psychology. I almost did, but I didn't finish the minor after I transferred colleges. Why lie about his? I'm proud of what I have accomplished, I don't need my accomplishments vamped up. Sadly, I enjoy her manic phases more because even though she calls me a lot and all about random things that have to do with her, the tone of her voice is different and she sounds better. Though, this only lasts for about 3 days until she crashes, and then it's back to the depression stage for a few weeks. She spends no quality time with ANYONE in her family.....she doesn't invite people over for dinner, or just hang-out, and she always seems to have a scowl on her face. I hate the way she treats people, even people she doesn't know. She thinks treating people poorly and yelling at them will accomplish something different than being polite. She gets mad at drivers when they do something they may not even realize they are doing and does things to provoke them, like slowing down, or not letting them pass. Of course, telling her any of this would result in denial. I actually told her that she needs to start taking care of herself, that I'm sick of hearing she got hurt or that she's sick. She played if off like it was no big deal...per usual. She never takes preventative measures. She needs to deal with her adversaries head on, and accept the things she cannot change while finding ways to counteract them. Regardless of her disability (her back) she could have a full, exciting life. She just chooses not to. She chooses to sit in her dark room by herself, not conversing with anyone on any type of significant level. I know I can't change her, I realize she has to make the changes herself, but man, life is so worth living if you let yourself enjoy it. If you stop taking life so seriously, take your troubles as they come, deal with them the best you can, lean on your family, especially your husband, and make time to enjoy the small things in life. I can't imagine living my life so depressed and not doing anything to try and enjoy it, to fix my troubles, and to feel better. I can't imagine not seeing the sunshine in the morning, not experiencing the wonders life has to offer, not going for my dreams or my pursuits, as small as they may be, not enjoying my husband and family.
Sometimes, I find it hard not to distance myself from her. But each time I do that, it lasts about 2 weeks, at most (normally around the time she becomes hyper awake for days again) and she calls and yells at me for not calling her. You don't understand, I can't just talk to her about this. She takes criticism or anything that seems "against her", even if not presented that way, completely wrong. She refuses to listen and refuses to believe it. She'd be so mad at me, and wouldn't talk to me for days, weeks, months, who knows. Then, there's the little thing of her depression, and who knows what that would spiral her into. That's not something I want on my shoulders.
I have chosen to live my life, regardless of the sadness I feel at times. I really believe that depression (not bi-polar, and not DEEP depression) can be overcome with mind-over-matter...albeit, not an easy feat. I was diagnosed with depression, as was my husband. Mine was back in College and I saw a Christian Therapist...I learned ways to deal with it and change my thoughts and to break myself free. My husband, was put on a lot of medications that didn't work. He, one day, at a Christian camp, decided to make the decision to take his mind into his own hands and to do things that make him happy, and to force himself free. I'm not saying this works for everyone, so for those of you who will be angry about this comment, don't...I'm definitely not suggesting this for my Mom, she NEEDS to be medicated...but in her situation, medication, AND living life would really help her.
I guess all I can really do is keep praying for her. I love her very much, and I'm just sick and tired of the person she has turned into, because this is NOT my Mother......she is not my Mother, and I miss my Mom.
As the beautiful morning, after an absolutely horrible occurrence right up the street from my house, (the Sikh Temple Shooting) broke through from the night,
I rose early, nervous, yet eager to begin a journey with a therapist. (counselor...not sure if there is a difference.) I took a shower, got dressed and drove. The street where
the shooting occurred is blocked off, and all police are asking drivers where they are going, so I politely answered the question then was on my way.
Little did I know, I was about to be told something I have known for a very long time but refused to acknowledge; I need to start concentrating on me.
All my life, I have let myself be in the middle of a dodge ball game...a great metaphor my counselor used...and have not taken care of myself. I am still treated as
though I am a young child or in my late teens, all whilst being given adult responsibilities. My mom puts a lot of pressure on me, though she probably doesn't realize it, and I
often times have felt like I am the mother, not the other way around. My feelings were confirmed today....even without saying that. All I did was tell her about my mom, and she
said that I shouldn't have to be the Mom. My Aunt pressures me to be a parental figure in my siblings lives....and I'm always in the middle of what is going on with her and my mom.
I never say no, I never say that I can't do what you are asking me too, I've always been a big pushover and afraid of disappointing them or hurting their feelings, however this makes me an
enabler for all the issues they are trying to put on me.
I am almost 30 years old...and I have yet to just be able to live MY life, to do things I want to do without worrying about my family, to enjoy my marriage to my husband and not always have to
"run" and do something for my Mom, or deal with phone calls from my Aunt.
I have always felt selfish for wanting to just take time for myself, to be with my husband, to be the wife that I want to be. I don't want to be the mother...I want to be the daughter, I want to be the niece, the sister. I don't want to be the one all the burden seems to fall on. I don't want to deal with all the issues my Mom has, I don't want to be in the middle of how my Aunt feels about my Mom, I don't want to feel guilty that I can't or don't want to do something. I shouldn't have to always give a reason, if I say no, it should be no...no pushing on the other person's part involved.
I realized this today, yet I still feel I made a mistake...however I'm learning, it was the first appointment. My aunt had called and said she got the voice-mail about me not going up north due to school and work. She then proceeded to try to talk me into coming up Saturday (a 4 hour drive, after a 4 hour long class) in which I'll be really tired....and then driving 4 hours home on Sunday....along with gas money..that when I said I can't afford that right now, she said she'd pay...yet I gave in, in a way, and told her I would talk to Josh. I don't really think I want to go. It would be nice to have a small vacation, however, I don't think I want to be in a cabin with my entire family...not right now.
Then I stopped by my Mom's house to see how my step-father was doing after his surgery, and she got mad I didn't come into her "room" (she sleeps/lives in one room of the house) to say hi to her. I brought lunch, so I was eating and just talking to Randy. I told her I was worried about him because he was in pain and all she goes is "he has pain meds" THAT IS YOUR HUSBAND! TAKE CARE OF HIM!!!! I told her about my Aunt and how she wants me to still come up (And instead of supporting my decision not to) she said, "You should come, then I don't have to be there the whole time with just her." SERIOUSLY?! It is NOT my job to be their buffer, and I know that now.
The whole point of this is that I am deciding to concentrate on me, for the next year. I'm concentrating on taking care of myself mentally and physically, I'm concentrating on my husband and our life together...he comes first now, and they need to realize that. I am concentrating on finishing my master's and my 2nd year of teaching....this is MY time. I'm almost 30, I don't want to look back on my life and regret not doing things I want to do because my family always "needs" me.
I can't "fix" my Mom. I can't force her to get the help she desperately needs, I can't force her to make time and be the loving wife and mother she should/could be, I can't change her financial or health situation...but she can. She can make different choices in life and I need to realize and learn that it's not my responsibility even if I feel guilty....I can't feel responsible for how someone else chooses to live their life.
I really need to learn to concentrate on me. In 8th grade I was voted "The one who cares about everyone else no matter what", back then I thought it was sweet, now I just realize that it means I don't care about myself. I need to be, what some may consider, "selfish" right now....I need to be about me...and that is okay...
I, by no means admit to living a perfect life. We are all imperfect beings, and I have had my fair share of major screw-ups.
I grew up in a non-practicing Catholic family. I went to church on Friday's with my class since I went to a Catholic school. I learned about who God is, who Jesus was, about the saints and other Catholic teachings. But I never KNEW God. I was baptized, made my first communion, and aced all my Religion classes, but again, I never KNEW God.
After grade school, I went onto High School. I never attended church, we never really spoke of God in the house. It was like what I learned about was just another class, no application. I should have been making my confirmation of my faith, but honestly, I'm glad I didn't, because I didn't really understand what that meant.
At this point in time, I was a good kid, I never did drugs, had sex, or got in with the wrong crowd. I did this for fear of disappointment from my mom, and for fear of what all of those "evil" things entailed. I met this girl, Bethany, at school my Freshman year. She invited me to Camp Awana, and I felt like my world opened up. I also felt very pressured to "accept Jesus as my Savior". Again, I did it because I felt this is what I was supposed to do, however still not understanding what a relationship with God meant. I joined the Bible Club at my school, started attending a youth group with another friend of mine, and learning more and more about God and Jesus. But, I still didn't get it. I think deep down I was searching, but I just didn't understand how to have a relationship with someone that I couldn't physically see.
I went to a Christian college, and I fell in love with the worship portion of it, but I still didn't feel like I had a relationship with God. I thought to myself, "I was part of a youth group, I go to a Christian College, I say I'm a Christian, that's good enough". I thought I was doing everything right. Looking back now, I know how wrong I was. I was always embarrassed to talk about about religion, we just didn't do that in my family, unless I was talking to my Grandma. I saw how people reacted when other friends would bring up God. I got annoyed that many people's answers to problems were "pray about it". (I still have issues with this though) I agree that God can choose to take away pain and answer prayers, but I also feel that he has put others on this earth to help us with that. (i.e. Doctors, Psychologists..and the like) I didn't pray, I didn't know how to pray. I thought praying had to be this exact science, when in fact it's just talking to God.
My junior year of college came about, up until then, I was still this Good Girl. You see, in the Catholic faith you learn and believe you get into heaven by being "good". But, what I learned later in life, you can't be "good" without a relationship with God. Erich and I had broken up around this time. I was heartbroken, devastated, and depressed. I had very low self-esteem, and I didn't understand his reasoning for breaking up with me. (I do understand this now...and it really had nothing to do with me, though that is not important) I was one semester away from student teaching, and I lost it. I lost my faith, I lost my way, I lost everything. I started going out to bars, nightly, with "friends". I started heavily drinking, ditching classes, failing classes, and dating a guy that was wrong for me in so many ways. He was incredibly emotionally abusive. He treated me with the utmost disrespect. He used me. I was terrified of him, but I was also captivated by him. Many people don't understand that, but at that point in time, I had lost all my friends, I drew very far from my family, and I only had him...or so I thought. I was no longer pure for my future husband, I was no longer a "good girl". Drinking, sex, and drugs (though not hardcore, drugs none-the-less) consumed my life. I dropped out of school, moved in with the boyfriend, lost my job, and made money going door-to-door selling stuff. I had almost hit rock bottom, but I still wouldn't listen to anyone. I was so ashamed. I wouldn't talk to people, I would just do things that I shouldn't be doing, things that didn't honor myself or my God.
One day, Tim had friends over. We had an argument, about what, I don't even remember. But he sat on top of me, and held down my arms. I was screaming, and not ONE of his friends came to help. I thought he was going to kill me, and that is not an over-exaggeration. That's when I knew, I knew I had to make a change. I told him that I was leaving him. He told me that he'd have me killed. I was terrified. I didn't know what to do, and I thought my only way out was to kill myself. I took an entire bottle of Tylenol PM (except 2 pills) I, to this day, have no clue why I didn't take those two pills, but I didn't. Maybe that's what saved my life. I thought I would sleep, and sleep a lot, but that's not what happened. My entire body was shaking, I couldn't walk, I could barely move, I was really dizzy. I remember crawling into where Tim was that night, and I told him what I did, that I needed to go to the hospital. He refused to take me, told me it was my own fault. I ended up forcing myself to throw up, many, many times. It took a few days, but I was better, physically, anyways. I knew it was time to leave him, I knew it was time to get my life back.
He asked me to take him to his friends house, and though I didn't want to, I did, because I figured this is the time I can move my stuff out. I can't remember exactly what had happened or what we were arguing about, but I told him to get out of my car. I pulled over, and he refused. I took out my phone and dialed 9-1-1. I was scared, I didn't know what he would do. He took the car keys out of my car and threw them on the roof of a building. He also ripped my cell phone out of my hand which was on my ear while I was talking to the 9-1-1 operator, which took out a chunk of my hair off my head. This was it, I knew I had to change my life. He heard the sirens, and ran off. I called my mom, finally. I broke down and told her everything. Her, my step-father, my Dad, my step-mother were at my side in 20 minutes, if not less. After filing a report with the police, we went back to the apartment, moved all of my stuff out and moved me into the basement at my mom's house. I was 22 years old....and I was grounded....and THANK GOD, I was. I didn't even argue it. They did it to protect me, to help me. I often times cried myself to sleep, but within 6 months, I found a good job, made enough money to move out, and be on my own. I was so angry with God, so angry that he let this all happen to me. I refused to get to know him, but I started praying anyways. I ended up going back to school, getting my B.A. in Criminal Justice. I met the most amazing man, who is now my husband, and then went back to school again to get my Teaching License.
During that horrific time for me up until recently, I still didn't KNOW God. I really just didn't understand the importance of a relationship with him. I have considered myself a Christian for awhile, but I finally feel like I understand what a relationship means. If it wasn't for that horrific time that I went through, I wouldn't be who I am today.
I feel so blessed to know God, and I have a desire to get to know Him more and more. I truly believe my life wouldn't be the way it is now without Him. We have choices in life, but I choose to follow God. I choose to accept that Jesus is my savior. I choose hope. I know how hard it is to really understand what a difference having God in your heart can make, but I may be dead if it wasn't for Him.
I am not proud of the things that I have done, but I also know that God has forgiven me. I know that He has been calling my name to come back to him. Will life be perfect with no problems from here on out? Of course it won't be. We live in a world of sin. Trial and tribulations will always be around, but God will prevail. My faith has given me my life back. My faith gives me hope for the future. I feel sorry for people who don't have faith because what are they living for? I want to share my faith with others, I pray for the strength to do so. Many people don't like talking about God, be it that they don't want to feel "pressured" (Even though they get pressured 24 hours a day by television and radio ads, things on the internet, or what have you) or they are scared of the unknown. They don't know anything about God and they don't want to learn about it because it almost seems "uncool". To me, knowing God, is a blessing, and the most "cool" thing ever. My life has completely changed because of my faith.
Without my faith in God, my comfort about my Grandma wouldn't be there, my confidence about myself would go down the tubes again, my life just wouldn't be the same. I praise God for staying with me even though I turned my back on Him. I can't promise I won't get angry, I can't promise that I won't sin (obviously, we all sin) but I can promise that I will turn to God for the rest of my life. I will work on a strong relationship, a 100% relationship with him. I am no longer a fair-weather Christian.