Sunshine

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I was hoping to sit by the bank of windows, their light murky and scattered by years of grime. Ceiling tiles overhead have been removed to reveal years of dry, and maybe, wet rot. A spare classroom. Used for students who need extra testing time, the afterschool program’s space to complete homework, or on Wednesdays where I unglamorously provide mental health services to kids. Here I sit across the room next to the electrical outlet to charge the phone.

The sound of students reaches me: running in the halls, shoving each other in the cafeteria line, the dull thud of soccer balls.  I try not to think about who sits alone at lunch or who is bullying to the point of being sent to the principle’s office.

I want to sit against the window pane. Instead, I stare at the little table at which I do all my work covered by my lunch bag and coffee mug, the EBP model booklet, coloring pencils, collage materials &c. The vestiges of last cling to me: dry eyes and a headache, perhaps a resurgence of a pinched nerve; more likely holiday dread. My own, but also the kids whose heads swim with financial dreams their parents can’t meet; dreams of hover boards, happiness, fully attentive parents, family trips.

I’ll hold them, but Jesus, are you holding them too?

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Candy-coated?

I’ve noticed something, when I read the blogs of other women who have entered religious life, and leave their blog running for the sake of future readers, education, information, to say “I was here”, &c. All their blogs are explicitly religious. If something unsavory occurred at work, they don’t mention it on their page. If some dismal words were exchanged between mother and daughter prior to entering, then it’s not shared. It brings to mind a saying of St. Josémaria Escriva, that he disliked the candy-coated appearing statutes of Mary, as though she were made of baking paste to be sat atop a cake.

Am I on display, on a cake, to make you like me? Am I to be all sweet and nice, and you to never see my rough edges? Am I to appear saintly?

No. NO. NO!

I’m not here to say, “Hey! I have a vocation to religious life.” Or “I’m already holy and perfect, please accept me!”

BWAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I’m a mess. I’m human. I fall all the bloody time. I lie. I drink. I own 5” cherry red stiletto heels. I like loud music. I like whiskey & single malt scotch. I have the things that land me in the Confession line every 3-4 weeks. I think mean thoughts.

I’m not here for you to like my posts. I’m not here seeking to promote a pretty picture. I put up posts like “Puddle of Power” every once in a while because that’s my reality. This is my blog, and I’ll put here what I dam well please.

Why?

That would be a farce. Farces don’t go anywhere. They spin ‘round; milling and dawdling. Farces tailspin; crash and burn, spurned.

Religious life isn’t about farces or candy-coated lives. It’s about what is needed most to save your Soul. My Soul. Recall, each day you have God to thank & serve, a Soul to save; Heaven to gain, Hell to lose. These truths aren’t obtained on the days that things have passed well, the days that are respites; rather, the days that are difficult. The days when you have a puddle of power, and you can wallow in it, or bypass the puddle knowing that it will dry up at some point. I need religious life to get my anti-morning-person-butthead into Mass every morning, to pray my daily Rosary, to maintain the daily prayerful conversation with Christ; a steady balance of work, pray, play. God calls you to unity with Him; and He calls me as well. We are called differently, as are the life paths. However, what doesn’t differ is our sinfulness.

Concisely, I’m not pure religion & prayer all day, every day. My blog should be a reflection of my reality.

Silence

I’m thinking about silence itself as an object/presence recently. Immediately in my reaction field is a post I was reading from another blogger here on WP.

In my work as a child and adolescent therapist to some of the poorer children (the poorest live on skid row and I don’t have the stomach to work with that population) of Los Angeles; specifically called SPA 8 (Service Provider Area 8). I’ve had the special privilege of working with different young women, all under the age of 15 years of age who have been raped, sexually assaulted, attempted sexual assault/molestation, and/or sexual harassment. Each one has told me that they considered themselves to be the only one until they confided in a friend, cousin, or aunt near to their age (under 20 years of age); then they tell me, “I told her to tell someone about what she was going through”. Can we just get this over and done with?

Ladies/Girls/Women, let’s just admit that the men in our lives want us to feel alone. They want us to be frightened and feel alone! Yet, the reality is that more women and girls are assaulted, harrassed, abused by people they know than absolute strangers.

And abuse, physical abuse is the same story and I totally want to jump in there with the kid and be like “Yeah, I know!” but I can’t. The therapy hour is totally about them, and I pull myself back inside and be all like “Yeah? Can you tell me about what makes you scared?” or “What’s that like?” I stay on the back-burner and may save my urge to blurt out for my own therapy sessions where I get triggered/reminded of getting hit on the back my head or back with shoes or slippers (and you wonder why the F I hate the color pink or her perfume or being touched at all, least of all being touched or hugged or anything by her); that evening I watched the filled Mayo jar fly by me, missing me by golly-knows-what; choosing dissociation in the closet instead of listening to the litany of Megan’s-fucked-up-as-a-daughter-because.

You know what’s also the same fucking story? (I know, a wanna-be-nun just said the F word. Pick your jaw off the floor, ‘cuz she’s heard and said so much more worse in the past). Getting harassed and bullied at work by your supervisor. I’m taking the fall because I told my supervisor’s boss that she made comments which I considered to be inappropriate. About the 3rd week of September I received information from a client’s caregiver about A/V hallucinations, and my supervisor in the course of consulting with another supervisor, stated “Oh, is this your wife?” My roommate (a co-worker) and her supervisor were in the room. As it was out of context, inappropriate, and I’m generally reserved, I didn’t say a damn thing at the moment.  However I did email my supervisor’s supervisor about her statements, explaining that I felt they were:

Hi [Supervisor’s Supervisor],

I want to make a complaint about a statement [Name redacted to protect the not-so-innocent] made to me yesterday in front of another employee & supervisor. We had gone to the back of the [Location] office to consult with [Roommate’s supervisor] about a cx [client] of mine. To this other employee (who is my roommate, [name removed]) and in front of her supervisor, [my supervisor] said, “Oh, is this your wife?”  I corrected it immediately as “No, she’s my roommate.”
Myself and my roommate felt it was inappropriate; I’m embarrassed.
I’m making a complaint as this is not the first time [the not-so-innocent] has made inappropriate comments about faith/personal issues to me; I’ve addressed them with her in the past and thought it was taken care of. I can talk more about those  with you’d like.
I write that I’m taking the fall because I’m the one getting pegged for distinct deadlines prior to the company’s established deadlines for monthly paperwork; my supervision time is being double-booked two weeks in a row and my supervisor says “oh, I messed up…no I didn’t”; she hangs up on me, she conveniently “never” receives my text messages (I can prove this via phone company) ; she gives me the clients that she’s having assigned to her (I can also prove this), which she needs to be credentialed in an evidence-based practice (one of our primary sources of funding); she does not listen to me pertaining to being able to either submit notes on-time, or completing paperwork to her superficial deadlines but not both (I have multiple witnesses). I’ll be harassed, picked on and bullied until my body collapses or she finds someone else to bully.
Yet, there’s another side to silence, where I can find peace instead of noise, calm instead of jarring harassment; can breathe without needing to calm my pinched and firing nerve[s]. For me this kind of silence is filled with incense, Gregorian Chant and sunlight filtered through stained-glass windows. Usually, I’ve just beginning to grasp this kind of silence at the end of the Mass of the Catechumens. Currently, I take a single line from the Anima Christi “Hide me in Your wounds” because it’s the only place that has been once-struck and never struck again. That blow is finished for all time, and He is righteous and reigns again. I can hide wherever I want to, but I crawl into the lance-blow, and imagine Momma Mary holds the body of her Son one last moment as in the Pieta and clasps her hand over me, not only keeping me hidden but I cannot fall out either. I sleep with a Crucifix clutched in my hands because it’s the only way I can sleep through the night without waking up every 2 hours. One of these days I’ll walk behind the closed doors of a monastery which St. Therese of the Child Jesus frequently called a prisoner; however it’s the first time I won’t be imprisoned. I’ll be able to openly declare/be myself without fear of reprimand. Nothing should slow my mother down on reprimanding me about how I’ll cause the doom-and-gloom on her marriage and am an utter disgrace more than a 7 hour drive to San Francisco. I hope I laugh when I should be silent.

jumbled

something happened
and I became lost
in the tangle.
I heard you say,
far and away,
to stay focused
and to stay with you.
Eyes peeled as grapes
and breath held to burning,
I couldn’t stay with you
and I became lost.
I was taken over.
Over a decade,
I fall backwards into
a maze of conspiratorial lies
collapsing under the knowledge
of transformation.