Coiled

 

rattlesnake
rattlesnake

I went hiking this past weekend for 2 hours (hiked 4 miles). I like to hike the hard way in and the easy way out, that way I get my exercise in, my rest period with a snack, and some creating (i.e. photography, drawing, thinking), and lastly my cool-down period. On the way back to the parking lot along the deteriorating fire-road, just past the ruins of the Keller cabin, the wind died down. The woodpeckers stopped jostling their brains. I stopped and then I heard it, the rustling of the leaves like a ball was rolling in the brush. I looked closely, and saw this guy ^ gliding on by. He/She’s a rattlesnake, about 3 feet long but not very thick, and the rattler didn’t look very well formed.

The imagery and experience of watching a snake in the grass seems to be a good metaphor of how the month of August has been for me: I was on a monastic visit and I don’t know what to make of my experience; my Spiritual Director quit; gossip at work encouraging/pressuring me to date a male colleague; slanderous gossip at work on a different matter which is abhorrent in nature, & more. As it is late in the month, I’m getting to the point of just watching the snake in the grass. I take a step closer because I’m curious, but I use my zoom lens to get a better look. I stand around to make sure it goes into it’s hole in the ground, and I go on my way. I’m just watching all this “danger” come at me and I’m TRYING to let it pass.

My thoughts since learning of the slanderous gossip at work are as follow:

  • if you have the luxury of enough time to conjure such abysmal stories about me, perhaps you need more clients.
  • I only speak negatively of the people who’ve done me wrong (i.e. my direct supervisor calling me a lesbian).
  • I’ve been honest about my family, why make up more horrific stories – the truth isn’t enough? (verbal & physical abuse)
  • Do you actually desire that kind of trauma to be upon me?
  • Is this a reaction to the fact that I’ve made statements that I’m Catholic and therefore will not have strange unmarried men spend the night in my apartment?
  • Is this a reaction to the fact I’ve stated numerous times that I do not date people at work?
  • Is this a reaction to the fact I’ve stated “I’m Catholic”?
  • Driving into work today, I’m was still furious. I frequently talk to myself in the car at times like this. I explained to myself that my life does not exist to please you, to appease you. I am not standoffish about sex, but I will not engage in sex outside of marriage, I will not masturbate, I will not procure abortions or contracept. Not because I’m afraid of sex, but that these are the teachings of the Catholic Church. If I did not want to have to follow these teachings, I’d go find a religion that does fit my thoughts. For example, if I thought children should not be baptized prior to the age of reason, I’d be a Baptist, if I thought modernity were completely of the Devil, I’d be Mennonite. However, these are man-made constructs. I’m Catholic because that is the Church Christ established through Simon-called-Peter/Cephas. If I were to run around to find a religion that fit me, that wouldn’t be Faith, it’d be Pride. I’m Catholic, I follow what Mother Church teaches since She can only speak the truth of God. I don’t attend the Church of You wherein there’s practices of masturbation, abortion, contraception, fornication, emotional extra-marital affairs, loose associations, and Soul-selling for a few moments pleasure: Let’s see, maybe 20 minutes of sex in exchange for eternity in Hell, or I can forego sex outside of marriage between the ages of 13 to 30ish, and have better hopes of going to Heaven. I submit to God. My life is created for the glory of God. I’m made by & for God, so I’m Catholic. I follow what God teaches through His established Church. I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU.
  • If you’ve never had the experience of seeing a real bonafide Catholic and that scares you to the point of committing slander and defamation, I don’t think I need to say which situation is more foolish.
  • I don’t want to know who this person / whom these people are. Really, I don’t. I’ll lose so much respect for them. I’d loathe calling them colleagues. Their minds are pure filth. Additionally, knowing your name(s) opens you up to a lawsuit.

 

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.