This world

These are the vibes today, right here:

1 John 2:15-17: Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

“What is she upset about now? Ugh–the Bible.” Yeah, I know you.

I’ve actually had some forward momentum. At least one thing in my life is working out, and that’s huge. When everything has gone meshugena, getting one vital component sorted is wonderful. Finding a place to serve is wonderful.

I also find delirious pockets of happiness and laughter mixed with serenity and understanding here and there. They are usually at church, but that’s not a bad thing at all.

I am getting really far away from having any interest in what happens day to day and more stoked about what happens from age to age. This is utterly impractical and completely unfashionable, but I find that the constants in the human experience inspire the most passion. Love, birth, loss, rebirth, connection, meaning…this is not making front page news, and that’s fine.

The front page news is so depressing and triggering for a lot of us right now that I’m about to hide in a hermitage. Thankfully, throwing myself into work has about the same effect.

Facebook is a dumpster fire of misinformation. People share whatever version of affairs affirms their beliefs. People don’t talk to each other. There is yelling and point making, but no conversation. I imagine Twitter is the same way, but I just can’t bear to look at it anymore.

“Pride in our achievements.” Likes and retweets. Clicks. A lot people pay bills this way now. Heck, clicks paid my cellular bill this month. I’m not knocking this new economy, but I am asking you to read more than headlines. Click on the info embedded in stories. Get a fuller picture.

Pray. If you don’t pray, mocking those who do is just kind of weird. It’s like hating someone for imagining a better world. Nobody wants to be the bully in the after school special…except on the Internet.

I’m going to make myself sad. Okay, here’s the deal. You comment with a happy or at least pleasant thing that’s happened to you, in the world or in spite of it. Because that’s what spiritual joy is…taking pleasure in the connection to God and others despite the general crapitude of the world.

Let’s rain down sunshine on this piece. The things of this world are meh.

If you are so moved, donations are always kindly accepted. Thank you!

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God speaks in the doing

This has not been a good month.

The irony of becoming depressed with suicidal ideation in the very months after I publish a book on turning to Christ in times of terror & misery is not lost on me. It is in fact a great jumping off point for a dark humour indie film, but enough about inspiring dreck. This is a confession.

I cannot get into all the reasons this was a bad month, & they don’t matter because depression is depression. There was just a lot. A bit of it was financial, a lot of it was tremendous, unrelenting physical pain (which I have also written about, but less well). Some of it was long buried emotional pain, because I am extra good at pretending everything is peachy keen.

Don’t worry about the suicidal ideation, FYI. I ideate; I don’t plan & would certainly never carry out. I know that some of you who have known me a very long time are giving me side eye right now, because you remember a time when I did actually attempt to carry it out (or two). Those days are long past. I wouldn’t even normally describe myself as depressed in the past decade, except for now. Now is a thing.

What I do — & please don’t be jerks about this because there’s a whole story here involving a Buddhist empress — but I pray. And sometimes, when the pain is so intense I do not think I can stand another second, I pray the following:

Dear God, please heal or kill me immediately. I cannot bear another second.

Obvi, it’s not occurred to God to end my life just at this juncture. In fact, He has strangely seen fit to heal a great deal of other things that were wrong with me.

I’ve had a number of doctor, dentist, & physical therapy visits in the past months. And what I have learned at all of my most recent ones is, through my own hard work & some prescription nutrients I do not make or absorb on my own, I have improved my health so dramatically that every health care practitioner has expressed astonishment.

“Your body wants to get better,” one said. “Man, I wish all my patients worked as hard as you,” said another. “You have perfect teeth/retinas and beautiful skin!” gushed yet another couple of health care practitioners. I have improved my already pretty good lab work to stellar, & my terrible no good very bad ankle to Nearly Normal.

So the physical body, with the exception of its inability to recognize simple essential nutrients as good, is very, very healthy. Nobody believes I’m 43. I am physically 30.

Except for my central & peripheral nervous system. Those still fire like a sadist has a voodoo doll of me. Neurological stuff is a bitch, but I am always grateful it’s not organ failure. I guess if you’re going to have an organ go bad, the brain is the least…poisony of them.

How to explain…I’m in little to no danger of atherosclerosis, diabetes, COPD, liver damage, or kidney failure, and even my damaged intestines do some kind of job. Everything that’s wrong with me is in how my brain processes stimuli. It thinks everything is a life threatening injury, & it sends a casacde of pain neurotransmitters in kind.

This is not a fun existence.

But it’s also not a slow death, like the things I listed above are. It’s like…it’s like I prayed for death & God said, “Well, how about a healthier body? Would that work?”

And it kind of helps with the fibro, I guess. So now bad things need to just stop happening, & maybe I will find a moment in between crying bouts & panic attacks to be grateful that my hard work has paid off in radiant health — even if my brain 100% could not give the least of shits.

I mean, I never cry, & in the past month I’ve burst into tears in front of a substitute physical therapist, a nurse, a phlebotomist, a dentist, a dental hygienist, and an optometrist.  But I have also laughed just as hard at all of those appointments.

I’m miserable & feel like I’m short with everyone, but I’ve been called Sweetie & Cutie more times than I can count. I’ve argued before that people think I’m just adorbz when I’m angry & stampy-feets.

My prayers to God now are “Thanks?” and “You’re making me function better. Why? What have you got in store? I can’t see it yet. It seems like I am supposed to flail utterly everywhere while also having every reliable thing I needed fall out from underneath me.”

But I also thank Him for my friends, who have occasionally surprised me with kindnesses & timely bits of assistance that really have saved my ass. Most people wouldn’t want me to say their names, but Art is not most people. Art drove me home when my car died 39 minutes from it. Art is a magnificent being, & also called me a Sham Cougar, which…oh, it’s a long story.

Eventually, I will come up from this mire of unrelenting darkness & see all this as blessing. Right now, I can’t, probably because I still won’t really deeply face it & admit how bad it’s gotten. I keep trying to Gratitude Mindset my way out of things, which sometimes is bullshit. Sometimes, you really do just have to stare a thing in the face & say “You suck.”

So, My Life, you suck right now. You’ve kind of always sucked, but you got betterish at times & you even have moments of magic. But right now, you just plain, flat out suck, & I hate you. And now I feel bad for saying that to you. You didn’t mean to suck, & sometimes you even behave when I try to make you not suck. Maybe it’s actually fate that sucks.

Screw you, Fate, you bastard. Unless I am pre-paying for something bloody marvelous. In that case, I’ll take it all back upon receipt of my lay-away Destiny.

Which apparently requires me to have a mostly functioning ankle & the stellar blood work of a 30 year old woman who eats kale & jogs (I do neither of these things).

Well I’ll Be

My entire life, I have recoiled with horror when Mr. Mister’s “Take These Broken Wings” is played. This is because I associate it with a murder that I witnessed as a little girl.

It was a murder on television, but still. It scared me so much I ran out of the living room & into my bedroom, where the song was playing on my radio. I can’t hear it to this day without becoming miserable.

This is how I remembered the murder. Matt Dillon ran into a room where Natalie Wood was fighting with an albino who was cutting her with a straight razor. Then the albino was stabbed with a knitting needle.

It is now over 30 years later, & I still have nightmares about this scene, so in an effort to purge myself of this trauma, I crowd sourced Twitter. Useless. So I googled.

You want to know what horror film traumatized a nine-year-old girl so badly that she has nightmares about it at 43 years of age?

Foul Play. Starring Goldie Hawn & Chevy Chase. I’m told there’s even a Burgess Meredith karate fight.

Just kill me now.

But seriously how is this horrific sight funny??! 

Copyright whatever movie studio made this hellish vision & called it a comedy.


Children are impressionable! Be careful what they’re watching!

Knowing my mum she was passed out on the settee. Or cooking. Or my brother was feeding Doritos to the cat.

High school

All y’all acting like you hate drama & you just want everything to be calm, but I have looked into your beady little souls & nearly every last one of you is high school AF…as the high schoolers say.

Don’t even; just stop. You know it. The second someone not in your group loses or messes up, schadenfraude washes over you like warm, buttery caramel down a monkey’s back in a movie I shouldn’t tell you about. 

When your group triumphs, you all high five each other like it was 3rd & goal at the end of the fourth quarter & you won! You won, damm it. You’re number one! You’re number one!

I once watched a group of approximately 40 adults learn something at a party about another person — something that was irrefutably awful enough on its own. But after an hour of discussion, they started finding other things to discuss to further drive home this person’s repugnant nature. “Oh, not only did he kill that girl, but you know I never liked him.”

“Oh, me either. He chewed with his mouth open. Who does that?”

And then the swarm. “OMG, one time? We were at lunch? And he didn’t contribute to the tip.” Stories like this continued for hours.

These were male and female adults between the ages of 37 & 68. And that wasn’t the only time. In fact I’m pretty sure I’m confusing two or three incidents.

Y’all do it online with your values signaling to other kids in your clique. Y’all do it when you tweet mean things at the Real Housewife you’ve never met, but hate (but honestly what the hell is wrong with Brandi Glanville?!). Y’all do it when you wreak havoc at the office trying to find out what happened to Clay in marketing.

And you know what? You never won’t. It’s been hard wired into your brain boxes for 40,000 years. You are tribal & are wired to be so. I can’t even talk about how awful you are to my own tribe, who are, generally speaking, thoughtful intellectuals & philosopher kings, natch. We like David Lynch & rescue cats & college radio even though we’re closer to 50 than 20. And we heart David Bowie (every era, damnit) & utterly despise gossip.

Except David Bowie said, I read somewhere, probably in Vogue or more likely Allure in the early ’90s, that gossip is how the middle classes get their news. It’s empowering. And I don’t fault it for that. In some organizations, it’s the only way anyone learns anything.

This isn’t even a treatise against gossip. If it’s not cruel & you admit your sources are not verified, gossip can be entertaining & helpful. Why yes, that chick is pregnant, & that is why she broke down & started crying in the middle of book club, then ate all the quiche.

The problem is the high school pettiness that is everything now. News, public discourse, and even presidential communication has been replaced with adolescent tomfoolery. Everybody is nasty, & don’t think it just started with President Obvious. Obama threw a whole ton of shade, but people think shade is classier. It’s certainly less obvious.

There are all kinds of mean girls. Some say awful things to your face. And some quietly ruin you from the shadows. They both go to high school, they both post on social media, they all run for office & they’re male & female of every flavour of sexuality the human imagination has recently dreamed up.

It’s popular to be high school. But I never liked high school. My core group of friends were literally the same type of people I like now: college radio listening, David Lynch liking weirdos. The difference now is that I like church people, too. Sometimes, they are also college radio listening, David Lynch liking weirdos. Sometimes they have nothing more in common with me than a love of Christ. And the cool thing about Christ is that He’s generally enough in common to break down tribal thinking.

I know a lot of you who read my stuff don’t care for religion of any kind, & the good news is, you don’t have to follow Christ to stop being a tribal high school asshat. Though I recommend Christ as a short cut through everything that blows. He’s like lemon juice; He brightens the flavour of everything.

But enough stupid cooking-oriented blasphemy. The key to letting go of high school tribalness is to find one thing in common with The Other. That’s it. And I can tell you what several things in common you have with The Other right now, even if you can’t bring yourself to do it.

You, a Neo Nazi, a tranvestite dominatrix, a crochet enthusiast, those people who are into curling, Kanye West, and even people who sell Plexus & essential oils require Earth’s atmosphere to live.

Not one of you is a silicon life force that breathes lava and craps stone. But even with that being, you have one thing in common. Crap. Everybody poops.

The next time you want to plaster somebody behind a wall with your hatred &/or righteous online trolling, imagine  that person with Norovirus. Imagine yourself with Norovirus. You both live in the bathroom & want to die, right? Doesn’t that espouse just a little empathy?

See, this is why I turn to Jesus. If I don’t, it’s all going to be poop.

My Muse

David Lynch has Chrysta Bell & had Julee Cruise. I’ve been a muse at least twice that I’ve been told. And today I realized I have my own muse.
It’s the boyfriend.

My first published novel, The Method, was actually his idea. But he inspires me daily to greater & weirder heights of absurdity. He’s like a walking Lynchian Red Room.

Today we were sitting in a Denny’s. He got the Grand Slam, eggs over medium, extra crispy all-bacon as always. I had a salad. While eating my salad, I was chastising myself for not liking country music, which I knew he grew up with. His father was even in a country band.

Then it dawned on me that, in a very real way, I like England’s version of country music. Or specifically, Manchester’s. How did I not see before that pretty much any Smiths’ song would make a fantastic country track? Can you imagine Alan Jackson doing The Boy With the Thorn in His Side

Or k.d. lang doing Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now? Seriously.

Now I actually can’t stop thinking about this. Except on the ride home, he said something to me about a cock horse, which immediately brought forth this song from my lips:

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross

To see a fine lady upon a white horse

Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes

She shall have music wherever she goes

I don’t know how I know this, I don’t know why I “remember” the tune — I just do. I said I thought it was a nursery rhyme, prompting him to make fun of me for being from a country that expects children to sing “cock horse.”

Upon returning home, I brushed the cat for the 5th time today, singing to him to this tune:

H-i-m-a-l-a-y-a-n

You’ve got a fluff ass

Fur in my face

You meow like Ben Sasse

All over the place

You like Greenies

That won’t change

You’re so glamourous

Ooh the fluffy fluffy.

I don’t know if the cat likes any of the songs I sing to him, but the BF & I both do it all the time.

Anyhow, if you hate any of my creative projects, blame him.

Endless comedy

This is a terrible trait to have, especially in Los Angeles, but I find people who take themselves seriously & think of themselves as very important as inconceivably funny.

Especially if they are earnest about it. I would never survive Washington, D.C. 

If I’m in a CVS & I saw you get out of a Bentley & you are wearing Jimmy Choos & you have those nails that make it impossible to lead a pragmatic life style & you are arguing with someone who makes $11 an hour about a coupon, you are hilarious.

If you cut in front of a large Latino family trying to get a table for 10 to celebrate their kids’ graduation at a family restaurant in Woodland Hills because you were a guest star on 6 episodes of “Rockford Files,” I cannot stop laughing at you.

If you want to move your cancer surgeries around because you want to play golf on a particular day but you can’t be bothered to dictate properly so you can get your claims paid, you might as well cart me to the morgue, because I’m dead.

And then there’s the fame people. I wait until the last possible second to tell anybody anything about me, because listening to people talk at you reveals who they are. Personal information is a weapon. If you think you are a huge big deal because you once did publicity for three Nickelodeon stars, & that somehow I should be impressed by that, I see no reason to pop your delightful bubble of delusion. You are amusing forever.

Tell me you raised 3 kids, rescue cats, are the sacristan at your church, do homeless outreach, know sign language, or can bake gluten free pies? Then I’m impressed.

But, no, seriously, I want to hear more about the time you were on an elevator with Selena Gomez & she said she liked your shoes. Do go on.

#dead