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Make Social Media Kind: All the Things People Don’t Tolerate

Social media destroys relationships.

Not every relationship.

Not every person.

Not every day.

I have had several instances in which I posted something on social media and someone, zealous in their endeavor to prove themselves to have a superior moral compass, superior theological ideologies, or superior political views, turned my post into a warzone. I’ve had friends who didn’t even know each other hollering at each other on my posts in an effort to prove me or one another wrong. (Full disclosure: If someone turns my posts into a warzone, I change my privacy settings so that person can’t see anything I post. It’s not because I can’t handle opposing views. I simply believe that if you can’t be gracious when discussing your disagreement…. You know, that scripture about speaking with the tongues of men and angels….. You can speak with all sorts of eloquence, but if you don’t do it with love, you’re a clanging gong. No one wants to hear it.) I’ve had strangers beat me up on social media because someone I respect eats meat, and because I had the audacity to suggest that emotional trauma can sometimes manifest in gender dysphoria and because I suggested that when it comes to the color of one’s skin, what is more important than the color of one’s skin is the ability to connect on a human level with everyone, regardless of their skin color.*

Social media gives people a soapbox (coupled with the protection of distance and anonymity) on which to boldly declare their own superiority and everyone else’ inferiority.

I hate it.

Because when it comes down to it, we’re all just people. We’re not colors. We’re not political parties. We’re not races. We’re not theological beliefs. We’re not agendas. We represent those things at times. But before any of those things, we are people. Can we please just treat one another like we’re people, void of agendas and void of an internal sense of smugness about our own correctness and everyone else’ incorrectness?

I haven’t written much in the past few years because I feel that I have to self-censor so much that it just isn’t worth it to try. People’s pet agendas and social justice warrior stances make it impossible for people to own their own stories, their own convictions and their own experiences. If I tell my story, home school advocates come against me because “that’s not the way it is.” If I tell my story, faithful people everywhere get offended because “church is a hospital for the broken.” (Spoiler alert: It’s supposed to be, but it often fails miserably.) If I tell my story, therapists tell me that I suffer from a weird cognitive dissonance or some kind of denial because all that stuff is true, but it hasn’t destroyed my faith and it hasn’t made me disown my family.

Can we simply listen? Can we listen to hear, instead of listening to develop an argument? Can we respond with compassion and grace and generosity and understanding? Can we throw agendas to the side and embrace people simply because they are people, instead of quantifying them (or ourselves!) with adjectives that divide us into “white people” or “Christian people” or “Asian people” or “Atheists” or “educated people” or “Progressive people” or “Republicans” or “Socialists”? We are just people. The minute we started dividing ourselves by our adjectives, we started a subtle war that will never end until we decide that Ariel being a redhead means nothing because life isn’t about people’s differences. It’s about finding similarities in the midst of our differences. It’s about teaching our children to find something in people who are opposite from ourselves that we can appreciate and even understand. Life isn’t about forcing the world to conform to our demands. It’s about finding the very subtle similarities that are present in even the most opposite individuals. Life is about teaching children that there is more in the world and more to life than just our own selves, our own experiences and our own prejudices.

So, let’s be open. Let’s be humble.

Let’s learn to be kind again.

*Regarding race and color: I want to make it very, very clear that I have utmost respect for people of all races, colors, and ethnicities. There are many people of many races and ethnicities that I love and adore. I do not in any way wish to minimize the struggles that anyone has had pertaining to their race, color or ethnicity, because I know that many have been marginalized and treated very unfairly and many suffer greatly due to attitudes and events of the past that still impact them and their families many generations later. I am only saying that a little bit of openness to others who have different experiences, and understanding that our experiences are different and that’s ok (and yet, in spite of our differences, there is similarity somewhere), will get us a long way in our endeavor to create a kind and compassionate society. 

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Posted by on July 6, 2019 in Rants

 

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Married People are Insufferable

I am not here to complain.

I consider myself to be more of a truth-talker than anything.

I will tell it like it is. I don’t sugar-coat it.

Married people are insufferable.

Some of the married population never really knew what it was like to be single in the first place. I mean, come on. If you married your high school sweetheart, you have no idea what it’s like to be single because you have never had to do any part of what the kids these days call #adulting without someone else by your side. If you’ve never “#adulted independently of a romantic partner, you have never been single.

#SorryNotSorry

If you got married in college or before you had to start being responsible for your own finances, you probably don’t truly know what it’s like to be single either. College, for many people, is an extension of childhood during which a student still enjoys being on their parents’ insurance, Mom and Dad help figure out the finances and the car and some parents even do their college student’s laundry. I’m not saying this is bad or wrong. But if you fit in this category, you haven’t #adulted today. If you got married while you still had this level of support from your family, you don’t know what it’s like to be single.

People tend to forget what singleness is like the instant the engagement ring goes on the finger.

Some forget what it’s like to be single as soon as the relationship is defined as a bona fide relationship.

If the selective amnesia doesn’t kick in instantly, it does come eventually, most often by the time the wedding band slips into place. In some cases it lies dormant until the first big fight or until the monotony of having the same person waking up next to you morning after morning begins to set in.

It doesn’t much matter how long it takes. It comes eventually.

And it is insufferable.

They complain about how horrible it is to be married.

Or they sit with a single person and they chide said single person because they don’t love the “freedom” of being single.

A married person might listen to a single person, feigning great interest in their circumstances and when the single person stops talking, offer a condescending remark about how they need to get right with Jesus because they have a “horrible attitude” about their lives.

The previous example happened to me recently. Today, in fact.

Someone made the statement that the book Redeeming Love (Francine Rivers) is a wonderful book.

I contributed to the conversation by saying that it is a brilliantly written and excellent book, but it is extremely frustrating for single people who don’t love being single.

They told me that I didn’t understand the story.

I understand it completely. I have a degree in reading (in the words of my brother) and in the many, many literature classes I’ve taken, I learned to recognize symbolism and find meaning in places the average person wouldn’t find symbolism and meaning. I also know the Bible. I know it quite well. I am very familiar with the story of Hosea and how his life was a foretelling of the redeeming love of Jesus. I understand that both Hosea was and Jesus is a man who loves people regardless of what they have done. It is beautiful and I love the concept of redeeming love very, very much.

But the book is frustrating. It brings that story into a slightly more modern-day time period and presents the “love story” between a man who marries a prostitute because “God told him to” with the intention of having his love change her into a woman of grace and beauty.

It’s a lovely idea.

I’m going to let my inner cynical old hag out, for just a moment, and make the comment that in the time period and geographical area in which this story took place, there were many more men than women. If this were a true story, it wouldn’t have been so much about a man proving a point as it would have been about a man who desperately wanted to have legitimate sex and operated under the delusion that marrying a prostitute would both provide him with legitimate sex and with a godly wife who had no interest in other men, simply because he picked her. If I remember the details of the biblical story correctly, it didn’t work out that way for Hosea. It didn’t work out that way for Jesus. It probably wouldn’t work out that way for anyone else either.

The book frustrates me because I’ve followed all the Good Girl Formulas. Things like:

Go to Church + Don’t Kiss Boys = Wedded Bliss

Pray + Dress Modestly = All the Men Want to Date You

Don’t Have Sex + Behave Demurely = Engaged by Age 22

Read the Bible + Don’t Talk to Men = It’ll Happen Before You Have Time to Wonder What’s Taking So Long

All the formulas. All of them.

I’ve learned that they are all lies. There is no such thing as quid pro quo when it comes to these things. God doesn’t do “If you do this, then I’ll do that” when someone else’ free will is involved.

I’ve had Christian men refuse to date me because I was too innocent. Or too godly. Literally, if I had been a prostitute, I would have gotten somewhere with those (Christian) men.

As I read Redeeming Love, I thought to myself, “The formula is to become a prostitute. Being chaste doesn’t work. Being godly doesn’t work. No matter what I do, I’m not good enough. So I might as well try being a prostitute. It worked for Hosea’s wife. It worked for the prostitute in this book. Why wouldn’t it work for me?”

Of course, that’s not the kind of person I am and I’m not actually going to become a prostitute — which makes it even more frustrating because the only thing I haven’t tried is something that I wouldn’t try. It really makes me feel like a victim of my circumstances. A girl can’t win no matter what she does because there are limits.

The other person responded by chiding me for making the story about sex trafficking (um…. the story is about sex trafficking) and told me I was being disrespectful to women who are trafficked (???) and the cherry on top was when she asked for permission to add me to her prayer list because she didn’t want to argue about it with me anymore.

Wow.

Just. Wow.

For the record, I wasn’t arguing. But you want to not argue? Just patronize me. Talk to me with a condescending tone. I wasn’t arguing. But now that you mention it…. Now I feel like arguing.

* * * * *

My response to the person’s preposterous statement was promptly deleted.

Further proof that married people are completely clueless about how truly difficult it is to be single, especially among married church people.

One might ask what my point is. Why make a ruckus about it?

I don’t talk about singleness every day. I don’t even think about it every day.

But having people shut me down as soon as I start talking about it gets old.

It says that my experience is not relevant or important. It says that my feelings don’t matter. It says that I don’t matter.

I’m sorry my experience is hard for you to hear about and watch. I’m truly sorry. But if you think it’s hard to listen to or watch and you feel the need to shut it down because it just doesn’t fit with your expectations as a Christian person…. you should really try living it.

You should try doing everything alone.

You should try coming home to an empty house day in and day out.

You should try having people pat you on the head and tell you you’re cute when you talk about it.

You should try listening to people tell you to get over it.

You should try talking about your places of woundedness and having people shut you down and tell you it doesn’t matter.

You should try having people getting in your business all the time because you’re just a little (single) girl and they don’t think you can do life without their input.

You should try to be an adult woman in a community that doesn’t recognize women as adults unless a man comes along and validates their existence by choosing to marry them.

You should try to function as a minister as a single person. Let me tell you — that does not go over very well in many circles.

You should try to live in a way that you understand to be godly and also try to date. (Hint: They either don’t want a godly woman or you’re not godly enough. There’s no winning on this one.)

You should try being not good enough and too good, both at the same time, depending on who you’re talking to, and rejected by everyone because of things that you can’t begin to comprehend.

You should try talking to people who have no concept of your circumstances and try to get them to understand.

They won’t understand. It is a truly frustrating situation to be in. You feel very isolated and alone and the harder you try to help people to understand, the more alone you feel because they don’t get it and they don’t care enough to try to understand.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2018 in Current Events, Rants

 

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Some Days You Shouldn’t Wear Makeup

Today was one of those days.
My friends have been lovely today.
I’ve had many messages and greetings.
But I sat at my counselor’s office and bawled for an hour.
I got all dolled up. I actually made an effort to look pretty today. I don’t do that often anymore. No one really cares — and I care less than anybody about it, so what difference does it make?
I’m old.
I’m just old.
I cried because all my friends are getting engaged or having babies.
And I’m 34 years old.
And men like to play with me.
You’re nice.
Let’s have coffee.
You’re the sweetest person I’ve ever met.
But it doesn’t get any further than that — even after having coffee regularly for a year.
I don’t even like coffee!

It doesn’t get any further than that, even after I’ve introduced them to family.
It doesn’t get any further than that, even though I spend more time and effort at it than I probably should.
They always say
It’s not you, it’s me.
But I have a girlfriend already….
I’m not interested.
What do I have to do?
What do I have to do?
After bawling in the counselor’s office, I talked to my dear friend who soothed me with hugs and no one should cry on their birthday! She soothed me with meatloaf and home made real French silk pie.
She soothed me with these words:
If I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I’d probably be an alcoholic.
Thank you.
It’s so rare for people to actually validate how I feel about this.
I laughed a little bit.
I ate meatloaf.
I ate pie.
I put her sweet 3-year olds in jammies and watched Lilo and Stitch with them for a while. And then I went home and cried some more.
Because my ovaries are slowly dying, just like every other woman’s ovaries die as they get older. Singleness should be considered a form of infertility.
It’s hopeless.
It feels like not even God cares about what I need.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Rants

 

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Stumbling

I was talking tonight with a friend of mine about ridiculous things that have happened to us at the hands of pastors and elders and whatnot from “Christian” churches.

I don’t think that a lot of what happens in churches and between clergy and congregants is necessarily something that Jesus would condone and I don’t think He would be pleased with a large chunk of it.

I have to put quotation marks around the word “Christian” after the things I’ve experienced. Many of those things have been decidedly un-Christian. Many of those things have caused me to question my faith and whether God is really real and if He really loves me. The very places where we are supposed to go to learn and grow and be nurtured and protected have been more painful than helpful for me.

Believing is hard when the place you’re supposed to go to get watered and cared for is a war zone.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” Luke 17:1-2

I’m not sure how one would process those verses with this situation. Obviously, Jesus is compassionate to the broken and the oppressed. He has no tolerance for those who break and oppress.

If you’re broken and oppressed, Jesus loves you. Jesus weeps for you. Jesus wants to crush everything that is breaking you and oppressing you.

I don’t know what that means when the breakers and the oppressors are at church. What does it mean when a pastor lies about you? What does it mean when the church’s agenda is to control every little detail of your life and keep you in perpetual childhood? What does it mean when the people who think they’re serving Jesus use their “ministry” as a means to micromanage every last detail of your life?

Believing is hard when the people who are supposed to demonstrate Jesus to you use their “authority” in ways that hurt you.

I want to believe. I really, really do.

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. (Psalm 29:11)

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalm 27:13-14)

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2016 in Rants

 

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All the Things That Won’t Be

I was talking to my grandma last night and she said something about her 5 great-granddogs and how she hopes she doesn’t get any more great-granddogs.

I said, “Don’t worry Grandma. You won’t be getting any great-granddogs from me.”

She was very supportive of me in this decision.

I wish everybody could be as accepting of my life circumstances and my reality as my grandma is accepting of my not having a dog.

I know that I’m not going to get married and I know that I will never have biological children. I know that. I’ve known since I was 3 years old.

This is reality for me.

And it’s tortuous when people tell me that I’m wrong and that I’m going to get married and I’m going to have children.

You’re telling me that I have to believe for something that has continuously been dangled in front of my face and then yanked away as soon as I started reaching for it. You’re telling me that I have to believe that there’s someone in the world who wants me in spite of me. (They keep telling me “it’s not you, it’s me” but when you’re the common denominator in like 8 nearly identical situations, you know they’re lying.) You’re telling me that I have to believe that somehow, some guy is going to see me as something more than a toy that they play with and then throw in a box in the basement when something better comes along. You’re telling me that I have to believe that there are men who want to get married.

Please. Please stop arguing reality with me. Stop telling me that I’m wrong. Stop telling me that I can’t be sad because my life is exactly opposite of what I wanted it to be.

Please, just stop. I don’t want to hear anything. I need silence. I need someone to acknowledge that I have plenty to be sad about. I need someone to just sit with me and maybe cry a little bit.

Because hope deferred makes the heart sick.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2016 in Rants

 

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