My Life is More Interesting Than Yours

And I'm willing to fight about it

Dying is easy, comedy is hard June 8, 2012

Filed under: What is your childhood Trauma? — lizzietish81 @ 9:02 pm
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While sitting on the train this afternoon, I had a suicidal thought.  This wasn’t a plan, or a declaration, just a passing thought about slitting my wrists or something (which ew, if I was ever going to end it all it would be with an overdose of pills).  These thoughts have come and gone since I was in high school, and are symptomatic of my long history of depression.  For a long time I assumed this was just morbid thinking, but a therapist pointed out that these were in fact hall marks of deep depression and a warning sign for suicidal behavior.   When I was younger, before I started getting therapy, I believed that suicide was selfish and weak behavior.  People tried to explain to me from the point of view of someone suffering from severe depression that it wasn’t simply a way out for them, but for their loved ones.

I still call bullshit on that last one.  It is selfish to take one’s life, but that’s part of the problem with depression, something that I was ignoring.  Depression is increasingly cutting yourself off from the world, from your loved ones, because you’ve convinced yourself that they don’t love or need you, because you believe yourself to be unwanted, unloved and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, until all you have left is yourself, someone you can’t stand to be with.  The times when I have had suicidal thoughts weren’t in the throws of intense emotions, but out of fatigue, because I could feel myself growing tired of being alive, of putting up with the constant bullshit.  When asked what kept me from committing suicide I had two answers, a serious one and a pithy one.

The serious one was that I couldn’t do that to my sister.  Not that I am the only person she has, she has a lot of people, but more that she devoted so much time and effort into making me feel loved, and to feel that life was worth it that it would be unfair to her to then say fuck it and off myself.  She put a lot of emotional energy into helping me survive my mother’s down ward spiral I feel I should continue on to prove it was worth it, because it is.

The pithy answer has to do with the title of this post, which is a line from Mystery Science Theater Hour.  Specifically my answer was that I couldn’t commit suicide because I believed in reincarnation, and I really don’t want to start all from scratch again.  Going through puberty was hellacious enough, I’d rather enjoy my non hormonal years before having to do that all over again.  My morbid sense of humor has carried me through some pretty gross times in my life, and there’s so much more tragedy to laugh at.  Its not enough to live, but to enjoy living I have had to find the humor in just about everything that happens.  Its hard sometimes to find the joke, especially in a world obsessed with being appropriate, but anything can be turned into a funny story if you know how to look at it.  To do it, you have to be engaged in the world, you have to be paying attention, you have to see and hear as much as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I had to work through a lot of issues, and taking meds was a big step, the biggest was admitting that I needed help.  Now I can take life less seriously, and enjoy it.

So when I have suicidal thoughts, I think no, that’d be too easy, there’s so much more comedy left.

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Marriage by example June 5, 2012

Filed under: What is your childhood Trauma? — lizzietish81 @ 11:31 pm

Earlier today I had a brief conversation with a coworker about the example of marriage set down by parents. Mine were an example of why not to get married, but my grandparents took it to an epic level.

I’m talking primarily of my mom’s side since by the time I was a kid my dad’s mother was dead and his father had begun a long descent into alcoholism induced brain damage. My mom’s parents were an example of middle class respectability. He was a deeply authoritarian figure, who would now a days be in constant trouble with social services. Quiet and taciturn, he took any disruption of his world to be a grave of fence. As children we feared him, and he had had time to mellow out by then. He was never “grandpa”, he was “John”, even though his name was Gerald.

He was quick to anger and often violent, and more, fiercely possessive. Once, the minister came to the house to see my grandmother, and John punched him in the face.

My grandmother was, and still, not a wilting flower. However her nature to be passive aggressive took their marriage to epic levels of non communication. One of her classic moves was to use starch on his underwear, because he was allergic to it. Once she kicked a case of beer he had left sitting by the basement door down the stairs. She didn’t know it was bottles though and for the next few months the house smelled of beer.

They both excelled at quietly living in grim silence and dark to save money. The kerosene heater blew up one winter because they were sure they could get another winter out of it. The soot remained on the once white walls for years until my dad finally painted over it.

When I was a kid, they didn’t live together, fueling my belief that they must have been divorced. She lived with her aged mother in Massachusetts while he lived in a small house that was completely self sufficient and as remote as he could get away with in Maine. In the few times I would see them together, the silence was intense.

Eventually I learned that they were in fact married still, and that the fact that he wasn’t living in nova scotia, his original home, was indicative of his desire to be with her, that he was willing to compromise…or something.

After my mom died, during a family gathering, my aunt declared that it was their fiftieth anniversary. At first there was the surprising idea that they were in fact married, and so there must have been a wedding. Then I did some math, and an even bigger shock hit me. Either my mom was really early, or they had gotten busy ahead of time.

Now, everyone has that moment when they realize that their parents, and by extension their grandparents, must have had sex. As far as my parents were concerned I had faced this realization early not by walking in on them, but because my mom was angrily demanding to know why they weren’t having sex anymore. In their own way, they were passionate, I mean they fought all the time, and I had seen them kiss. But my grandparents had displayed an utter absence of affection, or even amiability towards each other.

And yet, they had three daughters and were apparently having sex before marriage. There was some spirit of compromise in that they continued to occupy the same country. One might argue that the fact they stayed together for so long is a testament to their mutual affection. I always assumed they each refused to give the other one the satisfaction of a divorce.

But maybe that was the strength of their relationship, built on the good and solid ground of mutual animosity.

 

The Catholic Church and the Stories We’re Not Being Told June 2, 2012

Filed under: Politics — lizzietish81 @ 3:25 pm
Tags: , , ,

Its been almost 15 years ago since the Catholic Church has gotten this much attention, and then, like now, its mostly negative as they once again try to make themselves above the law.  I’ve never had a good relationship with the church, having grown up protestant in a mostly Catholic town, Saugus MA.  I learned early that Catholics are taught that anyone who doesn’t embrace the Church is doomed to go to Hell.  As a Methodist, and of a particularly liberal church, this made no sense to me.  My father had been raised Catholic and became a Methodist when he married my mother, while his mother remained a devoted Catholic.  However, when she died, she was denied many funeral rights because she had not paid the tithe.

I do remember the night when I was sitting in my living room watching the news with my parents, when the name Father Geoghan was mentioned, and this caught my mother’s interst.  “Well, well well,” she said, “they finally arrested him.”

She grew up in Saugus, and its biggest Church, Blessed Sacrament, had been one of the many churches where Geoghan had served.  Even then, it was known that he was “funny” and that children should not be left with him.  This of course started an avalanche of accusations against not only individual priests but the Church as an institution for protecting known criminals and putting more victims at risk.  After a few years this quieted down and, aside from a blip when a new pope was elected, the Church has kept a fairly low profile.

Now of course, its once again trying to be a political entity in its fight against a birth control mandate, something that is popular even among most Catholics, but is being pushed by Republicans to promote an idea that President Obama is against religious freedom.  Most sane, rational people find this ridiculous and have left us wondering what the Church is thinking.  One might call it arrogance, which is certainly been a part of the Church’s dealing with civil authorities before.  But perhaps there is more to this than meets the public eye, because although this story dominated the news cycle for a couple of weeks, there’s other things going on that we’re not hearing about from any of the main news sources.

Although the media storm died down years ago, there are still cases appearing in the courts not only prosecuting individual priests for sexual abuse, but also Church Authorities for failure to report abuse to the authorities.  But many of these abuses occurred many years ago, and so states are trying to extend or even eliminate the statute of limitations, something which the Church has been fighting.  Viciously.  They argue that it will unleash a fresh wave of lawsuits that are decades old.  Of course I have little sympathy for this argument since it proves where the Church’s priorities are, and its not with its flock.  If they had done the right thing in the beginning, protected its children, then it wouldn’t be in this position now.  Instead it chose to preserve the image of the Church as an infallible institution and even today, still pressures victims group.  Furthermore, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and one of the leaders in a lawsuit against the Obama Administration over the Birth Control has now been revealed to have been giving payments to alleged pedophile priests while he was head of the Milwaukee Arch Diocese

But its not just sex abuse scandals that are plaguing the Church, because it seems there is dissension in the ranks.  Specifically American Nuns for being “not Catholic Enough” because they don’t spend enough time condemning gays and lesbians and women who have abortions or use birth control.  They spend far too much time caring for the poor apparently.  and have vowed to not stop because of a bunch of old men in Rome.  What’s most interesting about this story is a familiar name that has come up in the Church’s fight against the Little Sisters of Mercy.  Cardinal Law, former Arch Bishop of Boston, who featured prominently in the early days of the sex abuse scandal has apparently been a strong voice behind the fight against the Nuns.   Many believed he had been shunted to some out of the way place where he could stay out of the eyes of the media after essentially being at the center of the biggest ball drop the Church has experienced in centuries, but it seems he’s still in a position of authority.

And if you think the Church’s problems are centered only in the United States, think again, because it seems things are not going well in the very heart of the Holy See.  The Vatileaks scandal that arose earlier in May is one of many stories that have been coming out of Italy for the last few months in which it seems that the Pope has engaged in cronyism, but is in the process being surrounded and cut off by other powerful forces within the Church.  Lest you think that this is the beginning of reform in the church, don’t, the groups are essentially one group of old men against another group of old men.

All of these and more stories have been in the background, mostly in local or foreign news agencies, and not at the forefront of the American Media machine.  Why?  If the Media really was a tool of the left wing political machine, wouldn’t they be pushing these stories 24/7 since they reveal the church to be a corrupt, perhaps even criminal organization that is trying to insert itself into American politics?  Its not like the American Public has a particularly high opinion of the Church anyways and reminding the public of why could easily push the populace away from the bizarre alliance between the Republican Party (a party of mostly conservative protestants who don’t particularly like Catholics most of the time) and the Church in its attempts to make the President look like an anti religious bigot.

Its either not sensational enough, or the media is holding off to not make the Church look too bad as it fights against the evil tyranny of health care reform and being dragged into the modern world.  Obviously their attempts to make themselves victims hasn’t paid off since the birth control scandal has gone into the background and the Republicans seem to have dropped it for now, but how much longer can the Church be allowed to carry on like this?  At what point will the rank and file Catholics, many of whom find themselves at odds with these ultra conservative policies, declare they’ve had enough and leave for more liberal parishes?  Already the Church’s political pull has waned, in another ten years will they be completely irrelevant?  The Church has survived a millennial of wars, political upheavals, and schisms, could it be that the ones to destroy it as an institution will be itself?