I only posted two times on this blog last year and thinking about it makes me panic a little. This used to be the place where I joined with my community of survivors and seekers. It was my sanity check, my sanctuary and the place where I felt validated and heard.
But when I sit down to write, I feel paralyzed. Times have changed since I last wrote on a regular basis. Social media feels so much bigger as does the pressure to be an “influencer”. I’m struggling with how to balance transparency with healthy boundaries in a world where being “real” means choosing the most flattering filter. I’m not judging. I’ve had thoughts of shutting down my blog but if I ever write a book I’m going to need a place to self-promote. To be clear, I have not written one word of that book.
I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a new blog, completely anonymous so that I could be free to say whatever I want. What would that look like? Maybe something like this…
Hi. My name is Karen and this is my first blog post. I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and there was a time when I drank too much. 5 years ago, I ended a 3 year period of sobriety that saved my life. It gave me the clarity to work on the abuse I suffered and while I haven’t been sober the last 5 years, I want you to know that this is a safe place. I don’t romanticize drinking and recovery is really important to me.
So is God. I have this thing for Jesus that I can’t shake even though I sometimes feel embarrassed to call myself a Christian. I make a lot of assumptions about what people think when they hear that label. Do they think I hate gays and immigrants? Do they think I voted for Trump? Are people who voted for Trump offended by that? You should also probably know that I care too much about what people think.
I also curse.
I have trust issues. Especially with God. Somewhere along the way I came to believe bullshit about God. Some of that bullshit came from childhood like when I thought I wasn’t allowed to believe in God because I wasn’t Catholic. Some of it came from eager-to-save Christians who told me that I was going to go to hell if I didn’t see God the way they did. Most of it, though, came from a feeling of unworthiness deep inside myself and an inability to trust anyone, especially the Creator of the Universe who is way too hard to figure out.
I became a code breaker. If I thought the right thoughts, prayed the right prayers, felt the right feelings and supported the right causes I could break the Code of God. If I successfully broke the code I would be skinny, my children wouldn’t meet some horrible fate and I could pay my mortgage. What a control freak, to believe that I could control God.
But when your experiences as a child lead you to believe that you’re responsible for your parents divorce or why your parents are addicted or why they can’t pay their bills or why that man touched you under your clothes you start to develop a false sense of power and control. A child who has been traumatized navigates carefully through a world that doesn’t follow logical rules but she craves structure and stability so she makes shit up. She fills in the gaps of her knowledge so that things make sense. And, she thinks that she is far more responsible for and in control of situations than is humanly possible.
Understanding that, it makes perfect sense that I believe in God but don’t necessarily trust God. My childhood wired me to not trust and to find it hard to surrender, especially when surrendering feels like powerlessness. But I don’t have to succumb to the way I’m wired. What worked for me as a child doesn’t work for me now. I have different tools, better tools. It’s like watching the 1973 movie The Exorcist. The special effects were cutting edge back then but aren’t so believable now. Actually, it still scares the crap out of me.
I have a cat with trust issues. We adopted her as a 9 week old kitten and she immediately gravitated toward our kids. Eventually, she bonded with my daughter and threw the rest of us to the curb. It was two years before she would sit on the couch next to me and let me pet her. Two years. And, she still acts like she hates it. I find that all I can do is meet her where she is. If she just wants to sit near me, I let her sit. If she wants to stare at me with possibly evil intention, I let her stare. I love her even when she mistrusts me and even when I can tell she wants to scratch my eyes out.
I am God’s skittish, paranoid, mistrusting cat. When I find myself sinking back into code breaking mode, I pray, God, meet me where I am. Meet me in my fear, my doubt and my hopelessness. Meet me in my imperfection. Meet me here even though I’m trying to manipulate you so that I get what I want. Meet me here where I feel undeserving and where I don’t know how to let you love me. Meet me where I feel alone and please don’t give up on me.
So, anyway, welcome to my blog. I hope we become great friends.