Zoe with her new birthday gifts from my nurse, Stella- a puppy purse, a Cabbage Patch, and a tiny stroller.
Happy Saturday, All, and a very Happy Birthday to my cousin Ean. I can hardly believe the cute little curly haired toddler I loved to squeeze is now 26. I feel ancient.
I’ve gotten some feedback about my last post, “The fault in my stars”. It was all positive (thanks), and with the admission of “Wow, I didn’t realize the extent of your jacked-upness.” Okay, no one said that, exactly, more like it was informative. I guess it was a literary version of this picture:
I posted this picture on Instagram last night for “Flashback Friday”. It’s me with the permacath last year. You’ll remember I had it in for seven months until it caused blood clots to develop and was removed in February. While I’ve posted other pictures of the permacath in the past, the one above is different in that there is no bandage covering the site. I snapped this pic in the middle of a bandage change, and seeing the catheter without any obstructions is fascinating (and a bit gross). My point in comparing “The fault in my stars.” to the picture is they both seemed to have revealed a little more of my experience in battling CIDP.
Now that they have, allow me to say, I don’t write only or primarily about it because I find the subject depressing. And it can get very boring, fast. People ask me “How are you?” regarding the CIDP and I usually say “okay” because my day to day is pretty much the same. I am always in some pain, always feeling draggy. Some days are better, others are worse. That’s the thing about chronic illnesses, they’re ongoing. They tend not to have an expiration date. So I feel a bit like if people kept asking me about my nearsightedness. Unless I get LASIK, I’m going to spend the rest of my life in glasses or contacts. So if you want to keep asking me, okay, but just get use to the answers all sounding alike.
On to other things, like this nifty graphic from The New York Times on church usher hand signals. Yes, they are a thing, a very old thing at that:
See them all here. (H/T: RNS) Next, a post from Rachel Held Evans by Samantha Field, a young woman raised in a strict fundie church who eventually left, became an agnostic, but has become a Christian again as an adult:
My freshman year in high school, I mentioned my dream to become a marine botanist to my best friend, our pastor’s daughter, and she laughed.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she said. “You can’t be a scientist. You have to be a keeper at home.”
Keeper at home.
It’s a phrase from the King James translation of Titus 2, and we interpreted it to mean that it was against God’s laws for women to be employed. Our church, however, took it one step further: if all a woman was allowed to be was a “keeper at home,” then it was utterly pointless for her to try to be anything else. Pursuing an education, or longing for a career could do nothing but harm her with shattered dreams. For that reason, young women in our church were asked to be “stay-at-home daughters.”
I gave up my dreams. I sacrificed them on the altar of biblical womanhood, fervently believing that the only way I could be blessed by God was to follow the clear guidelines laid out in Scripture. I was committed to remaining at home until I was married, when my father would transfer his ownership of me to my husband, giving me away at the altar with his blessing after a brief, paternally-guided courtship.
Occasionally, a snatch of a dream would intrude. No, Samantha. My inner voice would be harsh, echoing my Sunday school teachers and pastor’s wife. Do not be tempted. That’s just the Devil trying to trick you away from God’s plan. I looked to the other women in my life for inspiration—the other girls were filling their hope chests, meeting together to learn new recipes, learning to crochet and knit and sew.
I tried sewing. I almost broke my mother’s machine.
I learned how to crochet, but hated the feeling of yarn scraping around my fingers.
I took up cross stitching, but gave up when all I got was a snarl of silken tangles after weeks of trying.
I became a halfway-decent cook, but my heart was never in it.
As for cleaning– I perniciously avoided laundry, dusting aggravated my allergies, dragging around the canister vacuum was torture, cleaning toilets made me gag, and dishes? Dear Lord, I hated anything having to do with dishes! Learning to enjoy housework, to “take pride in the homemaking arts,” was a complete and total bust.
The one thing I was good at was playing the piano. I’d started lessons when I was six, and was playing congregationally by thirteen. I devoted myself to becoming a pianist, and my mother joked that she couldn’t tear me away from the piano with a crowbar. They did everything they could to support my fanatical interest—buying a piano at a time when they could barely afford one and paying for lessons with the best piano teacher in three counties.
My senior year in high school, my piano instructor asked where I’d applied to college. When I told him I wasn’t going to college, he stared at me, dumbfounded, the lesson jerking to a dead stop. “What do you mean you’re not going to college?! Of course you’re going to college! Talent like yours can’t be hidden under a bushel.”
I haltingly tried to explain about being a stay-at-home-daughter, a keeper at home, but that just seemed to confuse him more, so he dropped it. I couldn’t stop thinking about his reaction, though. I knew he was a Christian, but he didn’t seem to have heard of being a stay-at-home daughter; while I knew our church was more conservative than most, I assumed that a concept as plain as “keeper at home” would be obvious no matter what church you went to.
The fact that it wasn’t clear to a person I respected, who I knew had a deep faith and was incredibly intelligent . . . bothered me.
It didn’t stop bothering me until I decided I was going to look into this. I typed “stay-at-home daughter” into Google, and found my way to a review of the documentary “Return of the Daughters,” a film I’d seen and that was exalted by most of the women I knew. What I read gobsmacked me—in the review and the comments, hundreds of conservative Christian women lambasted the principles taught in the film, arguing against the Botkin’s narrow interpretation of Scripture. Arguing against my interpretation of Scripture.
I didn’t have to remain at home until I was married. I could go to college. It was too late for me to become an marine botanist, since I had abandoned any study of science or math in high school, but I could do something. I could get the piano performance degree my teacher was encouraging me to pursue.
As a compromise, I applied to a fundamentalist Christian liberal arts college not that far away from home. I should not have been surprised by the reaction I got when I announced my acceptance at church, but I was. I was hurt by their vindictiveness. I wasn’t ignoring what I’d been taught. I wasn’t selfishly chasing what my “deceitfully wicked heart” wanted. I just … wanted to study piano, to eventually become a housewife who taught piano lessons out of her living room. Was that so wrong?
I went anyway, ignoring the pleas of my best friend and nearly every woman I’d ever respected not to do something so totally opposed to “biblical teaching.”
I went, and I blossomed.
No lie, stories like this totally creep me out. Read the rest here. Quite honestly, I can see why Samantha would get the heck up out of there, and I’m so thankful to God she was able to return to Him, sans the heavy religious baggage.
Ramadan, the holiest month of the year for Muslims, is observed with fasting from liquid and food from sunrise to sunset (with exceptions for those who are very young, old, ill, pregnant) and special attention to prayers and holiness. I have great admiration for those who practice such a strict fast. Putting my CIDP aside, I think going without water (I drink A LOT), especially during the long, hot days of summer, requires a strong will and resolve that I don’t have.
On the other hand, I’m not getting a Ramadan fast like the one rapper French Montana is doing, which will cap off with a Eid full of not just food, but alcohol (?!?), drugs (?!?!?), and extramarital sex (?!?!?!) with his new girl, Khloe Kardashian. But that’s what might be on tap for Montana according to an interview he did this week Angie Martinez, settling in nicely at her new gig at NY’s Power 105.1. From Necole Bitchie:
French: I’m fasting till 8 o’clock. I’m used to it. I’m 24 days in sober. No drinking, no smoking, no nothing. But you get used to it, I been doing it since I was small. It’s actually a beautiful thing because you figure we drink throughout the year, we smoke, get high whatever…so you figure for one month that you suppose to be disciplined. Whatever you can’t stop for these 30 days, you’re addicted. That’s how I look at it every time I do Ramadan. Whatever I can’t stop for 30 days, I’m addicted to it so I have to stop [cleaning] that up. For thirty days out of every year. [On day 31] I’m getting blasted!
Khloe: He’s cranky. I should not be around you until you break your fast because you get too cranky for me.
No sex. So fun [said sarcastically]. That’s why he’s wearing all white. He’s so pure and holy right now. I normally see him in all black right about this time. He’s virginal. I have been [torturing him]. Every single day. Torture.
Well… okay. I always wonder about people who practice a piece of their religion for short periods of time only to gleefully jump back into their normal, often bad habits as soon as that time is over. I see it all the time during Lent with Christians, too. I honestly don’t get the point. Is it like a personal challenge, like P90x? I don’t know.
Our music for the day is The Turtles’ 1967 hit “Happy Together”. I’ve had it in my head the last few days. Have a great weekend.