So the current message series at my church is about margin. Basically being able to create balance in your life so that you aren't filling up and overflowing with things that can be toned down, balanced and kept away from the edge.
This week was about body margin and how to treat your body with kindness. It doesn't belong to you, it belongs to God.
Oddly enough, right before I went to church last night I had a small breakdown and put-down festival with myself over my body. I stood in front of the mirror and just tore myself apart. I made myself feel guilty for not going out and running like I "should" have, but instead choosing to veg in front of the TV.
Then I show up and have God speak to me through our senior pastor. I couldn't help but chuckle and think "Nice one, God. I hear ya."
So creating body margin is based on the idea of managing your physical energy. This can happen when exertion is followed by rest. But being able to find the balance of this is a challenge for most people. Too much exertion/not enough rest results in being over-stretched. Too much rest/not enough exertion can result in atrophy of the mind, depression.
For my life is spent with sorrow and my years with sighing; my strength has failed because of my iniquity, and my body has wasted away. (Psalm 31:10)
This made me think quite a bit about God's expectation of our bodies. He doesn't expect perfection (or at least, the man-made ideal of perfection) because to him, we are already perfect. God doesn't care that I have 30 lbs to lose, or that I would look hideous in a bikini. God sees who I am without actually seeing the physical me. I need to start thinking about that when I feel the need to demean myself because of my looks. God wants me to take care of me, because it is what he would do. God wants me to be healthy. God doesn't want me to hold myself to the standards of others, to hate the body that he gave me and to punish it in the ways that I do.
God gave me this message as I am coming up on some very stressful and hard times these next two weeks. I have to hope now that God is going to give me the strength to be able to listen to and follow it.
Session last night was all about my attempts to stay afloat. So much has happened/will be happening in the span of 3 weeks that I am just waiting to fall apart. And when I do, it will be bad. Part of me just wants to lie down and let it take over me. Why struggle and make it worse? Letting it consume me might just be easier. I'm so stressed and emotionally stretched right now I just don't know how much more I can handle.
Of course that unhealthy outlook is causing me to fall back on unhealthy coping mechanisms. I went almost a month without cutting, but relapsed on Saturday. And I didn't care that I did. I didn't even want to fight to stop. At this point, it doesn't seem worth it.
I'm beat down and I'm losing the will to fight.
But does A let me get by with that way of thinking? Of course not. Everything I'm learning is being called to put into practice. The reason I'm working so hard to make things better is for reasons like this. Changing during the really hard times has to be a conscious choice. I have to want to make it different. And of course I'm not there yet. I want to do what is easy, even though I know I have the tools to make it better.
I don't even have words to describe how I feel right now. I'm so confused and upset that I don't know what to do with myself.
The conversation I had last night with the parent is still weighing heavily on me. I don't feel ready to do what I need to do. I wasn't expecting to still feel this way.
Tonight I was taken completely off guard by a meeting with our senior pastor to explain something that had come to light the night before with one of our members. I don't know what to do with it. I understand, yet I HATE it. I just don't get why. I don't agree with it at all.
I have been struggling with the decision to step down as a "leader" at Celeb.rate Rec.overy (loose term considering I don't really lead anything) for about a month now. I never really felt ready to step up to that position, but with the shift in leadership back in December I got swept up in it and thought I could do it. I have been struggling with feeling obligated to go to CR as opposed to wanting to go for the sole purpose of healing and growing closer to God. I have skipped out on most of the meetings within the past month because of this. I have felt so trapped. And when I feel trapped, I pull away. God gave me the opportunity to step down tonight in the midst of this unexpected meeting. I took it. I still have to get a placement in order, but I can already feel this is the right decision for me.
And after all of this coming to a head, I get a nasty message from my sister. I wasn't surprised by any means, but I was hopeful that we had reached a place where her jealousy and competitiveness would not interfere in our relationship. My sister is (undiagnosed) bipolar and does not live in reality, but rather her own world where I am constantly out to get her. She is extremely verbally abusive to me and knows exactly how to hurt me. I hate to say she is succeeding, but you can't argue with someone who doesn't live in reality. It's like trying to argue quantum physics with a 5 year old. She just doesn't understand. And every time I try to help her understand, I just end up getting hurt more. So now I'm left to wait for the next wave of guilt, shame and hatred to come my way.
Maybe if I sink far enough away, she won't hurt me anymore.
Some days I feel so care free, I wonder if I imagined the terror of the last 2 years, or the abuse itself.
I'm not really sure what God wants me to take from today.
A parent of one of my students sent me an e-mail asking me to call her. She had something she needed to get my advice on but didn't want to discuss it via e-mail. I've known this woman for 4 years, as I had her older son in 2006. She subs for me on occasion so we've built a pretty advanced relationship for a teacher/parent. I wasn't really sure what she wanted to talk to me about, but was surprised when she told me she was concerned about one of the teachers in our department. Her son has this teacher and has said throughout the year that this teacher makes him really uncomfortable. Last weekend while at church her son and a bunch of his friends (who also go to my school) were talking about how he's always rubbing their backs, and calling them by little pet names and how it creeps them out. She said that her older son said the same thing when he was there, too, but she didn't really think too much about it because she thought it was just her son being over-sensitive.
The whole time I was thinking "Everything she is saying sounds exactly like what M used to do to me."
I could tell she was struggling with how to handle it as a mom, to go directly to the teacher (awkward) or to the administration (awkward again, but how do you make it non-accusational since he hasn't done anything and ensure that her son isn't singled out). She was trying to convince herself that it wasn't anything, that she was the one overreacting...
"He's married right? Not that it matters, but maybe it does."
All the while I'm thinking "Yeah. M was married... and had kids... and was friends with my entire family. It doesn't matter at all. That's what most of them are good at."
"It just takes one vulnerable kid in the wrong place at the right time."
"Yeah, tell me about it."
"It's probably nothing, but it has really been bothering me and I needed to talk to someone about it and see how I should proceed."
"Man, I wish my mom would have listened to me when I told her how uncomfortable M made me feel when he was always touching me."
I was able to stay composed and (hopefully) helpful in the conversation and we came up with a solution. I will be talking to our male assistant principal Monday in order to maintain confidentiality (and keep her son safe from being singled out). This way, the conversation with this other teacher can be male-to-male and with as few people knowing as possible.
How in the world is this happening in now seeping into my professional life? Can I not hide from it ever? Do I constantly have to be reminded of the fact that I was vulnerable? That no one listened to me? I am upset. I am confused. I am not feeling care-free anymore.
Man. Ever tried to get through April Fools day with 120 11 and 12 year olds? It is not fun.
Work is taking over my life, as it normally does this time of year. Our state testing is coming up and I am stressing out big time. I'll be spending much of my free time tutoring kids after school in hopes of getting them where they need to be. I will be a mess until I get their results back in late May. I am worried this year... I know my numbers will not be as good as they were last year.
My session Tuesday went well. We talked about my reaction/responses/thoughts about men and how it affects my life. I'm always hyper-vigilant. I don't make eye contact, sit directly next to or across from men [I don't know] or instigate conversation. Avoidance is the name of the game with me. When I have the opportunity to observe people in a safe environment (church, work, with friends, etc) I eventually can tone down the hyper-vigilance and start incorporating normal interaction. How long it takes me to do this depends on their threat level.
Let's take the TSA perspective on this...
Low: Any male under the age of 21. Family members. The elderly.
Guarded: Male friends of friends, regardless of relationship status. Married male co-workers.
Elevated: Married men with strong personalities and/or large/intimidating stature. Single co-workers.
High: Single men, regardless of age. Older men (50's) with similar looks/build/personality of my abuser.
Severe: Single men with strong personalities and/or large/intimidating stature.
Obviously if someone is setting off a severe threat to me, I am very unlikely to respond/acknowledge them, especially when alone. While I did not have something as cut and dry as this to discuss with A, we both agreed that I need to start at the bottom and work my way up. Start trying to acknowledge and change my reactions with the low/guarded people quicker than I normally would. Still listen to my instincts, but push myself. I'm finding that my instincts are a lot more reliable than I give them credit for.