Thursday, September 10, 2015
Church, A Lonely Place
Church. I used to love church for various reasons at different times. When I was a little girl, perhaps 4 or 5 years old, Mother began attending church after being invited by a neighbor. As far as I know, Mother never attended church until then. My earliest memories of church were pleasant but I was also just a shy little girl who didn't say much. As I grew older, I began to be aware that we (Mother, me, Mother's son) were treated a bit differently. I began to experience bullying there on top of bullying at school. I remember once, during Sunday school class, a couple of boys (I remember who they were) tied the tie from my dress around the folding chair. When it was time to get up, the chair came along with me. Everyone laughed. I didn't. Other things had been occurring that let me know that I was not well-liked there. See, I was just this ugly, skinny girl with coke-bottle thick glasses, who didn't dress well because Mother rarely bought clothes for me. I was not very important to anyone there. And many of those church people knew about our less-than-ideal home life that included and alcoholic parent. When I was about 14 or so, Mother quit going to church, as well as her son. I continued to go, mostly because it was better than being at home. Also, the way that preacher preached, I was so afraid of going to hell if I didn't go to his church. In my young, impressionable mind, I really thought God was literally an angry god who would punish me for every single sin I committed. I was always asking God for forgiveness, for salvation. Really, it's no wonder that I became such an anxious person. I eventually did begin attending another church with another family. I felt much more at home there and I actually felt like I was loved unconditionally by most of that small congregation. I was actually sad to leave it behind when I graduated high school and my family moved back to Florida.
Once in Florida, I quickly sought out a new church. I did find one and most of the people there seemed very kind and more accepting of me. I never felt judged there. I have fond memories of my time there until one of my aunts invited me to her church. I met some nice people at that church but I always felt out of my element there. I mean, a lot of the people there dressed and talked as if they were rich and better than me. I was used to that, though, so I actually continued to attend that church and spend the Sunday afternoons at my aunt's house. I enjoyed the time at my aunt's house because it was so much better than being at home with the parents. I eventually moved out of the parent's house and into a 3-bedroom apartment with a couple of roommates. And I eventually quit attending church with my aunt and began attending one of the roommate's church. It was a small church but I was very confused about their doctrine. I was so used to being under the spell of the Assembly of God or Church of God denominations. I eventually got used to the difference and made a handful of good friends. After living in the apartment for a couple of years, I moved in with another friend who owned a condo. It was nice because I had more space and my new roommate didn't swipe my clothes (what few I had) like one of my last roommates. That roommate introduced me to her church in Clearwater and I attended there for probably 10 years, give or take a year. I was very involved in many areas; choir, worship team, mission trips, childcare... I even had a part of a church friend's CD recording. I was also fairly faithful in prayer and reading the bible. I loved Clearwater area so much that I moved into an apartment there and eventually bought my first home in Safety Harbor. Eventually, depression took hold of me again and I began to struggle at different times during those years. My faith would take a nosedive and I would have doubts. I began to struggle with anger toward the parents, especially Mother for not protecting me during my childhood. I know I sabotaged relationships, both friend and romantic. I went to a psychologist to help me deal with the anger. It was a long road but after a time of estrangement from the parents and after some positive life changes for me, I was finally able to work through the anger and re-establish a friendly relationship with the parents. My faith was still somewhat rocky, though. Then the pastor of that church where I attended for so long ended being divorced from his wife. There was so much garbage that came out and I finally decided to leave and move on. I then attended a Baptist church where the guy I was dating at the time attended. However, after I broke up with that guy, I quit going because he was stalking me there. After that, I didn't get involved with another church.
When I met my husband, neither one of us was attending a church on a regular basis. It wasn't until after we were married that I felt the need for us to find a church to attend. We checked out several churches but I never really felt at home until one morning, when my husband was on weekend assignment, I visited a large Baptist church and felt so strongly that was where my husband and I were to attend. I developed such a strong faith while attending that wonderful church. As large as it was (over 5000 members), it just didn't seem that large. I became involved in choir and assisting in the English as 2nd Language classes. Hubby and I attended a fun life group class every Sunday morning. The pastor gave some of the most interesting sermons. I absolutely loved that church and I was very sad when hubby and I learned that we would be moving away, thanks to the Air Force.
Since living in Illinois, I have yet to find my niche in any church. For the first couple of years, we attended a nice church but for whatever reason,when Jackie was about 2 hubby wanted to find another church. As much as I liked that church, I understood why hubby wanted to move on. He never felt like he fit in because of the attitudes that came from so many of the fellow Air Force who held higher rank. I mean, I even felt it myself but I was actually able to look past it. I didn't fight his decision. But looking back, I think this began my downward spiral to doubt. After attending a series of churches, hubby settled on the current one nearly 6 years ago. I must say that I have never felt such resentment and anger at a church as I do at this one. It's been very difficult for me to develop relationships at that place. I've never felt like I fit in there. I've tried to develop friendships only to be given the hint to move on. I'm an older parent and I was finally told a couple of years ago that one reason I don't fit in with my age group is because I have younger children and this person's children are a little older than mine and involved in youth group. So, because I have younger children, I don't fit in with my peers at that church because my kids aren't old enough for youth group like their kids are and where all those parents are friends amongst themselves. Whatever. I've also been told by somebody there that I was going to go to hell if I didn't get straight with God. That person is no longer there, thankfully. There is another person who seems to have this need to control many areas of that church. She has caused such hurt for me. She betrayed me when I shared something with her in confidence. At one time before all of that, I saw her as one of my only friends at that church. After she betrayed me, of course I was upset. But surprisingly, I was not angry at her. I thought I would get over it quickly and she would still be my friend. Until I discovered that I was no longer even her friend on Facebook. That's okay, though. It ended up being good riddance because I don't need such controlling, toxic people in my life. She is probably one of the biggest reasons I hate attending that church. She has caused other problems for me there to the point that if I'm asked to volunteer in an area at that church, I refuse. I tried becoming involved previously only to have her try to exert control over the leadership at that church and cause problems. That was when I refused to become a member of that church. Well, in order to be able to be somewhat involved for my children's sake, I gave in and became a member. I still refuse to get involved at that church but I sure as hell will not back down to that woman whenever I feel like observing my children in whatever class they're in at the time.
I really struggle with those who lie to me and who think they can pull the wool over my eyes, especially church people. I may look dumb but let me tell you, I'm far from it. I may not always show that I know what people are up to but I'm pretty observant of situations. Facebook is a really good place to catch liars or at least, those who aren't completely honest or forthcoming. Last fall, I visited a friend a few times at the hospital where she was admitted for pre-term labor with her twins. I thought it was such a special time and I was really enjoying that she was sharing that experience with me. Jackie was going to be a twin until I lost that twin toward the end of my first trimester. So, whenever I know somebody who is expecting twins, I feel a twinge of sadness. I really was so happy for this friend and I felt honored whenever she shared anything about the twins. When she was hospitalized, I would visit and we'd play games. It really was a special time. Finally, the twins were born but I learned about it not from my friend, but on Facebook. Then when the twins were discharged about a week or so later, again I learned about that on Facebook from a mutual friend who posted a picture of the twins with a caption showing how excited she was to meet the babies. I texted my friend and she let me know that her husband didn't want visitors because he wanted to keep the babies healthy. I understand that but if you're not going to allow visitors, then make sure those visitors (who are not relatives) don't brag on Facebook. To me, that was rejection. I wasn't good enough to meet the babies. So I said okay and I moved on. Every now and then, I would hear from this friend but I didn't see those babies until they were well over 4-5 months old. Even then, I didn't hold them because I knew I wasn't good enough to be allowed to hold them. I'm pretty much over it and I'm still friends with her. I don't know if I'll ever get over that because I'm pretty sure others were able to meet and hold the little babies.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of dishonest people in hubby's church. Just tonight, I was deeply hurt again by somebody who I've felt hurt by more than a couple of times. Last week, it was mentioned that we would go walking tonight. After a series of texts last night about another topic, I asked her if I was still going to walk with her. I didn't hear back from this person so I texted again today a couple of times. I even left a voice message. There was another person whom I knew was also going to walk so I called her to no avail. This person has stood me up in the past after a confirmed time and place to walk. She and this other person took off without me even though they knew I was also going to meet them there. Of course, I was hurt at that time but I eventually forgave her. But after somebody hurts me another time, of course I'm going to put up a guard. So, tonight after not hearing from this person, I just decided to go to the gym. Well, well, well, after I finished working out at the gym, I noticed a couple of texts that were received around the same time from the two different people I just mentioned. They forgot about me. Again. The excuse from the main person was that she forgot her phone when she left to go walking. I'm not falling for that again because she went walking well after I sent all of those messages. I'm just done with people like that.
Because I continue to see situations on Facebook that prove to me that I'm not important to anyone at hubby's church, I had decided to close out my page. I can't just delete those "friends" because I can't hurt their feelings. Believe me, I've done it before with these certain people only to be confronted about it because it hurt their feelings. I'm not into hurting others' feelings. Funny though, because these same people continue to hurt me.
I know I'm not a well-liked person, I know I'm not important. I'm such a mental mess at times, I have difficulty dealing with dishonest people, I have difficulty dealing with people who accuse me wrongly of doing something to them.
Speaking of that, last year, a "friend" accused me of talking about her during Zumba class. That absolutely did not happen. I do not talk about people at the gym because we're all there for mostly one purpose. So, since she didn't believe me when I told her that I didn't talk about her, she unfriended me. That wasn't a loss, though, because I was sick of seeing all her game invites. Then she had to nerve to ask if I was pregnant because she heard a rumor at the gym that I was pregnant. I had to roll my eyes at that one because I'm not well-known at that gym so why would there be a rumor about me? She was just trying to cover her ass for asking such a stupid question.
This past week, I talked to Mother but I hung up with her somewhat angry and confused. Talk about dishonesty! That woman thinks she lives a rosy life and will do anything to cover up the truth. It only took her 20 minutes of conversation to finally announce to me that I'm going to be an aunt again. This was after asking her at least 4 times who was pregnant now? Her son has taken up with a new woman because his "wife" found another man. It's his wife's fault because she cheated first. Mother's son never does anything wrong.
And Mother kept denying anybody was pregnant. Ha! Mother is always trying to pull the wool over my eyes. There's no point in arguing with her so I just roll my eyes and go on. I never know what to believe when she starts talking. Hell, she's told me so many stories surrounding her pregnancy with me that I have no clue what the truth is. And I still don't know who my biological father is. That's the only thing I know for sure.
Sigh, it's been so long since I've written on this blog. Life has just been crazy. And I sort of lost motivation for writing. But, wow, do I feel better now after getting all this shit of my shoulders.
For those of you who feel the need to pray for me, that's fine. It's not going to convince me any further that there is a god. I don't believe, I haven't for awhile, I'm just putting up a good front for my kids' sake.