Zach is my 16 year-old stepson, Tdub's oldest. He's 16 and he's struggling mightily, spinning completely out of control, making the sorts of mistakes that will take YEARS to overcome. I don't feel I should share more details, but my heart just breaks for him. If things continue as they are, Tdub may insist that he come and live with me for at least the remainder of this school year. While I'd love to have him here because I love him and miss him, these would not the best of circumstances in which to have him. He doesn't want to leave his friends. Although, leaving his current group of friends is exactly what he needs. Please just pray.
In a desperate and self-aggrandizing move, Pam Ferguson, a.k.a. "grace of the willful sort", has thrown her full and unabashed support and strategic and timely endorsement to Hillary Clinton.
I realize the momentum of my readership (12 of you) will be disappointed in one way (the Obama way), while the remainder of you (6 readers) will conclude that I've officially slipped into the outer recesses of liberal, pinko, socialistic, baby-killing, marry your dog, hell.
I just felt it was time to take a stand. :)
And thank you to the 4 of you who are with me on this one.
After the botched attempt to have a date on Valentine's Day, there have been several more phone chats and a few emails exchanged. He is extremely intriguing, and according to the chief of police of my small town, "he's clean". What more could a girl dream of? It's fun and scary to date at my age. But the risk of getting hurt, I still believe, is worth it.
In other news, I've determined that I really must begin to search for more lucrative job opportunities. I despise the idea of moving AGAIN this summer, but this tiny town I'm living in just barely pays enough to get me through each month. I also need to work on my master's degree if I have true intentions of trying to make more money in education. My goal being that by the time Drew is in college, I'll at least be able to help him out from time to time. At this point, I can provide no assistance at all to Daniel. So, I'm focusing on the large school districts in Oklahoma City that pay more and have the added benefit of being very close to several universities where I could easily work on my master's. As always, prayers are needed. I've gotta get busy!!!
OK.....so, it's the day after Valentines. But, yesterday was so strange that I needed a day of reflection on it before safely committing it to writing and not sounding like I'm off my rocker. I'm not in any way promising that I won't still sound like I'm off my rocker, but at least this way it won't be because I didn't take the time to reflect on it.
First of all, due to a sort of domino effect of unforeseen circumstances, I was not able to have any sort of date for Valentine's Day. There had been a plan in the works, but everything fell apart because of: 1. my overactive and relationship paranoid imagination 2. my extremely protective friends who have nothing but the best of intentions, even as they involve people like the chief of police of our small town 3. the friend's of my potential date who took offense for their friend and who also have nothing but the best of intentions 4. my 13-year-old son who wouldn't care if you were dressed up like the Easter Bunny...chances are you're a knife-wielding, ax-toting serial killer...in Drew's world, Easter Bunny costume is code for "gee, look how many concealed weapons I can cram into this large fluffy tail" 5. the extremely poor health of my new friend's elderly parents
You can just go ahead and create a story using those 5 elements and it will suffice as the reason why I sat and watched Lost all alone last night instead of enjoying some sort of terrific dinner with a date. But, all is not "lost" (heehee!) and amends and pardons have been made all around. I'm pretty sure everything will work out....given a bit more time.
And that was just the personal portion of my Valentine's Day Fun-O-Rama. It gets even more exciting when I get to the part that happened at school yesterday. Without going into any detail, and allowing you to assume that I was absolutely, positively in the realm of acceptable and even expected teacher behavior (because I was, for real), the day culminated with an agitated parent sweeping through my classroom, throwing an emptied (of candy) wicker basket across the room, and exclaiming loudly in the presence of all 17 of my 4th grade students, "c'mon (son) let's get the f*@& out of here!" Oh yes. Is it ironic or tragic that the entire episode was instigated by a phone call I'd made to the parent not 30 minutes prior about said parent's child using the exact same word out loud to another student in class? The initial shock and dismay displayed by the parent upon hearing the child's offense became immediately laughable at that point.
I did get one really nice surprise yesterday that I must share. Tdub commented on my last post! The Arrested Development one. Since I'm certain any regular reader would want to hear any comment he might take the time to leave, I thought I'd let you guys know out front that it's there. It was a very pleasant occurrence in a day full of being quite bummed out.
I hope your Valentine's Day was better than mine....in the overall sense I mean. Looking on the bright side of things, at least it all made for something interesting to write about, no?
No. Not the show, Arrested Development. And it was an incredibly awesome TV show, probably my favorite of all time.
I'm talking about arrested development in the realm of reparative therapy. In reparative therapy world(not to be confused with the real world), arrested development is at the heart of every struggler's battle with his same sex attractions. Arrested development basically means that the person is stuck at the age of 12, or thereabouts. I know and have known hundreds of 12-year-olds. One of the biggest issues they face is trying to decide just what sort of person they are or intend to become. They often pretend to be things they are not as a defense for their own feelings of inadequacy.Bingo. That description pretty much nails most gay men who are hiding in straight marriages. And let's face it, when you're married to a guy who's never been open and honest about his struggles, to the point that he's married you under the pretense of being straight, well, arrested development sounds like as good a diagnosis as any.
Here's where the theory breaks down. According to the basic tenants of reparative therapy, as a person overcomes these issues of arrested development, they will lose their same sex desires and become heterosexual in orientation. Right. Saying such a thing is like saying that all heterosexual men are developed past the age of 12. HA! We all know THAT'S not the case!
I've come to the conclusion that pretty much all of the more bizarre aspects of the reparative therapy Tdub participated in (all the things that made it different from regular therapy: the holding, touching, cradling, etc...) were not only ineffective at reducing same sex desires but harmful in that the boundaries of client trust and ethical practice were often broken or skewed to the point that they were unrecognizable.
What about the ex-gays who are happily married and claim they've overcome homosexuality? My response is, what about it? Even those folks, for the most part, are honest enough to admit that at best, their same sex attractions have decreased to the point that they are not significant enough to keep them from maintaining a healthy opposite sex marriage. That's still a far cry from making a complete exchange of same sex attractions for opposite sex ones. Or, to put it more clearly, of changing from gay to straight. Furthermore, I have absolutely nothing against ex-gays OR their marriages. I know the commitment it takes to keep it together and I actually applaud them for doing so, particularly in cases where they have committed to raising their children together.
I've made the statement before that reparative therapy works as long as the person keeps doing it. I still agree with that for the most part. If there is such a thing as good reparative therapy, I see it as basically a bunch of strategies to assist guys in managing their same sex attractions to a point that they are able to remain celibate or stay married to a woman.
And that, dear friends, is what I think about that. In case anyone was wondering.
And, if you're wondering where all this is coming from, just out of the blue.....well....it's just coming out of the blue as I continue to process the experiences of the past several years.
OK...so....I made this new friend. I'll leave you guessing as to where I met him. ;)
He lived in China for 13 years, and has traveled the world over, so he's full up to the brim with intriguing stories. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and teaches a few martial arts classes a week. For our first meeting we ate Chinese food and visited a big Asian market in Oklahoma City. It was fun. Fun. Fun. Fun.
And that's all I have to say about that. For now.
OH....and right now it no longer sucks to be me! Funny how that works.
First of all, I need someone to teach me how to forgive my new laptop because there is some configuration of keys, or maybe my sleeves need to be rolled up, or maybe my feet aren't being held just right - whatever it is - that makes everything I've been typing just magically disappear. And it's REALLY starting to IRK me! Blogger autosave was not fast enough for the brilliant thinking that was coming out of my fingers just 10 minutes ago before it ALL disappeared!!!! ugh. ugh. ugh.
back to the real post....
I've been thinking about forgiveness lately because it seems, now that I think about it, forgiveness or the lack of it drives almost every situation in my entire world. So many folks marveled (ok, they didn't use the word "marvel" ) at the speed with which I was able to forgive Tdub for leaving the marriage. Heck, even I marveled at it. On reflection I can see clearly that I had forgiven Tdub for leaving the marriage a LONG time ago. Years ago, in fact. Now, lest you think I really AM a saint, cause I'm NOT, that forgiveness was a slow and arduous process. Tdub could, if he would, attest loudly to the fact that I was a pretty angry and bitter little camper in that marriage for about the course of one year. That was before blogging. But having a right to be bitter and angry still doesn't justify it when you're a Christian. I remember when I came out of the anger and the bitterness. For me, it was a matter of acceptance. I actually accepted the hurt and disappointment - embraced it, if you will. I was disappointed that I didn't have a "normal" marriage. You know, the kind where the guy is attracted to the girl in a fundamental way. So, in that way, I embraced Tdub's gayness. I determined that I, yes indeed, was married to a gay guy. What now? Well, since the gay guy was determined at that time to stay married to me, my best course of action seemed to be to just love him exactly the way he was and get over myself. Which was a constant battle that I probably won about 75% of the time. Those are pretty good numbers in a situation like that. I would hope that Tdub would concur with them, and because he's learned alot about grace from the whole thing, he'd probably give me an 80. For me, the most difficult part was the sexual part. I've not blogged about that too much. We don't talk about it. The wives of guys who struggle with their sexuality, I mean. It's fundamentally painful to be married to a man who fundamentally doesn't desire you. We did have an active and great sex life, don't get me wrong. I even blogged a little bit about that fact. There were great times. But still, it was there. It was always there, and each great time made me hunger for more while it seemed to him more like another thing he'd checked off the calendar for the week. I knew his same sex attractions weren't ever going away and so my expectations and hopes were that they would simply be lessened to the point that our marriage would survive. His expectations, on the other hand, were that he would finally be completely free of his same sex attractions. He made no bones about that. He wanted it GONE. He did not want to be gay or homosexual or whatever word you choose to use. And, when it came down to it, and when enough people began to know that he struggled with his sexuality, I believe it was at that point that he finally began to accept himself for the way he was. And for him, to accept the way that he was meant to live within that framework. If everyone is going to know that I'm gay, then I'm going to BE gay.
So the forgiveness happened years before the marriage ended. The end of the marriage simply caused a huge chasm of pain. It felt like it swallowed me whole. Which, if you think about it, is a better way to be swallowed. I'm glad I didn't feel chopped up into pieces and chewed. I believe that if I hadn't already forgiven Tdub long ago, that's how it would have been. I just didn't have nearly the amount of crap to deal with regarding him personally because I'd dealt with it already.
I've also decided that this is a good strategy for life in general. When possible, forgive people before they hurt you. That's what Jesus did.
And so boys and girls, there's Ms. Pam's life lesson for today. Brought to you courtesy of years of pain and anguish! ha!