Sunday, February 21, 2010

In the beginning part 4

Okay. I am posting less and less often. I am moving this week and have been packing on top of everything else I have to do, so I hope that getting moved will help me get back to posting more often.

A friend asked me the other day about the term "gutter punk" stating she was afraid to find out what that meant. Gutter punks are punk rockers that are homeless. They don't shower, brush teeth, change clothes, etc. Those behaviors are not really uncommon to the homeless; the difference is that "gutter punks" are really quite proud of being dirty. He who stinketh the most wins.

As I said in the last post, I got married to a guy named Squid. We broke up and I went to a few different places to stay after that. I ended up moving in with my friend Star (who would later become my best friend of 20 years). She had an apartment that her mother paid for while she was finishing up high school. We didn't stay there too long before we decided we would skip town. Our friend Mark had moved to California to live with his mother, so we thought we would hitch out to see him. Star and I packed up a couple bags worth of stuff; we had maybe $50. I can't remember for sure. Our friend drove us out to 35 and left us with our thumbs out. One guy picked us up and drove us back to the bus station where he said he was going to buy us tickets so we wouldn't have to hitch to California. He left us there which really made us mad. I guess he thought that if he left us back in Dallas we wouldn't hitch. We got another friend to drive us out to Mesquite to the truck stop so we could find a trucker going to Cali.

Not to confuse my readers, but I just remembered something. As a teenager at 16 or so, I was staying down town on the streets and one night I slept on the JFK monument. It doesn't fit into the time line here, but I thought it would be interesting to add it since I forgot it. The JFK monument is a flat marble square about 3 feet off the ground it is about 5 ft by 5 ft. It is really, really uncomfortable to sleep on. It is really hard. The reason I slept on it, though, is that it is surrounded on all four sides by these tall stone pieces like walls. You get in trouble for just sleeping on the side walk or in a park, but they can't see you in the monument. Funny, huh?

We found a trucker who was going to Cali; he said he would take us all the way there. He was kind of scary. He looked like Abraham Lincoln meets Charles Manson. When he would stop to sleep I had to lay beside him b/c he wouldn't keep his hands off of Star. He would literally try to crawl over me to get at her. It was great fun, but we tried to just endure so we could get to Cali. We did finally make it out there. It took a few days, but we were so glad to make it. We called Mark and found out that the trucker had left us like right down the street from his apartment. We stayed with him for a couple days, then the three of us got on a bus and headed for Hollywood Blvd. I forgot to mention that he lived in Los Angeles. He helped us find some folks to hang with and then headed back home. The time on the Blvd is kind of blurry. We drank a lot. It is a really weird atmosphere and culture. It was very different from Texas. We ended up hanging with some people who were squatting on Melrose avenue. Like I said, very blurry. I did a lot of LSD there. We could not trust anyone. Everyone tried to scam everyone else. We all slept in our Doc Martins and used our leather jackets as pillows so no one could steal them from us. Eventually I worked my way into hanging out with some people with a lot of Meth. I was doing lots of Meth and LSD. I actually walked away and left Star stranded b/c I wanted to do more speed and the people with the speed did not want her to come. I abandoned my best friend for speed. After being awake on speed for like 120 hours straight and I started to lose it. It had been a few days since leaving Star stranded and I didn't really have anyone I could trust.

I should interject here that I am naturally a very paranoid person. Okay, maybe I should not say naturally, but I tend toward paranoia. Even to this very day I tend toward paranoia. The difference now is that I am able to talk myself down out of paranoia now. I can look logically at the situation and tell myself that what I am thinking is tainted by paranoia and center myself. I do firmly believe in a lot of conspiracy. My husband loves to say that it is just b/c I am crazy.

Take that tendency toward paranoia and add the other factors in (1. not knowing the Lord yet and not being healed at all, 2. a lot of drugs going into my body and mixing of drugs, and 3. no sleep for over 100 hours) and you have a really big mess. The mess was big enough that I cannot tell you today what really happened. I have had a lot of hallucinations in my days, but usually once I came down I could see what really was going on during my drug induced hallucinations. The events that went on this day have no base in reality for me to say what happened.
First, as I sat in an apartment, I kept seeing this shadow on the wall. It looked like a man holding a butcher knife. I would get up and walk over to where it was and look around and look in the bathroom and no one would be there. Then I would go sit back down. No one could figure out what was wrong with me. I was too paranoid to tell them what I was seeing. I started to think the man must be crawling up into the ceiling when I would go look for him. One of the guys was moving back to Dallas so we took a several boxes of his stuff to the post office so he could mail them back. For some reason, they kept all leaving me in the line at the post office with the box. I think they were outside smoking cigarettes, but it really kept freaking me out. I really and truly thought that they were plotting to blow up the post office and let me be blamed for it. I thought for sure that the box must have explosives in it. I kept walking off and leaving the box in the line by itself b/c i didn't want to be alone with it. Then I thought I saw one of them drop a box in the mails slot and knew that it had to be a bomb. I don't know what was really going on, but I was convinced that the bomb was going to go off and I would be blamed for it. We finally got done at the post office and went back to the guys apartment where the girl I had been hanging out with was. She had stayed behind b/c she was starting to crash and wanted to sleep. As we approached the door to the apartment I had a flash in my head and I just knew that my friend was going to be dead inside. Someone had murdered her and I was going to take the fall, or so I thought. I could see how the blood would look all over the walls. I was thinking that the man with the butcher knife was going to kill her and then crawl into the ceiling and somehow I would get blamed. We opened the door and she was fine. There was no blood and no dead person. At this point I was really starting to lose my grip on reality. Me and the girl left the guys and went back down to the blvd. We had some meth left and I had a big knife that I kept in my boot. Somehow I got the idea that one of the people around was going to narc on me so I started plotting how to get rid of the stuff. I ended up dumping my knife in a trash can. Then I dropped the baggy with the last of the meth right behind a cop. I thought that if I dropped it behind him I would be safer. We wandered around more; we ran into a friend of mine who, I would have sworn dropped something into my boot. I just knew that he was trying to frame me for stealing something. I must have taken my boot off a dozen times looking for whatever I thought he dropped into my boot. I never found anything. At this point I was really losing ground. Just when I thought I might really freak out, we ran into my friend Mark (the one I knew from Dallas). I begged him and his girl to let me hang with them. I needed to be with someone I had known before and could trust. I also asked him to help me find Star. She was the only one I knew I could trust and could count on. I had left her stranded, though, so I wasn't sure if she would have me back again. I proceeded to tell Mark about all the weird stuff that had taken place that day. I just wanted to come down and go to sleep so I could find reality again. We were driving around with one of the other punks, I think in a stolen car. I kept seeing shadow people come out of the pavement and mail boxes. It was not a fun night. We hung out and that night they helped me find my way back to the squat on Melrose. I met up with Star; she was still pretty mad, but she let me come into squat to stay and threatened to kick my ass if I didn't got to sleep so I would stop being crazy. She convinced one of the guys who was driving around in a stolen car to drive me back to Dallas.

Before we left for Dallas, there was a really crazy night that everyone on Sunset strip ended up tripping on LSD. I will pick up there next time. It is late and I am sleepy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Finally another post

Man, has it been hard to find the time to blog. I have gone from posting every single day to posting once a week or every ten days. And, believe me, it is not that I don't have anything to say. I am just drowning in things to do. It really drives me crazy and has been a matter of prayer for me. I really want to figure out a way to schedule a daily time to write. There are just so many things that need to be taken care of and I have to make certain things a high priority. That means that the things I would like to do, like write and sew sometimes never happen.

Today I was thinking about The Kingdom of God. Actually, I have been thinking about it for weeks, but I decided to write about it today. I think the Body of Christ today is really missing a lot about the Kingdom. I think the reason that we seem to be so impotent and powerless is that we are so far off the mark and distracted that we cannot tap into the power of the Kingdom. Jesus spoke about the Kingdom over and over while he was here on the earth. Sometimes we miss it, though, in our reading b/c we have the preconceived ideas about what the kingdom is. We think of the Kingdom as coming when Jesus comes back or as the preaching of the Gospel so we can go to heaven. When we take the Gospel and make it about this event when we die we miss the point and have the wrong focus. We are being taught a lot about this at the church we attend. The Gospel, however, is not about membership in a church, which church we attend or about going to heaven when we die.

The Gospel is about now. It is about living the Kingdom now in all that we say and do. It is how we are created to live. I could probably write for days on the Kingdom and still not plumb the depths of, but the Kingdom as a whole is not what has been rolling around in my mind today. What I have been thinking about is the scripture in Romans 12:2 which says, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God is." I really love the translations by JB Phillips, “Do not let the world squeeze you into its mould, but instead let yourself be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

What really strikes me this morning is that we unknowingly allow the world to squeeze us into its mold. I have always thought of this as me not doing "as the world does". I have seen it as sin. If I don't have sex outside of marriage, or beat people up, or treat people poorly, etc. then I am okay and am not letting myself be conformed to the world. The old don't do "sinful" things way of thinking. I have begun to see very clearly that this statement goes so much deeper. When I let my standards of success be dictated by "worldly" standards and not the Word of God, when I let the world tell me what I should spend my money on or how I should spend my time, then I am not letting my mind be renewed. When I allow my family to struggle financially and let my husband carry the stress of bills we cannot afford so that I can have "the house, car, clothes," or whatever makes me "look successful" to everyone else around me, that is letting myself be squeezed into a mold. When I consume all of my resources on me and things I don't necessarily need, knowing that my money would be better spent supporting a ministry that is bringing food and water to orphans who otherwise have nothing, I am not letting my mind be renewed. When I hold a grudge and refuse to forgive and be reconciled to anyone, regardless of who was right or wrong, I am not taking up my cross and seeking first the Kingdom. When I gossip and judge people for how they dress or act, instead of reaching out with love in my heart, I am letting the standards of the world squeeze me into a mold. As a Christian I am held to a higher standard and it is a tough standard. We are called as Christians to suffer. That is what the call of the cross is. It is not about wonderful feelings and everything being nice and easy. It is about dying daily; it is about losing my life, so I can find it in Christ; it is about knowing it is no longer me who lives, but Christ who lives in me. That is not easy; that is about suffering. Being a Daughter of the kingdom means giving up my rights, and my space and my stuff. It means that if I have one sandwich to my name and I see a stranger who has nothing that I am willing to split my one and only sandwich so that we can both have some, instead of me having enough and someone else having nothing. It means not being right all the time or even having the "right" to whatever I think I deserve. It means being willing to apologize to someone even if I am not wrong simply so that I can be a bringer of peace. It is being willing to do whatever is necessary to make a relationship right. Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the Sons of God." I want to be called a son of God, but am I willing to do what it takes to be given that title. The Gospel is not easy and we have been fed such a watered down version that it has lost its power. Jesus, when He called each of us to be His child, really called us to be a servant to every person we encounter. He called us to suffer the loss of our identity, our allegiance to this world and our very life. He calls us to lose the life we came to Him with, so we can find the life He has for us. We have to give up our right to control our lives and have things how we want them. We must surrender everything to Him and walk in love. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus stated, "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all our soul, with all you mind, and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself." This is a hard saying if you really think about what it asks you. If you really try to see the implications of living that out and don't just read it as a "nice little scripture", then it is a hard saying. It is a saying that we are so so so far from living out. A couple chapter before, in Mark 8, Jesus talks about denying ourselves, taking up the cross and following Him. I wonder how much we really deny ourselves. I wonder what would happen if we started really denying ourselves and putting others needs ahead of our wants; what would the world begin to look like?

The Gospel is not easy; the Kingdom does not fit into our way of life here, but the reward of allowing God to reshape our lives into the Kingdom is so far beyond anything we could imagine that I long for and cry out to God that He would change me and make me a Daughter of the Kingdom. I want to be changed so maybe I can spread the movement of the Kingdom. It seems huge and impossible, but "with God all things are possible." Maybe if He can help me see and change and live my life based on the Kingdom then I can help other people begin to change. It could be like a virus that begins to spread, a movement. Then maybe, some of the terrible things that we see in our world could cease to be. Maybe love could really begin to conquer hate, and good could begin to conquer evil. Maybe if we were all servants to each other, then in serving each would have his or her needs met, because as we serve, others would serve us.

Crazy, idealistic, hard, yeah, but totally possible b/c that is how Jesus lived and how He called us to live. Really it leads to total freedom.

Friday, February 5, 2010

In the Beginning part 3

I am trying to keep all the details in the right order, but there are some points where things start to be blurry and a little confused.

After I left Parkland, I was in a hospital in Denton. I cannot really remember what it was called. I don't think I was there very long, though. I was one of the first young patients, my psychiatrist was starting a new adolescent program. The first couple weeks I was actually on the geriatric ward of the hospital. I do remember that the wing that the adolescent unit was on was undergoing some construction. I had to go to another wing to shower and it was creepy to me. I had just read IT by Steven King and I was really scared to be over in the empty hospital wing.

When I got out of the hospital I started hanging out with some of the people that had gone to Straight and dropped out as well. I remember there was some kind of law suit going on that we were participating in. They took pictures of my arms; I don't think anything ever came of that law suit. As I said, I was hanging out with ex-straight kids and things went okay for a bit, but eventually fell apart as they always did. We started drinking and doing drugs again. We were living in Irving still and I ran away. At that point my mom couldn't make me come back b/c I was 17. I stole a bunch of stuff from the house and sold it. I had dropped out of school after finishing 9th grade at about 16 (I think?). We were spending a lot of time in Deep Ellum hanging with a bunch of punks. I ended up hanging out with a guy named Phillip who led me down a very very dark path. He was into a lot of really strange things. I let him pierce my nipple with a safety pin (what was I thinking?) I cleaned it for weeks by pouring liquor on it (brilliant, huh?) Needless to say it got infected and did not go well for me. One night riding back to the house we were going to stay at with strangers who were drunk, we got into a very serious car wreck. I have a scar on my temple still from it. We were crammed into a tiny hatch back car 9 of us. One girl cut an artery being propelled from the hatch window and coming back in (blood was spraying out of her arm), another girl never walked again, the driver and passenger got out and ran away leaving us there. I cut my head and everyone else was okay. Shortly after Phillip and I hitch hiked to New Orleans. I learned a lot of extremely disturbing behavior from Phillip. We made it to the French quarter and set out to meeting people. I drank a lot and did a lot of drugs there. It is somewhat foggy. I was there a few months and ended up engaged to a guy named Smurf. Then I went to Covenant House (a run away shelter). They helped me get back to Dallas. I wasn't back long before I decided I wanted to go back. I saved money and took a bus back. I stayed for a while and have no idea how I got back to Dallas the second time.
Around this time, my mom ended up finding a therapist who specialized in Multiple Personality Disorder. This is where things started to come together for us. They admitted me, my mother and my brother into the Bedford Meadows hospital on three separate MPD units. It is at this hospital that someone figured out that the key to the whole family was my mother. If they could get her okay, eventually we would be okay too. My brother was transferred to a hospital in Lubbock and I was discharged and went to Tennessee to stay with my childhood best friend. My mother still worked for AT&T so she had good insurance and was on long term disability so she sent money to me to live on while I stayed there. She met Jesus at that hospital and did a lot of work on her issues. I, on the other hand, had still quite a ways to go before things would change. Tennessee was pretty strange for me. I was a death rocker (what people call Goth now) and Tennessee is very, very country. I drank with all the hicks, but eventually left. Mom paid for a bus ticket back to Dallas and helped me find a room to rent. She was still in the hospital. I went to AA meetings and tried to stay sober and function. After a few months she finally got out of the hospital and we moved to Richardson. My brother got out of Lubbock too.

Oh, I forgot something important in Irving (after Straight, but before Bedford Meadows). Somehow my brother got acquainted with racist skinheads. We hung out with them for a little while. They ended up finding out that I had had physical relations with an African American person (or dozens actually), and that did not go well for me. They were going to beat me to death, not sure how I got out of that one.

In Richardson, I attended a lot of AA meetings and stayed clean for a while (maybe 6 months). Eventually I met a guy named Matthew through AA. We started having a relationship. He was a recovering heroin addict who introduced me to the speed ball (cocaine and heroin). This was my first experience with intravenous drug use, but I was always down for a new experience. I slowly got into the circle if shooters that he was acquainted with. I shot up a lot of drugs with a lot of people all using the same needles (see, I am truly blessed b/c I should have HIV, TB and hepatitis). I got tested once a year for about 7 years after I got saved before I felt safe that I was clean. Fortunately for me, I met up with some pretty hard core punks at this point also and they were very anti-needle so I migrated toward them and spent less time with the junkies. It was here I met my first husband, Squid.

Squid and I were married about 2 weeks after we met b/c we thought it would me fun. The Justice of the peace we went to was less than thrilled with us. We had a bunch of punks with us and we were all obnoxious. We all lived in a squat (an empty building). It was some abandoned apartments off of Spring Valley (they aren't there any more,:it is a self storage place now). We broke up within about a month. I actually never divorced him; I was working on the paperwork when I had been walking with Jesus about a year, but he was stabbed to death by his girlfriend in California; mutual friends told me about it. It is through this group of friends that I became a gutter punk. More on gutter punk and what follows later.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I was thinking today as I ran about being an "optimist". I wake up every morning excited to be alive and to have been given another day to walk with God, be a mom and walk on this earth. I don't really struggle with depression or bad moods. As I thought about this and why it is, it hit me. I am so grateful for all that I have. The first thoughts that are in my mind as I begin to run are thoughts of thanksgiving. I just begin to thank God for everything I have, big and small. It's something that I have done since I started walking with God. At first, I made myself go through thanking God, b/c I needed to be reminded and it helped me get into a joyful mood in the morning. I did used to struggle with depression and having a bad attitude when I first met Him. Over years it has just become a habit to wake up and start thanking Him. Sometimes I end up thanking him for 30 or 45 minutes of my prayer time. Then I reel myself back in and start praying about the things I need to pray about. I think that is what helps me keep a really optimistic outlook on life. It is hard to have a bad attitude or be too down when you are thinking about all that you are grateful for.

I really felt like I wanted to write about the things I am really thankful for. There are so many things that we take for granted. I don't know, maybe this will help someone else, or maybe I just want to be reminded.

I am thankful for... my hands and feet, and arms and legs, and fingers and toes (imagine life without them, many are missing some). My toe nails and fingernails (how bad would it hurt to just have nail beds). My eyelashes. That I can see, taste, touch, smell, and hear. That I have a house, a bed, food (I used to dig my food out of dumpsters), running water, electricity, and gas. warm baths, and soft towels. my ipod, sewing machines, computers, tv and dvd player. That I can chew and swallow my food. My children live in a country where they can go to school and worship God and cannot starve. I am thankful that I was able to conceive children against all odds (when many people pay and pay and pay to try and conceive.) and give birth to them without a c-section (that was really important to me). That I was able to breast feed all of my children (I have had friends that really struggled with that or could not). I am grateful that God let me get Rheumatoid Arthritis b/c it changed the way my family and I eat. I am grateful to be off drugs. I am grateful that God let me struggle with alcoholism and then helped me get free from it (I learned to be gracious to those who struggle). I have more clothes than I can wear (I used to have 1 pair of pants, 1 pair of undies, 1 bra, 2 shirts, a skirt, leather jacket, 1 pair of socks, and a pair of boots). I am thankful I don't have AIDS, hepatitis, or TB, nor do my children. I am thankful that I met God at 20, before I had a chance to really damage Alexandra. I am thankful that my brother went to jail and got off of drugs. Grateful for friends and that I can realize now how many friends I have and can be a friend. I am grateful that my life had such a hard beginning so that I would grow to have the strength and passion that I have. I am grateful that I am an artist and that God allowed Satan to steal that from me for so many years and because I have had to fight so hard for it I am passionate about developing creativity in other people. I am grateful that I have picked up so many tools along my journey to help people. I am grateful that God gave me Alexandra and used her to save my life, keep my off drugs when there was no other reason I could see. Thankful that He protected her from my stupid, selfish and self destructive behavior. I am thankful that I walked into The Early Church on July 17, 1992 and met Jesus there. I am grateful that I learned so much and grew so much there. I am grateful that I met Larry there and that they separated us so that we went through all that we went through and in the end had a much stronger, passionate and committed love between us. and i am grateful that the church closed it doors. I am grateful that God gave us Stephen and used him to keep us connected and then spoke through him to bring us back together. I am grateful that Stephen was God lesson on grace to me. I am thankful that God has allowed me to home school Stephen, that he made me willing, gave me the resources and commitment and caused Larry to agree and allow it. I am thankful that I have had a hands on part in teaching him and seeing him begin to succeed and realize that he is not stupid. I am thankful that God made it easy to give up my career for his benefit. I am thankful that my husband loves me no matter what (fat, skinny, drunk, sober, red, pink, purple or black hair, tattoos, piercings, baggage, issues, OCD, all of me). Thankful for Chloe and her sweet disposition as well as the stubbornness of the other two. cars, dogs, refrigerator, bread maker, camera, computer, treadmill, makeup. I am thankful that I get to stay at Sigler and that I have gotten to start an art program and for the vision to do even more. I am thankful for my Bible and that God has allowed me to read and absorb so much of it and that I can even read. I am thankful that no one can come take my son and make him a child soldier nor can anyone decide we need to be their slaves. I am thankful that I have found a church that is helping me grow to be more like Jesus. I am thankful that God has allowed my mother and I to develop a closer relationship and that He is healing the damage more and more each day. I am so so so grateful that my children were born into a Christian home and have not had to suffer abuse and neglect. I am thankful for the stability and wholeness God brought to me very quickly so that my children could grow up in a health environment. I am thankful that my husbands family is so wonderful and that I was able to get to know my father in law. I am grateful for peanut butter, vegetables, water, tea. I am grateful that "if God be for me, who can be against me and nothing shall separate me from the love God in Christ Jesus, and that He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it." I am thankful that God has helped me lose my love for things and has given me the heart to want to be a servant (even though I still struggle with doing that).

I am thankful that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

I could probably go on, but that is enough. My point has been made. How can I be down when God has been so good to me and when I have more than I can even enumerate.