Sunday, July 31, 2016

How Denial Works Exactly

"Woody Allen's movie says reality is always a cheat,
a catastrophe --only ready-made fantasy
doesn't let you down..."

--New York Magazine,  3/11/85  (p. 97, Purple Rose of Cairo review)

       When we can admit just how immersed we all are in a lifestyle of lying to ourselves, we might just have a hope to really "know the Truth that sets us free."  But as a culture and as individuals, we are fatally ensconced by denial; so MARINATED IN IT by our preference to mistake imagination for reality, that we barely remember to care what truth is anymore.

    That's what the neighborhood Bible Study is for.  To invite a community of poser-believers (such as myself) to face off with LOGOS, the only source of truth that is True (and this Truth is a WHO, btw), and answer only one question: "Given this passage of scripture, WHERE have I lied to myself today?" Or, alternatively, "What am I consistently lying about to myself, and others, everyday?"

    Had the evangelicals of the last century practiced this one small feat of inconvenient "neighborhood organizing," there would be no Trump and there would be no Hillary. We would have ALL OF US seen right through their fabrications and accommodations to, and preferences for, falsehood.

    Oh, how the Old Deluder has won well the battle for preoccupied hearts and minds.

   Would that we take a look at this week's priorities and scribble onto our day planners:  "!Vacuum sofa; !buy printer paper; !make invitations; !pray for !truth! to encompass my neighborhood..."

and begin the work that is 100 years overdue.

Jeff Daniels in a better role:
clutching not at purple Egyptian roses; rather, tilting at Don Quixote's windmills (HBO's The Newsroom, 2012)

    The what and how of denial explains perfectly how SURREAL the past political season went down.  We prefer to let family members, friends, businesses and political candidates create downy soft webs of untruth because when we look the other way, then, by social convention, they won't disturb the similar webs we've grown accustomed to in our own little orbs.

Wow. It's Nazi Germany in a nutshell, when the churches adjacent to railroad tracks
 just SANG A LITTLE LOUDER every time the trains rolled by 
enroute for concentration camps
 and packed to overflowing with tormented political prisoners.
  When the last wailing train car had passed,
 the songs could stop and the usual business of denial based Lutheranism could resume.

    And like today, you couldn't point a finger at the Lutherans back then, or ever, because they were only fearing for their own SS threatened lives. Today we fear the political correctness police ("haters gonna hate") who may ruin our private selfie-driven personae's & sour our world of business prospects.

    Besides, who doesn't like a proven winner in High Office whose credentials at lying are so stellar that they only make us secretly envious?  Why, isn't that the definition of political success? To be as savvy as a serpent, crafty as a fox, and to lie with finesse on the world stage? Lying is what we all do all day anyway, so why hold our office holders to a higher standard than our own?


In the past 24 hours, I've thanked both Al Gore and Woody Allen. Because truth looks better dressed in political wigs and cinematic suspension of belief.  Besides, the oval office is just some TV show.  And Bill Clinton proved that with a little swag and a flirty wink, you can make people believe anything. And if he can get away with it, anybody can get away with anything.

    So let's hear it for the candidate who wins the next presidential election,
and be it known henceforth
that s/he shall be known
 always and forevermore as Denier In Chief

May we all sleep better at night for having witnessed 
the culmination of the TV age where reality is fake 
and everything once true
 is now a lie. 

Living Contradictions


There's no other reason I'm typing this now but for a promise to myself that i would, sometime this summer, blog something.

It will be short, as I’m typing with a cast & that’s not as heroic as i'd imagined it might be; but any little ploy to upset my entitlement to self pity is a good ploy, and worth giving a "go."

The pity's not so much about the cast on my left arm, nor it's right handed mate on the corresponding bone exactly 375 days prior to this (yes, i said that right: two broken wrists a mere year apart.  Either I'm an unmitigated klutz, I've a trip and fall disorder, or, spooky powers from the dark side have conspired to see how easily I can stay COPEless and defeated.  (Pretty sure it's the first. My wise mother knew what she was doing when she signed me up for ballet at twelve. GRACE was not a word ever used to describe little ellie-the-elephant.)

[Wait. Admit it: some of the pity is over the not-too-distant memory of the rehab on last year's wrist, the cast being the easy part. Also easy, watching a trainee at Kaiser's ER jab and grind a needle full of lidocaine into the splintered bone --didn't feel A THING-- so they could pull the break apart and set the bone. All that was kind of amusing… esp the subtle masochistic way she seemed to enjoy it.

But bending, stretching, icing, heat wrapping, massaging, working and manhandling the broken area every day, starting the day the cast comes off?  OH-oh, no no nooo. That's stupefying; excruciating.

Waves of dread are pulsing daily.

So. Allow this short little "promise kept" of a post, to take my mind off a soon coming misery…]

The Primary Self Pity I’m battling is a haunting of thoughts that have been collecting since i burned my journals 3 yrs and 5 months ago, intending never to journal again. [Blog writing is not journaling. Blogs may be read by another soul somewhere, hence they must pretend to be civil. My journals were most uncivil. Hence the bonfire of the vanities as I prepared to leave our home of 25 yrs in search of a new, more civil existence one hour to the north.]

These Thoughts That Haunt really started much further back, on a day in 1988 when i announced to dear hubby that i'd officially succeeded in slowly weaning him off of caffeine.

I handed him his morning cup, except, on that day, it was finally 100% decaffeinated. He looked at me weirdly and said, "well i don't want to be decaffeinated. Here, you drink this. I'll go get some real coffee at McDonald's on my way to work."

Flummoxed. My exalted-health-nut tea drinking aspirations died in a sudden flash.

Been pondering and simmering ever since, asking myself How Many Ways Am I Like That? Knowing the right thing to do, but preferring the wrong instead?

‘Cause, i mean, really, when we're born, do we stare up at the crib mobile, pondering the many ways to become addicted to as many legal substances as possible? No. I don't think so.

Here's the truth of it. I regularly, almost routinely, violate my conscience in one way or another:

- I hate the taste of coffee, but i drink it anyway.
- Red wine puts me to sleep, but i drink it anyway.
- Beer makes me fat, but i drink it anyway.
- Alcohol dulls the HOLY SPIRIT, but the pastors and elders at church drink it, so it must be OK.
- Sugar is poison, but i binge on almond joy bars, layer cakes and cookies anyway
[…recall those six years bridging high school & college when I secretly purged the confections, launching my life long –yet sadly futile- search for a good counselor. Find the story of the Awesome Healing Moment somewhere prior.]
- I am lactose intolerant, but i pour half-n-half in my coffee everyday.
- Profanity makes me an outcast, but i swear anyway.
- TV makes you brain-dead, but I watch online movies, youtube how-to’s and documentaries everyday (proving that getting rid of the actual TV accomplishes little. “Thank you Al Gore, for inventing the internet.")
- Amazon is a porn purveyor, but rather than boycott the bas***ds, we purchase gifts from them all the time.
- I have lists of phone calls to make every week, but i ignore them until it's almost too late… especially the one to the lady who lives in her car down the street but who can't sleep in our spare room anymore because we moved. Come again? Yeah. I told her that her super trashed junky car would probably not be welcome in the new neighborhood, and she doesn’t want to leave it below and walk uphill this far.
- - - Worst of all, I KNOW w/o a doubt that I excel at life when I put prayer & Scripture reading first each day, yet I regularly put it off until 3:30pm or 4:00, or skip it altogether

If my journals were still here, I'd have more of these moral inconsistencies to muddle through. These violations of the spirit, contradictions of body, mind and soul have sapped my self respect.

In Celebrate Recovery, I learned that habitual trespasses have a beautiful name: DENIAL. And now I can appreciate the humor of those funny sharks in Finding Nemo. And I can say I'm clued in on why my prayer sessions just seem to take fOreveR… and why inventing the kneeling prayer pillow was a matter of dire arthritic necessity.

I don't miss the 30 volume set of marbleized, grammar school ruled Arrested Development that were my daily personal rants. It was getting inconvenient finding places where the kids’ nosey friends wouldn't find them. (The kids themselves were welcome to “read them and weep,” but they mostly chose to forego the pleasure. I saved a random one out for the daughter who read them the most.)

But I do wonder ... When will obedience to my conscience become effortless?

(And when will a short little post NOT go on and on for 20 sporadic paragraphs, cast or no cast?!

Probably not very soon.)

In other news,

I sprained my ankle this morning...

RECENT gag gift from a friend who could tell i still needed some daily introspection