The Self Sufficiency Conundrum

•May 25, 2011 • 5 Comments

As I struggle with my depression and self-hate, I must acknowledge the greatest source of this depression (as I see it so far. I am no psychiatrist or psychologist or any other kind of psych doctor. I cannot afford to utilize psychotherapy so I must explore a cure for myself). I think the problem is one of independence/self-sufficiency. Okay, okay, I know the definition of self-sufficiency, and no I am not talking about living in a log cabin and growing my own food (although I doubt I would have these issues if I did). What I am talking about is the ability to pay my own way with no help from anyone else.

From childhood, I have always been SURROUNDED by people nearly all the time. Mom ran a daycare from our home, and there were always dozens of noisy children running all over the place. I always shared a bedroom. Privacy in our house was not something that was allowed. We had our doors removed from the hinges a few times and parents said “A closed door indicates something to hide. There are no secrets in this house. The only time this door is allowed to be closed is if we close it, you are changing clothes, or you are sleeping.” I used to have to seek out opportunities to be by myself. If my parents knew of the places I would go when I grabbed my bicycle in the morning and would be gone nearly all day, they would have taken it away.

After I was forced to leave home, I found myself in situation after situation where I had multiple roommates. Often times these people were not people I should have ever been friends with, let alone had to live with. However, we do what we must do in order to afford to live. My last roommate experience so far ended in 2008. The LAST roommate I had was the best one, and he still remains one of my best friends.

I have never had the opportunity to live by myself. This is not because I didn’t want to. This is because I cannot afford to. Don’t get me wrong, I love my partner and I hope we are together for a long time. What I want is the security of knowing in the back of my mind that if something did happen to him physically or our relationship, that I could continue to survive. This is a topic that has caused some pretty heated arguments between my partner and myself. He takes this as me having no faith in him. He says that regardless of how nasty our break-up could be, he would never allow me to live on the streets. We would become roommates until I get everything in order. I simply know that nobody knows the future and I’d rather be able to say that in the event of some kind of tragedy or awful break-up, that I can take care of myself. Is this really such a bad pattern of thinking?

In my quest to fix my head, people have told me that things will get better. How do they know this? People have been telling me this for the past 12 years, and things have only marginally gotten better. There are times where I think that perhaps this is as good as it gets. People have also told me to set small goals. I agree with this, and it is what I am attempting to do. My #1 goal is to find a new job because the thankless job I have now as a ‘professional obesity enabler’ at a local fast-food joint does not pay enough for self-sufficiency. I have been job searching for the past 3 years with very few prospects. If I cannot reach the very first goal, then none of the others can happen either.

I have a limited time to fix what is going on in my head. I am making my partner miserable, and our lease is up in about 10 months. What will happen if I can’t get this straightened out? I kind of feel like I am in panic mode and am really ready to try just about anything I can afford to get this noggin screwed on correctly again.

The Letter

•May 24, 2011 • 2 Comments

I was adopted. From here on, you will see use of the familial terms mother, father, dad, mom, brother, grandmother, etc. To clarify who I really mean, these terms will always refer to my adopted family. I will only refer to my birth mother a few times from here, and she will most likely be called ‘my birth mother.’ The only role she played in any part of my life was the carrying of her child (me) to term. Part of the agreement between her and my adopted family is that she disappear. She was never to try to search for me. As far as everyone was concerned, she no longer existed. My birth mother agreed to these terms.  This is the story as told to me in a letter from my grandmother in 2005. I started to just paraphrase this letter, but then I decided that it would be more effective if I relive it, and put it out there for all to see.  Names of real people have been changed to protect them as I intend no hurt to anyone from this posting. I will hereby always refer to my adopted mother as Mary Ann, my adopted dad will be referred to as Lee, my older brother will be Will, and my younger brother will be Todd.

“Dear Jason,

I know you will be surprised to get this letter. You probably think I never give you a thought. I do, as I hold you up in prayer, asking God to deliver from the pit in which Satan holds you.

I know you know something about your adoption. Let me tell you how it was. Will was four years old and Mary Ann and Lee wanted another child. They gave up on having another one of their own. We (my grandparents) were living in Queen Creek and I read in the paper that a pregnant girl was looking for a place to stay. I called the number and your ‘birth mother’ answered. She said she was living with her brother, but he was kicking her out. She was 7 months pregnant and would give the baby up for adoption. After we talked awhile, I told her we would go get her and keep her for the baby. The only thing she owned were a few clothes in a box, and a cat. I told her she could keep the cat, but it had to stay outside. She agreed, but I soon learned she didn’t keep any promises. She brought the cat in and had it in bed with her. She was determined to have her way about everything. I thought “What have I gotten myself into?” I was tempted to take her back to her brother in Chandler. She would not go to church or anywhere else with me. I didn’t know if I could trust her when your grandfather and I would both be gone. All I could do was turn her over to the Lord. She had been living on the streets, sleeping with anyone who would take her in. She declared she didn’t know who your father was, and she most likely didn’t. She said she had a baby boy a couple of years ago and the state took him from her. She didn’t know where he was, but you have a half-brother somewhere.

I was glad when you were born and I could get rid of her. You were born in Maricopa County Hospital. When you were 2 days old, I got both of you, took her to her brother’s house, gave her some clothes and $100. I told her never to contact us again, which she hasn’t. A few days later, Mary Ann flew out from El Paso and took you ‘home.’ I named you and they liked the name. They adopted you, loved you, gave you a good home and a chance to be a respectable person. You have let us all down. You broke Lee and Mary Ann’s hearts. You traded all of us – a good family, for what? What happened to those dreams of – was it an engineer? (No, she never paid any real attention when I talked about my dreams of becoming a ship captain.) You had the brain and all of us could have helped. When Lee moves back to Arizona, why don’t you go with him and start over.

When you lived in Chandler, you made a profession of accepting Christ, but you didn’t mean it. He and God the Father are One. God says: Thoug shall not lie with mankind as with womankind. Both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. God hasn’t changed His mind, but Satan is the ruler of this world and now this sin is everywhere.

I pray that God will change you and use you by giving you a testimony to tell others that have been deceived and are a slave of the Devil, that they can be free. Jason, I think you owe me a promise that you will go see the movie The Passion of the Christ. I want you to see the price Christ paid to redeem you. He loves you and He will save you if you will let Him.

Love,

Grandmother”

This is the only real time my adoption was really discussed. It was a hush-hush subject in our home. Since this time, I have been told that it is no surprise that I have become what I am as I have the blood of a sexual deviant running through my veins.  I had given in to genetic urges instead of the will of God. I put this letter away and was going to burn it, but thought it might be useful one day. Perhaps it will be.

In the Beginning…An Attempt at Ironic Humor Using Only The Truth

•May 24, 2011 • 3 Comments

Once upon a time there was a prostitute who became pregnant after an encounter with one of her many ‘Johns.’  She probably didn’t have the money for an abortion. She most likely didn’t want her child to live in the world she did.  She sought out an adoption agency.

Meanwhile in El Paso, TX lived a family of 3.  Father is a music minister at an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. Mother is a Sunday School teacher and in the choir. Sometimes she plays the piano for her husband’s music ministry. Mother was pregnant, but miscarried. They planned the family very carefully, and now must act in order to cement this planning via adoption.

Ladies and gentlemen…I am the unwanted child of a prostitute that was adopted by an IFB family in Texas. I’m also a fag. Rub your eyes…you read that correctly. I didn’t realize how fit for a book this story is. THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING. This is the story before I ever opened my eyes outside of the womb. Now we recap.

In case you didn’t realize, I’m the fag child of fundamentalists who is really the child of a prostitute. Does it surprise you that…

I have very little confidence in my abilities and in who I am.

I have no idea what it feels like to have ‘self esteem.’

I have a crippling fear of failure. It keeps me from trying.

TO BE CONTINUED.

Self-Therapy Realizations: The IFB is the Source of Much of My Frustrations

•May 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

A few weeks ago, I watched a program on ABC’s 20/20 about the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) religion (I will not call it a denomination because it is a creature of itself) and how it resembles more of a cult than a religious denomination. The biggest focus of the show was about a girl that was sexually abused by her father, then by a prominent member of the church. She became pregnant at the age of 15 and was forced to tell her entire church congregation how she was guilty of causing abuse on herself. See the episode HERE.

I want to make it perfectly clear that I was NEVER sexually assaulted by any member of my family, or any member of any church. This is not the focus of this writing. However, upon watching this episode of ABC’s 20/20, I realized how mentally abusive these extremely conservative churches are. I was raised in an IFB household. I went to an IFB church. I went for two years to an IFB school. There are theologies and guidelines that these churches follow that absolutely frighten their congregations into submission and obedience. These are some of the most judgemental people on earth, and I believe that they do NOT preach the true gospel.

I also must make it perfectly clear that upon leaving home that I have stayed nearly completely away from anything having to do with church as it causes me to go into a mild panic state. The last church service I attended at a Metropolitan Community Church was nothing like the IFB, but I was having flashbacks to my days as a child sitting in ‘big church’ listening to the pastor scream and yell. I will not be looking up scriptures or posting scriptural references here because I have forgotten a lot of my Biblical training as I tried to block this part of my past from my memory.

When I was growing up in an IFB household, one of the first directives I can remember is that children are to speak only when spoken to. Children are to say ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no sir’ and are best seen and not heard. Children have no valid opinion and should therefore be kept as quiet as possible. My grandmother used to say “You brats are best seen and not heard, and if at all possible, not seen either.” We were treated as second class citizens with no rights. My dad used to tell us “You have no rights under the law until you are 18 years old. When you reach the legal age where you have rights and are able to make your own decisions under the law, then you must leave this house.”

Another thing I remember vividly is the refusal of privacy. At no point were bedroom doors to be shut. In fact, a few times we had our doors removed from the hinges. “A closed door indicates something to hide. There are no secrets in this house. The only time this door is to be closed is if you are changing clothes or sleeping.” I used to seek out places of solitude so I could have time to myself. Experiencing being by myself was very rare. There was always someone watching, waiting to judge any wrong move made.

Instead of encouraging a child to explore their world and become an individual human being, parents were instructed to turn their children into what God wants them to be. Spanking a child was not just a form of discipline. It was a tool used to break the will of a child, like a cowboy does with a horse. Every aspect of a child’s life is to be decided for them. From the clothes worn to the music listened to, to who their friends were. Being an individual was frowned upon greatly by the IFB, whether the subject being scrutinzed was an adult or a child. “Different on Purpose” is a motto I remember being quoted constantly. It was to be obvious to strangers on the street that we were different, that we were children of God. Any stranger should be able to tell with one single glance that this person is a ‘true Christian.” Any connection to the secular world was judged as a tool of Satan. This applied to food, drink, music, clothing, hairstyles (dying of hair was a sign of vanity and all vanity is wrong), friends, entertainment and education. It was “ALL CHRISTIAN, ALL THE TIME.”

I did not have the opportunity to explore modern music until I was age 19, and left home. One of the reasons I am adding emphasis to the music aspect is because my family was a very musical group of people. My dad was a music minister many years ago. Mom sang in the choir. Both played piano. Mom played the flute as well. It was a directive in our home that everyone be involved in music in some manner. I began piano lessons as soon as I was old enough to understand. When the time was appropriate, we were then instructed in wind or percussion instruments. I played the euphonium/baritone for 11 years. With all of this musical training, the types of music allowed to be explored was very limited. Any music that was approved by our church was fine. That green and blue hymnal “Great Hymns of the Faith” contained the music we were definitely allowed to participate in. The great classics such as Beethoven, Hayden, Shostakovitch, Bach were all allowed. Much beyond this was off limits. I remember sermons about music being preached with great gusto. “Lucifer was the music minister of heaven so it only makes sense that he would use this tool to enslave the human race.””All modern music dates back to African voodoo tribal music.””Dancable music is a sin! All dancing is, is pretending to have sex standing upright, to a beat. IT IS SIN!””There are only two group names that tell you the truth about themselves: POISON and MEGADEATH!” In high school, I even wrote a term paper I titled “Rock Music: The Warble of A Troubled Society.” Here is a link to a page full of links about how modern music is SATANIC. http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evils%20in%20America/devils_music.htm

I am gay. From a very young age, I knew I was different from other boys. I didn’t completely understand at first. When they were out playing ‘Superman,’ I wanted to be ‘Wonder Woman.’ (Even though I was not allowed to watch either on TV) I always had more of a connection with things that were more effeminate than masculine. Some of my friends have attributed some of the way I was raised to this tendancy. Indeed, my brothers and I were not allowed to have masculine toys such as GI Joe, or other action figures, toy guns and the like. This all promoted violence, and violence is evil. Some would argue that violence is masculine, and to deny a male the opportunity to engage in ‘masculine activities’ would possibly contribute to that male becoming a homosexual. Of course, being a homosexual is one of the worst things a person can be, in the eyes of the IFB. I grew up in much silence because I knew I could not reveal my true self. I knew I would be judged. I fought in my own head with these feelings for years. I tried to kill myself when I was 14 because I felt it would be better to be dead than to have everyone in my life know the truth. Later in my life I tried desperately to ‘pray away the gay’ and even had a girlfriend of nearly 3 years. It was my very first relationship, and there was no sexual aspect to it whatsoever.

I was outed by a work supervisor when I was 19. I had not admitted to very many people the homosexual truth about me. One person I could confide in was a woman that I worked with. I was overheard by our supervisor who was in the next room. As I had turned in my notice because I was moving to another town (one of my many attempts to leave Morristown and get away from family) this supervisor felt it neccessary to call my parents and tell them what she heard. When I was confronted by them, I told the truth. My entire world fell apart right there and I would never feel at home with family after this.

To be continued…

Self Therapy Questions: Do I Really Matter?

•May 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Some people think I’m a moron and/or full of crap. I feel like I don’t have many people to talk to about this matter. In my attempt to feel like I matter in this world, I attempted to talk to a therapist. I do not have medical insurance so I had to choose an organization that charges me based on income. Three sessions in, I had to cancel all remaining sessions due to being demoted at work, and having to take a 50 cent cut in hourly pay. Yes folks, 50 cents an hour determined my ability to pay for therapy sessions (plus a dramatic cut in hours…I still make 25 cents above minimum wage).

Since I cannot afford ANY kind of mental or physical therapy, I am left to my own devices. Therefore, I decided to start this blog to convey my thoughts as I am trying desperately to convince myself that I am a good person and that I make a positive difference in this crazy world. Mind you, I am very slowly reading self-help books. I am also trying to talk to people I think I can trust about some of my thoughts.  Some of the posts I make here will be post conversation with a person I deem important to me in some manner. Some will just be completely random ramblings by myself.

Please take note that I wish never to try to question anyone’s moral or political views.  Americans are entitled to their opinion as individuals. Differences are to be expected and accepted.  Please fight your instinct to categorize me into either the conservative or liberal choices.  I have opinions that would place me into either column. I am not here to convince you to see things my way. I am here to pour my word vomit somewhere. I have to vent somewhere. I don’t care which side of ‘the fence’ my arguments fall on. Politics is a powerful thing, but people should stop thinking that they must define their entire existences through being either a conservative or a liberal. There is more to politics than parties and the human brain is capable of being so much more. I am tired of hearing the terms ‘libtard,’ ‘Rethuglicans,’ and ‘conservative pigs.’ Citizens must learn that different opinions matter, and people can learn to agree to disagree.

My very first question to ask myself is a subject matter that I believe that many people wrestle with in their daily lives. “Do I really matter in this life?”

Many people have things in their life that validate their existence. In my opinion, the number one factor in validation would be being a parent. Perhaps if I were a father, I would feel differently about myself, but I have absolutely no interest in raising a child.  I grew up in a household where our #4 source of income was my mom’s daycare business. At any moment between 7am and 8pm, our home was full of 8-25 screaming children. To this day, the most annoying noise in the world to me is a child screaming bloody murder for attention. I also can never watch the animated Walt Disney movie The Little Mermaid ever again, but that is a completely different blog topic!

So now that I have established that parenthood cannot be a source of self-worth for me, there are realizations about what else cannot as well. My job actually drains me of my self-esteem. I work in the fast food industry. This is an industry that does not help anyone but the owners. The food is crap. The pay is crap. They treat their employees like crap. The customers are rude. I am so embarrassed about my job that when people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I am ‘a professional obesity enabler.’ Why do I still have this job? In this area of the South, jobs are hard to come by for people with no college education. I have to say that I am glad that I have any job at all, when so many of my friends lost their jobs years ago and still haven’t found employment. Of course, those people would refuse to work where I do. Some advice for new teens about to enter the workplace…pass right on by any restaurant. I don’t care if it has a drive-thru window or not. The restaurant business is a trap. Go find a REAL job.

I cannot claim self-sufficiency as a source of self-worth, because I am not self-sufficient. I require the help of a roommate or a partner to help me cover bills. I cannot afford to live alone. I seriously feel like a burden to humanity, although I am not taking advantage of the welfare system. At what point does being a good person really make that much difference? I’m really trying to find the answer. DO I REALLY MATTER? WHY DON’T I FEEL LIKE I DO?