Posts Tagged ‘family’

Touching the Sacred

Posted: January 23, 2016 in Uncategorized
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I haven’t slept well lately. Maybe it’s because of the anticipation of what today meant, maybe it’s because of all the stress. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Whatever the reason, I’m tired more than usual and only want to crawl into bed until Monday (okay, let’s be honest, I’d stay in bed on Monday if I didn’t have to work). Last night was an especially sleepless night for a couple reasons- 1. I stayed at my parents’ and stayed up late to spend time with my mom and 2. all the noises that creep into their loft where I “slept” are magnified and strange to my ears, which are accustomed to less indoor noise and more muffled, distant city noises. I spent the night at my parents’ house, because a couple of the brotherhood from my church were meeting me there early this morning to move a bed frame across town to my place.

A bed frame. Heavy, solid wood, simple, beautiful. Four posts, light colored wood (I have no idea what kind of wood). It’s nothing like anything I would pick out for myself, yet here I sit with this bed frame set up in my bedroom, almost in tears, again. Over a bed frame.

The bed frame was my grandmother’s for the past 8 – 9 years (my mother corrected my intitial time of 17 – 18 years, because that’s what moms are for) and before this one, she owned a darker version of it that dates back before my childhood. Those two nearly identical frames – four posts, a shining, polished ball at the top of each post, high headboard, and heavy – are part of my grandmother. They’re part of every memory I have of her. Until a couple days ago, I didn’t know the frame of my memories was actually two, instead of one. So, for the sake of this post, it’s The Bed Frame. When my mom asked if I wanted it, I didn’t hesitate to say, “Yes.” Gramma had to move from her beautiful The Bed Frame to a hospital bed after a fall and it was going to sit unused in my parents’ garage. I said yes to a frame I hadn’t really ever consciously thought about, but has held me in a type of embrace the past 29 years I couldn’t explain until my mom and I talked last night. As we looked at The Bed Frame in the garage – the first time I’ve ever not seen it whole – I told her my longest kept secret. The tears flowed.

My earliest memory that doesn’t involve being terrified is sneaking into my Gramma’s bedroom, in her house just outside Detroit, while everyone was somewhere else, doing other things. It was the first time in my tiny life I hadn’t felt fear. Childhood was a living nightmare and we escaped. Somehow, by the grace of God Almighty, we escaped. I closed the door just enough to leave a ray of light glimpsing through the dark of her room. I didn’t want anyone to see me. And I stood at the foot of the bed and touched the left post. Hugged the post in my tiny, frail arms, reaching my hand to that shiny ball at the top of the post to caress it like someone would caress the cheek of someone deeply loved. My mom says I was four.

Throughout the years I would sneak into Gramma’s room and stand at the foot of the bed and touch that one post. Always the same post. As time passed and I grew, holding that post and running my fingers lightly over that ball became easier, but never less necessary. And it was necessary. As if I weren’t really there, safe, wanted, and belonging until I touched that post. Never with the light on, not unless I had been sent in there by Gramma herself to get something for her, and even those errands were a chance to delicately run my fingers over that post. Walking in there was like walking on hallowed ground. It was a peaceful place of comforting smells, quiet, darkness that didn’t hurt, and a bed that held my beloved Gramma who hugged me and laughed and played jokes on us with her false teeth and fed me salami, cheese, and mustard sandwiches and taught me to play Skip-Bo. In my little girl mind I didn’t know the word ‘sacred’. But I knew the feeling of peace and love and reverence and contentment and belonging. That post was a spot where I could stand and, for a moment, breathe deep of something pure. It was the spot where I touched the sacred for the first time. And I felt as if I belonged somewhere. I felt wanted. I felt sacred.

Tonight I will pull back the covers of my bed and slide into a piece of the sacred, a piece I now own.

And I think I may actually sleep.



Y’all don’t mind if I sit down get honest with you, do you? Thanks.

For those who know me and that’s why you follow my blog, you may understand what I’m talking about. For those who read this and don’t know me personally, welcome to my world.

Today I’m tired.

Not ‘I haven’t slept in days, putting in too many hours at work’ tired. More along the lines of today I’m tired of being good. Not in the sense I want to go out and commit crimes and be reckless, but in the sense, I want to take a break from walking this very tight line I walk daily. Even if it’s just one moment in private and no one else sees it. But at this point even that may not quell the unrest inside.

Caveat: I love my life. Overall, I really do. I travel and have a steady job with good benefits. I have wonderful family and friends and friends who’ve become closer than family. I own my own car and my apartment is chock-full of character and fun history AND a claw-foot tub. I do what I love- write and bake- in my free time. My calendar fills up fast and I have things planned through til my birthday in September. My faith has never been stronger. My church family is beyond amazing. I thrill at singing in the choir every week. I have pretty good life with few things missing.

But today at work I realized I want to just quit for a day. All of it. Maybe longer. Maybe has something to do with dinner last night. One of my cousins was staying with me for a couple days and we got together with my sisters for dinner. Back at my apartment she was telling me how as soon as I excused myself to the restroom the attitude of the table changed. All the words and jokes everyone felt they couldn’t say in front of me came out and when I made it back to the table they all clammed up. Now, I really appreciate they respect me enough to not be profane and vulgar – most of the time- when I’m around, but it struck me differently this time. A coworker a couple weeks ago was shocked I knew how to get angry. We’ve worked together about three years and for the first time she saw me express a level of anger and she was shocked and relieved. I was embarrassed. Do people really put me on some kind of anti-emotion, anti-joke pedestal and think I can’t- or don’t- have negative emotions or like to laugh? Yes, I’m called a prude on a regular basis.

Ya know what? I’ll say it: It hurts. It’s frustrating and suffocating to be boxed in so much. I laugh, cry, scream, shake with rage, long for someone to hold me, plead with God for a husband, a child, a family of my own. It’s not that I’m not grateful for what I already have, but that I know something is still missing and there’s a hole where that last piece goes. It’s that when people call me “prude” or tell me to just go get laid they’re dismissing not just one part of my life, but my whole way of living. They’re reducing me, as a whole person, to sex or a dirty joke. When someone is shocked I actually have times of anger, it’s not flattering. It’s telling me they see me as less than human, or more than human. They don’t see my flaws. That puts both of us in a dangerous situation- me to fall from grace and them to walk away disenchanted when I don’t act as they expect.

My faith keeps me going. It keeps me evaluating my actions and words to become better. I remind myself I have to be pleasing in God’s eyes. My goal is to hear, “Well done,” at the end of this intense journey called Life. And that’s all my choice. I choose to live this  life and it’s made me a better person than I ever imaged I could be. But sometimes- just sometimes- when circumstances line up just right (or wrong), I want to drop it all, jump of this prison of a pedestal and run to a place people don’t know me. A place of no pressure or expectation. A place where I can be angry if I’m angry or tired if I’m tired or sad if I’m sad. Where I can be imperfect and awkward and silent or too talkative without being expected or assumed to be something else. Where I don’t have to explain WHY I’m hurting or spiraling out of control before someone puts their arms around me and lets me just go through it safely. Somewhere where I’m not made fun of for being chaste, not vulgar or profane, or for dressing modestly. Somewhere I can be unapologetically me. Somewhere where people don’t put me on these pedestals.

Over the last year my social media presence has waned. Life and all its life-ness produced some bends in the road. And in maneuvering those bends, I’ve retreated inward. I’ve lost outward touch with people I hold fiercely in my heart. But, for the first time since leaping into the wide world of social media in 2011, I deactivated one of my accounts, ignored the others, and turned my phone off for almost two weeks- ignoring calls, texts, and messages. It wasn’t an experiment in unplugging; it was a last-ditch effort to control a situation that spun wildly out of control on December 24th. I’m near-positive writing this will not go over well with some of those involved. At this point I care, but will no longer feel shame for needing to purge my own thoughts and inner dealings in an attempt to regain what I inwardly lost.

I haven’t hid my battles with depression, cutting, and suicide. Overall, I’m the best I’ve ever been, but I still struggle sometimes- especially in high, negative stress situations. I thrive in positive stress, it’s exhausting, but those times are when life is at it’s most exhilarating. Anyway, December 24, 2014 was definitely negative stress situation and it sent me reeling and into seclusion.

Against my better judgement (short story, but not relevant) I agreed to go to my parents’ house after work to see the family. From the moment I walked in the door I was bombarded by people handing me things, asking questions, demanding something, telling me to eat, go, sit, shoes off, hug gramma. My 23 year old brother told me he wanted me to drink with him. Let me stop here, my family KNOWS I do not drink. I haven’t for over 7 years. I used to have a drug and alcohol problem and worked hard to maintain my sobriety over the years. Again, my family knows this. So when my brother insisted I drink with him, I declined and made my way to the kitchen to grab some food and finish assembling the dessert I brought.

While alternating between the stove and center island, my brother tried to hand me a glass of some kind of alcohol. I again told him no. He insisted. I stood my ground. He stepped closer. I stepped back. He tried to shove the glass into my hand. I kept saying no and he kept insisting I drink. Both our voices raised. He tried to put the glass to my mouth. I backed up as far as I could. We began yelling. He started cussing. My parents rushed in trying to break things up. My brother stormed outside, cussing up a storm and calling me several names- all of which I do not say. At some point I was told I shouldn’t have provoked my brother. I was told several times by him to “just let it go” after he came back inside. One of the gems- what we call “C U Next Tuesday” (I’ll let you suss out what that stands for)- my brother hurled at me several times, texted it, and used it in tagging me on a threatening photo on Facebook (I have screenshots of everything).

If only that were the worst of it. In the fray some family left (I don’t blame them, I wanted to leave, too). My parents’ were leaving to go to church when my dad noticed my car covered in mud. It was dark and that was the only “damage” anyone could see. I left a short time later. As I drove home, I noticed something wrong with my windshield- it was scratched all over. My brother had excessively keyed half my windshield. Anger and hurt consumed me. I was shaking and past the point of crying. I wanted to cut. I wanted to drink. I wanted to take pills. I wanted to do all of it just to not feel or think. To not remember my brother thought so little of me. To not think about how violated I felt. I prayed and screamed the entire drive home. At home I crawled into bed and turned everything off. The next day I had to run an errand. That’s when I saw my car in the light. The passenger side door was keyed up with a deep scratch running down to the tail light. As I looked over the damage I saw what was carved into my door: Satan. I felt violated all over again. My faith and relationship with God is the most important thing in life. My brother knows this. We’ve had some great spiritual conversations in the past. That he would use this to deface my car… I have no sufficient words. Later, at church, a friend pointed out (and please forgive me for writing this) “FUCK” was also scratched into my door. I park at the far end of the church parking lot to keep people from seeing the damage.

My brother has not apologized. Other than messaging me one day on Facebook to tell me not to press charges, he’ll talk to me when he’s ready, and he’ll pay for the damages (a placation to keep me from pressing charges) he hasn’t spoken to me. It was an uphill battle to get my family to see this situation through my eyes. I was told he was drunk and I should have known he was even though the entire house had been with him for hours and no one else knew he had been drinking that much. I was told I should have taken the glass, then maybe he wouldn’t have vandalized my car and said all those things. I was told to remember I was once that age and did things I shouldn’t have. I was told to remember I was the Christian and he wasn’t. I was told I was older and should forgive him. I was told maybe I should just take this as a lesson learned.

I spent two weeks grasping at every shred of control within myself in order to keep going. I spent that time praying and begging God for the strength not to go back to old comforts. I questioned what I did and said. I tried to not feel guilty for smiling when something made me happy. I tried to reach out to friends, but my hands wouldn’t comply to text or call. Every inch of me was focused on appearing normal when I had to leave the house. I’m still exhausted. I don’t want to leave my bed; I have to because I have to work and pay bills. I don’t want to go out and see people and pretend, but I have to keep living. It’s hard to describe why this ordeal affects me this way. I know every day I walk out my front door to see my car in all its vulgar un-glory and cringe. I drive and see through a scratched up windshield. And I am reminded every day my brother deemed me not drinking as a crime punishable by profanity and vandalism and he’s unremorseful.


Posted: October 15, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Alliances come and go. Jobs come and go. Friends come and go. Life comes and goes. It’s all a cycle. Picking and choosing which alliance, job, friend, bit of life is most important- or advantageous- is the tricky part of it all. One more time I stand at a crossroad, unsure. For the sake of those involved I’ll be intentionally vague about the details. But each crossroad is more or less the same, the circumstance is the only part that really changes. So here I stand, sooner than I’d like and sooner than I though and with more complications than I’d like. That’s kinda how it goes, though, right?

I come here- to my page and you, my readers- to clear my head and organize my thoughts when I can’t get to my kitchen. It’s been a crazy ride, one I wouldn’t trade for the world, but I can’t tell if I want to turn right because the current path is the wrong one, turn left because I’m too exhausted to keep going, or hunker down and continue on the road ahead. Each direction is a valid choice, but WHICH choice is the right one? To keep with the theme, I’ll try to ambiguously break each road down.

Turning right: Finagling my way through a situation I’ve never been through before to situate myself into a place more comfortable and closer to what I’m used to. Pros: Less stress (in theory). More support (not that I’ve reached out much on the current road). I’d know where each person’s alliances lay. Cons: It’s not a definite. It requires maneuvers I know nothing about. It’d be one more change and adjustment that I’m not sure I’m ready for or can handle at this point. It could burn bridges I very much don’t want burned.

Turning left: Basically this looks like me walking away from everything, whether permanently or temporarily. Pros: Freedom; sweet, sweet freedom. Less stress (again, in theory), more free time to do life stuff. More money to do life stuff. Cons: It’d probably drive me crazy.

Keeping on the current path: Suck it up, buttercup, and keep going in the current direction. Pros: The least amount of resistance. A chance to grow outside my comfort zone. Other doors could open because of and in spite of staying put. Cons: I could continue questioning every step I take. Watching alliances rise and fall and having to choose sides. The possibility of compromising my own principles and standards.


I just don’t know right now. For now I guess it’s back to work and rumbling down this dusty road hoping a U-Turn is possible if I decide this isn’t right for me.

The third installment of the series is my perspective. Being over 30 seems to automatically mean there’s something horribly wrong with me or I have unreasonable standards. Both are false. Remember to show my girl, Ce, some love at her site.


The conservative movement is supposed to be about each American living their own American Dream on their own terms (within the Constitution and laws). It’s an appealing way of life, but the movement is also centered on marriage and family. This puts me and those in my same situation of singleness in an uncomfortable spot. We are bombarded with family values and engagements and wedding invitations and baby announcements and glances of pity and sometimes fear- fear of the person catching this icky disease of singleness.


As I sit down to write this it is late and I’ve completed a full day of work, played therapist to a friend on the way home, taken care of all the laundry for the week, cleaned the kitchen, set the coffee pot for the morning, put together my breakfast for tomorrow, held 11 conversations on various media platforms, ran the vacuum, and made my bed with the clean sheets I just washed. Some days it’s overwhelming to do everything alone then go to bed alone just to wake up alone and do it all over again… Alone.

I love what I do in politics. I love writing and following the news cycles. I love to travel across the country. I love the passion I see in those with whom I work online and in person. What I don’t love is being single. What I don’t love even more is the pity and condescension that comes from some of these people I love so much when they find out that yes, at 32, I am still single (single since *ahem* 2007 when I separated from my now late husband) with no prospects in sight. Sure from time to time there’s been a guy who’s almost piqued my interest but in the end it’s ended before it began. And occasionally some thug wannabe will try to approach me at the ghetto gas station near my home and try to pick me up with slurred English and pants hanging almost to the ground, but this girl does have some standards.

Ah standards, those pesky things keeping us from picking a complete loser. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told I’m wrong for having my standards or that I should lower them or that I’m just too picky. For the record, I have exactly six standards. That’s it- six.

  1. We have the same faith. He loves God above all else and can be the spiritual head of our home and family.
  2. He loves me and is attracted to me.
  3. I love him and am attracted to him (he doesn’t have to be the world’s hottest man to be attractive to me).
  4. We have to be politically like-minded. He doesn’t have to be glued to politics like I am, but being aware, voting, and have the same basic ideologies is a must.
  5. He has to have a job, not live in his parents’ basement (or any part of his parents’ house), and have a car.
  6. Be- or be willing to become- gluten free (I’m not kissing someone who’ll make me horribly sick if we touch lips and he hasn’t done a full biohazard cleanse of his mouth after eating).

That’s it. Anything else I might like on top of those six things is just bonus. And yet here we are. I appreciate my family and friends being all concerned, but there’s only so many times a person can be asked if they’re seeing anyone yet before something akin to the climax of a horror movie happens*. It seems as though they don’t understand how much it hurts to be reminded I am apparently deficient in some fashion for being without a partner. Never mind I have crawled my way out of some pretty catastrophic situations to a point where I’m thriving. Never mind I have a good job with good benefits, my own place, a reliable car, I travel all over the country, and I’m living my own dream of writing. Forget all those wonderful things that make life so amazing, all that is nothing in the dark shadow of not having a significant other.


I’m not delusional, I have my issues and quirks and hang-ups, but I’m also fiercely loyal, loving, intelligent, adventurous (get that mind out of the gutter, I love to travel and be spontaneous), faithful, hard-working, funny, generous, forgiving, and I’m a magician in the kitchen. Yet when I get together with other conservatives at conferences, I see a not-so-secret secret hook-up culture winning out over making any real connections beyond one-night stands, business, and networking. I don’t sleep around. I firmly believe I am worth the wait- his and mine. But while I wait, I get discouraged. Is there really little more than a random hook-up in a hotel at a conservative convention all that’s left for us single folks? George Iles said, “Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.” For now, I’ll hold onto hope there’s more.

*This statement is in no way a threat to any person or persons in my life.


Ruth is an adventurer, writer, and baker. Her work can be found on her blog Conservative and Bacon ( Ruth can be found on Twitter and Instagram @MissRuth1021. All American Blogger thanks her for her contribution.


I met Meredith (Mere- pronounced “mare”- to me) at a conference in Las Vegas in 2012. It seems like we’ve known each other much longer than that, but it’s only been two years. We’ve roomed together in three different states and logged countless hours on Skype, Google Hangouts, texts, and phone calls. We have internet friend dates where we watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Once More With Feeling together and sing along even if we have our copies out of sync. I adore my friend and want the best for her even when we vehemently disagree.

Mere’s story is installment two of Single Is The New Black. I’ve posted it in its entirety below but head over to All American Blogger and show my girl, Ce, some love. She’s the creator of the series and an amazing woman.

I have been single for that last two years. Before that I was single for nearly a year. Before that… well let’s just say there is a pattern.

Make no mistake, I’m not defined by who I date and I don’t need a relationship to complete my life. I have plenty of great friends that I would not trade for the world, but friends can’t fill in every gap left by being single.

I’m not talking about sex, get your mind out of the gutter. Y’all need Jesus.

There are so many ways that a romantic relationship is beneficial to a person, but for some people it’s really hard to find “the one” that we were promised by every Disney movie we grew up with.

I’m not single by choice, I would certainly like to have a long term relationship, but being a conservative has really killed my love life.

I guess the problem is that I am consistently looking for a long term relationship, rather than just part time dates to pass the time. If I want someone to take me to dinner and a movie, I have my best friend.

So I remain single while I keep looking for “the one.”

I’ve probably spent just as much time looking at dating profiles online in recent years as I have spent looking at houses in the last 6 months and I have found that there is a lot of similarity between looking for a healthy relationship and looking for the house you want. Both are long term investments (in either money or time) and both involve a certain amount of compromise.

If I had unlimited money or an unlimited pool of dating prospects, there would be no reason to compromise on anything. I could find the absolute perfect match for me and never have to worry again.

Unfortunately life does not work like that for most people.


So here’s how I look for a house. I made a list of everything I wanted in a house and then I took a long hard look at it and cut away anything that was negotiable, which left me with a pretty short list of “absolutely must haves”. Which included a pool, at least a 9,000 square foot lot, at least 1900 square feet of house, and 3 bedrooms. Anything else I can work on and improve, but some things are just necessary for a home to be livable from the start or are just impossible to change later.

I have done the same thing with relationships. Though how much you want to listen to me is debatable…after all I am single.

My list is short and to the point.

  • intelligent
  • conservative or right leaning libertarian
  • doesn’t do drugs
  • attractive (in my opinion)
  • sense of humor
  • wants kids

Everything else is negotiable. I don’t care if we like all the same books or music or movies, as long as we can agree on a few things we enjoy doing together. I don’t need them to always agree with me or like the exact same food or tv shows. That stuff is negotiable. We will find things we have in common over the course of a relationship and find interests we both enjoy, even if I have to order anchovies on her half of the pizza or she can’t stand that I actually likeLove Actually.

I’m willing to compromise on just about anything, just not those 6 things, because without those 6 things a relationship could never be long term, unless I was prepared to be miserable.

You would think that my list, as short as it is, would be easy to find. I should have dinner invitations all the time, after all I am a fairly attractive woman. I’m smart, can hold a good conversation, and I clean up nice.

Unfortunately I am also a lesbian, which makes this list a little harder to fit to my small pool of dating applicants.

Less than 3 percent of the U.S. population identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday in the first large-scale government survey measuring Americans’ sexual orientation.

Let’s just think about that for a second and do a little math.*

The population of the United States is around 313.9 million.

3% of that is about 9.4 million.

Since around 51% of the United States population is female, that leaves about 4.8 million who are lesbians in the United States.

Now while the percentage of conservatives in the United States is pretty good, within the minority of the gay community the percentage seems to be pretty small. I’ll be generous and assume that 25% of my fellow gay women are also conservative.

That leaves me with 1.2 million gay, conservative women in the United States and the likelihood that I’m attracted to all of them is pretty low. I’m probably going to find around 50% of them attractive.**


That’s what I’m left with. In truth the number is fairly low and given that I only get along with about 50% of the conservatives I meet and, while I consider myself attractive, that does not mean that every woman I’m attracted to will also find me attractive. For various reasons, the true number of women in my dating pool just gets smaller and smaller.


What’s a gay conservative to do? Especially a gay conservative that is naturally introverted and politically outspoken.

Basically…I’m screwed.

Even at CPAC, a place that is almost literally crawling with conservatives (many of whom fit all 6 of my specifications), I’m dateless.

Gay conservatives, female or male, are basically Unicorns.

I was never the type to announce my sexuality when I was younger. I didn’t do the whole “I’m here, I’m queer” bit and I certainly didn’t have any pink triangles or rainbows in conspicuous places on my person, but now I feel like I need to wear a sign that says “lesbian, conservative, single, please apply here to date me”. It’s not about shoving my sexuality in anyone’s face, it’s just a slight tinge of desperation.

Maybe it would easier if I just didn’t care about the politics of who I dated, but I want to date someone who I can see a future with and there is no future with a liberal for me. I spend my free time mocking liberals and doing my best to prove how absolutely wrong they are and that does not sound like a healthy relationship to me.

The last time I made the mistake of dating a liberal, she told me that my political beliefs were “embarrassing” and this was before I was as far right as I am now.

I’ve had people say that I have unrealistic expectations and I should just lower my standards just a little, but why should I do that? I know what I want and respect myself enough to know that I’m worth the kind of person that I am looking for.

The thing about being a conservative, whether you are gay or straight or male or female, is that we know that lowering our standards is never the answer.

What is the answer then? I ask myself that same question every day and I’m beginning to think the answer may be cats…lots of cats.


*This is highly unscientific, basically I’m just throwing numbers at a wall for effect. Whatever.

** Again, I’m being rather generous here.

* Meredith is a writer who is addicted to politics, legal jargon, and logic. When not frustrating others with her pragmatic, yet sometimes idealistic, approach to politics she loves British television, fantasy novels, and crime dramas.

You can find her online at The Snark Who Hunts Back, Elementary Politics, A Convenient Cook, or on Twitter.

You can find Meredith on twitter as @MeredithAncret, and read her personal political blog* All American Blogger thanks her for her contribution to our blog.

My friend, Ce, has begun a series we’ve titled Single Is The New Black. Each article is authored by a single conservative navigating the waters of a movement centered on marriage and family. I’ll be cross posting all the articles, including my own. Go check out the first one:

“It’s a well known fact that conservatism and marriage go hand in hand. Unlike the left, we seem to have an understanding that families need to be headed by a 2-parent household. Yet, there is a growing (and at times frustrated) minority on the right whose voices are not being heard and no, I’m not talking about blacks.”