Month: December 2014

Furious at the Judgment on Nonie’s Morning Sickness (My Five Wives)

This is NOT something you can ever understand until you have walked that mile. Morning sickness is not the same, and I don’t want to hear about how “bad” it was to vomit a couple times a day over a month or so.

I don’t want to hear about only “being able to eat crackers”. I would have given my right hand to keep down crackers most days.

These are things I am not supposed to admit in polite conversation – but HG is not a polite illness. It is callous and horrible and takes women and babies from our lives.

This is NOT morning sickness. This is not a pregnant woman being a drama queen or lazy.

This is not something a few crackers before getting out of bed can fix. Or ginger. Or what ever else is in the normal bag of tricks for morning sickness – I tried them all.

This is a truly debilitating illness in every possible way. I hope that next time the world hears of a mother suffering from HG their advice will not be “suck it up.” –Mama Bice, HG: More than morning sickness

I go trolling the Net and Facebook for comments on TLC’s polygamy shows, “My Five Wives” and “Sister Wives,” hoping to find fans discussing things that get me curious.

But instead I find so much judgment that I can’t believe it.  People keep seeing all these dreadful things that I just do not see when I watch these shows.

They make all sorts of horrid pronouncements about the character and behavior of the various people on the shows.

I just don’t see those things at all.  I see happy people going through the normal trials of marriage, but multiplied because of all the wives.  I see normal people with normal behaviors.

I don’t see weepy, sad, whiny, mean women at all.  I see normal reactions by women with various temperaments, to situations which are unusual for most Americans, probably edited for the screen to make situations more “dramatic.”

Remember, drama keeps viewers.  Normal, day-to-day stuff which does not cause anybody to weep, would be booooring, and viewers would run away in droves.

I believe the people who post those things are just “hate-viewing” the shows.  I believe they are queen-bee-style bullies, mean girls, because of how viciously they react whenever somebody calls them out for what they say.  Remember, the people in the show can read what they write.

I believe these commenters just plain don’t like polygamy and are seeing things that aren’t there, because of their biases.

But the latest judgment and ridicule has just gotten to me so much that I had to blog about it.  Especially since it revealed to me just how much ignorance is out there on severe morning sickness.

Nonie on My Five Wives is suffering from morning sickness.  We are told that it is debilitating and severe.  None of the wives or the husband appear to judge her on it.  They are the ones dealing with her, after all, not the viewers, yet none of them has complained about it.

My heart instantly went out to her as she dragged through the day.  I thought her behavior was understandable for someone who probably feels like she has stomach flu that lasts for months.

Yet so many people around the Net are calling her a “drama queen” and accusing her of being lazy, playing it up for sympathy, that sort of thing.

Well, excuse me, have you EVER had to deal with this?  Not just bad morning sickness, but hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)?

HG is NOT just “morning sickness.”  Women who get this are NOT “drama queens,” “lazy” or “playing for sympathy.”

The term has not been used on the show, but I have posted about it on their Facebook page.  Nonie’s behavior makes me strongly suspect that’s what she has, especially since the other wives don’t judge her for it.

Also, none of the commenters know, either, if it’s HG, since the name has not been used.

But “severe morning sickness” has been used, the term those of us who have had it (but without knowing the proper term), would call it.  Without knowing for sure, those commenters should certainly not judge her.

I do NOT see her “whining” about it “constantly,” as many have accused.  I see someone struggling just to keep her head up.  Her head is probably dizzy, and most people would also struggle.

I am impressed because she at least gets dressed and brushes her hair; obviously she is skipping makeup.

My fury at people’s bizarre cruelty, led me to Google the Net for more about HG.  Princess Kate has dealt with it; people even mocked her in the media, even though she was hospitalized for it.

Charlotte Brontë DIED from HG.

I missed this during Princess Kate’s first pregnancy, since I don’t watch The View, and was so far removed from my own experiences (in 2003) that I wasn’t paying attention.  But The View was inundated with angry messages after trivializing the princess’s condition.

Other sufferers of HG also complain that their plight is trivialized by others: family, strangers, even doctors and nurses at times.  Because HG is so rare, and most women experience morning sickness, people apparently think you just throw up and then feel fine.  That these women must be whiners, or not want their babies, or they’re lazy drama queens.  That anyone can just deal with morning sickness along with a job, other children, housework, etc.


Warning: This is graphic, because I see other blogs about this are just as graphic, if not more so.

HG is so severe that your “morning sickness” never goes away.  After you throw up, you still feel sick.  Nothing stays down; eventually, you start puking up bile because there is nothing in your stomach.

You begin to starve, and lose weight rapidly.  If you are not treated early, you can end up with an IV pumping in fluids, and taking expensive medication usually used for chemotherapy nausea.  Which upsets your insurance company, who begins paying for less and less of it.

How do I know this?  Why am I so upset?  Because I went through it myself.

When the first bout came on, I thought it was stomach flu.  I spent all my time on the couch, unable to hold my head up.  I could barely take care of myself when my husband was not home.

Multiple times vomiting per hour went on for days, even after nothing was left in my stomach.  The slightest movement of my head made me sick, so I was afraid to move.

How many days it lasted I don’t recall, just that I had to take unpaid leave from my job because I couldn’t handle anything: food, smells, even walking to the bathroom.  I could not take a shower without getting sick.

I could not do housework at all.  I’m not a lazy housekeeper: My diligence has been noted by many.  I can’t stand lying around all day, either.  This was forced on me by my condition.

This is like the worst stomach flu you have ever had, which had you crawling on the floor, camped out in the bathroom, or lying in your bed, never letting up even right after you have just vomited.  Only it does not go away in a few days.

Would you call someone a slacker, drama queen, or whiny for staying in bed all day for the stomach flu?

A package of Target clothes arrived while I was sick.  Even the sight of that made me sick.  I’d think of the beautiful clothes inside, and feel sick.  I was forced to return them, because even saving them for later was impossible.

As the days passed, I began thinking, “I’m so hungry!” in plaintive cries, because I had no nourishment.  I lost weight rapidly.  I even thought about abortion, even though I oppose it, because I feared my life depended on it.

My doctor took me seriously, and when all the other remedies did not work (I even threw up the Emetrol), he prescribed Zofran.  Almost immediately, I recovered enough that I got up and cleaned the house.  The next day, I went back to work.

Far longer than you’re supposed to get morning sickness, I still had to take the Zofran.  I would try to get off it because it was getting harder and harder to get the insurance company to pay for it, and without insurance it would be $500!!!  But then I’d start puking again, and have to go back on it.

The symptoms finally abated later in the pregnancy, in the fifth month, I believe.  I went off the Zofran and did not vomit again.

But I still often felt nauseated.  Even the newspaper and computer smelled so weird that I could not be near them for long.  I kept thinking I smelled a gas leak, even though professionals came in and confirmed there was none.

Fortunately, though, I was well enough to keep up with the housework and other things.  My mom was surprised at how much energy I had in my final months of pregnancy.  If not for early intervention, things may not have gone so well.

All the symptoms finally went away after the birth.  My son was large (10 lbs 6 oz), but healthy, so I have no complaints about using Zofran during pregnancy.

But there are many women for whom even Zofran and other medications are not enough.

This is no laughing matter.  This is not just weak women who can’t deal with morning sickness like everybody else does.

Nobody made fun of me or accused me of whining, so this is not personal.

My anger is for the sake of the many women who have been treated like “It’s all in your head, you princess, so get out of bed and make dinner for your hungry kids.”  (And, well, the effects of heightened smells can often make it impossible for a pregnant woman to cook.)

Some other websites and blogs on this:

Like Ressler, she now had other children to care for. But she was so sensitive to smell — and scent was so distorted to her — that she could not bear to be near her daughters.

“Their skin smelled like old, and their breath smelled like Korean food,” Kemp remembers. “Their diapers sent me over the edge.”

She abandoned a looming book deadline, hired two babysitters to cover the hours when her husband was at work and sequestered herself on the third floor with a 24-hour IV nutrition line.

Every night, she says, her family “ate sandwiches in the basement. They were not allowed to cook anything. If they cut an onion, I could smell it three flights up.”

…Kemp gave serious thought to terminating the pregnancy. “My doctor told me, ‘Some people abort at this stage. If you can’t take any more of this, you can abort.’”

After spending time on message boards filled with fellow sufferers — some of whom had terminated, others who did not — she decided to continue with the pregnancy. –Lisa Belkin, Kate Middleton’s Pregnancy Sheds Light on Rare Condition


Given the Gawker mandate to be glib and ruthless, whether or not they know what they’re talking about, I won’t pretend to be shocked by a dashed-off remark in Monday’s post on Kate Middleton’s pregnancy:

The Palace also reported that Kate was admitted to the hospital today with “hyperemesis gravidarum,” which is what they call regular old morning sickness when you are a princess.

Nor, for more or less the same reasons, was it surprising to watch the ladies of “The View” dismiss the duchess’s condition with a flurry of bubbly interruptions, ignoring a nurse’s earnest response to Barbara Walters’ half-hearted question about whether HG is serious:

“It can be,” the nurse said sheepishly. (In an open letter to the duchess, HG sufferer Betsy Shaw gives Kate “permission to slap” Walters.)

I have no idea whether Kate has HG or not. But the fact remains that it can be a brutal, crippling condition that goes largely ignored and untreated, partly due to its overlap with ordinary pregnancy sickness and partly to our attitude toward suffering and the suffering of pregnant women in particular.

…Some days are good. [My wife] can have a conversation, manage a strained laugh, maybe even take a walk. She’s still nauseated at every moment, but maybe she makes it through the day without vomiting. Which does happen.

Other days, and these tend to be strung together, she can barely sit up, and just the effort of having a conversation makes her shudder and rush to the bathroom, retching all the way.

Even the quality of the vomiting is different. Violent and persistent, it can often resemble drowning, particularly when it becomes so painful and scary that it’s interrupted by moans and cries.

Last month, I forgot to eat breakfast before taking some vitamins and found myself over the toilet. After a few terrible minutes of nausea the pills came up and I felt better almost immediately. A few minutes of nausea.

One of the cruelest parts of HG is that vomiting provides zero relief; you feel just as bad as the moment before. –Evan Derkacz, True Story: My Wife Has HG


Less than a week after Thanksgiving, I ate the last meal I have eaten up to this point. I was seven weeks pregnant. Three days later, I was hospitalized for 11 days.

During my hospital stay I was given IV fluids and several of the medications most frequently prescribed for HG — Zofran and Reglan — through my IV.

One day after several nurses attempted eight times to put in a new IV, the doctors decided to give me a PICC line, essentially a permanent IV in my upper arm, since it was obvious I would need long-term IV hydration and medication.

Although I was still unable to eat more than a few bites of food at a time, and only occasionally would they stay down, I was discharged.

Now at home I receive home health care where a nurse visits several times a week to check on me and change the dressing on my PICC line. I am also on a pump that gives me a continuous flow of Zofran through a subcutaneous needle inserted in my stomach.

Because I have a strong needle phobia, my husband has to stab me with the needle every other day, as well as administer the different bags of medicine and fluids because I am too weak to change them myself.

I have two daughters, ages 4 and 19 months. HG has taken me from them, although they do not understand why. Mommy lies in bed all day and cannot play with them.

I can barely muster up energy to read a book before bed with each of them, although I try to do at least that to stay close to them. –Alexa Davidson Suskin, What it really feels like to have HG (I especially recommend this article because she goes into graphic detail, far more than I did, about what exactly is suffered)


Just because you’re a duchess doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to be miserable. Pregnancy is a blessing, yes, but no one can feel blessed when they can’t keep even a sip of water down.

Be patient with yourself. The gratitude will return and that baby will know you love him or her, despite all your misery.

It’s perfectly normal to feel like tearing the eyeballs out of every well-meaning, yet clueless, person who advises you to eat crackers, drink ginger ale, try Sea-Bands, crystalized ginger, lemonade, gentle exercise, etc.

It’s also normal to be haunted by thoughts about termination: Hearing your doctor tell you she can make you feel more comfortable but cannot actually take the HG away, the only thing that can make it go away is to not be pregnant, can be a heavy, heavy burden.

Take the drugs the doctor offers and try your best not to feel guilty about it. We all feel guilty about it. And know that many of us who have survived HG report back that, despite our worst fears, our babies are perfectly normal and fine. Just fine. — Betsy Shaw, Dear Kate: I feel your HG pain


Most affected women have numerous episodes of vomiting throughout the day with few if any symptom-free periods, especially during the first three to four months. This leads to significant and rapid weight loss, dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and nutritional deficiencies often requiring hospitalization.

If prolonged or more severe and not treated promptly, these can lead to kidney or liver damage. Numerous complications, some of which can be life-threatening are possible without adequate medical intervention. –Her, Diagnosis


Also, this website has information and support forums for HG sufferers.

This episode of Dr. Phil describes HG.  I missed this when it aired, however, because I no longer watched the show in 2007.


On church buildings

I’ve heard of many churches these days that are building far more than just a sanctuary with classrooms and a few other necessities and amenities.

A church here in town will soon have a building with a weight room/gym and coffee house.  Many churches look more like auditoriums or conference halls than churches.

I can see why Willow Creek-type churches are so big physically, since they have so many people in the congregation.  I can also see the need for conference halls.  But should the conference hall and the church be the same thing?

Are we getting so into building bigger churches with all the latest toys, or going to conferences on everything, that we’ve forgotten what we’re supposed to be doing?

We are to become like Christ.  It’s not all about having Power Point or the best Christian conferences or big productions or the latest method of making converts.

[written around 2004/2005]


Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church


Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday?

Some have charged in recent years that Easter and Christmas have been “stolen” from pagans and Christianized, or that they’re not really Christian holidays, or that we’re ignorant to speak of “the reason for the season” being Christ.

It has become yet another excuse for scoffers to poke fun at Christians and say their own religion (or lack of) is superior.  Or even for Christians themselves to scorn Christmas or Easter, refusing to celebrate them.

In truth, Christ is the reason for the season for Christians.  Whatever the reasons others celebrate them, wherever many of the customs come from (whether Christian or pagan), for centuries, Christians have celebrated the birth and death/resurrection of Christ on Christmas and Easter.

The entire year in the Orthodox Church is full of various feast and fast days based on the life and death of Christ; Christmas and Easter (Pascha) form a large part on which the chronology of the rest of the year is based.

The source of the idea of Christmas being a pagan holiday, and that everyone who celebrates it is offending God by worshipping Mithras, appears to go back to the Catholic vs. Protestant wars and conflicts several centuries ago.  This led to Puritans forbidding it and, for a time, England outlawing Christmas.

Such conflicts can hardly be expected to produce reliable facts about the Other.  And in recent times, these urban legends have turned up again with a new vengeance, in the Internet religious “wars” of Christians vs. atheists/Pagans, or some Christian sects vs. a supposedly pagan-infused Catholic Church (aka The Whore of Babylon).

But they are no more reliable than those stories of Wiccans worshipping Satan or Satanic Ritual Abuse.

And no, this idea of people scoffing at Christians and invalidating all our holidays as “fake,” “pagan” and “stolen” is not just some Christian persecution complex.  Someone who is NOT a Christian–who is, in fact, a Wiccan–addresses these very accusations with the truth about Christian holidays here, here and here.

Cassie Noble Beyer is not a Christian apologist, or defensive about Christianity, by any means.  She simply wants to debunk myths and encourage people of alternative religions to be kind and truthful rather than militant and offensive.  She writes,

Three times a year – Easter, Halloween, and Christmas – I find myself assaulted by claims of how Christian practices and beliefs were entirely cobbled together from pagan sources. There are filters I put on certain searches in order to limit my annoyance, but I still run into them.

First, they are generally written with a tone of superiority and contempt. They aren’t neutrally providing information but instead putting forth arguments meant to ridicule and demean. OK, Christianity isn’t your thing. Why try ruining it for those who believe?

Second, is the fact that most of the arguments you find out there are simply wrong. Not only are they factually wrong, but some don’t even make much sense if you think about them.

Third – and this is my favorite – at least half the time when I attempt to object, I am accused of being overly defensive about my faith by people who don’t know my faith, which becomes comical as Christianity isn’t my thing either.

People just presume, because heaven forbid someone would actually be interested in facts. I just don’t like people being mean-spirited about dumb things.

She also writes,

Bad history is bad.  It misdirects, misinforms, and makes its champions (and sometimes the community in which they are members) look ignorant and hateful.

Theologically, Wicca and Christianity are most certainly at odds, as previously discussed about Christian Wicca.  But that doesn’t mean Wiccans and Christians have to be at odds.  Nothing in either religion says members have to be awful to one another.

But a lot of Wiccans are former Christians, and Christianity is the majority religion in the US, so when a Wiccan is angry at a religion or religions in general, Christianity often bears the brunt of it.

Why?  Partially because of bad historyThe Christian Church gets blamed for all sorts of things that happened hundreds of years ago, didn’t happen at all, or happened in a context quite different from modern Western society.

Bad history matters.

(This, by the way, is also why I do not consider Wiccans to be Satan-worshippers, or Muslims to be warmongers.  I prefer to let members of a religion define themselves and their rites, because–after all these myths I’ve encountered about my own religion–I know what it feels like.)

She also writes,

Studying both history and religion, I cross paths with a fair number of people angry and jaded about both specific religions and religion in general, and they support their position with history.

Rather than simply being non-religious, these individuals are actively against it, calling it manipulative, fraudulent, and/or violent. Sometimes specific examples get conflated into tremendous generalized accusations.  Other times, the information is just wrong.

Christianity, being the majority religion in the U.S., bears the brunt of ill-informed objections.

It’s one thing to simply disbelieve in another religion’s teachings.  We all disbelieve in something, because our own beliefs are not compatible with every other belief.

But there’s a considerable number of erroneous facts commonly put forth to paint Christianity (and other religions) as not merely wrong but fraudulent, an actively constructed lie made for the benefit of a few.

So you see, Christians are not just imagining this.  Heck, I have actually encountered a man who not only got up on his soapbox haranguing against Christians every time I saw him, but who said he was on a campaign to stamp out Christianity.  Then, after all his moralizing, was put in jail for snapping dirty pictures of underage girls.

And no, we don’t have to just bend over and accept the accusations as true lest we be “overly defensive” and “resistant to facts.”  The supposed “facts” we’re countering are not actually “facts.”  How is it “too defensive” to counter myth with fact?

I have run into complaints about using Christian sources.  Christian sources generally seem to be the ones interested in debunking myths about their holidays.  But anyway, here you go, a Pagan source which says the same things as the Christian ones.  AND she has credentials as a professor of Humanities.

She also writes, referring to the use of December 25 and various customs which may have pagan roots themselves,

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, whenever that birth might have been. Having to choose a day, they decided to have it coincide with a known holiday rather than just throwing a dart at a calendar.

December 25 is not, however, the birth of either Horus or Mithras, which are common claims. Neither of them have a celebrated birthday.

…The Saturnalia was a period of time starting on December 17 and extending several days, although length varies throughout the Roman period. People connect it with Christmas for a couple big reasons.

The first is the giving of presents. Really, only one culture can decide giving presents is a nice thing to do, and then the practice is tainted for anyone else?

The second is the idea of role-reversals, where masters served a meal to slaves, commoners could speak out against betters, and so on. This became quite a medieval practice as well. …

Furthermore, how does that in any way invalidate the story of Christmas? Yes, it was probably borrowed from a pagan culture, but it doesn’t speak at all to the meaning of Christmas or any of the religious practices associated with it. People decided they liked continuing to have an excuse to misbehave.

…Besides all this, purpose is important. If you are celebrating the birth of Christ, then you’re celebrating the birth of Christ. Your celebration doesn’t magically redirect to some pagan god.

So, ultimately, it doesn’t matter what day you do it. Christians just standardized it by placing it on December 25.

Also, Collier’s Encyclopedia backs up the Catholic Encyclopedia, both of which have articles on Christmas.  Both give the dominant theory (which is not depicted as confirmed fact) that Christmas was given the December 25 date in the 4th century to go along with a pagan festival.

Collier’s gives potential pagan roots for many customsBut both also say that Christmas was already being celebrated in various places at various times long before this happened.

That is, and has always been, my basic point, ever since I first encountered the “haters” around 1996, and in the 20 years following. 

I knew for some time–including from a Christian newsletter from Focus on the Family–that Christmas and Easter included customs with possibly pagan sources.  This did not bother me.

But I also knew that Santa, while fiction (sorry to break it to you), was based on a real person, St. Nicholas, and that St. Nick originally had his own feast day separate from Christmas (still celebrated in many places).

He was not invented to baptize a pagan tradition, either, but already existed as a real person, no matter where all the Santa customs came from.  His feast day was set so long ago (sixth century) that both Western and Eastern churches celebrate it.

As immigrants from the Germanic and Nordic lands settled in the United States the image of St. Nicholas, or “Sinterklaas,” as he is known among the Dutch, slowly changed to that of “Santa Claus” with little tie to the spirituality of Christianity. —OrthodoxWiki

Note that German and Nordic lands weren’t Christianized until much later than his feast day was set.  See here and here.  So while the Santa customs of much later times may have been from pagan sources, the name “Santa Claus” is a corruption of “Sinterklaas,” which means “St. Nicholas.”  And St. Nicholas is not pagan at all.

This page gives an interesting history of Russian celebrations of St. Nicholas, and how they were banned and transformed into general “Grandfather Frost” customs during communism.

I also knew that December 25 was likely an erroneous date for Christ’s actual birth.

1996 is the first time I heard–from my ex-boyfriend Peter, once a Christian, who turned atheist then Pagan–that the roots of Christmas and Easter themselves were pagan.  That we stole the holidays.  That Santa was based on some pagan elf rather than St. Nicholas.  That paganism is the reason we celebrate.

No, the roots of Christmas and Easter are the birth and death of Christ!  If not for the birth and death of Christ, we would not celebrate the birth and death of Christ!  We would celebrate something else, or nothing at all.

I looked in my Collier’s Encyclopedia, which contradicted what he told me, saying that the celebration of Christmas already existed prior to setting the date with some pagan festival.  The date, really, is inconsequential.  (I forget what I said about Easter, and don’t want to go dig up the e-mails to find out.)

Then over the following years–on Internet forums, in real life, on Facebook, even from Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory (who was snipping about his mother’s Christian beliefs)–I heard/read that Christmas is really a pagan holiday and we Christians are idiots to think we’re celebrating the birth of Christ.  Or that Easter is really celebrating some spring fertility goddess.

And whether it was about Christmas/Easter or about Christianity in general, I’d hear the snips at every SCA event, and on SCA newsgroups.

One entire SCA event was ruined by a guy (mentioned above, the sex offender) who peppered my husband and me with all sorts of criticisms of how our religion is so fake and horrible.  He then turned around and tried to make our shire website into an anti-Christian diatribe.

The ridicule even where everyone was supposedly “chivalrous” was one of the main reasons why I stepped away from the SCA for many years.

Recently, someone even wrote a letter to the local newspaper saying that Christmas is really a pagan holiday–and that Christmas trees are forbidden in the Bible.  (The Bible says nothing about Christmas trees, which did not exist back then.)

I also encountered it around 1998 or 1999 when I was sent the Heirophant’s Questionnaire (more on this below).  Question #49 reads,

Why are so many Christian holidays on the same day as Pagan holidays?  Couldn’t the early Church fathers have converted pagans only by appealing to their reason and/or faith if Christianity really is the true religion?

So right there is solid evidence for you that people are using this to ridicule Christians, rather than simply presenting a history lesson.

But back to my sources:

Another of my sources is a biblical historian who gives his sources, on an award-winning website of biblical archaeology.  This website and its corresponding magazine are highly respected, not just by Christians but by a wide range of institutions or magazines/newspapers including Time, Harvard, the New York Times and the Smithsonian.  So hardly some hack on the Internet.

Also, one of my sources is William J. Tighe, an associate professor of history at Muhlenberg College, so hardly some hack on the Internet.  As he writes,

Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival.

Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival.

So apparently the only ones making this into an “issue” for which to harass and mock Christians, are people with axes to grind against Christianity.  And there are plenty of them, and they are loud and obnoxious.

However, the basis for their harassment and mocking–which they consider to be the “facts” we Christians are “too defensive” about–is actually not true at all.  And Tighe has the credentials to say so.

The Santa Claus traditions have many pagan elements, but the original Santa was Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children.  He was a real person who lived in Asia Minor in the early days of the Church:

Saint Nicholas by Catherine Fournier

St. Nicholas: Discovering the truth about Santa Claus

Christmas was not “invented” to “Christianize” a pagan festival.  Only the date is potentially “pagan,” and even that is under some dispute. 

Christmas was apparently celebrated as far back as 200AD in Egypt (in SPRING), and at different times of the year, depending on how the local church calculated the birthdate of Christ.

The date was under dispute for some time, as church authorities tried to figure out what exact date Jesus was born.  It was celebrated in various parts of the world before the date of certain pagan feasts (December 25) was finally set for Christmas by Rome in the fourth century.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has an exhaustive history of the celebrations, along with origins of some Christmas traditions, in Christmas.

But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

Rather, the pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Sun” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians.

Thus the “pagan origins of Christmas” is a myth without historical substance. –William J. Tighe, Calculating Christmas


The crucial thing is not, “Did the early Christians get the date of Christmas right?” It is, rather, “What mattered to them as they determined the date of Christmas?”

And when you look at that, you again immediately realize that what dominates their minds is not Diana, Isis, sun worship, or anything else in the pagan religious world. What interests them is, from our modern multicultural perspective, stunningly insular.

Their debates are consumed, not by longing for goddess worship, or pagan mythology, or a desire to import Isis and Diana into the Faith, but the exact details of the New Testament record of Jesus’ death, alloyed with a Jewish—-not pagan—-theory about when Jewish—-not pagan—-prophets die.

They don’t care a bit how pagan priests ordered their worship in the Temple of Diana at Ephesus.

They care intensely about how Levitical priests ordered their worship in the Temple of Solomon at Jerusalem. These Christians are completely riveted on Scripture and details of Jewish and Christian history and tradition.

They don’t give a hoot what sun worshipers, Osiris devotees, or Isis fans might think. –Mark Shea, Everybody knows that Christmas is really just a warmed-over Celebration of the Feast of the Sol Invictus: Guess what? Everybody’s wrong!


The present Feast, commemorating the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, was established by the Church. Its origin goes back to the time of the Apostles.

In the Apostolic Constitutions (Section 3, 13) it says, “Brethren, observe the feastdays; and first of all the Birth of Christ, which you are to celebrate on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month.”

…In the second century St Clement of Alexandria also indicates that the day of the Nativity of Christ is December 25. In the third century St Hippolytus of Rome mentions the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, and appoints the Gospel readings for this day from the opening chapters of St Matthew.

…In 302, during the persecution of Christians by Maximian, 20,000 Christians of Nicomedia (December 28) were burned in church on the very Feast of the Nativity of Christ….

St John Chrysostom, in a sermon which he gave in the year 385, points out that the Feast of the Nativity of Christ is ancient, and indeed very ancient. –OCA website, The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Though the pagan festivities may have served as a catalyst, the selection of this feast for this day was neither sudden nor arbitrary.

In fact, December 25th had already enjoyed preeminence among Christians as the birthday of Christ long before the papal decree. According to Pope Benedict XVI, the first person to clearly assign Christmas to its current feast day was St. Hippolytus of Rome.

…Thus, the common criticism of the celebration of Christmas on December 25 made by some Christian sects — i.e., that the date of Christmas is another trapping of paganism in which the Catholic Church has gone astray — is not based on fact.

The choice of December 25th as the liturgical feast for Christ’s birth is far more likely to have been an independent, patristic tradition of early Christianity.

The fact that it shares the same day as the birth of the sun god seems more based on the Roman calculation of the winter solstice.

The pagans observed the birth of their deity when the “great light” was at its lowest point of the year, calculated as December 25. –Hugh O’Donnell, The 25th of December Pagan Feast or Patristic Tradition?

More on this:

“How December 25 Became Christmas” by Andrew McGowan

Christmas was never a pagan holiday by Marian T. Horvat, PhD

Christmas, Saturnalia, or Sol Invictus? by Jon Sorensen

Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies by Pastor Joseph Abrahamson presents passages from credible sources from long before December 25 was fixed, showing that date was already considered his birthday.  However, his links are now dated, so instead use this for the passage by Clement of Alexandria and here for Hippolytus.

Even Pope Benedict weighed in on this:

“The claim used to be made that December 25 developed in opposition to the Mithras myth, or as a Christian response to the cult of the unconquered sun promoted by Roman emperors in the third century in their efforts to establish a new imperial religion.

However, these old theories can no longer be sustained. The decisive factor was the connection of creation and Cross, of creation and Christ’s conception.” -Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal; Pope Benedict XVI; The Spirit of the Liturgy (pp. 105-107)

There are examples of pagan customs that were appropriated by Christians to articulate Christian truths for the purpose of evangelization. I don’t dispute this. The use of Greek philosophy in the early Church is a great example.

The reason I can accept this with confidence is because there are writings by the Church Fathers (both pro and con) that acknowledge that this was their intention.

You don’t get that with the dating of Christmas. No Church Father ever uses evangelizing pagans as a justification for accepting Dec 25th over Jan 6. It is always related to the Annunciation or the Crucifixion. –Jon Sorensen, Christmas, Saturnalia, or Sol Invictus?

Here are websites debunking the linking of Jesus with Mithras:

Mithra vs. Jesus by Tekton Apologetics

Was Jesus Christ just a Copycat Savior Myth?

Mithras by Mark McFall

The Myth of the Pagan Christmas; or, Why Stephen Fry was Wrong on Mythmas by Chris Jensen Romer

Here is a paper, refuting the supposed “pagan” roots of Christian beliefs and Christmas, which is well-cited with various sources.  (Alternate source if this no longer works: here, here and here.)

It’s why silly charges that “Christmas trees are pagan” and the like just won’t stick. We probably stole them from some pagans. But they’ve been decidedly Baptized. They’re specific enough to upset the ACLU. That’s good enough for me. I would be concerned if they had lost their offense.

Neither did we borrow the date for Christmas from the pagans (that’s a 19th century German myth). The use of December 25th for Christmas predates the feast for Sol Invictus, instituted by Marcus Aurelius, by some decades. So it’s not about the winter solstice (sorry again, pagans).

Neither is the Virgin Mary a thinly disguised version of some pagan Mother Goddess. She’s nothing like her. And if the art forms of such mother goddesses influenced later iconography, well so be it. We stole their art forms. Again, sorry about that.

…Beware instead the grinches that lurk everywhere looking for pagan practices, seeking to purify a holiday which puritan ancestors long ago sought to abolish. –Fr. Stephen Freeman, Why Pagans Aren’t Really Pagan

Now on to Easter:

It is claimed—and it is not widely known that there is no solid consensus on this—that the word “Easter” is derived from the name of a pagan fertility goddess, “Estre.”

Yet the Church, since ancient times, has referred to the celebration of the Resurrection as “Pascha,” the Greek/Hebrew for “Passover,” and not “Easter,” thereby emphasizing that the Resurrection is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Passover….

This celebration is not based on pagan rituals; it is based on that which is revealed to us in Scripture and celebrated by the Church since apostolic times in the Church’s Holy Tradition.

Perhaps the term “Easter” is based on pagan terminology—hence it is appropriate for us to use the proper term, “Pascha”—but the eternal victory of Our Savior that we celebrate and in which we participate is hardly based on paganism. —Is Easter a pagan feast?

Here is the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Easter.

It is an ancient Orthodox Christian tradition to have red eggs at Pascha. Many people are surprised to find out that this tradition dates to the Apostolic era. The custom of presenting each other with a red egg at Pascha reflects an interchange between Mary Magdalene and Tiberius Caesar….

Mary [was afflicted with] seven demons: those of pride, envy, wrath, avarice, sloth, gluttony, and lust. Mary struggled against the fierce attacks of these demons, and never succumbed to them.

She was unable, by her own power, to totally cast them away from herself, and it was thus necessary for Jesus Himself to cast these demons out of her. Mary Magdalene is referred to in the New Testament as the “woman out of Whom Jesus cast the seven demons.”

Mary Magdalene was about six years younger than the Panagia, the Theotokos, and was well known to her. The Mother of God loved her like a sister, and it is thus not surprising that Mary of Magdala became one of her Son’s followers.

Apparently she was a woman of some means, and her family of some significance for she helped support the work of Jesus and His disciples, and later had access to Caesar in Rome.

…Mary Magdalene is painted in iconography holding the red egg once presented to Tiberius Caesar, which she used to explain the mystery of Christ rising from a sealed tomb.

…It had become customary in Orthodox Russia to not only dye eggs red, but also to decorate them in the “pysankyy” tradition. Wealthy people and the Tsar himself had elegant jeweled eggs produced to give as gifts. The Fabergé eggs are exactly this.

The “easter bunny” and his “eggs” are a secular version of this sacred tradition.

The western tradition of dying and decorating “easter eggs” developed after the Tsars sent Fabergé eggs to the monarchs in Britain, and such decorated eggs became fashionable among all classes of people in England. —The Tradition of the Red Pascha Egg

Here William J. Tighe presents the origins of the celebration of Easter.  You will see that Jewish, not pagan, practices figured into the dating of Easter.

This article shows that the Resurrection has been a centerpoint of the Church since the earliest days.

No one who has been through Orthodox Lent and Pascha, would think Easter is based on anything from paganism.  The whole focus of practice, fasting and celebration during that time (and any other time), is on the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ:

You reflect on and repent for your sins.  You are mystically present with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, during the Trial, and during the Crucifixion.

Services are full of the depths of sorrow for sin, Christ’s purpose on Earth, and hopeful teachings of what will happen to the souls of the dead.  Then you rejoice as Christ is resurrected.

There is nothing here about pagan goddesses or fuzzy bunnies.

Also, the dating of Easter/Pascha was originally based on the dating of the Jewish Passover.  You will note that while “Easter” is an English word, the rest of the world mostly uses names based off “Passover,” such as “Pascha” in Greek (see a list here):

The other difference in the determination of Easter between the Orthodox and other Christian Churches concerns the date of Passover.

Jews originally celebrated Passover on the first full moon following the vernal equinox. Christians, therefore, celebrated Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox.

After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the other tragic events, which gave rise to the dispersal of the Jews, Passover sometimes preceded the vernal equinox. This was occasioned by the dependence of the dispersed Jews upon local pagan calendars for the calculation of Passover.

As a consequence, most Christians eventually ceased to regulate the observance of Easter by the Jewish Passover. Their purpose, of course, was to preserve the original practice of celebrating Easter following the vernal equinox. –Fr. Lewis J. Patsavos, PhD, The Calendar of the Orthodox Church

(Christians celebrated on a Sunday because Christ rose on a Sunday.)  Also see here.

The Orthodox date for Easter is based on a decree of the Council of Nicaea, Asia Minor, held in 325 A.D.  According to this decree, Easter must be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon of the vernal equinox but always after the Hebrew Passover to maintain the Biblical sequence of events of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The Orthodox Christian churches have adhered strictly to this formula. –GOARCH News Release, April 26, 2016, Orthodox Christians to Observe Pascha (Easter) May 1st


The Eastern Orthodox Church also applies the formula so that Easter always falls after Passover, since the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ took place after he entered Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.

In the Western Church, Easter sometimes precedes Passover by weeks. –Borgna Brunner, A Tale of Two Easters


Those Christians who originally converted from Judaism celebrated Easter in accordance with the Jewish calendar, on the same day that the feast of the Passover, ‘Pascha’, was celebrated, that day being the 14th of the lunar month of Nisan, regardless of the day of the week upon which it fell.

The Churches of Asia Minor followed this practice whilst the other Churches both in the East and in the West, always celebrated Easter on the Sunday following this date.

…By the third century AD, all the Churches had agreed upon celebrating Easter on the Sunday following 14th of Nisan. This date was determined in accordance with the Jewish calculation of Passover, on the first full moon following the vernal equinox.

Following the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, however, the Jews of the Diaspora depended upon local pagan calendars for their calculations. The feast of Passover consequently sometimes preceded the vernal equinox and most Christians abandoned the practice of regulating the date of Easter through the date of Passover in order to avoid the inaccuracy occasioned by the dependence on these calendars.

…The issue was finally brought before the First Ecumenical Synod at Nicaea in AD 325, which decreed that Easter must not be calculated according to Passover, but that it must be celebrated after the vernal equinox, specifically, on the Sunday following the first full moon occurring after the date of the vernal equinox.

Subsequently, the regulation concerning Passover was interpreted as requiring that Easter be celebrated after Passover. The Eastern Church then reverted to the original method for the determination of the date of Passover and consequently of Easter. —H.E. Metropolitan Makarios Tillyrides of Zimbabwe, When do Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter?

The dating of Easter has been subject to much debate down through the centuries, including some who used the Jewish Passover to date it, and some who decried this practice.

The Orthodox Church uses a different calendar (Julian) to date Easter, and must date it after Passover.  This is why the Western and Eastern churches do not always celebrate it on the same dates.

But you see that the equinox dating of Easter is to preserve the equinox dating of Passover, NOT to adopt pagan practices, as some have accused.

It seems that even the symbol of the Cross is not safe from revisionism.  A while back, probably around 1998 or 1999, I was confronted with an outrageously ignorant question, asking:

Does it bother you that the cross, supposedly a Christian symbol, was actually stolen from the Egyptians? Why or why not?

(The Egyptian cross, the ankh, was a male-female symbol similar in concept to the yin-yang. When the Christians stole the ankh from the Egyptians, they removed the female symbol, or yoni, leaving only the masculine symbol–a subtle way of reinforcing the idea that women are lesser beings).

You see, somebody on a Christian Usenet newsgroup–probably–asked if anybody wanted to answer her questionnaire, saying that if they were answered to her satisfaction she would convert.  I volunteered, so she sent me a modified version of Heirophant’s Proselytizer Questionnaire.

(One question: “Why are you trying to convert me?”  Answer: “Because you asked.”  No, I was not an “Evangelical proselytizing zealot,” and never have been, but I’m always willing to answer questions from honest seekers.)

This questionnaire is obviously meant to be witty and a way to shoot down overzealous Evangelicals, supposedly well-researched etc.

But as you can see if you have any knowledge of Christian history and theology–and especially if you’ve been looking around the websites I reference here–that questionnaire is full of ludicrously funny questions, full of ignorance about Christianity.

I don’t know where the “research” was done, but it sure wasn’t in theology books or a Bible–probably, rather, various hate sites around the notoriously inaccurate Web.  (Here is one person’s answers to those questions, by a former atheist who turned Christian.)

I had no idea the questionnaire would be so huge (her version had about 150 questions).  And she did not mention that it wasn’t her own creation, but came off some website copyrighted 1997.

(I found it just now by accident.  When I first wrote this page, there was even a forum for people to answer the questions, at

Thinking she actually sat down and come up with all or most of the questions and was serious, I sighed and decided to plod through it, answering as best I could.

For question 121, after saying that whoever came up with that theory obviously knew nothing about history–the Cross came from the crucifixion, and the manner of the crucifixion from the Romans–I heard no more about such theories.

But now, in doing a little Web searching on the symbolism of the ankh, I’ve come across similar theories.  Apparently, now people are saying the Cross comes from the ankh.

This theory does not mention the anti-woman element, just that Coptic Christians thought it would be a good idea to incorporate the popular ankh into their symbolism, and the other patriarchates soon copied them.

So now there are people saying that, yet again, the Christians stole something from the pagans.

(Some people don’t care where the Cross symbol came from, while some hate anything Christian, and take any excuse to accuse the Church of stealing pagan holidays/symbols/deities and call Christians “ignorant” for calling these “stolen items” Christian.)

Now, as is clearly shown in the above links, we cannot trust the sources of these theories to tell us the true origins of Christmas and Easter.  So why should we trust them on this ankh theory?  Instead, here is an extensive article by the Catholic Encyclopedia on the origins of the Cross symbol.

Also, this article shows the true meaning of the Cross for the Church.

Yes, the Coptic Church seems to have based its cross on the ankh.  But that’s the Coptic Church, and there was nothing sexist about it.

There are many different Cross symbols, which seem to have developed on their own, and all go back to the Crucifixion–not to making a pagan symbol anti-woman.

Also see this article by W. Ward Gasque, which debunks the idea that Christianity basically stole from the Egyptians.

But just in case my research above is not enough to convince you, if you want to hear from an atheist–here ya go: Tim O’Neill’s History for Atheists website, an atheist writing for atheists, showing that the myths of Christmas/Easter being pagan are false.  See especially:
Pagan Christmas (which also links to many other sources)

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

Reflecting on A Year Ago….

In preparation for the third Hobbit movie, my family has been watching the previous two installments.  Tonight, we saw movie #2.  As Bilbo went up against the dragon, I remembered where I was last year as I watched this in the theater:

I was just beginning to revise and re-post the story of Richard and Tracy.  I saw my depression, Richard’s betrayal, my loss of a best/close friend (Richard) because of this, discovering that my spiritual mentor (Richard) was never actually my friend, loneliness, doubts about God, and Tracy’s bullying and abuse, as the Dragon.

I was Bilbo fighting it, wondering how I would ever get out of it.  I was Bilbo telling my story now, so others can know what happened and glean their own lessons from it, for fighting their own dragon.

Tonight, as I watched the dragon again, and little Bilbo finding his courage to fight goblins, Gollum and the dragon, I realized that those feelings were no longer in my head.

(I also noted that I could understand people’s expressions much better now.  As a child/teenager, I often said I preferred books so I could find out what people were thinking.  Now I can see it better.)

Sure my story is still about the dragon I had to face with courage and fortitude.  But it is now a story that is done, just as Bilbo could relate his story years later without the fear he once felt as the events took place.

The dragon has been slain.  The depression is gone, nothing now but a distant memory, not even a recent one anymore.

The loneliness still comes up now and again, but is diminished because I am building various friendships and acquaintances at various levels now.

Somebody in the writer’s group called me his friend, and he and his dad cry out welcomes when I come in.  The president said he likes my quiet and respectful demeanor, and there is no reason to change that because some people don’t understand it.

Richard’s betrayal only stings a little bit now.  It still leaves me with sadness at times, but more and more over the years since, I have realized the magnitude not only of his betrayal, but of his deceptions.  I see only too clearly the Pharisee behind the false piety.

I just plain don’t care anymore.

Just as I used to feel so hurt after severed relationships that I wanted to die, but eventually, I forgot all about that person, and moved on.  I might e-mail an ex occasionally or friend him on Facebook, but all the pain, hurt and even desire for his company, is gone.

Just as I was sad when my former boss left the company in a spectacularly bad fashion, and I missed him, but now I barely ever think of him.  Especially after I found out his wife divorced him for being abusive, and he went to jail for threatening and violent behavior.

I still have many doubts about God, and often about Orthodoxy as well, but I have stayed put in my church.

In it are people, services and events connecting me to this church, as they have begun to depend on my husband and me for many things: Bible readings, making candles, running the website, washing dishes at Greekfest, etc.

I feel that if I left, many people would be not only disappointed, but in the lurch.

I was once scared of Tracy.  This is why I never spoke up to her face about her abuses of others or her treatment of me.  This is why I did not stand up when she smacked her toddler upside the head, or started yanking/spanking/slapping/screaming at two little girls who had done absolutely nothing wrong.

I feared what she would do to me if I did speak up.  This is why I went into a tailspin of fear after she found my blog, threatened and began stalking me.

Now I no longer fear her.

Heck, now she’s become more of a symbol to me than a real person: a symbol of a pathetically self-deceived abuser who tries to force everyone to see her as what she wishes she were.  But instead of fear and loathing, now I feel something else:

Sometimes, it’s a laugh at how pitiful her antics were, at her pathetic attempts to be superior and keep others under her control, at how obvious she was.

Sometimes, it’s fascination at how someone can act the way she does, as I study the Cluster B disorders which obviously drive her behavior, no longer as an abuse victim but like a curious scientist.

But it’s a feeling which is oddly divorced from the fact that her abuses happened to me.  It’s not forgiveness exactly, but more like when you’ve watched a movie: You feel pain, anger, joy, etc., while watching the movie, as if you were the characters.

But when the movie is over, these emotions are now detached from you because it was only a movie, and the characters live only in one’s imagination.

In my case, the events and things I described really happened, and they happened to me, but when I revise old posts or remember something, I feel as if it were only a movie I watched once long ago.

Basically, the same way I feel when revising or writing memoirs about abuse or other things.

If these people ever repent of what they did, my Orthodox faith compels me to forgive.  So I have one little window perpetually open for that, never closing it because that could condemn me to Hell. 

I know they will read this, and just want to be clear on that in case–maybe twenty or thirty years from now–they reflect on their actions and feel remorse out of fear of Hell. 

But forgiveness does NOT necessarily mean restoring friendship.  I no longer have that pull toward Richard which would make me desire friendship in the least.

But the healing has finally come, without forgiveness.  The moving on.  The dismissal of all former feelings of fear and sadness, with no trace left over.  Like when every last bit of snow is finally gone mid-spring, even from the mall parking lot.

The dragon is gone and nothing is left but the gold.


The Love Rectangle–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–February 1995, Part 6

Sharon and I got into Absolutely Fabulous.  She said British shows were funnier than American shows because they just had the humor, and didn’t try to make a point or have a moral or deal with social issues.

Sometime during this period, Krafter and Stimpy came over to the apartment to watch my copy of the Doctor Who episode “Snakedance,” which included Nyssa.  Krafter explained to Stimpy that Nyssa was the hottest of the female assistants, and I said, “Yep.”

Stimpy looked at me and wondered why I, a female, said that about another female, and I said, “I’m just supporting what he said, because I’m [nicknamed] Nyssa.”  Of course I’d want to support my online-handle-namesake.

While I still wondered which one I wanted, Krafter or Stimpy, I talked with Stimpy online and he said Krafter was a Buddhist.  He was joking, but I didn’t know that at the time.

I feared to find out what religion either of them had, in case it was not Christian.  I didn’t want to have to give up on both of them, or find out that Sharon and I were going after the wrong guys.

Sharon eventually decided to see Krafter even though he wasn’t a Christian: He was searching, and interested in Christianity, even though he was still undecided about it.

I decided not to deal with the religious issue with Stimpy, not if we weren’t having a serious relationship.

I may have already decided along with Pearl that dating a non-Christian was okay, but getting serious with one wasn’t, because when you’re dating someone it may never get serious, but a serious relationship could lead to love and/or marriage.

Why set yourself up for pain by being serious with someone you’re going to have to break up with anyway?  Christians are forbidden from marrying non-Christians.  (Some do anyway, but I have no idea how they’re able to, unless they can get dispensations or they’re in congregations with looser restrictions.)

This is one reason why being in a “Christian” school with few Christian men to choose from, was so discouraging–and one reason why I had so few dates/boyfriends from high school through college.

Once I learned about the restriction midway through high school, I had to stop liking guys who weren’t Christians, which cut my potential “dating pool” way back, because most of the guys I knew were agnostic, atheist or some other religion.

And if the Christian guys I knew, did not want to date me, I had nobody left.

Now Sharon and I found ourselves in a strange and amusing situation: a love rectangle.  You usually hear about love triangles; well, this time, four people were involved.

It seemed we both kept liking the same guy at the same time–sometimes Krafter, sometimes Stimpy.  I thought Krafter was cute, but Sharon thought Stimpy was cute.  She didn’t think Krafter was cute, though I thought Stimpy was cute.  Yet as Stimpy later confessed to me, he and Krafter each ended up with the girl he wanted.

Once or twice, Sharon talked to Stimpy online, and he seemed to be coming on to her.  I didn’t know what to think about that, because I had the impression he liked me best.  We weren’t sure either of them had a preference.

One day, I sent Krafter, Stimpy and probably Speaker cybercards for Valentine’s Day.  There were three kinds of Valentine’s Day cards on TCB.

There were also other cards for birthdays (a big cake with candles) or other things, and you could even send someone a cyber flower or pizza.  (The pizza card spelled it “pizzia,” which became a sort of in-joke for me.)

When choosing a cybercard to send each guy, I didn’t go for the card with a big, beating heart that read, “I love you.”  I chose cards that a friend or flirt would send another friend.  When Sharon found out about this, however, she said,

“You should send Stimpy the ‘I love you’ card.”

Silly me, I thought she was serious, and prepared the card.  Then I chickened out and sent a different one.  She then confessed she wanted me to sabotage my chances with Stimpy by scaring him off.  It was hilarious.

Krafter and Stimpy both began to act like they wanted me.  Then Sharon finally said to me on Valentine’s Day, “You can have them both!  If they both want you, then I don’t want either one of them.”

That afternoon or early evening, I went online and found Krafter.  He asked if I wanted to be his Valentine.  (Maybe I was just the first girl to go online.)

I wrote, “But what about Stimpy?”  I now wanted Stimpy most, and didn’t want to disappoint him if he wanted me to be his Valentine.

Krafter finally sighed and wrote, “I’ll try for Sharon, then.”

I wrote I didn’t know about that, that she didn’t seem to want to date either of them.  But Krafter began singing her praises.  He said, “She’s got looks, brains, what more could a man want?”

As soon as possible, I ran to tell Sharon what Krafter said about her.  She went online that day or the next, and they went into chat mode.  The end result was, they decided to try dating, and see how it worked out.  Though Sharon still was not attracted to him, they had many things in common, such as philosophical ideas and books.

Krafter jokingly claimed to have baby llamas on a farm.  He talked about them in tele.  Sharon became the llama Mommy, and joked about them as well.

In those days, Farwest Trivia hadn’t yet stolen all the interest in teleconference.  Ever after, we remembered those days when tele was party central, sometimes with as many as sixteen people in it at once.

Sharon changed her online summary to, “I’ll twist your mind till you scream.”

Eventually Sharon fell for Krafter, and I said, referring to her and the fun times we were all having online, “And to think, you can thank my dad’s modem for it all!”

Back to Valentine’s Day.  I heard nothing from Stimpy about being his Valentine.

Sharon began gloating a little about getting Krafter, saying I couldn’t have him now.  I clammed up and eventually walked out of the room, went into the study, and closed the door.

Sharon came in and asked if I was mad.  I was, a little.  A part of me still wanted Krafter.  I tried not to be mad, and took the opportunity to move in on Stimpy.

In the last few minutes before midnight, I found Speaker online.  I probably cried out in a squeak, as I usually did, “Speaker!”  Speaker asked me to be his Valentine for the last few minutes of Valentine’s Day, and I said okay.  So even though I had no husband, fiancée or boyfriend, at least I had a Valentine on Valentine’s Day.

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995: