Month: February 2015

Meeting the elusive Speaker–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 5

Catherine started planning a movie night, and we planned to play Dungeons and Dragons on Saturday the 11th.

Cugan called me to chat several times before then.  He had a musical phone number and a soothing, gentle, pleasant-sounding phone voice.  He said he liked playing D&D at about noon, but Catherine told him it was hard to get me up before then.  He’d been to Ireland; I was jealous.

Catherine also called me on the phone a few times.  When I told her Cugan had been to Ireland, she said, as one of the reasons I should go out with him, “He’s a world traveler.”  Then, “Just listen to how soothing his name is.”  She cooed, “COO-gan!  COOO-gan!”

At first, neither Cugan nor I said much to each other about dating, despite how pleasant and chatty our phone conversations were.  It was an unspoken understanding, and I was too nervous to bring it up.  But then Cugan said with a smile in his voice,

“Is Catherine pushing you as much as she is me?”

****

One day at lunch, Persephone and Phil sat with my friends and me.  I don’t know why Phil sat with us, since Persephone had broken up with him for good and none of the rest of us liked him.  Maybe he just wanted to stalk us.

Persephone and I sat across from each other, and somehow got on the subject of men.  I went on and on about Cugan and Stimpy, and how fun it was to date two guys at once.  We both laughed about it.

Phil said nothing at all to anyone.

Then, all of a sudden, he got up in a huff and left.  He didn’t come back.

?????!!!!!

I was both amused and mystified.

Why should Phil care who I dated?

It was five months now since he left me, and he made it clear he did not want to come back–even dating Persephone instead and telling her he loved her and wanted to marry her.

I sometimes wonder if he planned to get back together with me.  If so, this discouraged him.  But by now, I had moved on, and–with so many new prospects–no longer wanted to shackle myself to my abuser again.

****

On Tuesday, March 7, Stimpy and I went on a triple date with Krafter and Sharon, and Ish and Pearl.

This was the first time Pearl met Ish.  I think we dressed up a bit.  We went to Country Kitchen at 6pm.

We had fun, though Pearl wasn’t sure about Ish, and the guys all kept going on and on about computers.  Pearl thought Ish was too old for her (at 30).  Now, if Turtle had been in her place, you know she would have drooled all over him!  Darn statutory laws….

Soon after this, Pearl met W– online and agreed to go on a date with him.  He was between eighteen and twenty, probably more like eighteen, and a good friend of Flezter, who said, “Don’t hurt W–.”

After the date, however, Pearl came back complaining of the psychotic time she had.  I forget if W– himself was part of this, or if it was just the circumstances, but I think he was.

I don’t remember much of the details, but I do remember that near the end of the evening they stopped at his house, where he soon argued with his family over something.

That night or the next, W– said to Sharon online, “Should I talk to Pearl?  I’m afraid she thinks I’m psycho!”  I think Sharon encouraged him to.  Despite all this, W– did seem like a nice guy.

****

On or before Wednesday, March 8, Speaker ignored me whenever he came online.  I got mad at him for this.

Then in the late afternoon, just before dinnertime, he called Sharon.  We never spoke to him outside of TCB before, so this was quite an event.  Sharon wanted to give me the phone, but I grumbled,

“If he even wants to talk to me.”

He did, so I took the phone.  Speaker was surprised and, I think, amused that I was mad at him, and explained what had been going on.  (I think he was just playing around.)

He said I had “a cute Southern accent,” which surprised me because I didn’t have a Southern accent, just a mix of S– and South Bend accents.

Of course, my mom sometimes sounded Southern with her lower Michigan accent, so maybe some of that rubbed off on me.  South Bend is right next to the border, so there is a lot of intermingling, yet there is a distinct difference between the accents.  Michigan’s accent is “rougher,” more “country,” with the old folks saying “dinner” for “lunch,” “davenport” for “couch,” and “crick” instead of “creek.”

Speaker had a cute accent, himself, with a strong “o” in his “no’s,” even stronger than in the local accents.  I believe he was from M–.

I said I wanted to meet him, but he kept saying no, and “Why do you want to meet me?  You don’t want to meet me.”  He said it all playfully, making me wonder how serious he was.

I finally talked him into meeting me, so we decided on Wednesday at 6:30 in the Campus Center lounge.  We’d have dinner at Burger King, and then watch an episode of Doctor Who in my apartment.

I figured these things fit Krafter’s specifications for safely meeting a BBS user: a public place first, and my roommies would be in the apartment the whole time.  He said he’d be wearing a blue coat, not zippered; jeans; and a black shirt.  His hair was brown.

****

I went to the Campus Center lounge at that time with my Nyssa cup from Gypsy’s party, and waited for quite some time, watching the TV.  It was just me and the guy working at the information desk.

Had Speaker stood me up?  I got up to go back to the apartment and look for him on TCB.  On my way out, I saw a guy fitting his description right outside the Campus Center.  His hair was about shoulder-length and curly, and though he had unusual features, he wasn’t bad-looking.  (Don’t ask me for details 20 years later, especially with my NVLD.  But I believe his face was kind of pinched.)

He asked if I was Nyssa: To my great delight he was Speaker.  He said he was late because I thought he was from a different place, and gave him the wrong directions, so he had to stop and get new ones.  Oopsie.

We went to Burger King in S–, where we spoke of Avenger.  (The Big Flame War was just an embryo at the time.)  We returned to my apartment and watched the episode of Doctor Who, possibly “Paradise Towers.”  My roommies were there.

I gave Speaker one of my college senior pictures, which had just arrived, and said, “Have a picture of your Nyssie.”  I didn’t like the pictures, since I forgot to remove my glasses, but my friends thought they were good.  They were certainly better than the ones from junior year.

We got along well in person, and often flirted online, but he kept saying, “You’re Stimpy’s Nyssie” and acting like he didn’t want a girlfriend.

I told him Stimpy and I agreed we could date anybody we wanted, but that changed nothing: Speaker said he wanted to be single all his life, despite his complaints about no one ever wanting to date him.  He also didn’t like having to compete with other guys.

In those days my roommies and I still didn’t know why the vacuum cleaner kept spitting stuff out, so there were hairballs and dust bunnies all over the place.  Silly us, it wasn’t broken, just needed a new bag.  Argh….

Since all my life I have gone around in my stocking feet inside, I’d sit down and find blonde and brown hairballs sticking to my socks.  Speaker laughed.

****

InterVarsity had a Lock-In from 7pm on Friday the 10th to noon on the 11th.  It was supposed to be a sleepover in the Ley Chapel basement, but there weren’t enough people, so we made it a party in the apartment.  Krafter and Stimpy came.

At the time I thought I could handle dating two, three, even four people at once.  I felt no need to make a decision yet.  Other people were able to date around.  There was nothing ethically wrong with it as long as the guys knew they weren’t my one and only.

After what I’d been through with Peter, Shawn and Phil, I didn’t want to commit to one person and find out that, yet again, it was the wrong one: abusive, manipulative, deceitful, whatever.

However, I soon discovered that with Cugan I thought of Stimpy, and with Stimpy I thought of Cugan.  Then there was the other guy I wrote to….I felt pulled every which way.

Though even my mom said it was okay to date around, and even though this is the time-honored way to date, it still felt weird, like I was supposed to pick one guy to date and potentially marry.  Still, as I said, I was wary about commitment.

Index 
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:

 

 

For the first time in five years, my once-friend Richard,

I listened to a song that always reminded me of when we first decided to become friends.  It was on rock radio all the time back then, Wings of a Butterfly by HIM.  This must have been around September 2005.  I loved it and downloaded it, so I listened to it all the time while reading your posts and e-mails and researching Orthodoxy.  So it attached to you.

Because our friendship was important to me, the song became a symbol of that, and special to me as well.  But I never told you about this.

For five years, I have avoided that song like the plague.  Took it out of my playlist, skipped past it on MP3 players and CDs.  Because it made me sob.

I think today was the first time I tried to listen to it again.

And it didn’t bother me.

Heck, I listened to it twice, because I missed it so much.

Now I read that the song is about killing something beautiful and pure in order to attain something you want. 

Which is exactly what you did, murdering our beautiful friendship for whatever reason.

Ville Valo in a Kerrang magazine says that it comes from a Greek mythology that they believed that if you ripped the wings out of a butterfly then they would live forever. Would you be able to destroy something Beautiful to live forever. The first verse tells of excitement “the blood on our hands is the wine” “heaven’s ablaze in our eyes” “we offer as sacrifice”. But the second verse shows the regrets they face but they still don’t have to worry about dying, they have become immortal. But they still want forgiveness. “This endless mercy mile” “hell’s freezing over in our eyes” “gods kneel before our crimes”

A whole slew of songs used to remind me of you for various reasons, but this was the last holdout, the last one I still could not listen to.

And now my life is full of new and old friends, various church activities, and clubs.  I no longer need you to stave off the loneliness.

That’s what happens when you nearly kill a child:

That’s what happens when you treat loyal, loving friends like crap:

That’s what happens when you refuse to apologize to and make peace with those friends:

They get over you.

Good-bye.

 

Anti-Muslim and anti-black language is disgusting: There is a better way

Recently, the local newspaper reported on racial and religious/ethnic tension in the community.

And the response in the comments online, was to deny it.  To dig in the heels and refuse to see what’s going on.

For example, a black man moved here a short time ago, and was disturbed to see pickaninny statuettes.  He even had to remove pickaninnies from the wallpaper when he moved into his home!  He has also experienced racism in other ways.  (See here, here and here.)

I came to this city 20 years ago, having grown up in a larger city with many black friends; I knew those statues were racist.  I was shocked to see them around town, brazenly displayed as if the owners didn’t care what message they were sending.

Now, finally, the newspaper laid it bare.  I was glad that somebody finally addressed this problem.  (I did not know the owners of the statues, so I couldn’t do it myself.)  To my relief, the owner of one statue simply did not know it was racist.

Which amazed me, because how can you be so clueless?  I’ve known for decades that such images are racist.  But at least it was not malicious.

While some people in the newspaper’s online comments were glad to see this addressed, several made comments like, These people offended by statues must have huge chips on their shoulders and need counseling. 

Even one of my old college friends said this when I posted a link on Facebook.

I was floored.

Not everyone here is like this, of course.  I know people around town who are not like that at all.  And there were plenty of comments from people who recognize racism rather than denying it exists.

But I was surprised at what so many people wrote.  Openly.  On the Net.  With their names attached.  And no shame, just derision for the article and the man described in it.

Then we had a couple of articles this week about a local group which brought Muslims and Christians together for dialogue, study and fellowship.  It was led by Sisters from our St. Agnes convent, who are very much involved in social justice, and wonderful people.  (Here and here.)

The response in the comments: to spout off against how evil Islam is and, to the one person who defended the need for dialogue, the “left liberals” who are “anti-Christian.”

Floored once again.

Good heavens.  Still?  In 2015? 

I could’ve sworn I took a time machine back to 1960!

The comments, both about racism and about Muslims, were highly offensive and disgusting.

(Though this does explain how we keep electing politicians who are getting more and more extreme and wacky, with their crazy conspiracy theories.  Even our long-time and revered Republican Congressman, Petri, has been treated lately like he’s too “liberal”!  Once upon a time, I was a Republican, but cannot be in good conscience anymore.)

Because of my old college friend’s comment on the statues, and her Tea Party rants lately against anything I post that’s even remotely political, I have been considering dropping her from my Facebook.  Which would be sad.

But this, and her anti-children comments as well lately, make me understand better how she and my BFF Mike ended up parting ways back in 2010.

(This was the same time that I had to drop my supposed “BFF,” Richard, only to find that Mike and other college friends are my TRUE “BFF’s.”)

But this problem is NOT isolated to our little community.  It is all over the country.

Meanwhile, I hear about Muslims in Jerusalem celebrating Christmas, Muslims and Christians protecting each other from violence, and Muslims forming a line around a synagogue in Norway.

I recall the sweet, quiet Muslim lady who used to drop off and pick up her son at the same church where my son went to 4K.

I recall TLC’s reality show on American Muslims, which demonstrated how “normal” they really are–and how prejudice affects them.  But it got dropped before the end of the first year, while junk like “Honey Boo-Boo” stays on.

I recall that many practices of Muslims are shared by more traditional Orthodox Christians, such as headcoverings, onion domes, and prostrations.

And I note that my own religious leader, the Ecumenical Patriarch, signed a Joint Declaration with the Pope last November, which included this paragraph:

The grave challenges facing the world in the present situation require the solidarity of all people of good will, and so we also recognize the importance of promoting a constructive dialogue with Islam based on mutual respect and friendship.

Inspired by common values and strengthened by genuine fraternal sentiments, Muslims and Christians are called to work together for the sake of justice, peace and respect for the dignity and rights of every person, especially in those regions where they once lived for centuries in peaceful coexistence and now tragically suffer together the horrors of war.

Moreover, as Christian leaders, we call on all religious leaders to pursue and to strengthen interreligious dialogue and to make every effort to build a culture of peace and solidarity between persons and between peoples.

We also remember all the people who experience the sufferings of war.

In particular, we pray for peace in Ukraine, a country of ancient Christian tradition, while we call upon all parties involved to pursue the path of dialogue and of respect for international law in order to bring an end to the conflict and allow all Ukrainians to live in harmony.

 

Over the years, it has disturbed me to find so many Orthodox believers disparaging this Patriarch because of his work toward environmental and ecumenical causes. 

I see a true leader striving to further the ends of the Gospel through peace, love, tolerance, understanding, and protecting the world God made for us. 

The Patriarch was one reason why I became Orthodox instead of remaining in the liberal Presbyterian Church.  I saw in him that you did not have to be a liberal Christian to live out the tenets of the faith (described in the above paragraph).  Liberalism has many good traits but often goes too far the other way; now I had an alternative.

I, a lifelong Evangelical, fled and became Presbyterian in the first place because of what I saw taking over the conservative churches: intolerance, treating the Republican Party like God’s Own Party, fighting against Harry Potter instead of poverty, treating environmentalism like a lie from the pit of Hell.  Not everyone was like this, of course, but I saw even good people infected by it to some extent.  I myself was once infected by it.

But the Patriarch knows all too well what it is like to be persecuted, truly persecuted, not just from ridicule, but from a government which suppresses your religion.  He, more than anyone, is qualified to speak of the necessity for tolerance, even for the religion of your oppressor.

And note that both he and the Pope agreed to this Declaration, both spiritual leaders of millions of Christians in the oldest Churches on the planet.  These churches are as “conservative” as you can get.

But so many–at least in America–speak against the Patriarch, sounding like the far-right political fanatics who try to further the interests of corporations and Big Oil, deny the truth of climate change, sabotage the progress made in protecting our world, and promote bigotry, war and hate.

They defame our Patriarch by saying he does not further the Gospel, that he is too “politically correct.”

On the contrary, the Patriarch is fighting for Christ, carrying out Christ’s commands, a true prophet for our times.

Those who deny this, will be left behind in the dust bin of history.

The same as those who fought to keep the slaves in chains.  And those who fought to keep blacks under a reign of terror in the South, and suppressed and oppressed in the North.  The ones who are to blame for many ills still suffered by generations of blacks, long after the Civil War and the end of Jim Crow.

I do not agree with the Patriarch on everything.  My church still opposes gay marriage, for example.  But to most things I read of and from him, I cheer inwardly.

Such as his book, Encountering the Mystery.

Which I highly recommend.  It is prophetic and beautiful, all about how we are to live out the words of Christ in today’s world, promoting peace, love and environmental harmony.

These words are hard and forceful because bigotry and hatred are evil and the sources of most evils in this world.

UPDATE 3/2/15:

It just frustrates me to NO END that the guy who wrote this letter spoke the TRUTH about what so many minorities are dealing with, yet so many refuse to see it.

I spoke up in favor of what he said, I say that I know people this has happened to, I express the problem with intolerance is very real, yet there’s a guy who’s just so frickin’ BULLHEADED he refuses to accept it.

Just dismisses me as a “left liberal.” Just says I should “get over it.” Well, I’m not the one who has suffered, so I’m not the one to “get over” anything.

It was suffered by a little girl, only about 6 years old or so.  Richard’s daughter (the one he choked), who is mixed-race, was told by classmates that their parents would not let them play with her because she’s black. This was in 2008.

It was suffered by minorities around the year 2000 when a local white supremacist group was putting posters up all over town and writing letters to the editor.  I ripped one of their posters off a telephone pole.

These groups pop up every now and then. As recently as 2010, a white supremacist group put flyers on cars in N. Fond du Lac.

I’m not the one suffering it, but others. And so I speak up because somebody in the majority has to.

It is suffered by blacks who–even in these modern times–see offensive pickaninny images around the city, including statues and wallpaper, yet get accused of needing therapy for saying this is racist.

I also see people responding to this letter calling the writer “smug” and “arrogant” because of one little thing he included which is inconsequential to the point he’s making. Meanwhile, they ignore–or deny–the actual points. It is an ad hominem argument used to dismiss the whole letter.

I hope the guy who wrote this letter sees the comments and knows that no, we’re NOT all intolerant in this town. That there IS hope. That change can happen. The trouble is there is such a vocal group of people who are intolerant and are blind to their own behavior. Hopefully a small group, but they are loud.

CHANGE CANNOT HAPPEN THROUGH DENIAL.

Everyone has the right to live wherever they wish without experiencing hate, prejudice, bigotry. It is not about special treatment by any means. It is simple, normal, basic human decency which everyone should be able to expect.

The guy arguing with me, and others, also recently rejected the idea that Muslims are being prejudiced against. Not because of it not happening, but because HE THINKS IT’S OKAY TO BE PREJUDICED AGAINST MUSLIMS.

AND IT MAKES ME SO ANGRY. Not on my own behalf, but that of others.

IT MAKES ME ANGRY TO SEE ANYBODY BEING BULLIED AND ABUSED. That includes groups of people: black, yellow, red, brown, white, gay, any religion, whatever.

We need to LISTEN to the stories of people who claim they’re being hurt by prejudice and bigotry. Don’t just dismiss it because you don’t see it yourself.

NOBODY IS CALLING YOU A BIGOT/RACIST/SEXIST/etc. WHEN THEY DISCUSS THEIR OWN EXPERIENCES WITH BIGOTRY. Unless you were in that story, of course. It is a raising of awareness of what happens, to open the eyes of everyone to what is going on, so we all can help stop it.

Many times we don’t notice our own racism until it is pointed out. Over the years people have pointed out things to me which I had no idea were racist; afterwards, I was shocked and ashamed.

This is a human failing common to everyone, so everyone needs to root it out, even when they don’t realize it’s there.

IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for such stories to be shared. Otherwise, it is just swept under the rug, and the victims of prejudice are silenced. Just the same as when victims of other forms of abuse and rape are silenced. It is necessary so we recognize problems in ourselves, and can recognize cases of prejudice that happen in front of us, so we can speak up. Otherwise, the problem simply continues unabated.

I do the exact same thing on my blog all the time. I write about what it is like to have a brain which does not “see” things the same as other people. I write my own experiences with bullying and abuse so others can learn from them and open their eyes.

It does NOT mean that the reader is himself/herself an abuser (except when my bullies/abusers are the ones reading it). In fact, I would be amazed if anybody ever took it that way. Yet somehow, pointing out cases of abuse and bullying has turned some people defensive.

We need to carry out the teachings of Christ, which were to love even the stranger, even the hated Samaritans. Christ’s teachings tell us to love even those who are different from us.

Yet the guy arguing with me, claims to be a “Christian” while violating what that means. And accusing people of not being Christian for saying we need to be loving towards others instead of hateful.

I’m bowing out of arguing with this bigoted creep.

 

On 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

These doctrines suffer from the serious error of thinking God is there to make you rich and/or to make all your dreams come true.

God never promised he would provide us with a spouse, a fancy house, a wonderful career, perfect health, or even children.  God never promised he would take away all our suffering, hard times, or poverty.

He did promise to keep us fed and clothed and to be with us as someone who can empathize.  Suffering, hard times and poverty are seen as leading us to salvation.

“Name it and claim it” sounds like demanding God do something for you, rather than “humbly bringing all your requests to him.”  Who are we to demand God give us anything?

Word-Faith Theology

Word-Faith Movement

Also see here, where I go into more detail on the subject.

Written around 2005

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
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 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

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:

Dialogues
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

 

Why I post my abuse experiences

[This is already an often-read page along my sidebar, but I’m posting this for old readers who have not yet seen it.]

I post My Journey Through Recovery from Abuse, or the process of my journey from a recent, traumatic bullying experience, through the anger and pain, hopefully to rise above it through writing therapy.

I post college memoirs of how I’ve handled abuse/bullying in the past and risen above it.

Some things I write may reveal that I’m not blameless, but if I were, I wouldn’t be human.  Sometimes I won’t recognize my own blame, while readers might.  I am limited by my own perspective.  But it’s important that the story be truthful, not whitewashing.  Whitewashing would hurt my credibility.  It also won’t help other victims of abuse who struggle with feeling they brought on the abuse.

I DO NOT NAME MY ABUSERS ON THE INTERNET.  That information is reserved for friends and family (and people in authority if needed). 

The names used here are false.  I do not give addresses or post pictures of my abusers.  So revenge is out of the question.

This isn’t about holding onto pain or a “pity party.”  I don’t sit around all day brooding over how I’ve been treated in the long-past.

This was about analyzing what happened, fighting to understand, so that I could recognize patterns, weaknesses, and what could have driven my abusers to act in such a manner (without blaming myself, as they wanted to do).

One purpose of writing this was to get out all those feelings of anger, sadness and depression, to pull myself out of that deep funk–

–so that I could function again, enjoy life, pursue my dreams and interests, and have energy to give to others.

The blog is a journal to hold all those negative feelings so that my “real life” can be content–and so I have the strength to deal with what else comes my way each day.

In fact, most of the time, whatever incident you read about in these blogs, I barely think about anymore in my “real life.”  But I put it here not just to vent it out and heal, but to help others, as I explain below.

My own purposes in writing this have been fulfilled.  I continue to share this journal with you, my readers, to help you reach that stage of healing and contentment as well.

You can see every stage of my confusion, anger and grief, as I keep it up for you, along with how the abusers were able to entrap and keep me in their webs.  Through this, you can recognize your own experiences, and know that others have been there–yet survived.

I post my abuse experiences to help others recognize how abusers operate–and get out of that relationship.  I also post to validate and comfort other abuse victims, show them they are not crazy, that this happens to others.

I also post because two of my abusers have been keeping close watch on this blog since May 2012, and I want to prove to them (and myself) that they cannot intimidate and threaten me into silence–as I hope that maybe something I write will finally get through to them.

This is a safe way for me to confront them with what they have done, so that I can one day forgive them.

Abusers fear exposure, which is why they tried to threaten me into silence.  Oddly enough, by keeping up this blog despite threats, I seem to be keeping the abusers at bay.  Maybe because they know if they do anything else, I will post it–and that I am not afraid to go to authority figures for help.

I also post because I’ve been through some wacky and unbelievable stuff in my life, but it’s all true, it all really happened to me.  So I post it because I’m a born writer who just HAS to tell a good, wacky or tragic story when I have one.  Otherwise my writing would all be just boring, meaningless drivel.

I also post to raise awareness and understanding of abuse and how it affects people with social learning disorders (Asperger’s, NVLD).

I am joining the worldwide conversation on abuse.  I want the full accounts of my experiences to stay up even as the years pass, to help others have a more complete picture of just how abusers and narcissists act and how their targets react.

[written 2014: ] I am stickying old posts to breathe new life into them, something bloggers often struggle with, especially old posts from before they got readers.

I am also revising a web-book (The Darkness Engulfs Me: Abuse by Two Narcissists–and Betrayal by a Best Friend and Spiritual Mentor) which I wrote from 2010-2012, and posting it here, to get more readers.  I’m also revising and posting my College Memoirs web-book, for the same reason.  These are, or include, stories of abuse and bullying.

(A 4-page summary and index of the first story is here.  The process of working through the despair to healing, is here.)

In both web-books, since I wrote them about and/or during emotional periods in my life, there are passages which reflect this emotion.

But rather than take out all my anger, grief, etc., I will often keep those passages the way they are–even if I have long since moved past those emotions.

I believe this will connect more with my readers, especially those who are still in the midst of such emotions in their own struggles.

These web-books are for you my readers, after all, who can glean comfort, validation and lessons from my own struggles.  You can identify my mistakes (even the ones I don’t recognize myself) and avoid them; you can realize you are not alone.  And, well, the college memoirs aren’t just about grief, but about fun times, too.  😀

I’m posting them quickly, though they are long and there are many, because I want to get them OUT of my system for good.  From the movie “The Help”:

God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do. But it can start by telling the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free.

And I got to thinking about all the people I know. And the things I seen and done. My boy Trelaw always said we gonna have a writer in the family one day. I guess it’s gonna be me.

Updated 11/2/16

 

 

The Avenger Starts a Flame War (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 2)–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 4

I previously wrote about “the Avenger” here.

I soon discovered the full extent of Avenger’s abusive personality: You could call her the teenage version of Tracy, another abusive and/or personality-disordered bully whom I met later on in life.

Avenger and her boyfriend Lima constantly carried out smear campaigns against innocent people with reckless abandon, yet still some people were so ridiculous as to try to tell me Avenger was a nice person.

Soon after Gypsy’s party, Sharon heard there had been some sort of flame war over Pamela in the forums, and checked it out.  I did also, soon after.

Lima, Avenger and possibly others flamed Pamela and told everyone how “horrible” she was.  Pamela, of course, got upset.  I think she even tried to defend herself, but they just flamed her more.  In the end she said her presence in the forums just brought on more trouble, so she wasn’t going to read or write anything in them anymore.

It’s such a shame when nice people are forced out by mean ones.  It’s such a shame when a bully chooses to justify his or her behavior rather than repenting of it.

I was so upset by this that I wrote a post chewing out Avenger and Lima, and anyone else flaming Pamela, for bullying her.  I unwisely accused them of immaturity–though, as you see in the link above, immaturity is a common trait of bullies–which would keep coming back to haunt me.

Avenger wrote a scathing reply, but she seemed to disagree and yet agree with me at the same time, as Speaker said when I met him on the 8th.

She seemed to defend her actions, and yet say that we should all respect Pamela and let the thread die.  She was sure one to talk about respecting Pamela!  She was as guilty as the rest of them of harassing her.

Lima complained that the thread was old and people should look at the dates of the messages.  Though, from what I’d seen in teleconference, what I said still needed to be said: Even if the thread had died, their harassment of Pamela hadn’t.

Avenger also insisted, “I am mature.”  My future husband Cugan told me once that this statement showed she was immature.  He said immature people don’t like being told they’re immature.

Meanwhile, Speaker avoided Avenger, and often typed “ignore Avenger” when he went online.  When he did this, nothing she did or said online showed up on his computer, as if she were never there.  She was harassing him now.  She knew his embarrassing real name, and teased him about it, among other things.

Once, I found Pigpen and Speaker online, and Pigpen said to Speaker, “Is Avenger being mean to you again?”  (Speaker told me once that he didn’t know why Pigpen and Cankersore liked to come see him every Saturday.)

Stimpy soon sent me an e-mail saying, “Please don’t say any more to them about this.  Do this for me!”  They were vicious people who loved arguing, and that was all I would get out of them.

So I stopped saying anything in that thread.

Probably around the time of the Big Flame War, which happened later that month, Avenger and some of her friends voted in one of the forums on whether or not Franz, whom some of us called Znarf, was cool.

(Franz was in college now, a freshman at MSOE, or Milwaukee School of Engineering, which was also Cugan’s alma mater.)

I voted that he was cool.  Avenger said my vote didn’t count because only the cool people could vote.

Apparently she meant that only her worshippers could vote.  She didn’t seem to want to have anyone else on the BBS considered “cool” except for her and her cronies, and if you disagreed, she ripped into you.

As far as I was considered, everyone in her clique was very uncool, while nice people like my roommates, Krafter, Stimpy, Ish, Speaker, and others were cool.

According to Love Our Children, such polls are yet another means of cyberbullying.

Check out the answer to the “Bullies prey on the weak” myth here: It says, among other things, that “bullies prey on people with a kind heart” and “bullies are irresponsible people who refuse to accept personal responsibility for their behaviour and the effect of their behaviour on other people.”

Also look at the answers to “Victims are unlikeable” and “People who get bullied are wimps”: Basically, these are myths, the victims are normally likeable, and their good points are seen by bullies as vulnerabilities.  Let’s not let bullies decide for us who the cool people are.

Even after discovering that Avenger found this chapter of my Memoirs

–I keep this story in here and haven’t tempered the wording.  This is why:

Because bullying in any form has always been, always will be.  The victims need to know that it’s not right, they’re not weirdos, and they don’t have to let the bullies decide who they are or what they can accomplish.  

Victims of bullying can read the articles I linked to, for ideas on how to combat bullying.  Bystanders can get past the myths and stand up for the bullied.

A year or two after this, Avenger tried to ridicule and harass another woman (who was older than she was, which, I believe, Pamela was too), the same as she did to Pamela.  She said this woman had done something bad to one of her friends.

I didn’t know the other woman’s side, so I don’t know what really happened.  But whatever the case, I thought Avenger should not be carrying this harassment out in the open on the public forums.  I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to see this in the forums.

The woman found Avenger’s comments amusing–things like, she was ugly and fat–and zinged her right back, which I admired her for.  The forum-op broke in and said if the argument continued, she would move it to the Pit forum (which was for arguing).

I think this Avenger is a narcissist, or more likely a sociopath, because of her constant bullying of so many people.  And the way she quickly took offense at NOTHING, flamed you, and then you became her enemy for life.

This was in US News and World Report for March 22, 1999, in the article “E-Mail Nation”:

Emboldened by E-mail’s seeming anonymity, kids send bomb threats to school and hate mail to teachers–and are often suspended from school if caught.  Moreover, they could be sued for libel, says attorney Christopher Wolf of Washington, D.C., if they defame someone’s character in an E-mail (p. 58).

So Avenger was treading dangerous territory here.  She could get in serious trouble if she ridiculed and harassed the wrong person.

I haven’t been on TCB for some time (it’s March 24, 1999), because a couple years later it had become a haven for people like her, and most of the nice people had left.  So for all I know, it’s already happened, and she’s been slapped with a libel suit or two.

After all, she’s not exactly anonymous on TCB: She’d be easy to track down and sue.

Okay, now it’s May 19, 1999, and I’ve been on TCB again.  No one seems to use it for anything other than games and the Internet, so even Avenger hasn’t been on for a while and Lima’s account has been deleted.

Avenger seemed like the ringleader of a clique which worshipped her.  The “clique” title fits because other people were kept out and ridiculed.

Ish said privately to me once, after I read a message from Lima, that Lima just did whatever Avenger did and didn’t seem to have a mind of his own.

Also, Avenger, Lima and a few of the others couldn’t even type a regular, non-flame message without cussing.  Since the BBS was set up to censor such words, their messages kept showing a bunch of asterisks, making them hard to understand.  If the words didn’t show up anyway, why bother writing them?

And the whiny group kept crying “censorship” because their swear words didn’t show up, even though it was a family BBS, and the sysop CD had every right to restrict such words on his own BBS.

As for Avenger, she had a serious persecution complex: She thought everyone over twenty (Lima’s age) was out to get her and all teenagers, and owed her something.  No matter what anyone said, no matter what the subject or how totally unrelated to kids, in her mind it must have been a cutdown on kids.

Not only that, but she and her clique showed absolutely no respect for authority, cutting down on the sysop just as viciously as anyone else–despite the fact that he could ban them all from the BBS if he wanted to.

She’ll get nowhere with that attitude, and if she treats people that way, that’s how she’s going to be treated: It’s the “what goes around, comes around” thing.  Just wait until she has teenagers just like her (though I do hope her and Lima’s future kids will rebel against them and become nice, sweet, wonderful people, like Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous).

I liked to play online with a teenager named Mustang, and we shared stories of our genies (mine was Zara, and I think his was Abu).  To my surprise, I found one day (probably after the Flame War) that he was getting to be good friends with the clique.  I really, really hoped he wouldn’t start acting like them, since he was such a nice, fun guy.

The Big Flame War began after Gypsy’s party and before the BBS party on March 18th, 1995.  I believe it went on for several weeks, so in the beginning I may have still been dating Stimpy (or just broken up with him), and in the end I was with Cugan.

This is how it began: In one of the forums, probably /events, CD and others discussed the BBS bowling party, which was to be on the 18th.  They wondered what time it should be, and suggested some late evening times.

Sharon posted that they should keep in mind that many users were under eighteen and might have curfews; the time should be early enough for them to join in the fun, too.  She was just being sensitive to the needs of the kids online.

That’s it.

Avenger posted, “ExCUSE me!” and how sick she was of adults looking down on kids like that.

????!!!!?????!!!!!?????!!!!!

It was a clear case of someone not reading a message thoroughly and reading in things that were never there.  Stimpy quoted her and replied simply, “Um–um–what?  Um–um–what?”

No matter how much Sharon tried to explain that she didn’t mean it that way, Avenger refused to listen to her.  Instead, Avenger insulted her in various ridiculous ways.  For example, she accused her of sleeping with her professors to get good grades.

Irate at Avenger for defaming my smart and virtuous friend, I wrote that she was totally wrong, and told her off.  I did for Sharon what I would want a friend to do for me.

Avenger and her clique began a vicious attack on the both of us, making personal remarks and cutting us down.  And this all because Sharon was trying to be sensitive to the needs of the younger users!

I didn’t know back then that this was called trolling, or baiting people to start fights online.  I didn’t know that it was best to ignore such mean, rude people, aka, “Don’t feed the trolls.”

Sharon apparently didn’t know this, either, because we both got caught up in a Big Flame War with Avenger and her clique, which included Nobody and Sub-Zero.

Avenger and her cronies threw around all sorts of personal remarks like you hear from children on the playground: making fun of our looks and clothes, calling us “dorky,” ridiculous crap like that.  They proved themselves to be just as immature and childish as Avenger insisted they were not.

I didn’t do that to them.  Heck, even as a child, I did not behave in such a ridiculous fashion.  There is no need to go into details; flame wars on the Internet are now a dime a dozen, and everyone knows now how they go.  But eventually all sorts of people began taking both sides.

When the contested bowling party finally happened, Pearl joined Sharon and me.  Though Pearl and I didn’t bowl, we all joined a group with Krafter, CD, and Ish.  Avenger and her clique were in the lane right next to ours, and CD joked, “Nobody say anything about maturity!”

Avenger ignored us all, of course.  This was Pearl’s first look at Avenger.  She later told Sharon and me that Avenger had this snobby or snotty way of holding her head and looking at people, which Pearl imitated for us.  She said, “It was like she was thinking, ‘I’m hot.'”

Though Pearl wasn’t in the Flame War (and was sick of hearing Sharon and me say “Avenger this” and “Avenger that”), one night she found Avenger online, and argued with her about how Avenger treated us.

One girl told me that Pigpen was two-faced, and would seem nice, then do something really mean to you.  Pigpen pretended to be this girl’s friend, then stabbed her in the back.  I forget the details, but it had something to do with the girl’s brother.

This put me on guard against Pigpen being two-faced to me.  Pigpen had seemed like my friend because I was friends with Speaker.  But now she turned two-faced to me, too, joining in with the Avenger clique, making me believe this girl told the truth.

I got all my forum replies in my BBS inbox, so I couldn’t stay away from them simply by avoiding the forums.

Keep in mind, Pearl’s computer was an 8088, and had no mouse or Windows OS, which was in its infancy.  We were running on DOS.  Also, the BBS’s in S— were different from the ones back home in Indiana, so I didn’t know how everything worked.

On BBS’s in 1995, you got your messages immediately on logging in.  It’s not like an e-mail program in Windows which lets you look at a list of headers before deciding what to read.  Some e-mail programs even let you delete without opening, though Thunderbird does not do this.

But there was no such option on this BBS.  The BBS sent me each message as I logged in, and I had to open it before deleting it.  So every time my bullies replied to one of my forum posts, it came directly to my attention and I had to see what they wrote.

I was increasingly bombarded again and again and again by these creeps, with no way to get away from them, unless I stopped going on TCB.

And why should I be forced away from my new online friends and all the fun of playing games with them, when I had done nothing wrong?  This was also my principal means of communicating with my new boyfriend Stimpy and with Krafter, whom I now knew personally, not just online.

So every time I logged in, I’d get all these attacks in my inbox, and tried to defend myself against them.

Not only did they make personal remarks (calling me ugly etc. etc.), but they twisted my words and told lies about me on the forums, which the more gullible kids began to believe, so they started defending the bullies!

Since they kept attacking my friends and me, I kept defending, since nobody ever told me this was not the way to deal with bullies.  When our friends stepped in to defend Sharon and me, they got hit with the bullying, too.

Yet more proof that Avenger is a narcissist and maybe other Cluster B personality disorder as well–probably even a sociopath–surrounded by sycophants and sociopaths who mob-bullied anybody she wanted.  And no, there was no justification for what they did, no matter what they dreamed up in their sick little minds.  This was a cold, calculated smear campaign.

This whole thing also did a number on my self-esteem, making me doubt myself and my looks, and wonder if I was as awful as they said.  I wasn’t, of course, but the residual effects lingered long afterwards.

I believe it went on for weeks.  I was so upset that I carried it through my days, thinking of it even as I sat in class.  I felt like the dork and retard these creeps called me.

I shouldn’t have let little Avenger and her pipsqueak friends get to me like that, but I did.  It was like middle school all over again.  (And yet she insisted she was mature….)

One big problem with bullying is the way sensitive, kind people are made to look like idiots and nerds by the insensitive, immature and unkind.

Instead of accepting it as a “part of life,” bullying of any kind should be stopped by bystanders and/or those in authority: teachers, parents, forum moderators.  

When a bully is supported by his friends, when authority figures aren’t interested in stepping in–even resorting to blaming you for the bullying, when the bully “gets away with it”–this makes it much harder for the bullied to reach “closure.”

At one point, I heard that harassment online was illegal, so I sent a message to CD asking him to step in.  He said the best thing to do would be to ignore Avenger, Lima and Nobody, and they would get bored and go away.

What he really should’ve done was ban the whole lot of them–

–not just for their constant bullying and harassment of me so I couldn’t even log in in peace–

–but for how they bullied so many others on the forum, gang-style, and occasionally chased people away. 

As I noted earlier, that BBS became overrun with flaming gangs and eventually died.  Not banning bullies is a good way to allow your BBS/forum to be overrun with bullies, while the victims get no justice.

CD and Krafter set up a secret, invitation-only forum, which would not show up in the list of forums.  This way, only the nice people could be in the forum and wouldn’t have to deal with the Avenger trolls.  (I didn’t know this usage of the word “troll” until 1998, so I didn’t actually call them that.)

It was called the /elite forum, and in the beginning included maybe a handful or a dozen people: me, Sharon, Pearl, Ish, Krafter, Stimpy, CD, a young girl named Grace and her boyfriend.  If one of us wanted a friend to join, we mentioned the friend in the forum.  If everyone agreed, this person was invited in.

This worked for a few days, but then Lima, Grace’s brother (talk about siblings who are total opposites), came over by the computer and saw the /elite forum when Grace was online one day.  He got mad, wanted his own forum, and told the others in the Avenger clique, who promptly cried, “Censorship!”

This was ridiculous: Forums often have private sections like this, whether for the admins/moderators, or for people to discuss how they’ve been abused without the abusers and trolls finding it, or for some other reason.

(The Forum has such a section.)

This was the abusers and bullies finding the sanctuary and refusing to let anyone have peace and quiet without their trolling, to let their targets have a safe place to get together without their bullies harassing them.

The /elite forum was scrapped, especially when CD or one of the others decided maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.  The Pit, or /thepit, however, was formed.  Here, anyone could argue all they wanted, but it had to be kept out of all the other forums.  We applauded this improvement.

I finally wrote a message intending to end the whole thing.  I set things straight about accusations made against me, which some of the kids believed merely on Avenger’s word, and said I would stop my part of the argument:

To ALL

I’d like to set a few things straight to everyone who’s been reading this forum, especially to those who seem to think Avenger is some sort of hero for standing up to those ‘b—- college students who think they’re better than us high-schoolers.’

I don’t care anymore if Avenger or Nobody hates me. Avenger’s friends say she’s ‘nice’ and ‘cool’; well, maybe she is in real life, but I’m not dealing with her in real life, I’m dealing with her on here, and this is the persona she’s chosen to have online.

She’s chosen to treat myself (and others) this way online.

I did not start the argument and neither did Sharon; it was, I admit, stupid of me to respond to what was said to me, and be an ‘easy target’; but I learn from my mistakes and will know better next time.

Now I am trying to end this once and for all so there can be peace, or at least a truce. Also, I don’t want everyone hating me without reason.

I never cut on the age or intelligence of anyone in here. I have not made personal remarks, which the argument has turned to. I have merely responded (though ill-advisedly) to remarks made to me, with ‘an equal and opposite reaction.’

Such as IQ’s, etc.–that was merely a sarcastic response to being called a ‘tard,’ as Nobody termed it. I said nothing about his or anybody else’s intelligence, only mine.

As for age–I have nothing against high-school students. I used to be one myself. What I’m against is the immaturity many high-schoolers have, and also–brace yourself for my unexpected admission–many college students.

I am against immaturity in general, especially when it is the cause of someone else’s relationship problems. Many high-schoolers are also–gasp–mature.

But it usually irritates someone older to see blatant immaturity and popularity games in a group of younger people. It irritates me.

Also Sharon was concerned about younger users having curfews and not being able to go to the bowling party.

I have a note which says, “and might not be able to join in the fun,” though I’m not sure where that was supposed to fit in the sentence.

We had curfews too, everyone under eighteen has curfews (usually), and she was concerned. Her message was the focal point of the argument, originally; it has gone too far off base and has no further purpose.

There has been a lot of assuming, reading between the lines, and twisting of words going on here. There have also been personal comments made to me that are actually ludicrous because they’re the opposite of what I really am or look like.

I’ve had many intellectual conversations here and elsewhere, I’m most definitely not ugly, and the thought of ME being a conformist just makes me burst out laughing! Go ahead, tell me more! I like a good laugh.

Plus, Avenger, I never called you–to yourself or to anyone else, not even to myself–a “dumb blonde.”

I do not believe in the concept of dumb blondes. I have at least four blonde friends (natural blonde) who are very intelligent, as well as brunette friends who, it is said (as a joke, not as a rip), ‘are blonde but their hair doesn’t know it.”  (I did not make up this phrase; an intelligent AND blonde friend of mine likes to say it.) And I was in an environmental group in high school.

This paragraph referred to things said by Avenger, such as “you may think I’m a dumb blonde but I’ve been accepted to UW-Stout and I’m in an environmentalist group.”

Anyone who has thought I meant differently about anything than I did, I’m sorry you took it wrong, but you must realize how it was truly intended. And please, before getting on the bandwagon of one side, look at the other side as well.

Plus–I do realize this is the /argue forum, for arguments. Argue away, but if someone doesn’t want to argue, let them be instead of harassing them. It’s much easier on everyone.

}] Nyssa[{

Four years later, this letter still makes me proud.  Ish, one of my supporters, saw my letter and approved.

I soon checked the responses, however: It was just Lima saying, “Blah blah blah,” nothing more intelligent from any of them, and Lima saying we must worship them (or something like that) before we could ever be in their good graces.

Like I even wanted to be in the good graces of a group of bullies.

What, did he get the silly idea that I was apologizing?  I did no such thing!  Obviously he didn’t actually read the post.  Do you see an apology to the bullies anywhere in that post?

I complained to Ish about these responses.  He said that group doesn’t want to read anything longer than a few paragraphs.

Considering how mean these people were in general, I suppose I shouldn’t have expected that they’d listen to me and lay off.  After all, that would violate the sociopath code.

But back then, I didn’t understand this about bullies, having the naïve notion that bullies could be talked into reasonable behavior and apologizing.

Ish and I were in tele when Lima, probably Avenger, and maybe others showed up.  I whispered to Ish that I would act nice to these people because, as the Bible says, that would “pour burning coals over their heads.”

I greeted Lima with the usual “hello Lima bean–olleh amil neab,” but he made some strange remark about “groupies.”  Then he started talking about bowing down and worshipping him!  I certainly didn’t do that, though I may have joked around a bit.

Then Lima and the others ganged up on me, despite my attempts to be nice, and treated me the same as they did Pamela.  Sharon, watching, said I should show them a thing or two by just leaving, so I did.  I then paged Ish about it, and he consoled me.

Sharon wrote a post to everyone saying that those who adopt online “personas” different from their own personalities, should realize that some people online are real, not “personas,” and do get hurt in real life by things they read online.

For the next several days, I refused to go into the forums.  I may even have stayed away from the BBS for a couple days.

CD soon forced Avenger to apologize to Sharon, which she did, sort of, with a public message in the forums.

I was upset, though, because she apologized only to Sharon when she should have also apologized to me.  I deserved an apology for her b**chiness and bullying of me, just as much as Sharon did.

I don’t remember how CD made her apologize to Sharon–maybe he finally threatened to ban her from the board–but it was a victory for our side.

(Either late that year or in the next year, Avenger wrote on the forums how much she liked Third Rock From the Sun, and sympathized with the aliens for being different and being misunderstood.  She actually said she didn’t make fun of people for how they look or dress, because that was stupid.

(LOL

(What a liar and a hypocrite!  She made all sorts of personal remarks about my looks and dress during the Big Flame War, and accused me of being a snob when I was merely quiet and shy!)

Around this time, CD or Krafter posted a warning to all the users on TCB to not use the same password on different BBS’s.

I didn’t go on Solaris, a rival BBS, very much, especially since it was apparently just some kid trying to go up against TCB instead of just having his own BBS and supporting all the other ones in the area.

But it was popular with the Avenger clique, who figured out people’s passwords (such as Pamela’s), began logging in as those users, and left nasty messages to other users and on the forums.

The innocent users looked bad and had to explain that no, they didn’t write the messages.  I was afraid to go on Solaris during the Flame War, for fear the same thing would happen to me.

This is yet another form of cyberbullying and trolling, which still happens online all the time.

This makes me wonder if Lima and Avenger (who got married eventually) and their sycophants have gone on to become hackers and trolls, spreading hate and trouble throughout the Net, hacking into people’s accounts, spreading viruses, etc.

Because you can see above that they behaved just like those sociopath trolls we still find all over the Net, doing the very same things to harass people–for fun.

In maybe 2006 or 2007, Avenger found these memoirs and posted in my guestbook.  She said little other than that I have “an interesting perspective” on what happened.

Mindblowing.

She must have been well into her 20s by then, and more than 10 years had passed. 

Yet she still thought SHE was right, and did not apologize for her actions.

My childhood bullies tended to apologize to me years later, yet she still had this twisted, false view of herself. 

Don’t most people GROW UP eventually?

Yet more evidence that this bully was still stuck at 16. 

Though when I was 16, I didn’t behave that way, and neither did most people I knew, so age is no excuse for her behavior.

After all, this is yet another way she behaved just like Tracy, another possible sociopath I had the misfortune to cross paths with in 2007. 

Sociopaths will laugh at you for calling them abusers, and refuse to admit wrongdoing or apologize for their bullying and abuse.

And that’s what Tracy and the Avenger both did.

 

Index 
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:

 

On Literalism in Biblical Interpretation

Here, Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church, is a college lecture by a scholar concentrating on the Early Church, Dr. Daniel F. Stramara, Jr.

He notes that Jews and early Christians did not take numbers as literal, such as Enoch living to be 365 or Lamech living to be 777, or the Hebrews wandering for 40 years in the desert.  And Creation was not done in 6 literal days, but in 6 “successive enormous periods of time.”  The Scriptures were not seen as “literally true historical documents as in the modern sense,” but historical testimonies of God and faith.

And get a load of this–from the most conservative church on the planet–according to The New Testament, An Orthodox Perspective:

Orthodox theology holds to a personal and dynamic, rather than mechanistic and verbal, concept of inspiration. God did not merely dictate words or propositions to passive authors, but rather he impacted personally their whole beings, allowing them actively to comprehend, interpret, and convey his will to others according to the limitations of their understanding and language.

It is important to note that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit embraces a far deeper and broader process than the composition of single books. Inspiration involves the entire community of faith, the life of a particular author, the composition of particular books, as well as their gradual gathering into a sacred collection.

While all Scripture is “God-breathed”, 2 Tim 3:16), it is not equally so, because of the variability of human receptivity. The inspirational character of the Book of Isaiah cannot be compared to that of the Book of Ecclesiastes, nor the inspirational character of the Gospel of John to that of the Epistle of Jude.

Those who emphasize the literal authority of Scripture, often conservative and fundamentalist Protestants, debate the concept of inerrancy. They advocate essentially a Bible without error and are thus compelled to provide artificial defensive justifications.

Many seem to bypass the historical complexities and to attribute to Scripture an absolute character that properly belongs only to God, thus seemingly lapsing into a kind of bibliolatry.

The Roman Catholic view of inspiration may be expressed by the term infallibility, following the etymological sense that Scripture ‘does not fail’ for the essential saving purposes for which it was given by God.

In the Orthodox tradition, perhaps the most appropriate expression is the sufficiency of Scripture, an expression used by St. Athanasios to affirm the fullness of saving truth provided by Scripture.

Read the whole passage, titled “Divine and Human Aspects,” for a complete picture of the Orthodox view of Scripture.  Basically, their rejection of inerrancy does not mean that we cannot trust anything the Bible says, such as about Christ’s death on the cross or God’s existence etc., as many proponents of the inerrancy doctrine have charged.  Rather,

The divine aspects are to be found in Scripture’s saving message about God, humanity, the gospel, the Church, grace and works, as well as the hope of the coming kingdom.

This saving message is not merely an announcement of abstract concepts but a present reality as God’s word which, when proclaimed and received by faith, becomes a living and transforming word through the power of the Spirit.

The human aspects are to be found in the specific human languages of the Bible, the different kinds of literary forms and skills of the biblical authors and editors, as well as in their cultural and conceptual limitations which are intrinsic to all human endeavors. –Theodore G. Stylianopoulos, The New Testament: An Orthodox Perspective

This Orthodox view was passed down by the Early Church Fathers, which you’ll discover if you also read this section: “4. The Church Fathers & Holy Scripture/The Authority of Scripture.”  For examples:

However, the exaltation of the authority and centrality or Scripture in the patristic tradition did not lead to its absolutization as a kind of holy book delivered directly from heaven.

It is true that, on the one hand, without the benefit of current critical awareness pertaining to the composition of the biblical writings, the Church fathers held a distinctly higher view of the divine authority and historical veracity of the Bible than is usual among modern scholars and theologians.

But, on the other hand, the Church fathers did not reach a kind of fundamentalist view of the Bible as found in Protestant orthodoxy. We may say that the fathers in their total witness were indeed fundamental but never fundamentalist about the Bible, acknowledging in significant ways its human as well as divine character.

 

….Numerous examples can be given of the patristic refusal to stay with the plain teaching of Scripture when such teaching compromised the overall understanding of God.

Biblical texts that are predestinarian in grammatical meaning (Rom 8:29; 9:11,16-17) cannot, according to the Church fathers, be taken at face value without leading to unacceptable deductions about God who is loving and just, and not arbitrary.

The Book of Revelation may teach a literal millennium (Rev. 20:4), and the Epistle to the Hebrews seems to prohibit the possibility of a second repentance after serious sin (Heb 10:26-27; 12:16-17).

Although some early interpreters advocated such ideas, for example, the author of the Shepherd of Hermas, St. Justin, and St. Irenaios, these doctrines never became part of the normative teaching of the Church.

In a remarkable instance of freedom from biblical literalism, St. Isaac the Syrian, arguably the greatest mystic in the tradition of Eastern Christianity, intentionally demythologizes the image of hellfire.

Although he by no means rejects the reality of hell, he reinterprets it as a separation from and inability to participate in God’s eternal love, a separation more painful according to him than any physical hell. For St. Isaac, hell did not exist prior to sin and its ultimate end is unknown.

 

….Certainly the patristic tradition, known for its spiritual exegesis, cannot be charged with slavish literalism to an absolute holy word. In the end, as H. Chadwick has observed, the Church fathers knew that Christianity is not a religion of a book but of a Person.

Written around 2005/2006/2007

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
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 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

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:

Dialogues
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

 

Seeing my other ex–in healed friendship–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 3

One of the people online, Gypsy, probably named after the Gypsy robot on Mystery Science Theater: 3000, invited people to a TCB user party for Saturday, March 4.

Krafter and Stimpy wanted Sharon and me to come to it with them.  This was a popular, invitation-only party, probably held every once in a while.

Gypsy and his wife Nympho didn’t know us, so they didn’t invite us.  Krafter and Stimpy petitioned them.  Gypsy and Nympho sent us amused e-mails saying we could come.

Late one night, I went to Country Kitchen with Krafter and Stimpy.  I sat next to Stimpy and laughed as he said, “For once, we’re bringing chicks to Gypsy’s party.”  He moved his hands like he was setting baby chicks on the table, and said, “Peep!  Peep!”

Sharon and I walked into the party not knowing what to expect.  We recognized almost no one, of course, except for the ones I saw on Krafter’s video of the BBS party.  Stubby was there at one point.  Nympho gave us plastic drinking cups for our pop, and wrote ZIGGY and NYSSA on them.  I saved that cup for years.

I found out which person was Flezter.  He sat watching someone else play on the computer.  He was cute–a redhead–but only seventeen, so jailbait.

After I gave him love advice online (he had a crush on a girl at work and wondered if he should send her flowers from a secret admirer), we had become fast friends.  When we found each other in tele, he wrote “Freak!” and I wrote “Psycho!”  Now, to introduce myself to him, I went up to him and said, “Psycho!”  He turned to me and said, “Freak!”

“Flezter” was hard for me to say–I have a dyslexic tongue at times–so I often said it “Fletzer,” and originally thought it was spelled that way.  I don’t know where he got the name.

We were led to a bedroom to put our coats away, and when I came out, lo and behold, who should be standing before me but Peter!

He said, “Sh–, I wasn’t expecting to see you here!  How are you doing?”

After chatting a bit, he said, “You’ve changed so much.  You look so different, much more confident.”

Ish was at the party.  Sharon and I were charged to get a good look at him and report to Pearl.  (According to Turtle, he was the sexiest and nicest guy on the board.  We told Pearl he was both nice and cute, not ugly or anything, so don’t worry.)

Gypsy and Nympho had their computer all set up for logging in.  All night there was a steady stream of people to and from it.  Sharon said, “That’s so sad.  They come here to meet people in person, and what do they do?  They turn around and go online at the party!”

Stimpy and I sat on the floor across from Peter and his date, a pretty girl with long, brown hair like mine.  I don’t remember if it was curly or not.  We talked and laughed and had a good time.

Peter and his girlfriend left early.  Somebody quipped, “They’re off to go have sex.”  I didn’t need that image.

Later, Sharon said to me, “You two have the perfect ex-relationship: You can both be in the same place with dates, and not even care.”

Which was ironic, given all the troubles we had with each other after the breakup.  But those troubles and enmities had been left behind, and we could finally be friends again.  Each could move on to other people without it hurting the other the least bit.

Though I was shy, I did smile and laugh a lot.

Nobody and his brother were there; they were two short, skinny teenagers, who looked no older than fifteen.  They didn’t act mean at all, but tossed around a balloon with Sharon.

Sharon later said how much she enjoyed herself, that she felt more at ease than she expected.  She did seem to be more talkative than I was.

Avenger and Lima were there, however.  I finally got to see what they looked like.  When I heard the young girl with the short, blonde, maybe reddish-blonde hair was her, I felt uneasy, remembering how mean she was to people online, and the way I muttered “Avenger” with distaste whenever she came online.

She said and did nothing to me.  Though I sat near her for part of the night, I don’t remember speaking to her.  I generally avoided her.

Later on, people began to leave, leaving our group, Ish, Stubby and maybe a few others.  I felt more relaxed now, and it was easier to talk.  I cuddled with Stimpy on the couch.  Gypsy and Nympho sat on chairs nearby.

Gypsy was a dark-haired man with a mustache; Nympho was a blonde, both of them probably in their 30s.  They lived in a small rented house, a duplex I believe, and another couple lived above them.  They joked that they could hear whenever that enthusiastic couple had sex.

****

While I was at the party, Catherine played Dungeons and Dragons.  The next day or on Monday, she told me about her first D&D game with Cugan as the Dungeon Master.

She said, “He looked up hopefully when I walked in the door, then looked so depressed when he saw you weren’t with me.”

She told me about the other players, and said, “Do not look at J.J.  He’s cute, but do not look at him.”  She wanted me to have eyes only for Cugan.  She didn’t want me to end up with Stimpy, either.

She rolled up her character that day, Iliana, a fighter/mage elf.  (All the characters in the campaign at that time were elves.)

On Sunday, March 5, Catherine and I planned to go to the SCA meeting, and I was to be brought back to the campus by Cugan.  That day, however, there was a bad snowstorm, so Catherine called me and said we weren’t going.

Apparently she didn’t call Cugan, however, because he, panicked, called her from the meeting to see if we were okay.  He feared we’d driven into a ditch somewhere.

Index 
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: