Personal Blog/Diary

Here I write about anything and everything.

Friendship, lust, doubt, Evangelicalism: response to Wondering Eagle

My friend Wondering Eagle just put up a blog post that covers a wide range of topics based on Evangelical culture, regarding friendship and loneliness and doubt and lust etc. etc.  I posted this in reply:

1) Years ago, songs like this one probably would have struck me as blasphemous, because of how Evangelicalism “trained” me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ijwj1xOLYY  Nowadays, after almost two decades of doubt and disillusion combined with stubborn refusal to give up on God, I can truly appreciate that Gary Numan is the Gothic Job.  (He’s an atheist, BTW.)  Every now and then, I get obsessed with this song; here we go again. 🙂  It helps a lot that Orthodoxy and Catholicism actually let you have doubts and the dark night of the soul.  In Evangelicalism, I felt like I wasn’t supposed to have doubts (“ye of little faith”) or question the moral values the elders passed down (“you just want to sin”).  And that made me harder on others than I should’ve been.

2) My church has usually been a fairly safe place, with both Republicans and Democrats.  I come back to church after getting vaccinated, and after church a newcomer is yelling at the church president and a couple others because everybody’s wearing “carnival masks.”  A few weeks ago, she wondered about a necklace I was wearing (I wear Gothy jewelry; this piece was based on Poe’s “Raven”) and said, “I thought, it couldn’t be Harry Potter!”  It’s put my spidey senses on alert: Is it a Trumper? Is she like the Evangelicals I used to go to church with?  Around that time, we’re told that TWO members of the board have submitted resignations, and I wonder what’s going on behind the scenes.

3) My narcissist ex-friend, at least according to the stories he told me and others, was once a promising up-and-coming preacher in Foursquare, packing churches.  Some TV celeb wanted to get him on TV.  Yet he told me that secretly, he didn’t believe any of it, and whenever he spoke in “tongues,” it was just a bunch of gibberish he made up.  Unlike the other preacher celebs, though, he finally got disgusted and walked away.

4) The messaging on lust doesn’t just destroy young men.  In college, I was in a friends-with-benefits “relationship” that never actually went “all the way.”  It was with an Evangelical; I was Fundie, influenced by Evangelicals.  For that reason, it was full of so much lust and guilt and blame that it almost destroyed me.  I had normal feelings and desires, which he did his best to stir up, but he made me feel like a slut who was driving him away from God.  And I thought demons were tempting me, and poured it out to my prayer partner.  I told the guy what was going on, hoping for his help–and he turned around and treated me like an evil temptress he had to avoid like the plague.

5) I was raised in the 80s, when nobody around me said opposite-sex friendships were somehow bad.  Both in the church and out, it was expected and normal that people, both single and married, would have whatever friends they like.  I didn’t encounter this part of purity culture until my friendship with that narc ex-friend in #3, during the naughts.  The wife was very controlling and believed it was her prerogative to tell him who to be friends with, whether male or female.  She decided I was a threat.

Apparently the purity culture affected Orthodoxy through converts, because I confided in some converts online and they treated me like *I* was the problem for wanting to have a close friendship with a man!  It shocked me.  For years I wrote about it on my website/blog, seeking out articles proving that I wasn’t some kind of deviant and that it isn’t right to tell your spouse who to be friends with.  And yes, I still maintain various friendships with men!  One is in my own church, which is mostly “cradle” Orthodox, and nobody has ever so much as given me a side-eye for being close friends with him.

In recent years I finally found out this attitude was coming from Evangelical purity culture.  Samantha Field, who is bisexual, would hear this and think, “Samantha, you can’t have any friends.”

I’ve upgraded my website

I usually change my main website theme every year or two, so after two years with Storytime, I was getting that itch again.  But it’s such a pretty theme with so much cool stuff in it–and it’s compatible with ClassicPress, unlike a lot of themes that are getting into blocks now.  Also, Storytime is specifically for authors.

So I checked out what it’s up to now, and discovered that the premium version has been upgraded with a new Story Post and some other features I’d like.  (The free version hasn’t changed much.)  The Story Post turns your short story posts into books, with (on a desktop) artwork and the title on the left and your text on the right.  So I didn’t need to change themes at all, just upgrade.

So I did that.  At first it had issues with ClassicPress, but the fix for that was in the support forums, so I got that out of the way.  And now my short stories and travelogues (which you can find on my Writing page) are turned into “books,” while I’ve upgraded the rest of the site colors/background/etc.  I also hacked into it some to personalize features with my own photos.  It looks really pretty.  Come check it out!

 

I got my COVID shot! It’s almost time to go back to Life

I got mine on April 10 at a hospital vaccine clinic, where they gave out J&J–yes, right before it got yanked.  This was the kind of thing I feared would happen right before my appointment, so I’m just glad I got mine in time.  Still, I’ve had zero problems with the vaccine so far, and hope that it will quickly be available again, so it can help vaccinate all the people in places and countries that can’t do two shots or a deep freeze.

I saw some Net rumors about the J&J affecting menstrual cycles–Nope, none of that, either.

The hubby’s fully vaccinated now.  My son is about to get his first shot.  (He’s under 18, Pfizer-only, so this was the earliest I could get him a shot.)  For this household at least, the COVID threat is finally going away.

When I got the shot, I had 24 hours of mild flu-like symptoms, then they all just went away.  It took about 11 hours before I even started to feel feverish; before then it was just a bad headache and a sore arm.  My fever spiked to 100.7 overnight but soon dropped back down to normal, with the slightest bit of nausea that disappeared about 24+ hours after the shot.  Then I had a sore shoulder for several days.  But imagine: If I ever got COVID, it would probably be much worse than that.

My “robust” immunity (72% against severe illness) is supposed to kick in within 15 days–which means just in time for Easter!  I plan to attend Palm Sunday services next week, and then all the Holy Week services I can manage.  How fitting for my re-entry into the World again!  A couple more weeks, and my immunity should be up around 85%, then 90-95% a month later.  I’m not sure yet when I’ll start sharing the Communion spoon again.  Immunity against hospitalization and death is at 100% on May 8.  It’s also doing great against variants.  And with only one shot, it seems like the best vaccine all-around.  So forget the naysayers about the J&J vaccine: They don’t have all their data.

One of those naysayers was one of my oldest friends–friends with my other friends, friends with my husband, plays D&D with him–taking potshots on Facebook.  First she took the usual snotty Tr**per tone, not concern or questioning like another of my friends, but more of a “Sure take a vaxx of only 66% effectiveness against an illness with only a slight chance of killing you” tone (not an exact quote BTW).

I come back on Facebook and find this, along with her arguing with TWO of my other (not mutual) friends.  So I delete the entire fight.  Come back later, ALL MY OTHER FRIENDS are liking and hearting and hugging the post, while she uses a laugh emoji instead.  *SIGH*

I can’t delete reaction emojis, so I blocked her from that post and all those thereafter–my way of putting people into Facebook Timeout without actually unfriending or blocking them.  (She’s been in Timeout before, BTW.)  I checked the Facebooks of a couple of mutual friends who are also liberal and also got their shots, and there was absolutely nothing snotty there from this person.  Sure they could’ve deleted snotty comments, but you can’t delete the reaction emojis, and there were no laughs on their posts.  So I get to be the lucky one.  Story of my life.

The Tr**p Era has turned a lot of people I once liked into Tr**per bullies.  And before Tr**p was the Walker Era, which also drove friends and family members apart in Wisconsin, but the Tr**p Era seems to have made it even worse.  Then the pandemic came along and it got to a breaking point.  I’ve unfriended people in the last year and probably got unfriended as well, since some people stopped responding to my posts.  I don’t dare go through my friends list, so I’m often pleasantly surprised to see who still shows up in comment sections and birthday notifications.

And the ones who are still there–I swear, it seems like just when I finally unfriend somebody for being what my mom would call a Pill, somebody else jumps in to take their place.  I have such a low tolerance for right-wing bullshit these days.  I shut down conversations and sometimes boot people when it starts up.  Losing friends and getting annoyed with people was manageable before when everything was online, but going back to Writing Club could be dicey.  At least I didn’t see any trouble with people from church.

I spend more time on Twitter and blogs these days, hanging out with my buddies like Sam (who is NOT a catfish: Meri Brown is lying) and Giacomo (of Orthodoxy in Dialogue) and Hairball and Kate and Wondering Eagle and Headless Unicorn Guy and others, and keeping an eye on my favorite timelines, like Christopher Titus and Angry Staffer and now John Kovalic (Dork Tower guy–He’s from Madison!).  Over there, you can find sane conservatives like Charlie Sykes and Bill Kristol and Joe Walsh.  They’re still conservatives and can potentially drive me crazy politically, but they see right through Tr**p and GOP lies.  They also provide articles I can post for my conservative friends on Facebook, my “mission field.”  😉

Meanwhile, I take a quick swing over to Chris’ Facebook page….Still a bunch of fake crap.  Complete lack of knowledge about how science or vaccines work.  Spreading bullshit that’s going to get lots of people killed or disabled.  Usual arrogance of the ignorant.  Nothing new here.  And the former narc blogger, now QAnon blogger, is getting more and more insane.  She seemed sane once upon a time; what the heck happened to her??!!

But hey, after a year of hermitting, I have not only gotten a much-needed break from the World–which had been tiring out this introvert before the pandemic–but my whole household has successfully evaded the Plague.  We have a chance to see another 50 years of life (and without COVID-related disabilities).  My husband and I are fully vaccinated, and my son is about to start his rounds tomorrow.  It did hit my mom and brother, but they survived.  My mom, however, said, “You don’t want COVID!”  It made believers out of my mom and brothers, so they’re all vaccinated now.  I believe my in-laws have also been vaccinated.  So no, not all Republicans are Covidiots.

Now, back to reading Les Misérables.  It’s getting late and I’ve barely started the day’s reading yet.  But this book is awesome.  I saw the movie with Liam Neesom 20 years ago; now I’m finally reading this massive chunk of a book.  Yet it’s still nowhere near as long as Clarissa.  (My copy of Clary is so huge that it finally fell apart under its own weight, so I have it on my Kindle now.)  Speaking of long things that not everybody gets, I just saw Tenet.  Amazing special effects, and hey, Kenneth Branagh!  Awesome movie if you don’t get too hung up on it all making sense the first time.  Turn the captions on, use the back button, take your time.  And read this when you’re done.