August 18, 2008

Monday Resolutions

MONDAY RESOLUTION THE FIRST: I am going to be a better person. More like Jesus and less like a Hun.

I feel like an atom bomb. Everything I TOUCH recently turns into a multiple-layered mess. I AM IN FIGHTS! MULTIPLE FIGHTS WITH MULTIPLE PEOPLE! And I am NEVER in fights! But now I am in actual conflict on more than one front, both professional and personal, and I think I am going to become agoraphobic. YES!

MONDAY RESOLUTION THE SECOND: Until I become more like Jesus and less like a Hun, become agoraphobic.

One of the reasons I am never in fights is because I am basically an invertebrate. SO spineless. I do not even have a tough, chitonous exoskeleton. I am a jelly-blob of will-less-ness with NO ability to stand up for myself. EVEN WHEN I AM IN THE RIGHT, I feel HIDEOUSLY guilty if I stand up for myself. Here is a SAMPLE POSSIBLE CONVERSATION I COULD ACTUALLY HAVE.

Me: Um, sir? Please do not be mad, but that is my car, can you please not steal it?
Me: I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to interrupt. Here, take the keys.

But recently some things happened one after another BOOMBOOMBOOM.
1) I did some thoughtless things and didn't notice and hurt people, and I said I was sorry, but I still did things that cannot be undone.
2) I wanted something and I asked for it directly which always makes me feel like I am a HUGE PROBLEM and I keep callin gpeople up who are NOT MAD AT ME and apologizing for asking.
3) While being steamrollered, I tried to stand up for myself, and people got mad, and now I feel awful.
4) In separate circumstances. I tried to stand up for a principle I believe in, and people got mad, and now I feel awful.

On all these fronts, I feel like how a HUN would feel if Huns ever took stock of their lifestyle and became sorry. Which they don’t. So not at all like a Hun. But also NOTHING like Jesus, who was spine-filled and threw out money changers when he was right and who was never wrong and who never hurt people. I am OFTEN wrong and I hurt people and I am passive aggressive and can;t ask for what I need and standing up for what is right only makes me apologetic and stressed out.

To add to the general HEART BURST level conflict distress, Scott and I broke up with our church. We’ve been there since Maisy was a baby, and we love it, but we have been feeling more and more and more disconnected. Not one of the four of us have a single close friend at church. I haven’t really had a close friend there since Amy-Go up and cruelly moved to Kansas and Julie viciously converted to Baptistism. We’ve hung on for a couple of years because we got a new pastor that I like and feel good about, but finally, as Scott pointed out, a church is NOT the pastor.

There are plenty of people we like just fine, but no one whose lives match up with ours in ways that let us bowl together, you know? There are almost no boys Sam’s age. There are almost no girls Maisy’s age. There are no moms who have kids that match my kids, or if they do they have work schedules that completely differ from mine.

SO we are church hunting! We tried the Presbyterians on Sunday. The first date went WELL, very very well, so well, it almost feels…predestined. HA! RIMSHOT! Little protestant humor there. The place was CRAWLING with kids, so that’s good. We plan to go back for a second date on Wednesday ---but oh WAIT, I can’t go! I just resolved to be agoraphobic.

MONDAY RESOLUTION THE THIRD: Scratch the agoraphobia resolution.

Leaving the house has not worked out for me very well, though…

Last time I left the house, still trembly in my knee regions from all the recent FUSSINGS, it was because I wanted to hear the HILARIOUS Jack Pendarvis read from his new book about a robot building lovelorn giant with a derby hat. Both the giant and the book are named Awesome. BY THE WAY…Time Out Chicago, says, "As for literary giants, AWESOME kicks Paul Bunyan's a--." And the New York Observer, calls it, "A shaggy dog story of a novel, unconstrained and wonderfully inventive."


I mention these things because I BOUGHT a signed hardback copy for YOU while I was there, Oh My Best Beloveds. It’s one of the prizes you can win when you sign up for my CURRENTLY PURELY HYPOTHETICAL but PROBABLY SOON TO REALLY EXIST mailing list that will tell you when I have a new book out and otherwise not bother you. You enter by clicking this link which allows you to send an EMAIL to “Mailing List at Joshilyn Jackson dot com.”

SO anyway, I am at the book signing drinking a nicely made Cosmo and feeling like I might be fit for human company after all, when my husband said, "Who is that guy staring at you like he wants you dead?"

There was a rather innocuous looking fellow sitting up against the wall by the booksellers. He had a pleasant moon face and was dressed in clean and tidy clothing like a non-mental patient, but OH LORD! He was giving me the hairiest hairy eyeball in all the history of the hairy eye.
I hurriedly turned away from his scorching gaze and said, “I have no idea.”

All through the reading, Scott and I kept stealing little peeks at him, and EVERY TIME he was STARING at me like he had a hatchet in his pocket and he couldn’t wait to introduce me to it. A thousand times. With vigor and force. Until I was chunks.

I was so unnerved by him that we left just after the reading concluded. I have apparently moved on to enraging strangers. SO! That was FUN! And par for my HUNlike and destructive course across the universe. TODAY I plan to make it drop off-season golf-ball sized chunks of hail in China to ruin the Olympics. That’s just how I roll.

MONDAY RESOLUTION THE FOURTH: Put up little poles with velvet rope in a windy Disney-World line-ride style formation so the people who wish to kill me with hatchets can wait their turn in relative comfort.

HEE! As you may have guessed from the above, YES I DO FEEL SORRY FOR MYSELF, thanks for asking. That's extra revolting isn't it? That my response to my own SPINELESS inability to 1) fix things I have broken through my own carelessness or 2) ask for what I want without HUGE guilt and apologies, or worse 3 and 4) to stand up for myself or what I believe without feeling like a Hun... my response is to have a little pity-wallow for myself? Yes. Revolting. But the pity-mud is also nice and cooling in the Georgia August heat.

Care to join me?

Posted by joshilyn at August 18, 2008 7:59 AM

You are hilarious. Good for you for standing up for what you want!

PS... the hatchet-wielding fiend. The first thing I thought was that maybe it was the guy you laughed at at Karen Abbott's book-tour event? The one who, let's see, how did you put it, looked like he wished his eyes were on stalks so that they could come out of his head and go down the front of her shirt? Maybe he's been stalking you all this time and wants to get you because you ruined his chances with her. (Not that he ever had a chance with her, but you know how crazy people think.) Maybe he'll show up in your next book! (I really do hope I'm wrong and he was just a guy you knew in high school, staring at you because he was trying to remember whether it was in yearbook or Algebra II that he sat behind you.)

Posted by: jenn at August 18, 2008 9:06 AM

HAHAHAHA at the velvet ropes. You're so accommodating in facilitating your own immolation. Lookit you, cutie! You're practically Jesus already.

Posted by: Lydia at August 18, 2008 9:06 AM

I know. It sucks to know you've hurt someone else and it also sucks to be less than effective in standing up for yourself. The guilt? I think we drink it in the water at least here in the South. I wish someone had an answer for all of it, cause I need that answer too.

Posted by: Deborah P at August 18, 2008 9:51 AM

Enjoy the pity mud for a while and then get up and take a shower. I have had some similar circumstances of late. I'm not quite done with the mud phase yet...only my mud is ANGRY mud, not pity mud.

Posted by: Melisa at August 18, 2008 9:58 AM

You are too funny. I get all bunched up in knots about standing up for myself, too. And then, yeah, I feel sorry for myself about it. I like Melisa's suggestion to wash off all the mud in a shower - maybe it will magically wash the slate clean and you can have a do-over!

And that "Awesome" book sounds exactly that. IhopeIhopeIhopeIhope I win that one!

Posted by: holly at August 18, 2008 10:20 AM

I know what you mean about standing up for yourself-- I have a hard time doing it too, and I am a LAWYER, for lord's sake! I can stand up for other people, just not myself.

Sorry about your church. I know it can be hard to find the right one. We used to love, love, love our church (Episcopalian) but everything changed there when the rector left.

Ooohhh, that book looks good. I'll have to put it on my ever growing list of books I want to read...

Hope things get better soon. : )

Posted by: Jill W. at August 18, 2008 10:32 AM

I am sure that even Southern manners do not require lying down and LETTING someone steamroll you. Do they?!

Anyway. Let's see. Yes, I am wallowing today because I am at WORK and I do not wish to be AT work. I am further wallowing because my husband and I embarked on a writing project with someone who is uncommunicative and who takes WEEKS to respond to e-mail. We're used to collaborating with each other, but not with a third person; and it's been interesting/irritating. I think it may all work out, but man... the way-ay-ting is the hardest part.

Ahhh... you're right, that mud IS nice and cool.

Posted by: Aimee at August 18, 2008 10:34 AM

Oh kay wait a minute. While it is all good and loving to feel sincere apologies for having accidently hurt some one totally unintentional because you, OHMIGOD, have a right to have an opinion too you need to stop. Stop right now. Why? Because the self righteous have no qualms about stomping all over your opinion, picking it up and shoving it back down your throat along with their opinion.

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah. You are nice and kind and pretty, and OHMIGOD not where Jimmy Choos and not snooty and not rude you listened, you felt bad and you cared about another person's feelings. For you my dear I wish people around you who will listen, weigh, and accept that you have an opinion too. A different opinion, but one that is your's all the same and to be valued.

Oh someone please pass the salts, I'm suffering vapors of righteous indignation and need to get over myself.

Posted by: Cele at August 18, 2008 11:52 AM

Oh gracious my grammar, spelling, and punctuation suffer horrendously when I'm indignate.

Posted by: Cele at August 18, 2008 11:54 AM

Wow, the church break-up is something I don't think I'd have ever done, but I hope you find something good. There are rarely single people my age at church (why, do you suppose? All out recovering from hot Saturday night dates?), so I do often feel marginal, but it's hard to imagine how one would shop for such a thing. And I like littler churches where people notice I'm there, so the big ones with actual singles groups are out.

But I am totally with Cele on the subject of not feeling like a Hun just for asking for what you want or standing up for a principle! If you thought about it and prayed about it and feel it was truly the right thing, then, just because it makes people uncomfortable does NOT make it wrong. Remember, the two goals of religion are to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable - the scribes and pharisees were pretty bummed by Jesus, and the money changers might even have been hurt!

I find myself saying "a church is not the pastor", but usually because the pastor is dull or annoying!

Good luck with the Presbyterians.

Posted by: Diane (TT) at August 18, 2008 2:45 PM

I totally know what you mean about being in fights. Hate it. I am currently in a fight with my father-in-law. He doesn't know it though. He hurt my feeling when he said something very rude. I'll get over it with him never ever knowing or I'll get over it after a confrontation and awkwardness and me feeling like *I* should apologize for being offened. So I chose to be in a secret fight and get over it when I get over it and fake not being mad until then. I hope your fights are as easily resolved.

Also, I'm Catholic so I'm not trying to be ignorant when I ask - Protestants can just switch denominations like that? Baptist to Presbyterian to Methodist? Interesting. I wonder what would be comparative in my church.

Posted by: Em at August 18, 2008 3:40 PM

Wow! Is it an epidemic out there? I just tryed to defend myself and now apparently every thing wrong in everyones life is all my fault. Totally sucks doesn't it? I would love some pity mud but I live in Florida and it's all pity sand here. Not the same thing at all. Good luck! It's been my experience that if you can wait it out eventually someone else will do something stupid and all the attention (or anger) will be on them. Mean while vodka seems to help.

Posted by: Cathi at August 18, 2008 3:42 PM

Ack! Why does everything have to happen at once?

I've felt like a Hun countless times and wanted to become an agoraphobic as to not ruin civilization as we know it. Take care and recover soon!

Maybe the strange guy at the booksigning was Todd. He can't believe you told everyone about your secret cupcake romance.

Posted by: Elizabeth at August 18, 2008 3:50 PM

Awesome sounds.... awesome. Don't feel bad about standing up for yourself. I'm a feel-bad-for-myself kinda person for not letting people bull over me. It kills my husband that I let my friends "abuse" me. But I am a sucker for a happy ending and just keep giving people second chances. Too much info? I dunno.

Anydangway, you are hilarious and I will not be joining the Kill Joshilyn Line if that makes you feel better.

Posted by: nik at August 18, 2008 3:51 PM

I broke up with my church too and have no idea where to even begin to shop. It was monumental that I'd shopped for that one, you know? I feel the absence, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I hope you find a good one.

Everybody is allowed to make mistakes every now and then, and better to stand up for yourself, too. I have a very hard time dealing with passive-aggressive people. It's so difficult to resolve anything with them when they won't actually say what the problem is, they just throw little barbs my way. I can't stand it.

Posted by: amy at August 18, 2008 5:07 PM

Oooh! Having seen fabulous shiny new book cover (which is somewhat akin to showing a crack addict a nice shiny new pipe, they just can't wait to take a hit and break it in), I am now focusing all my energies upon Pleading With Universe that since I signed up DAYS ago for the probably-nonexistent-futurama-get-spammed-by-Joss mailing list, I should definitely, certainly, absolutely win that book. Or at least pay down my Jefferson County library fines enough so that I can request books again.

Posted by: Elena at August 18, 2008 9:47 PM

Maybe you could put up a sign, by your nice velvet ropes, that said "Wait for this ride: 2 hrs" and then those people who are made at you would all give up in a huff and leave. OR, they'd wait in line for 2 hrs and forget why they were mad. (Just don't offer any fast passes.)

And I love how you can still laugh at yourself and make us all laugh in the midst of feeling like a hun.

Posted by: Melinda at August 18, 2008 10:36 PM

Joshilynn and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day .....

Posted by: jean at August 18, 2008 10:46 PM

Even though I'm guessing you and I have very different personalities when it comes to the standing up for ourselves thing (my hubby says my theme song is Tom Petty's - I Won't Back Down), still, I know that feeling of somehow, through no fault of your own (or at least not much of one) having pissed off the world and wanting to retreat to a nice hidden cave (decorated with comfy chairs and hot tea) until things get better. So, hugs.

In particular, the church changing thing. One of my dearest friends just had to do this, went through all sorts of growing changes, both her and her church, and it was so very painful and sad for her. There was nothing to do for it, it ws time, it was obvious, but it still hurt. Things worked out eventually, but it's a difficult process.

Posted by: Laume at August 18, 2008 11:31 PM

I am heartbroken about the church. I understand completely but I'm still heartbroken. I hope you find what you're needing...after almost five years here I've given up. So now we just go somewhere I think is good for the kids. I wish we could go back to Wednesday Night Suppers and Allies together! Those were better days...

Posted by: Amy-Go at August 19, 2008 12:11 AM

You should ocme out here immediately, and you and a friend of mine (whom I blogged about and called "Spring" for privacy's sake) are having the same experiences in some very real ways. She can fight like TIGERS for someone else, but she'd rather not cause a fuss when standing up for herself, and as a consequence we're barely keeping her from agreeing to something illegal simply to avoid confrontation.

So take off for the weekend, come out here for Sarah Katherine Lewis's signing of "Sex and Bacon", and we'll drown all your Hunliness and send you home rejuvenated and back to sparkling wonderfulness.

You know, creepy guy was probably staring at you because your hair was BEAUTIFUL and he wished his wife's hair looked so pretty!

Posted by: Fran at August 19, 2008 12:37 AM

I'm guessing that maybe you looked like creepy guy's ex-wife.
Feel better about yourself soon.

Posted by: Heather P. at August 19, 2008 1:45 AM

Creepy guy probably IS a weirdo who took offence that you dared use a naughty word in your books.

I do loves me a good wallow.

As far as the church thingie, maybe you could ask around with in-town friends (or parents of your kids' friends at school), and try out their churches?

Posted by: Brigitte at August 19, 2008 5:12 AM

I knew the weekend was tough for ya but it seems like you're getting stormed on from all fronts huh? Well you know that I would host a pity part for you free of charge filled with guilt free cookies and cake. OH! And wine!

I think you are probably one of the nicest most awesome caring people in the planet(Scott included) except for you know...If I were a guy I'd never want to be your daughters prom date.

I don't think being an agoraphobic is the answer but it certainly saves on money. Also you Jesus had big nails driven through his hands and feet. OW!

*great big hug*


Posted by: Lia at August 19, 2008 5:21 AM

Em (if you check back): there are a lot of things the different denominations of Protestants disagree on, but we all agree on MOST things, so, unless one feels very strongly about one of the disagreements, people choose based on the "flavor" of the individual denomination or even congregation, rather than the creed.

I'm Presbyterian Church (USA), which is kind of middle-of-the-road and has a representative structure similar to the US government (we started it), the Congregationalists are very much focused on the individual congregations, but have (mostly) affiliated into the United Church of Christ, which is a bit left-of-center. The Methodists and Episcopalians have Bishops (the rest of us are anti-hierarchical)and a WIDE range of liberal to conservative. These groups have infant baptism. And there is an ENORMOUS range of Baptists, because they take things very seriously and split when they can't agree - plus they have adult (teenager, mostly) baptism. American Baptists are pretty middle-of-the-road, but Southern Baptists are more conservative.

We have different views on predestination and grace, but I'm pretty sure none of us believe in literal transubstantiation. We have fairly similar services, of varying levels of formality. Then there are the more charismatic denominations, such as the Pentacostals, who place a great deal of emphasis on individual experience of the Holy Spirit.

So, most protestants would feel fairly comfortable in a service in their same general bunch, but might have political or theological or convenience reasons why they prefer one over another. I've attended UCC churches over Presbyterian ones because a) one was next door and b) the Presbyterian pastors participated in a political event that I could not, in good conscience, support.

This is probably WAY more than anyone wanted to know, and, in fact, probably no one will read it, but, oh, well. There's a reason I teach at every opportunity - I can't resist EXPLAINING things.

Posted by: Diane (TT) at August 19, 2008 10:35 AM

Oh are no hun. Far from it.
And is it possible to pretend that the pity-mud is some kind of beauty therapy that will make your skin all soft and lovely when necessary wallowing is done? That just may help.
Also, velvet ropes make me think of nightclubs no-one wants to let you into, so you need a big beefy guy at the top of the line with a clipboard to tell all weirdos and cross people that their name's not down so they don't get to whup you. That should help too.
And I heard of no golf-ball sized hail at the Olympics yesterday so I'm hoping your mood has picked up some, and I presume a trip to Starbucks means agorophobia has been scrapped.
Feel better, we all have days like that (just today I was peed on by an insane kitten who apparently thinks I am "territory" and not his can-opener-with-legs anymore....sigh) so you have my sympathy - things always get better though.

Posted by: Rompompom at August 19, 2008 11:10 AM

Huh. Spooky. Same stuff here. Sure you're not just saying all this to make me feel better? (It's the kind of thing you'd do.)

Phooey. Chalk it up to the full moon. It was a doozy.

Posted by: rams at August 19, 2008 8:34 PM

Eh, Jesus hurt people too, but they were too scared to mention it. 'cause He might zap them or something. Try not to feel too bad.

Come to the Episcopalians. We're NICE : ) and we're allowed to drink, which having grown up Baptist is a major bonus in my eyes...

Posted by: babelbabe at August 21, 2008 12:16 PM

We just moved from the South to the North and are currently visiting churches. We've visited two thus far; the experiences have left me pining for home.

We first visited a Presbyterian church. The following Sunday we'd been invited to attend the Baptist church. When I mentioned this to an acquaintance from the Presbyterian church (we have boys close in age and had spent a couple of play days together before this), the conversation went like this:

“What am I going to do with you?” she asked.
“Why? What did I do?” I responded.
“Associating with the Baptist? Really? I thought you were better than that,” she snorted.
“Careful, I am Baptist,” I warned.
“What? I thought you were Presbyterian?”
“No, my husband was raised Presbyterian. I was raised Baptist.”
“Wow, I thought you guys were Presbyterians.”
“Does it matter?” I asked. “We’re Christians … and we will pretty much go wherever God leads us.”

I haven't heard from her since.

We visited a Baptist church the following Sunday. Our four-year-old son came into the sanctuary with us rather than go straight to his classroom. When they called for the children to come up front, he followed the other kids. This was his first time, and he was the youngest in the group. Without delving to deep into the sermon, the pastor asked the kids, "What are some things you do with your hands?" One child said clap; another said build; and then another said "eat." Preacherman raised his eyebrows and somewhat sarcastically asked, "Do you eat with your hands?"

In defense of the other child, our son said, "You can eat a chicken leg with your hands" and proceeded to demonstrate. The congregation laughed.

Pompous Pastor responded, "Well, that may be how you eat chicken down south, but up here we use a knife and fork."

The firm grip of my husband's was the only thing keeping me in that pew!

I'm still in the pity muds!

Posted by: Louisianablues at August 27, 2008 6:03 PM