Not even a little funny

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Linda

Are you there LindaDear God,

It’s been awhile. I feel like I should start with an introduction, maybe an apology, or perhaps an explanation is in order.

You see, I haven’t called on you in… well, years. And the truth is, I don’t really believe in you.  I’m not sure if I do, to be honest. If you are there, it’s kind of pointless to lie about that, I suppose. You know.

I grew up with you, visiting often.  I said the words they taught us to say.  I guess I believed in you then, but it wasn’t this deep and big belief – it was just sort of expected of me and I usually did what was expected of me.  I still do, mostly.

Somewhere along the line, I realized I didn’t really believe.  Or maybe more accurately, I just didn’t feel it – didn’t feel your presence, didn’t feel an absence of this missing thing inside of me.  I didn’t need you, or maybe you didn’t need me.  If you exist.

Most people I know who believe feel your presence, and they feel you fill this need in them.  I’m happy they have you for that.  I always thought if I had that hole – felt I was missing a piece of a puzzle and you were just the right fit – that I would embrace you.  But I never had that, that missing thing.

Now? Well, there’s a hole.  I don’t know if it’s a God-shaped hole or not.  It may be a midlife crisis shaped hole.  Or maybe it’s a hole burned into me by the hormones of peri-menopause.  It could be the hole of being unfulfilled in the ways of this physical world – realizing I’m coming up on 50 and I have a big dream that isn’t getting any closer at all, one I always thought would be closer by now.  Or perhaps it’s because of that other stuff – the stuff I won’t talk about here, but you know what I mean, ’cause if you are receiving this message then I assume you are able to see into my head and my heart and my spleen and my soul and you know.  You know.

It’s kind of nice to think words aren’t necessary, but then again I am overflowing with words.  You made me, if you exist, so I guess I kind of blame you.  I open my mouth and words just tumble out.

I have a friend who said “If you’re struggling, reach out to him. He’s been known to help others.  Maybe he can help you.”

Last night, as I lay in bed drifting off, I did just that.  It wasn’t prayer in the way we learned when I was a kid.  It was more like a letter from camp.  And then it turned into a blog post.  And, well, here we are at 4:57 AM and I can’t sleep so I’m writing to you on my blog.

I think I’ve just admitted that I’ve used you for blog-fodder, God.  I don’t know if that’s a sin or not.  If it is, it’s one of vanity – I’m using you for a self-serving purpose.  But sometimes my words here touch others, connect me to them, so maybe not.  Maybe it’s a good thing.

See how confusing it all gets in my head, God?  I blame you.

I’m not sure what the point of this is.  I don’t feel that I’ve a right to ask for anything.  I feel grateful for so very much – there is so much good fortune in my life.  If you are real, perhaps I should thank you for that.  So, thanks.

What I want, if I were to ask for anything, is for peace.  You might think I’m a real saint to seek peace for the world, but I’ll confess, God – I’m being selfish. I want peace for myself.  Peace of mind.  Balance in my life. Acceptance of what is, or a clear path to change it to what I think it should be, could be.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep muddling through.  There are moments of great joy – sometimes even days and weeks of it.  I appreciate the hell out of those.  Maybe that’s poor wording, but you get my point.

I want – need – my balance back in order to find my peace.  I don’t mind life being hard.  I don’t mind being tired all the time.  I accept that I will work until two weeks after I die. I get that I will gain 3 pounds when I glance at a cake.  I’m not happy about it, but  I get all that.  But I need to feel I’m more part of what I’m working for – that it’s half mine, that it needs me in ways beyond the ones that aren’t fulfilling.  I need to be connected to it, to share in it equally.  I’m missing that.

Now that I put it all down into words, it sounds like the age-old quest of the human race.  Peace, acceptance, balance, fulfillment.  Maybe it’s a midlife-crisis shaped hole I’m trying to fill after all.

And God?  Maybe it wouldn’t be too much to ask for me to find a more efficient way to wrap things up and bring them to a proper conclusion without blathering on and on and on.


(See what I did there?)



I Have a Pimple

Linda ZitI took psychology in high school.  It was one of my favorite elective classes, right after study-hall and fundraiser candy-bar selling.  I found it interesting, which means that unlike all the rest of those classes, elements of it really took root and stayed with me.

One of those lessons had to do with problems.  I remember my teacher telling us that a problem is a problem and someone struggling in the midst of something doesn’t have the immediate ability to keep things in proper perspective.  He shared some stories of teenagers who had committed suicide over acne.  Now, the truth is, these kids were probably suffering from a lot more than acne – perhaps they were teased or bullied, perhaps there was untreated mental illness, abuse, who knows what.  But in the class, the premise was that even though acne seems like a very inconsequential problem to most of us, to a teenager struggling in the midst of it, acne can be a debilitating problem.

I have a pimple.

I’m not going to tell you what my metaphorical pimple is all about.  If you want to know that, you’ll need to read everything I’ve written on my blog, Twitter, Facebook, my message boards, and maybe even Post-Secret and you’ll put all those tiny, boring puzzle pieces together and likely you’d still not know.  Or maybe you would.

It doesn’t matter.

I have people I care about dealing with much bigger things – death, disease, infidelity.  My pimple hardly matters in perspective to that.

And yet there it is, day after day, taking all my energy.

I’ve started to refer to the whole situation as my midlife crisis, and maybe that’s what it is.  Who knows.

This post had a purpose when I started but now I don’t know what it was. Maybe I meant to say I do have perspective – I know that I am fortunate in a million ways.  I know that there is so much good in my life.  My husband is a loving man.  My kids are healthy and smart and gorgeous and funny.  I am financially secure.  I have something like 7,000 channels of television programming available to me, and a Jack-in-the-Box only a mile away.

My pimple is dwarfing all of that some days.  You know it’s a problem because Jack-in-the-Box has these mini-corn-dogs now and my pimple is STILL overwhelming that awesomeness.

We all deal with our pimples differently.  Me? I do this passive-aggressive thing where I talk about it all the time in vague and nebulous terms, using analogies and allegories, without giving any specifics.  Annoying, right?  Actually, I only do a little of that.  Really, my way of dealing is to write angst-filled, dramatic blog posts, and then to practice total escapism on fourteen other social networks out there, and pick my private message board to vent all the bloody details on.  You should say a prayer for my private message-board friends because someone could get hurt if this pimple were to explode all over that place.

Another reason I wanted to write this is because I know that many of you have pimples, too.  Your pimples are probably not at all obvious to people from the outside, but they may be keeping you awake at night, making you cry until you can’t breathe, making you sign up for Twitter.  Who knows.  Maybe you don’t have a blog where you can write angst-ridden teenage drama posts like me.  If that’s the case, then this post is for both of us, for all of us.

I’m sorry about your pimple.  I know it hurts and you feel like you have no way to vanquish it, you have no one to talk to about it.  After all, other people are dealing with real problems so you can’t whine about your pimple.

I get it.

From now on, let’s all just do that subtle thing where we make eye contact, give a little nod of the head, and keep going.  It will be like our secret-handshake, like we’re saying “Yeah, I acknowledge your pimple, I have one too.  I’m sorry man, this life stuff is damn hard some days.”



Strength is a clever disguise…

30-03-01/21Last week, I was flying home from my conference and had boarded the plane.  I  settled in my seat and commenced people-watching.  I love people-watching.

There was a woman younger than me and very pretty who started to lift her suitcase to put it into the overhead bin when two men jumped up simultaneously to help her.

I had a deja-vu moment. It wasn’t that someone had jumped up and helped me put my luggage up. No, that had never happened. It was how often I watch people jump up to help others, that was the deja-vu.

When I was pregnant with my 4th child, I worked as a consultant.  The role involved a lot of travel.  I think that child was in 27 cities before she was even born.  I lugged around my suitcase, my laptop bag, and my portable data projector.

Even at my most pregnant, no one ever jumped out of his (or her) seat to help me put my suitcase in the overhead.  I found this rather curious. Maybe it was because I wasn’t a sweet young thing.  (Although, relatively speaking, I was young 11 years ago and I’m always sweet.)

Since then, I’ve become acutely aware of this and I make it a point to observe it.  It’s not about sweet young things – helpers pop up for all sorts of people in need, all ages, genders, and degrees of attractiveness.

What is it then, I wonder?

The best hypothesis I can draw, for which I have a dearth of scientific backing, is it has something to do with a vibe of strength, of capability, of independence. If you seem in need of help, people help. If you give off a different vibe, they don’t make the offer.

I may give off that vibe, independence, capability.  In fact, I think I do.  Probably, pure stubbornness is at the root of it.

Nonetheless, I think people might see me and think I’m one of those people who may be insulted by an offer of help.  I know I have seen people and drawn a similar conclusion.  They seem to communicate with their eyes “I got this.  Don’t you dare insult me by asking if I need help.”

Here’s the thing: when I was pregnant and huge and tired with swollen ankles and three bags to lug around, I did need the help.  I did.  And even though I’m not pregnant now, nor am I on an airplane today, I recognize that I need help.  I cannot do this – any of it – alone.

No one, regardless of how strong, can bear the weight of the world without help.

I guess what I’m saying is this:  don’t be fooled by a disguise of strength.

If you see me on an airplane, I would welcome help with my bag.

I’m going to start practicing my needy look now.  


By |September 11th, 2012|Indiscriminate Drivel, Not even a little funny|Comments Off on Strength is a clever disguise…