betrayal, rejection, the usual and then the six month plan

the great theologian and my personal adviser on all matters of faith rev. mike coglan once asked me to imagine for just one moment what it would feel like if i knew, really knew, that God loved me.  exactly the way i am.  even with the things i have done or, perhaps especially, the things i have considered doing.  regardless of how anyone might feel about me and their criticisms or snubs of no mind because God loves me.  hold that imagining for a moment.  and then another moment.

turnpike

this is not a thought experiment to perform while driving on the ohio turnpike. when i did it, i had to pull over because the emotion was so overwhelming. otherwise, that eighteen wheeler behind me would have started a mosh pit of cars and trucks and amish carriages. our tippy cups are filled with self loathing and guilt when we are young. i was able to work up to ten seconds or so with that thought. then i’d be my usual self.

 

stick with me here, we’re going to get through the bad news like a quick liver sausage dinner and save the good news for last like a delicate tiramasu!

i absorb all the negatives and slings and arrows of outrageous (and some spot on) circumstance and influences.  maybe you do too.  i’m not good enough.  i’m too fat.  i’m too stupid.  i’m too old.* i’ve done too little to deserve to suck oxygen in the same planet as (insert anybody’s name here).  i’m not good enough for any expenditure of the two greatest treasures–time and talent–that any worthy person has.**

rejection

ugh, you can’t sit at this lunch table!  have you ever noticed that the cool kids had the power to reject you and that made them even cooler?  and we didn’t have taylor swift whispering in our ear “shake it off off off!”  i sometimes feel like i have never functionally graduated high school.  oh, yeah, i forgot.  i didn’t actually graduate high school.

some people i.e. the coolest of cool kids can oscillate rejection and acceptance in just the right way.  third period they’re sharing their snickers with you and seventh period they boldly announce that you’re a bed wetter.  the truly bad news is you’ll still think they’re cool and that you’re not.  you’ll hold onto seventh period until you’re on your deathbed and you tell the story of that betrayal to a nurse who will just assume that you’re mumbling again.  the baddest of all bad news is that you can’t be betrayed by a stranger.  only by someone you love and trust and think you know.

cute puppy

oscillating acceptance and rejection is a sure fire way to make your dog go crazy. putting a picture of a cute puppy in a blog post is a sure fire way of making people go “awwwww!”

 

are we done with the bad news yet?  well, actually, not quite.  just one more smidgen of liver sausage coming in for a landing on your tongue.

all this bad juju makes for bad choices, bad health, bad consequences.  i’ve got more than my share.  too many sleepless nights thinking of what did i do wrong.  too many sleepless nights standing in front of the refrigerator sniffing through boxes of leftover Chinese carryout.  too many times i have gone along with something i didn’t feel right about.  but thought that if i did, i’d be liked, loved, accepted.  i am invariably wrong.

how about you?

are we done yet?  are we done yet?  yes, stop it we are!  we’re at the good news and the six month plan.

 

my dear friend and couturier jeweler designer susan laid down the law in a very tender but firm way after the portland airport incident.  i had collapsed just after being molested in the usual but invasive way by a tsa agent.  i had a seizure.  a concussion.  i woke up in an ambulance with a paramedic asking

“what’s your name?  do you know your name?”

“i don’t remember,”  i replied haughtily.  well, as haughtily as one can do when one is in an ambulance and doesn’t remember one’s name.  i added “lots of people do not remember their name.”

“what about your birthday?”  asked another paramedic crowding into the scene.  “you know your birthday?”

“a gentleman never asks that question of a lady,”  i said.  full throttle maggie smith vigor.  “i wouldn’t presume to ask yours.”

portland hospital

what a great hospital! really nice doctors and nurses. they gave me the functional equivalent of a checkup in just a few hours and concluded that i’m a pretty much healthy femme d’une certain age but that i might need a neurologist/neurosurgeon and definitely should check back in with my primary care physician when i got back home.  and i’m still a bit wonky because of the accident with the 75 pound dog excited to go for a walk in the snow and the 45 degree pitch driveway that i never followed up on.

i don’t have a primary care physician.  i haven’t been to the dentist since cyndi lauper put out her best album.  i don’t get my hair done or my nails did (slight reference to drake — you fancy huh?) i’ve sort of given up.

“you need to take care of yourself,”  susan advised.  “you’re the only one who will.  you need to spend six months taking care of yourself.  putting yourself first.  nobody else. you’re number one for the next six months.”

she’s known me since i wore leg warmers over my jeans so i trust her.

excuse me?  where is the good news here?  i thought we were at the good news part.

well, there is good news.  i am going to spend the next six months repairing myself.  maybe you need this too.  maybe we do it together.  i’m starting small.  but i’m going to work my way back to whatever i was before the tippy cup sprayed all over me.

number one i’m not going to buy any article of clothing that is black for the next six months.

black

i have half a dozen black sweaters. no colors. same with skirts, pants, jackets, shoes. in the eighties (nineteenth not eighteenth) it was a sophisticated choice. now i just look like i’m going to my own funeral. ashes to my ashes and dust to my dust. do you have a similar wardrobe quirk?  or a similar habit that tends to reinforce a sense that you’re not worth much?  btw, black as a wardrobe choice makes it possible to disappear.  can you see me in this  picture of my dress?

 

my next project is to get myself a primary care physician.  oh, and a dentist.  i am taking recommendations. bon vivant and devastatingly handsome seventyish bill seymour has given me the name of one i hope will take me on.  a little rough getting a primary care physician these days bur we’ll give it a shot.

party girl

goodbye black dresses. and goodbye, or at least au revoir, to the negative. one moment by this moment. kind of need to pull over on this ohio turnpike.  at least until february 5, 2017

 

*lately, i’ve been getting the “too old or otherwise invisible” message from folks.  guess my age.  anything less than 56 gets you a prize.  i don’t know what the prize is.  it might be a pony.  or backstage passes to (insert name of hipster band here).  or it might just be a thank you note.

**that one is not quite true.  my good friend and theater impresario chris johnson is directing a play i wrote while on a thirty day road trip to canada.  i did not drive and write at the same time.  otherwise i’d have to insert that picture from the ohio turnpike again.  the show was produced by theologian slash accountant jim masini

remembrancestsebastian

the show is this weekend at the st. sebastian players in chicago — https://www.facebook.com/events/149459822146863/ — but it’s not the first time it’s had a run. two runs of the show were done by blockbuster producer marion scully. and another time at the chicago literary club. actors, sound engineers, musicians, even the nice lady beverly parkhurst who takes the tickets–every one of them, every single one of them gave up time and talent for the play. i’m going this weekend and i hope to see you there! and ps if you’re a broadway producer feel free to contact me!  if you’re an actor or actress, please understand that only the dumbest sleep on the casting couch of the writer.  it won’t advance your career at all.

 

p.s. i managed to get an appoint august 22 with a doctor in glenview.  first thing of course is getting approval from the insurance company. . …


13 responses to “betrayal, rejection, the usual and then the six month plan

  • carolynquinn

    So glad to see a blog post from you, ArLynn! I find the trick to dealing with those who sling verbal arrows is not to absorb them, believe them, or it all out on yourself. It’s to wonder, “How can that mean person treat other people so shabbily?” Truly, as the saying goes, you’ll never meet a “hater” doing better than you! Or at Taylor Swift advises, “Shake It Off!” 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfWlot6h_JM

  • spockabilly

    HOORAYYY YYYY!!!!!… FINALLY… colors !… ANYTHING I can do to help along the way, would be an honor….and it is SO good to see you out here again!…I once told you I knew I had to do the work….for myself..but YOU held the flashlight….I hope in some small way I can do the same…. Arlynn….. nobody is qualified to be anybody’s judge….you can be your own best friend…or worst enemy…life WILL reflect what you put out…Be good to yourself..and goodness will come to you. NO more darkness…be BRIGHT..be COLORFUL…. Deserve it…. because you believe you deserve it…only you can do it. And we, who are your friends will be right behind..for support. With MUCH love..Bill

  • bob whelan

    Coincidentally I saw Steve K this morning and asked him if he had heard from you, thanks for the progress report, I know from personal experience how hard all this stuff is. Best wishes, Bob Whelan

  • Michael Coglan

    I’m so glad that you still have that thought in your head. Now, have you ever imagined what it would feel like to love God exactly the way God is?

    • arlynnpresser

      wow, that’s a tantalizing prospect for a theologian to dangle in front of a soul like me! i can see how that love for God might create a desire to at least one’s best effort at the ten commandments or at least the simplest one of loving one’s neighbor!

  • Glenda

    Great job on putting yourself first! I commend you for doing your personal work and love your writing style. Well done! Wishing you great success with your success month building a better relationship with you program.

    • arlynnpresser

      thank you! and i’m hoping a positive attitude will turn this boat around! managed to find a primary care physician which is probably a nice second step (the first of course being the attention to my closet–there’s a lot of black in there!

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