Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Campbell Compound Blues

What was supposed to happen:

A young Christian girl, home grown in the heart of Nebraska, sent to aid a sweety New Zealander with her heart mission of encouraging young mothers to lead a life of joy and happiness. My job was to help her ministry flourish, while providing a submissive, cheerful countenance and a willingness to serve her husband and children. It was the ideal situation; sheltered, volunteer work, biblical training, a woman of God serving men and their helpmeets.

What really happened:
Mr. Colin Campbell is used to getting his own way. He really doesn't question his position in the house. He simply assumes a full power authority, including over his wife, and treats everyone equally: like his attendants. He actually believes that anything he wants, he can order to happen and it will!

After church one day, I passed out with dizziness and fatigue. I was taken to the er, unconscious. As I slowly came to, I heard Mr. Campbell, loudly informing the doctors and nurses that this was all an act, that I was seeking attention and nothing more. He roughly shook me awake and ordered me out of the bed. Against the doctor's incredulous protests, I stumbled out to his car. He took me to his house, telling me that my next deceptive move would be faking a pregnancy. I was too out of it to protest his treatment, so he took that as a willing confession. I slept fourteen hours at his place, waking up in terror because I had somehow forgotten to breathe.

Mrs. Campbell is a very firm believer in the submissive role of the wife. I saw her, many times, come to Colin with a most valid point, only to be thoroughly shot down and treated like a nuisance. Her reaction to that was to quietly do her husband's will, and praise him for his keen mind. When he obviously knew nothing about a subject, say about a suicidal teen who just wanted to be believed, he would come to his own conclusion about what was really wrong. If the teen complained about her father abusing her, he instantly informed her that her misery was caused by her rebellion toward her father. No dad is perfect, and a girl should never question him. Because he is working under God's authority. Even if that means fingering his daughter in the night.

The Campbell kids. Namely, the girls... The girls all lived on their dad's land. And I got to know Pearl and Serene the best. Specifically Pearl. Serene was a very flaky, lively woman with way too much responsibility that she ignored. Several times I watched her 6 year old girl drop baby boy on his head, or her 2 year old boy step on nails and go unattended for most of the day. I stayed away from her house because horror was inevitable there.

I lived with Pearl, though. She was the most modern of the sisters. I wore her jeans and shorts, thrilled to wear pants for the first time in years. I watched star trek with her boys, and converted them into little trekkies. Her husband, a quiet, agreeable man, accepted me as one of his own little brood. I loved him.

But the girls were obsessed with their dad. In a really creepy way. One night, we went to supper at Colin and Nancy's. After supper, while Charlie (Pearl's husband) was out with the kids playing, Pearl curled up on her father's layup and kissed him on the lips. She lay in his lap for several minutes. I felt sick, and later asked her why she did that as a grown woman. She explained that although she WAS a mother now, she was still her dad's little girl, and she loved to please him by letting him hold his beautiful daughter. I wondered if it was strange that I felt so disturbed, but I never got over that.

When Colin decided that I was a habitual liar, he told the girls that I had infiltrated their children's pure minds and that they would do well to catch every lie the kids told, because the devil was now in the camp. And so I watched, as Pearl's 11 year old daughter, Serene's 8 year old son, and 6 year old girl were severely punished for presumed lies. Pearl's daughter agreed to do the dishes. When she got sidetracked, Pearl found her, called her a liar, and punished her. The daughter, one of the sweetest children I ever met, was very broken and confused-she hadn't lied, or hadn't meant to. And when Serene's son ran through her garden, she screamed that he could not go on a weekend outing planned Weeks before with his dad. He protested, saying he hadn't been running through to play, he was catching his brother. She then accused him of lying. His dad stripped him naked and beat him for several minutes. I was in shock with the brutality of the punishment, and all because of me. Or so Colin made it seem.

Evangeline was just...psycho. I didn't dare go near her house alone. Her pet wolf, Congo, has been known to bite the children, let alone adults. I once observed him kill Pearl's daughter's Dalmatian, as an 8 month pregnant Vangie danced in and out of the fight, pulling them apart with her bare hands, dogs snapping at her swollen belly. Inside her house was insane. She had a one room house. Eleven children! A king-sized bunk bed next to the kitchen sink. Mom, dad, and baby slept in the bottom bunk, and ALL ten siblings shared the top. She dominated her quiet husband, and raised her boys to be fierce, judgmental, and superior. The boys often struck their younger sister when they deemed she wasn't watching the baby well enough. It was seriously like stepping into a third world country. I always left in a daze, thankful for a bed of my own and a sense of personal space.

The  Campbells gave me quite an experience. The only person who treated me kindly was Charlie, and he was looked down on by everyone except Pearl. A few years later, in an interview, Colin described me as disturbed, mentally, a psychological liar, needing help, and yet he NEVER once attempted to give me any help while I was under his roof. He said that I had no respect for my father, but refused to believe me when I gave a very valid reason not to respect him. He pronounced himself one of the saaviest preachers of his time. Now he's producing a series of articles called Meat for Men. Heh heh.. He doesn't get out much.

The end.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Most Necessary Introduction

Sometimes, when I'm feeling really good about something, I don't write about it. It's almost like some superstitious idea, that if I focus on the good, it will suddenly vanish into the depths of an evil presence that wishes me nothing but bad. But every now and then, I will lay aside my concerns and write. I write down the things I don't want to forget. I write them, and if people want to judge me, that's their choice and I am unconcerned with their problems.

Something good happened to me. Something beautiful. Unexpected. I made a new friend. An unlikely friend. Someone who brings a smile to my face and comfort to my soul.

I'm not one for sharing everything about my friends on here. Colton got a lot of negative attention when I mentioned him. And I know, some people just can't understand how Aaron and I went wrong. But you weren't there. If you were, you would have been hesitant. I know. I didn't claim to know what I was doing. I still don't. But I claim to know myself a whole lot better than I did.

And I know that I trust my colors. My new friend has colors that are tinted golden. He's funny, he's a little strange. And he knows what to say to make me happy. He knows how to reassure me when I'm worried. He's smart. We think a lot alike, and we enjoy each other's company.

I wrote, because I'm not sure how to say this, but he is a good thing in my life. I'd love to keep him all to myself, but part of me is this blog, and people wonder why he hasn't been on it. So here is the introduction, and rest assured: now that's out of the way, you'll be hearing a bit more about him. Be nice.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Enabler

Here I am, preaching equality.

But I'm the biggest hypocrite if I don't confess my weakness.

I enable men to hit me.

The concept of sexism is new. I don't know if I believe men shouldn't hit women but can hit other men. I don't know. I'm young on the scene. But I can say this with experience, it doesn't feel good to be hit. It's demeaning, it's sometimes painful, and it breaks a little piece of the trust you should have for a man you love.

There have been two occasions in which I have hit a man in anger. One was my stepfather. When he struck me in my nineteenth year, for the first time in several months, I struck back. All the rage for what he had done to my mother, my sweet sister, my tiny brother, was empowering my fists. And when Aaron humiliated me in front of a crowd of people, in a really terrible manner, I slapped him. Not hard. It shocked him, and me. I felt awful for doing it.

But now a new, terrible fear has come to light. Tonight, I realized that every partner I've had, except one, has hit, punched, or otherwise struck me. And I absolutely make excuses for them. I shouldn't have scared him with my clumsy banging. I should watch my words-of course he would hit me after being insulted! And eventually, I just expect it, because I get it from almost every guy I endear to.

Take my first boyfriend. He would strike me, then suddenly tear up and apologize. He would tell me how his dad had fits of rage, ripping holes in things, and compare himself. Only, his dad never hit a girl. He became progressively more willing to hit me. If I did something he didn't like during sex, I would be roughly informed not to do it. He was a dear, sweet guy to me other than that little habit he formed, because I let him.

I dated a man named John. Actually, John was very much a boy. A deeply disturbed boy with a dark past. He told me how much he hated man who hit girls, and wanted to kill them.
One day, I was in the passenger seat of my car. I was moving my feet in time with the radio. One of my shoes accidently struck the dashboard. Before I knew what had happened, John had reached over and struck my leg. Hard. I looked up in shock, and saw his eyes mirroring mine. He looked at that moment like he hated himself. I heard myself telling him I was okay, that it hadn't hurt, and not to worry. His expression didn't change. He dropped me off at home and I hoped some time alone would help him get over the hurt he had suffered.

But guess what? By the end of that summer, John had struck me three more times. I wore bruises on my arm in the shape of his hand for over a week. And he wasn't making excuses like my ex had. His face turned passive, uncaring, and I think that's when he lost respect for me.

Tonight, I was reminded that men really don't have a good enough reason to hit a girl. It shook me to hear that I don't deserve that treatment, no matter what I did. But then I remembered how both of those men were gentle and sweet, and by the time we parted, they had become hardened and merciless.

Maybe I deserve to be hit, after all.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

On Dreaming

Have you ever heard an awesome story about something someone did and want to make that experience your own? Or have you watched a show or movie and felt like you'd give anything to jump through the screen, like Mary Poppins into a sidewalk chalk picture, and become a character there?

I have. My favorite is looking in a dream home magazine, spotting a lodge in Colorado somewhere with fireplaces and hot tubs and lots of bay windows, and imagining that I was snowed in in one. I'd love to go skiing sometime, just to be able to spend a night in a lodge and drink hot cocoa while wearing my favorite cozy outfit. I even know that I would love to have my pals Emily and Robert along on that specific adventure.

It would be easy to lose yourself in the dreams you create. When the movie Avatar was released in 3D and IMax, there was a flurry of news reports about people committing suicide after watching the film. The world of Pandora seems to be a utopia in a world of really discontented workers.

It's so sad to realize that people go to work every day for the sole purpose of collecting a paycheck to support themselves. Such an overwhelming number of citizens in this country despise their careers, but believe they have no choice but to slave away the best years of their lives. They don't have a passion for what they do. There is no pride in a cause that changes the world, and they are a part of it. To me, that is a fruitless and very desolate way to live. So many hours are spent at work, that it's really almost half, if not more, of your livelihood.

I joined the Navy. Not for everyone. It's hard. I can't just call in sick, ever. I'm thousands of miles away from my loved ones. My friends here aren't here to stay. In three years or less, I'll be uprooted and start a tour elsewhere. I have to be at work early in the morning.

But I can say this. I wear my uniform with pride. I own a set of dog tags that remind me that my job is the one I used to envy, that sets my patriotic heart on boom. I'm immersed in training and working out to stay fit for call of duty. I stand watchful for threats to my loved ones and I'm their protector. My job is the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

When someone can honestly say that about their job, then they are set for some rich and happy years. It's what I wish for my little sister. It's what I hope for the tired old lady at the dollar store down the street. It's a joy to talk to my seamstress and know that she is doing something she loves. It's the American dream, baby! If you have the opportunity and the motivation, you CAN achieve success! I want my sister to realize that, because I love her and would like to see her finally find herself and love who she is-a unique person, like me, but nothing like me! But every bit as valuable and successful.

Wouldn't you love to love who you turn out to be? Isn't it great to think your dream can come true-it's not a fairy tale? It's all about seeing what you want, and setting your goals to work towards that dream.

'Great it is to dream the dream
When you stand in youth by the starry stream
But a greater thing to fight life through
And to say, "The dream is true."'
-Joel Osteen

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Some People Are Dumb.

Sometimes people are really dumb.

I'm watching a show, currently, called Dance Moms. The reason i'm watching it is because all the women on it are absolute bitches. The funny part is that I'm pretty sure they have no idea how dumb they are looking to all of America. (and any other country who might tune in.) These ladies have little girls who dance for hours a day on this dance team. The girls are all really sweet, really good friends. The moms are the ones who fight like little kids! They all scream at a mom if her kid gets a solo. Then they all pay the fat dance teacher favors to try and buy their kid a solo, but it doesn't work. I'm addicted to the show because it gets more dramatic every episode. I'm pretty sure this Tuesday one of the moms is going to hit this other mom and get her kid kicked off the dance team.

But I don't have to watch this show to get my dose of dumb. I was at the mall today with my boyfriend Gabe. We were shopping for some dress shirts for him. (we found some really nice ones.) I walked by a young couple, like probably college age. The girl picked up some ugly guy shorts and said, "ew, look at these really short shorts, haha..." And the guy said, "I would wear those shorts if you wanted me to! I would wear them in front of a whole crowd, proudly!" That was a pretty dumb thing to promise. I left laughing, because I was pretty sure I saw an evil glint in his girlfriend's eye.

You don't even have to look hard to find dumb people that you know. I met a guy in boot camp who was really fun to tease. I don't usually poke fun at other's expense, but in boot camp, you get torn down so much that if you don't bring someone else down sometimes, you might just cry the whole time. This boy was named Scott. He looked like the Pillsbury dough boy. When he got mad, he turned very red. He got mad super easily. One time he was mocking some other recruits. They were talking at meal time. At boot camp, you don't talk at the table. He saw an RDC and started telling him, "ha, those shitbags won't shut up!" He said that like six times. Then the RDC made him do pushups for talking. When he sat back down, I laughed at him for being dumb. He turned red and flipped me off. Guess who had to do a million more pushups?

Sometimes, it's not too hard to be dumb myself. Last year, I thought that men ejaculated the same color as their skin. Last month, I brushed my teeth with shoe polish. Last week in the shower, I whipped my hair back and forth, cause the song was on, and I fell out of the shower and hit my head. I bet Willow Smith was never that dumb. Last night I scared myself when I touched my head in the theater and thought someone else touched me.

Today I was making dinner. I put a pot of water on to boil. After about twenty minutes, I noticed that I had turned on the wrong side of the stove top.

Some people are really dumb.

What's In the Box?

Oh look,
Beneath the flap tops
Sits a tiny girl.
Huddled in a corner
Clutching her knees
Eyes brimming with unshed tears.

You forgot
She was placed there
Kept safe from the outside
You know, the world you lived.
While you were groped
She was safe in here
In the darkest and safest place she knew.

Every time
Dad found you, and held you
She hid in the box
Pulled the top closed
And covered her ears
She sang a lone melody
And shut out the sound of your cries.

And now
You have become a dead thing
A memory is all that's left
And a faint one at that
Poor, pathetic child
You rest now, with my tears as your somber tribute

But the little girl, kept safely away in the box?
She is alive, and strong.
Laughing now, and brilliantly happy
No longer in the box that protected her,

But living inside of me.

Song of a Rebel

I knew I shouldn't open my mouth. It wasn't going to help matters any way I looked at it. But I heard myself saying it anyway. "You think we're better than the Heimeses and Metcalfs, don't you?"

My dad's mouth dropped open. "Of course not!" He sputtered, horrified. Of course, he'd just spent the last half hour patiently explaining why I couldn't spend time with their children. Unlike us, these other homeschool, Christian families weren't enlightened and aware of the importance of family, and of the male position of authority in the family structure. These families allowed their daughters to work jobs in the secular community, spends time with young people their own age, and even apply to college and attend youth group.

But I couldn't accept the things I was being taught. I was the challenger, the black sheep. My dad spent hours trying to teach me, but I would find so many flaws with his viewpoint. The problem was that I could see right through what he said. Nothing he believed was thought through. He would listen to his sermons on cassette tape, like the rules he heard, and enforce them without knowing what the reasoning was for applying that teaching. It drove me crazy. Mom would plead with me to just let dad be right, but I couldn't just settle, no mater how hard I tried.

That continued into my college years. I began to question each new viewpoint I came across. At first my style was raw, abrasive, and put people on the defense instantly. When I started English classes, I met a professor who changed my life. In his class, I learned to debate, to approach the table with an open mind, and to exchange respect with all my opponents. The entire class often went over our hour long class time, discussing the environment, governments, religion, and much more.

All this leads up to a revelation I made this past month. I met the Commanding Officer of my new station a few weeks ago. His style instantly won my admiration. He likes to find ways to make things better. The Navy has many customs and practices that are done a certain way just because they've been that way for decades. But if you can find a better way to do them, why the hell not? So he challenges young sailors to constantly look for ways to improve ourselves, the way we do our job, and the command in general. That's the style of living I do best.

A lot of times, challenging age old customs or beliefs can be very uncomfortable. That's why out country is so slow at stamping out discrimination. One of the things I've challenged that met the most opposition was that of marriage. I don't understand the point of it. Which is probably why I was so bad at it. I see it as a kind of risky business. I mean two people, often not old enough to be fully developed, swear on oath to be everything the other needs, for LIFE!!Rather a tall order, to put it lightly! I don't know where the practice of marriage originated, but it is a hard and fast promise that really upsets especially the older generations if broken. I'd rather date for life, same wonderful partner without the piece of paper that suddenly binds you hats and fast, no matter how your feelings may change down the road.

Another idea I've challenged is that of our need for organized religion. It's a bit of a risk, me bringing this up. I have done relationships that I really value, and my view on this subject, sadly, could compromise those friendships if one of those friends should stumble on this. But the fact that religion, an idea, could have that strong a hold over anyone, scares me a lot. I have a soldier friend whose family nearly disowned him because he disapproved of Tim Tebow's extravagant displays of worship on the field. Where I stand right now is on the belief that if religion helps you reach your goals that otherwise you may not have had the motivation to achieve, than by all means, embrace that. Believe it! But in my opinion, religion doesn't work for everyone. I'm not against religion or God! It's just not something that benefits me in ANY way. If that changes down the road, I'll be the first to convert and the most faithful follower you'll know. But I respect you, and it would be nice if you respected me in return.

Now, the most unpopular part of living your life trying new things is that you are, without a doubt, going to fail sometimes. Probably a lot. But watch me blow your mind: failure, in my opinion, is excellent. It means you aren't just quietly doing what you are told to do! Another huge lesson the Navy is currently teaching me is that you need to know failure in order to achieve success. In fact, the way the system works, you are pretty much set up to fail at some of the things you do, simply because  it's known to build character and grow you. So maybe, just maybe, you should feel a little content with your failures. I certainly am learning to.

So, in summary, I guess I'm a rebel. Always have been. As a four year old, trying to find ways around my grandma's direct rules, I was challenging what was, against popular acceptance. And that's how I want to live. Not settling for the way things have always been. That's how we become a stagnant people. No, really living is finding new ways to think and live, even if you make some mistakes on the road to get there. At the very least, you can rest assured that your life will never feel unlived or dull. You've got one short life to live. Live it dangerously and freely.