I follow the Memes for Jesus page. One time I actually messaged them and got no response.

Recently I thought of a meme about PKs, or preachers kids. Often times in the comments of the Instagram page people seem to have the idea that the PK does whatever they want. That wasn’t my experience.

My idea was that PKs on the inside were the song Reflection from Mulan. In the song, Mulan expresses sadness and anxiety for perceiving to not live up to her family’s expectations. Generally all PKs I know are balls of perfectionism and anxiety, whether they end up functional or heroin addicts, Christian or otherwise. This is a mix of expectations from their parents congregation and expectations of their parents to be perfect examples of Jesus to the community.

I still grapple much with my upbringing and my faith. There’s a lot I wish were different, but you do the best you can with what you have.

Sometimes all you have is six chords and the truth or a bible and your tears, and that’s enough.

Whatever enough for you is, know that you are worthy, no matter who your mother or your daddy was.

Fighting the She-Wolf: Fibromyalgia Painger Coping Techniques From a Weird Hippie

I had a great day today, filled with productivity, intimacy with my fiancé Bear, a side quest to find cake balls, and the two of us pretty much telling my parents I was moving in. They took it as well as you could expect a preacher and his wife could.

Bear and I celebrated all night long until it was bedtime. I was sure that my alter ego, the She-Wolf, would not appear as I had such a wonderful day. I was wrong.

What is the She-Wolf?

The She-Wolf is an irrational, bitter, negative version of myself that exists around sunset til 12pm the following day. Symptoms of lycanthropy include extreme anxiety, nervous chittering, catastrophizing, only seeing negative outcomes, thinking someone said horrible things, general paranoia and moodiness.

My mother coined the term lycanthropy two days before Bear and I initiated operation secret move out and called me a She-Wolf. As a Technical Writing major I wrote an actual step by step procedure on how Bear could deal with me as a She-Wolf. Becoming a She-Wolf with the onset of fibromyalgia pain worsening in the evening and realizing this made me and Bear realize I needed to book it out of the ‘rents place.

The She-Wolf Does Not Rest

As previously mentioned today was great, and I was not symptomatic at 5:30 as usual. She-Wolf didn’t come barging in until 10:30 and Bear and I were trying to sleep.

In Bear and I’s house we each have separate office spaces. Mine contained a new order of books, one of which was Heal Your Body by Louise Hay. I previously read You Can Heal Your Life by her and thought it was fascinating, a new viewpoint I had never heard before.

Hay’s book contains a diagnostic list of diseases and affirmations to be recited in a mirror. I went through and said anything that applied in the mirror by my desk and I felt She-Wolf backing off. This took about 30 minutes.

Next I brewed some chamomile tea and tried to softly sing a song in our kitchen. I drank it and went through the affirmations again after becoming thoroughly depressed while reading Being Well When We’re Ill by the theologian Marva Dawn. I’m sure I’ll sink my teeth into it later but when the She-Wolf is rising I need something fluffier. I think I need an All the Shit I Am Reading post soon.

Finally, I used my green aventurine stone and did a two minute meditation after playing with my crystals.

I felt safe enough to go back into the bedroom, but the She-Wolf came back after my rib cage cried out upon lying down.

I am back in my office and have just recited the same affirmations from Hay. This seems to be a rinse, lather, repeat thing. At least it keeps my She-Wolf away. But my lack of sleep is here. However, I felt a storm blow in so that may amount to something too.

Coming Back to Yourself

Since my fibromyalgia diagnosis, many terrible things have happened.

I’ve lost my job, I’ve lost most of my friends, I’ve lost my apartment and two cars. But I’ve found I’ve gained a lot, too.

I may have lost my mind but my heart’s come on pretty strong. The things I’ve loved have never left me. My closest friends are still here, as is my family and fiancé, no matter how many times I go Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde at them.

My dream of going to graduate school came true. I read all the time; it’s my biggest solace. There is yoga every morning, a dog in my lap, a sketchbook on the table, a notebook in my purse, my collection of odd lipstick and my wearable glitter. I have, honestly, gone out in green lipstick and glitter on my face to the falafel stand. My fiancé has agreed to help me dye my hair purple after our wedding.

The love is all still there. It never went any where. It just takes some eyes to see it.

This love is what makes living with chronic illness possible. The yoga, the dog, the glitter, and the books are all coping mechanisms that help me block out the pain. Without me I would live in a rainbow free world in black in white where all I could feel is sorrow.

So when you see the things that bring you joy, take a little snapshot in your mind. Let the world know how grateful you are for dogs and books and glitter. Be annoying about your love. Let it overflow, because without it there is desolation.

This is how fibromyalgia brought me back to myself after a huge disconnect of trying to fit into corporate America and “the man.” I was forced to listen to no one but myself to live my life.

Is this a positive? Definitely yes.

Let the love flow through you, y’all.

And now, a recap:

Pocket full of starlight: all the positives in my life are all still there and some have come back to me in the wake of my illness.

Pocket full of darkness: my computer crashes every 5 minutes so all my posts are written on a smartphone. That’s why this sounds like this was written by an 11 year old.

Midnight Hour Darkness With Fibromyalgia

It’s been a long week of insomnia.

My head is spinning. I’m getting married in less than a month. I am going to likely miss major deadlines this week. I feel like a pulsating object sending electric shock through my body. This insurmountable equation seems like an impossible mountain of dirty laundry in a filthy, neglected room managed by a debilitatingly lazy person with low self-esteem. This room is my room and the person is me.

This is self-judgment. It is my pain. But it is my pain and my own to keep. I do not wish it on anyone else nor myself. I cry in the darkness of my room and I want to keep the lights off, especially my smartphone. Each article heightens every emotion I feel that maybe I do not belong on this planet. I am an alien with a defective body. Everyone else is a functioning, normative human body. In this moment I am consumed by these defective thoughts and I know I am using the improper psychological terms. But it is midnight and I know I need my Epsom salt bath or else I will not make it to tomorrow. My body has been too exhausted to change clothes, wash my face, bend over to run water and get in the tub. But I know if I do this I will get better.

It is hard to make the choice to get better. Mind puzzles our brains play on us keep us trapped inside our ailing bodies, keeping us from living our best lives. A choice as simple as getting in a bath tub turns into rocket science when my emotions have been taxed by relationships and how exactly one single person can change the world.

The truth is, no one person can change the world, not the entire world, alone. This is how I begin the process of forgiving myself for allowing my body to deteriorate to its current state, and also enable myself to arrive to the point of recognizing that it is not entirely my fault. I have a legitimate chronic illness. Despite anything I do, how many baths I take, how regular my yoga routine is, my supplement intake, my body has a mind of its own. It is 1 degree outside. Yes, there are ways I can help myself, sometimes. But this is preventative care. All the preventative care in the world cannot prevent a sleepless night and a pain flare. This is the way things are. Chronic illness does not have a magic get well quick formula, especially if you are treatment resistant with a complicated diagnosis like I do.

Pocket full of starlight: We are all different, our pain is all different, and yours is valid. If you are hurting tonight, it is not your fault, even if you did not do all the things today.

Pocket full of darkness: Sometimes we judge ourselves too harshly. Please don’t judge yourself for judgeing. You’ll only start a vicious concentric circle within a circle.