© Michelle Routhieaux 2017
What’s happening now? I’m sitting in my room. I want to run away but I’m here. I feel my heartbeat where my butt touches the cushion and heavy in my chest. Most of my toes, the side of my left hand on the page. It’s hard to raise my gaze. “I want to die” is on my mind. It’s just a phrase. I’m not getting out.
God sends encouragement just before I need it. And I’ve yet to pair the thought that something bad is about to happen with the joy. Thank God for that.
I just stared at him. All I could say was, “Wow.” And I walked away. (prolonged stare…)
Am I really a miserable human?
(barely moving) Too painful. I don’t want to write. Have to. Need to.
(starting to pass out, not breathing)
After church today I stayed to talk to Matt about the choir, to ask what the fuck is going on. He seemed confused by the inquiry. The choir is chaos. I don’t get the details because I’m on the outskirts but I joined the choir in 2013 when God told me to. I didn’t go for the church or the pastor. I went to sing and to fellowship with Diane. I like the people. The goings on sometimes are questionable but only because I’m not on the inside. I come to most rehearsals. I show up for church. In the past I was able to sing a few pieces for special music. But this year everything changed. There was unspoken drama that caused Diane to quit and many other members to leave the church. I have no details. Bobby took over the choir temporarily. I like him as a human but choir practice sucked. Then a few weeks ago he quit too. Again, I have no details. Richard stepped in to direct temporarily though he lacks any ability to do it and we follow Helen and guess. Sometimes there’s rehearsal. Sometimes there isn’t. When there is we just go over hymns to sing and mark our books. Different choir members shout out what we need to do, direct from the loft. “Special music,” aka the music we sing as a highlight once a month, has become a joke. Even prayer time is lacking. More people keep leaving the church.
At the last rehearsal I went to two weeks ago I asked if in one of the ones I missed if there was a State of the Choir conversation, what was going on in regards to finding a new director and fast. No one seemed to know. They said maybe Matt was working on it. When I asked Richard for information he said he didn’t know. I said, “But you’re in charge.” Silence. The choir concurred that no one had any idea how to even go about looking for a music director or where to find one. I said I do. At least I have contacts who do and would probably help.
At church today Bonnie said she hopes I’m there on Thursday. I said I don’t know, that the situation is making me really angry. I don’t even get texts anymore about whether there’s rehearsal or not. She tried to make it better saying we’re working together and blah blah it will be better soon. It’s not okay. It’s not okay. Music is what ties the service together and speaks to souls. It matters.
After the service I went to talk to Matt. I asked what the info was on finding a new choir director and told him how unhappy I am at the current situation. Richard’s a great guy but he’s NOT a music director at all. Now is when we should be buckling down and starting to work on Christmas stuff. What we need is asking the impossible – someone who is skilled/talented at music and directing, experienced with hymns and traditional music, willing to give at least 2 half days a week, plan and execute holiday performances, coordinate special music, get along with everyone and do it all for free. (listen to solo piano on Pandora)
Matt seemed to have no idea what I was talking about in regards to the choir being in shambles. He said Richard was directing. I’m aware of that. I wanted to know who is looking for a new director, who is working on this. He wasn’t concerned. He said he’s not going to bring in a performer or hire a music director. He said he’s not like most churches. I asked if that meant he was expecting someone from our congregation to just stand up and do it. He kept talking about God’s will and that whatever God wants will happen. I told him I believe in God’s will but I also believe I have to DO SOMETHING too. I told him I’ve been in this choir for several years. I didn’t come to Trinity for the church or the sermons or the people. I came because God told me to come and sing with Diane. And I did. And I put up with a lot of bullshit to stay in it. Now she’s gone and Bobby’s gone and the choir is a mess. I can’t tolerate much more of this. Music is important. It’s connecting. It hurts to watch the program fall apart and the people do nothing. I’m so angry.
That’s when he said it. I thought maybe he would say if I felt so strongly about the program I should step up and lead, but he didn’t. He said Richard is the director for now and that he won’t be appointing anyone to replace him without really getting to know the person over time. He said, “Maybe this is God calling you to go somewhere else…”
I just stood there staring at him. We didn’t say anything. My breath stopped and my eyes squinted. Finally I said, “I’m just gonna leave that with a ‘Wow.’” I walked away without words. I grabbed my purse, looked at the choir loft, thought about the post-it on my hymnal from the first time I was there. Then I left.
I wanted to leave, to hide, go somewhere else but I’m still home. I don’t understand. I think I was just asked to leave my church. It’s not a horrific idea but I don’t get it. I bring people in. My friends like that church. Matt helps them when they need it. My mom gets along well with the people. They have free donut holes. It’s by my house. And it used to have people in it I called friend. They’ve never instituted any of my ideas or requests and they know very little about me, but they care. I don’t want this to interfere with the journeys of my friends. But it interferes with me. Not something I expected.
I don’t know what happens now, just that I feel very alone. Maybe it finally is time to change churches. I wish it didn’t have to be this way.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
In the silence music comes to me.
Waves of intense anxiety followed by crashes. Labor of feelings.
I colored. I am a unicorn. My head hurts.
I’m glad Mom doesn’t have the tv on.
People keep asking if I’m okay. I don’t know what to tell them. I want their support. But I don’t want to want it. I don’t want anyone to know I need help.
15 LEAVE ME ALONE.
There was so much love and support at the group last night. I couldn’t take it in. I felt squirmy.
15 Leave me alone. Stop talking to me. Hide under my desk.
I’m not supposed to feel. Don’t you understand? Feelings are for secrets, closed
doors and letters. I don’t feel. I dance.
Feelings get me in trouble. I am not allowed to have them. I am pro other people openly having feelings, sometimes. I, however, tuck them away safely in a vault that eats at me. I can’t even get to them if I want to.
Feelings are scary and dangerous. They make me feel ashamed. It is my job to be strong. It is my job to be a robot. Do the work, listen, comfort, be.
I am angry that other people can have feelings but not me. I feel them in a tiny ball, an orb in the center of my brain, best friends with the hippocampus. They hover there and tell me what to do. I speak this out loud as I write it purely monotone, a few syllables at a time. I stare. My head hurts. Please help me.
*Smack* Don’t you EVER say that again.
I see other people cry and they’re comforted. I’m not easily soothed. I get angry. I don’t want people touching me. I don’t want them to know. I want to be fucked up in private and then go back to my life. I don’t accept help. I feel lonely. I push people away. But not out of unlove, out of self-stigma.
Leave me alone.
I don’t trust them.
People who say they will help lie.
They just hurt you.
It’s a trap.
Stay in the dungeon where it’s safe.
She doesn’t understand.
She has good cause not to trust.
She is learning.
She is killing us.
I want to cut or hurt myself to feel. I could cry a few days ago. Now I just stare. Tears in my forehead. Crashing. Must sleep.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2013