Sent by God

3/15/17     10:54pm

A strange thing happened tonight. I was out to pizza with a friend and I had my dog Ellie. I know crazy people are drawn to me but tonight’s variety was different. I was at the counter waiting for a change in receipt when a disheveled man came in from outside and asked about Ellie. He started talking about PTSD service dogs and mentioned he was homeless. He told me he saw a super famous doctor in La Jolla once. I asked if he was a vet and he said no, that he wasn’t part of “the killing machine.” I tried to end the conversation and go back to my friend but no such luck.

The man came with me and sat down with us. He said there was something he wanted to tell us, something important. I have no idea what it was. I do remember him saying the word “bitchin'” and his name being Greg. My brother’s name is Greg and he’s the only one I’ve ever heard say that word. I wanted to give him a low income housing resource. Instead I heard about his experience being homeless, his family structure, some pro-Trump ranting, and how if he’s going to join a gym it has to be 24 Hour Fitness because it’s right down the street.

The man was filled with tears. He knew we wanted him to leave, yet he stayed. He asked if he could pray for us. He put out his hands and I held one and closed my eyes. He said a powerful prayer for my friend and I. God was there. I could feel it. He walked away and we took our pizza and left. The feeling stayed with me that God was there. Before I got in the car he showed up again and said to me that he really needs my help and would I PLEASE help him to get some place to live, some place with a bathroom and a shower, that he would work hard. He just really wants help. It was sincere. He never asked me for money or to buy him anything. He came to bring God to me.

I got in the car and told my friend about faith, that what is holding me up now is faith. I don’t understand what’s happening and I can’t fix or change it, but what I have is an unending faith and a posse of blessings and a crowd of people who love and support me. I have Jesus. I let go and trust. I am held. I’ve been really scared and, as my friend would say, “losing my shit,” and tonight God sent me a homeless man to refocus, to reconnect. He didn’t go anywhere. He never stopped caring for me, making everything right. Sometimes I just can’t see.

Thank you so much, God, for loving me. Please show me how to help your servant Greg.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2017

God Sent me a Hummingbird

7/23/16     10:56pmlavender painted lady

I am SO blessed. I’m sitting on the couch with my dog cuddled up next to me. Mom is sewing as we watch Big Bang Theory. It’s some sort of dream.

I woke up this morning. Yep. I wandered around my house most of the day confused and anxious, freaking out and shutting down. I finally found the guts to write to my brother’s step-dad about what I want to do with his body. I sent the message over Facebook and went through a basket I haven’t touched in ages while watching NCIS. My niece’s mom contacted me for the first time. Then the step-dad responded in agreement and my fear fell away. I could BREATHE. What a blessing. I also got to chat with a friend from Level 1. Thinking of her lifted my spirits.

In the afternoon God told me to go cut lavender. So I found my scissors and went 56 minutes before sunset. I prayed for God to sit with me as I cut the flowers, to bless me and the people who grew them, to heal the people who will receive them. I asked Him to let me just be. I walked and sat and cut. I listened to the neighbors. I watched the families interact. There was a butterfly that flew by. I say automatically, “Hi, God.” Sometimes instead I say, “Hi, Dad.” I pay attention to them and to the flowers.

As I sat on the ground collecting purple flowers I heard a buzzing. It was a hummingbird. It flitted around the plant beside me then came over to the one I was working on. I stayed still and watched. It backed up and stared at me. Then it moved forward, forward more. We were face to face and I didn’t move. God sent me a hummingbird. It hovered long enough to hold my attention. When it was ready it flew away. I praised God for the day.

I met a neighbor whose mom is a patient at Mesa Vista. I shared DBSA with her. I really hope this one house’s inhabitants show up soon. I REALLY want to cut the flowers in front of it. Mom wanted a bun taco from Del Taco so I drove through. I hadn’t been to that Del Taco or through that drive thru since November 16, 2001, when I left my dying father. The lady who gave me my food at the drive thru looked different. She didn’t fit the image of a fast food worker. I told her she looked too skilled to be working at a Del Taco. She said her husband owns the franchise and she fills in where needed. I told her about not being there since 2001. She told me her daughter, who was 26, died three years ago. She also told me about her mother with Alzheimer’s and their struggles. I offered resources and gave her lavender. She was amazing. She said to come back more often. I don’t know her name and I don’t like the food, but I’m pretty sure I’ll go back to see her.

I listened to Snap Judgment on the way home, bought bananas, made a smoothie and walked into my living room to Mom sewing. I don’t know what inspired her to do that (she is AWESOME) but I’m glad she’s back in her element.

I am so blessed. I’m exhausted but joy fills my face – and my soul, and my toes. Hallelujah blessed. Yesterday and the day before we SO awful. And today I’m okay. Held by God. I’m even back in touch with my old ballet teacher, who has been in the wind for years, and my 8th grade history teacher. They both appeared like the butterflies and the hummingbird.

Look for the small and so meaningful blessings in life. A hummingbird shouldn’t have to stare me in the face for God to grab my attention, yet today it did and it worked. God is with me. Don’t let me forget that.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

I’m Still Standing

7/14/2016     2:28pmYoga Therapy Art_0087

Such a powerful session with Soleil. I’m still standing. Embrace the pain. I am strong enough to be weak, to be vulnerable. I feel God hold me and I let go. For the first time I wholly trust. Embrace the pain.

I’m not lying as much. I’m not working when I need to rest. I let myself cry… I’m doing the best I can. I also am asking for help, accepting.

I am so grateful for the blessing of this pain and for the courage to stay in it.

Urge to hug the yellow pillow.
(close my eyes)

…I am so blessed.

I’m still standing.

I feel my body this week.
I breathe.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

God is So Good

6/23/16     7:23pm

Today I woke up with a migraine – 5th day. I went to F-‘s and tried to be productive. I wouldn’t call it a success. I cancelled S-‘s. I knew I wouldn’t make it. I’d already had one sobbing meltdown (or was that yesterday?) and the pain was too high. I planned to rest before choir but made myself a hair appt too – gentle to self. I sat outside in the breeze for an hour while they rotated my tires. Choir got cancelled, which I’m glad about, and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to go home.

My mom and I have been fighting a lot. I can barely stand being around her. I’m fragile and didn’t know what to do. I cried and cried after getting a warning from a cop for apparently cutting someone off. I’m close to max. Then Mom texted that it’s baby day and she’ll be staying the night there. Praise the Lord. We need some time apart. A thousand things I want or need to do. I hope the one I accomplish is rest.

I really wanted the new baby to be a part of my life. I miss the girls terribly. I trust God has a plan for me. I’ve been using my body a lot to ground me, making friends with the present. We don’t speak the same language but it makes me laugh and I’m curious to learn its story.

I can’t wait to sing at the fair this weekend, to welcome God and spread His news. I give up control. I’m doing the best I can. That’s all I can do. And I sing “Hallelujah Anyhow.”

God, please bless whoever’s reading this. Guide me, move my pen, hold me tight and don’t let go. Show me Your will.

God is so good. Praise Him with me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

A Vessel

5/22/16     11:40am

Love and Compassion and Understanding flow through me.

Breathe… (smile, listen to sermon)
The air burns my throat as I take it in. My feet press against the pew and there is pressure on the bridge of my nose. I’m thinking slowly, bandwidth consumed. My eyes and temples hurt.

Pain flows through me, shakes every cell in my body. But it’s not mine. Hands open, arms wide, I breathe it out. The negative energy crashes over and through. It exhausts but doesn’t take me down. I’M STILL STANDING. God holds me up.

Love and compassion and understanding flow through me. When filled with anger and hurt I don’t lash out. I am quiet, listening, processing, able to make a choice. I speak slowly and what comes out is truth and compassion. It’s not mine either. I watch.

I’ve prayed for years for God to speak through me and to me, to make me a vessel only for Him. I pray for Him to speak through others and I listen. I couldn’t comprehend how much that would hurt or how much it would bless me. I am not who I was. She haunts me. He holds me. And I breathe…

The Devil attacks me. He WILL not bring me down.

I need to move my body, change more energy at home, allow myself to let go. Take back the breath.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

Dropping in

3/2/15     11:20pm

I didn’t go to Soleil’s today. She let me reschedule due to rain. I also couldn’t stay awake. I spent the day with T- instead. It was nice. Shopping, the beach, group. I’m exhausted.

I’m dropping back into life and I’m confused by what I see. I didn’t realize how many demands are placed on me, what people expect, what I was able to give. It’s astounding. Life didn’t ask it of me. I chose to give. And I chose to take a break. Life didn’t change. I did. Praise God for that. But I’m not sure where I fit.

I have a very low tolerance for other humans right now. I’m also not fond of bright lights or noise or extended car trips. My creativity is blossoming and I feel peaceful and calm, but I have no use for or real ability to do what I usually do. I don’t want to help people. I want to be at home. I don’t want to do paperwork or answer emails or look at texts. I don’t even want to be on my phone. It’s not that I’m depressed. Quite the opposite. I’m alive. I’m alive for Christ’s sake! And I’m dropping in, assessing the damage, deciding what to do next. I’m not sure what that means for now but I’m pretty sure it will turn out to be nothing less than miraculous. God is good and I trust He has me here in this state of disarray and confusion for a purpose. I wait with anticipation…

What helps you when dropping into your life after an absence of some time? when you find what you left doesn’t suit you anymore?

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

Unimportant Grace

2/15/15     2:30pm

I want to die. I played Apples to Apples. I’m in a spiritual service now on repentence, turning toward goodness. Apparently lent starts next week. Hot damn. Who cares? Aside from Auntie. Not me.

     I need to go home now.
     It’s too far, too much.
     This transition will hurt.

I am proving how unneeded I am. (sigh) Damn. I am at once important and not important at all. Dr. N. It’s important to understand my unimportance. I can only get out if I do. I don’t want to. I don’t know how to know and survive. Jesus, help me. Thank you, Lord.

It is only through being unimportant that I am freed to do something else.

I don’t want chocolate.
I don’t want steak.
I only want to feel okay.
Soaring freer than ever before,
Far up over the open door,
I watch what’s left here on the ground.
Where I am headed there is no frown.
No time, no terror, no second base.
Only the glow of His great face.
I don’t want chocolate.
I don’t want steak.
I only want to feel His grace.

I miss you, Sonny.
Only surrender.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

Presence over Present

2/2/15     8:10pm

Presence over present – my message from God today. His presence over my present. I shared the phrase with a few people. They gave me their interpretations. For me, it stays the same. His presence over my present.

I wondered what this meant. DBT stresses mindfulness and being in this moment – the present. But being in this moment is really hard for me right now. Can I be in His presence without being in this present? Yes. Yes, I can. I was so relieved to realize that. My present doesn’t quite matter. It’s simply a bonus to drop into when I can. All I need is God.

Wrap me in your healing warmth.
Surround me with your presence.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

If you’re the prayin’ type…

3-27-14     10:30pm

I feel like I should be typing on a typewriter. The sound of the keystrokes is more fulfilling.

It’s 10:30pm, still an hour and a half in the day. I hope it is dull. I woke up in a terrible funk. A curl-up-on-the-couch-and-stare-afraid-to-move-no-thoughts-unable-to-do-anything funk. I managed to scribble a few words on the page. After a few hours I ate, turned some music on. I dragged myself out the door, despite the paranoia telling me I couldn’t go, that they were watching me and they’d find out. I didn’t want to go to choir. I needed someone to help me. But my mom was asleep and I couldn’t ask. I thought of calling my therapist or my doctor but my words were slipping away and I couldn’t explain it, didn’t know what to ask for or from whom. So I went to Staples. I figured binder shopping on rewards couldn’t hurt. I was able to drive safely. I was astonished. I figured I’d swing by Starbucks for a banana and a cup of hot water to warm my throat so I wouldn’t crack while singing my solo in choir.

This should be a simple thing – getting a cup of hot water from Starbucks. I had finally made it to a semi-stable place and calmed myself into being able to wait 15 fucking minutes in line, pushing me late for choir. When I got to the register the woman told me they no longer serve hot water there. What? She claimed that one of the partners got burned and it was a liability and that some people bring their own stuff to put in the water. ??? I just stared at her. I asked if I could order something else on the menu minus everything but the water. She said sure. She asked what I’d like. I asked what on the menu has water in it. She said if she did it for me she’d have to do it for everyone and glared at me. My emotion was at a 10. It took EVERYTHING in me just to stand there and not move, not make a sound. I put the banana down, put my hand up and said, “I can’t do this,” and walked away. I was to the car by the time I realized I could have ordered tea with the tea on the side. Not that I drink tea. I would have paid $10 for a damn cup of fucking water. What she said made no sense. And was rude. And was just beyond what I could tolerate.

I sat in the car not moving, barely breathing for several minutes. Couldn’t scream. Couldn’t talk. Needed to die RIGHT THEN. I kept seeing myself stabbing me in the stomach with the ice pick my mom used to own but now doesn’t remember. The urge was SO intense. I didn’t move. Cuz seriously, I don’t need to be driving like that. I was pissed when I remembered I’d agreed to live 6 months for the DBT program. Fuck. When is that up? Eventually I started driving. I had the urge to admit myself to Grossmont as I passed by. Air 1 helped. I couldn’t figure out how to get to the college from the mall. The freeways were all twisted and I kept missing the off-ramp, driving in circles. I was so mad. I wanted to quit altogether but I thought choir might help me feel better. I made it to the school, paid for parking, got a big hug from Derek. Much needed. Sat next to Karen. I told her I was a 1/7.5 on the mood chart. She got it, invited me to a movie this afternoon. Singing was much needed. Bumped me up to a 4 for about an hour, then I crashed to a staring 2 for awhile. The movie brought me back up. Honestly, the best film I’ve seen in quite some time. I needed the feel of home. It’s Kind of a Funny Story. After the movie we went to dinner. Then I skipped choir, hit Walmart, and crashed again on the way home.

I’ve been crashing a lot. I’m concerned. My doctor says I need to cut back on what I’m doing but I don’t know how. I know if I don’t I’ll only get worse. I don’t know how. I wake up in the morning when my alarm turns off, not when it comes on. I need express instructions. I am tired during the day and my back is spasming and locking up on me. My head pain has returned and my blood pressure has dropped markedly. I can’t concentrate. I don’t write. I can’t think. When I come home at night I shovel M&Ms into my mouth (literally a giant bag every night) and fall asleep on the couch on or around 9pm. My mom wakes me up and I go to bed. There are all these positive opportunities for me right now. I even just had a great weekend at Possum Trot, which was awesome. I don’t know what is happening.

So tonight while I was curled up on the couch falling asleep next to my almost empty bag of M&Ms I heard my mom shouting into the phone. It seems my sister-in-law died unexpectedly this morning in my brother’s arms. What? Right. I know. Where the Hell did that come from? I got up and came in the kitchen to read the post-it note she was scribbling on. I would have known this sooner if I’d checked Facebook today but I didn’t. Lovely. My mom told him he shouldn’t be angry at God. Actually, IT’S OK. Not that she’s dead but that he’s angry. I don’t understand. And I don’t have to. I just have to go. After an errand in the morning, my mom and I will go up there. Crisis is a good distraction but why death? He was finally happy. I don’t understand.

I’m tired. I am tired. I will go tomorrow and do whatever is needed. Greg is family. MY family. I pray this brings the family closer instead of pulling them apart. I hope my brother can hold on. I love him dearly. I also hope my staring, body-crashing episodes are paused for the duration of this crisis. They are not needed. I should tell my people. I should also sleep. It will be a long day.

Thanks for reading, listening. I know I haven’t been posting. I write things that just never make it here. It’s been a bumpy ride. Please keep my family in your prayers if you’re the prayin’ type. Thanks.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2014

Making Friends with a Bush

11/2/13     12:18pm

2013-11-01 18.09.53(deep sigh)

I feel nervous. I know I haven’t blogged in forever. Sorry about that. I’ve been so busy and unaware of time or space. I’m barely writing at all. I blame this on driving. And partially on the fact that my brain is turned off.

Yesterday my brakes went out on the freeway. I know that God was there. A few moments before I switched into dissociative or crisis mode for no apparent reason. I was listening to my friend apply a DEESC Script to my current situation. It was afternoon traffic and all of the sudden my brake pedal no longer worked. I could press it all the way to the floor. No stoppage. The emergency brake also failed. Yet, I didn’t freak out. I swerved to miss one car and then again to steer clear of the car I’d just swerved in front of. I made it to an off-ramp and coasted into a parking lot. I chose a bush to stop the car with. We jumped the curb, I turned off the ignition. We were inside a bush. So I put the car in reverse and let it roll back off the curb and out of the bush, pulling the key out midway. We stopped.

My friend Sue who was with me had no idea what was going on, other than that I had swerved twice and that we were now friends with a bush. The car smelled like something was burning and I told her to get out. The drivers side panel was smashed so the door only slightly opened. The windshield wipers held decorative pieces of bush. I called State Farm and we walked over to the farmer’s market. I’ll tell ya, like a good neighbor State Farm is NOT there. I even tried singing the jingle. Didn’t work. It took 3 hours of call after call after call, being transferred and cut off. Didn’t help that midway through my phone started shutting itself off whenever they put me on hold. Eventually the tow truck got there and took the car away.

I did everything right. I did not freak out or fail to respond to the situation. I kept myself and my passenger safe. I did not hit another car. I stopped the car with relatively minor damage. I called the insurance company and had the car taken to my mechanic. I’m proud of myself. I also kept my friend calm who had 2 panic attacks and was freaking out. My mom, however, is not happy with me because I called the insurance and filed a claim. In that moment, and now, the only thing that seems to matter is that her car insurance rate might go up. I might as well have smashed into something dangerous and been injured to distract her from the money. I wish she could see that my coping was AMAZING. I even continued on with my plans for the night and attended a zumba party at my gym and had dinner with Sue. I didn’t freak out. Now I am exhausted.

Today I feel frustrated because our mechanic says there is nothing wrong with our brakes and he doesn’t know why the car would do that. IT WAS REAL. I WAS THERE. IT HAPPENED. I want the car fixed. I can’t have it do that again. I could’ve really been hurt. But for him the car is fine. My mom told me I should never call the insurance before calling her. I told her she’s the last person I call because she freaks out. I just really need somebody to say, “Damn, girl. You’re fucking awesome. You did a GREAT job. We’ll deal with the car later.” My mom wants to go to the gym now. I just want to write.

(eyes closed, head down, deep breath)

I haven’t been writing. My writing time is now taken by driving. All of my story is in me, mixing itself up. I joined an adherent DBT program and got a new therapist. We’re laying all my issues out there and it’s freaking me out. I need about an hour of down time after I see her before I can leave. I want a better life. I want to feel good, be independent, free. But I’m scared of dealing with my issues. All those scary things tucked away in neat yellow boxes tied with a ribbon on the back wall of my life. I don’t open them for a reason. Now they’re all in a pile on the floor and I’m freaking out. Do I want to change? Can I tolerate it? I don’t know. I think I trust her but I need to teach her about me. And communicate. I am in an almost constant state of fear lately. Except when faced with a crisis. Oddly enough I wrote the other day that I need the calm of a crisis. Well, I got it. Now I need to run away.

I gotta go. My mom wants to go to the gym and I’m trying to promote her exercising. I’m so tired, physically and spiritually. I’m singing a duet in church tomorrow that I haven’t practiced. I’m excited. It is “Pie Jesu.” Lord, grant them rest. Lord, grant me rest. I have the appropriate feeling state for the song. Now I need to sing it.

Thank you, God, for keeping me safe. And thank you to whomever is reading this. I really appreciate you.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

To New Beginnings

7-10-13     1:45pm

SAMSUNG

It’s official. I got my driver’s license. What a trip. Exhausting. I’m sitting now in the quiet of our mechanic’s waiting room, letting myself settle to the ticks of a clock. (Eyes closed…) In here it is cool. I can begin to relax.

I believe that I failed my driving test. God passed for me. Praise God I had a nice examiner. I almost hit a truck and had to try backing up 3 times. I was terrified, fighting to stay in the moment and ignore or combat the automatic negative thoughts and keep driving through the flashbacks.

When we pulled in I was shaking, fighting off tears. I didn’t believe her when she said I passed. All she said was, “Ok.” Odd. I held it together long enough to get through the line and to the bathroom to cry. These voices were screaming in my head, “You FAILED. AGAIN. You are NOTHING. I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! You’re right back where you started. DIE!” I pulled myself together enough to go out to Mom and then lost it again. I was crying so hard. All the stress from this month all came out in tears and sobs. She held me, pouring out reassurance about driving, which had nothing to do with my crying. It was nice just me and her. I finally calmed down after some Jamba Juice. Now I’m exhausted.

I didn’t expect that reaction. I couldn’t forsee, nor would I want to. It helped a lot that I went to the gym this morning and wore my new outfit. I had a pep talk with God, felt empowered. I met my goal today – to take the drive test. I faced one of my demons. I didn’t back down. I did it. I just happen to have gotten a license in the process.

(deep quiet breaths…)

To new beginnings.
To spiral journals.
To taking back ME.
Life. Me.
To new beginnings.
To starting over.
To cleaning house.
To owning my behavior.
To God.
To love.
To faith.
To life transparency.
To me.

To new beginnings.
Cheerio. ~

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Being set free

6-14-13     10:36am

I woke up today feeling good. God is moving me quickly in a new direction. I’m not sure toward what but I am following as best I can, sometimes running to catch up. The past week has been bad, complete with temporary paralysis, aphasia and severe SI. But right now, in the moment, I feel good. I see color today. I am taking my mom to join my gym. I’m hoping we can spend some time working out together on our shared goal of getting healthier and losing weight. It will help to have something in common.

I’m moving forward in my room. I bought new wall art, a butterfly shower curtain I had intended for the bathroom but will work perfectly for the closet, and started condensing boxes in my closet and garage. I have a vision of a new white full bed and new mattress covered beautifully in the comforter and sheet set I had at USC. A regal safe place to lie my head. I want to build a home for myself. The hospital is the only place that has ever felt safe and I consider it my home. But it’s changing and I’m changing and I need my own safe place.

I stopped BrainPaint on Monday. My mom turned 65. My psychiatrist is going on vacation. We’re battling my insurance to get one of my meds. I have new neighbors. That is a trip. More about that later. Our house is infested with brown widow spiders. I’m not hungry anymore. I’m really spacey and I can’t remember anything. But in this moment I’m happy. I started doing GRAPES again last week. Today my E goal is to do 5 minutes on a machine at the gym. I don’t want to but I did get dressed. I am floating through my day. I feel the happy wearing into confused.

I’m scared to go to Dizzy’s. It doesn’t make any sense. I haven’t been going to jazz things in forever and I’m afraid C will be mad at me. I feel ashamed that I forgot, afraid I’ve been replaced. A friend pointed out a few weeks ago that since I got out of the hospital I haven’t gone back to my life. I guess not. Another jazz friend wanted to know where the fuck I’ve been and if I’m ok. A valid query. I didn’t tell him I forgot. Until he confronted me I had no idea I wasn’t going to jazz. I had no memory. I don’t remember what I was doing and when I do I don’t care or get scared. My slate has been wiped clean – without the use of ECT. ;) I do remember praying for a release from all of the pressure and stress and things I was tied into. I guess this is it. It does feel freeing to have no idea what’s going on. (stare…) I don’t know what day or month it is and I don’t care. I forget what time it is. I forget to take my meds. Not good. I forget to eat. I don’t know where I’m going. I miss deadlines and appointments. Usually this would upset me but I don’t really care. It takes a lot to get me agitated these days. It’s like BrainPaint erased that response. I like it. Except when I need to feel upset and I simply feel nothing. Either way, I’m moving forward.

I feel like I’m being moved by God’s current down the river that is my life. It is moving so fast that I can’t see the shore. I close my eyes and feel myself move. He carries me. He brings me through the rapids, over the falls and safely to shore. I just have to let go. I put my arms out. I am free. I hear this song a lot. I am a child of the one true king. :) I have nightmares that tell me different, that scare me. They’re not me. I’m being set free.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

God Bless the Queen

“I have a message for you. You deserve the best.
Don’t settle for anything less.”
– Pastor

purple flower

Something weird happened to me in church today. I usually greet Pastor after the service but I was talking with someone so I hugged him when he walked by. I said, “It’s nice to see you.” He placed his hand firmly on my shoulder, looked me square in the eye and said, “I have a message for you.” I said, “Okay.” He continued, “You deserve the best. Don’t settle for anything less.” I said, “Okay…” And he turned and walked away. (???) I know God was speaking through him but I’m not sure why.

I asked Diane later why everyone was crying today and she said, “Because Pastor has liver cancer.” I said, “I know. But he had cancer last week too.” And he’ll have it next week as well. She said folks are realizing the mortality of the pastor, a mortality I’m well aware involves family for them. I feel no emotional attachment to the issue. I guess it could be considered rude. I feel it is a calling.

I joined the choir of this church in February, maybe March. God told me to and I listened. I wasn’t sure why. I’m not particularly fond of the music, though it’s beautiful, and the closeness of the people frightens me. But I know I am supposed to be there and I like it. I am learning to love hymns and to socialize with people. There’s something I haven’t told them. I don’t understand it fully but I know why I’m here.

The pastor is going to die. Maybe 10 years from now, maybe tomorrow. But he is. I felt it my first day there and it hasn’t gone away. By nature in new situations I look for a system, a pattern of operation. I want to know how things work and where I fit in. I need to know the rules, the standard operations, where they keep the toilet paper and which row I’m supposed to sit in. I look for areas of need and devise systems to improve them. Here my ideas aren’t warmly welcomed. I realize I’m on someone else’s turf and I need to back down. But I’m here for a reason.

When Diane got in her car accident there were angels with her. And they were in the church when she returned, and they were with the pastor. A heavy presence centers the ground, prepares it for his message. He glows gold. He knows he is dying. I know that we all are. I feel a purpose for me in this transition but I’m not sure that it’s welcome. When I look around, I see areas of change, things that can be improved. I have ideas. They are not ready yet. I am careful not to mention my ideas much. They are seen as an intrusion on established customs. They do it their way. If this were DBSA, I’d be -. I hate -. -‘s always wantin’ to change things. I like them my way. But sometimes her way is better. In this case, it doesn’t matter whose way things get done as long as they get done.

My mom says I’m cold for caring more about the logistics than the emotions of the people. Yes. I guess I’m cold. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. I care deeply for these people. Deeply enough to fight for growth and change, to pick up where some upset person left off, to continue the business of a church when its people are in mourning. The pastor is going to die. I don’t feel sad about that. I feel a little joy. This man who is so close to God will get to meet Him. And what a lovely meeting it will be. My soul smiles when I think of it.

I know I don’t have the normal social reactions most people do. I think God blessed me with my coldness for a reason. I just want to help. I don’t process things the way others do. It is a blessing and a curse. One of my providers thinks I have Asperger’s (high functioning autism). At first I was totally against the idea. Change. Fucking change. But the more I look into it, I agree. I need to talk it over with my other providers. In this situation it allows me to be functional with a lack of emotion, but I can’t understand what’s going on because it’s not happening to me. I don’t think like that. I plan. I live by systems and order. I expect tragedy. I live.

All this to say, God spoke to me through the pastor today and I’m not sure what it means. But I’m pretty sure it’s important. God bless the queen.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Benefits of Pain

4/10/13     9:35am

  • Forces me to slow down, to be mindful of each thing I do
  • Refocuses my attention on God
  • Shows me what is and isn’t important
  • Humbles me
  • Makes me greatly appreciate the little things when they come back
  • Gives me permission to take care of ME
  • Allows me a space to heal
  • Reminds me this is His plan, not mine
  • Increases my empathy towards others
  • Purifies me
  • Reminds me of all my blessings
  • Shows me how frail I really am
  • Causes me to seek help
  • Causes me to want to apologize & forgive
  • Breaks down my walls/barriers/facade
  • Lets me cry
  • Takes my focus off of thoughts & feelings
  • Gives me new perspectives

I am thankful for pain.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

I am so blessed

1-13-13     6:55pm

I am so blessed. I taught dance for the first time today in about ten years. It felt SO good. It was ME. By chance I met a little girl who wanted to dance and her mom said it’s okay. She’s about 7. I didn’t ask. I bought her some tap shoes and brought my pink duct tape. She wanted to tape her headband to her hair. Lol. Her favorite color is pink like mine and I had a blast. We jumped up and down and walked like ducks and cartwheeled and ran around and still made progress. She is so sweet. I feel like me.

I didn’t want to go today. I was so down and discouraged. And I was afraid I would get in trouble for teaching in the back of an existing class. I organized papers and sat on my bed and stared. Literally all day. I was so cold that my fingers and toes were numb. Just be. But I put myself together to go and I’m so glad I did. I had a blast and the teacher wasn’t angry but surprised and delighted to have the option of having kids learn there too. I’ve never been much one to teach kids but I can adapt.

I have my own odd way of teaching. More quirky than odd. I use shapes and movement and chairs and build things up backwards. And it works. If you stick with it. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to find myself through teaching this little girl, even if only for today. I love dancing. And dancing loves me. (sigh) I am so blessed.

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© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Janet was my friend

12/29/12     5pm

Dear Jesus,

I don’t know if she believed or not, but I like to believe that Janet is in your arms today. Please bring her all the comfort and peace that she couldn’t find here and introduce her to joy. Thank you for the time you gave me with her. She is an amazing friend. Please be with Chrissy as she deals with this trauma and help me to provide comfort and support to the group. Give me strength to hold everyone up, to maintain my link. Thank you for giving me the resources and fortitude to do this. Thank you for hope.

In your name I pray, Amen.

Janet 2010

Janet hung herself.
I’m going to the donut shop now.
To be with Joe & Chrissy.
(pause)
Janet was my friend.

Chrissy found her.
Janet was my friend.
I saw her on Wednesday. We worked, talked, had dinner.
I knew she was bad.
I didn’t know how close.

Was the cleaning up all part of the plan?
I doubt it.

She hung herself in the bathroom.
The bathroom we just worked on.
With the flowered rug.
And the Tinkerbell towels.

Janet was my friend.

We went to Noodles & Company after.
She bought me food. We talked.
She laughed.

I met Janet in 2004 in Henry’s group when she was living with her family in Borrego and getting ECT. She was a wreck, but she helped me. She would walk me through guided imagery. We talked on the phone hours a day. She jumped out of a car on the freeway, ran away. Her parents screamed at me. So much drama. But she was my friend.

I couldn’t tolerate her anymore and was glad she disappeared. I hadn’t seen her in years when she showed up at DBSA. I heard of a Janet and prayed it wasn’t her, but it was. I was scared it would be the same drama with her parents and Fidaleo and 17 drugs. But it wasn’t. She was different.

The crippling depression Janet experienced while at DBSA was a vast improvement from when I met her. She had skills, sometimes hope, and a desire for a good life. She lived on her own or with a roommate, drove a car, fed her cats. Those cats were her family, her reasons for living. And the whole month of Halloween.

Janet was a broken little girl living the devil’s fairy tale. With a body that wouldn’t die. But I guess enough is enough sometimes. Her body & mind were weary. It was time to let go.

I can’t imagine her believing it would work. One last try out of desperation. Care for the cats and care for myself. I don’t blame her. She endured years of torture, loneliness and pain. The people she wanted love from the most were mean to her. She had nothing left in the reserve. No doctor, dwindling meds, persistent severe depression. She had her note cards and her kitties and her best friend. She fought the good fight and now it’s over.

Janet was my friend.

I find myself grappling now with the what if and why questions. The words that have no answers. The words that need no response.

I’m going to the donut shop.
Janet was my friend.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

Jesus Loves Me

12/4/12     8:15pm

Dear God,

THANK YOU!

I am waiting for the trolley. I feel joy. I breathe in the cool night air. I breathe. I breathe… I feel calm. I listen intently to crickets and the sound of car tires over rail tracks and the wind. German discussions drift…

My hair blows softly over my face.
I’m free.

I’M FREE! (sigh)

I can’t explain the joy sitting here brings me. Folding laundry. Listening instead of just hearing. The deep appreciation of rising from the ashes, of being released from pain. I see colors. I taste. I feel God again.

19 days of pain have led to this beauty. I am set free. I savor the feeling. I know it is just for a time but this time is mine.

(break to talk with Ringo on the trolley)

(zap) I look forward to projects. I eat colors, swallow time. I am pink and the whole world sings. Of joy, of deliverance, of me. My face smiles without me. I watch. She is beautiful when she’s happy.

This week I realistically contemplated going in. Today I don’t need to. When I see my doctor tomorrow the pain will be a story. I will be able to talk, unlike last time, and to think. I think. Anyway, there is such a difference. Like flipping a switch. I am glad to be on this side.

I could not appreciate gift without loss. Now I take it in, prepare and wait. Rest. Thank you, God. Weepin’ may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. Amen.

My whole body tingles.
Joy comes in the morning.

(sing Brett Michaels’ song “Joy Comin’.”)

As my muscles being to hurt again, remember this feeling.

I used all my energy today.
Now I’m melting.
At least I can poop.

7          If I can feel such joy on Earth, can you imagine what it’s like in heaven?

FG       I don’t know.
            Probly pretty awesome.

3          Sparkles and unicorns!

13        Dragons & fire.

25        Peace & quiet.

7          And angels.

13        I want to paint the sky with a dance and pour out the rain.

FG       And for things to be okay.

3          Jesus will like my unicorn.

7          And I want to ride a sunset.

3          Jesus loves me.

FG       I know, baby. He does.
            Jesus loves me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012