So here’s the deal: I naturally have no filter. I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t have one. For people who love me it’s just natural that I’m going to say something in the conversation that has them going “What the eff did you just say?” and then we will talk it out over drinks and laughs. It’s just how it goes. I cuss a lot, I ask a lot of questions, I say things that most people are thinking but won’t say and I call things how I see them and I see a lot of things that other people don’t see. All of those things has caused me to live a lot of my life alone in a corner reading a book, because I am either misunderstood or people don’t like what I am saying. Or my bluntness gets taken for being mean. Now, there are plenty of times that I am in fact mean. I have been facing the fact that when I get angry, I have no problem finding someone’s weakness and going for it. It’s been how I have defended myself for a very long time. I hate that about myself and have worked tirelessly for that last year to change that behavior and for the most part, I have. I have tried to be kinder, more patient, not so abrasive when talking to people I disagree with and not being so in-your-face on issues like abortion, the death penalty, immigration, social justice and other hot button issues because I really do get that being a bitch to people who disagree with me isnt’ going to help anyone and will only push people away from both my faith and the truth. So, I have tried to be “nice”. Me being nice looks a lot like me trying to smile for pictures, it’s scary and everyone can see through it, but I try anyway because Jesus wants me to be kind.
Here’s the thing though, even when you are nice, people accuse you of being mean. People misinterpret what you are saying and people who don’t know you or your life or sense of humor take things said and run with them assuming the worst of you. I have tried over and over again to twist myself into being a certain way so that doesn’t happen and it still happens all the time. If I cuss, people think that I’m horrible, if I don’t people think I’m snobby. I have no idea how to be “public” and how to be “private”, I am just me: flaws and all, all of the time.
I had a life before becoming Catholic and I talk a lot about that life, not because I think that it’s funny or because I think that I’m not forgiven or because I am dwelling on it, but I talk about it because it was real. It was my life and if anyone can read my story and know that God loves them no matter where they are or what they have done and it helps them, then telling those things is worth it. That is all I want to do, help people who are where I was or who have been there and look around a room and wonder if they belong there with people who haven’t been through those things. I wasn’t a badass. I have a big mouth, there is a difference. I was the nerd who skipped school and read books while everyone else was drinking and smoking weed or dropping acid to Pink Floyd videos. Even at my wildest, I wasn’t a badass, I just was sleeping with men who were dangerous so people let me do whatever I wanted to do. I am not proud of that, it’s just a fact. The things that I’ve seen and done give me a different view on issues. I know bikers, cops, black people, drug dealers, and everything in between. They are people to me, not just memes to share on social media.
I do not like to write from a preaching point of view. To me, that is annoying. There is motivational writing that isn’t so deep and personal but inspiring and then there is preaching. Anytime that I write in any way that isn’t from my personal experience and struggle, I become preachy and annoying. So I just don’t do it. Maybe one day I will run out of personal experiences, but until then that’s how I’m going to write. And that will be never because really, the struggle is real and I have a new one every day. That always leaves me up for being thought to be trying to brag about my past or being stuck in it. That isn’t the case. I have come to embrace my past. Who I was then is the same person that I am now, I just make different choices now. I have a different center: Jesus is my center.
For example: before my conversion, I planned to take my son out to a strip club for his 21st birthday, but now, I am Catholic and he is a father and has a girlfriend so that is no longer an option. Instead we went to a dive bar and I made him buy me drinks. It was fun and I made the bartender cut him off.
The thing that bothers me is that I am often alone and uninvited to things. It’s not new to being Catholic, it’s always been this way for me. I don’t make friends easy and I am often left out on the edge of groups, because I am too much for a lot of people. That’s why I love dive bars, because I fit there. I have talked to my best friend, my kids and my husband about it and all of them have asked me the same questions:
1. Am I being my authentic self?
2. Am I reaching my target audience?
3.Am I doing what God asks of me?
The answer to all of them is “yes”. I have plenty of flaws that I need to deal with, lots of vices that I need to give up and work through, but I am doing all of those things. My first fan letter came in the mail and it was from a group of people in a federal prison who listen to my show. I don’t know how other people would feel about that, and I really didn’t know how I felt about it, but after a long time of thinking about it I think that is awesome. Those are the people that I want to reach, people who have no idea just how much God loves them and how valuable they are, regardless of where they are or what they have done.
About being real though, it means learning that not everyone will like you and that you have to keep on going anyway. I don’t know why God allows us to deal with the loneliness that comes from not being liked by people, because no matter how many people love me, the one person who can’t stand me always seems to be burned into my brain. Maybe that is His way of keeping me humble.
I will say though, I am so thankful for all of you who do love and support me even though I am a hot mess to deal with. My best friend Candie and my husband are my roots, God is good to give them to me.