The Payoff for Being Afraid

photo by Mike Maxwell
“Adventure is not outside [wo]man; it is within.” ― George Eliot
(photo by Mike Maxwell)
Recently a friend asked me what the payoff is for my “Shame Shit Storms.”

This is a painful and somewhat embarrassing question to answer.

Here’s what I came up with . . . My shame allows me to:

  • stay safely in my comfort zone, which allows me to
  • avoid being seen, which allows me to
  • escape being hurt.

Looking at this list makes me uncomfortable. How can it be? I like seeing myself as a strong and capable woman, not a fragile and frightened little girl!

But in my heart I know staying in my comfort zone means I don’t have to take a stand — for myself, for others, for love. If I’m shamed back into my little corner, I can bypass doing my inner work. I can give in unchallenged to my defeating beliefs that I am lazy and worthless. That I am broken beyond repair.

Ultimately, I can avoid taking responsibility for myself and my life.

Which is pretty fucking ironic considering I am the FOUNDER of the Church of Personal RESPONSIBILITY!

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We are the True Believers

Having faith in humanity is harder on some days than others. Like today. Walking up the sidewalk to my house, I noticed someone had cut the little bunch of tulips growing by my front porch. WTF? Obviously people do far worse to each other than steal their flowers. But even something as small as this … Read More

Join My Baby Picture Movement!

I have this idea. We’re all running around acting like we’re oh-so-grown up, when in reality we’re just little children trying to get by in a scary world. We go about our day-to-day lives, interacting with each other, disparaging those who bother us and snipping at those we love when tensions run high. What if … Read More

Your Story Matters

For those of you who know me, or have seen my show, you know that I don’t have the best relationship with my mother. We don’t see eye-to-eye about much. Basically, she wants me to be something I’m not — a conservative Christian housewife — and I want her to be something she’s not — … Read More

The Devil in the Dumpster

I live in a small town that once made the Guinness World Records for the most churches per capita. For some of you, that might sound like heaven. For others, hell. For me, it’s become a fascinating study in human nature, a great place to ponder the big questions, like: Do you really need to … Read More

Will Your Christian Parents Ruin Your Wedding?

Catholic-wedding_1Awhile back, a nice lapsed Catholic girl named Heidi came to see my show. Afterward she gave me a big hug, and said she totally identified with my stories even though she was raised Catholic and I Protestant.

Heidi had a question for me. Like me, she struggled to navigate the relationship with her parents since leaving their church. Usually they just agreed to disagree, but lately, well, things had gotten out of hand.

After many years of cohabitating, Heidi and her boyfriend had decided to get married.

“Congratulations!” I said. “Your parents must be thrilled!”

“Um, well, not exactly,” she said, “They want me to get married in the Catholic Church. But I can’t.”

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Mom’s Latest Attempt at Tricking Me into Returning to Jesus

One of the things I admire most about Christians is their perseverance.

Their sheer dedication to spreading the word.

Their absolute and total commitment to converting the rest of us, regardless of how many times we say, “Been there. Done that. NO THANKS!”

Perhaps the queen in this regard is my own mother. Although it has been years since I left Christianity, my mother believes if she just does or says the RIGHT thing, she can finally convince me to return to the fold.

Mom’s prayer? “Lord, give the right words to grab Thea for you!!!”

Read MoreMom’s Latest Attempt at Tricking Me into Returning to Jesus

I’m Proud to be a Troublemaker

Recently a friend asked me how I’d define a strong and confident woman.

I immediately flashed back to Sinead O’Connor, October 3, 1992.

She was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Sinead performed her first song, “Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home,” as planned. Later in the show she sang her second number, an a cappella rendition of Bob Marley’s “War.” Instead of singing “racism,” she sang “child abuse.”

Then she held up a photo of Pope John Paul II and while singing the word “evil,” tore the picture in two. She ended by saying directly to the camera, “Fight the real enemy!”

Stunned, the live audience sat there silently . . .

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Beware These Books

I am so grateful to my local library for warning me which books to avoid! Before those handy little cross stickers, I would sometimes check out a book, get it home, open it up and read such disturbing passages as: “After hearing all that Douglass had to say about Jesus Christ, Reese confessed Him as … Read More

Am I Cool Yet, Strolling Scones?

Musicians Rick Stockton and Helen Highwater
[photo by Devon Meyers]
CONFESSION: For several years now I have secretly hoped that Rick Stockton and Helen Highwater’s awesomeness would somehow rub off on me.

This attractive pair formed The Strolling Scones band for a 60′s-themed New Year’s Eve gig a few years back. Somehow the theme stuck, and they found themselves touring the Southwest decked out in miniskirts and go-go boots, sideburns and bell-bottoms, opening for the likes of Joe Cocker.

Over the years they’ve lost the outfits but kept the retro rock sound. Rick plays guitar and Helen the bass, and they both sing. Their voices blend beautifully, and I love their harmonies.

Did I mention they’ve been playing together since the invention of Spandex? Man oh man, are they tight!

Read MoreAm I Cool Yet, Strolling Scones?