Reblog: Don’t Make Yourself Into Anyone Other Than the One He Intended

I don’t know why, but I was drawn to the post below like a fish on a hook. My illness may or may not go away, but I can’t pretend it’s not there. I can’t pretend my life hasn’t left me a bit battered and bruised and broken (stubborn though I may be). All that is left for me, for the foreseeable future (which is never as far as we think) is to love my family and to write. It seems so very little. But this post puts into words what I’ve sensed God saying to me: just be you.
I protest, reminding God that I am a bit – er – eccentric, and God reminds me that He already knows, cos He made me that way, and that as long as I am being me for His sake, and not being me for my sake, then I’m doing what He made me for. One day at a time.

Contemplative in the Mud

Basilica at PaduaA couple of years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Padua, where Anthony of Padua and Lisbon is buried. It may not be obvious from this blog, but Anthony is one of my favourite saints. I had been to his birthplace is Lisbon before, and now I had the opportunity to visit his shrine and tomb in Padua. This was wonderful!

Now, what does all that have to do with contemplation? Anthony is not usually thought of in association with contemplation. We normally think of Anthony as someone to pray to to help us find lost items or to help us find our way. In reality, Anthony of Padua is the “Hammer of Heretics” and is a Doctor of the Church! He has a wide lists of talents.

padua2One thing I like about Anthony is his personal history. He seems to have had trouble with the idea of…

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I ONCE WAS LOST BUT NOW AM FOUND; WAS BLIND BUT NOW I SEE

I LOVE the story from the gospel of John of the healing of the man who was blind from birth. The unnamed man has such a simplicity and purity of spirit, even when faced with the ‘important’ men and their clever questioning. I’m quite certain Jesus loved this about him too! But what struck me in listening to this story are the words at the very beginning:

As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him…”

John 9:1-3 (WEB)

Jesus’ words, often overlooked because of the rest of the amazing story, are vitally important. We can add nothing to our salvation, nor can we take it away. Even if we follow all the ‘rules’ and worship God, it doesn’t mean our lives will be ok (often rendered as ‘blessed’ but I would question this definition of ‘blessed’ – post on this subject to follow). If we don’t follow the rules, it doesn’t mean our lives will be miserable. This is false teaching, although one that is easy to fall into. I fell into this trap myself a few years ago, thinking that if I did everything ‘right’ then life would be ok. Hurrah! No more bad stuff! God quickly and sharply brought me out of that one.

We latch onto ‘if only I can do it right’ because we’re scared and we want to be in control. Some people spend their whole lives trying to discover what ‘the rules’ are because they think if they follow the rules, everything will be ok, which really means ‘if I follow the rules, I’ll stay in control’. Life is scary. It is not under our control and we can’t do anything to make it under our control. Only yesterday my dear son told me of the death of a boy at school who was only a year older than him. The young man had been fit and healthy until September last year. Now he’s gone. I pray for his family.

Conversely, the most difficult lesson to learn for me (as for many people who have been abused) was that I didn’t do anything to cause any of it. I am not a freak. I am not ‘different’ in some indefinable way. I was not destined for abuse. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with me. God has been gently, carefully and lovingly bringing me out of that one.

God did not and does not cause the bad stuff, although He did allow it to happen. That God allows abuse and evil is a difficult doctrine to swallow, but when we love God, when we become part of His family, God can and does use our suffering for His glory – and it is a truly awesome thing to be a vessel for the glory of God. If I have known what it is to be unloved, to believe myself horrible and worthless and unlovable, how much more is the effect when I realise that not only am I lovable, but that I am loved by the Creator of the universe? And when I do see how much He loves me, what can I do but offer my life, my whole self in return?

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been brought to your knees in despair by your own sin, or whether it has been the sins of others, or a combination of the two: when you’re at your lowest is when God can bless you the most.

Less me = more God:

“You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden.”

Matthew 5:14

Hallelujah: Hebrew for YIPPEE!**

**It’s not really, literally ‘yippee’, of course. Literally, ‘hallelujah’ means ‘praise God!

AFTER EMDR: WHAT NEXT?

I had my final EMDR session. It went well, as these things go, meaning that I was little more than a quaking wreck by the time I walked out the door. At the end of every session I go ‘into my safe place’, which means I close my eyes and imagine I am in St. Julian’s church in Norwich, kneeling before the altar. I surrender everything to God and I pray the Lord’s Prayer. As I pray, I imagine all the people who have knelt in that place, including Lady Julian, all who have prayed and praised and lived out their lives for God. How wonderful it is to recall centuries of prayers and centuries of saints whose shoulders we stand upon.

Do not be afraid—I will save you.
    I have called you by name—you are mine…”

Isaiah 43:1 (GNT)

Afterwards, at home and curled up on the day bed, I was listening to ‘Flash’ by Rachel Anne Ridge. She quoted the above verse. I recall a friend giving me the same verse several years ago, when life seemed like nothing more than a long, dark tunnel. I couldn’t see the light at the end of it, but I had faith in The Light, if that makes sense. I clung to the belief that just because I was in the tunnel it didn’t mean that light couldn’t exist. It was what might be termed a ‘dark night’, but eventually I found myself able to see the light again. I was bruised and scarred, but I could see.

In ‘Flash’ Rachel Anne Ridge describes the moment she recognised all the names, all the identities, she had taken on herself:

damaged

defeated

afraid

alone

unloved

etc., etc.

I suspect Rachel is not alone and that many of us have borne a long list of negative names for ourselves. It is a prolonged process to become free of the sticky web of lies. As I have learned through the years, abuse shapes a person’s sense of self so deeply that often we’re unaware of it (this is partly why we are commanded not to judge one another – but that’s a post for another day). Sometimes the world creeps in and tells me that because I am not such-and-such, because I haven’t done such-and-such, I am worth less than other people, I am somehow a failure. Now that I have finished EMDR, I admit I haven’t a clue where God will lead and of course I am wondering. Will I get a job? Will I complete my degree? How will I serve Him? What does He want me to do? Will He make use of the talents He gave me?

I have been praying recently, knowing that EMDR was coming to an end, about where my life will go. I know it sounds daft but sometimes I feel my life has been wasted. I’m rapidly approaching 40 and yet there are so many things I’ve never done. I feel odd and foolish when I’m around other people who have done all sorts of different things. But maybe – just maybe – that’s a good thing. Maybe God has given me a gift because I have learned (am learning) that my value is not in what I do or who I am. My value, my dignity, is a gift from God, God-breathed and God-inhaled, and that is a gift worth sharing.

Ridge also says:

‘That afternoon, it hit me: as a child of God, I belong to Him. He made me. He owns me. I am His… Only He has the right to name me… My identity is in Him. He has given me a new name. I am not what I do. My value doesn’t come from my successes or my failures. What I do comes from who I am, not the other way around. My value is inherent, not earned.’

I reached the end of the chapter. Still of a prayerful mind, I felt the stirrings of praise and out poured this song:

‘…I saw the Lord… sitting on his throne, high and exalted… Around him flaming creatures were standing… They were calling out to each other:

“Holy, holy, holy!
The Lord Almighty is holy!
His glory fills the world.”’

Isaiah 6:1-3 (GNT)

I looked up the passage from Isaiah that talks about the angels singing ‘holy, holy, holy’. Then, as I read the following verses, it was like God tapping me on the shoulder. It’s as if He was saying, “You’re useful to me, even if you don’t see it.”

‘I said, “There is no hope for me! I am doomed because every word that passes my lips is sinful, and I live among a people whose every word is sinful. And yet, with my own eyes I have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the creatures flew down to me, carrying a burning coal that he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with the burning coal and said, “This has touched your lips, and now your guilt is gone, and your sins are forgiven.”

Then I heard the Lord say, “Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?”

I answered, “I will go! Send me!”’

Isaiah 6:5-8 (GNT)

I hope these words are useful to you, too, dear reader. God bless.

Quiet Sunday in the Rain: A Little Bit of Heaven

Despite the rain, we have had an enjoyable family weekend. We took Grandma out for lunch at a lovely English country pub with home-cooked food. Afterwards, we drove through little villages filled with chocolate box cottages, past fields whose edges were scattered with perky daisies and nodding poppies. I couldn’t help but marvel, even in all the rain, even under the greyest of grey English skies, how incredibly beautiful the landscape is. It feels more like home than anywhere else. I don’t mean that any particular stretch of countryside, or any particular place feels like home, I just mean the act of being in the wandering lanes feels like home, especially in the rain, passing fields and hedgerows and elegant cypresses. The grey skies and the rain seem to make the green even greener; even the air is scented with a fresh, full-bodied scent that one can only find on an English summer’s afternoon in the rain. It’s the type of smell that makes me think of scones and jam and teapots and camping and gentle chatter and… well, home. I wonder if heaven will be a little bit like that? I hope so.

Rain, Steam and Speed by J.M.W. Turner, 1844 (wonderful painting – so ahead of its time!)

Anyway, now we’re home. Grandma is back at the care home. My dear MIL becomes distressed and very confused if she’s still out by late afternoon so nowadays we make sure she’s back in time for tea. She was tiring by the end anyway. Fluff and Chip are at their swimming lesson and I’m about to pop a cake in the oven for tea. What could be better than this?

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in fields of green grass
    and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.
He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths,
    as he has promised.
Even if I go through the deepest darkness,
    I will not be afraid, Lord,
    for you are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.

You prepare a banquet for me,
    where all my enemies can see me;
you welcome me as an honoured guest
    and fill my cup to the brim.
I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
    and your house will be my home as long as I live.

Psalm 23 (GNT).

I couldn’t have said it better myself. A perfect psalm for today. Thank you, Jesus.

First a Spider, then a Pigeon

A small brown spider crawled across the damp lino in the bathroom. I picked it up. It wouldn’t have made it otherwise. It would have been crushed underfoot by an unwitting toed foe. I put it out the window. It may go on to spin a hundred webs. It may get eaten by sparrows.

Then there was the wood pigeon. It’s lovely living in a rambling old house with half a dozen open fireplaces, but there are drawbacks. We use chimney pillows to prevent draughts (helpful hint: they have probably already paid for themselves several times over in terms of energy savings). This pigeon had somehow fallen down the chimney onto the chimney pillow so that when we were attempting to play a game, Chip and I were startled by a loud scrabbling and movement of the chimney pillow. We’d heard birds in the chimney before, but not like this. I called Frank and we attempted to remove the balloon and capture the bird with a blanket. It didn’t work. The bird panicked, flapped and flew back up, settling on a ledge just behind the fireplace.

We were flummoxed. After some discussion we opened the window, left the room and shut the door. We made sure we were quiet in the vicinity of the room, hoping the pigeon would find its own way down into the room and out of the window. Four hours later, as night was drawing in, we tentatively opened the door and peered under the fireplace. The bird was gone. It didn’t need to be rescued. It just needed to be left alone. The only evidence that it had even been there was a solitary grey feather.

********

Last Friday was the most intense session of EMDR that I have had so far. It affected me for the best part of a week and left me functioning well below par. Even FlyLady-ing was a serious challenge and I didn’t manage much most days. I have had nightmares and panic attacks and… well, it was not good. But did I allow myself the time to ‘go with the flow’ and let myself feel whatever I needed to feel? No, in good old Sandy King style I ploughed through and tried to be everything I thought I ought to be. In some ways I had to: Fluff had a Guides camp and I had to drop her off on the Friday and pick her up on the Monday, plus poor Frank had terrible toothache which wasn’t fixed until Wednesday, so I couldn’t step back and ‘rest’, I had to continue; I have a family.

The trouble was, instead of beginning to feel better after a couple of days, I still felt horrible. I started worrying that this was how it was going to be for me from now on – horrible, like it always used to be :-/ I prayed and said, “God, you are always good, even when life is not. I am so sorry for when I have let you down. Please forgive me. Thank you that your love remains. May it all be for your glory.” I continued praying this prayer as my mind brought all its horribleness up over and over. It was the most difficult phase of EMDR because it related to a period of my life where I felt guilty. I felt as if I should have been a better parent, despite being under enough pressure to make a normal person implode… I believed I was a bad mother and this belief was worse than any abuse I experienced at the hands of others. So I prayed and prayed for forgiveness and praised God for His grace.

But God said (once I was listening), “Hang on a minute! What was your immediate reaction on seeing that tiny wee spider on the floor the other day? Did you tread on it? Did you flush it down the toilet?”

Me: “Well, no, but…”

“No buts! Now, you know that pigeon, right?”

Me: “Yes.”

“What did you instinctively do when you realised it had fallen down the chimney? Did you swear and shout? Did you plan how to trap it and break its neck?”

Me: “No! The poor thing was frightened. I knew it needed to be left alone to make its own way out. I was worried that it might have broken a wing and we’d have to rescue it.”

God: “So if your reaction – without thinking – to something as tiny as a spider is to protect it, do you think you’re likely to not protect your own children? Do you think you’re probably a bad mother?”

“Well… I suppose not.”

God: “Do you think that, whatever happened, you probably did your best under enormous pressure?”

Me, hesitant: “Er… Well… I suppose. If You say so…”

God: “Hmm. What did the pigeon need to feel safe and be able to fly again?”

Me: “It needed to be left alone.”

God, softly: “Do you think that might apply to you, too?”

Me: “Ohh…”

………………..

Thank you, Lord.

Reblog: What the Book of Job Really Means

Excellent post from Tim Fall about the book of Job.

I remember a well-meaning friend saying to me, when I was talking about the horribleness that I was experiencing at that time, if I had read about Job. I looked at him, frowned, and asked if Job had read about me.

Laura is absolutely right. No matter how much one might end up with, it can never take away the deep and lasting sorrows. But having gone through those sorrows and surviving and still loving God brings about a faith of a different kind – a spiritual maturity maybe? It means you’re not dependent on life being good to thank God for His blessings. You know that God is always good. God is always. God is.

I’m struggling right now. Had my EMDR session this morning and it was a bit like being hit by a tidal wave. It’s inexpressible, frankly. But I do know that God is good, and that God has always been good, even through every sad or bad or mad or terrible experience. God was never remote and distant – He was with me. I know that. And my sorrow, my sorrows, *all* of our sorrows, He shares. He gives us beauty for ashes. This is why we mourn on Good Friday and celebrate come Easter Sunday. Hallelujah!

Tim's Blog - Just One Train Wreck After Another

I can’t say I know all about the Book of Job, but I think I know a bit about it and here’s one thing I know:

The Book of Job reveals God’s grace.

Some will dispute this, saying the book instead reveals a cruel God who uses Job as a pawn in a game played between God and Satan. Here’s how they might characterize the opening scenes: God asks Satan where he’s been lately, Satan says he’s been out cruising through the world here and there, and God asks if Satan has happened upon Job.

Satan Before the Lord, Corrado Giaquinto (1703–1765) (Wikimedia) Satan Before the Lord,
Corrado Giaquinto (1703–1765)
(Wikimedia)

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8.)

Job is described as a man who cared for his…

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EMDR, DISNEY’S ‘FROZEN’ & ME

In Disney’s ‘Frozen’, the Ice Queen, Elsa, has to keep her feelings, her talents, her true self, hidden. She is afraid that if she doesn’t, she will cause harm to everyone around her, and lose… what? Her sanity? I’m not sure. I don’t think she even knows what exactly she is scared of, but she feels responsible for the well-being of everyone else.

“Don’t feel! Don’t feel! Don’t feel!” Elsa says to herself as she paces back and forth in her snow palace after she finally runs away. The ice castle she creates on a lonely mountain top is designed to keep everyone out. And it does. The people are afraid, it’s true. They’re afraid of what Elsa keeps locked inside. Of course, Elsa blames herself. Wicked Prince Hans even tells Elsa she has killed her own sister (she hasn’t). But Elsa eventually realises how much she loves her sister and, in this act of loving, all the ice and snow begin to melt. The thaw has begun. Winter turns to spring.

Hmm. It really isn’t too much of a stretch to see the story of Frozen as a metaphor for the EMDR process, especially if you were threatened ‘not to tell’ and believed you would be responsible for the sky falling down if you did. It really isn’t too much of a stretch to see Frozen as a metaphor for yourself when you were once told on a daily basis how awful you were and how you were responsible for every single terrible thing. It isn’t too much of a stretch when you once thought that you were not permitted to have feelings, when you used to literally bite your tongue to stop yourself.

It isn’t too much of a stretch, either, to think that it was love that finally made the difference – love that triggered the thaw.

Reblog: But Mozart was a prodigy! (& other myths that might make you throw in the towel)

********

God loves you because He made you. God knows your heart. He knows your dreams and your wishes. Before we can have any desire, our first desire *has* to be for Him. Because ultimately, as Julian of Norwich said, we are created “from love, of love, for love.”

The word Logos (which is translated as ‘The Word’ in the gospel of John) is relates to the word locus. Locus is the centre of something, e.g. a wheel, around which other things move. Jesus is both the utterance of God and the centre around which we all spin. He speaks us into existence and He pulls us together.

I am so tired today. My brain is having to work hard reshuffling all these memories. I don’t want to think ‘what if’ any more. It hurts. I just want to belong to Him.

Some of us are given heavy loads, aren’t we? I think one’s own head being awry is one of the hardest burdens. But Jesus calls us blessed! 😀

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”

Matthew 5:3-5 (The Message)

Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν

Laura Droege's blog

Has this cat gotten 10,000 hours of singing practice yet?  (Photo: Jonraguine1999, morgueFile) Has this kitten gotten 10,000 hours of singing practice yet? (Photo: Jonraguine1999, morgueFile)

If you’re like me and you’ve been working at developing a skill (such as writing) for any length of time, you’re bound to look up and see all the people who are highly accomplished at this skill, and feel envious.

I walk into bookstores and it’s almost more than I can bear. All those books! Written by someone else! Not a single title with your name on the cover.

(For a while, when I was racking up rejections for The Cruelest Month, I didn’t go to bookstores at all. It was too painful.)

. . . And if you’re like me, you read a masterpieceand feel tempted to bang your head on the table because you simply know that you’ll never, ever, in a hundred million, billion years, be able to write something that marvelous. Marvelous?

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EMDR, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Mental Illness

My doctor psychologist lady tells me I’m holding back. She tells me I’m ‘blocking’: I am not letting the EMDR process move forward at anything other than a snail’s pace. Which is ok, she says, but I only have 18 sessions and then I have to go back on the waiting list if I need it again. So if I want to be seeing real improvements I have to allow her in, as it were… No, I don’t have to allow her in. I have to allow me out – the me that stays hidden, locked inside the vault. This tomb was created so that I could survive. If I hadn’t, I would have lost my sanity or, worse, lost my children.

It is the existence of the vault that causes the PTSD, because occasionally the vault is shaken, and occasionally, outside of my control, one of the terrible things hidden inside escapes and wreaks havoc, even if only temporarily. It happens often enough that they give it a name and call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is quite a polite-sounding name for what happens when your own head screams danger! danger! danger! because the man walking by looks vaguely like your ex-husband, or emergency! emergency! emergency! when you hear a certain type of sound that sounds a bit like something far worse. Mind you, I’m very good at hiding it. Abuse teaches you to hide your thoughts and feelings because they make you more vulnerable, so you become a master of disguise.

I think PTSD occurs because human beings are wired for survival. It took me time to figure that out. I thought I was weak and that that’s why it affected only some people. I don’t now. PTSD occurs when you have to push your emotions down in a hostile, sometimes life-threatening situation, in order to think rationally and clearly – in order to survive. It’s a great survival technique. The trouble is that you then have to be able to process the memories of those terrible events, because that’s what the brain does every night as you sleep, but if you’ve had to push it down far enough, and if you’ve had to push it down over and over and over in order to survive and continue to survive… well, then you end up with PTSD, because we’re not made for intense and unrelenting distress.

The past two days I have been giving what the psychologist said a lot of thought. She’s right and I know she’s right. I have talked it through with my dear Frank. I have talked, in less detail of course, with each of my children. It occurred to me that if I was diagnosed with a different kind of serious illness, I would allow myself the time and space for the treatment to work, and I would explain to the children what was happening (because they’re all old enough to understand) so that we could muddle through together because that’s what families do. So why had it not really occurred to me to do this for EMDR? Why did I think that my treatment and its effects were not ‘worthy’ enough to be given consideration?

I don’t think the fault lies solely within me. I don’t think it’s just me wanting to push through and just get on with it, because, as St. Teresa of Avila says in The Interior Castle, ‘getting on with it’ is just common sense. No, I think that our culture looks upon mental illness and its treatment with cynicism. Sufferers are often perceived as weak-minded or morally deficient, as malingerers or somehow less human. Our culture subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) degrades those with mental illness. They become objects of fear, scorn or pity, as if they’re no longer worthy of the same respect and dignity as someone with a ‘physical’ illness. Yet even Jesus experienced mental anguish:

‘In his life on earth Jesus made his prayers and requests with loud cries and tears to God, who could save him from death. Because he was humble and devoted, God heard him. But even though he was God’s Son, he learned through his sufferings to be obedient. When he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him…’

Hebrews 5:7-9 (GNT)

Mental illness is a physical illness. If my brain doesn’t work properly because the neurons got screwed up by too much adrenaline, or if the brain’s hormones are too high or too low, how is that not physical? Who in this world can look into my malfunctioning brain and know what I am thinking or feeling? No one. Yet still the fear within ourselves makes us view the mentally ill at arms’ length. In the 21st century that is nothing short of a disgrace.

I read an excellent post from Ann Voskamp today. She could have written it just for me at this exact time. Praise God for His provision! How can I be anything but thankful for today? Here’s an excerpt. I pray it blesses you as it did me:

Dear Thriver

I once held a bird in my hand.

No one else could see it, but I felt it. I felt it’s heart thumping hard and afraid.

It happens– there are ways to look fine on the outside…. and no one knows what you’ve really survived.

But honestly? You didn’t just survive, so let’s toss that myth right at the outset.

The way you keep walking? You may be wounded. You may be hurting. You may be limping. You may feel alone and overwhelmed and an unspoken broken — but you’re no victim. And you’re not just a survivor. You’re a Thriver.

You may bleed but you rise.

Yeah, it may not feel like it — but you are seen… how you just keep keeping your chin up and living brave through the hurt and how you keep taking one step out of bed and another step through the door — and how you keep scaling mountains by relentlessly taking steps forward.

But I wanted you to know — your wounds are seen and it’s okay… 

To read more click here, it will open in a new tab.

Reblog: Manipulated by Christian Grey (by Me, a Fifty Shades Avoider)

AMEN. Shout it from the rooftops! That is just how my first relationship (which led to my first marriage) started out, when he began pursuing me. He overwhelmed me in such a short space of time and because ‘he was vulnerable’ I didn’t know how to say no… plus I’d not properly recovered from the sexual abuse of my childhood nor had a boyfriend before. He must have thought he was the spider that trapped the fly when he met me. In my EMDR session today I was recalling all those seemingly small, seemingly non-abusive moments right at the beginning of the ‘relationship’. Coercion, manipulation: subtle forms of evil but nevertheless evil.

But hallelujah for therapy and hallelujah for a wonderful, kind, patient husband. ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.’

Laura Droege's blog

Ruth Perry over at The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors posted a huge list of links about the response to Fifty—oh, never mind, you know what book it is. I read a few. One that I found especially intriguing was from a woman who had survived an abusive relationship: “Fifty Abusive Moments in Fifty Shades of Grey.” I’ll be writing about numbers 48 and 50.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not read the book, have no plans to read the book, and absolutely no intention of wasting time and money on a movie based on the aforesaid book. Normally, I think people should read a book/watch a movie if they’re going to critique it; I’ve made an exception here.

Second full disclosure: I’ve never been in a physically abusive relationship, though my first relationship falls into the “emotionally abusive” category. I wasn’t certain that this was true until…

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