Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Loving Well, Hearing Clearly and Choosing Peace

2020 Made A Sharp Turn

To be honest with you, my family's 2020 started off really well. My younger brother and his wife were about to have another child that is due during my birth month (May 15); my sister is engaged and we were planning her wedding, bridal shower, etc for end of 2020 and wedding in 2021; I had just been accepted into a prestigious theatrical producing program run by the Commercial Theater Institute which was held weekly at The Broadway League. For the three of us, it was a strangely calm time where we weren't grieving or something traumatic was happening. On March 12th everything changed dramatically for most of our country. We all know what happened, this post isn't about that. This post is about how we continue to keep the peace that passes all understanding and look forward to the future even when the future looks uncertain and strange. We are in a moment where God is reminding us that we've always had less control then we thought we did.  

Careful What You Ingest 

 I've been getting messages from other Believers who are pretty anxious, looking for answers and passing along what they believe are answers to their fears. I haven't been looking at these messages. I don't find them very helpful. They don't usually give me more insight than what I can pray and ask God for the clarity and vision to know what He is doing in our midst. I truly believe that we are in a time where we have to be listening to the Holy Spirit and asking for his leading. When He speaks, we must be obedient quickly. Nothing that is happening right now should be a surprise to Believers who have sought God and His Word, and nothing that may happen in the future should be a shock. (Matthew 24:42-44) False prophets have been running rampant for quite sometime already and every time something like this happens I hear the same words, "judgement", "God's wrath", etc. (Matthew 7:15-20) I do not deny that much of the world either never acknowledged God or if they did has turned their back. I do not deny that we are a sinful people in need of repenting and God's grace. Being sinful and in need of repentance is the basis for our faith.
I have noticed that there is an agenda with a lot of these "prophecies" and I will no longer ingest everything. For the past seven years the Lord has been preparing me for this and I have been very particular about what "prophetic words" I allow into my spirit. We must be careful of fear and not allow it to cloud our judgement. Because we are all sinful in nature,we must check the word. When you hear the same phrases told in different ways condemning the same people every time, you have to stop and think.  Or when we've heard the same prosperity words repeatedly but have seen that not change the lives of many for the better, you have to stop, think and pray. Who are these words for? Who are these words from? What is their fruit? What do they really believe? Who are they pointing us to? When I hear "prophetic words" of condemnation and judgement but the ones being hurt the worst by this pandemic are people of color and the poor, it gives me great pause. Poor people of color also pray and go to church in high numbers. Is the person saying these things even aware of the fact that the people most affected are the people that if Jesus were here today he would be a part of? Jesus was a person of color, who was poor and a refugee. The communities that these "prophets" seem very interested in condemning are the least affected. Yes, help the poor and needy. Fight for the motherless and the refugees, but then do not be so unaware of your privilege that you do not realize you are condemning us out of the other side of your mouth. Because many of those you are condemning aren't. (Matthew 25:34-40; Proverbs 4:23-24)

Loving Others Well

I have seen a lot of Believers and Non-Believers do beautiful things during this pandemic. I have seen individuals from all backgrounds, faiths and political leanings rise to this occasion with strength, leadership and love for others. I have also seen people take each other down and allow agendas to kill their witness or hurt people who do not agree with them. I have seen churches still meet because, yes, my God can do all things and He is all powerful and he can protect us. But why would you put other people's lives at risk? How is that showing the love of our Father? How is that being a good witness? Staying home, washing your hands, disinfecting and socially distancing does not mean we do not trust God. It means we have wisdom (Proverbs 4:4-9) 
Why have we equated our faith with only being able to meet within a building? What happened to the church without walls? God is only asking us to go back to our Jesus roots. If he did it without a building and in homes, why can't we? We are made in God's image so we can. (Mark 12:29-31; 2 Cor 6:16; Acts 2:42-47)

I have also heard from other Believers and Non-Believers that there are prophecies and conspiracy theories going around that this quarantine may not end, this is only the beginning and someone did this on purpose. Here's what I say to the Believers, if that is true, why are you surprised?  Daniel and Revelation are there to give us a blueprint for things like this.  I have been praying and will continue. But you also need to hold your peace and remember who is in control. Remember who is on the throne. There is no doubt that things will be dramatically different after this pandemic. Some things for the better and others for the worse, but again, if you keep communion with the Holy Spirit then there should be no surprises and He will lead us.(Prov. 25:2; Joshua 1:7-9) Pray without ceasing. (1Thess 5:16-18)

Peace that Passes Understanding 

Fear tends to be the root of most of humankind's issues. Fear of the unknown, fear of others, fear of freedom being lost, fear of too much freedom; I could go on and on. But we have been told repeatedly by God to not be afraid because He is with us. (Joshua 1:9; Phil 4:6-9) And since He is with us, we can ask him for wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  We can ask him how to love will during this time and how to be good disciples. We can ask how to be His hands and feet.  We can also be obedient and understand that we don't know everything and that humility is also commanded of us. Anxiety, divisiveness, anger and fear are not our portion. Peace, joy, love and wisdom are our inheritance. This is a time for the church to shine and to lead the way in loving well. We should be rising up out of an abundance because we know whom we serve and that He has the cattle on a thousand hills. God is giving us this time to spend with him, deep in prayer, knowing His voice better and learning how to trust Him more. Yes, things will be different and yes, we may feel shaken but we know whom we can trust and He is in us and He is our refuge. (Psalm 46)

Lastly, a friend sent me this quote from a Martin Luther book which he wrote while going through a plague. This is what it says:
"I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, He will surely find me, and I have done what He has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God." (Martin Luther, Works v. 43, p. 132.)."

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Anxious Obedience

The Title Of This Post Is Pointless
You might be asking yourself if that's even a thing? Anxious Obedience?  I usually follow the peace. If I feel a sense of peace even amidst the chaos I move forward. I call it "weird peace". It's a type of peace that doesn't make sense when you look at your circumstances. I feel like the last two years have been a continuous exercise in following my peace even when circumstances do not look they way I think they should.
In the fall of 2017 I heard a song that spawned an idea that got me to produce my first show. If I hadn't moved past my fear and done it anyway I wouldn't have had one of my favorite life experiences to date. Working on a concert where I essentially had no idea what I was doing, co-directing actors of a caliber I had no experience with and working along side a history making music director was far beyond my scope of experience up until that point. But God gave this to me. He let me do it and we were successful.
After that experience, I was eager to have a similar one and as usual the ideas I had were endless. For every one idea I am able to create there are many others in line waiting to be fleshed out. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed that there are too many to complete in my lifetime given I still have a full-time day job that is not creative and loved ones that I have a responsibility to be there for. Being an absentee friend, auntie or sister isn't the type of legacy I want to leave in the world.

A New Idea
In the spring of 2018, a mere two months after Typecast was complete, I embarked on the odyssey of creating The Women's Cycle. At its beginning it was to be an immersive theatrical experience with three plays and meals that were reminiscent of the plays. The event was to take place in a house since our flagship show was Fefu and Her Friends. Fefu and Her Friends is a play with three acts that take place in Fefu's home over a weekend.
As I did research on spaces I found The Cell Theater which is a townhouse that is now a theater. There were restrictions to using that space that felt it wouldn't give us the freedom to use as much space as we would like for an immersive production. Eventually I found a lovely museum in Manhattan called Mount Vernon Museum and Garden that was owned and operated by the first all-female historical society. It is a beautiful old house with a wonderland of a garden. We loved it! Unfortunately we didn't get the rights to Fefu and then failed to get the rights to a second show that would have worked. In spite of that I had two women furiously writing two new plays which were going to run the alternate weekends from Fefu. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day I received an email from the theater company I was working with that they would have to pull out since the rights to both shows they wanted to produce had been denied. They didn't believe they'd be able to raise the money in time.
Instead of freaking out I had absolute peace. I prayed with friends I just so happened to have scheduled a call with and prayed alone and God made it clear to go back to the beginning.  I called The Cell Theater and they were still available for the dates we wanted. A suggestion from said friends got me to include an extremely talented painter I have been friends with for many years to exhibit her work at the theater. A month later, a friend in my small group suggested a baker who also became part of our team. So, in the end we had an art installation, two new plays written and directed by women and wine and desserts served by a female pastry chef and multiple lady wine purveyors across the country.
It's All Too Much
Now you're probably thinking, "This sounds great Ebony! Why were you anxious?" At the end of this event I felt like a skeleton with osteoporosis. Why?  Thankfully since my last blog post I've had time to think and pray about this. The journey of The Women's Cycle was a metaphor for my life. There was a moment the week before the show at church where I think God was trying to show me what He was doing. Every step of the way, every decision I made had peace behind it. Yes, there were times that I felt nervous because I was having to stand my ground and take ownership and leadership which isn't a space I am use to inhabiting. When someone would push back I had to be firm about my decision and if it all crashed and burned, it was on my head. I would have let everyone down and the disaster would've been of my doing. That is a heavy load to carry when you are fighting the Imposter Complex from years of being told, while not verbally but with actions, that there is no place for you. I had made the decision to make my own door since no one was willing to open the door for me. If I want to produce, I will produce. If I want to direct I will create spaces where I can direct. If I want to write, I will write. I stopped asking for permission or to be allowed into spaces where I would be "given" the opportunity to show what I can do. I am making those spaces now for myself and others.

What Is The Lesson?
So, what have I learned from this experience:
God did want me to go through it. Yes, it was a learning experience for the more that is to come. If I cannot stand up for myself and verbalize my vision and desires in spaces where people are for me, how will I do it in spaces where people are waiting for me to fail? The push back I would occasionally receive or the verbalizing of doubt in my perceived stubbornness was a test. Will I stand my ground and take my place? I had asked for prayer in this area many times and only just realized this was how God was strengthening that muscle. He was allowing people to question why I made a decision and not necessarily be happy with my answer because I had to be strong in my vision. I will have to continue to be strong whenever I create and people question why I make the choices I have made. I love to co-create and listen. I take suggestions because I am honest about how little I know. But if you do not have a clear vision of what you want, things fall apart. Scripture tells us, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." I sought God and asked Him at every turn, good or bad, if it was okay with Him. In my heart I had resolved to shut it down if it didn't feel right or if I began making things for the wrong reasons.
The final product wasn't what I had envisioned but it was what I wanted. It is one of the few times in my life I had a clear picture of the Lord giving me something I wanted even though it looked a bit different from the original picture. He had made my heart malleable enough to take that January blow and transform The Women's Cycle into something different, simpler and beautiful.  Listen, The Women's Cycle was pretty. The Girl Talk set was pretty, Michele's artwork was beautiful and the pastries were perfect. I had prayed that people would leave seen and they did. I prayed that people would leave knowing they aren't alone, and they did. I prayed people would leave with a knowledge of things they are not aware of or have chosen to turn a blind eye to. It was all exactly what I had prayed for even though it looked differently. And it was a sold out show all three nights. He didn't have to add that but He did. And so even with the struggle, anxiety and fear it was worth it to push through to learn what God needed me to. I can't always see the lesson as clearly as I have with this one, but I'm grateful. I look forward to seeing how He wants me to use what I've learned in the future and how He will continue to grow me. I hope you too look back on what He's taught you, stop repeating bad old habits and walk deeper into the person God had called you to be.

Onward 💛
Ebony

Saturday, April 2, 2016

In Lieu of a Funeral



I had been planning to go out of town with some friends and just have a relaxing weekend of writing and nature at a house called, "Serenity" (I didn't make this up, the house above is actually called that).   I needed it.  I was beyond exhausted and it had been a particularly bad week at work.  In fact, by Tuesday evening I was already done with the week and ready for Friday, which is never a good sign.  Then, on Wednesday morning, I received a phone call from my Brother and Sister-in-law. My Brother informed me that my Stepfather, his Dad, was currently on life support.  We just lost our Mother less than two years ago and so if my Stepfather passed this would mean that my 25 year old brother would have lost both of his parents in two years time and at an incredibly young age.  Younger than me even.  My father passed away when I was 26 and my Mother at 32.   But there it was and there was nothing to be done.  A few hours later, my Brother informed me that he had passed away.
My Stepfather was a complicated man.  I can't say that we always got along.  I can't say that he isn't one of the main reasons I have issues with God or certain ideas about men. It was a long road with him and I had stopped hoping he would change about fifteen years ago or more.  And, although I never saw major change in him, the last time all three of us where in a room with him, he said he was proud of us.  He said that we should be proud of how we took care of our Mother.  With the type of story we had with him, that to me, was the best way we could have possibly ended our relationship with him.  For me, that was perfect.  The most anyone can hope for is that any of your parents would be proud of you and I had a Mother, Father and Stepfather who's last words to me where either, "I love you or I'm proud of you."  You can't make that happen.  My childhood was a struggle.  We had a sorted past, but that was the best way it could have possibly ended.  So, I decided to leave it there.  I decided that since it would have been nearly impossible for me to even get to the funeral, I would grieve in my own way.  I am so happy that my last picture of my Stepfather is a loving one.  That is truly a miracle and the vision I decided to keep in my heart.  So, today was the funeral and I didn't go.  I'm in a peaceful, serene setting picturing that last moment with my Stepfather and that's the best send off I can give him.  I am thinking about him, glad he is in a much better place.  Joyful he isn't suffering and blessed that I heard him say two all three of us, that he was proud of us.  So, although my week started out terribly and we had a major loss in the family; I've ended it with peace, joy and a bit of thankfulness.  Loss is hard, and we will suffer with the ramifications of this for a while.  But at least I can say Goodbye with gratitude in my heart for the token I was given.  And isn't that a win really?


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The New Fight Club

"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off." - Tyler Durden from 'Fight Club'
Today has been a particularly rough day. Thankfully it ended with seeing an off-Broadway musical for free with a handsome man whom when he sings makes you melt in your seat as the lead. Thank God for that man!

Although I am grateful to have a job and really like my bosses, I didn't plan to do the type of work I have been in for this long. The plan was to start out young and work my way up. Problem was that I never got a job somewhere I would want to move up. Many years of applying, following up, people trying to help me or back peddling after they said they would has led me here. It's not been for lack of trying. But all the trying has led to great disappointment.  I am very discouraged and have lost hope at finding a good bridge job as my history of finding something enjoyable is nil. I'm no longer looking for a "dream job" as my side business is what I am developing to full-time over the next three years. But in the meantime, it's difficult.
I was talking with a friend of many years a few months ago. A friend who has seen all the ups and downs and disappointments, hopes dashed, dreams crushed.  I was able to share this new adventure I'm embarking on with her and she said, "Ebony, I'm really happy for you.  I really think this is a great idea!"  I still don't know what I'm doing right now.  This is most definitely un-chartered territory and not everyone is going to like it or understand.  That's okay.  I think that the people who have known what I've been through these eleven plus years are looking forward to this next season the most.  There is something about having friends that have walked with you through the valley of darkness.
But I still wonder how to get from where I am now to where I want to be and be doing something that contributes financially and practically and that I enjoy doing for the most part? Does that exist? I've heard it does but right now it feels like a unicorn.
In the meantime I have decided to follow the 'Fight Club' rules. Rule 1 - Outside of office hours we don't talk about work. Rule 2 - Outside of office hours we DO NOT talk about work. Boundaries need to be maintained and work/life balance needs to be kept in check. I am not the 9 hours in the office. I am a Sister, Granddaughter, Niece, Friend, Auntie, Writer, Solopreneur, Idea Whirling Dervish, Theater Geek and Hamilton Fanatic. These are the parts of myself I love and the parts I need to focus on. I am made up of so much more than my 9-6 paycheck. Hopefully I will figure out the 9-6 part until my transition, but until then...what's 'Fight Club'? Never heard of it. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Wait For It, Wait For It"


I feel like I've been waiting for a lot of things for many years. My favorite playwright once said, there's no clear answer about whether you have to "wait for it" or go like you're "running out of time".  I feel like I have always had some sort of ticking clock on my back following me around and I've done all that I know to do. I have said Yes to every opportunity that fell within my core values and that I had peace about. And yet I still struggle with the opportunities that never came and all the doors that closed in my face. Not to mention the opportunities I took that felt right and I look back on without a clue as to what the lesson was to learn from it.  All I know is that they are points in my life I wish to not repeat and there in lies the reason I still want the "Why?" answered. Moments in one's life that don't make sense, I can wait for God's answer on the other side if I have to, but years are another story. Life here is not long. It is a vapor and if I can learn my lesson the first time, I want that.
The writer goes on to say that "in reality you will always be waiting and rushing at the same time." I think that my life has been a series of hurry up and wait moments. Having things inside of me to do but not understanding the context in which to do them or how to go about making it happen. Putting myself out there for the opportunity just to find out it's not going to happen and I have to, wait for it, wait for it.
 It has also been filled with too many voices.  "The Committee" as someone I knew called them, are a mean bunch who love to discourage you from doing anything that will be purposeful. I am constantly on trial in my head and their decisions are usually not in my best interest.
This all came to a head a few months ago after I saw, "The Iceman Cometh". Essentially the play is about a group of men who are not being authentic and facing up to the truths about their lives and the paths they on. One in particular is seeking to be told what to do with his life.
Thoughts since January had been plaguing me about there being more. The path I had been on was clearly not working. Doing what I have been all these years was not the answer and I needed to make a change. It was that nagging Holy Spirit voice, some of you will know what I mean. But how appropriate is it that seeing a play has set me on a course that has brought me hope again. That play was a major turning point for me and I have equal parts fear and excitement about going forward.
I was hesitant to write this post, but my late Mother once told me that I should share my struggles here. She felt like there had to be more people out there who have walked this road. I was hesitant because I am in the fetal stages with this and I've had well meaning people abort or almost abort dreams I have had. Do not be offended if I do not share details with you. It's just that I learned that this one is going to need to be protected. There is nothing in this world that wants you to reach your full potential. I believe God gives us each dreams and entrusts us to guard them and put them into action. The talent parable has so many meanings and he is trusting us to be bright enough to get them. "Our foes oppose us, we roll like Moses claiming our promised land."
So, I'm guarding this but want to use my journey to encourage. In my life I have learned you don't know how much time you have on the planet so I want everything I do to be towards reaching my potential and using my gifts. This includes the work I get paid to do and the work I don't. We are the only ones limiting ourselves.  You can volunteer and contribute to the world in ALL ways; because then you are acknowledging Him and what he's given you. So, I'm moving forward but excited to discover what He has guided me to at this crossroads. I know that He and my late parents have been anxiously awaiting this time. Maybe more than I have?

"Death doesn't discriminate between the sinners and the saints. It takes and it takes and it makes no mistakes. And if there's a reason I'm still alive when everyone else who loved me has died, I'm willing to wait for it" -quotes and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

NSITC:Part 3 - I ain't no hollaback girl

I was walking down the street the other day and this dude yells out the window of his work truck, "Hey! Yo Baby! Can I take your picture!? ". He yelled more crap about how I looked, I thankfully cannot remember most of it.
Somebody, anybody, please tell me?  Are there women who like this? Are there women who find this flattering?
Listen, I know where I live. It's New York City and encounters such as this come with my choice of living area. But it happens everywhere.
A friend of mine and I were having a discussion about this and she expressed frustration about this but also the lack of forwardness in most Christian men we see.  Now, I'm actually okay with it. I hate being hit on any way you slice it but I do see a lot of girls walking around confused because they found out a guy liked them but he lacked the balls to speak up. I get it...rejection is terrifying and may cause paralysis, but you certainly will have not if thou askest not.
It's like Mama Morton sang, " Whatever happened to class?" There is a way to do things and a lot of us are doing all wrong.
If the dude in the truck had gotten out and spoken to me like a gentleman I probably still would not have gone out with him but I wouldn't have totally ignored him like I did.  Why did I do that? Because Miss Ebony is a lady and does not respond to cat calls. Being that I am a lady I refuse to be treated as anything less.
Maybe we need a worldwide symposium on how to treat each other?  Or Maybe we just need to watch Cary Grant with Ginger Rogers or Gene Kelly with Leslie Carone or Fred Estaire with any woman? Or listen to Gregory Peck speak to anyone and get lessons from these people in femininity without losing personality and being yourself but a gentleman at the same time?
If you don't know who any of these people are, there's your first problem.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

No Sex in the City: Part 2

  So, I said I would explain why I've been thinking about relationships and my part in my lack of them.  I'm about to expose myself in a terrifying way, so be nice.  I might cry while I write or delete this post after I publish it.
The summer of 2012 I started having these dreams.  I put a lot of stock in dreams and it has proven to do well for me in life.  Honestly.  I learn a lot about myself, what the future holds for myself and others as well as get warnings about life events.  None of these recent dreams has been bad, they've just brought up a few things.  Very large things. The last dream wasn't good, it was me repeating an old pattern and I woke up furious.  I was furious because I wanted things to turn out well for me for once.  The other dreams were in my favor but this one wasn't.  I was again the mousy one who sat and watched what she wanted go to someone else.  I've become very tired of watching this scenario play out in my life and I don't know how to stop the cycle.
I've talked about the "Burnt Toast Theory" before and I am Public Enemy #1 when it comes to that.  I think my Mother is the same way and I learned from watching her.  My Mother will literally give of herself until she is within an inch of her life.  We've even had family interventions to get her to stop.
It's not only that but it is this misunderstanding of who I am.  I know that I don't own my own identity.  So, when my true identity is spoken over me, my spirit receives it and is awakened.  It comes alive and connects with the truth on such a deep level that I'm tied to it but because I may not have known that "word" was part of who I am meant to be, I don't understand why those things sit with me for so long.
When I was younger and living at home we battled a lot of things in our home.  I was so busy battling and warring and being a grown-up in my childhood there was no time to worry about any identity outside of being a "Warrior".  When you are trying to be the boss and find some way to still enjoy a small piece of your childhood and these are not things you understand you should know, you don't try to find them out.  The men in my life where a disaster.  It wasn't a pretty sight and every guy I liked, didn't know I had space on the planet.  So, I was constantly fighting for my piece of life and worked hard to get it.  I think I was always fighting to be noticed without begging anyone to notice me. I just worked my ass off and did the best work I could do giving all I had hoping someone would notice.
All I've ever been able to see of myself is "Warrior", "Fighter" and "Hardworker".  These are the identity traits I know I have and can easily see and embrace.
So, when a friend in Highschool called out something completely different in me, a prophetic identity I was never aware of,  my spirit connected with it. The problem is that I've never been able to separate him from the identity.  I think it's because he owned it.  He called me "his" and no one had ever done that before.  Obviously it is also because he was male.  I didn't understand that what he had done was call out my prophetic identity until ten years later. Since then it's been called out multiple times.  I think that the other issue is that I must have a need to be with someone who sees me.  Right now I feel abandoned by God and have felt forgotten by him for many years.  I think everyone feels the need to be seen and known and this person did that, he saw something he didn't know was being highlighted to him by the Holy Spirit and called it out every day.  And whenever I've seen him since then, he still calls it out and whatever else he sees.  It's hard to not respond to that type of reception but, I feel pathetic.  I'm too old for this crap, I've got to move on.  It's not that I've never felt anything for another man since, I have, but I always go back to this one. I measure all others up to this one.  I'm aggravated with myself and trying hard to figure out how to fix it.  I go through bouts where I think I'm fine; and then I had another dream in the summer of 2013. Three others followed up until the last one in May of 2014 and I don't know what any of this means; because I had all of these dreams without having thought of him for years.
I know that he's just not that into me. I don't need the book or to be told that God really does love me and this will all go away if I will trust him and heal my relationship with God.  I felt this way before God and I were in our current problems so I'm not sure that's the crux of the issue.  It's only part of it.
It's been a lot of years to stand outside with a boom-box playing "In Your Eyes".  Even with the breaks I've taken my arms are still tired.
So, that is my tale of woe.  I feel sick admitting this but maybe getting it out is the first step towards getting over it.  I'm trying to work it out, to move on from it and separate the truth spoken from the man who spoke it.  I think that once I figure that out, a whole world of revelation will open up to me.