Boy, bye; How I stopped being so scared of evil



Illustration in my Children’s Bible

The Gospel on the first Sunday of Lent describes Jesus’s temptation in the desert. Jesus is tempted by the devil.  The devil is an instigator. He is manipulative especially as he constantly seeks to gain power. Going after Jesus is evidence of the arrogance, narcissism, egoism that comes with being evil. Jesus is able to resist. He is all powerful. Jesus demonstrates the strength and authority needed to resist temptations that we all experience. We all want to attend to our immediate needs. I’m starving so let’s turn these rocks into bread. We want youth, physical strength, and immortality. I’m going to drink my liver into disease because it feels good. Because I’m young, I’ma be all right. We want wealth and power.  Life owes me these things.  Jesus rises above those desires. He sees the ultimate goal. The 40 days have been a test. They’ve been physically hard but he has stayed faithful and strong. He is preparing for what is going to be more difficult. He is finding the discipline before he begins his ministry. Jesus does not fear the devil and sends him away like the nuisance he is.

I grew up very fearful of the devil (What I learned watching The Exorcist). I was much too young(six!) to learn about possession, that the devil was a real entity that could take over a person. It made me much more fearful than my daughter is at that age.  On the other hand, I grew up as a spiritual child. I was drawn to the Bible. I was reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Gospel of Luke at age 7 because I wanted to do so. One reason I haven’t exposed to her more horror movies or pop culture interpretations of the devil is I find them scary. About 15 years ago, I made a survey and asked my friends when they first saw The Exorcist and what were its long-term effects. I continued to do other readings about exorcism. Those fears stuck with me.

r12mwvNow I’m older and I have had life experiences with different facets of evil. I’m not fearful because I know good prevails. I’ve done a lot of writing about my thoughts as I “exorcised “a “devil.” (My second career as an exorcist) I gained a lot of strength from those experiences. I may laugh when I say “the devil is a lie” and “not today, Satan” but those are true statements. I have been able to look at that evil, at that enemy, to look it in the face and say I’m not afraid of you. That’s powerful.



Father Tomas is played by Rebelde cutie Alfonso Herrera

On a related note, while dealing with real-life drama, the TV show, The Exorcist, premiered on Fox. While it wasn’t a ratings hit, it was a critical hit and a hit in my household. We watched it every week and analyzed it. I connected it back to what I was living. I found parts of it hilarious. I would argue it is better than the original novel and original film.   Those were good but the TV show’s acting and writing took it to another level. Geena Davis was brilliant. The show explored what is happening in the church regarding the role of lay people, the role of women, and the behind the scenes politics which you may not know about if you haven’t been involved in ministry. I like that the show spoke to the power of family and faith.  As I wait along with other fans to learn if the show will get renewed, I would recommend binge-watching on Hulu or Fox. Don’t be too scared.  Y’all know who wins and who always will.

Watch Season 1 of  The Exorcist


Jesus saying “Largate!”


A fearless favorite

When I was about 5 years old, maybe younger or slightly older, I remember watching a cartoon about a mongoose, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. 
From the 1975 Chuck Jones TV special
He befriended a British family after they moved into a house next to the garden he visited.  He became close enough to them that he fought against his mortal enemies, Nag and Nagaina, a cobra couple.  I distinctly remember Rikki’s red eyes, fast moves, and gutsiness.  I remember how my heart pounded as I watched Rikki in battle.  I couldn’t help but admire an animal that didn’t fear poisonous snakes.
Fast forward almost four decades. I recently read Rudyard Kipling’s story to M. She’s into chapter books now so an illustrated version of the classic short story was a good bedtime option.  I told her how I had seen a cartoon of the story when I was around her age. She asked me if I was scared.  I told her I was but that I believed in Rikki. 
Given certain challenges I have faced recently, venomous snakes have been on my mind. (Blog about dealing with the snakes among us)It makes sense that my longtime admiration of the mongoose would resurface. 
Y que?!? 
In the last two weeks, I have downloaded and shared images, read National Geographic entries, and laughed at Snoop Dogg’s unbridled support of “mongooses.”  A mongoose is a bold and quick fighter. My research has revealed that the mongoose’s nerve receptors have mutated so that a mongoose is immune to snake venom.  
It is undeterred by cobras, crocodiles, even lions. It embodies guts, cojones, ganas.  
As someone who tends to choose flight over fight, I admire an animal that fights with all its sleek little body has. I can admit I fear intimidating foes. I may be able to stare into cold eyes but my heart is pounding. I’m waiting on those awful fangs.  In confrontation, I choose to talk and usually(sometimes to my own chagrin)politely.  I do stand firm.  I may be cowering within but I won’t backpedal, waver, or cry, at least not in that moment of facing off against an opponent. I may not strike like a mongoose; maybe it’s not in my nature to fight like one.
Badassery in full effect
 I still believe in Rikki. I still believe we all have the capacity to fight and win against a cobra. 

Third time the charm? Movie Review

I Am Legend
“The future sucks. Change it.” Butthead of Beavis and Butthead

Will Smith gets his 7th #1 box office weekend with this third remake of scifi parable, I am Legend. America’s hero plays Dr. Robert Neville, an ambitious Army doctor who goes from a New York brownstone and Time Magazine cover bliss to ultimate borderline personality nightmare of being the last man in New York City and possibly the world. It seems famous Dr. Kreppin(a cameo from Emma Thompson) didn’t find a cure for cancer; a new plague decimates the world’s population and turns the survivors into rabid zombie-like creatures. Accompanied by his faithful German Shepherd Samantha, Neville continues running clinical trials in hopes of finding a cure for a cure gone awry, while struggling to survive physically and mentally.

As always, Will is both thrilling and poignant. Kudos to the dog who plays Sam. And yes, I’m picking up the Richard Matheson work as soon as I get a chance.

Now playing everywhere


At group last night, I was bubbling over with joy. I told my colleagues about Blues, about how happy I am that we communicate, about how grateful I am to be with someone who treats me the way I deserve.
Today, I feel ill, defeated, lost again. I want to close my eyes.

Bad start to a Tuesday

De repente, me siento perdida, como si se me hubiera abierto nuevamente un abismo. No entiendo porque me pasa esto. He luchado tanto para superar mis pesadillas, el temor, la desilusión y la confusión. Se que soy una persona de sentimientos sinceros, que jamas quisiera hacerle dano a otro ser. Aún no entiendo porque tengo que pasar por estos momentos dificiles.

El hermano del alumno bipolar está aquí aunque ha sido recomendado por expulsión. Siempre lo he tenido miedo. Aunque él no es él que estuvo en un hospital for tres semanas, siento que él es el mas peligroso de los dos.

Qué me pasa?

Dream Recollection 19: The Phenomena

From audio transcription
After August 18?
I just woke from a nightmare. At the end, my brother and I heard my voice on a tape recorder playing back. The chandelier was shaking. Things were moving on their own. There was some kind of presence in the house. Now I’m freaking out and worried. You know who I worry about. I just want him to be okay.
I’m having a hard time sleeping. It’s the fourth night I haven’t gotten any rest. I’m that much more tired, that much more on edge. I have to get back to sleep.
Got some bad news today. One of my mom’s close friend’s daughter is brain dead.
I woke up with the chills.

Dream Recollection 17: The Quilt

What follows is a lengthy transcription of the audiotape I made early in the morning of August 15th. The dreams seem at first a patchwork of images, but then seem sewn together in tone and theme. Some revisions have been made in order to give the narrative more fluency and focus.

Wednesday, August 15, 1:30 in the morning

I had a dream where I was part of a team. We were pulling things together, recycling paper and cans. I can’t remember who else was there or whether or not this dream was connected to another dream where someone was reconciled with a person from their past and had a big party. I don’t remember if my Play Brother was in the dream but the team felt cohesive.
I gotta try to remember my dreams better.

Had a wild dream in which me and Hopeful or me and Lisa were at a camp where dogs wore outfits. There was a sea of dogs: coonhounds, Chihuahuas. Maybe it was me and my Sis in law. Or Innocent. Anyways I recognize the place. Strange.

I had another dream where I was with my parents. We missed a plane. The stewardess was ignoring us because we were late getting on. We stood there for 10 minutes with tickets in hand. That’s old school because now you find your own seats. There were many seats available.
“We’re really sleepy,” I told the flight attendant.
“We’ll drop you off.” They drove the plane to the terminal and we got out.
“What the hell?” I went up to the counter. “They just dropped us off here.”
“Oh well. They’re taking off for Greenwich.”
“What do you mean they’re going to Greenwich? We’re supposed to be on that plane. We want to catch that plane.”
We’re set up for takeoff.”
“That’s not cool. They left us on purpose because we said we were sleepy. It was all her fault. She ignored us.” I wanted to yell at them but we ended up renting a car to come back to Northern California. I got sick with a fever and ended up lying in a bed at my parents’ house. Now my old bed has been taken apart so it couldn’t be that but I felt like I was in my old room. I was resting when I had a premonition. I pictured an old plane, actually it looked more like a zeppelin, very 70s with brown earth tone stripes. The plane struggled along near the Hayward Airport.
“They shouldn’t be in that plane.Something is going to happen to that plane. It’s going to crash.” I didn’t say this aloud but I was thinking it. I wanted to speak but was unable to do so. It reminded me of the bad panic attack I had in Nashville when there were so many things I wanted to say but I was so afraid to say them and they were bottled up inside.
As I was having the vision, my parents were having a conversation right over me. I watched the plane jerk and sink right down into Hesperian Blvd. The explosion happened in real life with a boom.
“What the hell was that?” My parents were startled.
“Oh my God. It’s happening again.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I saw that plane crash before it happened.”
“It’s happening again.”
“Oh no.”

It’s a reference to when I was a kid. When I was 12 and all those problems happened, with my father losing his job, I would have dreams that would come true. They weren’t always explicitly premonitions. They were symbolic at times. They happened on such a regular basis that my mom began to wonder if I wasn’t gifted with precognition. We haven’t talked about that in a long time.
Anyway, I finally got the strength to get out of the bed. My parents came with me because I was freaking out.
“How many people are dead?” We got outside. Hesperian is a busy street and it was a Saturday afternoon. The ambulance, the fire trucks, and the news crews had already arrived. All traffic was stopped. People were running around. It was terrifying. Yet I felt numb.

I also had a dream where we were at a party hosted by a DJ Jaime Coronacion, Music 2 Life. It was some kind of Filipino culture night. Someone who looked like my friend Troubadour was breakdancing.

There was a dream where I was walking through a building with many stories and concrete steps. I was hoping to see my Play Brother. I looked for him. I couldn’t find him. I was looking for someone else, too. I couldn’t find him.

I just woke up from a dream that had its bad moments. We took Lucky for a walk. We left Lula at the house with my sis in law. Lucky was being good but he kept breaking free from his leash so I had to hold him by his collar. He calmed down so we put him back on leash. We got to our old elementary school. A woman walked up with her golden lab, off-leash, and carrying a football. As soon as Lucky saw it, he went nuts. He broke free and was ready to charge. I hugged him. He calmed down so we took him to my mom’s. I apologized to him for not walking him and said it was my fault. Everyone was surprised at how calm he was.
This shows that I have a lot of guilt over my dogs. There’s a message that the love I’ve established is solid and that there’s loyalty.

I don’t know what’s going on with my mind. It’s starting to be cleansed. I’m mining my mind, exploring that vast continent. I haven’t dreamt like this in a long time, all these dreams full of vivid imagery and action.

Burning bright

Sera hoy la quinta noche que duermo con la luz prendida?

I’ve been sleeping with my light on since Thursday. La Peruana’s hubby showed me an email forward on his new high-tech phone. It was supposed to be funny but I didn’t laugh as the nasty face of a possessed Regan from The Exorcist glared at me to the awful tune of the movie theme song. I didn’t laugh at the threat of pubic lice if the message wasn’t forwarded. Instead, I wondered if I wouldn’t have nightmares.

Those images and that music always cause old fears to surface. I go back to what worked when I was six(and until I was 11), the comfort of a bright light bulb and my ability to sleep, despite brightness and heat.

I’ve had no nightmares. My dreams are lucid. But I have been too exhausted to grab the tape recorder. Or maybe I am afraid to remember.


Therapy is going to kill me. I know I said I was committed to living but is this living? Not sleeping right, not eating right. A pound and a half gone in a week. Irrational mood swings running in roller coaster peaks and dips. Impulsivity. Negative thoughts. The temptation to surrender to defeat.

Today I told my therapist something I’ve never told another living being. Thirty-one years of not taking care of me, the secret finally spilling out with tears and more tears.

How am I supposed to live?