Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thank You For This Mess, Lord

Hello there! I was actually going to wait to get more caught up with reading for my class (fell behind when I couldn't purchase the book) but I have a tension headache due to what's going on with our building manager so a break is needed. And, anyway, I was trying to work through the headache but the idea came up to share this thought that popped up a little while ago: "Thank you for this mess, Lord."

If you've been reading the blog for a couple of months now, you know that they gutted the master bathroom in October (shortly after my car accident) and that they haven't done much since then. It's gone up within the Housing Authority of L.A. County because we're paying for that bathroom that we're not using. The inspectors have made a couple of trips out over the last couple of months and they've asked the property manager and, I'm assuming, property owners to get the bathroom done but they haven't done much.

Since yesterday, they've been working on the plumbing. Today they informed us that the bathroom was done as is. Yes, that picture you see is exactly what it looks like. That shower is about a third smaller in size than it was... which was already small to begin with. With both Mom and I having claustrophobia, guess which bathroom we'll be paying for but not using. Yes, they know we have claustrophobia. But they apparently got a permit to leave the bathroom as is -- despite two different city inspectors asking them to make it bigger since we can barely fit inside of it -- so they're leaving it unfinished and small.

This is the part that I had a strong urge to share: I have claustrophobia because I used to be locked inside a bathroom when I was a little girl. When I was maybe 3-5 years old, my sister-in-law and one of my half-brother used to live with us. She was supposed to look after me while my parents worked. In an attempt to not deal with me, they used to lock me in the bathroom for hours. One of my first memories is still of me sitting in the pink chair in the bathroom, staring at the sink. I don't have any memories of how long it lasted but I do remember being locked inside. Recently I described to my mother, in great detail, what that bathroom looked like. I haven't been inside that apartment in over 25 years so you know I'm not just imagining it. Mom said that she had my dad kick both my half brother and my sister-in-law out of the apartment when that happened... which, I think, was also around the time that they caught me standing on top of a chair, over the open flame of a stove, trying to heat myself some tortillas because I wasn't fed properly.

Fast forward a couple of years later. At 15 I dealt with some horrific teachers that would make me feel trapped inside classrooms when they allowed my fellow students to attack me or when they made me feel like I was an incompetent human being. (I mentioned details of what happened in the blog post Therapy, a Diagnosis, and My Superpower.) I developed severe agoraphobia and social anxiety. I was pulled out of regular school and finished high school through a charter school. (side note: this ended up being a blessing because it not only prepared me for college better than if I had stayed at the public school but also allowed me to finish 1.5 years ahead of schedule). I couldn't go anywhere because being in crowds made me feel like I was going to get sick. I needed to know where the exits were at all times and I tried to be as close to them as possible. I didn't know then that what happened as a child would set off that panic when I felt trapped in my environment.

Fast forward another 15 years: at 30, I'm in a better place. Thanks to the cognitive-behavioral therapy I've received, I no longer panic in public places. Why do you think we started going to Disneyland as much as we did? To help me learn to deal with the crowds! I can take buses without feeling panicked. I still have a bit of claustrophobia that lingers now and then but I can better handle the situations. Unfortunately, my mother still had claustrophobia (she went through a similar situation when she was in her pre-teens) so the bathroom is going to be a problem.

I got my headache when I was informed that they weren't going to make the bathroom smaller. What about my mom's claustrophobia?? What about my neck?! (side note: we have two bathrooms but the showerhead measures around 5'5" and I'm nearly 5'8" so my neck and muscles strain trying to wash my hair.) As I was making myself something to eat (to try to see if it would help the headache go away), I had a sudden thought which I've already shared: "Thank you for this mess, Lord."

We've fought our building manager on this bathroom and our parking space (especially since I'm prone to fainting in the heat and she took my covered parking space and put me in a space where the sun hits from sunrise to sundown; she's basically said it's not her problem despite giving her a letter my doctor sent her) but nothing's been done. Mom recently confessed that she's having a faith crisis because she keeps praying for the praying situations with the bathroom and parking (she's already helped pick me up when I was fainting a couple of weeks ago). However, I'm going to thank God because, really, we're in a good place despite the problems we're having.

Yes, I may faint (especially this summer when the temperatures reach over 100 degrees -- let this blog post, written months in advance, be my record that I've warned the manager of possible health issues since December 2015) but at least our car is inside the gated parking lot and not out in the streets where cars are stolen and windows are broken. I'm grateful for the roof over my head and the running water that we have, which not everyone can say. I'm grateful for the one shower that works, even though my neck and back muscles need to be massaged frequently. I'm thankful for this headache that appeared when I got the news because it reminded me that I needed to stop studying to eat. I'm grateful for all these problems because they make me realize that these "problems" aren't problems at all but opportunities to be grateful to God for all we do have.

Life isn't going to be easy. Yes, things will be a pain to deal with but maybe these are just challenges to help me look at the positives in life. Not a single saint made it to heaven without enduring some hardship (at least I can't think of one). Not to say that I'm a saint but I aspire to be and maybe these little things will help mold me into someone who can enter the gates of Heaven. Just a couple of random thoughts that are popping up as I type this. :)

Anyway, that's it for now. I have to go pick up Mom from work in a couple of minutes. Thankfully it's not hot or sunny today so I don't have to worry about possibly fainting. ;)

I hope to blog again soon but we'll see because once I get into the "study zone" few things will keep me from spending hours reading (using the Pomodoro technique, of course). :D

I hope y'all are having a lovely week thus far!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D


AnneMarie said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us! My mind is kind of blown at the disregard that you and your mom are being shown, and I think it is so powerful how you are choosing to respond-trying to find God's peace and blessings in all of it.

Emmy Cecilia said...

AnneMarie - yeah, the current building manager is something else. Last week she came and told us that she wasn't the one who'd taken my parking space but it was all the devil's fault to mess with me. *shrugs*