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02:08am 13/10/2015
Red Jester
Sooooo... I lost a lot of my hair recently due to a medication I was on. My mum said it looked like I was going through cancer treatment. I felt horrible because my hair used to be so thick...

It's growing back now that I stopped the med, but long curly hair with short curly hair growing out of the bald spots is a nightmare.

I'm really thinking about shaving it off and starting again.
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So, Kids...  
10:56am 29/11/2014
Red Jester
The vibe gets kind of scary...

My friend in politics contacted me on Facebook last night. He danced around... but he wanted the down-low on Pastor Jarrod. On "Pastor Jarrod." Now, I was friends with his gay brother, but since he's come out some things have been... weird? I've never known where the brothers stood. I wasn't totally convinced that he wasn't just after a good political story. Oh, my candidate totally supports you? ... ?

But I haven't talked to him in almost ten fucking years. And then? I'm not a fucking idiot. I told him that if he wanted the story then I would tell him everything I have. But... in polite speech. Civil and shit. Fuck.

It was so strange that he contacted me. Pushing his political candidate while I almost chocked. And after talking to Kim on the fucking phone tonight about her ordeal? Seriously. I did not sign up for this shit.
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(no subject)  
08:07am 22/11/2014
Red Jester
Goodnight, Vienna.
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Don't Know Where to Turn  
06:53am 22/11/2014
Red Jester
Right. I need to get some shit out, so I'm turning to a mostly defunct Livejournal. My life has been a roller-coaster of experiences, but this last one almost broke me. Not "suicidal" broke me... worse. I almost lost myself. Who I am. Everything that... shit. Don't even know.

I spent May-October of 2014 in a Christian cult. Not my choice, per say, but a necessity. I was homeless, in the hospital, and I found a free bed, housing, food and whatnot. It was my only option that wouldn't include sleeping under a bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas. That option was Teen Challenge under Pastor Jarrod Flanagan.

I'm still recovering from the abuse, and it was so insideous that I'm grappling for words. Once I got there they wouldn't let me leave, even though I was very open about the fact that I'm not Christian. I worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for the "ministry." My superiors were former drug-gang enforcers and others who had just been completely manipulated. I "fundraised" 12 hours a day, 3 days a week (part of the job), with a cross in my arms, completely misrepresenting myself.

My best friend was a lesbian that they had "cured." I was her driver. We got split up when she broke. She was sent to another state. One month later they sent me there as well. I was interrogated more times than I can count. I fixed their computers. Did their weekly income reports. Called churches. Lied. Lied. Lied. All for their money. I know all their dirty fucking secrets, and I want to spill every one, but something keeps stopping me. Still under their thumbs.

But I'm out now. I'm "okay." I'm working. But fuck all if they aren't still in my head. I'm uncomfortable getting up from my computer at work to go on break without asking. I work with only four other people, approving/pending medicaid requests, and they're all cool as fuck. A lesbian with a husband, a militant athiest, a strong respect-worthy Christian gay ex-marine, our emo baby, and me. But sometimes I go silent when we're fucking around. Not because I don't have anything to say, but because I have too much. I love. I fucking love that when I break free I can have whatever opinions I want and I can TALK. I can VOICE THEM.

I can agree with the athiest and the Christian at the same time if I want to. Or I can dismiss them both.
And I can listen to music now. That whole time I was allowed no TV or secular radio. Jason Derulo "Trumpets" is on right now, and it's like life (which is sad). We were on the road all the time while Iwas there, and one time we went for five days to Mississippi. We got to go to "How to Train Your Dragon 2." (I was the only one who fist pumped in the church when they announced it...). I flinched when they called to Odin in the movie, because I was afraid they were going to make us leave. I remember that I got to call my mom that night (only got ten minutes twice a week, monitered, on speaker-phone, not allowed to talk about where we were) in the lobby of the theater. I hung up on her because Hiccup and Toothless! That's fucking wrong.
We weren't allowed to have any money (getting caught with a quarter could lead to a month of discipline). I ploted ways to get books from Wal-Mart when we were fundraising out front. If I tore the covers off and slotted it in something else then I could... I could be a fucking normal person! It's so wrong that in this country I was trying to figure out how to sneak and read something that's available in a fucking Wal-Mart.

I left quitely when I finally got out. Some girls a month before me had left and also stolen paper-work and things to shut them down. They'd been on a crusade to call churches and businesses to warn them not to give us money. I know this because I called some of them for money afterwards. XD My leaving was... so strange.
I was in the middle of a 12 hour fundraiser at a truck stop in Missouri three hours from our house. It was 40 degrees and raining. All I had was a thin coat and a couple crates of crosses and cheap jewelery. That morning I let a guy feel me up so I could get a free cup of hot coffee. I finally completely put my foot down and refused to continue. I'd refused before (when they made me drive a van with no insurance, when my leader forgot my license, and the van kept making me throw it into neutral then to drive while on the highway... when they told me to drive with cardboard covering my driver's side window... when I was told I had a demon in me...) But this time I seriously laid it all down and said, "No."

When my director realized I was serious she called her superiors. Then I got called back (well... my leader did. I wasn't allowed a phone and I technically wasn't supposed to be holding hers) and offered a fucking sweatshirt. Then they called my mom. Then they panicked. A woman that I had actually respected (and had previously fit into that "she's just manipulated" catagory) lied like a pro to my family.

I was lucky. So fucking lucky. It was going to be bad, though, because I had no place to go and obviously no money. But I was ready for bad at that point. I was ready to come out guns blazing. There was a trucker in the lot ready to take me with him, and I was seriously considering. He didn't even know that I was trying to get out.

And after all of that... Even after I knew I was free... I stayed. The leader that I was with wanted out just as bad as I did, but she had no way. And I couldn't offer her one. I should have... somehow... but I didn't. I was every girl for herself at that point. But I stayed. I stayed and I even sold some fucking shit off our table afterwards (did I mention that I made $300 at 8am that morning from one man? I made more money every week there then I've ever made before... but we still couldn't fucking afford... food?) I drove her the 3 hours back to our mouse-infested house... not knowing what was going to happen to me when I got back.
And do you know what? That leader that I was driving knew that my father was on his way to pick me up for the entire three hours I drove her home. Never fucking told me. I was contemplating walking off a bridge without even knowing that I was actually getting saved. I didn't fucking eat but all the time was wondering when the next time I was going to get food would be. Even when I got back to the house and checked all of our crafts in (no, we didn't steal any crosses), I still wasn't told. All my shit was packed and sitting by the front door. I was allowed to nap on a bare mattress until my da got there and I could finally take a deep breath. After five months.

While I was there, they convinced me that I was unemployable. Had this job within two days (had two other jobs that I turned down, too ). They seriously had me wondering if I had a demon in me... one girl went off on me in a hotel room about her excorcism when she came in... the arrows... and then there was the other girl that someone stopped at her table to warn her about the demons and she went off the deep end a couple days later... they lost her... that psychic in Branson touched my forehead and read me... the guy who did "something" to my shoulder in front of Wal-Mart one Friday... then again on Saturday at a different door... It fucks with your head, man, when all you're allowed to hear is what they tell you. The Buffy fan in me was about to make a stake, and the Game of Thrones fan was about to just lose my shit and start swinging.

This is just the tip. My education director tried to disprove me when I told her that Jesus was a Jew but Jews weren't Christian. A 35 year-old woman asked me if Protestants were the enemy. I screamed one day (literally... it got me fucking... a mess) that the place was only full of rich white girls, and the director told me "We're not racist. Some of these girls have mixed babies." (don't get me started on the white, dark chocolate, caramel conversations after that...).

Do you know what this is really about? I still want out. I'm still there in my head. And I'm fucking pissed.
I'm not spouting off against all Teen Challenge centers. What most people don't realize is that they're run like Subway franchises. This one might be a life saver, but that one's a pit of soul-crushing manipulation. I fell into a bad one. My center and my sister centers (there were four and I spent time at three). Were all run by a man named Pastor Jarrod Flanagan.

Now, a bit of boring finacials. I personally made at least $1000 a weekend (and I wasn't by far the best moneymaker). In Arkansas we made $14000 just on fundraising (not including choir services and telemarketing which I'm not even going to get into). We were one out of four centers... so... 56,000 a week... times four... $224,000 per month... so... That's how Pastor Jarrod got that Escalade and BMW. But I was told not to question.

One time we had a marketing meeting because girls were grumbling (they were feeling like liars because we went fundraising under three different groups, Teen Challenge, Lifeline, and Stay Smart so that if one group got banned from a business we could go back under a different name). We were told that they were seperate entities... Different tax IDs... Different bank accounts. But as a driver I've been out when we've been buying food/staples merchandise for all three. They all three payed from the same account. ? I questioned this and was fed a line about how I'm too smart and they... something something that didn't make any sense. I nodded and said, "Oh. Okay. I get it." but it was bullshit propaganda. The person explaining it to me didn't even know she had been fed a line.

That was another tell. I've been told all my life that I'm smart. Logical. Questioning. Scientific method and all that. Something. I don't really know or get. But this was the first place that I've ever been told that I'm "too smart." I remember being told that when I questioned the weekly income reports, the bank accounts, the interrogations. I was always sworn not to talk about these things with the other girls. Sometimes I fucking hate that I was so under their thumbs that I tried to be respectful and talk about these things with them in private.

They had a thing called "Word Fast." If you were on Word Fast then you weren't allowed to talk. Period. I remember one time when I'd been moved out of the center in Arkansas. I had to go back (sometimes twice a week... like I said, I was on the road a fucking lot). One of the girls who HATED me when I was there snagged my arm and said, "I love you. Sorry. I'm on Word Fast." The Fuck? I got her in trouble... I called her on shit... but she was so fucking desperate that she said THAT?!!? I was in the Missouri center at the time, and even though we were living at the Arkansas center for four days a week we weren't allowed to talk to them. That poor girl got off four weeks of discipline only to be put on it again within two hours.

That's all I can handle for tonight. I just want to... Honestly? I want to sit down with Pastor Jarrod face-to-face and have a talk (no pointy things involved, I promise). His minions didn't break me down, and I want to know if Daddy (what my director called him) can. I want to stand toe-to-toe and say, "You Fucking Bastard."

There are more women than me that want to speak up. But we still have friends in there. We don't want to bring this shit on them. I remember the waves someone cause by releasing a youtube video after she got out while I was in there... We coudn't admit that we'd seen it... we couldn't even admit that it had ever existed... But we were cheering. SCREAMING for someone to listen.

I'm going to fucking ROAR!!!!!!!!!!!!
mood: pissed offpissed off
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The Vid  
04:08pm 03/11/2011
Red Jester
I'm looking desperately for a vid. It was a Psych vid set to Hot Chelle Rae. Tonight Tonight.

If anyone has a copy, I would be willing to do unspeakable things. Seriously. Can anyone find it?
mood: anxiousanxious
music: AWOLNATION- Sail
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(no subject)  
01:06pm 03/11/2011
Red Jester
Moved to Hot Springs, AR. Yup. Moved south. I'm still getting used to the way things are done down here. It's surprisingly very different from what I'm used to. My Zelda t-shirt and jeans everyday outfit apparently draws confused attention...

Neh. There's a burlesque house just past bath house row that I'm planning to look into. If only to help backstage (who am I kidding? I can't stay out from under the lights). There are plenty of less risque performing opportunities as well. I'd love to get back on stage...
mood: amusedamused
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(no subject)  
01:09am 16/08/2011
Red Jester
I had another moment (it actually lasted about an hour...) of honesty from someone tonight that I appreciated even more.

I go to about five hours of group therapy a week (yeah, a lot). I'm under a mental health outpatient commitment right now. Yet, when I'm in group, my counselor refers to me as though I'm another counselor. When people were slacking off and not participating, she called me in to raise the stakes.

Someone had the guts today to call me on it. She said that I keep relapsing on drinking, but I'm always the go-to person for answers and advice in the group. She pointed out the dichotomy bluntly and realistically.

Tonight she's worried that I'm mad at her. And I'm so very very not. In fact, I respect her so much more for saying it. She made me cry when I responded to her, and I don't cry in front of people very often. I've been wanting somebody to call me on my shit for a while, and nobody's been doing it.

Here's how I take criticism. I was a ballet dancer for 18 years. In junior high I noticed that the dancers who were no good, the ones who had no hope, never got criticism or correction from the teachers. They were given up on. There was no hope. So if I went an entire exercise without correction, I took offense. If nobody pointed out what I was doing wrong, then that meant that they didn't believe I could fix my problems.

I take criticism as hope and belief in me. I was super proud of this woman for speaking up "against" me. Nobody ever questions me. I'm so very good at being an authority. I'll admit that while she was speaking I was biting back some nasty comments... But those nasty comments were just more of my lies. They would have sounded totally valid, and everyone would have bought into them.

Give me ten minutes and I could pull up scientific facts and bullshit to convince you that the sky is green. I got called on it today. Thank the Gods for that.

I even texted with that woman tonight. I made a social connection totally voluntarily. This chick is forcing me to make a friend, and that's amazing. I haven't had a friend in at least five years! But I seriously believe this woman cares about me for no selfish reason.

Her guts are forcing me to be human. I'm... slowly... becoming... human...
mood: lovedloved
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(no subject)  
12:29am 16/08/2011
Red Jester
Funny story. I walked in to work the other day, and our display manager had set up three... things... that looked to me like giant penises. I giggled to myself, cursed my dirty mind, and then moved on.

Today he came up to me and told me that our security manager had seen two teenage boys adding pillows for testicles to it and taking pictures. Our display manager said to me, "I had no idea! I didn't see it! I'm the gay guy, and I was totally clueless!"

It totally cracked me up, because he sounded like he thought he'd failed by not spotting the penis. I also felt a bit honored because he's never flat out told me before that he's gay. He's almost a bear (none of the stereotype, easily recognizable gay-dar set offs), and from the first time he met me he talked about his partner only by name (never by relationship title). Almost like he assumed that I knew.

It was like he was feeling me out. He's been so ambiguous that I wasn't sure if he was referring to his lover or his teenage son. Finally. Now I can actually crack some of the jokes that have been popping into my head for the past ten months without the fear of it sounding incestuous. :D

I'm running on a theme. Honesty is really the best policy. People who aren't straight up with me screw with my head.
mood: lovedloved
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(no subject)  
01:51am 15/08/2011
Red Jester
I also have to throw a "Thank You" out to my surrogate Da at the facility.

There's a man there (again, about the same age as my parents) whom I know I can talk about ANYTHING with. i walked past his room once and he was explaining camel toe to his roomie.

This man rocks my world. His family brings in GREAT food for me to try, and he has life stories that amaze me. If I could find a mechanical lift, I would drag this man out camping with me. Point of fact, my job for this week is to search online for a rent-able lift for him.

He's the greatest. I love this guy like my own family. I don't know how to explain it... He's 100% open and accepting. I feel like I could say anything to him, and he'd never judge me. I feel like if I ever confided in him that someone was hurting me, he would punch that person to unconsciousness.

Is it strange for me to feel protected by people living in a "nursing home?" Am I wrong to be so attached? I love everyone that I work with so deeply. I can feel it in my gut. I love them more than I think I've loved anyone except my own parents and my dogs. It's strange... loving people. I think I'm becoming human.
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(no subject)  
01:26am 15/08/2011
Red Jester
I work as a CNA at a long term care facility on the weekends. One of my residents (she has MS) is the same age as my mum, and I've kind of adopted her.

Tonight she asked me if I'm ever going to get married. She has this image of me as a super independent woman since I live alone and go camping by myself. Tonight I divulged to her about my ex-husband, the fact that I called the cops on him, and that he threatened to kill me. She comforted me. It was strange since I'm usually comforting her.

We talked about her sex life with her husband (who doesn't live there). She still loves him with the passion of a teenage-first-love-affair. I was amazed to hear about that. I was so proud of her that she was still gossiping with me about it like she was a kid.

She opened my eyes about honesty tonight. I appreciate her so much for talking so honestly with me, and for listening to my honesty.

She can be difficult sometimes, and some of the staff doesn't like dealing with her. But she's really amazing in her own right. I pissed her off royally tonight, and she still accepted me back with the verbal hug of bearing her soul.

So, I guess this post is just a cosmic "Thank You" to her. She teaches me every day that I work with her.
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