The best of us can find happiness in misery

This is probably gonna wind up being a bit of a rant/amusing story. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll figure it out when I get there. 🙂

Facebook…how I both love and loathe thee. I’ve tried SO hard for a long time to keep some of my ‘real’ life away from Facebook. By that, I mean I’m perfectly happy to add friends I went to school with and ex-coworkers, but I never wanted to add family. And I especially never wanted to add people from the church where I babysit.

Long story short, I don’t consider myself to be a religious person. On Facebook, I call myself “spiritual but not religious”. I think that’s an accurate description. I believe in a myriad of things from Native American beliefs to Paganism to Muslim to Buddhism with a little Christianity thrown in because that’s how I was raised. I’m very different from anyone I’ve ever known in that place. I truly don’t know if that’s a conservative church or not, as I’ve never actually attended a service before. I was only thrown into Sunday School for 16 years and I despised every minute of it. So my perception of how I see that place is a bit skewed. The people have always been nice to me (save for one woman- I’ll get to that in a minute) whether they’ve known me or not, so that’s not the point. I just really hated being told what to believe and how to believe and why we were all supposed to believe what we were being taught. I was truly NEVER raised to question things. My parents were always “do as I say because I tell you to” parents. I think that’s partially why I spent my entire life questioning things anyway. I always wanted to know why. I didn’t care so much about the ‘what’ (and how things worked), but WHY. And the last thing I ever wanted/want to be a part of is something that doesn’t let me find my own way and experiment and experience for myself. To me, organized religion of most kinds always insist that they’re the ‘only’ way to do things, and being that each denomination and each religion all say this, how true can it really be for any of them? Plus, they all have such similar ideals in general, so how can any one be the ‘perfect’ one? It just makes more sense to me to branch out and collect anything and everything you can that makes you feel comfortable and safe and true to yourself. No?

Now, you all know by now that I’ve been babysitting in the nursery of the church where I was forced to attend Sunday School for the last 12 years. (I was a ‘teen helper’ for 10 years prior to that.) Ever since I turned 18 and graduated high school, everyone I know has not-so-subtly been suggesting that I attend the adult classes. “Go! They need more people. You’d like it!” A, I’m not a joiner and B, if I wanted to do that, I’d have done it by now. I’m actually perfectly happy with where I am spiritually at the moment. I don’t need a change. I don’t feel the need to be dragged into something I was never comfortable with in the first place.

But now there’s been a bunch of people I know through the church who have added me to Facebook. The women there have started this “Ladies Luncheon” group that seems to meet once a month and since they’ve friended me, they’ve invited me twice. Luckily I had plans both times, completely randomly so I had excuses. But one of the women posted on my wall that they ‘missed me and were talking about me’ during the luncheon. I hate that. I hate that a lot. Don’t discuss me. I’m not a current event. I accidentally clicked onto the page of another woman I know who I was *not* friends with at the time and I saw a message from my nursery supervisor on her wall saying this: “Want to say how happy I am that you’re gathering gals for fellowship. (Was one of them Melissa Teja; Maria is trying to befriend her, and I pray!)” ARGH. Stop trying to recruit me!! STOP IT.

I’ve been biting my tongue for SO long about all of this when it comes to those people. Most of them have known me for a very long time- some have known me since I was about 2 years old and some have only known me for a couple of years. They aren’t bad people by any means, they’re just incredibly hardcore Christians and I really, really don’t want to be involved. Again, it’s not that I have anything wrong with the religion or with them or with religion in general. It’s simply that it doesn’t feel right for me. I volunteer my time because I enjoy doing good deeds, no matter what it is or where it is. And it’s a place I know who knows me right back. But good lord…these women are getting incredibly pushy and I’ve started to refer to them as “the cult”, which probably isn’t the best choice of words. It’s just getting to be too much now.

Just in the last few days, I’ve had three different people invite me to some “women of faith” Christmas thing they’re having on December 6th. My supervisor even emailed me about it. She mentioned that there would be other churches that were invited to this thing and they were asking if there would be anyone in the nursery. I told my super flat-out that if they needed nursery coverage, that I would be more than willing to work it. I would MUCH rather watch the kids than go sit in the ‘service’ thing. If questioned about that, I plan to tell her that I would “rather serve than sit idly” because that seems like a freaking great excuse to me. If I didn’t enjoy volunteering my time so much, I wouldn’t have said anything at all, but that seemed like a much better thing to say than just straight out telling them that I didn’t want to be involved at all because I know I’ll get questioned and they’ll try to persuade me in person. When I’m cornered like that, I’m great at talking in circles, but I never feel like it’s believable enough, so I’d rather be able to think it through before emailing a response.

Now, some of you might ask why I don’t just tell them I’m not interested in being involved at all, in anything, anywhere. Here’s the thing. I have guilt. I have major guilt. I always feel like I’m letting someone down when I do that and I also worry that they’ll feel weird about leaving their infants with me if I’m not a ‘true believer’ like they think I am. It doesn’t change who I am and it doesn’t change the fact that they’ve known me since I was much younger, but some of these women might not be so okay with leaving their kids with me anymore if they know the truth. I highly doubt they’d ask me to step out of the position, but I’m already being talked about, so I don’t want to fuel those flames by giving them even more to discuss. And I certainly don’t want some kind of weird religious intervention where they sit me down and sent me to bible camp to save my eternal soul. I feel like it’s pretty well protected, thanks.

There’s really only one woman that I can think of who probably thinks I’ll be burning in hell very shortly. Normally, if I have no kids in the nursery when I’m there, I ditch out early. This woman caught me leaving once and told me in no uncertain terms to “get to class because you need it. It would be good for you.” Excuse me? “Go on, go find an adult class. You really need it.” I had SO many punchlines running through my head at the time that I couldn’t pick just one and instead I bit my tongue rather than jumbling them all up. What I really wanted to say is, “I would LOVE to, but I’m late for my coven meeting.” OR,”as much as I’d like to, my sacrificial goat is outside in the heat and I have take him to the cross burning ceremony before he dies of heat exhaustion.” personal favourite, “I can’t! My followers and I are sacrificing a virgin at the stroke of twelve and I have to go get him before he’s no longer a virgin. That Sally…she just can’t keep her hands off the virgins. This is the third try and if she ruins this one, we’re sunk.”

This is also the same woman who completely berated me for not having the ‘intercom’ television on so I could listen to the service while watching the kids in the room. Personally, I hate the distraction and would rather focus my energy solely on the kids I have to take care of. That and the fact that I DIDN’T WANT TO LISTEN were my main reasons for not turning the stupid thing on. So, I’m fairly sure THAT woman things I’m damned to hell.

Anyway, see? I told you this would be a rant. What I’m getting at is that all of these people are continuing to add me to Facebook and it’s nice and all, but I’ve about had it. They’re now in a blocked group so I don’t have to deal with them unless I have to.

One woman added me to Facebook tonight and then promptly emailed me to tell me that we should introduce ourselves. Actually, here, allow me to show you the email:

We should introduce ourselves at FBC.

Melissa Teja:
Oh, we’ve met before. But surely. I should be up in the nursery this coming Sunday to watch the kiddies for the 10:15 hour if you’d like to drop by and say hi.

I will cant put face and name together. Have you had my grand kids in nursery?

Melissa Teja
I surely have! Billy and Susan, right?


Melissa Teja
Then yes! That’s me.

I’m embarrassed but looking to be FB friends.

Melissa Teja:
No need to be embarrassed! It’s ok. People usually know me by sight by not by name, so you’re one of MANY.

See? Cordial and friendly. Also, how creepy did that “Oh, we’ve met before…” sound? 🙂 I spend most of my time saying that to people. She truly IS one of MANY who know me by sight but not name. Again, I’ve been in the nursery for 12 years now and people will often walk by and wave at me, whether they know me or not, so they know OF me but they don’t know who I am. This just happens to be a case where this woman actually has met me numerous times when dropping off her grandkids. I laughed way harder than I care to admit about that one. 🙂 (This would be the ‘happiness in misery’ based on the song lyric entry title!)

Ok, that’s all for now. I’m bored of talking about this and it’s frustrating me all over again. G’night!


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November 24, 2013

Try the Congregational UCC; I think you’ll like it b/c they don’t tell you what to believe.