Rumor has it I have been slacking with the blog posting situation. It is true. I have taken a giant step away from social media lately in order to enjoy my school break and to relish the completion of my book launch. I have been hanging out with the hubby, the dog, my daughter, reading, going to yoga, and breathing. Whew.
Here are some things I have learned during my first year in Ohio:
Midwesterners are kind.
Gentle landscapes are just as beautiful as dramatic scenery.
Wildlife is completely different-giant groundhog things and muskrats, cardinals and yellow finches. No whales.
It takes time to relax into love.
The sharp pointy edges of emotional armor require conscious effort to dismantle and set aside. Taking them off is merely the first freeing, weightless step. Then comes inching away from the weapon pile. Letting them gather dust and rust. Wandering so far away you can’t remember where they are or how you ever got them on.
The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher’s Kid is available now.
What is that one thing you always come back to? That one thing you can never not adore? For me, it’s cheese. Cheeeeeese.
I came up with this while playing around with poetry as short-form memoir during Creative Writing class.
Only Love Remains
How did we begin, my one true love? My passion for you endures unabated. I remember in the early days, a hastily ripped cardboard box, frantically searching for the indented foil seam and ripping back the shiny slick casing. Carefully fingering you onto my tongue as that first mouthful dissolved into creamy liquid that slid slowly down my throat. The melting plasticity of Velveeta cheese food product will always take me back to our first time. As Mom swirled Velveeta into hot elbow macaroni noodles in her blackened bottom pot, the liquid gold slithered through the curved tube creating a heavenly goo so runny it had to be eaten with a spoon.
Changing circumstances took their toll on our relationship over the years. An absent father with dark secrets coincided with subtle shifts in refrigerator contents. Slabs of dense government cheese-American, of course, Ronald Reagan’s gift to the Dairy Farmers of America, filled cheap bread several meals a day. My abandoned, anxiety-ridden mother despised my gluttony, hated me fat, but couldn’t stop me from eating. She had enough on her plate. Dad showed up long enough to forbid her from taking charity and then there was no cheese at all.
How I missed you.
Then, the joys of marriage and two modest incomes provided several packages a week where we could hide the knowledge that we had made a colossal mistake. What better way to fill the holes of missing pieces than with grated four cheese Mexican flavored topping.
Inevitably, backlash came in the form of self-imposed hungry years. Fat-free feta and scant sprinklings of parmesan marked by long periods of abstinence. I shunned you, please forgive me.
And now, now that we have reconnected, slim slices of Manchego and pungent veiny Amish bleu, artfully arranged with seasonal fruit and paired with a crisp Rosé fill my palate with undertones of bourgeoisie as we stroll into the sunset. I will never leave you again.
A couple of weeks ago Dr. Clint Heacock of Mindshift Podcast interviewed me about The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher’s Kid. The interview was a great experience because he put me at ease right away with his thoughtful curiosity and willingness to let our conversation unfold, despite the fact that the husband had to ransack the snack cupboard in the middle of recording!
Here it is: Interview Link
We talk about growing up fundie, fathers with secrets, making peace with it all, and sex, of course.
Dr. Heacock can be followed on Twitter to keep up on the latest conversation regarding deconversion. And of course, follow his blog!
Sex blogger Jill Hamilton of In Bed With Married Women writes about all things sex-positive with blunt, hilarious honesty. As it turns out, she also does book reviews! Lucky me! Here’s what she has to say about The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher’s Kid:
Click here for the review-scroll down the page a bit to get to the review. But then go back and read about her sex toy giveaway.
Or read it here:
The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid by Ronna Russell is a wonderfully honest memoir about growing up in an extremely religious household, marrying a not-so great closeted man and, discovering later in life, that her narcissistic, controlling father was dying from AIDS. Just thinking about it, I am now ashamed that I used the word “harrowing” for going to the stinking post office, when this is the real harrowing business of life. But it’s also a hopeful story. Ronna is strong as hell and finding her way just fine. The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid is definitely in the genre of jacked-up childhood/eccentric parent reads like The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and Educated by Tara Westover.
Also follow Jill on Twitter because she is funny and smart. @Jill_Hamilton
From a friend on Twitter:
Hi, Ronna! I am thoroughly enjoying your memoir. I can’t put it down. As an exvangelical, I can of course relate. BUT I had no idea how much I would relate to your marriage situation. It is almost identical to what I went through in my second marriage. We were only married three years, and didn’t have children. I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would have been for me to leave after 20 years and four children. My heart definitely goes out to you…and I feel so seen, knowing that other women have gone through what I endured…and felt the same way I did. It also is so encouraging to know I did the right thing leaving when I did. If I didn’t have the support of my friends, I might have stayed with him forever.
Order The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher’s Kid on Amazon.
Would you buy this fabulous dragon mug with the book? (There’s a reason for the dragon.)
*giveaway coming soon!
I have a few books left in the box! I can ship a signed copy for a flat $20. Email me at email@example.com for details!