Catholic Church · Child Abuse · Education · Human behavior · Personal memoirs · Religion · Uncategorized

Hell’s Belle, Sister Angeline

It was late 1962 and time for me to start school for the first time ever. Just my luck, I got put in Sister Angeline’s first-grade class. This Catholic nun was a real terror, a diminutive, plump woman fully robed in black and a bit of white with a sharply winged white cornette that made her appear to be over five feet tall, although her real height was more like 4’6”. The only time she wasn’t angry was when she’d successfully humiliated and/or hurt some six-year-old child for some crime like talking out of turn or peeing in one’s chair for fear of raising one’s hand to be excused to the bathroom. Humiliating and terrorizing children always put a little closed-mouth grin of satisfaction on her face, for a moment anyways.

She was perhaps 60 years old at the time, hard to be certain because we never saw anything but her face and her hands. Her hair color was a mystery, always fully covered by headdresses, usually the severest of cornettes. I imagined her hair was grayish. She strongly resembled the actress Zelda Rubinstein, but was not as fleshy or double-chinned, as Angeline was chubby, not fat. And Angeline’s big eyes were a piercing icy blue, not brown. Rubinstein played the eccentric medium, Tangina Barrons, in the early Poltergeist movies.

Church and school today, with Sister Angeline’s same old classroom obscured by cars in the background.

Sister Angeline was infamous for her clicker, which I believe she called a frog, a hand-held metal object with a springy thumb tab that made a loud clicking noise when she’d furiously press it, rapid fire when needed. It was a sound that struck alarm and fear in the more timid of her flock of little children, and induced more of a snicker of defiance in the bolder among us, who were yet also fearful of the demonic nun once they’d gone too far or got caught committing some sin.

Fear urination and vomiting were a regular part of the day in the holy Sister’s classroom.

QUIET was the rule for Sister Angeline’s class, including in the lunch area. Only speak when called upon to speak, by her, and you’d better have the right answer. At lunchtime, while other classes sat straddling their benches talking a bit or otherwise being insolent (a testament to the contemptible laxity of other teachers), our class was dead silent, eating every speck of our lunches in the proper order, often without tasting anything, chewing thoroughly and swallowing each lump of less than wanted nourishment in fear, looking straight ahead. (Ah, a touch of home though, those lunches, made by our moms, and how we longed to be home!) It was very hard to work up an appetite when one felt nauseous most of the time, from a mixture of fear and loathing of the short woman with the hateful glare. Those light blue eyes felt like daggers when they’d bore into you, so you’d do anything to avoid attracting her attention.

But then, lo and behold, that obedient silence and rigidness would attract her attention! I sat in her classroom once, concentrating on the alphabet or something and suddenly she loomed over me, seething eyes penetrating my soul, and she roared, “You think all you have to do is sit there and look pretty?!!” “No, Sister, I’m paying attention,” I replied, or something similar. She bristled and huffed and walked away, seemingly satisfied with the abject fear on my face and in my trembling voice.

She reduced me and others to feeling like bawling infants who didn’t dare let it out. Image source: sisterwolf.tumblr.com

I had several instances of vomiting and peeing in class and so did several other kids. If one dared to raise one’s hand and ask to go to the restroom, she’d always shout something humiliating like, “You should’ve thought of that before class! You’ll wait till recess, dodo bird!” Needless to say, with the urgent need to urinate combined with the terror, the urine flowed in that classroom. Vomiting usually occurred after lunch, with food struggling to be digested in extremely nervous stomachs, and failing and spewing out onto the floor. The smell of vomit is a prominent memory from those days. At the vomiting she was really furious, embarrassed to be calling on the janitor every day to throw sawdust onto yet another puddle of puke from some “insolent” child. The janitor calmly took it all in stride as if he’d been doing same with this crazy woman and her first-graders for some time.

Filthy sinner child, confess and do penance!

Sister would pick some boys up out of their seats by an ear and drag them across the room to be shut in the closet, or under her desk, or to face the Virgin Mary statue in the corner for an hour or so, for some crime like uttering a word or two without permission, perhaps to ask a question, or for not paying strict attention to her. How dare they! One raised one’s hand and waited patiently for the good Sister to call on one if one had a question or statement. If not, expect possibly to be slapped hard upside your head. Hard enough to hurt badly and shock you, not hard enough to do actual injury, mind you. Even Angeline had rules to follow. The church and school frowned upon lawsuits, naturally.

My mischievous friend Coleen often got in trouble with Sister Angeline, since Coleen was loud and assertive and liked to clown around. Even though her natural ways were severely constricted under Angeline’s rule, Coleen would occasionally laugh out loud at something or commit some other crime, and she was grabbed and led by ear to sit under Angeline’s desk. When teacher sat down at her desk with Coleen under it, Coleen peaked out through the gap at the bottom of the desk to face the class and made the “stinky” symbol by holding her nose and grimacing. Several kids saw that and burst out laughing.

Strictly disallowed!

“Is something so funny?!” the little nun growled. “Someone tell me what’s so funny or you’ll all get ten demerits and stay after school for detention!” No one spoke up; Coleen’s face was no longer visible as even she was scared then, and I believe we all did get the punishment promised, since Angeline wasn’t one to not follow through on her threats.

The old standby, the famous nuns’ ruler smack across a kid’s little knuckles.

Angeline also wielded the wooden ruler and used it with a demented sort of enjoyment I’d never witnessed before. She’d whack kids’ knuckles with a flourish and it was so loud an impact that I’d jump at each lashing, until I became accustomed to it anyways. I don’t remember her ever doing that to girls, just boys, although with Coleen there may have been an exception.

It appeared that the good Sister took the lyrics to the old song, “School Days,” to heart:

Reading and writing and ‘rithmetic

Taught to the tune of the hickory stick

The main thing you’d better have done in Angeline’s classroom was to learn her lessons and learn them well, so the alphabet, basic reading and writing, basic math, and the introductory religious dogma, we were all really good at, due to fear. Only the truly learning impaired kids failed to pick up on and grasp everything this evil little woman taught us. But we’d have all learned just as well with a teacher who wasn’t a tiny monster, who didn’t terrorize us into learning.

Imagine; this was my first school experience. I’d never gone to kindergarten or nursery school and started first grade when I was still five, nearing age six. So I think I may have been even more traumatized by the Angeline experience than the other kids, but I don’t know their stories so cannot be sure. It was an awful experience for a six-year-old girl or any child, and it shouldn’t have even been possible for such a crazy, mean, vicious woman to be put in charge of children of any age. But it was possible, because of the way the religion works and the way Christianity in general casts us all as sinners merely for being born, and having Christ’s crucifixion held over our guilty little heads as the reason we must confess our guilt and do continual penance for being so very rotten. The love for Jesus was paramount, even more than the guilty self-loathing. I assume all that sort of training played a big role in the dementia and cruelty of Sister Angeline. In later years, every teacher I had at that school, whether a nun or not, seemed absolutely angelic in comparison with The One.

Snitching on the holy woman was also terroristically advised against.

Sister Angeline conveyed to us all by some mysterious means that we were not to get her in trouble for her “strictness.” So it seems we were all hesitant to let our parents know exactly what was going on, or at least I was afraid to do so. But when things got bad enough and I would be extremely sick and nauseous before heading off to school and begging to stay home, tales of Angeline terror could be coaxed from me by my mom. She was saddened and horrified, but my dad, mainly at the urging of his devoutly religious Catholic sister-in-law, would convince me to hush up, that it was just the teacher’s being strict, and for me to not be so upset by it. Just laugh it off, he seemed to say. Oh how I tried, but no go. Both my parents did once have a meeting with Sister Angeline and school officials, but were dismissed with pretty much the same advice my dad gave me. Shocking to me then, but not at all now, after all I’ve learned about that church’s policies regarding pedophile priests.

Anyhow, that’s one standout life experience that formed who I became and who I am today, for whatever that’s worth. I never wanted to be anything even remotely similar to that little terror of a nun. Although I never could figure out exactly what she was. Except for evil, and extremely, devoutly Catholic.

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Bogus arguments against veganism · Dealing with problem people · Human behavior · Judgmentalism · Morality · Narcissism · Uncategorized · Why be vegan

Not vegan anymore? You thoroughly bore this ex-ex-vegan.

By now, after witnessing for several years the barrage of kudos-basking, triumphant, “recovering,” self-righteous ex-“vegans” on the web, I’ve become literally put to sleep by them anymore. Really, I get an intense yawn attack and nearly nod off when seeing the same old same old schlock emanating from the webcams and/or keyboards of these toxic little people. A few words are all I need and I’m gone from there. Seriously would rather watch paint dry, or other such clichés.

So if I’m so bored, why write an article on them?

Well, because I’m seeing some popular vegan web personalities stressing out, overcome with anger and sadness, and literally going crazy online in response to all this hugely popular ex-vegan fiction.

Model Robin Higgins, not necessarily representative of vegans.

To you vegans who rant and rave and look like a hot mess doing so…

Do you realize the enjoyment anti-vegan propagandists get from your stressing out so much that you neglect your own health and come across as sickly, crazy and obsessed? Can you see how these ex-“vegans” use you to bolster their excuses for supposedly quitting (as if you can quit something you never really were)?

There’s a famous vegan lady on youtube who I won’t name who put out a video where she looks like a concentration camp prisoner, showing off unshaved underarms, unkempt hair, looking pretty much like a hot mess while seeming to almost fall apart in ranting against these flaky, toxic little people for betraying the animals.

Well, what else would you expect from those people? Strength, honesty, loyalty, anything truly kind, unselfish and beneficial? That would be absurd. They evidently never did give a damn about the animals. Such people are by definition…betrayers. And who wants betrayers as part of any meaningful cause, any serious effort to improve the way people are?

But I do fully understand the sadness and anger.

usda public domain
Source: USDA (public domain)

These ex-vegan storytellers really are a great tool for the animal using industries, since their lies are frightening to the unknowing. Their stories of almost dying, hair and teeth falling out, digestive devastation, etc., etc., frightened me away from being vegan long ago, so I know very well how it works. Even back in the late 1980s–early 90s, these agents would write letters to the editor of Vegetarian Times magazine, which I subscribed to, with the exact same tales of devastation from lack of dead animals, their eggs and their milk in our diets. One creative writer warned of blindness from being vegan! I was sufficiently frightened so that I gradually started eating dairy and eggs again, until they were often a regular part of my diet, and fish even became an occasional addition.

Was I ashamed? Yes, and even with no vegans condemning me. Had I had any health problems being vegan for about three years before then? Nope. Did I feel any better with the animal products back in my diet? No, to the contrary. What did happen was that I overate like crazy from the casein effect (opiate/appetite stimulant) in the dairy products and gained a mass of weight over the next 19 years of being mostly vegetarian, sometimes vegan, and occasional fish eater.

See, I really was devastated, by being EX-vegan.

After struggling with being overweight all my life since about age 6, eating lots of meat/dairy/eggs, and being up around 180 pounds for most of my young-adult life, I finally got down to a nice light weight (about 120) after being vegan from 1986 to 1989, but that was all over after the eggs, cheese, milkshakes and yogurt, etc., were back. In just a few years I got up to over 200 pounds, at 5’3”. Not fun, at all. And I had heart palpitations, high blood pressure, chronic serious constipation, and was likely on the way to being diabetic as well…and with diabetes comes the vision impairment (retinopathy) and possible blindness those damned fear propagandists had frightened me with!

“Plant foods only will kill you!”

We ex-ex-vegans are not the sort that would condemn veganism by painting it as dangerous. Even though I’d been scared by those letters to the editor, I didn’t quite believe them 100%, since I’d felt and looked too good being vegan, and knew that any “missing nutrients” could be gotten either by adding more foods or a supplement or two to the routine. Nothing at all difficult. It was, however, much more (falsely) comfortable to live in society as a non-vegan, so that was a big part of my failure.

I finally said to hell with all that in early 2009, with the great help of “preachy” vegan knowledge being shared on the internet, since I’d gotten my first ever web-capable home computer at the end of 2008. Went back to being vegan then and never looked back, and it really was the best decision (for health and peace of mind) in my life. I’d never stopped being guilty about the animals, but had convinced myself that buying “cage free” or “humane” animal products on occasion was at least something.

Well no, it wasn’t, it was BS.

So, I’m an ex-ex-vegan…the sort that animal ag propagandists like to pretend does not exist. But we’re many, probably far more in number than all these ex-“vegans” we hear incessantly about today. And we’re now here to stay. And we will not be driven insane or otherwise made ill by online twits out to destroy the vegan cause.

In contrast to my sort of ex-vegan, this new breed of ex-“vegans” are quite the caustic bunch of betrayers. They work at numbing their minuscule sense of guilt by painting vegans and veganism as the villains instead of facing themselves head-on and admitting the truth, whether it is that they were simply experimenting with a diet trend to be different, rebellious, or whatever, and are now on to the next trend (such as raw meat, sun gazing, flat earth belief, etc., yes really); or their whole story is a complete fabrication and they simply are out to destroy veganism by whatever means necessary. Or something else equally foul.

Quite the wretched waste of a human life, wouldn’t you say?

So, don’t let them waste yours by making you sick with anger and sadness. Keep on your right track and spread the good word to other strong, compassionate people who are not betrayers. We need good, reliable people, not just people. Many people are damaged, never grew past the “me me me what’s in it for me!” stage of thoughtless hedonism, so let the opposition have those people. We’ll take the rest, as long as we don’t scare them off by our falling apart in the face of all this toxicity piled upon us.

Blow it off like a bomb, be immune.

Keep on your proper path, don’t be led off track into ill-health and suffering from the toxicity of sorry people. When you’ve been somehow directed to some more I’m-not-vegan-anymore nonsense, give their forever recited toxicity a nice big yawn and move quickly along to much better things. That’s my advice anyways, and I’ll do my best to follow it, too.

[Images from pixabay.com, except one from USDA.]

Animal and Child Abuse · Child Abuse · Human behavior · Psychology · Sadism · Uncategorized · Violence

Cruel, Destructive Empathy (a.k.a. Sadism)

Empathy is the ability to put oneself in the place of another, to feel what they feel, or at least relate to what they feel, and to have pity for them, as for ourselves, and want to relieve any physical or emotional pain they’re experiencing. The same way we want our own suffering pitied and ended. That’s normal human empathy. Do unto others as you’d have done unto you, as the saying goes. This comes from deserved love for ourselves which extends to love for others, including animals. But with people, that love is reserved only for those others who have not earned our revulsion by their cruel, harmful acts.

Still from American comedy short film Cruel, Cruel World! (1914)

Sadistic Empathy

Sadistic people are also highly empathic, but without the pity, with the exact opposite of pity. They’re highly attuned to the feelings of others and they get a thrill by witnessing their suffering, especially when they themselves cause that suffering, since they feel powerful as well in those cases. The sadistic thrill is born from hatred of innocent others. That hatred is born from self-hatred, which in turn is born from their having been despised and severely beaten, physically and/or emotionally and mentally, especially by those assumed to be close, protective and loving towards them when they were small, innocent children. That of course does terrible emotional damage to a child. 

What turns a naturally compassionate, loving human being into a sadistic abuser?

We’re all born innocent, and most are born to loving and protective parents who do their best to make life good for us. But some are products of parents and/or extended family or friends (or enemies or strangers) who damage them severely in a wide variety of possible ways. But all such abuse shares the same roots. Abusers are, almost 100% of the time, former victims of severe abuse, either real or at times imagined. Many of us can mature and transcend this damage to become good, kind, trustworthy people. But this is about all those who do not, in the extreme.

Two primary ways of dealing with such an upbringing are:

1) He/she can identify with the abuser(s) and emulate them in a way meant to rage against but also to justify the abuse and to “empower” the abused as in, “I’m in the power position now, stupid weakling!” This is meant to please their abuser(s) as well, as in imitation being flattery. Stockholm Syndrome is a form of identifying with and dealing with abusers in a sick but self-preserving way, serving to somehow “empower” the victim. In any case, the resulting young bully and/or animal abuser often continues on the same path to commit violent crimes against people as an adult.

2) Or the child can rebel and rise above the abuser and do everything in his/her power to be the opposite, to properly rage against the abuse and the injustice of it, and to truly empower his or her self. To become a strong and morally sound, compassionate human being, refusing to be destroyed by the abuser(s). That’s of course the well-meaning empath who feels terrible for the suffering of others and who strives to relieve suffering in the world. This is also a type of person who is hated intensely for being so “emotional” and they’re often mentally abused by their opposites above.

The sadists’ emulators are those seen posting images or videos of themselves “happily” torturing innocent, helpless animals. They’re the same cowardly people who will do the same to helpless people such as the disabled in care homes, but in the interest of self-preservation usually won’t broadcast those acts due to fear of punishment.

Photo by Anna-Maria Oléhn – flickr.com/photos/agrajag42/16584440015/

I believe sadists enjoy mentally torturing victim sympathizers even more than they enjoy the suffering of their direct victims. They’re intensely angry that no such people ever came to their defense and rescued them when they were victims of hideous abuse. So, jealousy of those who ARE protected and rescued and loved is the key to their vicious acts against those they see as innocent, like they once were.

The main reason we have animal abuse is because we have child abuse.

Very few people are actually naturally evil from birth where no amount of loving nurturing parenting will allow them to develop into kind, loving people. A child is made evil by abuse, plain and simple. But as with the other example above, most abused children rebel and develop their own sense of empathy and compassion despite the abuse they endured. That takes real strength; mental and emotional strength that the other extreme are severely or entirely lacking. So those toxic “caretakers” or other abusers not only turned them evil, but rendered them extremely weak in character as well.

Solutions?

Wish I had some concrete ones, new and effective. But whenever we witness a child or animal (or anyone else) being seriously abused, we need to act against it or report it to those in authority who will take decisive action to deal with it and get it ended, and get the victim to safety. And that includes what is considered legal and acceptable! Make no mistake, legalized evil is nothing but highly destructive to us all.

This needs to be EVERY month.  (U.S. Air Force graphic by Naoko Shimoji)

So very much abuse is overlooked as with people being intimidated or wanting to mind their own business and such. But this is ALL of our business, as it’s our world and we must live in it and be subject to its dangers. There are so very many, and being victimized by other human beings should not be one of them.

We get to the root of this huge problem only by facing the hard truth about ourselves as a species and putting an end to all of our excuse making and blathering about “necessary evils” as in making “inferior” others suffer for our supposed “benefits.” Such thinking only destroys our humanity and our natural sense of empathy.

Nothing good comes from that.