Bye-Bye, You Big Baby

People have lost their damn minds over this coronavirus quarantine. I see nothing but people arguing over things and just being outright stupid. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve started blocking anyone that “yells” at me or says anything negative online. I see friendships going south due to all of this madness. I see nothing on my social media news feed except negativity and fake news, so I’ve been deleting and removing myself from a lot of it, and I’m kind of avoiding social media altogether, adding yet another touch to my social distancing.

A male friend that is popular with the ladies lost his mind on Facebook the other day. I met him about six years ago when I was newly separated from my ex, but I had no interest in dating him. While he seemed nice and friendly and not bad looking, there was that something I couldn’t pinpoint about him that made me unattracted to him, but we remained friends. I hooked him up with someone, because I thought they would get along, and they did last off and on for two years. (Watching it from my perspective made me realize they were both crazy.) At least two of the women he’s dated that I’ve met have said he was dramatic, had a short temper and got right up in their faces and screamed at them during disagreements (I will call him Short Temper). As a matter of fact, he tried to do that to me once in public because I didn’t hold the same political views as he, so I moved across the room and refused to speak to him for weeks until he apologized. Being the listener that I am, I’ve listened to Short Temper’s sorrows numerous times about the women he dates, how they’ve done him wrong, and he sometimes literally cried over the phone about it.

Now that the following situation happened, I can see exactly what I’ve been told about the dramatics and anger management issues and that thing I couldn’t pinpoint about not being attracted to him. Short Temper had been complaining about just about everything and posted some fake news on Facebook that had something to do with the Chinese putting a curse on us. Knowing what I know about the culture, I questioned it, because it irks the shit out of me when false information is shared, and people are dumb enough to believe it. Short Temper replied, “Look it up, it’s ancient.” So I did.

I honestly think a lot of people underestimate me. If someone challenges me on fact finding, I’m all over it! I replied with a link that revealed it’s not from the Chinese and certainly not ancient. He got really pissed at me and sent me this long, nasty message but blocked me before I could reply (pussy move):

His response didn’t really make much sense to me, and I wondered if he’d been drinking early in the day. I was actually pretty shocked that he took it the way he did, because I thought we were bantering the way I do with some of my other friends. Plus, HE is the one that said look it up. What he said about embarrassing me was very bizarre, and I believe he was bluffing, because I can’t think of anything he could possibly say that would embarrass me. I mean, hell, I pretty much admit to and write all about my faults right here.

Our mutual friends agreed that he was acting very childish, and he’s done similar things to them, unfriending or blocking them, as well. I guess he’s one of those guys that can’t admit when he’s wrong, but that’s not my problem. I have no bad feelings about losing this “friendship”, because what did I gain from it? Judgement? Because I do that about myself pretty damn well on my own. An ear full of sobbing over women he screamed at? Go hire a therapist.

If someone is this petty over something so trivial when there are real world issues going on, I don’t consider it a loss.

Why I Reject Religion – Part 2

The same house with the same people that I posted about yesterday that were trying to get the devil out of me when I was in my mid-20s (Part 1 of Why I Reject Religion) – this is part of what I remember as a kid, from Chapter 9 of my book Unheard:

“Our church is called The Four Squares. It’s a small Pentecostal church, the same one where Daddy met Bianca. I think Four Squares is a dumb name for a church, but I figure it has something to do with the family of four that runs it. I have to attend church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night.

Gertrude, Bianca’s mother, goes to our church. I have to spend a few days with her while Daddy and Bianca spend some time together alone. Gertrude is an overweight lady with pretty skin, and she constantly preaches about the Lord. She yells and cries for no reason, calling for Jesus and praying to him to save her marriage from her unfaithful husband. Her yelling and screaming scares me at times, especially when she tells me that the devil is inside of me. That’s only if I say or do something she doesn’t like. More than anything, that makes me mad, and I feel like telling her the devil must be in her since she yells and scares kids away.”

For a child to experience this is pretty frightening. It’s like using the boogie man to scare children, but instead they use their god and hell and damnation. The thing is – I always questioned everything, but their answers never made sense. For example, I asked about dinosaurs not being in the Bible. I can’t recall the answer I was given at the time, but it didn’t make sense. I asked about timelines and relevant things that were contradictory in the Bible, but every answer I was given was also contradictory or made into some other uneducated explanation. I asked about children dying or people getting cancer, and I was told that was God’s will, which wasn’t an acceptable answer for me either. And this is a good one – why do women have to serve men? Because that shit didn’t fly with me, even when I was a child. Nothing made sense to me whatsoever, and I thought that “God” sounded like a total misogynistic, selfish asshole. By the time I was a teenager, I had made up my mind that church was not a place I ever care to go. If you’ve never experienced something like this in life or as a child, let me tell you – it’s not only weird, it’s pretty damn creepy! But not as creepy as what I’m about to share.

A girl I’d been friends with since fourth grade lived down the street from me. Her parents were very strict Christians, and even being only about nine years old, I noticed some very strange behavior. One thing was her older brothers pissed their beds (I believe they were either in high school or close to it), and looking back, that is a sure sign of abuse, whether physical or sexual. My friend was rarely allowed to play outside much, but sometimes I was allowed over when their father was there. Now this is where it gets really weird, and today I am 99.9% sure he was a goddamn pedophile. From Chapter 1 of Unheard:

“[My friend] was never allowed at my house, and I stopped going to hers when I was ten because her father kept making me sit on his lap, facing and straddling him as he held me close. He gave me the creeps. When I tried to scoot away he forcefully continued to pull me forward. He also liked to hug me a lot, which I also thought was creepy. I wasn’t used to hugs much from home, but I knew that my grandparents never hugged me like that. I knew in my stomach that something was wrong about it.”

Around the time I wrote and published my book, I was getting in touch with old friends on Facebook, including the friend mentioned above. I’m pretty sure she read the book but didn’t know if I’d written about her, because I kept her details and identity fairly private. I know she was going through a lot of her own difficulties, and at one point she did ask me about her father holding people too close, mentioning that people thought it was weird. She made some excuse about his actions, but I wasn’t buying it. I am certain that man probably did a lot of disgusting things to children.

These people that I had experience with in the religious sector had to be some of the craziest, sickest people a child could be forced to interact with. To this day, the only time you will see me in church is for a wedding or a funeral. But this still isn’t the end of my church stories just yet.

Why I Reject Religion – Part I

While I appreciate and accept other people’s paths in life, religion is not for me whatsoever. Even when I was a small child, I had interest in the occult, which major religions seem to despise.

If you’ve followed me long enough or read my first book, Unheard, you’ll know that religion was a big part of my childhood that led to the ultimate demise of the relationship with my biological father.

This is an excerpt from Unheard: a Memoir – as told from a child’s point of view:

Grandmaw got Daddy to go to a big church called Calvary where Aunt Marylou went, and he became born again. That meant that he loved Jesus, who was the only person to show him how Daddy was getting to Heaven. They told me I should be born again too, but I decided that I would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. The spirit part scared me, because I thought that God’s son was a ghost. One night I was baptized in a big bathtub at the big Calvary church in front of a big audience. That’s when they handed me a microphone and I told them I love Jesus, even though I wasn’t sure I trusted Him, because I was afraid that I wouldn’t go to Heaven with the rest of my family if I didn’t do exactly as He said in the Bible. I think that water must have been dirty because I got sick a few days later. Maybe it was because my sins were still washing away. I wasn’t sure I liked the Calvary church because it was boring and they made us read like they did in school instead of color and do crafts like some of the other churches we went to. Besides, they made me feel stupid when I didn’t know what some of the Bible meant.

I stopped liking the Sunday school after they asked us what we knew about Abraham. I raised my hand. I knew all about Abraham from school.

“Abraham was the sixteenth president of the United States!” I proudly announced.

“No,” the teacher scrunched up his face. “We’re talking about Abraham from the Bible.”

I guess he thought I was a dumb kid because he never called on me again. I liked the story about the president Abraham better anyway because he freed the slaves.

I was an impressionable child that believed what adults told me as truth, because that was what I was taught (even when my gut said not to). There was another portion of Christianity that I was exposed to but thought it was not only horse shit, but outright nuts – the Pentecostal church. This is another excerpt from my book Unheard:

Grandmaw stopped going to the big church because they asked for too much money and started going to the new small Pentecostal church next to her house. I wasn’t sure I liked that one much either, because the music was old and boring, and so were most of the people. Most of the congregation was a bunch of people raising their hands and talking in a funny language they said was their tongue, even though I thought my tongue looked the same as theirs. The preacher would call up people to the front of the church and start yelling at them and push them on the head until they fell over raising their hands in the air and crying for Jesus. All of that yelling made me want to vomit sometimes because it scared me. The only part I liked about going to that church was meeting other kids and when Grandmaw gave me mints out of her purse when I sat next to her. The other part I liked was when they had food after the service because I was always starving by the time it was over.

Once I educated myself and had a mind of my own, I realized that religion is complete and utter bullshit that was invented by men to control the masses and take property from single/widowed women they deemed as “witches.” One college class I enjoyed most was World Religion, where I grew to learn about and respect other religions, which I feel pretty much all have the same basic beliefs and values. I gravitated towards Buddhism, Paganism, and anything considered “occult” because none of them were religions; they were ways of life and not defined by rules like Christianity or any of the other major world religions. Plus, they made sense.

One of the last times I visited my father was when I was in college. My daughter and I went to my stepmother’s mother’s house for New Year’s Day dinner. During the visit, my father asked me about what I’m doing in college, and at the time I was planning to become an art therapist, but first my plan was to become a high school teacher before working my way into art therapy. Both he and my stepmother discouraged me from teaching in public schools (my stepmother homeschooled all of their children), but I was determined to do whatever I wanted. (This was in the late 90s when schools aren’t what they are today.) After explaining how art and psychology helps people, my father basically told me psychology was a bunch of “hogwash” or whatever Southern term he came up with. That hurt me more than anything, because he has never helped me as an adult, nor have I ever asked, and I was doing my best raising a child and going to college and working on my own. He gave me no credit whatsoever. Everything I said made me wrong in his eyes. I was never good enough, no matter what I did for either him or myself. His words also made me angry, and they saw it. And then things got really fucking weird.

At that point, my stepmother said, “Let’s pray for Susanna!” … and they put me in a chair in the center of her mother’s living room and tried to “take the devil out” of me. By that, I mean they were praying loudly and speaking in tongues and putting their hands on my head and saying things like, “Let Susanna believe in God and let Susanna believe in Jesus! Rebuke the devil in the name of the Lord!”

I was pissed and wanted to get up and scream, “What in the holy HELL are you people doing?!!” But I also didn’t want to scare the small children, because it would “prove” to them that the devil was surely inside of me, and I didn’t want to be a part of the children witnessing “the devil” that only exists in their small minds. They had never even asked me what my beliefs were, and at the time, they were probably a little different than they are today.

My daughter was probably about eight at the time, and I believe she was scared for me and scared of them. It was confusing and weird and a total WTF moment. She and I have a bond like no one else, because it was just her and I for several years. I was fuming mad that they humiliated me like this in front of my young siblings (around her age) and my child. I left so angry, and I vaguely recall my daughter and I speaking about it on the way home, and she said that was the weirdest thing she’d ever seen. No shit. To this day, it’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever experienced. This was only the beginning of the end of my relationship with my father – by his choice (although there are other theories I’ll write about later).

Boundaries in Relationships: Space Invaders & Energy Vampires

Have you ever played the game Space Invaders? It came out in 1978, and as a small child I played it until I had blisters on my fingers. As a matter of fact, I still have a scar on one of my fingers! I was determined to shoot down the enemy if I couldn’t hide behind the walls that almost always got torn down. Of course, in video games, the game always wins. But in real life, we have the power to control what happens; it’s just a matter of learning how to use it.

One day it dawned on me that the aliens in the game Space Invaders are much like people who are space invaders. (Some people often refer to them as energy vampires.) They invade space and suck the good energy right out because they have no respect for other people’s needs or boundaries.

For instance, the friend that has endless relationship problems – you provide an ear to listen. A week or a month later, same friend, same problem. Six months later, a year, two years  – same friend, same problem. Her relationships literally make her ill, and listening to her somehow starts to make you feel ill as well. You’ve invested countless hours listening to her rant about her ex or about how everything in her life sucks. Now it’s your turn. You have an issue and need an ear just to hear you vent, and now your friend doesn’t have time for you. Not a friend at all; just an energy vampire. Healthy friendships are based on mutual listening skills; otherwise you are an unpaid therapist.

Sometimes space invaders are determined to selfishly grant their wants rather than someone else’s needs. A friend whose ex would not stop contacting her after she broke off the relationship, even after she ignored and warned him, got to the point of having to call authorities. Obviously, he had no self-control and zero respect for her needs and boundaries. She probably set these parameters at the very beginning of the relationship, translating his actions into flattery and “love”, instead of listening to her own needs and boundaries. Years after this began, she is finally done with him once and for all but has still had to deal with his stalking.

bound·a·ry
ˈbound(ə)rē
noun
plural noun: boundaries
1.
a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.

A woman I used to be friends with would go out of her way to “help” people with all good intentions, but she does it without their permission and expected things to go her way. For example, she was trying to set her friend up on a blind date with some dude that turned out to be a dud (she invited them to the same party without informing the woman of her intentions). Instead of accepting that her friend had boundaries about dating and being set up with complete strangers without her knowledge, she got upset that she “went out of her way” and didn’t feel appreciated. What she did caused three people unneeded stress – her friend for the embarrassment and invasion of privacy, the dud(e) who was embarrassed after getting his hopes up, and herself because she had expectations for something she had no business sticking her nose into.

I once had a male friend (I’ll nickname him Orchid Guy) that I no longer speak to cross a boundary during the time I was newly separated from my ex. My plan was to check out the city where he lived, because there was a job coming up that I was applying for, and while I was there he was supposed to show me around. Prior to my arrival, he decided to make an itinerary of my entire trip, which included dinner and a cruise – something that I said hell no to, because I was maybe a month into being newly single and definitely not ready for a romantic evening with an old friend. It weirded me out, and I told him, and not only that – I was going to do my own thing, because I really needed alone time. Around the same time, he insisted on sending a package to me, but I felt uncomfortable about it, because technically, I was still married and living under the same roof as my ex. I told him to just wait until I visit, but Orchid Guy couldn’t control himself. He sent it to my job where I was teaching, which was also invasive, because it was a very small school and no one received personal packages there. The package contained a book that I would never be interested in reading, a lengthy handwritten card that sounded too mushy for what our friendship was, the first season of Game of Thrones, and a witch’s knot pendant (the only thing I kept). I thought what an odd bunch of things to send to me! I had to hide everything, because I didn’t want my ex to see it, and I really didn’t even want it in my house – period.

A few weeks later when I arrived at the B&B in his city, Orchid Guy had sent flowers to my room (mainly orchids). At that point, I flipped the fuck out. I thought it was extremely invasive, because this was a trip I was paying for myself, not to mention the emotional time I was having during my separation, but to have someone put flowers in my room just crossed the line for me. He thought he was making a nice gesture and being a “good guy,” but in reality he was well over all of my boundaries to the point that I didn’t feel the need to hang out with him whatsoever during my trip. I was super angry and felt violated.

Even after explaining to a space invader that they have crossed a line (or many lines), explaining that perhaps right now is not the time to continue a conversation, or explaining that right now we may not be feeling well enough to do what they would like us to do, they continue making excuses and finding ways to invade our space… if that person continues to disrespect your boundaries, it’s time to either set the boundaries or let them go. Space invaders will make us crazy and make us literally ill, because they are life-sucking vampires.

In the game Space Invaders, you get 3 “lives,” but in real life we only get one. However, we do have three choices as to how we handle these people: we can either continue allowing space invaders win and slowly kill us, place the boundaries today, or completely end the relationship by announcing: Game Over.

Making Name Changes

You may have noticed that I’ve made a few changes to the blog, including its name. There are a few reasons for this, the first being that I want the name change to reflect the current content I share. It took me a while to come up with something that wasn’t already taken but also relevant, so Free the Burden is it!

The second reason is when I created this site more than 10 years ago, my original intention was to use it to promote myself as an author using a pen name. I had chosen the first name of Susanna, the story in the Bible in which she was minding her own business when two perverted elders came along and spied on her while she was modestly bathing, then  blamed her for being beautiful and making them lustful and attempted to force her into having sex with them. When she refused, Susanna was accused of being promiscuous, which was a death sentence for an adulterer. Proclaiming she’d rather die than have sex with these jerks, she cried out, drawing attention to herself. Eventually, the lying pieces of shit elders are tried and found guilty, mainly because they couldn’t get their story straight –  and thanks to Daniel, Susanna is finally believed.

Susanna was the name I’d chosen because of being wrongfully accused of things, which was a common theme when I was growing up. I was accused of lying when I wasn’t, because I had a difficult time expressing myself verbally. I was accused of miscellaneous things just because of not being liked by both adults and peers. Even in my adulthood, I have been accused of some pretty bizarre things – but I don’t know what is more bizarre – the accusations themselves or the people making them.

Like many authors, I wanted a pen name in order to protect not only my identity and safety, but the identity and safety of my family and others that I’ve written about. Some family and friends and people that have known me for a majority of my life know my true identity behind this blog.

However, some people are complete dicks and think it’s okay to violate people’s privacy, even by going as far to do something illegal to gain information for their own selfish and sick purposes. It’s not a game to me, because some of the content I share with the public on this blog is extremely sensitive information that I wish to remain between myself and the reader, not the rest of the city and certainly not any of my exes unless I care to share it with them directly. To be “outed” by someone that I have never even met is akin to being emotionally raped or having your home burglarized, and that’s a really awful and indescribable feeling. Obviously, that person has severe issues and needs to do a lot of introspection, not to mention getting a life and keeping me out of it. I will be looking further into this matter and seeing what legal action I can take.

All Frogs and No Princes

Last night I noticed a frog in my bathroom. He was quite large, and it was getting late, so I left him alone figuring he’d find his way out eventually. Then I forgot about all about him. Around 2 a.m., I heard a knocking or thumping sound, checked to see if anyone was at my door. Nothing in sight, I went back to bed. This morning I heard another knocking at my back door, got up and saw it was the frog trying to make his way out. Later on, I noticed my bathroom mirror had little marks all over it, which were his tiny little footprints. I suppose that’s what I was hearing at 2 a.m.

Frog symbolism means a few things – particularly transformation, since it goes through different stages of metamorphosis. I suppose this resonates with me, body, mind and soul, because of currently going through all three of those changes.

I realize I need to take better care of my body, because I’m not getting any younger, and I don’t heal as quickly as I used to. Allergies have been worse over the years, so cutting out certain things is something I need to try to build up my immune system again. A few weeks ago I went to my doctor to discuss some changes that didn’t seem normal to me; however, she told me these things are normal as women age. I said, “So basically, women have nothing to look forward to in life?” – because that’s exactly how I felt. She said pretty much – we go through a series of changes throughout our lives and always seem to have issues. What the fuck.

Meditation has helped me in the past, but a problem I have is when the routine is disrupted. I started meditating regularly several years ago and not only did I notice a huge difference in how I felt, I manifested things that I never imagined possible. Then my life picked up and changed dramatically, and I had difficulty getting back into it. It probably didn’t help that my partner didn’t meditate or have any interest in my spirituality (at that point I realized we had nothing in common, which was spiritually draining). I started meditating again recently, but something interrupted my daily routine, and I stopped. I kick myself for doing this!

Spiritually, I feel that I’m changing again, and I’m aware that I need to make a lot of changes. When I was younger, I would set my mind to something and just go for it, no matter what. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I stopped having goals except for getting through each day and making rent each month, and my focus was completely off. I’m sure my health issues had a lot to do with that, but I think they’re manageable now, and keeping toxic assholes out of my life certainly helps! I pretty much gave up my dreams in life for various reasons, but now I’m ready to make things happen again. Perhaps I should make a vision board so I can better focus and meditate on what I have always dreamed of in life.

A last note on frogs – I am utterly bored out of my mind with online dating, like usual. I still have my POF profile, and since I was traveling recently, decided to change my location to see what options were out there. It seems like all frogs and no princes. I have no desire to converse with anyone that messages me, no profiles stick out for me, and organically, no one in my area interests me whatsoever. I suppose this is also part of my spiritual growth.

You’re Not Invited, So Mind Your Own Damn Business

Something I do is mind my own business, because that’s how I like to be treated. People have a habit of telling me their issues, but other than that, I don’t really care what others do as long as it doesn’t affect me. Living in a small town, people know your business – or think they know it – because that’s how small-minded places are. I experienced this when I lived on a small island years ago, and I have a feeling it has or may be happening again, thanks to jealous and/or gossiping bitches with boring lives (that will be an entirely new blog post).

On the island, there were people that loved to involve themselves in others’ lives that they truly knew nothing about, including mine – and it was all surface-level b.s. People see things and assume things and make it a topic of conversation amongst their shallow group of friends. How fucking pathetic. Some of the things that were assumed about me included being on drugs (no idea how that assumption developed) and sleeping with men that I never did anything with – and this was because after having been mugged one night, I’d always have someone walk me to my car. Just for that, it was assumed I went home with the guys! Fucking ridiculous! (And even if I had, it’s still no one’s business anyway.) The person that started that crap was one of my ex-husband’s best friends, but that was prior to me meeting him. When we did meet, she “warned” him about me. Warned him about what? !! The bitch had never even had a conversation with me and was one of those people that could never look me in the eye, even after we were married. Definitely no one I ever trusted! There was another person that I briefly dated there that also made shit up and would go around telling people, when the truth was, he had a lot to hide himself. Gossipers are the epitome of get a life and stay out of mine!

Months ago I was out with a male friend and his best friend’s wife when a young woman walked in wearing a super tight dress. The best friend’s wife decided to talk shit about her, saying it looked terrible on her, why is she wearing that, and general insults for no other reason except for her own insecurity. I think the young woman may have been pregnant, but I said to the friend’s wife, “Who cares? Seriously. Who really cares what she is wearing? Who really cares what anyone else is doing if it doesn’t affect us? It doesn’t matter. I don’t care to have this discussion about other people that I don’t know,” which abruptly ended the conversation. My male friend thought it was funny that I put her in her place, because I guess he didn’t care to hear it either.

Someone else that I interact with on occasion makes it a point to ask me extremely personal questions that are none of her damn business. If she took the time to read my blog, some of her questions might be answered, but a lot of her questions are things no one has the right to ask. For example, asking how much money I make is none of her business. Neither is asking very specific questions about my spiritual beliefs or sex life. If I feel the need to tell someone something, I’ll tell them or I’ll write about it, but other than that, mind your own damn business!

I have a frenemy that often talks shit about people, including me, but I have no issue returning the favor right to her face – because that’s the type of relationship we have. But when she starts making shit up about me and changing stories to make me look bad, then I have an issue, and that’s when I have to set her shit straight. Besides, she does her own fair share of making herself look like a dumbass in front of people and has burned many bridges because of it – but that’s on her.

This is probably another reason I stick by myself and avoid groups, especially groups of women. Some of the cattiest things come out of their mouths, gossiping about other people and then turning around pretending to be best friends. Oh, hell naw to that! I put an end to that shit in sixth grade, and I’m not living it again. Grow up already! If I have something to say, I will say it to your face or write about it and then send you the link (which I’ve done with some of my blog posts). Other than that, stay the hell out of my business!