Owning Your Power & Healing

Owning your power can be a scary process, because oftentimes we don’t understand just how powerful we are.

“Enough is enough,” I told myself one day. I had to teach myself that no matter what, I must refuse relationships that are no longer beneficial to my spiritual well being – even if it means excluding family members and outdated friends.

Being raised in a controlling and manipulative environment, I had learned that I had no power. My power belonged to someone else. If I knew in my heart that something was the color blue, I was told that it was red, and I was forced to acknowledge that it was red even against my own honor. The environment would then be manipulated enough so that things would appear red, and then I would question my own sanity and doubt myself. This type of behavior followed me into adulthood, and it caused many issues in relationships and other situations. I doubted myself many times when I should not have. I didn’t trust myself, and I didn’t trust my own instincts, and I found myself in many, many abusive situations that caused much heartache.

It was a learned behavior, but I was determined to unlearn it all in order to become the person that I was meant to be and to heal once and for all. What has been ingrained in your life over several years can sometimes take several more years to unlearn. Years of therapy and self-help books and seminars are a good start, but most importantly, the support received from those around us is the foundation of our healing system. Finding the right “family”, so to speak, is where self-healing truly begins. Acknowledging our power and practicing using it goes right along with that first step. Knowing that we can change our own lives by using that power is a freedom that we all deserve.

However, there are other obstacles to overcome in the process. Once I reclaimed my power, those that I had released from my life didn’t take kindly to it. They provoked, prodded, accused, blamed, and hurled insults at me. I became their dartboard for all of their own problems because I chose to step away and refuse to tolerate their abusive behavior. I was tested time and time again with the same types of people and situations until I learned not to react, which is a very difficult lesson to learn. It was then that I was finally no longer a part of that wicked cycle of drama.

During my own personal process of reclaiming my power, a new friend with an old soul confided in me about her own similar situation. “When one person changes her behavior, the others that are a part of the group get upset because now they must also change. And no one likes change!” she told me. Her truth resonated in me and helped me to see my own situation in a bigger perspective.

After a few years, some of these people finally started to understand my position, because they were forced to change as well. That’s when relationships began to heal, and my power became stronger, because then I realized it was respected. Owning my power is still a process, because unlearning something isn’t overnight or even a few weeks. It can sometimes be years of learning, but once you start, it feels great.

Too Nice = Wants Something In Return

It’s nice, and even refreshing, meeting genuinely nice people, but when they are too nice, something is definitely up. I used to give “too-nice” people the benefit of the doubt, thinking they’re not in it for themselves or for another purpose. After observing too-nice people during my lifetime, my perspective has changed, and I learned years ago in social psychology that there is always a return in their investment.

For example, someone that is always giving to others or doing for others and not expecting anything in return from an outer perspective is definitely expecting something in return internally. Whether they get a thrill out of it or a boost in ego or even some attention they were craving or maybe they just want a new drinking buddy, that is what the return brings. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the truth is, it’s their return. Of course, there are always the people that are complete pushovers and enablers that don’t know how to use boundaries; however, I wouldn’t say they’re “too nice;” I would say they’re blind to reality and somehow enjoy the conflict it brings.

When I was growing up, there was one person in particular that I was very wary of when it came to “being nice.” I would be given something I’d really enjoy, then at a moment’s notice over nothing at all, it would be taken away – because it made that person feel good to see me upset. I’ve even had someone help me out and continue to remind me of it for 20+ years, making me never want to accept anything from anyone – ever again!

I’ve also met too-nice people that are pretending to be nice, when the reality is they’re envious or they’re nosy and looking for information to suit their own purpose. It could be someone close to you that gives you something, perhaps something they’ve made, smile right to your face, and then proceed to talk shit behind your back. What is their objective? To make you think they like you, even when they may be jealous or just a shitty person doing a type of bribing. Or maybe it’s someone that’s not necessarily a friend, but perhaps an acquaintance that may offer something tangible (or non-tangible, like a favor) out of nowhere. Do you really think that person isn’t expecting something in return? They may say, “This is for you,” and then, “here is my business card to give to all of your friends.” That’s not a big deal in the overall scheme of life, but it’s worth taking a look at how those types operate. Business is one thing, but personal life is another, and fake-nice people suck!

Getting something in return happens in a lot of dating scenarios, and I’ve either seen it many times with others or experienced it myself. Whenever I hear a guy say to me, “I guess I’m just too nice,” I ask them what were they expecting? Because if there was no agreement between the two people that a certain action was supposed to happen, then there’s nothing to really complain about. Of course, there is always the obvious one in which the man pays for drinks or a meal and expects to get laid or whatever else his objective may be. When he gets rejected, he regrets paying for anything. And there are always gold diggers whose interest lies only in material gain, who feign niceness and take advantage of unsuspecting men or only date men that will do favors for them and fix their house for free. This is one reason I make it clear “we are friends” or pay my own way. Let’s not forget the self-proclaimed “nice guys” on dating sites that are only nice for a minute until they are rejected. (You can see exactly what I mean when @SareyTales posts the messages from the “nice guys.”)

When you truly give from the heart, you’re not looking for anything in return, except maybe some peace and happiness, and maybe even a smile.

Moody Man Strikes Again

Yesterday I posted the backstory about Moody Man. I received a text around 11 p.m. one night from a number I didn’t recognize: “Hey stranger.” Before I knew who it was, I was annoyed that someone whose name was not even in my phone was texting me at that hour, because I was working intently on something and it disrupted my thought process. When I asked who it was, Moody Man identified himself. Supposedly, he was having beers with his friend and my name came up. (Can’t even imagine why, since I only met the friend once.)

I didn’t really feel like to speaking to him – but then I remembered that Moody Man probably rides his motorcycle in a group with Biker Guy. For a minute, I thought they may have been hanging out, but they weren’t, thankfully. I remembered that Moody Man had been to the same event that Biker Guy had been with the other woman he was dating. And like the detective type of woman I am, I use certain things to my advantage to find out information. I had no other way to find out information about Biker Guy to see if he was indeed telling me the truth, so I asked Moody Man about him. They had met recently, but they don’t hang out, and he knew that Biker Guy was dating someone. When I asked if he knew if they were still together, he said he’s not going to “tell on a brother,” to which I replied, “Fuck your ‘brother’ you’ve known for a minute. You’ve known me for 30 years, and I’m trying to protect myself from getting hurt.” He told me he hadn’t seen anyone since the coronavirus lockdown, so he really didn’t know.

Changing the subject, he told me about his kids and other random news like he got himself a boat and asked if I’d like to go on it. I said sure, I have some friends to bring. How many can fit? Because I did not want to go alone with him, and once again, I made it clear we would only be friends and nothing more. That’s when he Facetimed me instead of texting. It didn’t take long before the conversation turned creepy.

Moody Man told me he liked being with me one-on-one, because we have good chemistry “when we talk,” but I knew that’s not what he was referring to. I ignored him, saying, “Maybe I’ll bring (friend’s name). I think you will get along,” just to steer away from anything even remotely sexual. A few times I noticed he was holding his camera oddly so I’d only see part of his face, and I wondered if he was playing with dick or just being a childish weirdo. He made a comment about wanting to see what I was wearing and said some things I wasn’t comfortable with, and I’d change the subject or pretend I didn’t hear him. At some point he started walking around his house with the camera aimed at his face, but then I could see a shower curtain in the background, so I knew he was in the bathroom. Next thing I know, he flips the screen around above the toilet and aimed it on his dick. I told him I didn’t want to see his dick, and when he realized I wasn’t falling for his bullshit, he said he was sorry, that it was an accident. Yeah, right, because who holds their phone in one hand and and dick in the other when Facetiming a friend? I said I needed to go, because the conversation was going nowhere, and I was getting nothing but creeped out frustration and losing minutes of my life. I ended up hanging up on him and haven’t heard from him since.

He’s very charming at first, so I can imagine that Moody Man is appealing to women meeting him for the first time. I’ve never known him to be violent or forceful, but his behavior in general doesn’t sit right. The moment he flipped that camera around was almost like an epiphany of what a skeez he really is, how manipulative and gross and disrespectful he is towards women. Because he’s both educated and street smart, his manipulation skills could very easily be on the verge of a psychopath. He’s also worked as a law enforcement officer, so he knows the system well, and he’s probably smart enough to beat it if he needed to. It would not surprise me if one day something really dark is revealed about him.

I knew he had issues, but I didn’t realize to what extent he would go against my personal boundaries. What I saw and heard from him that night really creeped me out to the point that I know I never want to be alone with him ever again. It was the price I paid for trying to find out information to protect myself from getting hurt by someone else, but it was more internal information for me to process to protect myself from Moody Man acting like a sexual predator.

Another Douchebag I Dated Returns

I mentioned in a post the other day about thirsty men coming out of the woodwork, and while I was writing, I’d received a text from someone I hadn’t heard from in a year. There is a short history with this him, and one that I don’t care to relive in person. I will name him Moody Man for reasons I will explain later.

Moody Man and I went to high school together, and we hooked up around his 21st birthday right before he joined the Marines. Being that it was the 1990s and no internet or social media, we lost touch until I got onto Facebook when I was separated from my ex at the end of 2013. The first time he contacted me via Facebook, I had just separated – literally days – from my ex and was in no way, shape, or form wanting to hook up or even meet with a male for a drink or a meal. I was still dealing with the shock and stress of a separation from a marriage and still living under the same roof as my husband. It was clear that Moody Man was looking for a hookup, and he was very pushy in his messages, saying “it’s just a drink,” when I said I wasn’t even ready for that. Instead of being patient or understanding, Moody Man unfriended me. I hadn’t even noticed until a few months later when I went to send him something I thought he’d like. Right now I don’t remember his reasoning for unfriending me, but I’m sure now that it was stupid and petty, because that’s just the way he is, especially with women. I didn’t realize at the time that this was Moody Man’s modus operandi.

Once I messaged Moody Man after he’d unfriended me, he started talking to me again and talked me into meeting him for a drink. I hadn’t seen him in 20 years, and he was looking pretty good for a 40-year-old man, not to mention he’s intelligent, which is a turn on to me. We met for a drink one afternoon, and once I gained trust in him, met him at his house for drinks one afternoon. The chemistry was heavy, stronger than any chemistry I’d had in probably ten or more years, and we ended up having amazing wild sex all over his house for several hours. Now I had just come out of an 8-year marriage with no chemistry or sex (three times in three years), and apparently, I was also in my prime, so I was ready and willing. What I didn’t realize was that Moody Man had so many issues and mood swings, it was nearly impossible to please him or continue anything with him.

Moody Man wanted a relationship, and not only could I not imagine myself being in another relationship ever again at the time, I hadn’t even filed for divorce yet. He was totally unreasonable about it and expected me to text him constantly while I was working, even though I was teaching at the time and couldn’t be on my phone for obvious reasons. He’d get really pissy with me for not answering him or for being too exhausted to go to his house after work and then he’d abruptly stop talking to me. It was a total mind fuck game to him. If he didn’t get his way, like when I refused to send him nudes, he’d cut me off and act really snippy.

Although the sex was great, I couldn’t deal with him emotionally. There were so many red flags about him, even ones that I saw pretty clearly at the time. After only hanging out maybe three times, he wanted me to meet his young daughter. I didn’t think it was appropriate to be introducing his child to me before being in an actual relationship, but he moved very quickly. At some point he told me I reminded him of his mother, because she’s artsy. And then a few days later he was complaining about his mother and called her a cunt, which is where I drew the line… I reminded him of his “cunt” mother? This guy has issues!

Moody Man had taken me to his friend’s house (a married couple), and for some reason, he got mad at me for talking to the wife alone, like he was jealous, and started acting pissy in front of everyone before he said we were leaving. His own friend referred to him as moody, hence the nickname! I believe that was the last time I saw him during that year. I was certain Moody Man was still using dating sites and texting other women while I was sitting on his couch next to him. I’m pretty sure he had the next one lined up in case we didn’t work out, because a year later, he was married for the third time. Two years later, he was divorced and back on dating sites… when he messaged me.

Since I already knew Moody Man’s m.o., I wasn’t going to play into his bullshit games again. I unequivocally wasn’t going to date him or do him, but I was open to being friends, and he agreed to it. He offered to come over with some beer and catch up. He’d had two more kids with the woman he married, and of course, his “ex is psycho,” because that’s what men like him always say. Then he started telling me some sexually explicit things that I didn’t care to hear, and as he was telling me, I could see his dick getting hard through his pants. (It’s a pretty good size, so not difficult to notice.) He kept getting up and rubbing it down, hinting about us hooking up, but I refused, and I told him I’m not hooking up with anyone I’m not in a relationship with. (This was last year right around my first surgery, and sex was the last thing on my mind.) Plus, he was the last person I’d attempt a relationship with when he can’t even be friends like a normal person. Once he realized I wasn’t buying his bullshit and I clearly wasn’t going to fuck him, he said he had to go… and he took the rest of the beer with him! I literally laughed out loud about it, because it was such a douchebag move.

About a month later, Moody Man offered to take me and friends out on a boat with his some guys. I jump at most boating opportunities, so I went with a female acquaintance. It was a fun day until the driver decided that women are stupid when I told him to follow the other boats, because there was a hidden sandbar nearby. He hit the sandbar and decided to burn out his motor like a dumbass and had a $600 tow back. While the other female and myself laughed it off and continued enjoying ourselves, Moody Man became moody and was on his phone with yet another woman to pick him up at our drop-off point. When the boat docked, he took off, and I didn’t hear from him for a couple of weeks. Mad at something else yet again for not being able to handle the truth, I didn’t hear from him for an entire year until recently.

To be continued…

Realizations About Suppressed Feelings

Yesterday I posted the backstory and update about Biker Guy, but there is a hell of a lot more to talk about. After he contacted me the first time, I realized I’d written about him on here three times:

Getting Rejected By Male Friends
Blocked Again
Eye in the Sky

As I was reading, I felt a lot of emotions coming out that I didn’t realize I’d built up. I also realized that my feelings for him were stronger than I wanted to admit – something a couple of friends had pointed out. But at the time, I didn’t see it that way, because I knew deep down that a relationship between us would never work – for several reasons.

The several times Biker Guy and I got together, alcohol was involved. I just figured he was going through a lot with his wife’s passing, but currently, that behavior hasn’t changed. He mentioned something recently about his family and himself being alcoholics, which is something I’ve been steering away from. I was doing so well with social distancing and not going out, only getting together with friends for drinks maybe once a week, but not overdoing it. When Biker Guy contacted me, I found myself drinking more so than usual when he was around and feeling the changes in my body from it. Not good.

Biker Guy and I don’t seem to share the same interests. The only times we got together was having some food and/or drinks when he got off work, because as I stated before, he always had other things going on. I’m an outdoors person that likes to be active and enjoy nature. He enjoys motorcycles (which I’m not opposed to) and racing (no thanks) – and racing motorcycles, which I find to be extremely dangerous and outright stupid for men over 40. Getting him to do anything that interested me was nearly impossible. He was always getting invited by friends to go to parties and drinking events and bars, which is okay some of the time, but completely useless all of the time. I felt that he always needed company, always needed to be around people, and I’m the extreme opposite. So none of those things worked for my lifestyle or the lifestyle I wanted in a partner.

When I first met Biker Guy last year, he was pretty consistent in his contact with me, even initiating conversation most of the time – more than I was interested. Eventually, that dwindled down prior to me telling him we’d only be friends, before he ghosted me for three months. Recently when he contacted me, he was consistent at first, but now that’s changed again. He went from saying good morning or how is your day to not a fucking word, even when I have initiated a conversation. I’ve spent the past two Friday and Saturday nights home alone with my cat, because he was out with his buddies. This is the type of shit that confuses me and causes me to lose sleep. This is also why I feel happier being single and alone with my cat without mind-fuck interference and setting myself up for disappointment.

Last weekend we made plans to go to the beach on Sunday. (This was after me telling him he can never plan anything with me and why I told him in December we can’t be more than friends.) I got up early on Sunday to prepare food and get things together, but I didn’t hear from him like I expected. He woke up late, because he’d been with his friend the night before drinking shots of moonshine. Fucking moonshine. We finally made it to the beach, but I could tell he was feeling super hungover and wasn’t hydrating at all. Instead, he started drinking beer by noon. He was on his phone a lot, which annoyed me, because when I spend time with someone, it’s with them, not their phone, and we never got to talk about anything that I wanted to talk to him about. Then he started saying his friend wanted him to help him do something, and I said well we’re at the beach, tell him you’re busy. It’s like he can’t just spend time with me alone without anyone else around. How the hell do you get to know the real person inside like that? You don’t.

In the meantime, a couple of my friends he hadn’t yet met were at the beach practically right next to us. We sat with them and chatted a bit, then Biker Guy tells me his friend that needed help is having a party, and he pretty much tells me we are leaving the beach without even asking me if I wanted to go. I had the feeling either way he was going with or without me. I was super annoyed, especially having waited for him all morning to get his shit together. We did end up going to the friend’s house, which was fine, because I ended up seeing people I knew that I hadn’t seen in years.

The following week when I couldn’t get him to hold down plans, I told Biker Guy that I feel that I’m an option when nothing else more interesting is offered to him. We were supposed to talk about it yesterday, but something always comes up. That is probably the most consistent thing about this entire story. This time, one of his biker buddies crashed and died in an accident the night before, and they had all been out together. Super sad situation. We texted back and forth, he said he was going to get back to me later about food that I was making… not a fucking word. And as of this writing, not a fucking word. I absolutely cannot have a relationship like this, especially not one that includes intimacy (another post to come about that), something I’ve already told him.

So why do I have feelings for someone that I know would never work out, would never meet the qualifications I desire in a partner, and treats me like an option? I suppose this has something to do with how I’m treated within my family, how I was brought up – what I learned as a child. But I need to figure this shit out, because I can’t keep having these types of relationships of any kind with people.

Rejected & Ghosted – But He Came Back

Almost every single guy I’ve dated has come back to me at some point, even if it’s 20 years later. I’m going to be writing this in segments, because it’s ongoing. But first, I feel I should do a little recap and start from the beginning… About a year ago, I was introduced to someone thru an acquaintance after telling her I wasn’t interested in meeting anyone at the time. I’ve only been calling him my “close male friend,” but now I will give him an actual name for this blog… Biker Guy.

Biker Guy had lost his wife from a long-term illness about three months prior to me meeting him, so I know he wasn’t in the best frame of mind for dating or anything like that. I had my own health issues at the time, too, and the last thing I wanted was a relationship. But we became good friends, and he’s the one that helped me out tremendously when I had the hysterectomy. He also fixed my car for me and had promised to do some other work that never happened (still waiting). We were both emotionally unavailable at the time, and I reminded him of that, because it seemed like maybe we were getting too close to the point he asked me what “this was,” to which I replied, “we are friends,” – because the reality was – he was unavailable most of the time, and I didn’t think we shared the same interests and lifestyle. And he was still mourning the loss of his wife, which isn’t what I want brought into anything more than a friendship.

Shortly after meeting him, Biker Guy had a couple of people that he was “helping out” that moved into a spare room at his house. They were always drunk or stoned, we could hear her moaning in their room when they were having sex, and it became uncomfortable for me to even be there. There was something about the woman in particular that I felt was “off,” because she wouldn’t look me in the face when she’d speak, so I immediately did not trust her. I still don’t, but that’s another story for later.

When the holidays rolled around, Biker Guy was absent for the most part due to family obligations and whatever else he had going on. The thing is – he ALWAYS had something going on! So much that even if I’d wanted a relationship, there was no way he would have had time for anything. If he wasn’t working, he was helping someone out or fixing someone else’s vehicle (but not mine as promised). When I finally did see him around Christmas, I made it clear that we could only be friends. I told him that I loved him, because he’s special to me, but that he’s never available to be more than friends. And that is when he started blowing me off altogether and pretty much ghosted me for three months. He started dating someone three weeks after I said we can’t be more than friends, and this was someone he already knew (they were friends on Facebook, but we weren’t – and shortly thereafter, his account had blocked mine). I felt hurt that he found time for someone else but not me after being there for him during the time he needed someone to talk to. It really made me feel like shit and super sad.

April 20th was the first text I received from Biker Guy in three months asking if I’d gotten my brakes fixed (I had). I was shocked to hear from him, because I figured he was in a relationship – and I literally had considered the day prior deleting his number out of my phone. I had done what I could to spy on social media to see if he was still together with the other woman, and the last thing I’d seen her post was three weeks prior to him contacting me. So I wasn’t sure why he was suddenly contacting me out of the blue. He asked me if I was hungry and if I’d like some company to catch up on things. I thought, why not, because I’d been home alone for nearly 2 months. But in the back of my mind, I was thinking I’m not allowing this to happen again, because it was really hurtful not to hear from him for so long after having been so close.

He came over and kind of acted like nothing happened. Obviously, I had to ask what’s up with the woman you’ve been dating? He said they were just friends. And I’m thinking, yeah, so were we, and I was also thinking but you were just together three weeks ago, and so I had my walls up. He didn’t like the fact that I seemed to know more than he told me, probably wondered how the hell I found out, and said it was “a little creepy”. I said I don’t care what you think it is; I have to protect myself both physically and emotionally, and I’m not going to have someone come back and forth into my life. It’s something I absolutely refuse to do. We have hung out a few more times since then, and I had a lot of questions about things. He doesn’t open up much, and his answers are vague, which doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t think he’s lying to me; I think he’s not telling me the entire story about things. Oh yeah, and we still aren’t friends on Facebook, which I find to be totally odd considering how close we were. And that’s what I don’t like.

Biker Guy’s behavior is slightly different than when I’d first met him. Perhaps I didn’t notice it before, but he seems a little self-destructive. Personally, I think he’s depressed but won’t admit it. And maybe this is something else I didn’t notice before (since a year ago there was no Covid19 lockdown and I was out of the house more), but Biker Guy can’t seem to make plans with me. Ever. If I say, “Hey, what are you up to later?”… I get, “I don’t know yet. I have some things going on. I’ll let you know.” And then he’s out with his biker friends. That is the type of shit that tells me if I’m not important enough to make plans with, then I am number two. Number two is shit. And no one wants to be shit.

Lockdown Update & Thirsty Men

With most people at home for now, it’s mainly been quiet. It’s almost like a flashback to 1990-something before my area was too crowded and overdeveloped with traffic. And I love it! However, all of that is about to change, because Florida is about to open back up. If money wasn’t an issue, I’d like it just fine the way it is.

Because of the Covid-19 shutdowns, I figured I’d have written way more than I have. Hell, I should have written my next book by now! However, I have done some much needed healing both physically and emotionally, catching up on sleep and removing toxic people out of my life, and catching up on some personal and work projects. I have been extremely content with being isolated during this pandemic. In fact, I’m loving it! I haven’t experienced any depression and very little anxiety (mainly just needing exercise). I’ve even managed to meditate a few times, and now I realize that I have been surrounding myself with untrustworthy assholes and going to places that are spiritually damaging and dark, which I feel has contributed to so much of the depression I’ve been writing about. Visiting family or friends and/or getting out once a week is just enough for me.

During all of this, there are certainly some thirsty men out there that I’ve been either avoiding, rejecting, or just disinterested in a text conversation. I am worth more than being there for someone for their entertainment when they have nothing else to do. If they can’t hang out with me or be a friend in real life or we don’t have a business interest, I’m not interested in wasting my time. There are too many good books to read for that!

In the meantime, I’ve run into a few people unexpectedly. I’m pretty sure I saw Toe Ring Guy’s truck pass my house one day, and I know I passed him on the street just prior to the lockdown. He does live nearby, however, I don’t want to see him on my street.

I ran into King Nothing a few times, and we’re cordial. (I think he secretly loves being called King Nothing, because he loves attention.) Another guy I went out for sushi with once (not a date, since there was no interest on my part) sent a text after months of silence. Someone else was trying to hook up, and I just wanted to be alone. A few random local guys on Instagram are also attempting to make conversation. God forbid I post a selfie, because that just makes them send DMs.

This piece of shit sent me a message on POF without realizing who I am; I ignored him.
I saw the back of Mr. Volatile on a beach walk one day – and he sent me a message on POF again without recognizing me. I told him he needed to stop lying about his age, so he blocked me. That was definitely a good laugh.

And then I heard from my (close) friend that hadn’t talked to me in three months. The one that was supposed to fix my car. The one that helped me during my surgery last year. The one that suddenly started seeing someone right after the holidays. But that is another post altogether.

As I’m writing this, my phone dings a text from a number I don’t recognize. I ask who it is. It’s someone I’ve known since high school that has a tendency to show up every couple of years. It’s 11 p.m. That will also be another blog post or two…

Right now my biggest concern is keeping healthy both physically and mentally, and I feel that keeping myself away from most people is key to succeeding at that. I enjoy company and good conversation without anything difficult, so I’ve been sticking with family and female friends as to not complicate things. Although I feel like a stereotype for doing so, I enjoy time with my cat more than most people… has life really come to this?

Don’t Shoot Me – Dreams Relevant to Waking Life

Sometimes dreams are relevant to waking life if you really try to interpret and make sense of them. I’ve been dreaming very vividly every night, which is good news, because it means I’m actually getting some REM sleep. Remembering the dreams, however, is another story. But this morning, I remembered a part of one when I awoke to pee at 3 a.m. The only thing I remember is a guy holding a gun on me, and each time he pointed it at me, I kissed him. Weird, right? I suppose in real life, I tend to be too nice to people that would hold a gun to me or otherwise treat me poorly. Now I will explain how I related this dream to waking life.

First, I am still on POF as an experiment with no intention of ever meeting anyone. I’ve been changing my zip code every 10 days or so to check out different areas I might want to visit and see what type of responses I get. However, the app also goes by your actual phone location, so someone can view me locally by using another feature. I noticed someone in my city had viewed my profile, someone I’d never seen before and is a transplant here from another state. And here is the thing – I NEVER initiate conversation with anyone on these sites. For some reason, I felt the urge to initiate a conversation with this person, because his profile seemed different than the typical rednecks and stoners around here, and he had a nice smile and nice eyes, which is a thing for me.

There were a couple of things he said that totally rubbed me the wrong way, because I was being sincere and doing what most people do on online dating sites – asking questions to get to know someone. I started by giving him a compliment on his profile, and at first I was only getting short answers in return until I must have annoyed him when I asked about his short answers. I guess he was working at the time and answering me when he could, but I didn’t know it until he told me so.

I made the mistake of telling him that I found online dating to mostly be a waste of time, because either people want to get married the following week or they’re not serious about what they want, and that I had been on and off dating sites for the last six years. Within 24 hours, there were quite a few messages back and forth (mine were much longer), and at some point he was a bit short with me and accused me of being judgmental. I was taken aback, because I wasn’t sure I understood what he meant, and it turned out to be really stupid.

He’s working a lot, having surgery in a couple of months, and trying to get his son here for the summer. Like anyone that uses logic – based on what he told me – I said it sounded like he didn’t have time to get to know anyone with all of that going on. How does that make me judgmental? He said something in Spanish, so I asked him if he was Spanish or spoke Spanish (he’d mentioned having lived in Texas for the past 20 years). His response was that I was jumping to conclusions “like 95% of women,” and that he’d taken Spanish in high school. He also said that maybe that’s why I hadn’t had success on dating sites. Whoa… Jumping to conclusions? It’s called deductive reasoning, for fuck sakes, and I know plenty of women that have the same issues on said sites, so I know for a fact it’s definitely not just me.

I had asked him multiple times why he only had one photo and how long ago was it taken. He said he already answered that, but when I scrolled back through messages, I didn’t see it anywhere and told him so. He’d buried the answer within something else he said, but the answer was “I don’t put much effort into this site,” yet somehow I was supposed to interpret that as to why he only had one photo?

On Day 2, he said he was feeling better and thanks for asking (I didn’t ask, wasn’t aware he was ill) and insisted he had told me he was feeling terrible the day before. I told him to go back through his messages, because it wasn’t me he told, because I have compassion for people, and I’m not an asshole. Then he brought up that I hadn’t responded to his comments about giving/getting a massage, and I told him I don’t have discussions about massage or intimacy with someone I’ve never met. And that was pretty much when I shut down. Being flirty is fine when you know someone, but it’s not okay with me when I’ve never met someone that has already insulted me more than enough times. It made me jump to more conclusions that his intentions aren’t sincere. I felt like either he was a being a dick, and I did not deserve it whatsoever, or maybe I was taking it the wrong way, which is easy to do with text. I told him that I prefer to speak in person anyway, and when I asked him to tell me more about himself, he said he would do it in person. With this coronavirus thing going on, I told him that might be awhile. (If at all!)

When I woke up the following day, I decided I was done wasting my time with him. I realized he hadn’t asked one single question about me, and the more I thought about it – didn’t show any interest in me whatsoever except when he mentioned massage – AND he briefly mentioned maybe I needed a spanking, but I guess I had missed that. I decided I wasn’t going to message him anymore and didn’t hear from him for two days, to which his only message was asking how I was. I was short in my answer: “Good. You?” Said he was feeling better and needs to prep for surgery and his son. Like I mentioned – who has time for a relationship? Not that guy.

But here’s the funny part – I will be starting a new job for the company he also works for, and there’s a really good chance we will run into each other – and I didn’t tell him this. I believe I will recognize him right away (if he really does look like his one photo), but I don’t believe he will know who I am, especially considering he showed such little interest. My one photo is full-length, dressed in winter clothing with my hair down and no tattoos showing. That’s not my typical look, so it should be interesting if he flirts with me in person – and this time, I can be the one to show no interest. Oh, and did I mention I don’t even know his name?

I think my dream was telling me how I have been with men in real life. This guy was ready to shoot me, but instead of leaving, I kiss them. Well, fuck that. I would only be setting myself up for failure, to be hurt, to be used, to be abused. I deserve a hell of a lot better than that. I’m not that lonely!

Mindset & Changes

The past two days I felt great – allergies were minimal, not really much pain except when my Yeti cup fell on my foot and I thought I broke it (it’s fine now), slept pretty good even though still a little tired. I managed to go kayaking for the first time since last summer, got too much sun. Yesterday I managed to do a lot of other house cleaning that most of us tend to ignore. Been eating fairly healthy, took a walk on the beach… and today I feel like total shit again. I’m achy, allergies are horrible, my head aches to the point it’s difficult to concentrate – like I have bands wrapped around my head, squeezing it… and when I feel this way, I’m not in a good mood at all. It’s extremely difficult feeling like total shit and trying to be happy or even content. To only feel good two or three days a week just plain sucks, and I don’t know what else to do anymore. It is terribly difficult to function and feel hopeful like this.

This is what happens to me all the time. I start to finally get on a roll of doing better, than bam… I’m brought back down again. It’s extremely discouraging to have a good outlook on life when you cannot even predict any given day of the week. There are many things I need and want to write about, but my head can’t focus on much of anything. I just applied for a new job that was referred to me by someone else that is doing very well during this pandemic, so I’m hoping that will at least bring some financial relief.

I’ve been working on a lot of things mentally. About two weeks ago, something within me kind of snapped, and I decided that I have absolutely outgrown this town I’ve lived in for 14 years. It was like I woke up one day and said nope, this isn’t for me. I’m over it for sure now. The changes that are happening here aren’t what I want in my life. The majority of people are too small-minded and uneducated for my interest, and it’s either time for me to find somewhere else to call home or travel enough so that I don’t notice it as much. I have struggled here for too long to continue trying to make it happen, because I’ve done nothing but waste my time. The money I make to keep a roof over my head has nothing to do with living here (it’s remote), and the other jobs here I can do pretty much anywhere.

But I don’t want just a job. I want something that I enjoy and look forward to going to every day. I love project based jobs, which is what I’m good at, and what I’ve been doing for several years. Although they can be inconsistent at times, they are flexible, which is how I like things to be. Sitting in an office or a classroom from 9-5 doesn’t suit me whatsoever. Being indoors constantly causes me so much anxiety I literally get ill. I don’t know exactly what it is I will be doing in the future, but it will be something that is meant for me. I have been meditating, and I feel something is out there for me, and it will come up unexpectedly – an offer I can’t refuse that I will absolutely love. I don’t know why I feel this, but maybe I think it’s time for the universe to finally present to me what I’ve been searching for the last 20 years and place me around legitimate work with legitimate people that will appreciate what I have to offer.

With that being said, either this job will require me to travel and allow me to keep my current apartment and lifestyle – OR it will bring me to a new place that will either be better or similar to where I am now. I don’t know when this will happen, but my mind has set it in motion. I’m ready for a better life.

Another Religious Reject

This is a continuation of Why I Reject Religion. The other day I saw an article about televangelist Kenneth Copeland who claimed the coronavirus is not that serious and that he can blow it away. Most people probably don’t know who this man is, but unfortunately for me, he was one of the many religious con artists I was forced to watch and listen to when I was a kid. This was during my middle school years, which were detrimental to social development and socializing with my peers, and as far as I knew, none of my friends (even the church ones) were made to watch these shyster programs. It was one of many things that make me reject religion today.

I had only lived in the cult-religious home with my father and stepmother Bianca during my seventh grade year – a year that I would never want to repeat if I time traveled. The restrictions were ludicrous; I wasn’t allowed to listen to the music I liked, dress like a normal kid, and I wasn’t allowed to go to other friend’s homes except the preacher’s daughter. Basically, if it was considered normal or something I enjoyed, I wasn’t allowed to do it. This is an excerpt from my memoir, Unheard:

I have a little radio that I listen to in my room, usually tuned to top 40 music. I like reading teen magazines with all of the latest, greatest posters of pop stars and teen idols, and at the same time I listen to music. I’m not allowed to hang posters in my room because it will ruin the walls, so I keep them in a drawer.

“What are you listening to?” Bianca asks while I am in my room, reading and listening to music. I can see in her face that she doesn’t like it, and something is wrong. I am afraid of what I have done.

“Men At Work,” I answer timidly.

“I’ve never heard of them,” she says.

I show her a poster of the group from one of my magazines.

“See? Here they are. They have good songs.”

“They look gay,” she says, crinkling her face.

“Huh? How can you tell?”

I’m not quite sure I understand what gay is, but I know the kids at schools say it means a man liking another man.

“They’re gay,” she repeats. “You can see it in their eyes. And look at their earrings. It means that they’re gay. It’s disgusting. Turn this music off, it’s making me sick to my stomach.”

I am confused. A lot of guys at school wear earrings, but they’re not gay; they have girlfriends. And how can a song about Australia make someone ill? I am offended and insulted! After all, something that I enjoy that is perfectly harmless is being used against me.

“But they’re not saying anything bad!” I cry.

“I don’t care what it’s about,” Bianca’s face contorts. “They’re homosexuals and it’s satanic! Just turn it off!”

I sulk the rest of the afternoon alone in my room. It’s not fair that I have to turn off something I like just because she thinks someone is gay. Who cares if they are gay if the music is good?

I try to keep my radio as quiet as possible and my bedroom door shut now so the music doesn’t make Bianca sick.

She opens my door.

“What are you doing?” she asks.

I look at her.

“Who is that on the radio?”

“Michael Jackson.”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to listen to that garbage. The Jacksons are sinners.”

She hands me some tapes.

“Here’s Amy Grant and Sandi Patty for you to listen to. You like them, right?”

I don’t really care for the lame Christian music, but it’s better than listening to some of the other awful boring church stuff she has.

Music was just one of many meaningful things taken away from me due to ridiculous religious beliefs. I had to hide some of my friendships, because Bianca wouldn’t allow those, either. This is another excerpt from Unheard:

Sabrina is allowed to have me over once, with her father there, but Bianca says she must come to our house first to meet her.

“She seems loose,” Bianca says after Sabrina leaves. I don’t know what that means, but I know it doesn’t mean anything nice.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Bianca doesn’t like me questioning her, but I think I have a right to know why she says the things she does about my friends.

“The way she dresses… those pants,” her face scrunches up. “I don’t want you going over there.”

“Parachute pants? That’s what all of the kids in school wear.”

“She looks like a French whore.”

“What does that mean!” I yell and cry. How dare she call my friend such an undeserving name! I do an about face and stomp right into my room.

Bianca doesn’t like any of my new friends; she is just as judgmental and picky about the kids from church. She is starting to get that way about me, too.

Things gradually worsened throughout the school year. My body started developing when I was nine, so by the time I was twelve, I was wearing women’s normal bra sizes. When a child’s body develops faster than her mind, she is still a child inside, even though many adults don’t seem to realize that. (A good analogy would be seeing a 9-month-old puppy looking like a grown dog, but it’s still a puppy.) Bianca wouldn’t even allow me to wear certain items in our own home, and I didn’t understand any of this over-the-top bullshit:

You need to wear your robe,” Bianca announces.

“You mean over this?” I question, tugging at my long shirt.

I am wearing an old, red, thick, oversized t-shirt nightgown she’d given me last year. It hangs on me like a potato sack, right past my knees.

“Yes,” she says. “I can see your nipples.”

“How? You can’t see through it. I can’t see through it. It’s thick like a shirt.”

“I can see the outline of your nipples. Go put a robe on. You can’t be walking around your dad like that.”

It is over 75 degrees, and I’m not allowed to wear a t-shirt?

“But it’s hot,” I whine.

“Susanna!” she snaps. “Put your robe on or go to bed now!”

Dad is in the other room on the computer.

Why doesn’t he defend me at all? I’m not doing anything wrong! This is ridiculous!

I am starting to get sick of Bianca’s weirdness with everything that I do. I decide to go to my room instead of look at her.

Those were just a few of the things that Bianca did to ruin my life as a twelve-year-old. My father never stood up for me, and over time, things progressively became worse. I didn’t realize then what I know now that Bianca was trying to shape me into something I wasn’t, and when she figured out she couldn’t, I was banned from the family. I will explore some of that later…

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!

Cutting Back on Alcohol

A few weeks or so ago, I’d written about changing some things in my life. Today is Day 20 of no drinking/cutting back on alcohol. It was something I intended to do, but the losing my shit incident was a catalyst.

I started out being on antibiotics, which was a great way to begin my not-drinking voyage. I have to admit the first few days were tough, because I’d been working outside in the heat, and beer sounded great, but I knew the medication would have made me sick anyway.

Once I got through the first week, it wasn’t so bad. I started keeping myself busy working out or taking walks in the evenings. I went grocery shopping and ran errands during the times I would normally have gone to happy hour. It probably helped that I didn’t exactly have the money to be going out.

Week two was a success, however, I thought I would feel better. I haven’t felt that much better except that I didn’t have hangovers. I was tired, but in a different way; I felt exhausted. My appetite began to change, and I was cooking again, and I had more motivation mentally and could think clearer. Still, I had no energy for the most part (could very well have been due to the antibiotics). The weather brought on some allergy issues, and it felt as if fibromyalgia was full-blown for a few days. My body was super achy from head to toe, and I remembered that when I drank beer, the aches would disappear. I did notice anxiety went down a little while I wasn’t drinking, maybe because I was just exhausted. My mood was only slightly lifted, but I was still feeling depressed. Perhaps it was lack of human contact or something else, but I was craving not being depressed, which is part of the reason I quit/cut back on drinking.

On Day 15, the weather was pretty bad. I had one beer in the fridge (one that I normally wouldn’t drink, because it would have been gone by now) that I drank and didn’t really care for it. The following day (16), I met up with some friends that are getting married soon to discuss some things about their wedding that I’m shooting. It was nice getting out of the house for once and home by 10:30. I had three beers in two and a half hours, felt high as a kite, and felt like shit the entire next day. Two of the beers were relatively normal in alcohol content, but the first may have been almost like drinking two. I remembered how much I hated waking up feeling completely unrested, having to get up to pee at wee hours, thirsty and unable to get back to sleep, and basically being unable to fully function intellectually with unclear thinking skills the following day. I also noticed my allergies were worse. Three beers was almost nothing for me before; it only took two weeks for that effect.

When the weekend rolled around, I went to an event out of town, and then a new friend/acquaintance offered to meet up for sushi. At first, I was hesitant being unfamiliar with him, but I was hungry, and the timing was perfect. I started out drinking water, had a tiny bit of sake and opted for a beer that I normally really like. However, I wasn’t liking the beer much at all and switched it to something sweet. It was nice to be out having conversation and a meal with someone, and I left feeling generally content, yet tired.

The following day, I noticed my mood was off. I felt sad, even though it was a nice day. (I suppose I could have also been sad about my other male friend.) Again, my energy was low and I had little motivation, but I didn’t feel like I had a hangover or anything. I was burping up the beer the next day, which made me not want to drink it even more, especially after nearly 12 hours passed since I’d drank it… just gross. I felt annoyed all day and canceled plans to go to an art event, because I didn’t want to be around people. I don’t know if this is a result from drinking or just being tired or annoyed.

Doing two experiments of having a few drinks after not drinking showed me that it really doesn’t bring me any happiness, especially the following day. Socially, it can be fun, but I am pretty sure I can find other fun things to do.

People were asking how long I was going to stop drinking. I never had an answer, because I tried to make realistic expectations and just go with the flow with how I felt. I have no cravings to continue doing it, and after feeling as bad as I have been, I don’t looking forward to it again. Eventually, I want to get back into eating a stricter diet, but for now I’m doing one thing at a time; I’m still enjoying chocolate chip cookies for now.

Getting Rejected by Male Friends

There’s a reason why heterosexual men and women cannot just be friends: sex. Even when sex is not involved, once the man realizes he’s not going to get anywhere with the woman sexually, he either ditches the friendship or remains very distant.

I met someone last summer that was a very good friend to me. He was there for me when no one else was when I had my surgery and helped me tremendously, more than anyone in my family or circle of friends. He fixed my car for free and refused to take payment. I felt comfortable enough with and trusted him enough to share things that I’d never told anyone else. We didn’t have much in common, but sometimes we’d have dinner or drinks together. Our communication was pretty much daily, and it was nice knowing someone cared. But I noticed something changed shortly after my surgery and then again recently.

Once I was on my way to recovering from surgery, I saw less and less of my male friend. I know he had a bunch of his own things going on; from a friendship standpoint, I was available for him emotionally if he needed me. But apparently, he didn’t need me. Each time I offered to make dinner for him in return of the favors he’d done for me, he declined. At some point, I told him I was going to stop asking, because I can’t keep setting myself up for rejection. His communication became less and less, and I let him know that I felt that he was avoiding me, and I wanted to know why. He gave excuses about working a lot, being busy, dealing with stuff. Okay, I get that, but I also felt it was just excuses and that he was blowing me off. After all, we went from hanging out 3-4x a week to maybe once a week or every other week. I figured maybe he’d started seeing someone, but he swore that wasn’t the case.

One of the things in the back of my mind is that he knew that due to the surgery, I was unable to have sex for a long period of time, so maybe that’s why he wasn’t pursuing the friendship. When I’d brought this up to him, he denied it and continued saying he was just busy. After healing from surgery and being medically cleared for normal activity, he found some time to hang out again, and he kept asking me when I was okay to go back to regular activity again. I knew he was referring to sexual activity, and medically, I was approved, but mentally and physically, I wasn’t ready.

When the holidays came around, my male friend was busy with family, so I barely heard from him and only saw him once – and it was the last time I saw him. This is about the time the friendship seemed to have completely changed. It was clear to me that he wanted to fuck, and even though my body wanted to, I physically could not due to other medical issues I was having. Mentally, I still couldn’t handle it at the time, and I didn’t want to get my feelings involved for the wrong reasons with someone that also isn’t emotionally available.

I told my male friend that I can only be friends with him, because I am going through my own shit, I knew he was going through his. I reminded him that he’s completely emotionally unavailable, and he treats me no different than he does his other friends, so I’m not about to have sex with someone that puts me on the same level as everyone else. This incident happened between Christmas and the new year. Since, I only hear from my friend when I initiate the conversation, and he hasn’t invited me to do anything at all. A week or so ago I was running errands near his house, so I asked what he was up to; he usually tells me to stop by and say hi. He didn’t. He hasn’t even initiated a hello or anything, which makes me feel like he only wanted to hang out thinking he was going to get laid, and that makes me feel like shit.

I sent my friend some messages about trying to arrange fixing my car again, because we’ve been discussing it for several months. He ignored my message and other regular ones I’d sent, but he had time to post shit on social media. When he eventually answered me, I felt he was being standoffish. So today, I finally sent him a message saying, “Look, I don’t know if you’re seeing somebody or something but you don’t even say hi to me anymore unless I initiate the conversation. I haven’t seen you literally since last year. I know you’re busy and all but I feel like something has changed between us. I almost feel like I’m bothering you by even asking you anything.” So far… crickets.

This is the type of behavior that men display that makes me not want to bother becoming friends with straight men anymore, because it’s a double edged sword. Just because I’m not going to have sex with someone doesn’t mean we can’t be friends and we can’t hang out, that we can’t eat meals together like normal friends. It’s really hurtful to gain trust in someone that was once so helpful, then just drops off the radar when he knows he can’t have sex with me. It’s really hurtful to continue being rejected by people that only want to be friends under certain conditions.

Lack of Sex & Depression

Yesterday I wrote about eating alone and depression, realizing that I need some social interaction during meals. While still attempting to get to the root of my own depression, I realize that when I am having regular sex, I am a much happier person. I sleep better, eat healthier, feel more energized, and for whatever reason, I think more clearly and get more things accomplished, and I generally feel alive all over. I cannot remember the last time I felt that way. (Oh wait, yes I can – two and a half years ago. *cringe*)

I did some research on depression and lack of sex. Not surprisingly, it turns out there is a correlation between the two. The hormones released during sex help with fighting off stress, pain, and illness – all of which I’ve been dealing with. There are other physical bodily results from lack of sex that made me say WTF! For women: “Without regular intercourse, your vagina can tighten and its tissues can get thinner and be more likely to get injured, tear, or even bleed during sex.” Whoa. This would explain some things.

During the last three years of my marriage, we had sex once a year, and I didn’t consider myself depressed at the time, but looking back, I probably was. Prior to those three years, sex was dull; even though he was happy and thought it was great, it was boring for me, because he was boring and insisted he knew what he was doing when he did not. Except for a couple of short term relationships (2-3 months) in the past six years, I haven’t had regular sex at all. I miss being held, being close to someone, and having someone to care about. I haven’t had good sex or even a good kiss in over a year. No wonder I’m depressed and pissed off about everything.

Solo isn’t cutting it anymore. I’m not desperate enough to have a fling, but dammit, my body is telling me it needs some attention. Prior to the past year, I would have been open to a friend with benefits situation, but that’s not going to work for me now. I tend to get my feelings involved for the wrong reasons, and having sex only increases those feelings – and I certainly don’t need to put myself in another situation that makes me feel shitty. And despite some of the terrible things I’ve written that have happened to me, I am very aware of my sexuality, and I have no hang-ups enjoying intercourse with the right person. The issue is finding that person.

Eating Alone & Depression

I have a lot of work to do with myself. Writing down my thoughts has been extremely therapeutic for me, and the more I write, the more realizations I have – the patterns, the negative thoughts that were ingrained into my system that I didn’t even know existed. I’m doing my best to pinpoint the things that have been causing depression and doing whatever I can to lift my spirits.

Whether you’re an adult or a child, eating alone all the time can be depressing. When I was trained to be a home health care aide, we were told that it’s important to eat meals (or at least sit) with our elderly clients, because they tend not to eat as much when they’re alone, and they’re happier eating with other people. What is it about eating alone vs eating with others that somehow determines our happiness? Studies have found that people enjoy the general social aspect of eating with others. The only times I didn’t eat alone throughout my adult life was when I was in the army, married or had a boyfriend, or when my daughter was young and I had a regular schedule. Studies show that people who share meals with others tend to eat healthier and live healthier lives. I suppose that would explain one of the reasons I have been depressed for much of the past six years.

Except for eating at my grandparent’s houses or with my father when I was a child, I often ate alone growing up. If I didn’t eat alone, I was usually separated from the adults, or dinnertime was so miserable I’d opt to eat alone. It was either literally get yelled at for breathing or something else that is considered normal to anyone. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of my book, Unheard:

“Since dinnertime is dreadful, I hate evenings. Even when I am starving, I prefer eating by myself. I hate looking at him and watching him sit with his head tilted down towards the plate and scraping the food from his fork into his mouth without ever looking up. I try to speak and make normal conversation; he makes a point to say something to upset my stomach or tells me to shut up and eat. He finishes his food, gets up without excusing or cleaning up after himself, trots into the living room, lights a smelly cigarette, watches TV, and drinks beer. I guess he thinks it was a woman’s job to keep quiet and clean up after him.”

When something is “normal” for a child, they don’t always realize it’s not normal or healthy as an adult. I knew that what was happening to me didn’t feel right, especially when my friends did “normal” things, like eat with their families. I have never purposely separated myself from eating with others as an adult; it’s just that I don’t exactly have a choice when I’m single.

My daughter visited me a couple of weekends ago, and for the first time in a while, I cooked up a delicious shrimp and pasta dish. It was the first time I’d cooked a meal for anyone other than myself in months, and it was nice to share. When I was regularly dating, I cooked more than I was taken out, and I was perfectly happy with that, because I was happy. I realize that some of my happiest times are when I’m cooking and sharing meals with others (not being expected to, but wanting to), and that hasn’t happened regularly in two and a half years. (If you follow my blog, you’ll probably guess with whom.) I’ve also been more depressed in that two and a half years than ever, and I eat alone almost 100% of the time.

I try to take myself out to eat for lunch or dinner just to be in a social outing, even if I’m out alone. However, eating out gets expensive, and I feel that I can cook better than what is served in most restaurants. Plus, I love sharing my culinary skills with others. Like the studies have shown, it’s the socialization that I’ve been missing at mealtime and probably another reason my friends keep telling me I need a boyfriend. *eyeroll*

How I Lost My Virginity

Seeing the patterns of sexual abuse…

Free the Burden

This is probably going to be somewhat disturbing to some readers, so this is fair warning.

When I was 16, I worked with a guy that went to my school. For about a year he begged me to date him, but I wasn’t interested. Eventually, I gave in to him and he was my “first love” so to speak. He had a car, so we’d sneak off and park in wooded areas or parks to make out and have sex.

One night when I was babysitting he came to the house. We were on the living room floor (the person I was babysitting for was in her room asleep by then) making out. He was acting like an asshole, which was typical of him anyway, but here’s where this gets disturbing… All of the times I thought we were having sex, he wasn’t actually inside of me. I think maybe the…

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