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relationships that are no longer beneficial to my spiritual well being – even if it means excluding family members and outdated friends.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.

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).

Pain, Allergies, & Being Alone

I’ve been having those feelings again. Slightly depressed, but perhaps it’s because I haven’t been sleeping as well, and I’ve been in a lot of pain lately. I did something to my back somehow, attempted yoga to stretch it out, but it made it worse. Went to the chiropractor, which helped, then I picked up a bag of potting soil the wrong way and screwed up my back again, so that has been an issue.

Some of the pain is caused from allergies. Besides the typical allergy issues of runny nose and itchy eyes, it affects my entire body as if every muscle or my blood is inflamed and poisoned. The only way I can describe it is like a burning sensation throughout my entire body, as if I drank bleach or something caustic – similar to that achiness the body gets having the flu. The only thing does seem to help is alcohol, believe it or not. So I’ve reverted to binge drinking on those days, which of course doesn’t help other issues. I feel like it’s a no-win situation.

Unfortunately, my only option to treat allergies with the VA is to take Claritin, which only solves some of the issues. Allergy shots would require me to drive 70 miles one way 3x a week for several months, which is just not going to happen. I’ve looked into alternative measures that sound promising, and at this point, I’m willing to try ANYTHING to resolve this miserable issue, but the affordability is another problem, just like everything else in this country’s shitty healthcare system.

When I sleep well and I’m not in pain, I feel like I can conquer the world, and it seems like I’ve been dealing with this my entire life. I vaguely remember “always” feeling good for days at a time, a very brief amount of time, and that’s a pretty shitty way to live. Stress has a lot to do with it, I’m certain. Feeling like this gives me no self-confidence in anything I do or anything I am striving towards or anything about life in general. I feel like if I died tomorrow, who cares? I don’t. It would probably be a relief rather than feel this way. (That is NOT a statement that I plan to hurt myself, so back off!)

This whole coronavirus thing is out of control, but since I’m already alone 99% of the time and avoid crowds most of the time, it doesn’t seem to affect me much. What it does affect, however, is the next job I’m waiting to start, because now everything is on hold.

I definitely haven’t been wanting to be around people anyway due to the anxious energy in the air, because it gives me anxiety, too. I feel everyone’s energy, and I don’t like it, because most of it doesn’t feel very good to me. I need to be around calming or creative energies – or just be alone. I feel like all of the good energy has been sucked out of me from the shitty people I’ve allowed in my life.

The only invitations I’ve had since the beginning of the year involve drinking. I went out a few times, but other than that, I’m bored with that lifestyle and end up hating the fake people I meet from it. While it’s fun to interact at times, I get burned out extremely fast, not to mention it’s unhealthy overall.

I haven’t been on an actual date in about a year (**when I say “date” it means with the intention of something beyond friendship**), and that last experience has left me not wanting to put any effort into dating. That was the last straw of dating for me, because I can’t stand another second of wasting my time on liars and people that add absolutely nothing but bullshit to my life. I don’t trust anyone, and I have no desire to make new friends or meet anyone new. I feel that saying hello and being cordial is enough for me right now.

The person I thought was one of my best friends has pretty much ghosted me, but I shouldn’t have been surprised at all after I had surgery and she couldn’t bother to ask how I was doing. I see clearly now that she was a terrible friend and only around when she needed someone. She’s also part of a group of women that act like middle schoolers, which I want no part of. And after my friendship with my male friend that hasn’t spoken to me since the end of January, why bother putting effort in getting to know anyone if they’re just going to ditch me without any closure, without anything but hurt feelings and lies – with nothing more than reminders of the abandonment issues I can’t seem to shake?

I realize I have always felt this way. I have always felt extremely alone in the world, and no matter how many people may surround me, I still feel alone. I feel like an outcast. I feel unloved. I feel like nothing I do matters, so I just go along trudging through each day until my time is up on this planet. I have always felt like there is no one out there for me, and even though I’ve had long-term relationships and marriages, I have always settled for something less than what I really wanted, because there was absolutely nothing that even resembled what I wanted. I am thinking that maybe I’m just a dreamer and nothing that I want exists on earth.

I’ve Been Dating Lemons, Dreams, & Introspection

This morning I had a dream that was very vivid and relevant to my spiritual and mental growth, but I can only remember a few specific details. If I don’t write things down as soon as I awake, I forget them. Years ago, I read somewhere that it’s what you do remember that matters.

I believe there were two men in the dream, but no one I know in real life. I believe one was someone I didn’t want to talk to or be around. The one I was corresponding with the most reminded me of Toe Ring Guy, but I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the way he was built physically but not the personality. The guy gave me a pair of beige high heels with rounded closed toes that were really nice – totally something I’d wear in real life. Apparently, they’d belonged to someone that had just died (I believe it was his mother), which was a little weird – but in the dream, I felt it was a nice gesture. At some point in the dream, I recall him saying something about waiting on his mother’s inheritance, and even within the dream, I thought that was strange.

The place that I was at was possibly a hotel – it was large, and even though I didn’t see stairs, I could see across a sky and felt that I may have been above the bottom floor. I believe my aunt was there and we saw part of a beautiful sunset, but there was another large, ugly building blocking most of it – which annoyed me, just as it would in real life. We said something about the sunset being so beautiful but we couldn’t see it entirely due to the building in the way.

Then back to the guy that gave me the shoes – I felt as if he was the better option of the two guys (by then the other one had disappeared), but I still felt something was off about him – which was probably knowing he was waiting on the inheritance, because that would be a complete turnoff for me.

I’m going to interpret this as:

Some guy giving me his mother’s shoes means filling in for someone else, perhaps in a motherly role. Perhaps I have a habit of taking on a motherly role (very domesticated) when I’m in a relationship. I want to say the high heels probably represent sex in some way, probably another role that women tend to fulfill. What’s the cliche? A maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen, and a whore in the bedroom? Well, maybe I’ve been offering the Madonna-Whore Complex of being someone’s servant and taking what I can get instead of an actual partnership that I really want and deserve.

As for my aunt and the sunset being partially blocked, this aunt in particular is someone I like talking to, and she’s fun and artistic. Yet something large and ugly is blocking the sunset – which is something beautiful and something I always enjoy seeing. The building reminded me of some of the newer ones being built in my area that I refer to as monstrosities, because they have ruined the beauty of my area – including sunsets no longer to be seen.

I have often thought of buildings in dreams as a representation of a body or mind, but in this one, whose body? Perhaps the hotel represents a temporary frame of mind I’m currently in, but the bigger one represents things to see and sunsets are to come? I really don’t know. The only problem I have is that the building was just big and ugly, and I’m not exactly sure what that would mean in this context. Maybe I have to discover an ugly part of myself or my emotions to see the sunset clearly? Maybe I have to face an ugly part of a relationship (either from adulthood or childhood) or something else that’s ugly that has happened that I haven’t quite moved forward with. (UGH!!!)

Again, this is a lot to contemplate, because there are so many facets it could relate to, not only now but throughout my life entirely. This is frustrating not to know, because I’m probably already an over-thinker and over-analyzer. And sometimes this is why I hate myself – I just want to be normal, whatever the fuck that is.

Somewhere in the dream lemons appeared – I believe towards the end – but I’m unsure as to what aspect. The “off” feeling about this dream guy is probably the way I feel about men that I meet and/or date – since they’re the “only” option available, I tend to go along with it, because I feel that I should “try.” But in reality, they are all lemons!

And as I’m writing this, a big butterfly is fluttering around me – another sign of positive transformation!

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.

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!

Bye-Bye High-Five Guy

The other day I posted about saying bye-bye to people pleasing. Of course, as soon as that happens, the universe throws me a test.

I received a text from a male acquaintance asking me to go out for drinks or food. I told him I wasn’t going out, so he offered to bring me food. I had him order a sandwich, then I regretted it when he got here, because I remembered how he yell-talks right in my ear and he has to be told to stop yelling. We’d only hung out maybe three times over the last several years, and each time out in public drinking – when my senses are totally off. This was my first time being sober around him, but I’m unsure how much he’d had to drink.

The last time we’d had a conversation, I had a serious talk with him about some of the things he was doing and how he’s not going to find a decent girlfriend if he continues. I guess he took that to heart, because he’s currently making some changes. However, I think he’s wanting me as his girlfriend, because he started saying things like “Let’s go on a cruise, I’ll pay for it.” And “I don’t have any friends” – What?? And “If we ever got married…” What!!! Yikes! No thank you! I wasn’t aware of it until now, but he also lives with his mother, and he said he’s saving to buy a house and his mother will be living there, too, so he needs to find a woman that can accept that. Well, good luck!

In the meantime, we ate our sandwiches, he’s yell-talking in my ear a foot away from me, and every time he said something he’d say, “high five,” and put up his hand to high five. Me being my bluntly honest self, I was like what??? This is dumb, and I’m not high-fiving you anymore. (I will nickname him High-Five Guy.) Then he started talking inappropriately about sex and his dick – and besides the fact I’m over surface-level conversations – I told him I didn’t want to hear it. Whenever I would attempt to change the subject, he would interrupt and loudly speak over me, and I told him it was really rude. And then I guess he got offended when I asked him to throw his food container away, because he said something about him being a guest and that’s my job… whoa! I told him I wasn’t his mother or his maid, and my guests need to clean up after themselves. That’s when he said he was going outside (backyard) to smoke a cigarette.

I was doodling on some art when I realized High-Five Guy been gone for a longer time than usual, so I went to see what was going on. He wasn’t there. I checked out front, and his car was gone. I was not disappointed whatsoever and also relieved, but I wanted to find out what happened, so I sent him a text:

“Why did you leave and not say anything? I thought you were out back smoking. That’s fucking weird.” He said he was insulted. I said “What are you talking about? Instead of just taking off you should have probably said something. I mean come on, we are not in sixth grade.” He said every time he said something he said something wrong. He can’t win. Whatever. I told him “We have different personalities and energies, and it is what it is, thanks for the sandwich, have a good night!”

When I got up the next morning, he’d sent me a text at 5am saying how he’d brought me dinner and that he’d never been treated so poorly in his life. Then he ended it with this, “if u don’t change your ways a bit u will never get a good man. just a piece of advice. u have talked to me that way a few times now. nobody that has self worth would tolerate being talked to like that. no hard feelings but u have to be honest. I wish u luck.”

Here’s the thing – I still don’t have a fucking clue what he’s talking about, the way I talked to him? By asking him to clean up his shit and throw it in the garbage? By asking him to please keep his voice down? And tell him I didn’t want to have a conversation about sex? This is what I sent back:

“Wait a minute – who is rude? Who left without saying anything? That’s crazy and weird, not to mention completely immature. Is asking you to keep your voice down treating you poorly? I have elderly neighbors next door and you are extremely loud. The fact that everything I tried to say you interrupted me and spoke over me was very rude. That is not the type of company that I prefer in my home. It’s actually very disrespectful. Like I said, I think we are just different personalities and different energies. I’m not here to kiss somebody’s ass and serve them like a maid for bringing me a sandwich. I don’t need a man at all and a good one would show a lot more respect in my home. Good luck to you as well. Speaking of respect sending me this stuff at 5am is another issue.”

I find it funny how some men always refer back to “you’ll never find a good man!” when in fact, those are the same ones that act childish and still live with their mothers. I’ll take being alone for the rest of my life over having to put up with that… and I’ll even high-five to that!

Saying Bye-Bye to People Pleasing

I was reading a young woman’s blog post about her being a people pleaser, and it’s something that came up as a topic in one of my counseling sessions last year. I believe the discussion had to do with staying in relationships longer than I should, because I didn’t want to hurt the other person. I feel that’s what you do with the people you love, whether it’s a romantic relationship or a friendship. I was always taught to stick through things, even when you’re miserable, because things will eventually work out. I’m not sure that’s accurate, because it’s never worked!

That’s when my counselor told me I was a people pleaser. Although I’d never really thought of myself as one, it makes sense as to what I have experienced in all types of relationships. I am slowly learning and making changes, but undoing something you’ve been doing for most of your life isn’t easy! I recall finding myself catering to men I dated without getting anything in return – often hosting, cooking, cleaning up everything – you name it. What the fuck was I thinking? As far as friends go, I would be a shoulder to cry on, but when it was my turn, those same people weren’t there. The thing is – I enjoyed doing that for someone I cared about or loved. I treat the people I care about the way I want to be treated, even if I am being taken advantage of, and I’ve had enough of that shit!

I resonate with most of this article from Psychology Today, “Are you a people pleaser?” Neglecting myself by serving others’ needs before my own? Check. Fear of rejection? Check. Resentment when I don’t feel appreciated or feel like I’m giving more than the other person? Check. This is another thing I have to work on, because being taken advantage of is a really awful feeling. Usually, once I realize someone is taking advantage of me, it’s a little late and a lot of resentment has built up by that point – and once I get to that point, I’m over the relationship. But I’d rather see the signs prior to that point.

I do believe I’ve gotten better over time, especially the last couple of years in romantic relationships, friends, and jobs. Now I don’t feel the need to make dinner for a man to please him if he doesn’t do something in return, and I’ve limited friendships with people that haven’t been there during times of need. Unless I’m working for myself, when it comes to jobs, I do what is in the job description and nothing more. There is no need to burn myself out again trying to please others that will do nothing more than move on to the next person when I stop giving.

Answers After Abandonment

I just reread a post I wrote about a year and half ago about dealing with abandonment issues that stemmed from my childhood and how this is a recurrent theme in my life. I am still trying to figure out what it is about my choosing of people that are inclined to abandon or ghost without explanation. Sometimes I do get explanations, although they may be months or years down the road. Other times, I have to suck it up and realize that some people are just cowardly assholes and I’m better off without them.

I recall the time when I was in the army and received a letter from the ex-boyfriend that I’d lost my virginity to. Initially, I was shocked at receiving anything from him at all, as it had been about two years since I’d seen him, and I was far beyond over him. I can’t remember everything the letter said, but he’d apologized for treating me like shit, told me how beautiful I was, and said something about me looking like Mariah Carey (which made me laugh – must have been the hair!). Years later, he attempted to date me again, but that wasn’t happening; I don’t repeat the same mistakes with the same person.

Most “abandonment” that happened pre-internet was just what it was, and I believe it was easier to move on, because there was no communication available if someone moved or changed phone numbers. Out of sight, out of mind. People would just wonder what happened to that person until their class reunion. But today, there is no excuse – or maybe poor excuses – like the one “friend” that suddenly quit talking to me, because she blamed me for working in a place where her ex knew people and some other lame-ass excuse. That was total bullshit, and I realize now so was our “friendship.”

What I don’t need in my life are fair-weathered friends. We all go through things in life that are inevitable and difficult to deal with – sickness, death, divorce, etc. It’s another thing if the issues are just drama type of bullshit that can be avoided, but if someone else can’t handle the problems you never invited them into in the first place, that’s on them. What’s really shitty is when you’re at your worst place and you get abandoned by those you thought had your back, especially when you would never do that to them.

With that being said, I had a male friend that I’d known since my days in the military, and about three years ago, he suddenly disappeared. I knew he was taking a break from social media, but I did have his email and phone number. I also knew he’d had some health issues, so I was truly concerned for his well-being, especially since I hadn’t heard from him and my emails and phone calls went unanswered. It was really out of the norm for him not to keep in touch at all. But then I happened to log into an old Facebook account where we were still “friends,” so I messaged him asking how he was, excited to get back in touch, because I truly enjoyed corresponding with him most of the time. Immediately, I was blocked. I thought how fucking bizarre and dramatic is this? I thought maybe he’s dating someone, and he can’t be friends with other women. Later, I was unblocked so that he could send me a very lengthy message describing in detail how he blocked a bunch of people a few years ago that weren’t adding positivity to his life. Ummm, okay, that’s understandable, but I’m not exactly sure how I fit in there, being that we live 3000 miles apart. He added something about the drama in my life, which wasn’t drama at all – I had a family member with cancer, and around that time a close friend had died. That’s not drama – that’s life! But what I really think happened is this – since we’ve known each other, he’d wanted a romantic relationship with me, and I wasn’t interested. I recall probably telling him a little too much about my personal dating life, and I honestly think he was jealous. I mean, I understand if I wanted someone romantically and they were rejecting me, but the reality of it is we’d never get along in that type of relationship anyway, not to mention the distance. Besides, I didn’t drag him into my “drama” or whatever you might call it; he tends to do that himself with other people’s business. Either way, at least I found out the truth behind the matter, and he seemed very sincere about it, which is a lot more than I can say for other people in my life who have done the same type of thing.

Am I guilty of ghosting anyone? Absolutely! But there is a difference when you’re not getting along with the person or you’ve had a falling out rather than just never speaking to them again without warning. I wish there was an abandonment meter when meeting someone, because it is truly heartbreaking when it happens, and I would definitely avoid those types of people. It’s completely unfair and selfish, not to mention immature, to abandon someone close to you without warning or explanation, and it says a lot about that person’s character.

Online Dating: From Friendly to Bye-Bye in 48 Hours

I’m still on POF as an experiment but rarely active, because it just doesn’t interest me enough. Last week I wrote about some of the harassment and abuse towards women on online dating sites. Not all of them are initially batshit crazy; some of them take time, which is why I like to chat and feel them out before replying or giving out my number or meeting in person.

I matched with someone in my area that had a great profile, which means he actually took the time to write things out in complete sentences and punctuation, along with adding more than one photo. However, he was in his 50s and had never been married and had no children. When I asked him how long ago his last relationship was, he never actually gave me an answer, just said a while and he didn’t want to talk about it. This was probably red flag #1, but I always give people the benefit of the doubt, because what if she had passed away or something tragic?

This conversation started on a Saturday. We were having great banter back and forth, but as it started to get late, he told me he had to go to watch his favorite TV show, Saturday Night Live, and he literally cut off the conversation. (I will name him SNL Guy.) I didn’t think much of it at the time, because it was late.

The following day, I’d gone to an art show out of town, which also happened to be the day of the Super Bowl. In the meantime, SNL Guy texted me his number and we exchanged some conversation off and on throughout the day. Somewhere around this time, I got an intuitive feeling that I can’t explain, except that his texts were starting to get on my nerves. I wasn’t having that great of a day, so I thought maybe it was just me.

SNL Guy mentioned he wanted to speak on the phone at some point, but he was going to a Super Bowl party and would contact me after that. I thought to myself that he should have probably asked me if it was okay to call me that late (red flag #2), because I was exhausted and ended up falling asleep. When I saw my phone the next morning, he’d texted me four times and called twice from 10pm until just after 11 (red flag #3). That seemed a little much for me, and I don’t know how else to describe my feelings, except that I felt a little creeped out.

On Monday, I had a very busy day, and he sent me some texts to which I barely replied, because I had priorities. In the evening, he texted me while I was driving. An hour later, he tried texting me again. I told him I was in a place where I couldn’t speak. He tried calling and texting again, and I told him I was still out. That’s when he asked if he should “give up,” to which I replied, “If you’re impatient, then yes you should.” Well, that did it!

SNL Guy said he felt a disconnect and based on my answer, that sums it up for him. And then his next comment clarified that intuitive feeling that I didn’t quite understand the day before… he said, “I said I would give you a shout today when my day was over but you blew me off. You were logged into POF. What’s that saying of throwing rocks from a glass house?” (Tons of red flags!!)

Whoa!! Dude is totally controlling and selfish and lacks boundaries. While it was fine for him to be unavailable when he wanted to watch tv and play, it wasn’t okay for me when I was busy. The fact that he went online to look at my activity was another warning. (I was probably at a stoplight when I noticed I had seven unread messages on POF.)

I said, “Thanks for making it so easy, and in case you didn’t know, it works both ways. I was available when you wanted to watch a TV show and a football game, but I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I’m looking for someone with patience and doesn’t need instant gratification. Maybe you can find a woman to meet your demands in such an early stage. Good luck!”

SNL Guy tried to argue his point, which he didn’t have, except that we aren’t a match. Yeah, no shit! This is what I mean by online dating sites being such a waste of time getting to know someone only to find out they have issues no one wants to deal with. Even if it was only 48 hours, it was a lot of messaging that could have been spent on doing something better for myself.

** NOTE: The following day, I took a bike ride and put my phone in the basket with my water bottle. The water bottle rolled over my phone and opened apps and misc things… and somehow it actually called SNL Guy (his number was the last to call me), and by the time I picked up the phone to figure out what was going on, it was an operator message. Oops! Sorry, not sorry! **

Single on Valentine’s Day is Better Than Being in a Relationshit

Valentine’s Day is here and you’re single….again. For those that dread this day of phony love, V-Day is just another reminder of those horrible, yet unforgettable, relationshits that force you to remember why being single isn’t so bad. While there are probably too many to name, everyone can probably identify with these few types of (pri)mates: Sponge, Leech, Casanova, and Hang-Man.

Sponge is the guy that calls or texts when he’s bored, needs a ride, money, or any kind of help or service that you can provide – and you’re willing to give it to him. Sponge tells you everything you want to hear until he absorbs everything from your wallet, your sex drive, your convenience, and your soul. When you finally take off the blinders and see how things truly are, it’s usually too late.  Sponge has absorbed your life – and you are left a hard, dried up, rusty Brillo pad.

Leech is a parasitic creature that won’t go away. He seems to be a really nice guy and may make a great friend, but you have friend-zoned him for reasons you can’t explain. Leech destroys all of your hopes of ever finding anyone else because he won’t leave you alone – he shows up at parties, at your work, during a girls’ night out. He’s one of those guys that’s just always there. Because he’s always hanging around, people think you and Leech are together. You avoid his calls, his Facebook messages, his 450 texts over a two-day period – but Leech still doesn’t get it. Your friends refer to Leech as the Stalker or the Cock Block.

Everyone has heard of Casanova. He’s the guy that makes you feel like the sexiest person alive. He takes your breath away and tells you everything that dreams are made of. You are sure he is THE ONE. After an exquisite evening together and promises of the future, Casanova is never heard from again. You make excuses for him – like maybe his phone is broken or maybe he’s working late, and your calls and texts go unheeded for days or weeks. Casanova has ghosted you, and he isn’t seen or heard from again until you bump into him at a bar – locking lips with Flavor of the Week. Casanova is another name for man-whore.

How many of us have heard of Hang-Man? Not the game with letters, although this guy likes to play games alright. He hangs out with you at his own convenience but never seems to make real plans. You wait and wait for Hang-Man to make decisions, whether it be from what you’re planning to do over the weekend to what you want to eat for dinner. No matter what, Hang-Man always keep you hanging and wondering. Ranging from being consistently late to standing you up completely, Hang-Man acts as if you’re supposed to wait for his superior ass self while his mother still does his laundry. As a matter of fact, Hang-Man is probably keeping you waiting at this very moment.

There is one thing in common with all of these characters – besides the fact that they’re self-centered, arrogant people out for their own interests; they are types of men you can learn to easily avoid. Do yourself a favor – your dignity is worth more than any of these creatures and their false hopes – so don’t find yourself in a relationshit on Valentine’s Day! Instead, order some sushi, sit in the tub and cuddle up with your pet – the one who really does love you.

Harassment & Abuse on Online Dating Sites

The other day, I wrote about AWOL, the upcoming women’s movement that is a week-long protest against gender bias in dating apps and social media platforms. Today is the first phase of the movement, where women are changing their social media profile photos to the AWOL logo to bring awareness. I am participating in this event, and this post will give a pretty good explanation as to why.

Being on and off dating sites for the past six years of my single life has given me a poor outlook on dating altogether, as I have mainly found it to be a complete waste of time. Spending hours sorting through profiles which may or may not be real or current is exhausting, not to mention the back and forth texting and lack of communication. Discovering the person you’ve been talking to is completely different in person is another downside to online dating. Even worse are the sexual messages received, oftentimes unsolicited dick pics, and overall insulting garbage.

As an experiment, I joined Plenty of Fish for a few reasons: a) I hadn’t been on there in several years; and b) it’s free. While I never actually expected to meet anyone on the site in person, I was open to the chance of possibly meeting a new friend. Given what I experienced, however, I now highly doubt that.

This time, I only have one visible full-body photo of myself fully dressed, not showing any skin whatsoever, my face visible but not that distinguishable. (I wasn’t sure what one photo would elicit, but I have a feeling that no photos at all would still have baited plenty of sharks!) I’d stated specific things in my profile that I knew would disqualify most of the men in my area. That wasn’t done on purpose; it’s all the truth about myself and what I’m looking for, and most simply aren’t on the same page. The messages I will be posting here were received within my first 24 hours of being on POF.

Since my horrible experiences with dating Trump fans takes up half of my blog, I specifically stated “no Trump fans” at the end of my profile, which seemed to have really pissed off some men. The fact that they took the time out to send me rude messages told me they are immature, abusive, control freaks that have no place in my life. The very first message I received from POF was from Ray, who thinks he’s a keeper but isn’t intelligent enough to keep his children off of his main photo. No one asked for his opinion, and the site is for meeting people to date, not to argue politics like people do on Facebook.

Instead of just going about their business and moving along, women get harassed online daily by men like Ray on both dating and social media sites. It’s men like Ray that a lot of women would never give the time of day, and they know it, and they use the opportunity to insult women behind their keyboards in order to boost what little self esteem they have. Ray was reported, but I’m unsure if he still has his account.

I never replied to Ray, however, after a certain amount of messages like these, it becomes hard to ignore. I am not the type of woman to “sit back and take it,” because if I allow them to treat me this way and don’t stand up for myself, it gives them a motive to continue their shitty behavior and do it to more women. I am the type of woman to put someone in their place, so I decided to start replying to these unsolicited messages. This is from another extremely unattractive man:

At least mpc65 understood he was being inappropriate, but there is no excuse to do this in the first place when you’re looking for love (obviously in all the wrong places!) Other inappropriate (and frankly, just weird!) messages when I politely decline men that I have no interest in dating includes being called names, such as a racist, when race has nothing to do with it. This man’s profile stated he was located in the UK (my profile specifically states to be within an hour of my location), so even if I was interested, it would never work. Besides, I got the feeling it was probably a fake profile.

I know I am not the only one that has experienced being called a racist, as SareyTales and several other women have also been called the same thing for not being interested in a man of another race. I recall one of her posts recently from an Asian male that played video games and had interests that most grown women don’t. When she politely declined him, he called her a racist and then went on to continue insulting her. It’s just another frightening way that men often project their insecurities to women online.

In my profile, I state that I have a 3-month rule for dating before having sex, as I know this will weed out any players. Apparently, some men had a real issue with that and sent me some pretty nasty messages. One I appropriately nicknamed the “Russian Asshole,” since he fits the stereotypical type that treats women like second-class citizens sent this barrage of mysogyny. Notice that he gets through the POF messaging system by spacing out the letters when he calls me a bitch.

I felt that Russian Asshole’s messages were extremely demeaning, antagonizing, and downright disturbing. After reporting Russian Asshole on Twitter, his profile magically disappeared from POF. However, I don’t know if that means he was blocked from my profile and still allowed to harass other women.

Even when I am online, my intuition picks up on things that seem shady or weird, even if I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is. This guy was interested, then suddenly thought he was “better” than me when I turned him down.

Even though “Better Than You” Dan has no opinions of me, he thinks he’s better than me with all of his world travel, success and money.

These are just a few of several messages I’ve received from men I’ve turned down – and this was only the first 24 hours! Out of approximately six pages of messages, about 20% of them were like this. To think that 1/5 of the men on dating sites are this awful is pretty discouraging, especially when the apps enable them by allowing these abusive men to keep their profiles and punish the women that report them instead. Women are fed up, and as a result, AWOL has been formed.

All Women Online Blackout – A Protest

If you’ve been following my blog long enough, you know that I have some experience with the online dating world. For the most part, my experiences haven’t been so great, as I often write about them. What makes them even worse is getting unsolicited dick pics, sexual harassment, threats, rude messages from men that I have politely rejected, nasty messages from men that don’t happen to like what I’ve written in my profile (they obviously don’t make the cut), being called racist for being uninterested in someone that happens to be a different race, and overall misogynistic attitudes. But this doesn’t just extend to dating sites; this happens all across the board with social media in general, with Facebook and Instagram being the worst culprits.

As for Instagram, there is no way to report an actual private message; only profiles and posts can be reported for obscenities or whatever goes against their terms. So when I received unsolicited dick pics from men I didn’t even know, my reports went unheeded, and those men got to keep their profiles. Yet, if I happen to screenshot the message, hide the dick pic with an emoji, and share it to my story – Instagram flags it and takes it down, even threatens to remove my profile. This type of behavior and inequality needs to stop. Right now.

This also happens with some online dating apps – you can report their profiles, but not their actual private messages in the app itself. If there is nothing violating the app’s terms in the profile, those men keep their profiles, even if the person sends a dick pic or tells a woman he’s going to rape or kill her. (Yes, this actually happens!) In some cases, the messages can be reported, however, often the abuser still gets to keep his profile. I suppose if the apps are making money off of these perpetrators, they don’t give a damn about the safety of women using their sites.

The real issue besides the idiots sending the messages is that these online platforms seem to cater more towards men in these cases. Oftentimes, when their profiles get reported, nothing happens. Sure, there’s the option to block them, but sometimes they make alternate profiles and continue the harassment. It sends a message to these men that it’s okay to harass women, since the block option is there. All it does is send them to the next woman, many of whom do not bother reporting them (or can’t), so nothing ever gets done about it, making it seem like it’s okay for men online to abuse women. Well, it’s NOT okay, and women are fed up.

Someone I have been following on Instagram for quite some time has exposed some of these jerks. Sarey Ruden of SareyTales was tired of the online harassment and misogyny, so she decided to make art “The Art of Online Dating” out of the awful messages received from men on dating sites; she even gave a TEDtalk about it. And now other women are joining in and revealing their online dating horrors – all very similar stories, and some even have the same types of messages from the same users in the same area. Even when reported, these men have no consequences, yet women who report them by outing them on social media (since there is no other option to report them within the apps) have actually been silenced and/or banned from the sites! Not only is this unjust, it feeds into the rape culture and perpetuates abuse of women.

On May 9th, a women’s movement is happening called AWOL – All Women Online. It is a week-long blackout on dating sites (also extended to social media) to combat gender-based dating app injustice and abuse. I will be joining it, along with thousands of other women (and also supportive men) in protest to the way women are treated unfairly by dating apps and social media apps that continue to fail us. To find out more and to participate, visit her website at SareyTales.com.

Eye in the Sky – A Sign from the Universe?

This morning I awoke from a dream, and the only thing I can remember is it had to do with the band The Alan Parsons Project. Having no idea why I would dream about a band that I vaguely know, the first song that popped into my head was their 80s hit “Eye in the Sky.” Being a believer in dreams and signs, I knew that this was the universe telling me something I needed to know… except attempting to decipher exactly what it could be is tricky.

The only lyrics besides the chorus that I instantly remembered were “Don’t say words you’re gonna regret,” and after that I wasn’t sure what the words were, but they are, “Don’t let the fire rush to your head.” Immediately, I could only think of the situation with my male friend, because I was angry with him for blocking me on Facebook and denying it, along with other issues, and I let him know it. It still bothers me not knowing the truth about this, because if my friend lied to me about something this stupid, what else has he lied to me about?

The rest of the lyrics suggest gambling and the ending of a relationship. Perhaps it had something to do with relationships being a gamble, since most do not last. I am still upset over the ending of the friendship we once had, because he is the only person I’ve become close to in over two years and spent a lot of time with over the past several months. Last night I ordered takeout, and when I remembered the last time I’d eaten food from this place, it was with my friend, and I became upset all over again.

But is that what the dream message was really about? Being that the band’s album cover depicts the Eye of Horus, perhaps the lyrics to the song has to do with the “eye in the sky,” a symbol of protection and good health and possibly the third eye. Getting upset and angry certainly doesn’t help with health matters, and I am doing my best not to obsess to find answers and the truth, hoping that it will work itself out eventually. One of the problems I have is that I “have” to find out the truth, so it really does bother me when I don’t know. It may take years, but the truth eventually does come out. It just sucks having to wait, because I feel that it would speed up the healing process.