Turning the Light On

Warning: Shit is about to get soapboxy all over the place here.

I am, of course, speaking metaphorically here regarding turning on the light. My poor misshapen, blue eyes are light sensitive. And lets not forget the debate amongst those who know me if I’m actually a vampire. I’m almost positive I’m not. I mean yeah, I will bite people and there are times when I sparkle in the sun (damn you Stephanie Meyer!!!), and there was that time when I stepped into a church and thought I was going to die. But that turned out to be really bad cramps. Right. So . Metaphoric turning on the light inspired by a couple conversations yesterday.

“I want it to be his problem!” I shouted to answer why I’d want one last conversation with Hotty McHotster after processing the slim part of me that wouldn’t mind a second chance. “I don’t want this to be my problem!” The silence that fell over the room as I actually listened to what I had just shouted at my co-worker made me cringe. All the internalized shit I’ve been dealing with for the past three weeks is mine to deal with. That’s not to say he doesn’t have his own issues because he does. I know this because I’m an overthinking therapist. (FYI dating a therapist is the worst because we know shit.) But I definitely have mine to deal with right now. Earlier in the day, I went to see my therapist, who inspired the aforementioned conversation about reconnecting with Hotty McHotster.

Apart from suggesting I figure out what I really want to do and going after it, even if it does mean putting my emotional balls on the line with Hotty McHotster one more time (along with other possibilities like continuing to give dating the giant middle finger whilst I focus on me), she did drop some wisdom on my ass. I may have been shouting her too (yesterday was a super shouty day for me apparently) about the internalized, insidious nature of what had been hooked in me recently. Like when you try to clean out a clogged drain and you pull out something truly nasty… that’s an accurate description to how it feels right now. In her calming manner, she simply stated, “It’s internalized because you don’t talk about it.”

Thus, in an effort to deal with my problem(s) and finding a way uninternalize (?) deinternalize (?)(whichever works) them, I’m going to climb up onto my soapbox. And I’m going to talk about what I’ve internalized and my experience of it. So really, if that’s not your thing, stop reading now, come back later to see what antics I get up to on Monday and pretend this one doesn’t exist. I’ll never know the difference, hand to God. Just don’t be a dick about it, not that any of my dear readers would ever be a dick. I sometimes feel the need to make such unnecessary reminders. Right. Moving on.

My face is blue from how much I’ve been talking about how my internalized sexism/slut shaming were triggered in me recently. I’m sick of talking about how it happened. Why was it even there in the first place to be hooked? I’ll tell myself the same damn thing when they ask why; there is no answer to that question that will ever justify what you have experienced. Perhaps, the better question to ask is, What sort of shit was I bombarded with my entire life that made me believe these things? Yes. That is a much better question to answer and unpack and all that.

The late 70s and early 80s was an interesting time to be born. I still remember TV shows where the only women shown were victims who needed a man to save them. However, there was a shift as I got a bit older where women were the heroes of their own lives. But they still were all about the shoooooes. I was also raised in a church that embraced the fuck out of the purity movement. Note: In no way am I saying was my upbringing in the church all bad. I took a lot of good things from it. Their intentions were not bad. It is just my experience of this particular aspect. End note. Most women have multiple sources for the negative thoughts they’ve internalized about being a woman. I am no exception to the norm when it comes to this.

The number of times I received the message, either from a secular or sacred input, it was my responsibility to make sure I’m not tempting a male sexually is fucking astounding. To delve even further down the rabbit hole, as I got older, even though it was never said in these exact words, the messages that it was my job to make sure I never got raped came in just as much. And if I did get raped it was my fault; forget about any other sort of sexual assault, it was all on me and the other women to stop it. No one would ever say that explicitly. But when you tell a female person she shouldn’t have worn that or she shouldn’t have been walking alone or she shouldn’t have gone to that place, that is what you’re saying. After hearing it for years, it took its toll on me. I made that so true that despite my educational/intelligence level, I still blamed myself for not listening to my intuition and/or putting myself in “that” situation.

Slut shaming!!! Whilst it is related to the aforementioned female responsibility for not getting sexually assaulted, it’s not the same thing. It goes way beyond having sex before you’re married, for the religious messages I got and having multiple sexual partners for the secular messages I got. I was told mostly by religious folk to dress a certain way but in the name of modesty. My people wouldn’t have come outright and used the word slut, and yet somehow they managed to imply it, not so subtly. “In the world” as in not in the church, you were a slut if you dated more than one boy at a time. Non-sluts only date one man at a time. Because I dress like a teenage boy far more often than I would like to admit, the whole how you dress thing hasn’t been a personal internalized issue for me. And as I’ve gotten older, the issues about dressing a certain way have become more complicated about why is that considered sexy. Hopefully, I don’t think anyone is slutty, especially based on the clothes they wear. However, the whole multiple partners (not even sexual ones) thing, good lawd, I thought I dealt with in grad school. Apparently, I didn’t. Yay!

There’s a philosophy (?) saying (?) paradigm (?), I’m guessing it’s Buddhist because you know nothing from the West would ever say such a thing… “You should thank the people who’ve hooked your shit. Because now you know what needs your attention.” Okay, maybe it’s not exact quote, but you get the idea. According to this, I should be thanking Hotty McHotster (and the hickey giving guy too I guess) for triggering me. I know the hickey guy will never read this. But on the off chance, Hotty McHotster reads this, thanks. No, seriously, I genuinely mean it. Even though I’ve felt like shit for the past three (ish) weeks, I would have been living in a greater level of ignorance if I hadn’t had that reaction to you. And whilst it feels like everything sucks ass right now (and not in the kinky way), in the end, I’m going to be a truer version of myself because I’ve dealt with this bullshit.

Internalization goes deep and has an insidious nature. Forgive me for repeating myself, but I don’t think it can be over-emphasized. A woman being responsible for not getting herself raped and being labeled a slut for going on two dates in the same weekend with as many persons are only small slices of how I’ve internalized sexism. I’ve internalized the way I’m supposed to look and what I’m supposed to be interested in and that I need a man to come and save me. Okay, I have processed the shit out that last one. I know and believe and feel I don’t need a man to come and save me. However, there is the whole “you need to be in a relationship to be of value” lie, but to be fair, that is not specifically a female thing. Wanting to be in relationship is human nature; devaluing someone being alone for whatever reason is oppressive.

Remember Breathing is Key

Simple words of advice I like to dispense now and then. Hell! You don’t even have to pay me for such wisdom. If you are having problems breathing because of an asthma or panic attack, gladly will I repeat this mantra to you. Obvious? Of course. Useful? Probably not so much. And yet I’ll say it anyway. However, I’m not the only one who says this or some variation thereof. No! You hear it all the time when doing an exercise video or you’re at the kickboxing parlor. Sometimes, it’s a bit more specific, “In through the nose out through the mouth.” etc. But I’m pretty sure you can’t get more vague than “Breathing is good.” Maybe even topped with a thumbs up.

If I’m honest, which I like to be, I’d say sometimes I need the reminder. And not only when I’m holding my breath trying to “work my core”. Being an anxious personality, there are times when I don’t even realize I’m not breathing well if at all. Having lungsy issues doesn’t help with the making sure my blood is oxygenated bit either. My favorite is when I remember something horribly embarrassing that happened weeks ago, and I hold my breath hoping somehow as I replay the cringing scene in my head, there will be a completely different outcome. Spoiler alert: Never happens.

Today, I had to remind myself to breathe several times. Mostly when looking at my schedule for the upcoming month and realizing I’m in fact looking at my schedule for a month out.There was also the whole “I have to talk to my supervisor today” not breathing. It wasn’t as though I had done anything wrong; I just have a problem with authority figures… always have. (I bet that’s right up there with breathing good as far as obviousness is concerned.) It wasn’t until I was walking to my car to go home after my supervision that I realized how little I had been breathing.

There was something freeing in inhaling the fresh(ish) air. It felt like my entire body was working correctly for the first time today. Yes, I still had cramps. Yes, I still had the stress from what I was talking about in supervision. And yes, there was the little bit of lingering sadness from all the events that led up to me taking a dating sabbatical. However, I filled my lungs with air, I remembered reclaiming the word slut along with my fellow slutty coworkers. I remembered laughing at the photo another coworker showed me. And I remembered my commute home tonight would be like fifteen minutes as opposed to the usual forty to sixty. Breathing gave me some clarity and perspective. So, I reiterate in closing, breathing is key.

It’s About Time

Right. I’m pretty sure I’m an asshole. (You weren’t sure before?) Shut the fuck up. I’d have chosen to believe whist I had asshole-like tendencies, I hadn’t actually crossed that line. (Keep dreaming.) Thanks, dick. Lemme tell you how I came to this conclusion and the reason for this announcement… I reread my blogs for the past six or so months. (Go on.) Again thank you. A little encouragement never hurt anyone. I realized after reading my blogs, I talk about the dudes who’ve rotated in and out of my life at rather efficient rates. (Efficient rates? You mean quickly.) It’s all relative. Some of the dudes I’ve talked about have lasted longer than the majority of other guys I’ve hung out with in the past. However, there are solid people in my life whom I rarely, if ever, speak about.

My friends are fucking amazing and awesome. No hyperbole at all. Seriously, I don’t know what I’d have done without them, especially in dealing with the aforementioned guys. Not to mention anytime I get anxious about anything else and/or depressed or even feeling a little sad because I forgot to eat. Therefore today I’m going to talk about my friends. (Oh lord this should be good.) Don’t be dick. I will shank a bitch for talking shit about my friends. (I said nothing about your friends. I was talking about you writing about your “friends”) My “friends”? (Yup.) Are you saying I don’t actually have friends? (Shrugs.) If I don’t have friends then my imagination is fucking incredible and you should be honored I share it with you. (Okay.) Now that’s out of the way, lets begin.

The first friends I want to talk about are the ones from work. I shall call them Work Friends. (Genius!) And I shall not refer to them individually… this time. Work Friends are beautiful and smart and not married women. Even before I started dating, chatting with them gave me different points of view I necessarily wouldn’t have considered on my own. And after I started dating, they were there to laugh at my stupidity and gave me a lifeline when it felt as though as I was drowning. Now, that I’m not dating and some of them have been having dry streaks themselves, we talk about our holidays and dream of better days that don’t revolve around the methadone clinic.

Admittedly, I know I’ve talked about my godcousin. But I haven’t given her the props she deserves. We haven’t always as close as we are now; I was a slacker in high school; she was an overachiever. But now, even though we still have our differences, I know I can rely on her for some tough love. She made me hang out when I was depressed. Her particular brand of wisdom can make me feel like a dumbass sometimes, and when it happens, I let her know. I’m not sure there’s much I could do or say to get rid of her. And she’d seriously have to shank my nephew for me to drop her. She’s been a constant and will continue to be so.

My other constant is my heterolifemate. I’ve mentioned her in passing. She’s been around since my age was in the single digits. For my friends, only my godcousin have I known longer. There have been times over the years where we’ve lost contact, but we’ve found each other in the end, and it felt like nothing had changed. I count on the way things are between us when my life is clusterfuckery for whatever reason. Most recently, after I was done reciting my latest drama, right on cue, she shouted, “You fucking told him you were sexually assaulted, and he fucking called it weird!? Fuck him!” Mind you were in a bar on a Friday night, but the looks from strangers be damned. It was totally what I needed at the moment and she delivered like a pro.

Roommate has also been there in a very different way than the other folks I’ve mentioned. For starters, Roommate is perhaps my only nice friend. Let me rephrase that. She’s nice until you cross her or one of her friends. Then she becomes super scary, and I love her for it. I was shocked at what came out of her mouth after I told her Nicknameless Guy and I killed whatever we had with fire. I didn’t think I’d want to have a roommate, especially at the ripe age of 36, but I love coming home and having her there. She also encourages me to not eat like I’m in my twenties still and reminds me fruit and veg are options for nutrition as well.

On the opposite end of the nice spectrum, is my BMN friend. (BMN?) Bad Movie Night. (Oh riiiiight.) We became friend when working at an overnight shelter for boys in their late teens/early twenties. It’s over a decade ago now. But even when I was overseas, we still stayed in contact. The best part about her is she didn’t make me be in her wedding. Of course, I’m forever indebted to her. Like when she told me she needed me to throw the shower for her when she was having twins, and I agreed to it because she reminded me of not being in her wedding. That type of thing. However, now that she’s done having kids, I’m pretty sure I’ve paid my debt… unless of course she thinks of something else for me to do. And I’ll do it, because I wasn’t in her wedding.

I have more friends, I really do. And I could gush about them just as much, if not more so than the ones I’ve talked about today. Perhaps, someday in the not so distant future, I will blog about them as well. You know, just to make sure my blog isn’t full of piss and vinegar in a bad way I mean. A little in the good way goes a long way. And holy shit this fucker is long… just looking at the word count. But just in case it ever comes into question, I fucking adore my friends.

Random Reflection for a Rainy Day

Ummm, is my title an alliteration? Does this mean I’m going to have to make sure it’s super good? Can’t handle the ambiguity. Bah, there are a couple things I want to talk about today. So I’m going to go with close to an alliteration but no cigar. So, just sit back and enjoy a shitty blog. You know, because I only have really good blogs or really shitty ones. There’s no between. Fine, fine, fine, I kid. I have a lovely spectrum of quality of blog. And how that spectrum is arranged probably varies from reader to reader. But if I’m arranging it, then I’m going to do it mostly based on topic and not actual quality of writing because I’m arranging my spectrum. Right. Moving on.

The first thing I have to admit to you my dear readers of all ages, nationalities, faiths, genders, etc, is that I’m currently listening/watching Stryper: Live in Indonesia. If you’ve seen the roller derby movie with Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore, Ellen Page’s character wears her mom’s Stryper t-shirt. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about Stryper and my hidden continued love for them in my earlier blogs… Like when I thought doing lists was an acceptable way to blog. Or maybe I kept it hidden. Regardless, as of today it’s no longer a secret. So you may be asking yourself, why is this in your shamber…

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This is them in their prime. Gorgeous, aren’t they? Their music was very controversial in the 80s because they sang Christian music but to a butt rock/metally beat. Not to mention just look at them. I happened to overhear my parents, aunts and uncles discussing them in a scornful manner at the age of 5 and decided then and there I loved them. Yup, at the age of 5, I made a lifelong commitment to love these guys because my elders didn’t approve. But I’ve done many a stupider things for many a stupider reasons.

All right, now that’s off my chest, I feel I can continue with the other thing I wished to discuss in today’s blog. Which is, my mom is having skin cancer removed from the top of her head. I am concerned for her and my dad, as neither of them do well when the other is having any sort of issues. (But I’m not sure what more can be expected after 50 plus years of marriage.) However, there’s a difference with how my parents opt to break their news. As I’ve talked about before, my dad chooses text. That’s fine. I get it. My mom tends to do the more passive breaking.

Last month, my dear mother mentioned as I was doing something else, that she had a sore on top of her head and her doctor thought it may be cancer. She was going to get it checked out later that week. I figured (like most daughters, unless I’m taking fucking crazy pills) she would let me know if it were anything serious. ie skin caner or MRSA etc. Silly me not hearing from her, thought it was nothing. Then last night I went over to pick some items up (like my new mug. See photo below)

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Right. Back to the story… So I’m standing in the kitchen doing stuff, when my mom comes in, turns on the light and starts talking about her surgery on Monday. Pardon me? Your what?! Then she told me, the sore on her head is in fact skin cancer and she’s having it removed on Monday. Then I did what any good daughter would do upon learning her mother has skin cancer, I shouted at her for not actually telling. Then she said, and I quote, “Oh I thought I told you. I told everyone else.” And I do believe she then blamed the lack of communication on me not living there anymore, which could have been a legit excuse had she not done this multiple times before whilst I lived there. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three other bits of news, quite important news, where she “thought she had told me”.

I don’t think there has ever been a time when I sat there and questioned why communication wasn’t my forte (you’re a mental health therapist shouldn’t you… I’m all right when I’m getting paid for it). However, there have been times when I’ve given myself mad props for my subpar communication skills because considering what I had to work with growing up… I mean I’m a shining star. Okay, I can admit there’s a reason why I’m back in therapy now. And that’s to give me all the fodder for my blog I’ll need whilst I continue my sabbatical from the online dating. I kid. I kid. So apparently blogging and listening/watching Stryper on rainy Saturday makes a girl hungry. I’m going to bust out the emergency packet of Top Ramen I’ve been saving for such a time as this. Hopefully, you’re making better choices than me.

The Last Conversation

Sometimes in the heat of the moment we say (or text) things we don’t necessarily mean. I have the habit of telling people they don’t need to respond. By people, I mean dudes who are either bouncing on me or I’m bouncing on… usually. Yeah, and probably by usually, I mean I can’t recall a time when I shut someone down like that via text and/or in person when there wasn’t a dude or bouncing involved. Perhaps it’s my need to always have the last word that has caused me to do this. A need that got me in trouble a lot as a kid. FYI dial hand soap is disgusting.

Recently, I sent “one of those” texts. It was sent with the link to one of my blogs, and I told him he needn’t respond nor did I want it. To be fair I meant what I said… at the time. But as time has gone on, I wonder if he even read it and what he took away from it. Technically speaking or at least from my perspective, he made it none of my business when he called what happened to me weird and that he was choosing to bounce. However, I continue to wonder nine days after that without any relief. So, because I write dialog like a fucking pro, I’m going to write how I would like one last conversation with him to transpire. For the sake of dialog, I have to give him a name… Hotty McHotster work for everyone? Coo’.

 

Me: I made some really bad choices when it came to how I dealt with incorporating you into what was going on with me.

HH: What do you think did you do wrong?

Me: (Snorting) Well… I fucking told you in a text for starters. I’m a smart girl I know text isn’t the best medium for that type of conversation. But to be fair, I didn’t know how to actually have that conversation with you.

HH: True on the text part. I don’t know about the other though.

Me: I know. Because you’re a man and have never been sexually assaulted.

HH: There’s no arguing with that logic. What other bad choices do you think you made?

Me: The point I gave for the text wasn’t complete or straight forward enough.

HH: What would you have said it was?

Me: That the hickeys on my neck were non-consensual and I didn’t want you to think I was a slut.

(Awkward silence)

Me: And then the next day, my reaction to your text was to feel like one.

HH: I didn’t mean for you to feel like that.

Me: (Shrugs)

HH: So, you wanted to tell me this to make me feel bad?

Me: No. No! I wanted to tell you, because… Ya know…

HH: Nope.

Me: (Sighing) Because I’m still sad that you bounced. I was angry for like a second and then since I’ve just been sad. I miss you. It’s fucking weird for me.

HH: (Chuckling) It wasn’t my intention.

Me: I know (half smiling). I also wanted you to know I’m sorry for the shitty things I said after you told me you were going to bounce. They were said when I was in a really bad headspace.

HH: All right.

(Me literally biting my tongue to let him have the last word.)

End scene.

 

This is clearly a work of fiction, because he didn’t interrupt me once and I let him have the last word. I hope somehow this will give time a helping hand to bring me clarity. Or bring me peace or something. Or maybe I’ll delete it as soon as I post it and abuse myself for ever writing such a trite piece of shit.

Did I Just Finger the Bottle?

I know I’m not the only one to have days where I think it’s at least a day, if not two, later in the week than it actually is. For example, in my head, it has been Thursday all day long. It’s not that anything particularly good is happening this Thursday; I mean I have the entire day set aside for paperwork for fuck’s sake. Thus the exact opposite is true. I went to my regular Wednesday meeting and met with clients today. There was no need for me to be thinking it was tomorrow. And it lasted all day too. I was at the kickboxing parlor standing in front of my bag wondering why Beautiful Trainer was there and not one of the hyper ones.

If I ever lose my mind completely and decide to go back for my PhD, my thesis will be on not knowing the fucking day of the week when you’re aware of all other time. I suppose to be fair it didn’t feel like Wednesday. Yesterday, I was sick to my stomach all day long and skipped out on the kickboxing parlor. That is so a Monday thing to do. But Monday I was at a different branch, which could have also thrown me off. But still, I would have thought it’d feel more like Tuesday than Thursday if those were the reasons. Secretly (okay maybe not so much now), I’m just hoping there’s more time and space between last week’s events, because I want more clarity.

With clarity comes all the good stuff like realizing how the shitty feelings I’m currently experiencing are making me wiser. It brings the peace that everything worked out for the best in the end. Clarity means I feel and not just know I’m going to be okay. Rational thinking will also return when clarity comes; such as I will no longer blame my contact cracking on the fact I cried the night before it broke. You know, stuff like that. I won’t say there will be returning to how I was, because anyone who has been around the block knows going back is an impossibility. And I’ve been around the block at least once but probably more like four times. (Four is just an arbitrary number I pulled out of my ass. It has no real significance.) My prediction is: until clarity comes, I’ll be constantly thinking it’s tomorrow if not the day after tomorrow.

It probably should be noted that the title of today’s blog was the first thing I said aloud on my drive home after 20 or so minutes of me being completely silent. Well, non-vocal. I was thinking in my head and using air quotes and ended up randomly giving my thoughts the finger. I’m a fun person to be alone with, lemme tell you. Since today was particularly rough at the kickboxing parlor, I was going to take a couple tablets of ibuprofen as I drove home. I remember touching the bottle, but I got side-tracked (shocker I know) and didn’t actually take the pills. I remembered touching the bottle about fifteen minutes later and asked myself if I just fingered the bottle. The sound of my own voice surprised me, and then I realized what I actually said. And it was at the moment I decided what tonight’s blog title was going to be regardless of what I wrote about.

Cliche This

Welcome to Monday’s blog!!! Spelling and punctuation may be shoddy to say the least. Additionally, I’m writing this on my phone, so ya know… Go spellcheck! (?) Right. Moving on. Today’s blog is all about me debunking not one nor two but THREE whole cliches!!! Mostly because I can. But also I tend to fucking hate cliches unless I’m dispensing my particular brand of sass and/or wisdom. So sit back and enjoy today’s blog.

Number one:  “Lightning never strikes twice”. I call complete and utter bullshit on this one. I’ve seen Catching Fire. I know that lightning hit that true more than once. I kid. I kid. Seriously, just looking at lightning rods and other such things. Things like trees and the Eiffle Tower. The point is thing cliche is clearly false. In fact, it is so false, I don’t think anyone actually says it anymore. Well, unless said speaker is being a deliberate asshole, which is entirely possible. Thinking about it next time I need to alienate people, I may just use this cliche.

Number two (ha ha number two and clearly I’ve spent too much time with the big nephew lately):  “You can’t change a man”. Whoever coined this cliche obviously had never met anyone with traumatic brain injury. Yup. That’s right. You can change a man if you give him TBI. I’m not saying the change would be positive in the slightest. To be honest, I’ve never met anyone with TBI who had a positive change. Unless of course you count memory loss and being overly emotional as positive changes. But you could. Everyone is different. I can accept that. The point is, this cliche is total bunk because you can give a man a TBI thus changing him.

Number three:  Bear with me on this one…  You’re going to have think in the big picture. (Bigger than giving a man TBI in order to change him? Yes, now move on.) “You never stand in the same river twice”. Admittedly, most of the time, I’m going to say this cliche is true. BUT with a finite number of water molecules in the atmosphere and the advances in medical science, it could be possible that the exact same water molecules find themselves in the exact same river with you in it both times. Thus you stand in the same river twice!!! It’s possible; just not probable. But because of the slight possibility, I’m going to call this cliche bullshit.

As you may have been able to tell, I’m in a fighty mood. Or at the very least an argumentative mood. Not to mention playing devil’s advocate is just my nature. Seriously, I didn’t realise just how much it was until last week when I caught myself defending someone I thought was in the wrong, but because my friend was attacking him… Hey. At least I can admit it when I have issues and/or am so argumentative I’ll defend a position I don’t believe in for the sake of the argument. And with that I bid you a good day.