Girl on Fire

Where I’m at right now, it’s a much better place than where I’ve been. I won’t just be alright, I will be better. Because I make it that way. Because I can do this. Because I am beautiful, and amazing.

I’m proud of myself for being vulnerable, for taking a risk, and for being all of me, even when it was awful. I will never regret that.

Sometimes, though, it hurts. It hurts knowing that for whatever reason, even if it wasn’t a reflection of me, I wasn’t enough. Knowing that someone I trusted valued their own pride above everything I offered. Feeling that what was once out so wonderful turned out to be only a show.

When things began, we wrote letters. Sweet, loving, fun letters. As they progressed, we used them to say things to each other that had become hard to say out loud. Ways we were hurt, things we were worried about. One day, I wrote a letter, and it was torn to pieces. I wrote another. It, too, was discarded. There was no longer a level playing field. There was no more space left where I was safe, where I could say anything I needed to.

Today, I wrote one last letter. I poured all the hurt, frustration, tears, love and failure into it. I read it twice, then I lit a candle, and put it to the flame.

In my true fashion, I of course almost set my bedroom on fire.

I regrouped, in the bathroom where there is both a fan and a water source, and started over. But really, this seemed more fitting than anything. I went into this only thinking of how beautiful it would be, without any concern for details. It quickly derailed, burnt me, and created a huge mess. But, I was determined, and though it didn’t go anything like I saw in my dreamy-eyed vision, I finished it. Then I cleaned up the mess and moved on. Because that’s what I do.



From atop my lofty soapbox…

This is about religion. Let’s just get that shit out there now. Oh, also, there’s more swearing than normal. It’s been that kind of day.

Today on the rant docket: California lawyer Matt McLaughlin proposes an initiative making homosexuality punishable by death. OK, so he’s just proposing this initiative, but if he gets the number of signatures required, it has to be allowed on the ballot. I’m seriously doubting it’ll get that far, but weirder things have happened.

Basically, the “Sodomite Suppression Act” says that should someone be found touching someone of the same gender in a sexual way, they get shot in the head. Or banned from California for life. Why? Because he is looking out for the greater good, and doesn’t want all of us going down in flames, what with God hating the gays and all. Oh, and if the authorities don’t deal with offenders within a year from their sentencing, the general public can take it into their own hands and administer justice themselves.

(There’s a link in here where you can read the act itself. You should. It’s hilarious, in the bad way. )

Clearly this guy is a fucking assclown. There really isn’t one part of this initiative that makes logical sense. I’d like to think he’s just lol’ing it up somewhere, having successfully trolled everyone. But history has proven that people this idiotic do indeed exist, and can get law degrees, so let’s err on the side of caution. It’s just too much, though! Where do I start with the picking apart?? Since the material is overwhelmingly insane, random order it is.

Item 4: Sodomy and homosexuality are two different things. This initiative would put to death ANYONE who merely touches someone of their same gender with sexual intent. Meaning that drunken boob grab I shared with my bestie at the club 9 years ago (quick wave to Mom!) would have me staring down the business end of a shotgun. So it seems the name is just for dramatic effect, as it is just one of the many, many things you could be shot for if it passed. Neato!

Item 7: If the actual justice department doesn’t do their job quickly enough for Mr. All-The-Gays-Are-Out-To-Buttrape-Me, any old fuckhead on the street can shoot an offender. Yeah, there’s no way that could go wrong. Because people who would be okay with carrying out this sentencing would always use fair and balanced judgment. They wouldn’t just start shooting same-sex couples on the street, no. Because they’re good people. That’s why they’re shooting fellow humans in the first place.

Item 3: McLaughlin is concerned about the welfare of the world, which is why he’s doing this. Because we God-fearing folk shouldn’t have to pay for the sins of them there demon queers, so “it is better that the offenders should die”. Yes. That’s why option 2 is to ban them… from California. That is where all the good Christians are. Unfortunately for him, I’m pretty sure God doesn’t smite on a state-by-state basis.

Item 5: Sodomy is also called “buggery”? Really? When?

Item 6: Nobody can hold office, work in the public, or even GO in public if they are guilty of or support people who are guilty of these transgressions. Well no shit, they’ll all be dead. Unless they’re one of the 4 people that would ever be fined and sent to prison (let’s face it, everyone is getting shot.). But wait… would they go to a Californian prison? Because then they’d still BE IN THE GREAT STATE OF CALIFORNIA AND GOD WOULD STILL SEE THEM AND YOU’D ALL BURN FOR THEIR SINS! Also, you can’t just make the entire city of San Francisco obsolete. The world needs it.

Item 2: Murder is illegal, fuckhead. Also, God doesn’t like it either (but that’s not how we make laws, because we have separation of church and state, remember?). When he’s making his speech to Noah about how he’s not going to wipe out humankind anymore just because he’s a tad sensitive, he said that every human life should be accounted for, and whosoever sheds the blood of man is in huuuuuge fucking trouble.  (Gen. 9:6, MFKSV)

Item 1: OPEN A BIBLE ONE TIME, FOR THE ACTUAL LOVE OF GOD. God doesn’t mass-smite anymore. There was this whole ceremony, with a rainbow, commemorating it. It’s right there in the first book. You don’t have to read that far! Even in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, the most-referenced city by assholes trying to make an insane point ever, he promised he’d spare the cities if he even found 10 worthy people. If McLaughlin doesn’t think all of California has 10 decent humans, who does he think is going to sign his initiative?

More than anything though, more than the moronic details of this all, is the thing that I want to yell at people like Matt McLaughlin constantly: Stop hiding behind God. Stop sullying the already pretty sullied name of religion. Be honest. Homosexuality scares you, and you don’t know how to deal. Why that is, whether it be denial of your true feelings or a past incident or what the fuck ever, isn’t for me to criticize you for. It also doesn’t matter.You don’t get to use your personal issues to try to condemn an entire group of people. People have tried in the past, and it has never gone well. You’re not saving ANYONE. You’re only doing harm. That is all. There is NO good that comes from this. But you know what there already is in the world? A whole heap of bad. Maybe instead of adding your shit to the top of the pile, you get a shovel and start figuring out how to make it better. You can even put God back in at that point, if you so please.

I am a religious person. I don’t flaunt it, push it on people, or even talk about it that much. Because this is what I get lumped with when I do. Also, because I don’t believe that alienating someone by trying to force my beliefs on them is what God intends. From my personal understanding, he intends us to love one another and take care of each other. Nowhere does he enlist his followers to end the lives of people they themselves deem offensive. You know why that is? Because all the gays, all the lesbians, all the transgenders, all the questioners, all the sodomistic propagators, all the allies, all the hetros who don’t like to shoot other people in the head, all the everyfuckingonenomatterwhat… we’re God’s children, too. Ask any parent if they’d let someone shoot their child for any reason, let alone for being who they are. Take the reaction you get, multiply it by the biggest number you can fathom, and imagine that much holy fire being rained down on your dumb ass for even thinking this bullshit up. Just imagine it though, because God would never actually do that. Rainbow, motherfucker.

I don’t get it…

I don’t get metaphors. If I had to point to a reason for this, and it’s my party, I get to make lame excuses when I want, it’s because of the way my brain works. Well, obviously, but what I mean is this: I have synesthesia. This means I’m  “someone who automatically activates a second sensory pathway once a first is stimulated”. In the plain English, everything I hear has a color, specific location, and picture in my mind. Days of the week are lined up with the colors of the rainbow. The number 7 is yellow. January is to the far left. If someone says “Albequerque” I picture a pink TV. (Not all the pictures make sense.) This makes navigating daily conversations a bit interesting. It is also part of why discussing intimate relations is difficult for me. BECAUSE I SEE IT. EVERY TIME.

It has its plus side. I can manipulate it to my advantage (though does it really count as manipulation if it’s my own brain?). If I want to remember to do something, and I don’t feel like writing a note, I stare at something I’m going to look at right before I need to do that thing, and repeat the action to myself. Then, I wander off, come back, look at the my bedside lamp and think, “Eat a banana!”. I make my crazy work for me.

So, there I am, with my live-streaming-cartoon mind, listening to a song. I hear the lyrics, I see the pictures, I’m good. It’s about a cake, in the rain, and someone being a little too dramatic about it. I go on living my happy little life, until someone wants to discuss it. Because invariably, they will ask, “What do you think it meant?”. I will shrug my simpleton shoulders and say, “Soggy cake!”, at which point they will laugh mercilessly and cry, “Oh you fool! It’s CLEARLY about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire!”, then I will mumble a feeble, “that was my second guess…” as I shuffle away dejectedly to the sounds of their raucous laughter.

First off, clearly I need to hang out with fewer pompous douchehammers. I’m not here for your amusement, go play Skee Ball. Secondly, it’s just another example of how fascinatingly different people are. I can’t decipher cryptic messages, or pick up on subtle hints, but I can tell you what was said at a meeting 2 years ago, because I see it. You may not understand what I mean at all if I say how I feel is sorta lavender, but you can tell me how different pieces of machinery work together to make an engine run. I can pick out voice actors without reading the credits (I see the way their mouths move and match it with other times I remember seeing those sounds), and you can explain Pink Floyd songs. Or maybe you can’t. I wasn’t picturing us to be super fucking high in this scenario.

(My fragile self-esteem would like me to point out that when a metaphor is explained to me, I do understand it. I can even use them myself! However, it’s a bit of work, and I lose focus very quickly.)

Years of thinking I was dumb because I didn’t get things like this has sort of created a mental block. To say that I love music is putting it mildly, but I can’t tell you why. My feeling of inadequacy over understanding the lyrics spills over into how I feel about the music as a whole. If I don’t even understand why he’ll never find the recipe again, why would my opinion on the dramatic yet soothing crescendo in the last chorus mean anything? Because it’s just that: my opinion. I get to have those. They aren’t right or wrong, silver or red, they’re just there. And what if someone doesn’t agree? Do I have to go live in a cave for the rest of my days? Probably not. Just because my way of thinking may not make sense to them doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Much like I should stop assuming that because my way of thinking is most likely seen as strange, they’re automatically right.

With my newfound sense of wonder and “let’s all just get along!” attitude, I hope that more people can be as fascinated by this as I am. If not that, then at least something more productive than close-minded judgment. Our differences are what make us beautiful. Appreciate them.

I’d also like to say that I am aware that “MacArthur Park” is not about the Roman Empire. Everyone knows it’s about space pirates.

Or penguins.


15 Signs of Bullshit You Need to Be Over

Lately I’ve seen a couple articles pop up on my Facebook newsfeed identifying signs that you’re in an emotionally or verbally abusive relationship. I read them, because I like to double check. And whaddya know, perfect score every time. Why do I do this? Well, because when you’re in a relationship like that, you start to think you’re crazy. That you’re the reason for these problems, that they aren’t real outside of your own mind. Even now that I’m free, those thoughts are still there. I need to double (or triple) check that I’m sane. This whole thing seems so surreal sometimes, that a quick assessment is somewhat understandable, I think.

Basically, it was like this: Girl gets drunk, is adorable, meets boy. Boy is amazing: Boy buys girl flowers, has a job, takes care of his own responsibilities, draws girl pictures, pays for dinners, likes girl’s kid, gets along with girl’s friends, makes girl laugh, stares deep into girl’s eyes and tells her she’s everything he could possibly ever want and more. Then, he writes her a song, learns to play an instrument just to perform it, buys her a ring, gets a dress made for her, and flies her to shiny Vegas to get married. Are you kidding me? Things like that don’t happen outside of movies. Except for this one time, when they happened to me, and found myself reciprocating with the kind of movie love I was previously convinced didn’t exist.

Then, I didn’t do the dishes. For 2 days. Whatever else did or didn’t happen during that time meant nothing, so justifying it now won’t either. Suddenly, I was a terrible wife. I was lazy, disgusting, greedy, a bad mom, and had he known I’d be this way, he never would’ve married me. I was heartbroken. I couldn’t believe I’d let him down so badly, and all I could think of was how to fix it. I cleaned, I cooked, I spent vacation days I’d taken off from work picking up dog crap in the yard. I was a decent wife again.

I kept trying to show him how much I loved him by proving what a good wife I could be. I mean, I’d already been divorced once, so my track record was pretty shitty, he was totally right in saying what a bad wife I was, and I needed to listen to him. That’s what I thought, because I loved him. And he loved me, why wouldn’t he just be looking out for my best interests?

A couple days later, I’d worked back up to best wife that had ever existed, and it was as if the whole thing had never happened. Life was good. For maybe a week and a half, then another infraction occurred, and the pattern began again. It repeated for a year. As time went on, the distances between the highs and lows became shorter. I could go from terrible to amazing and back again in the same week, if I really tried. As the ups and downs increased, so did the hurtful things he said. He accused me of cheating, told me I was terrible in bed, asked me if I was gay because he wasn’t satisfied with the frequency of our marital relations (though why he cared if I was so terrible anyway I never figured out), tried to keep me from my friends and even my own son, and told me that he liked that I was insecure because it meant I needed him. (When I then asked what would happen if I ever gained confidence, he quickly replied “I’d knock ya down a peg or two.”) That’s just the highlight reel, I won’t bore you with every put down and sly manipulation.

I remember somewhere in the middle of all this texting my sister, and asking her why I was so unlovable. Clearly the problem was me. I had all of these broken relationships, this one with someone who seemed to be so amazing, and yet I just kept failing. The common denominator here was me, it had to be my fault.

Then, something amazing occurred. I told my sister what was happening, and she believed me. She didn’t assume I was being overly dramatic. She didn’t tell me I was taking things wrong. She just listened. She gave advice in the beginning, things I could do to help the relationship, and checked back with me to see how they were going. She also made me laugh. Then, when things started getting worse instead of better, she told me without judgment, to get my crap and go. This was huge. First, because marriage is very sacred to my sister, and not to be exited out of for almost any reason. Second, because she always judges me. Lovingly, and with large doses of sarcastic wit, but it’s still usually there. The fact that it wasn’t this time meant shit had gotten real. But I wasn’t ready to make a huge change yet. I still thought I might be crazy. I got told all the time that I made a huge deal of things, that nothing made me happy, and I was depressed.(There was never concern about any would be depression, just diagnosis from an unqualified source, and blame.) Crazy seemed to fit right in. So I talked to a few more people. Miracle of miracles… they believed me too. After a little time, some last attempts to fix things, and therapy, I made the decision. I can’t fix anyone but me. If doing that threatens other people, or if they aren’t willing to rise up and meet me there, then I don’t need to be around them. I deserve love and respect. Not because of any great accomplishment or amazing quality I have, because I’m a human. Also, because that’s how I treat the people I choose to spend my time with.

Figuring all this out wasn’t easy, and stuff still comes up from time to time. But I do know how lucky I am to have done it so quickly and not spent years of my life being miserable. As proud as I feel of myself, I don’t want to just sit around pasting little gold stars on my walls. I want to help other people figure it out, too. I want to listen, and let them know that someone believes them. I know what this feels like, and nobody should have to.

So someday soon, I’m going to go to school. I’m going to get some kind of degree in something helpful, and I’m going to find an official way to help women who are victims of abuse. (it’s not that I’m sexist, I just have a lot more experience being a woman. My time being a dude was very short-lived and awkward.) Clearly I have a few details to work out, but that’s what the goal is.

Until I accomplish all of that, I’ll still be here, posting articles, ranting about assy pop songs that make women out to be possessions, and making people uncomfortable by telling my story. I’m ok with it. This isn’t comfortable. Abuse is bullshit, and if you find yourself and the receiving end of it, you’re not alone. You’re not unlovable. You just need a hand. I gots two, mo-effers.

If you feel the need to check the signs like I do, or want something written by someone who will not call you a “mo-effer” (psh.) then here is the article I was talking about way back in the beginning. It’s a bit vague, but you’ll know if you know.

Oh, one more thing. You people, the ones that listened to me:

I literally could not have done this without you. You mean more to me than you could ever know, but I’ll never stop trying to tell you anyway. I fucking love you.

Some day, when I’m awfully low…

I’m pretty sick of my own thoughts at this point. Not in a destructive way, just in the “OH MY GOD WOMAN, NOBODY GIVES TWO CRAPS ABOUT YOUR INSIGHT ON THE FUZZINESS OF YOUR HAND TOWELS” kind of way. (Though seriously, the towels won’t stop shedding. I’ve washed them and everything.) It makes me not want to talk to anyone, because I’m convinced everything I have to say is pointless and annoying. I still venture out and force my bullshit on innocent victims, but most of the time that makes me feel even worse.

So rather than getting into all that and bringin’ this party down, I looked up a song that’s been stuck in my head lately, and found an adorable version of it. I was skeptical at first. Though I love a cappella groups, the chorus guys started out too cheesy and overbearing. But then… the soloist. He made everything better.

Maybe instead of discussing anything that matters in the real world, or driving everyone away with my self-criticism, I’ll just review music videos.

Do I really like scrambled eggs? Because I say that I do.

It’s 4pm on a Saturday, and I have yet to brush my hair. I haven’t left  my apartment, I haven’t put on shoes, and though I have showered, I’ve taken 2 naps since then, and am technically still in bed. I’m not ashamed of myself at all.

Why should I be? Who am I hurting? If I want to stay in bed all day, I do. Simple as that.

I’m not slothin’ it up because I’m depressed, lonely, or sad. I’m tired, a little hungover, and my feet are cold. I’m never inspired before my feet get warm. Also, it’s quiet, I have no plans, and a lot to think about.

Between naps, I watched “Runaway Bride”. I love Julia Roberts (when I was little, I thought my sister looked like her. She doesn’t, but it’s always made me like J.R. a little more, I guess.) and I recently realized that I’m a little bit like the main character, Maggie Carpenter. Except that I wasn’t brave enough to leave anyone at the altar, I waited until things were much harder to get out of.

Like Maggie, I did genuinely love the grooms at the time, that wasn’t the problem. But also like her, I’m a pleaser. I want people to love me in return, so I make myself into whatever they seem to need. I am supportive to the point of changing my habits and hobbies to match theirs, so they’re never uncomfortable. I help in any way I can, sacrificing my time, money and honest opinions so that they have what they need. I also usually end up driving them around, as well, because that’s just how my life works.

I will always do these things on some level. I don’t want to be with someone and not support an uplift them. But I also want to make sure I get the encouragement and love I deserve, too. That’s not unreasonable. I know, though, that changing who I am isn’t the answer. That first divorce didn’t really sell it, but the second is definitely bringing the point home.

The first order of business is figuring out just who I really am. I have a vague idea. But with this newfound freedom and time, I get to really clarify the finer points. What are my dreams? How can I do the things I’ve always been too scared to do? Why am I scared of everything in the first place? How the fuck do I like my eggs??

So what may appear to be laziness and wasting a pretty day is actually self-discovery, with a side of adorable rom-com watching. Though I’m pretty convinced nobody actually cares about this except me, I’ll keep you posted anyway.

I’ve already figured one thing out: I like to nap with the lights on. 1 down, 7,000,000 to go.

How to be jealous, properly.

When I was but a simple-minded lass, whose head was filled with daydreams of charming, dark-haired princes rescuing me from my dreary life, I thought things like, “If only my boyfriend would get jealous when other guys talked to me. Then I’d feel good about myself.” I imagined it would be romantic, that whatever idiot I was with at the time would suddenly realize what an amazing woman I was and pledge his undying love. I had a lot of spare time back then, which apparently I filled with shitty romance novels.

Then, I got what I wished for. At first it was sweet. He was more affectionate when other guys were around. He pouted ever so cutely. Pledges were made, and sonnets written of my complete and utter amazingness. I felt accomplished, dusted off my hands, and moved forward.

Because that was it, I got my moment, we’re good now, right?

Nope. Not even close.

Cute pouting turned to angry accusations, pledges turned to threats, and as for affection… well it would’ve been easier if he’d just peed on my leg and gotten it over with. Needless to say, it was not romantic in any fashion.

Somewhere along the way, I realized it never was. The act of me talking to another person shouldn’t incite anything more than curiosity about the discussion at hand. I am not property. I am a grown-ass woman, and I talk to whomever I please. Fuck that noise.

This brings me to the actual rant for today (that was just the warm-up. I hope you stretched.) There are currently 2 pop songs with the title “Jealous”. Don’t hate on my love of pop music. That’s a different rant entirely. The first one is by Nick Jonas. It’s quite catchy, and I shamelessly dance to it when driving in my car. Here, check it out and dance around a bit yourself.

So here’s why it’s shit:

  • He assumes she’s starting to want another man because she’s looking at him. Looking. Maybe she looks with a different body part, but I look at lots of people all the time without promising my undying love or even ripping off their pants. Though, I was told once that if I returned affectionate looks to anyone, EVER, it would be immediate grounds for divorce. That’s not what happened, but I did live in fear for a while. Going out in public turned into me impersonating a meth addict, because I tried not to look in any one direction for more than 2 seconds.
  • He thinks it’s his right to be jealous, or at least hellish. Nope. It’s a choice, and he’s choosing to be a douche.
  • It’s her fault because she’s too beautiful. Oh, just fuck off.
  • He sees this overall as perfectly acceptable. Yeah… it’s not. We all have insecurities. We all have baggage, bad memories, emotional triggers, and lame crap that’s happened to us. Dealing with it can be tough. But at no time do we get to lash out at other people because of these insecurities. Caring about someone means you don’t want any harm to come to them, even from you. Keeping them from everyone else so that you can dole all the hurtful words out yourself doesn’t fall into that category.
  • The video is ridiculous. Why is he jogging?

Then, we have video 2. “Jealous” by Labrinth. I’ll be the first to admit, this guy could sing “Hot Cross Buns” and I’d be down, but check it out anyway.

Here’s why it’s great:

  • There’s no blame.
  • He accepts that this is how he feels, even though he hates it.
  • He wants her to be happy, and acknowledges that she is, even though it’s awful.
  • He wears a yellow sweater better than most.

The emotion on his face and in his voice make me want to hug him and tell him it will all be ok. I would rather have that reaction than the douchetastic bro vibe I get from the first song. That vibe does nothing for my dancing.

So if you must be jealous, do it responsibly.