The End of Lent

Today, as Easter, marks the end of Lent. This year, like most other years, I was did not make it the 40+ days without doing the thing I said I wouldn’t. It is funny to say that I just couldn’t go without dating, though. As if I just had this insatiable need to sit awkwardly at a restaurant and ask someone mundane questions about their siblings. But that wasn’t quite it. It just turned out to be the right time for things, and I had to decide if I wanted to go with that, or if I wanted to wait. Waiting just isn’t my thing, really. It was more than just my own shortcoming, though. Waiting for a bagel to toast is one thing. Waiting to start your life because you’re scared is another. I’m real tired of being scared.

I didn’t give up on the real goal though, and that was to really figure out what I bring to the table. What kind of partner I am. And also, be able to tell people where I want to fucking eat. (WHICH I DID! HA!) Now I get to put that into practice, and so far, it’s going well. There will be times it won’t. That doesn’t mean I’m failing, or I’m the worst, or whatever else, it just means I’m human. I always envision myself on this journey, with a clear beginning and end. At the end, everything is perfect. Everything is fixed, I’m whole, all that. But that’s not how this works. Nothing is ever perfect. And I’ve been whole this entire time.

Today is also April 1st, which marks the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Once again, I will be donning red lipstick all month in support. I still hate it. It’s still uncomfortable, it still brings me attention I’m not comfortable with, it still feels weird. But that’s why I keep doing it. This shit IS uncomfortable. It still needs attention brought to it, though. The #metoo movement was huge, and I’m so grateful. But there is still so far to go, which can’t be done if things are just shoved back under the rug where they’ve stayed for so long. I see those who are rolling their eyes and claiming this is just a trend. To them, I say, “do kindly fuck off”. It’s not a fad. It’s not the Newest Thing. It’s a real problem, and has been for… well basically since people started existing. Maybe we should change this shit up.

That’s pretty much it, just a little update. Still around, still ridiculous, still swearing profusely.

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I was at Christmas dinner with my family, and we were talking about how my parents think my older brother claims to be a half inch shorter than our father out of respect, as they appear to be the same height. “I raised my kids to be respectful,” my dad said. For just a moment, Tiny Me brightened with the possibility that a rare and secretly longed for compliment could be coming our way. Then, nodding to me he said to his brother, “so I’m pretty sure that one is yours.”

We were, in fact, raised to be respectful. It was probably the number one thing our parents taught us. A blind respect, for anyone older than or related to us. A respect that overrode our own feelings and needs. Is the crazy aunt calling you ugly again? Well just deal with it, she’s your elder and deserves your respect. Did that old man you’ve never met demand a hug? Better give him one (and stop that crying in the meantime!) because he’s lived longer than you have. Is everyone in the family not-so-subtly calling you a slut because you’ve been divorced and have the audacity to bring a date to a family function in the hopes of not dying alone? You probably are one, and it’s their right as esteemed family members of the older generation to tell you so. Appreciate it.

My dad isn’t completely wrong, though. Not about me really being my uncle’s (though insinuating that your wife slept with your brother when he was 16, in front of her, is another sweet holiday gem for another time.) but about me being disrespectful to him. I am. I roll my eyes at his stories. I call him an idiot. I don’t make my son hug him. I even do the unthinkable and stand up for my kid when my dad makes fun of him. That’s like two of us disrespecting him at once. I’m surprised we haven’t been banished.

I just got real tired of him molesting me, really. When I was young and he used his power over me to sneak his hand into my nightgown, or to make comments on my lack of noticeable breasts while trying to open my shirt, I stayed quiet. I had to. I was terrified. But then, little by little, I started fighting back. It didn’t work right away, but at least I had a voice. A scared, tiny voice that people still ignored, but it was there. Over the years, it got louder. One day, I even called him a piece of fucking shit. To his face. Because, lets be honest, that’s what child molesters are. He tackled and beat me, but it was worth it.

I don’t talk about my dad in a lot of detail, out of respect for someone that doesn’t actually exist. I don’t have a dad that loves me, and I don’t see that I ever will. But just in case he should appear, I’d like him to see that I’ve done my best to spare his feelings. Ever trying to be the good daughter, still convinced deep down that it was my fault, because I’m too sassy and weird.

I don’t talk about it with my mom much, out of respect for her. She chose him, over and over, and what’s the point of making her feel bad about it? Will my childhood change? Nope. Will my siblings come back for holidays so its not just me, trying for an unknown reason to repair a family that won’t even admit it’s broken? Probably not. Best to just leave it in the past, right?

I don’t tell many people in my family about this, out of respect for an image they hold onto. He’s their brother that fixes the roof. He’s their uncle that tells weird jokes and farts a lot. Even if I thought they’d believe me, why ruin this man they think he is over something that happened decades ago?

But then. I remember her. This tiny girl, who loved to dance. She wanted to be a ballerina. She lived to feel the music in her tiny body, twirling and leaping until she was out of breath. She thought the world was magic, and that she could be part of its beauty. Until they told her she was wrong. She had to do what they wanted, how and when they wanted it. That what she felt didn’t matter, it was only their convenience that did. So she stopped. Now I do things out of respect for her. She’s not older, she’s not an esteemed member of society, but she’s important.

For most of my life, I’ve tried to avoid confrontation and the mere possibility of hurt feelings by going along with whatever everyone else wanted. I don’t pick places to eat, movies to see, or adventures to go on, because someone might disagree, and it would be uncomfortable. When you’re constantly afraid of being disrespectful, everything becomes that way, even when it’s not. Having an opinion isn’t rude. Wanting Taco Bell isn’t a slight against someone else’s character. (An affront to your taste buds, perhaps, but not actually a personal insult.)

Tomorrow is my birthday. It’s the one day a year I make all my own decisions, without a thought to anyone else’s feelings. I eat where I want, dress ridiculously, laugh loudly, hug strangers, and do whatever I think of in that moment that makes me happy. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.

I’ve been striving to live like every day is my birthday. Maybe not complete with dress-up karaoke every night, but more the idea that I am important enough to weigh in on discussions the other 364 days a year. Everyone deserves that respect.

 

Body of lies

Once, a few years ago, a friend posed a general question about what we identify as. Who we are. Moms? Professionals? Friends? Artists? What group did we belong in?

I still haven’t come up with an answer. Even with things I KNOW I am (like a mom. I have some pretty solid evidence that’s a part of my identity) I never feel right saying it, I feel like an imposter. There are better moms, more knowledgeable professionals, friendlier friends, and I’m just not an artist in any light. While Imposter Syndrome isn’t a completely new idea, I recently made some ground in figuring out where mine comes from.

Who I am is tied into this physical body. And this body has never been mine.

I don’t remember a time when men didn’t make a comment about my body, in some way. Under the guise of harmless, crazy old men, they’d pat and pinch and I’d be told to give them hugs because they were my family. Family I didn’t really know, but someone knew them, probably, and I was taught I couldn’t say “no”. Ever.

My early childhood is now a collection of fun memories with my cousins and siblings coupled with images of being loomed over, yanked around, and screamed at. I suppose that’s normal for a lot of kids. But the standing in line at my dad’s recliner every night, waiting to receive our daily spankings, just in case we’d been bad… that’s not.

A husband of a family acquaintance told me how when I grew up, a man would stare longingly into my beautiful eyes and tell me how pretty I was, just like he was doing then. I was 11. He was in his 60s. I’d never met him before. But I had to be polite, so I didn’t tell anyone how uncomfortable it made me.

As the younger one, I got a lot of people asking me when I was going to “fill out” like my sister. We were 14 and 10. They were adults. They thought it was funny, so I laughed along with them, not understanding why this should matter to them. I still don’t, actually.

I got beat for putting the knives in the dishwasher upside down. I was also running my mouth, so it was just accepted that it was deserved. It’s still bragged about at family dinners, the time a giant man put me in my place. I was 17.

Finding out I was pregnant at 18 meant I had even less control of my own body. I was much more okay with the life inside changing the shape of it than I was the people I didn’t know feeling the need to preach to me about my choices. I didn’t say anything though, because I thought they were right. As much as I love my son, I thought I was wrong for having him, because that’s what the adults told me.

After my first divorce, I started hanging out with a bunch of friends from school, and their families. One night, all of us were standing around drinking, and I went up to hug my buddy’s dad. He put his arm around me, and then stuck his hand down the back of my pants, where it stayed for the next 10 minutes. I had danced at homecoming with his son. He was the same age as my dad. He was huge, though, and everyone loved him, so I just held very still until he wandered off.

When I was married the second time, my husband insisted that I fully belonged to him, and as well as being able to grab any part of me at any time, his advances in the bedroom were never to be rejected. I obliged, because it was easier than listening to him lecture and belittle me. He licked my fucking armpits. I hated it, but I never said a word. Criticism was not an accepted part of my wifely duties.

I went on a date with a guy last year, and he said, “I’m surprised you didn’t wear a shirt that shows a little more cleavage.” At first, I felt like I had done something wrong. Because I’m just here to be accommodating, right? Then, I realized I don’t have any shirts that show cleavage. They embarrass me, and I don’t feel right in them. Because of my dad. Not because he is protective of me, because he stares. He hugs extra when I wear them. He finds reasons to reach across the table to grab something on the other side of me. It was worse when I lived with him. But nobody believed me, because he remodels bathrooms for free and always works on our cars without complaining. So I stopped telling them.

There’s more. Too many more. They vary in severity, but they all share a common thread of men saying and doing what they want without any thought to the fact that this body is mine, and not theirs. Sometimes I said it, but they didn’t listen. Sometimes I waited, silently, until they went away. The only thing I could do to protect whatever I had left, was to detach myself.

I hate this body. It’s only pain for me. I don’t see it as strong, or attractive. It is too much and too little all at once. Too noticeable to be safe in, not good enough to not be passed over for the next one that comes along. But, being detached has kept me safe, in a way. Although I don’t really take care of it (because if I make it better, won’t that make it worse?) I won’t hurt it, either. Even on my worst day. Because it’s not really mine to hurt.

But tomorrow. Tomorrow.

I’m going to take the first step in reclaiming it. Telling my story helps, too. Neither one is going to be overruled by someone else anymore. I’m terrified. I’m sure it’s not going to go the way it should. But, either way, I know who I am. I’m a fierce and protective mom, a loyal friend, and I have a great amount of compassion for almost everyone. Also, when nobody is pissing me off and grabbing my ass without my permission, I’m kinda hilarious. And above all, I deserve respect. My own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side note, I will never hurt my body intentionally in any way, in case you’re worried. I hope you don’t either. But if you feel like you could, or are having other harmful thoughts, please talk to someone. Me, a friend, or the people at this number: 1-800-273-8255

 

 

I don’t even know what rhymes with “ukulele”.

Here we are, once again, in the midst of The Week of Awesome Decisions. Deciding things isn’t really my specialty, this is pretty known in my circle of friends. But once I decided to get married. That was May 22nd. That didn’t work out. Years later, I got proposed to, and I decided to say “yes”. That was on May 24th. The wedding was on May 26th. And look at me now, not married. See? Not my thing. (Also, to be clear, I’m not mad about the no longer married part. I’m just saying I have a shitty track record.)

I originally chose to try to celebrate this week by focusing on the good decisions I make. Or making small ones and taking a moment to bask in that glow (don’t judge me, you people that always know where you want to eat. Some of us need these tiny victories).

A while ago, I decided to actually deal with things, rather than continuing to cram them into a smaller-than-comfy space, and pretend they didn’t exist. While this sounds like a hoot, it means that while I do (and it takes a fucking long time) this shit is right on the surface. So there I am, minding my own business, when someone says something that sounds like “ukulele” and OH MY GOD THAT REMINDS ME OF THAT DOUCHEBAG I MARRIED. HE HAD ONE OF THOSE. I BOUGHT IT FOR HIM. HE WROTE ME A SONG WITH IT AND PLAYED IT WHILE HE PROPOSED. THAT WAS 4 YEARS AGO TODAY. GOD FUCKING DAMMIT WHY AM I ON THE FLOOR IN A BALL NOW? Except I’m really not in a ball on the floor (what a twist!) I’m sitting on the couch next to my adorable boyfriend, who has already suffered through too many “hey I was married to a psychopath once” stories. I want to pretend it doesn’t bother me, but that’s not who I am, and I don’t think that’s who we are, so I’m confused, and I just stare at him. Saying nothing.

It’s too much. I don’t know where to begin. Mostly because I don’t want to begin this fucking story again. It’s over. I want it to be done. But this week, man. This fucking week. How do I look at it and not feel like I’m unlovable? How do I not see that I am the common denominator in all of these failures? How do I not tell this sweet, loving, hilarious man on the couch to run far, far away?

I decide to just breathe. To give myself space to be hurt in. To remember that there was abuse, and that doesn’t just go away magically. That my story is mine, and if others are tired of hearing it, that’s fine, but I’m not going to be shamed into silence with myself, again.

I wanted to make this fun and upbeat. I wanted to stand tall and declare myself victorious over those decisions that previously haunted me. Maybe tomorrow. For now, I’m just going to sit on this couch, now by myself, wrapped in a scarf the adorable man left for me, and watch a sappy movie. And remember that I’m not just lovable, I’m already quite loved.

 

 

Slutiversary

The Thought Slut was born 2 years ago today. So let’s take a look back, shall we? If this were a sitcom, this would be the Clip Show Episode.

The idea came from venting that being single meant I had no one to share all the useless trivia that was cluttering my brain. Really, even “trivia” seemed too fancy for what was going on. I was finding it hard to focus on work, personal conversations, taking care of my house, because OH MY GOD I HAD THE BEST TURKEY SANDWICH, and there was nobody to tell.

So, I came here. I took 30 whole seconds to pick some colors and a terribly unfocused picture for the header, and that was that. It was one of those things I said I was going to go back and redo later, but as you can see… I didn’t. I’ve changed a lot over the last 2 years, but not that much. Procrastinating is still my main skill. Right before self-depreciation.

But really, a lot has happened in my little Slut Bubble since 2015. (That one just popped into my head. Get it? Popped? Bubble?! I’m ON FIRE!) I’ve grown a lot. Though I still have more to do, I’m proud of how far I’ve come. It would be easier to see if I wrote more regularly, but trust me, it’s leaps and bounds.

Today, I’m still single (though I have made some jumps into not-singlehood here and there) and much more comfortable with it. I’m still figuring out what I want, and how to identify it. I am getting much better at knowing when something isn’t what I want, and walking away (I once dated a guy I couldn’t stand for over a year because he didn’t do anything terribly wrong. I haaaaated him, but he wasn’t abusive or unfaithful, so I stuck it out. FOR OVER A YEAR. Again. Leaps and bounds.) Sometimes, it makes for entertaining stories.

This brings us to the New Story Line segment of our Clip Show Episode, where I get to introduce you to a new character. Let’s call him Douchey McToolface. Because I’m a grownup.

So… Douchey and I met online (don’t roll your eyes at me!) He sent me a message that was a list of reasons he thought we’d get along. I’m a sucker for lists, and it beat the guy whose opener was “Damn sexy! Come sit on my face and I’ll eat my way to your heart? ;)” (alright, you can roll your eyes now.) I responded, it lead to actual conversation, he spelled things correctly and used multi-syllabic words, and I was cautiously hopeful. We arranged a meet up about a week out. He specifically told me this was not a date, this was simply a meeting to see if we had chemistry and should pursue dating from there. Great! I liked this idea, as well as all the talks we had about establishing a good friendship first, and not rushing into things. Cue the happy strut.

Meeting happens, things go well, but ultimately he is not actually down for taking it slow as originally stated, and tries to tell me after 1.5 dates (we hung out twice in the same day. I don’t know what that means, or what is and isn’t a date, apparently, so let’s just go with that.) that I need to “stop holding back” and just give in to whatever urges he has imagined I have. Because he can read me so well. Yeah. I say no. I’m REALLY FUCKING PROUD of myself for this. Baby Slut would’ve assumed he knew more than me, and gone along with it anyway.  But not anymore! I firmly told him I was taking things slow… and he told me I was wrong. Yep. Wrong. It completely dumbfounded me. So, I ended things. Amicably. Perhaps too much so, as he text me a day later asking if we could still be friends. Well sure, who doesn’t need more friends?

My new bff then began texting me passive-aggressive complaints about how hard being single was, and how he wished he could just find someone that could “make a decision and stick with it”. (Now I’m rolling my eyes right along with you) Then… he sent me an excerpt from an erotic novel he is writing (which he apparently started after we went out, as he told me then he no longer writes… ) The context was that the protagonist, based on him, was facing the woman that had transformed him from wanting meaningless sex to looking for an actual connection. Booky McToolface says this, “I want to taste every inch of you… and not just your skin. When I say that I want you, it is not some purely physical concept. Your eroticism to me stems from the very core of who you are. While your shell is appealing, it is what lies beneath that has me yearning to taste you.”. My response? “Uh, nobody says ‘eroticism’ to another person in real life.” The part I didn’t text him involved a lot of near-vomiting.

I was hoping my disinterest would be enough to make him wander away, but receiving a text message poem at 5:30am three days later told me I was wrong. And, because you’re already on this ride, here’s that, too:

I don’t know you,
I know your face because I see it when I close my eyes.
I know the small curve of your lips when you smile.
I know the gleam in the corner of your left eye
Only the left one
That pops up when something brings you joy.
See I don’t know you
But I know the value you place in words
The way you long to have someone value you
Someone who sees the pretty face, yes, but sees the beauty BEHIND it too.
I don’t know you,
But I know that there is something missing
A piece of you
A real piece of you not fulfilled.
I don’t know you
But I do know that I want you
I want to be that piece to make you whole
I want to be your beacon as the night encroaches in
I want to hold you safe as the winds bear down
I want to protect you…
See I don’t know you
But I want to.

Pretty much all this did for me is cause me to question what the hell is wrong with my left eye?? I’m hoping it was just that I was constantly giving him the “What the fuck crazy ass shit did you just let loose out of your mouth?!?” look and he mistook that for the face of the newly joyful. I have no fucking idea.

I’d like to say that after this I told His Mighty Doucheness to leave me alone. But nope. Took me another two days, and multiple texts about how dating was the worst. Then, I finally hit my limit. I did not avoid confrontation, was not passive, I was full on aggressive. He, of course, countered that the fault was mine, and I was simply taking it all wrong.

But a little over two years ago, I dealt with another douchebag extraordinaire. One with a lot more experience. I learned a thing or two, including that I am, in fact, whole. I am not missing any pieces, I am not in need of protection, and I can damn sure save my self. So his gaslighting and blame shifting were no match for this slut right here. Our heroine emerged victorious once again.

Who knows where I’ll be in another two years. But whatever my appealing shell and I are doing, I’ll be doing it my way. And maybe if I remember, I’ll even write about it.

 

 

Maximum effort.

So. Here we are. Mid-holiday, post-electionaclypse, pre-Actual Doomsday.

Immediately after Von Douchelord’s acceptance speech, I knew my days of sitting on the sidelines were over. But, it’s also not as if I know what in the great green fuck I’m doing, so mostly, I was just hopping around, mad and lost. I don’t think I was alone.

First, I got all worked up, and was ready to spring into action. Then, I got sort of caught up in a debate about white privilege, and I lost my courage. What if I did it wrong? What if I made it worse? What if I further offended the very people I’m trying to protect? What did it even mean to protect them? Was I sure I really could, or was I just caught up in the moment?

It’s a learning experience, for a lot of people. But, at the same time, though circumstances may be different now, this doesn’t take away from the fact that this is NOT new for so many people. That discrimination and a system stacked against them is daily life for a lot of people. They have been fighting for quite some time, and this is just another day in the battle. That needs recognized, and respected.

So, up I hopped again. But good god, what do I do?? There’s so many directions to be pulled in. There’s so many things that need fixed. So many people that are hurting. So. Much. Gaaaah.

I can’t fix the world. But I can help it. In order to not be overwhelmed and shut down completely, I need to narrow my focus, and figure out where my strengths are. Easy. Love. Love is always my goal. And what, besides that, have I got to give this world? Sass and profanities.

Since the election, there seems to be a new trend of randomly yelling that one is a Trump supporter in public places. It’s usually accompanied by more offensive language, and rude behavior. Why this is a thing baffles me. One, it’s usually pretty irrelevant, and two… dude, that’s not really something to brag about. It’s like saying, “I flipped the switch on the gas chamber in Auschwitz!” No really. A lot like that. But… reasoning with people who respond to an inquiry about purchasing a shopping bag, taking a seat on a plane, or standing in a quiet line at a grocery store with, “I VOTED FOR TRUMP, BITCH! WHAT YOU GONNA DO?” is… tricky. Yet, our longstanding shy-liberal method of ignoring people ’til they wear themselves out isn’t working either. I mean, that’s the shit that got us here, in part. So what to do?

I don’t have the universal answer. This is just mine.It’s not even my whole plan, just a small part. But ultimately, I will not hide, I will not look down in shame, and I will not be quiet.

I’m going to do nice things. Help people carry groceries, open doors, pay for a stranger’s coffee. Show love. Especially to those who make it clear they don’t share my views. And then, I’m going to look them right in the eye, and shout, “I VOTED FOR HILLARY, MOTHERFUCKER. I FUCKING LOVE YOU. YOU’RE A GODDAMNED WONDERFUL HUMAN. I HOPE YOUR DAY IS MAGFUCKINGNIFICENT.”

And I’m going to mean it.

As hard as you try, no I will never be knocked down.

The danger is real. People will say that there’s nothing to be afraid of, that the president doesn’t have that much power, that Trump isn’t really that bad. Those are all lies. Maybe we tell them to ourselves to calm our nerves. Maybe to justify an outcome we played a part in putting into motion. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t make them more true.

He has told us time and time again exactly who he is. It would be foolish not to believe him and prepare. He IS that bad. He’s an admitted sexual predator. He’s a racist, misogynistic,  entitled, xenophobic, homophobic zealot. He openly and enthusiastically incites violence towards those who don’t agree with him. He, and the other Republicans, now have the presidency, House and Senate. That does give them quite a bit of power. Maybe they won’t be unopposed, but it will be a lot easier for them to enact their self-serving plans than it was for say… someone to create a healthcare system. Also, if people don’t really believe he’s going to do what he says, why vote for him? Isn’t the the point, that we vote for a candidate that we believe in?

But we already know all of this. Even if we choose to disregard it, because a big ol’ pervy scumbag makes us a lot more comfortable then one of them uppity womenfolk with their big idears, tryin’ to tell men how to live their lives. The proof is still there.

That kind of person, backed by supporters with that kind of thinking is scary. We’ve already seen it happening, it’s not our imagination, shit has already hit the fan.

But. We’re going to make it.

It will take effort, and we’ll definitely have to get further out of our comfort zones (I’m assuming nobody is still in theirs. If so, you might need to reevaluate.). It’ll take a strength that a lot of us haven’t known before. But it’s there.

Know how I know?

Because this is just another douchebag. Just another controlling dickbag telling us how to think, how to act, who our friends can be, what to wear…

It’s just another insecure, narcissistic assclown. And we have no tolerance for that shit. It’s all been tried before. And it’s never worked. We’re still here, and we’re not going anywhere.

That so many people I know have suffered abuse is not cute or fun. But, if you have, and you’re reading this, you made it. That’s what I’m talking about. We have the skills, we can do it again, and every time we get better and stronger. This time, we’re all doing it at once. We’re standing together to show our abusive future leader that we will not tolerate this. We’re checking in on each other, we’re helping each other back up when it gets to be too much, and we’re becoming safe allies to those who deal with the abuse from his supporters in their daily lives.

We combat this with love. Respect. Patience. Listening. As Douchelord VonCheeto* tries his best to tear this country apart, we prepare to put the pieces back together. We remember that we’re ALL in this together, and the greatest motivator on both sides is fear. While we do not stand for the abuse, we recognize that everyone is hurting, and do what we can to connect with those we don’t agree with. To keep them safe too. It’s the only way.

So throw on some Adele, put on your sassiest t-shirt, maybe wing that eyeliner extra wide, and let’s break up with this loser.

 

 

*The fact that I called him a name mere moments after saying we combat this with respect is not lost on me. I will do my best to respect the citizens of this country. My country. But he gets none. Also, yesterday I called him Satan’s Bleached Asshole, if that one is more to your liking.