Sunday, December 30, 2012

Recovering from your boyfriend's porn addiction

When you're 16 and your boyfriend tacks pictures of naked girls above his bed, you shrug it off as typical.  

You may not like it, but the culture insists it is normal, and therefore to be expected and accepted.  You can't keep your hands off each other, and the sex is great, so what's a few dirty pics when he's obviously crazy about you.

A few months later when you don't want to have sex one night and he starts holding you down and forcing you, you forgive him because he did stop eventually, after all.  When he sulks on the end of the bed and becomes uncommunicative, you start to feel bad for him and tell him it's alright (huh?), feeling somehow responsible for his shame.

When he turns 19 and takes a road trip to the full nudity strip joint he can now get into, you get pissed that he goes despite how you feel about it, but shove your loathing down because society says this is a rite of passage.

When you're 19 and he barely wants to have sex anymore after living together for only a year, you figure it's because he's depressed, and for sure things will get back to the way it used to be in due time.

When you have to go to bed alone with no affection every night while he stays up late and watches porn, you know it's sick that you listen at the bedroom door to hear what he's watching, but can't stop yourself from needing proof.  

When you find out a bunch of your mutual friends lied to you when they said they were going out for drinks but were actually taking him to a strip club, you wonder how many other betrayals there have been, and what all has been done behind your back.

When he blocks you from leaving the room during arguments, holds you down despite your screams, and chokes you until you can't breathe, you realize how naive every girl is in thinking they have a chance of fighting off a guy.  You stay because you blame yourself for your own temper, somehow believing you deserve it, despite the fact that you never once hurt HIM.  

When you're told that you're a crazy psycho bitch for going through his things, 99% of you knows that people who have nothing to hide hide nothing, but your self-worth is so low that you buy into the emotional abuse.

When you're 20 and he keeps telling you he's saving up for a ring, but you come across hidden stashes of money in a box of nasty magazines, you try to tell yourself that of course glossy sex objects are not more worthwhile than marrying you, not really believing it at all.

When you're a cute 125 pound girl who jogs every day and keeps herself up for a lazy sloth who stays skinny without so much as ever working up a sweat, you start to question why you can never measure up to the images he pleasures himself to, while he walks around feeling great about his own body.

When you get so disgusted by it all one night that you box up all his treasured collections and make a trip to the recycling station, but his loser friend helps him fish the magazines out of the public recyling kiosk the next day, you realize exactly how precious this shit really is to him.  You remember the night you were so sick you couldn't move from the floor outside the bathroom, and he stepped over you like some animal, refusing to bring you a blanket.  You try not to get bitter that you took care of him every time he was sick and secretly feel like the most worthless human being in the world calling someone from an hour away to take you to the hospital because your own fiance doesn't give a shit about you.   

When you buy a computer for school, you try not to be angry that he's now spending more time with fake women on a screen, because admitting that someone would choose to get themselves off every day rather than have a relationship with a live human being is a little too...humiliating.

When he wants you to look the way the porn actresses look and tries to make you feel like a frigid prude when you don't want to engage in painful sex acts in order to fulfill all of his fantasies, you hate his fucking guts but can't help questioning if you're so boring in bed that "normal" sex isn't good enough anymore.  

When he stops going places with you in favor of staying home to touch himself, you silently fume to yourself over doing every fucking thing in the household with no help while someone values jacking off more than they value time with you.

When you swing around the block one day after leaving and quietly sneak down the hall of the apartment building only to spring in unexpected and catch him watching a revolting video, you attempt to drag him out from under the desk where he's trying to unplug the computer, but he overpowers you in his desperation to hide what he's doing.

When he lies to your face repeatedly and promises to stop but only gets more skilled at hiding his stash and clearing the cache,
you finally get that there's one thing he thinks is worth fighting for in this relationship, and it's not you.  

When you find incest porn of two preteen sisters molesting each other on the computer YOU got with YOUR scholarship money, you are horrified at the thought of what kind of sicko you have been sleeping with, and can't help thinking, "For every mouse you see, there's 20 you don't."

When you finally accept that you will never respect yourself if you continue to stay with this person, you move out with the last shred of dignity you have left, embarrassed that you have to call your dad to help because he keeps throwing out all the boxes you bring home to move.

When he tells you he's addicted to porn and seeing a counselor because he wants to be a better man, you willingly play the part of the fool, trying to make it work so that the last 7 years of your life will not have been a waste.  

When he puts zero effort into changing but keeps trying to make you have sex, you feel somehow guilty but still can't go through with it, because the thought of his touch now gives you the creeps.

When you stay at his place one night and find multiple personal ads and sex profiles on adult friend finder websites, you decorate his apartment with all of your findings and cut off all communication, realizing once and for all that you have to trust yourself and your own instincts above anyone else.

When you print out his sex profiles and take them to his workplace to tape up in the breakroom so that everyone can see the bastard for who he really is, you let the chick at work dissuade you (and regret it the rest of your life).

When you find out months later that he's not just a disgusting pervert, but also a thief who stole thousands from his company, you feel mortified to have spent so many years with the lowlife just because you were afraid no one else would love you.  

When you spend the next 10 years struggling with your lack of self worth and end up in relationships with other emotional abusers who demean and berate you, you tell yourself that it must be something wrong with you, and give up on being loved because you never feel good enough for anyone. 

When you look back at the detached way you wrote your own story as if wishing it wasn't your own, you know that most people will think it's absolutely fucking stupid to be so bothered by porn, because they haven't lost their own sex life to a bunch of videos and magazines.  

When you think about the person you would be now if he had never come into your life, you vaguely recall how warm and loving you used to be before some selfish fuck treated you like shit, knowing all the while that it was your own choice to keep sticking around for more.  

When you realize you've written about being undone by your boyfriend's porn addiction instead of recovering from it, you think of all the times you've heard that porn is harmless, knowing the damage is yours alone to deal with.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Self-Esteem, Self-Worth...or C) None of the Above

"I'm going to ask a question that will probably shock everyone in this room that I'm know, it all sounds great on the surface, but when you look a little closer at your resume, there's a year here, a year there, and it doesn't seem like you've stayed any place for very long...can I ask why?" --Interviewer (2 weeks ago)

I have answered this question, in all its various forms, time and time again.  

I have concocted versions of the truth, and flat-out lies.  

I have summoned confidence I don't really possess to emphasize all the right things, instead of all the things that make me look bad.  

But the truth is, it doesn't matter.

The 7 years that I *was* with the same employer....they don't matter.  

Straight A's and Summa Cum Laude?  Doesn't matter.  

The 3 extra years I spent earning a Master's?  High school dropouts make more than I do right now.

Volunteering and going the extra mile?  Don't make me laugh.

It is my fault.  I am the one who left the job where I was making good money in return for being treated like shit.  It was my decision to stand up for myself, my decision to quit, and my decision to drive to Nashville to kill myself.  

The problem, ironically, is that I didn't kill myself.  

The way this has fucked up my life...well, it just makes me wish I had.  Choosing to live has ruined my life.  Years of unemployment and suicidal depression...the ensuing downward spiral....

Through it all, I haven't given up.  Through all the dismissal and rejection, I plodded through five hundred twenty-five thousand job applications until one day - yes! - one day, it all paid off....

There is so much more dignity in being underemployed, rather than just unemployed.  Even though my degree is worth twice what I am making, at least I am in the field.  I can always console myself with that when I think of trash collectors making double my income.  

It's not that I wasn't bitter before this job interview two weeks ago; it's that I forgot how bitter I was, being fortunate enough to have a job to go to every day.  I was dumb enough to go out on a limb and apply for the position my degree tells me I am qualified for....and end up rejected once again.  The irony is, I was feeling more confident than ever because I finally have 9 months of steady employment in my field with great references!  So much for that.  

At least I gave it a shot.  Yes, it made me feel like absolute shit afterwards, but what doesn't.  The important thing is that I had the self-worth to believe I deserved it...for a moment, anyway.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lonely on Thanksgiving

"There are a lot of people out there in a lot of pain." --(One of my old professors)

An obvious-sounding statement, isn't it?  And yet profound.  If you stop to think of all the people out there right now who are hurting, and lonely, or even desperate this (or any) time of year, the magnitude of that sadness is really astounding. 

So if you are one of those who feels forgotten, abandoned, or alone this week...this post is for you. 

Maybe you will be spending Thanksgiving with a house full of people, but are drowning in your own private world of sorrow.  Maybe you are completely isolated and terrified that life will never change.  Maybe your family is broken and your holidays are a searing reminder of the happy gatherings you no longer get to have. 

Wherever life finds you, I wish you the strength to make it through the tough days like this.  I can't muster any sunshine & roses speeches, because I don't feel sunny and rosy right now.  There will be other people on other blogs spreading joy for you to capture if that is your wish. 

There are others of us just trying to deal. 

I was just reading a post over at The Introvert's Corner called "Introverts and the Loneliness Loop."

Dembling writes:

"We desire and require deep connections and would rather be lonely alone than in a crowd. But realistically, those deep connections are not easy to find, and if we get caught short and our only choice is superficial socializing or nothing, we can get lonely."
I've been feeling that way a lot lately.  I either sit at home by myself, or I go out with people and still feel just as lonely afterwards.   It's been a lot of years since I've had a 'best' friend or close relationship.  And it's hard to feel fully yourself when no one else really knows you. 

At no time is that loneliness more magnified...than during holiday season. 

So if you find yourself here today, count yourself among friends. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012


It's that time of year again.  

Burnt orange leaves are my drive through Tennessee.  Gray, windy days are the cold blanket around me as I walked the streets of Nashville in my own private bubble of pain.  

The songs I played, the food I ate, the view from my downtown hotel:  all vivid memories that start to replay when the weather turns like this.  

And then there's last night, when I'm watching the new show Nashville on ABC, unprepared for each shot of the city's sights to be a trigger.  

I was thinking drama...and romance...and country music...

Instead, the characters walk the Shelby Street Bridge, and I'm back on it

I'm staring into the water wondering how many people have looked over this same ledge, wanting to end it.  

So I go back, but I don't.   At least, not all the way in.  There's a dividing line you have to create, where you can open the door and look in the room, but not shut yourself in there.  I don't want to remember what that feels like.  

A few months have gone by now in which I don't think about killing myself every day.  I wasn't sure life would ever surpass my secrets and my plans.  Yet, here I am.  

Every day I talk to people who are exactly where I was, sometimes to an eerie degree.  

The other day I worked with a man who had gone from independence and a career ... to losing everything and living in chronic pain that hurts with each step he takes.  He didn't see any hope for his situation to change, couldn't remember what it was like to be proud of his life.  

It felt familiar.  

Trapped without a way out, abandoned by your friends, betrayed by those you love...everyone thinks they're above suicide, until suddenly it becomes the most rational option you can think of.  

The question is: how do we survive our own minds with the torture of constant pain?  

How do we hold onto the 1/10th of 1 percent that wants to believe that the pain might someday end, when 99.99999% of our brain is trying to kill us?  

Do we gamble on the unknown that is the future, or wear the certainty of death?  

Thankfully, thankfully, the future is always a mystery.  Thankfully, I found a way to hold on during the 1/10th.  

"Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark."  

-Rabindranath Tagore

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Violated by my cat.

My cat just licked my nipple.  I then proceeded to snort toothpaste out of my nose.

Me: Innocently standing in front of the vanity brushing my teeth.
Cat: Hmm.  What's this object pointed at me?

First of all, I'm pissed that she waited 4 years to tell me she was a lesbian.  Did she think I would judge her?

Secondly, I'd like her to go back to her usual inappropriate behavior, like sticking her nasty cat lips on my bathroom cup or trying to lick sweat out of my belly button after a run.

Even the times she tricks me into thinking there is a hazelnut on the floor and then laughs when I scream and throw her turd across the room...even then I tell myself that this is how normal cats entertain themselves.

Or other times when she uses the carpet as toilet paper and smears a 4-foot long poop streak across the floor like Toby in the Stanley Steemer commercial...did I punt her into outer space?  No I didn't.  Because what else can I expect from someone with 3-inch long ass hair.  Really.

You'd think I'd be happy, since nobody else has been licking my nipple in recent history.

Nope, not happy.

Creeped out.

On a positive note, it makes me feel progressive to own her, since we will probably join PFLAG to advocate for lesbian cat rights.

On the other hand, I know it's bestiality when humans molest animals, but I don't know what to call this incident when I go seek counseling for it.

Can you go around telling people your cat licked your nipple?  No you can't.

So consider yourself privileged.

(Incidentally, Urban Dictionary defines turd as: "Generally, a log-shaped piece of shit. Nevertheless, they are also found in coil-shape, mushroom-cloud shape, and even loch ness monster shape.")

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cock-eyed hairy bunghole.

It was so blissful to sleep through the night last night.  

Not because a crying baby normally jars me from a peaceful slumber; I'm nobody's mama.  Not because my cat can't figure out how to plug the power cord back into my printer so she can wake me up with the "urr-EEEEER" of her scanning out pictures of her hairy bunghole, or whatever she thinks is so goddang funny to wake me up with at 4 in the morning.

No, it was simply nice to not have to blow my nose thirty times or wake up repeatedly from my throat hurting, because that's how I got to spend the other two nights of my lovely three-day weekend.

It wasn't even a week prior I had commented on a post entitled, "Is getting sick the way you say "no?" If you can't say no, your body often starts doing it for you."  The irony doesn't escape me.  I could feel it coming, though.  And instead of taking a day off when I knew I needed it, I let the exhaustion seep into my pores until I was so thoroughly run down that my body made the decision for me.  Time off got turned into misery, followed by recovery.  Yaaay, life.  

The thing is, there was nothing uniquely taxing about the past month.  No 5-alarm crisis at work, no mountain of tasks taunting me at home.  The string of seven dentist appointments and mention of the word "root canal" on my uninsured teeth?  Sure, that was a *tad* stressful.  Helping my mom move the past three weekends?  Not my usual downtime for relaxation.  

But truly?  It doesn't take much more than the normal day-to-day shit of life to wear me down.  Cleaning the bathroom and buying groceries and running mundane errands: this is the crap that does me in.  

The required pace of life + my introverted personality = disaster.

I'm not sure I get a choice in the matter, but unfortunately the mad rush of our society just isn't working for me.  There are people that thrive on constant action - and interaction - but I'm not one of them.  I figured out a long time ago that I was an introvert; unfortunately, that didn't include figuring out how to manage my own needs.

I'm starting to notice that, if I don't have at least one day a week where I don't have to go anywhere, do anything, or see anybody, I just can't function. be correct, I DO function, but in a far bitchier manner in which I resent all the time I should be unplugging from the demands of life.  (This is another reason to be thankful I don't have children, because I would never get a break.)

I used to read Gone With the Wind and fantasize that one day I'd be out in the country with miles of green and my big wraparound porch, where I'd be lazing on my little wooden porch swing.  Is it too late to marry a farmer?  

If you'll excuse me, I have to go pretend I don't hear scratchy noises causing mi gato to stare cock-eyed at the wall for the past hour.  (Note: for the love of all things holy, do not ever do a google image search on "cock-eyed.")  I think the correct way to describe it would have been: with her head cocked to one side.  But the process of verifying that fact has left me with a horrifying visual disturbance.  

Now be quiet and don't question my title ever again.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

The home that wasn't.

After writing just a few short days ago about relative happiness and contentment with my life, I spent most of Sunday bursting into random, unexpected crying jags.  Like an open palm smacking me dead in the chest, the reality of my broken home periodically knocked the wind out of me.  

Saturday I helped my mom clear things out of the home I grew up in, the same one my dad moved out of six months ago.  No matter how old you are, home is home.  And you want it there to go back to.  

You're never old enough to stop wishing it would all work out...somehow. 

You're never old enough to stop wanting the smell of roast at Sunday dinners, the security of your old bedroom (just in case), the safety of that one place in the world where you belong no matter what. 

I think about how hard each of my parents worked their whole lives, only to start over at (what should be) retirement age with half of what they had.  I think about the seven-year relationship I dragged myself out of, and wondered what kind of strength one has to conjure to close the door on forty years.  I think about how lonely it must feel to lose the partner you've had since you were a teenager.  

Their sadness, though well-hidden, makes me sadder than my own sadness.  

A divorce is the final decree on the matter of whether you get to have a happy family.  Until the decision is handed down, you are free to entertain the fantasy that one day - yes, one day - resentments will be abandoned, bitterness will be overcome, and wrongs will be forgiven.  

You're free to ponder the unknown because it's still unknown.

Until one day it isn't.  

One day the pre-existing factions within your family quake into full-blown fault lines.  The alliances that festered through the years persist long after the dust settles on the end of a marriage, splitting your family into divided loyalties.

There was no glamorous affair, no knock-down drag-out fight, just a fading gloom that quietly disappeared into the night.  Without a clear-cut reason, I sometimes find myself forgetting why it is they're not together anymore.  I wonder if they know, either.  

When the last box is taped shut and hauled away, you're left standing there with the reality of the situation.

What you thought was a broken home reveals itself, instead, to be an empty home.  

Where there could have been joy or love or happy times...

... is the ghost of a family that used to be...

...and a home that's never going to be -home- again.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Why you should give up hope.

Life is pretty damn good lately.  There are times I even catch myself thinking, "Wow, I actually feel kind of okay. Is this happiness?"

Don't get me wrong: there are a lot of things I don't have - that I thought I would - at 32 years old. 

I don't have a relationship. 
BUT I also don't have a sh*tty relationship.

No one lies to me, makes my life miserable, or expects me to do everything for them.  No emotional roller coaster, no divorce, no broken home.  Could be worse.  Has been worse!

I don't have a family.  

Let's face it, that's a shit-ton less work for me! I get eight - or more - hours of sleep a night. This fact alone makes me a much nicer person.  I'm sure there are awesome guys out there who would actually do 50% of the housework, but none of them have proposed to me yet. 

I don't have a prestigious career. 
BUT I don't have a job I hate.

I don't work 70 hours a week at a job that sucks the life out of me, with no time left for the things I want to do.  I have a great schedule doing work I enjoy, with people I enjoy, and relatively low stress.  Having experienced the opposite, there's a lot to be said for this. 


Forgiveness = giving up the hope that the past could be different than it was,

Happiness = giving up the hope that the present could be different than it is. 

The moment I descend into self-flagellation over what I could be doing, or should be doing, or what everyone else is doing, I become immediately dissatisfied with my life.  This is another reason why Facebook is the devil.  We often feel perfectly fine with ourselves until we start comparing our lives to all these people that *seem* to have something we don't. 

If I decided to wait until I had a boyfriend or a better job or financial prosperity to be happy, god only knows how long that might take.  I have enough. And that's all I need.  If I can't accept myself and my life and exactly the way things stand today, there's no hope for tomorrow. 

For every little thing you don't have - that you think you want - is something you *DON'T* have that you should be damn thankful for!! 

So seriously, give up the hope that the next person who comes into your life is going to make you happy, give up the hope that a different job would make it all better, give up the hope that your family is going to get along one day...and see if you can figure out a way to accept exactly what's in front of you.  If that fails, here's a quote to live by:

"I may not be where I wanna be yet,
but I sure as hell ain't where I was!"

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Depression: The Invisible Prison

I used to wish for cancer. 

Pray for it, even, which is a backwards thing for an agnostic to do...but then, no godly person could get away with praying for death. 

I would hear these stories of wonderful, beloved people being robbed of their futures, happily-ever-after with their partners, the chance to see their children grow up....

...and you know what I felt? Envy. 

I was jealous that these people got a free ticket out of this house of horrors - and didn't even WANT it - while I was being forced to stay against my will. 

I know; sickening.

And because it's such a twisted and disgusting thought process, I would feel immense guilt over it. I was ashamed to be frittering away my existence with suffering, while others who actually *wanted* their lives and their family and their friends - who could actually enjoy being here - would not be allowed to stay.   

The guilt may have had less to do with my perverse death wish than the fact that I was not living the life I had been given; I was wasting it.

One day after the next, I wallowed in the cesspool of depression, rejecting life. I would walk by this poem I had pasted on my fridge: "
I Will Not Die an Unlived Life" and feel horrible about how horrible my life was, because that is a depressed brain does.

I was reminded of all of this today when reading a paradoxical post by Adam Alvarado at
The Last Broken Home: What a [Death Row Inmate] Can Teach You About Being Yourself -

"We can piss away one more day being angry, and vengeful, and sad – about crap that’s gone by, and passed by, and no longer a part of ourselves or our future. Another day being afraid of so much, and hurt by so much, and less than our better selves because of it."

Isn't that exactly what I did for 5 years?

I may as well have been in prison. 

Hell, there IS no worse prison than our own minds. We sit there suffering day after day, waiting for someone to come let us out...only to find out one day that the door was never even locked.

A friend of mine once blogged at "The Invisible Prison" (which she has since taken down, much to my dismay). There couldn't be a more fitting metaphor for suicidal depression. From the outside, no one can glean any possible reason for this self-imposed sentence. There are no bars, no chains, no guards...

...yet we're not so much afraid that door will never open; we're afraid that it WILL, and we'll have to face the world once again.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012


You know all that sh*t you keep putting off, and letting slide....
until you're like, sh*t, I can't put this sh*t off anymore.

Well, that's the sh*t I tackled today. 

I was all, "I'm gonna get sh*t done today."

I researched sh*t, and e-mailed sh*t, and looked up sh*t, but couldn't decide on sh*t. 

In the end I didn't accomplish sh*t. 

So now I have just as much sh*t to get done as I did yesterday.

Sh*t, I am sick of this sh*t.

Same sh*t happens when I go shopping.

You go to the store with this whole list of sh*t, f*cking ecstatic that you finally got off your lazy ass to go get this sh*t, and you can't find one sh*tting thing off that piece of sh*t list. 

Then you gotta turn around and go get the sh*t somewhere else aNOTHER day! 

Or you make the sh*t-head mistake of going clothes shopping. 

You look through tons of sh*t that's too young for your old ass, and sh*t that's too tight for your FAT ass, and get so tired of trying sh*t on that you wear your same ugly sh*t back home. 

This sh*t puts me in a sh*tty ass mood.

I thought, sh*t, might as well write a post cuz I ain't getting sh*t done, anyway. 

I spent my whole day working on this sh*t and I don't have sh*t to show for it. 

I don't know about you, but I've had it with this sh*t. 

What sh*t did YOU think you were gonna get done today? 

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Am I A Coward For Blogging About Suicide Anonymously?

In December of 2009, I bared the first tiny bit of my soul to the universe in "This, Too Shall Pass?"

There was no place in my life where I could tell the truth about what led me down the path of suicide.

So I created one for myself. And for everyone else who didn't have a place, either.

In real life, you can't tell people to STFU when their idea of" helping" you is spouting some cliché like, "God never gives us more than we can handle."

In this blog, I can say whatever I want...because I do it anonymously. Which means I don't have to deal with stigma. And judgment. And rejection.


In a perfect world, I wouldn’t be shamed into silence for my feelings. I could speak openly about what I have been through, what led me to the brink, and how I found my way back.  I could look forward to compassion and understanding ... instead of condemnation.

But that is not the world we live in. It is a world where people believe it is easier to die than to be looked upon with the stigma of mental illness.

It is a world where people internalize the hatred of everyone around them and pull the trigger. 

BUT.  Can I keep hiding forever?

All the lying and pretending that alienates me from myself as much as others … isn’t that precisely what got me into this mess to begin with??? 

BUT.  Can I afford NOT to keep hiding?

Some, like The Bloggess, write courageously about their battles with depression. Others, like JD Schramm, have broken the silence by bravely sharing how they survived a suicide attempt.

But what about people who don't have a well-established career and hefty savings account to fall back on if honesty backfires?

So I brought my dilemma to Penelope Trunk, the authority on blogging about taboo subjects, and she asked if she could publish her advice to me in her Mailbag

"You should blog under your own name. Of all the things that are terrible, doing something this good, that you are this devoted to - doing it anonymously is too close to a metaphor for suicide. So you have to use your name. To do it anonymously is to give up on everyone around you -- their ability to see the site and see you for who you are. Your ability to be yourself in the world and be accepted. All that stuff is really important given that the topic is suicide."

Now THAT, that made me cry.

Because I DO continue to split off (i.e. murder) the parts of myself that I can't quite own.

And I HAVE given up on every single person around me.

When I try to think of 1 co-worker, 1 friend, 1 family member who I would even THINK of telling that I write this blog, I don't anticipate acceptance as the outcome.

I know what I stand to lose: my job, my credibility, future employability, professional respect...and control. Not that I've ever HAD control over what others think of me, but I DO control which parts of myself I share.

What do I stand to gain? It's one thing to play the odds, but when it's all risk and no reward, I can't help but think I would be a fool for rolling the dice.

Fellow blogger Izzy put it to me this way:
"In regards to human nature, most people are incredibly compelled by those that are willing to be authentic. Your blog is an interesting combination because by not revealing your identity you are able to completely hide yourself ... Yet, at the same time, you completely reveal yourself."

Therein lies the conundrum. 

Keep hiding…or come clean?  Could you bear the exposure of people seeing into your soul?

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Top 10 Reasons Why Facebook Is The Devil

Does anybody like me? 

Does anyone give a flying rip what goes on in my life?

How (un)popular am I?

These are all questions we entrust Facebook to answer for us: from how cool we are (not), to how many people hang on our everyday happenings.  At this point in history, our very worth as human beings comes down to that number in parenthesis after the word “Friends.”

Despite posting recently about us being “the generation with 742 Facebook friends,” my own current number is a lot closer to 7+4+2.  Somewhere there is a rock in Indonesia with more FB fans than me.    

For one, I have deleted my entire Friends-list more times than anyone would probably believe….behavior that was a byproduct of my “no one gives a sh*t about me” suicidal mentality. 

Secondly, I end up removing nearly half of the people I add because I either:
A) accept their request out of curiosity, then spy on them for a day before deciding I don’t really know or like the person 
B) decide this person doesn’t need to know my thoughts or gawk at my profile out of mentally ill paranoia 
C) they’ve pissed me off and can now proceed to go f*ck themselves.  

Third, I don’t participate in whatever competition the world has going to see how many acquaintences-of-acquaintances-of-acquaintences-of-friends (i.e. stuh-RANGERS!!!) I can collect in order to impress people whose opinions I could care less about. 

Lastly, If 1-3 sounded like pathetic excuses for why I am a loser with no friends, I’ll just come right out and demystify the issue: I AM a loser and I DON’T really have any friends.  I’ve chucked them all.

As you can tell, I simultaneously imbue Facebook with both waaaaay too much meaning and no importance whatsoever….what’s that quote to the effect of:

“You wouldn’t care so much what people thought about you if you knew how seldom they did.”  

But then, that’s also precisely the point!  No one thinks about me!  I have tons of shit I want to say, and no one to say it to.  Every time something hilarious or annoying or awesome or disturbing happens, I think of who I could tell and come up with – you guessed it – nobody.  I could always post it on Facebook and then feel more pathetic when nobody bothers to comment on it, right?!?!

Top 10 Reasons Why Facebook Is The Devil:

  1. It does nothing but incite envy.  There will always be people with more good times in their photo albums, more smiling beer-holding friends in their pictures, and more exciting sh*t going on in their lives.
  2. It does nothing but incite fake-ness.  You invest hours concocting the perfect online persona, with carefully selected pictures and quotes and descriptions to make yourself appear happier, cooler, hotter, smarter, funnier, and more interesting than you really are.
  3. It does nothing but incite impulsivity.  In a split second you tell 375 people something you reeeeallly should’ve kept to yourself. 
  4. It does nothing but incite over-disclosure.  You broadcast your least intelligent thoughts to the world.  For some of us, this reveals that we are illiterate backwoods dingdongs who can’t spell or string together a coherent sentence (and by this I mean family).  And I quote: “It is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you’re stupid, than to open it and remove all doubt."
  5. It does nothing but incite jealousy.  You now have the ultimate spy tool to track every fool your friends and (ex)boyfriends are in contact with and how much more attention they pay to them than you. 
  6. It does nothing but incite rage.  Seriously, that bitch does something every other week with so-and-so but never has time for ME?  Screw her.  “Unfriend.”     
  7. It does nothing but incite picture-taking. I swear to GOD I cannot figure out how a camera is present in every conceivable life situation and WHO the hell is spending every waking moment taking pictures of the dumbest stuff imaginable. 
  8. It does nothing but incite lonelinessDespite hundreds of connections, you couldn’t possibly feel more alone.  
  9. It does nothing but incite hatred.  I fucking hate Facebook, don’t YOU?
  10. It does nothing but incite desperation.  So follow downfromtheledge on Facebook.  Please? 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Alien-Nation, Part 2: Breaking The Habit Of YOU

Ever stopped to wonder if you’re doing what you’re doing because it’s what you did yesterday (and the day before that, and the day before THAT)?  What percentage of the way you interact with the world is your conscious choice, rather than your programming?  

Some would say we are the sum of our habits, and Keith Clarke is one of those people.  His blog Breaking The Habit of Me challenges us to take back the reigns.  When Keith sat down to read my recent post Living in Alien-Nation, he decided his Representative was no longer going to run his life.  He didn’t just click a link in Google Reader, peruse an article, and go back to doing exactly what he has always done.  Keith instead chose to switch off the auto-pilot and wrangle with some serious questions in today’s guest post.  What have YOU lost by not showing up in your own life?  I hope you’ll join the conversation:

Scared To Reveal The True You? 
12 Reasons To Take Charge Of Your Representative

I read two articles that have had a massive impact on me. And I wondered - could they have a similar impact on you?

I believe that these two articles outline a serious flaw in the thinking habits of many of us. This thinking comes from a fear of being our true selves because of the possibility of rejection by others.

I know you are busy and I am asking you more than maybe I should, but these are profoundly powerful insights that you should hear.

You need to read the two articles first or what follows will have no context

The articles are Living In Alien Nation and My Representative.

My response:
(I have written this as a response to the author, and it should be read in that context.)

I resonate so much with what you are saying but it freaks me out - in a good and a bad way. Firstly, whatever I say following this sentence is NOT meant to be patronizing (THAT is my representative speaking for me).

I have spent my whole life in this place. 

That is why your two articles hit me so hard. Firstly, you are in no way alone [Note from my Representative: Remember earlier caveat]. Regrettably, I see this in many people, including myself.

1.     Ulterior Motives
Every one of us has them, and they are not always nefarious. For example: Am I going to feel better about myself? Gain something from this? Look good in someone’s eyes?  Etc. You included. We are human. We need validation. What is f#%ked up is we don't look for our own validation first (or, we don't trust it).

2.     Personal Dysfunction or Societal Dysfunction?
It doesn't matter! You are self-aware enough to know the 'dysfunction' is there. That is evident. Whether you like it or not, it is up to you now. The door is already open. And yes, you are happy about it now, because it is the comfort of the known. It is the unknown that scares you.

3.     Rejection
Every rejection you received externally was firstly an internal rejection that you just sought validation of externally. You expressed yourself perfectly with: "We all have this dichotomy; it’s the human condition (though of course we are convinced otherwise).  What’s even worse than being unacceptable to others…is being ashamed of your own feelings, and the mask you hide behind." So I know you know this, but bear with me :)

4.     Our Representative
What we hate most is that they are good at their jobs. And that disgusts us. We have this twisted admiration for them and hate them at the same time. Why? Because the better our representative is, the less we are ourselves. The name of my representative is Keith. He currently has more entitlement to my name than I do because he has been stronger and more in control than I ever have up to now!

5.     Being Fake
Every time we feel we are being fake (and we know when this is) our representative gets stronger. Every time they get stronger we feel safer behind them. It is a downward spiral that the "I" needs to break before we become lost and end up inserting ourselves back fully into the Matrix. Sorry if the reference is too 'geeky,' but it is the most fitting I can find.

6.     Trust
I have never truly been able to trust anyone, because I can't trust myself. I know this. As you said, I know my own M.O. now. This is merely awareness, however. It truly has to translate into action before it becomes useful. And most action  - I am coming to learn - takes risk.

7.     A Representative is NOT a Bad Thing
We do have to remember, though, that the Representative works for us. And we call the shots. What has happened with me is I have let the Representative become the leading entity. The creator of my identity. From now on, he’s allowed to advise, but I need to make the final decision on how he portrays me. And not how he portrays him.

8.     Perceived Threats
The threats we feel every day are part of our spiritual journey, and our growth. Or else they are just another way of giving unilateral power to our Representative. But it is up to us.

9.     Is Our Representative Truly Representing Us?
For some time the Gandhi quote, “One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other departments. Life is one indivisible whole” has kept coming into my head. This is where the 'representative' f#%ks us up! We get caught up in being good at what we are doing, rather than being good at who we are. Yes, our Representative can do stuff that we can't. But do we like what they are doing? Have we sanctioned it from the core of who we are?

10.  Dissociation
I think we all use dissociation as a defense mechanism. I don't believe that this is a bad thing in and of itself. There are times when it is critical to our survival through periods of serious trauma. It enables us to get through, function and survive. But if it becomes a habit, and distances us too far from who we truly are, then I think we are more dangerous with our representatives than we are without them. Every heinous act in the world by a human being - I believe - is founded on the strength of that dissociation. It is a way of finding validation in something other than ourselves that gives us some kind of respite from our own fears. From our own self-doubts and self-recriminations.

11.  Reality as Illusion
There are many religions that talk of the illusion of reality. And it is possible to adopt that perspective through periods of our life where it works for us. But I think the universe, the natural laws or way of things has a way of bringing us constantly back to ourselves. We cannot avoid ourselves. We have to be faced. And we have to embrace our dark side as well as our good. We have to accept the whole. Only on that acceptance, of the good and bad in us, can we see what really is illusory in our lives.

12.  Accepting Ourselves
I thought long and hard about whether to start blogging under my real name, or to go anonymous, or use a pseudonym. In the end, I chose to come clean. This in no way is a judgment on you (and I understand your personal reasons for this). I decided to take the risk and crawl out of my cage (against the advice of my representative). In fact, this comment is probably more soul-baring than any of my posts so far (and I can hear my representative screaming in protest). But, if I am to let go, and to be me, then I need to push the boundaries. To shake things up (as Vishnu says).

Your final line is probably the most hard-hitting:
"What it tells me is that ‘I’ feel soooo unsafe in the world that ‘I’ can't bear to show up."
I don't know about you, but I am tired of this. Are you with me?

[Note from my Representative: Please do not take any of the comments above personally. These are the expressions of my client at this moment in time - and I am concerned at this time for his well being and understanding of how to play the game that every sane person 'should' be playing based on society's rules]

Thank you for a deeply personally inspiring couple of posts (that is ME speaking).


So, there you go. This article started out as a comment that has actually turned into a guest post.
(Thanks Bri for the opportunity to write for your inspiring blog)
Some questions for you now: Do you show up? Do you have a Representative running the show? Where are YOU in all of this? And how is that working for you?