But I can't bring myself to really say what all is going on with me. I have to force myself to do almost everything. I'd rather sit in bed and watch the birds at the bird feeder than deal with people. Some days are good, some days are bad. Today is a bad day, but I have to bring myself to take care of things – like go to work. The good thing is that my heart is fully open right now, as is everything above it. So that contact with everything more subtle is flooding me. I have missed it, just wish that it hadn't required something this drastic to reconnect with it.
I wanted to make a list of habits I've developed or red flags that set off personal alarms because of situations I've been in with, or because of, men. So here we go:
When driving, if there is a car pacing next to me for a length of time, I avoid looking to see who it is because of a time when I was driving home. The guy in the SUV next to me had his rear view mirror angled so that I could see him masturbating (and doing a very poor job of it).
If I go on trips involving a team I'm on, I either room with guys I can trust, or I room alone (assuming there are no women to room with). Because a teammate made sure I got no sleep one night.
I have trouble accepting compliments on how I look, because a friend thought I was dressing up for him, and tried to force himself on me. And, when I went to a gala after I got out of an abusive relationship, my bf at the time leered at me and said, "I can't wait for you to get home so I can molest you."
When I go to concerts alone, or in strange places, I sneak my spiked wrist bracelet in with me. I wrap it around my fist so I can interest people to move away from me. Because someone at a concert thought my being near him was reason to put his hands in places they shouldn't be.
On a trip to my favourite swim spot on the river, I made the mistake of taking a teammate who I wasn't comfortable in being around (I chalked it up to cultural differences). He tried to force himself on me. When I told him no and decided we were going home, he went and told the inner circle of the team that I had sex with him.
I learned BJJ because an ex used leg locks and choke holds to "keep me in line". Learning it led to the one above, along with learning that someone I respected wasn't worth the respect.
I locked myself up both emotionally and sexually, because I was told by an ex that I was too emotional and I needed to get control of it (I'm still trying to unlock all of that).
I'm fearful of overly affectionate drunks both because of the demon I call my grandfather, and because I'm fearful of having to hurt someone because they won't listen to the word no).
I have bolted away from what might have been first dates, because the guy was just trying to be nice, or paid for something I didn't expect, because I was getting the wrong signals. I'm pretty sure they were both just nice guys, but it set off alarms from "nice guys" who were expecting repayment.
A guy who decided I had wronged him, put my unlisted home number up in a gas station bathroom, with the note "for great anal sex call *my name misspelled*". I got so many phone calls between the hours of midnight and 4AM that I almost had to quit my corporate job because I wasn't getting any sleep. I called the cops, they took my statement, and I never heard from the detective on my case. I ultimately had to change my number and move. This is why I don't answer calls from numbers I don't know.
In college, a guy called me – wrong number. Apparently, he had a female friend who would let him talk to her while masturbating. He did it to me quite a few times. I hung up on him, a lot. The only way it stopped, was when it turned out a friend of his fiancee was on the hockey team with me. He told her. I started making sure my dorm number was unlisted. As an RA, it was only available if you were a student in my building.
I won't get into the catcalls I've gotten, walking down the road. I also make sure that, if I'm on the bus or the train, I'm sitting or standing with my back against a wall and my bag between me and other people. I also walk with headphones on, normally – not necessarily listening to anything. I used to walk with my keys in my fist, now I only do that in places I'm not familiar with, or when I'm alone. I'm always looking at my surroundings and sizing up everything and everyone.
None of this is fair to the really nice people who don't deserve this. But it is because of a few – because I don't know who they are and they are good at hiding. I differentiate between the "nice guys" and the Nice Guys. I love the Nice Guys because I'm like their sister, and they protect me like their sister. And I have their back like a little sister and will beat the crap out of anyone who messes with them. I just wish there were more of them, so everyone can have a little sister.
The other day, while I was waiting on the train. A stranger walked up to me and asked if I could use his phone. I stood there frozen, not willing to let my phone go because I had been witness to how phones get stolen, and conflicted on that. I was very hesitant on calling the number because I felt sorry for the excuse he gave me (and his phone really was dead), and afterwards I kicked myself because he now had my phone number. How messed up is it, that those thoughts go through my head in trying to be nice and help someone out.
I went to the mountains and surrounded myself with women. Strange for me, I know. But it was actually a good thing. I've been thinking about my hip and shoulder issues over the last couple of days and I can't remember if my therapist attributed the right-side issues with my lack of femininity or with my over-usual masculinity. But the thing that got me was the amount of hip opening I had, not necessarily from sharing (because we all know that I'm willing to write more than talk), but just from being around and listening to the stories of those who were willing to share. I admit, the heart center has pretty much been shut down and humiliated into quiet submission – again – and if I think back, that's about when the hip and shoulder really started to act up. Like an internal struggle to force me into opening back up and letting all the emotion and energy that I used to have pour out. In a manner of speaking, I guess that need to round kick and undercut/haymaker someone was directed at myself.
One of the activities we did was a trust exercise (at least, that was my interpretation of it). We had to walk around the room shoulder to shoulder with our focus first on ourselves, then on our partner, then split between the two of us (total of 6 times). My partner and I had a somewhat rough start, but by the end we were walking about like we were strolling in the park. One of my takeaways was that yes, I can be selfish (as the first round was focused on ourselves). I hesitate to do that because I've known too many selfish people. But the reminder with focusing on someone else, is that it can be done in moderation. I've known I've needed to put a focus on taking care of myself, as in a manner of speaking, I am a caretaker. I've spent the last couple of years with this huge, not glorious burden from the business. I'm also still coming down from this expectation of who and what I am supposed to be, how I present myself, and what attention I'm supposed to give to others and when. It's a mess. Some real, some imagined, but all true to my experience.
This was also the first time I realized that I need to stick my hand out. I've always lurked in the shadows. I've been happy with that. But at the same time, I do want to spend more time with my friends and meet other people. Going back to the expectation above, I've always waited for them to have time for me, instead of asking for their time. Yes, I will always make time for my friends, if they ask – and they know I will. But I need to ask them for time, too. And, for better or worse, I've also failed in getting past one remainder of the dark years – I'm not stupid, I'm not an idiot. The wisdom in my head is not what most people want to discuss, but there I felt completely at home. Still hesitant to crack open my skull and let this stuff come out, but the first blow has been dealt and at some point I will feel comfortable in sharing it. And I have to, because if one has wisdom, it is their duty to share it with those who wish to learn from it. If I don't, I have failed one of the tenants of my spirituality, though, I just think that my problem has been the how. My experiences and what is up there has worth, contrary to what some have successfully convinced me of thinking.
One more step.
I'm finding that I'm getting more and more pissed off. In talking with my mum, it dawned on me that my irritation has been with the small courtesies that used to be common, but are not so common…even in a laid back atmosphere such as the one I strive to create around me. For the most part, I run on the "what works for everyone" time. In my business, I'm a bit anal about being on-time (meaning, 15 minutes early), and my scheduling. If we're scheduling out and my schedule doesn't mesh with people, I try to work with it. But that has come to the point where it's resulting in my loss, and it's pissing me off. I come into my office in order to either work on the back end of things, or see clients….especially around holidays. But apparently, there seems to be this disconnect at the idea that I don't see other clients…or at least, that's the impression I get in dealing with some of my clients. Today's doozy was someone that I normally don't see, because I normally don't work past 5.30pm on Fridays. We moved him to my schedule, earlier in the day, and then all the miscommunication started. Needless to say, he didn't show up, and wanted to come in at his normal time instead. Yeah, I like wasting 6 hours of my day, no biggie (which yes, I know he was unaware that I've been sitting around getting my panties in a twist in the meantime).
At any rate, it's a small piece of a larger picture. Earlier, a client decided to use this "you never confirmed a time back with me" to excuse his lack of communication. Maybe I'm weird, but if someone doesn't get back to me on a business transaction, I tend to get back with them….and I also check my spam box regularly, which is where the following communications from me went (thanks Google! Love that algorithm, really, I do). Other clients cancelling at the last minute because they schedule a meeting to start when our appointment ends…and expecting to not pay for the cancellation.
It just amazes me. I know my yoga teacher discussed how we would want to crawl in a hole, away from society during our transition. And I really do. I need to take a serious break from people, just so I can hit that proverbial reset button on all of this. My boundaries have gotten so blurred, that it's next to impossible for me to come up with a polite way to enforce them. The online scheduling is going to help, if Google would quit sending the emails from it into the recipient's spam box.
Just too much, really, it's just too much. I don't know if it's just the culture around me, or if it's me (and yes, I know that the only thing I can really control are my reactions). But when you get the amount of mindlessness and lack of common courtesy that has been thrown in my face, it happens. As I told my mum, I don't know if it's just because I'm seeing it and it's bothering me that I'm seeing more of it, or if it really is THAT bad.
I just need to become a hermit.
Usually, this time of year is great for me. I don't know if this is the combination of a bunch of stuff colliding and the ensuing chaos is more evident, or just the fact that I am just not handling things all that well.
On the work front, I'm trying to get the yoga program up and running, which requires me to transfer everything over to a new database. That conversion is in the final processes. The downside, getting everyone in the office to use the new system and double check on the old system. That came to a head yesterday, when I asked someone to handle the scheduling, which resulted in me being double booked for tomorrow. The damage control is not to my liking, and right now, I just want to skip today and tomorrow and head to my vacation already.
On the yoga front, I started a 2 week daily yoga practice on Monday. That didn't start off well. I gave my gym a try, because I've had awesome classes at gyms, so I'm not turned off by them. The physical practice was good, but it left my mental state in an absolute jumble and the instructor didn't even give me time to remotely process. So I walked out of class with the view that I am an absolute judgmental bitch. And that is true, I just temper it as I process info. This is the first time I have truly felt that way after a yoga class (since I'm pretty good about just being observant of what I'm feeling and letting it go). It stuck with me. So, day 2 was back to my normal studio. All was righted in the world. Day 3 was amazing. I took the whole day off to prepare for ritual, I wanted to be "in that space". Normally, not a struggle. The class did exactly what I needed it to do, unfortunately, work issues yanked me out of it (see above). I managed to put them on the back burner, not thinking that it would be an issue.
Ritual, still processing, not planning on talking about it.
Damage control, still working on it, client sent an email saying, "So I don't have a massage tomorrow?" Well, yeah, that's what I said. I have a client during the time that you were scheduled because someone didn't look at the master schedule. Instead chose to look at the tertiary schedule that no longer updates, because my schedule has been completely uploaded to the master.
Vacation, I am struggling to not make the decision to work over this weekend. There are things that need to be done, but at the same time, I need a complete break. I haven't had a chance to take a vacation this year, not even something that remotely resembles one. I have not had a day where my brain was no where near my office, and a line HAS TO BE DRAWN. If I do not, I will walk away, and it's not something I want right now.
What I need, someone at the office I can truly depend on for back office related stuff. I do not feel that I have that. Some of it is my failings, for not properly teaching all the stuff that I need, and some of it is being too accepting and generous of where others are in their personal lives. Yes, I need to get someone in there, but I cannot, at this time, justify the cost. And I do not have anything that could remotely justify rewarding a volunteer.
Not because I'm invisible, even though I might be, but because you choose to not see me.
That's pretty much a summary of the waters beneath the surface for the past 3 weeks. I'm usually content to be in the background, doing the things I do because it's who I am, or how I choose to express myself. But the one time, the one time, that I made the choice to step up and say "HEY EVERYONE, REALLY LOOK AT ME!!!" I received the biggest smack down I could ever imagine possible. Worse than any of the shit I put up with going through middle and high school (and believe me, not all of it happened at school, so let's just say girls can be bitches and leave it there). So yeah, not planning on doing that ever again. But at least I know who my family consists of, and I'm grateful to them, even if they were part of the reason I broke before I was supposed to. But I shattered and I'm trying to pick up the pieces, little by little. The universe hasn't been totally helpful, because every time I try to take down time to hit up the mountains, or the river, or something; it manages to pop up and say, "Oh, you want time off? You sure about that?" and when I prove that I am, I come back to a clusterfuck bigger than I left to say, "See, you really shouldn't have taken that downtime. Normally, by this point in the year, I've had a month and a half of vacation. It's what keeps me sane, because I really do need 2-3 weeks to decompress from my job. So far, I've had a week and a half – and that wasn't a real, don't deal with anything work-related, vacation. I really need to just hole up in a cabin with no cell signal or wifi. Just me, coffee, a book, nature, and maybe Pastry (if he can get the time off).
I'm finding I need to re-establish my boundaries. I put myself out there for people, for whatever reason, and find that my margin of returns are exceedingly slim. Those who will continue to be blessed by my thoughtfulness are the ones that have shown themselves to return it, in some way – whether it's "paying it forward" or "kicking it back". I love them, and they get it. But I'm really tired of the dead ends. I'm really tired of looking out the window and seeing what is happening outside. The level of stupidity is astounding to the point I want to slam heads against a mirror and say, "What the fuck are you doing? Don't you see what you are doing?" But it would be useless. Very few are interested in self-reflection, and those who don't even consider it till they hit the proverbial wall are so blinded that they don't even know they've hit anything. It's disheartening to me. Depressing.
I have no clue where I'm going with this. I had some totally awesome stuff in my head earlier. Fluid and descriptive. All the stuff my writing professors loved. All the stuff my muse would pour out on to the paper before she was blindsided and muzzled because she "just wasn't good enough". Stupid people. Stupid me.
My office has a purple rug with yellow and lavender flowers on it. That makes me happy. I need more purple and lavender flowers. I need more solitude. Whatever fire is burning inside needs to come out. I can't handle it anymore, I'm tired of containing it within. It's being fed by something I don't know, and something I'm not familiar with. I don't know how to calm it down. And I don't want it to destroy me.
Not sure what is coming over me, maybe a sense of self-doubt, sense of separation, who knows. Maybe Mercury is just "in retrograde". I feel like there is this wall around me, that just does not allow a real sense of communication or communion. Like there is just not enough time to do what I need to do, to take care of me. Every turn, I'm avoiding social gatherings or not reaching out to friends to hang out, instead opting for solitude. It's taking its toll.
As much as I have been avoiding politics, I am proud to have been able to witness one senator standing up for the founding documents – which he took an oath to uphold and defend – and calling on his fellow congress critters to tell the president that there is a limit to his power, and to tell the other congress critters that there is a limit to their power. It was a bright moment, that I'm sure will dim, but it was one that needed to be seen. Things in this country scare me, where we're going socially and politically. I have no issue with us declining out of the world spotlight, as nature will take its course. But I do have an issue when the founding principles that we were founded upon are looked to as a myth that is not to be upheld or something to strive for, but is instead seen as an old wives tale that is to be passed off as fiction. The memes and the conspiracy theories abound, half truths that only want to speak of the support of one person over another, instead of one idea – liberty. Either we have that, or we do not. And increasingly, we do not. Yet we cheer? I get told that I refuse to take a side or choose a stance, because I'm a middle-roader. But from the middle, the roads slope down to drain the water. That puts me at the high point. I have my stances, I know what I stand for, but I'm a "waffler" because I don't wholly agree with one side or the other. Both sides want to take liberties away, it's just a matter of which liberties they want to take. And I'm for applying and granting as many liberties as possible. I'm ok with personal responsibility and the consequences that come from people not exercising it. But to minimize the consequences because someone else might not be able to handle it does no service to that person, and others who might learn by example. But hey, what do I know?
I'm glad spring is arriving. Coffee on the patio, and maybe this overwhelming sense of stagnation will go away. And maybe I'll learn to better use my time while I wait on my husband to start his day.