rants

In light of the #yesallwomen…

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.

Edits:

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.

Samhain…

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.

You can’t see me…

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.

Dear Ladies…

And I use the term "Ladies" loosely. We need to have a chat about a subject that made a lot of news last year. It involved alcohol, sex, and consent – not necessarily in that order, though. We had a lot of blog "letters to my son", letters to the editor, cheers and thanks to the hacker group Anonymous for bringing this to our attention. And that's all fine and dandy, but we forgot one thing. That door swings both ways, and it swings in a manner that I am totally uncomfortable with and definitely disgusted over, having witnessed this more and more in the last few years – including someone almost falling into traffic because someone had to have that kiss. So, I guess we're finally equal.

Pardon my bluntness, but is it really that important to fill that hole between your legs, that you are going to pursue a piss-drunk passed out guy? Yes, alcohol can be a great helper for the socially inept or the liquid courage for those who place that much weight on a yes or no answer. But it can also turn you into something we all despise and loathe – THAT woman. You know, the one who always manages to target the guy who is the most inebriated, or manages to assist in said inebriation? Plying the sweet words to coax him back to wherever. Yeah. High-five yourself, because no one else will.

A couple of things there…if he's not into you sober, or even mostly sober, you probably shouldn't take him back to your room. If he gets piss drunk, he probably wouldn't be able to function, much less be able to tell you how much he wants your sexy ass. And there's a really good chance he won't remember jack shit in the morning.

So to you "ladies", I ask you to consider a few things…if you were in the position of the guy, is that what you would want? To wake up in a room that you don't recognize, next to someone, not remembering how you got there or what happened? If the answer to that is no, then keep your legs crossed or pursue someone who is either more sober, or more into you (both would be optimal, even for one-nighters). If your answer is yes, then please, go rot in the same hell we wish for those kids, and those guys that we all like to cheer when they get arrested and sentenced. We didn't get to this point to be hypocrites. If we're supposedly the better sex, then it's time we act like it.

PS – to the friends that see this happening, please, twat block. There's a good chance you'll have a man thanking you in the morning when he finds out what happened.

Ramblings…

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.

I vented on the TSA today…

I had my moment, and I raised my voice. The day didn't start off bad, it was actually pretty good. Elan slid backwards on her digestive issues because she was given the wrong food for a few days, so instead of leaving for the airport, we were bathing a cat and cleaning up the couch. Delta failed at baggage check, because the woman in charge of our line decided to walk away and leave 20 people standing there. The manager came up and asked if we had been helped, I said no because the woman walked away. He went to pull up our bag tags and informed us that we might need to rebook because the 5 minutes we stood there waiting on someone to take up her line caused us to come under the 45 minute bag check requirement. But he got us on our flight anyway (it was a nice recovery). Then, on to security. The terminal we were using had its own security check point, with all scanners being used. I opted out, to the snarls of my husband who thought I was being petty. The guy doing the line filtering weakly calls out, "female opt-out" which got 0 attention from anyone else in the area. So I stand. And stand, and stand. He repeats his calls about 4 times, while I continue to direct the line past me. Finally, someone asks me if I'm going through, and I loudly proclaim, "NO! I'M WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO COME PAT ME DOWN!" Which gets every TSA guards attention and a glare from the guy in charge of my line. I told him if he had actually called out, with authority, maybe one of the 3 people two lines over, who were gossiping and joking around might actually do their job. At any rate, it got me my pat down, and as I walked past, the guy directed me where I could lodge my complaint. Yeah right, I had 5 minutes to get to my gate because I had spent 15 minutes waiting for a damned pat down.

Those people are so freaking useless. But kudos to the woman who ended up giving me my pat down. She was professional, however seemingly unsure in her touch, and very polite. She got it done and didn't BS me, and didn't force my husband to get rechecked because I touched his face to move his eye sight to his computer since he wasn't listening to me when I told him to look down.

I’m very disappointed…

*****Disclaimer*****

My apologies if you don't wish to read this and it takes up your page. It was not my intention when I set out, and normally, I would happily hide it behind a cut. But this is something that I believe needs to be said, and hiding it behind a cut would defeat the purpose of writing it.

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In a number of things, but we'll start the massive brain dump with the thing on the forefront of my mind, that makes my husband continually ask what's wrong with me…

Something horrible happened yesterday, 28 people were killed in the course of one man committing suicide. It was evil, regardless of what his personal issues were, that lead him to yesterday morning, it was evil. There is no changing that. Last night, before I went to bed, The Travel Yogi decided to post, what I consider to be, an anti-yogi status update. The call not to have a dialog about our issues as a culture that lead us to days like yesterday, but to further restrict guns – because a man intent on going on a killing spree was denied the ability to legally purchase the firearms. So, instead, he opted to take his mother's – before or after killing her. Gun control worked. Unfortunately, in the words of a legal beagle friend of mine, he decided to commit other crimes in order to obtain them.

I'm disappointed, because lost in all of this is something I consider to be the ultimate question – What is wrong with us, not as individuals, but as a culture? Out of all the vomit on FB and in the news, I've only seen this question asked twice, but not answered – or even seriously considered. Instead I see calls for more control, calls for less control, the occasional blame on the individual who actually perpetrated it (and who I will never name, because he doesn't deserve a name, in the same vein that I don't believe he deserves a burial better than being left out for the animals to scavange).

Now, going back to the anti-yogi stuff….Yoga is a process of self-knowledge and self-discovery. Using different branches, the goal is to shed into what is your higher self. We go out into the world, to show others how it can be, and that it can be done. We actively serve and provide a safe space for others to discover themselves. In relation to the topic, the focus was on the material tool – the guns used – not the intent, or the issues surrounding the person who chose to use a tool for an evil purpose. One of the major Hindu texts, the Bhagavad Gita, takes place on a battlefield, prior to the protagonist of the tale going to battle. He faces a serious quandary in regards to the idea of having to possibly kill a member of his family. It was a violation of the first Yama, Ahimsa (nonviolence). It's a quandary that many within the military and law enforcement field have had to face, and come to grips with. An ethical person will always have that issue, when faced with that kind of decision. A law-abiding citizen, who chooses to arm his/herself makes the choice to use their weapon in either defense. This man, chose to arm himself in offense – against children. For whatever reason, whether it be a mental disease or lapse, he premeditated the death of someone, and that someone ended up being mostly innocent children. This is not a case of SpiderMan, or The Mask, where an evil spirit rides a person and makes them do these horrible things. It was the choice of a man, not the weapon.

To go back to my question…what's wrong with us as a culture? That makes people jump to killing someone, instead of talking, or dealing with their anger in a constructive manner? It's not movies, it's not video games. Many of these weapons have been around for decades, much longer than I've been alive. Yet in recent times, it took a sudden turn for the worst. Is it people lacking respect for each other? For their lives? Probably. We don't actually talk anymore. We're so focused on getting what we want, and when we want it, that we don't sit back and take in what we actually have. Nor do we interact with people. We cut people off on the roads, instead of letting them merge, because that car length is the difference between arriving 10 minutes early and being late. We sit on the phone all the time, because paying attention to work, or whoever called us, is more important than seeing that person trying to cross the crosswalk with the right-of-way. We ignore the accidents, crimes, or the injured people we see – because we're running late. We teach our children that material wealth is more important that watching the sun set, or going out to play on a nice day. We teach them that these things are theirs, by right, and if anyone else tries to take them, Mommy and Daddy will come in to yell at that kid's parents. We teach them to cower in front of anyone who demands anything from them, because standing for yourself is wrong. We reward bullies for their behaviour, when it reaches the boiling point that the bullied lashes out, because no one would listen to them. And as a result, those kids are punished and taught to sit back and "take it." Yet, we coddle our kids. We don't let them participate in sports where there are winners and losers – for the sake of their self-esteem. We don't teach them humility and how to win graciously. We teach them that they are all the same; that trying their best doesn't gain them any kind of recognition. Because pride, when coupled with humility, is somehow evil. Believing in your own greatness is looked down upon, but believing in your misery is somehow a virtue.

The problem, is that the world, however we view it in its idealistic phase, does not allow for these things. These kids, who think they're "hot shit", when they go to get a job and find out that they are underqualified and lack the skills for the job they claim is right for them lash out. They're unprepared an emotionally immature to deal with their own failings, because they've never been allowed to fail. Some of them get a late lesson and recover, others go on sprees of violence – whether it's against themselves or others. It's because somewhere, WE FAILED THEM. Our "mind our business" mentality is what is killing us. Those of us who see this, and say nothing are at fault. We, as a society, have gotten too PC and overly inclusive to have the fortitude to stand up when we need to – because we're afraid of offending someone.

As a country, we once had values. They were espoused in the Declaration of Independence and elaborated upon in the Bill of Rights and the various writings of our Founding Fathers. What are our values now? Freedom for everyone? The right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness? We are selfish. Our pursuit of happiness is greed. Our liberty is a joke. And life? Some, and this includes some of those brave teachers who really fulfill the definition of a hero, are willing to defend those who can't defend themselves, against those who wish to do them harm. They are willing to stand up and say something is wrong and protect the innocent who need their protection.

And the problem with the arguments today, is the call to remove a tool from an ethical citizen's arsenal, for providing for both themselves and their loved ones. All because others are afraid and unwilling to stand up for themselves.