Showing posts with label Sunday Confession. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sunday Confession. Show all posts

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Small Town Auras



I was born and raised in a large town. They say it's large anyway.  At 15-16 years old, 23 square miles starts to feel pretty small. After college when Facebook went live to the public, 23 square miles started to feel like a fish bowl. 

It was important to my parents that we were allowed to build roots and grow up with a sense of community. I graduated high school with many of the people I started kindergarten with. I know where everything in town is.  I remember when we were a one Wal-Mart town.

Miranda Lambert once sang:

 "Every last one, route one, rural heart's got a story to tell
Every grandma, in law, ex girlfriend
Maybe knows you just a little too well
Whether you're late for church or you're stuck in jail
Hey words gonna get around".  

Even in a town of 52,000, this seems to be true. There isn't much I don't know about my old friends, or my ex-boyfriends, and what they've done with their lives. Sometimes, that sense of community can be a heavy thing to bear. I've been struggling with the weight of a particular small-town problem lately: the class bully. 

Middle school was hard for me. High school was easier, but I was also struggling with grief a child of 15 shouldn't know so early, I was too busy just trying to survive myself to be too bothered by bullies. That doesn't mean it didn't happen and I know it happened to other people. My school had Mean Girls, complete with a few incarnations of Regina George. I watched them victimize people for everything, it seemed nothing was off limits. They coordinated their schedules as much as possible. If you found yourself a target of the entire clique in one class, there was a good chance you'd be forced to endure the abuse of one or more members in at least two other classes during the day.  

We've all grown up now, allegedly. Some of us went to college. Some of us got jobs. Some of us started families. Some of us decided to open a small business right here in our quaint little town. 

I've always tried to support local businesses and small business owners. After leaving my last corporate job where I was unappreciated, underpaid and feeling chewed up by the corporate machine, I fell in love with working for a small business.  My experience working for a small business inspired me to  patronize small businesses whenever possible.

What do you do when the Regina George of your high school grows up and becomes a successful business owner in town?  Ever worse, what do you do when it is a profession you not only have a lot of respect for, but in an industry that requires compassion, respect, courtesy, confidentiality and dignity?

Unfortunately, I was no Cady Heron in high school. I never took a stand against any of our Regina Georges.  None of them got hit by a bus and became better people. My Regina George went to school and now works in a personal care industry.  I live and work in a community with someone who works with peoples' bodies after watching her tease and abuse people about their bodies - weight, acne, body hair, facial features - for years.  

I see people recommending her and I want to scream every time. I feel a twinge of bitterness that this person is making a living taking care of people after seeing her tear down so many. I am fearful that she doesn't treat her profession with the respect it deserves and she disparages her clients behind closed doors.  My heart hurts and I feel sick at the idea that she looks at her clients - people with imperfect bodies - the same way she looked at her classmates so many years ago and can hide her distaste so well that she can profit from it. Maybe she became a better person.  Maybe the teasing and the taunting and the systematic bullying was a sign of low self-esteem and she's dealt with herself. Maybe everything I know about this person is wrong or somehow no longer valid. 

I doubt it, but I hope I'm wrong every time I see her name. Somehow, I can't get past the idea that her aura is still as brown as her fake tan. She was so awful and cruel to people that it's hard to believe much has changed.  On the outside, things look great but you know what they say.... you can roll of piece of shit in powdered sugar, but that doesn't make it a jelly donut.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

We should all be Terrified

Earlier this week, a Facebook friend posted a "joke".  It was an image of Vikings with a caption that read "Vikings Order of Business" and went on to list: 
1.  Kill all that can not be pillaged or raped. 
2.  Pillage all that can not be raped. 
3.  Once all the killing is done and you secured your pillage, find a comely whench [sic] and commence raping
4. Set shit on fire and sail the fuck off.  

The next morning, I woke up to news that Ashley Judd is pressing charges against Twitter trolls.  Which only made me roll my eyes until I read the story and instantly regretted it.  Ashley Judd is amazing, I've always been a huge fan because this woman is more than the actress you see in the movies.  She's a college graduate, an advocate, an activist and she is amazing.  I shouldn't have assumed she was going the way of Gwyneth Paltrow without reading the story because I know better.  
If you haven't heard what happened, devout and hardcore sports fan Ashley Judd did some shit talking via Twitter over the college game between Kentucky and Arkansas She didn't like a call that was made and she said someone could kiss her team's ass.  You know, the same kind of shit talking people do and have done over every game and sport since quite possibly the beginning of time.  The response?  She was called a cunt, a whore and threatened with sexual violence. 

I don't know about you, but I've never seen a man threaten to sexually assault another man for the same kind of shit talking.  I know there are places in the world where team loyalty runs so hot that fans pound the crap out of each other in the streets, but I've never seen or heard of a man threatening another man with sodomy over trash talk.  I'm not saying it doesn't happen; what I am saying is that I have regularly seen women subjected to the exact same verbal abuse and threats of physical and sexual violence for something as trivial as rooting for the other team.


No one should experience sexual violence or the threat of sexual violence.  Not a single person, for any reason.  The fact that this happens and we live in a world where men go on killing sprees because women won't go out with them, where rape jokes are funny to even a single person, and where a person can experience threats and harassment for trash talking should leave us all terrified. We should not feel safe because the men making these threats, and the people (women included) supporting their abuse, are the people who make up our families.  These people who think sexual violence and threats of sexual violence are funny or acceptable are someone's parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, or friend.  These are the people who make up our communities.  These are the people who babysit our children, teach in our schools, vote for our politicians, and even police our streets. 

People express outrage when a sex offender is released into the neighborhood.  Where is the outrage right now?  My own "friend" shared a rape joke; he doesn't know that I've been a victim of sexual assault but should that make any difference? I don't think so.   The man telling Ashley Judd to suck a dick is someone's child, would you want your son to speak that way or your daughter to be on the receiving end of that comment?  The men threatening to rape Ashley Judd are someone's neighbor, do you feel comfortable with the idea of living next to someone who threatened to violate a woman like that?  The women who think she should just take it or needs to "get out of the kitchen if she can't handle the heat" might be your child's daycare provider, the school nurse, or a police officer: we encourage our children to tell an adult they can trust when something happens to them, what happens when the person they tell is someone who supports this kind of victimization?  Can we trust our mandated reporters to report sexual violence against us or our children when they support victimization like this on the Internet?

You can't tell me it isn't the same thing, because it is.  You can't encourage or support a perpetrator of violence online and be an advocate in real life. And the fact that we live in a country where that kind of threat is not only tolerated, but actually encouraged is something that really and truly should leave us all wondering just how safe we really are. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Confession: Read

This week's prompt:
READ

When I was younger, I often felt there were messages behind people's words, social cues that I just didn't know how to read.  I didn't think I could read between the lines.  I often wished people were readable like the books I spent so much time with my nose in as a child. 

But in a strange way, things are starting to make sense in a way they never did before because I'm starting to believe that when people say things, the message "between the lines" is really everything I might ever need to know about who they are as opposed to what they might be saying about me. 

I keep trying to be friends with my ex.  Not this ex, but THIS ex.  I keep trying to figure out what might have gone wrong when the truth is that he is a sociopath.  

Yes.  I went out for dinner with my ex the other night (as friends!), looked him in the face and told him he is a sociopath. 

I'm so charming.  

The more I think about it, I think about all the things he's said and done over the years and as much as I would like people to see me as I am and not how I may have been in the past the truth is that in many ways I am the same person.  And when I think about the things he used to say, some of which he still does, he was telling me who he was the entire time. 

I've come to realize that all of the things people have said that I took as some kind of sad thing, something that made me want to be a better person in their life was really a statement that should have told me something about THEM.

When we were younger, he used to tell me that you can't trust anyone.  I heard: there is no one trustworthy in my life.  I went above and beyond to be a rock, someone who could be counted on to be honest and reliable.  Truth is... people who ARE something don't say it doesn't exist.  If he was trustworthy, then he wouldn't say such a thing because he would know personally that people can be trusted.

That realization might have changed how I look at my entire world.  The fact that I believe I can be trusted is why I believe people can be trusted.  I don't expect everyone to be like me.  I don't think I'm the best or I'm always right or I have all of the answers.  But I think in a lot of ways... I try.  I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated.  I try to give people the benefit of doubt because when people act shitty I want to believe it is because there is a reason for it... the same way I want people to understand that most of the time when I act shitty it is for a reason. 

 I've spent so much time wondering what went wrong with him, why he said and did the not so great and nice things he has done in the past.  I keep thinking there must be something that went wrong.  But the truth is, he really just isn't a very good person.  He isn't a good human bean (yes, BEAN) but I keep going back and trying to be his friend, be good to him, be kind and a friend because I am a good bean.  

This often gets misinterpreted by people, especially men, who misinterpret the nice things I do as some kind of "red flag" that I'm trying to hone in for a relationship or something they don't want to give.  And that makes me sad, because it tells me that when they do something similar it isn't to just be a good human bean...it might just be because they are trying to hone in for something.

I get burned in relationships, in friendships, in life... because I believe that people can be trusted, that people can change, that people deserve second chances.  And I believe all of these things because I believe I can be trusted, can change, deserve second changes.  I get burnt out sometimes and wind up hiding in my house and hating people because I feel like I'm wrong so often.  But I think I should start learning how to take what people say and consider what the message is really saying about them before extending myself in a way that leaves me hanging when all I want is someone to treat me the way that I treat them.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Sunday Confessions: Power






Power is so many things.

I believe that your mouth has power, that by saying something you are sending it out into the universe as something that could be.  That the words you use create a ripple not only in the world, but on the person you use them to or about.

I believe in a higher power.  What that higher power is I'm not sure, but what if "God" is really just a power?  Not good or bad but just "power"?  Are you using that power to propel yourself for good or evil?  Is the agenda or goal you're promoting one that spreads positive ripples or negative ripples?

I believe that we all have power.  Power to change the life of an animal, the life of a person, the condition of things and the way things stand.  We have the power to choose how we are going to see and respond to any situation we encounter.  Sometimes, we don't realize how much power we have.  Sometimes we give away our power.

I believe that sometimes when you want to take power away from something, the best thing you can do is laugh at it.  Someone once told me that if people had laughed at Hitler and kept laughing, World War II might not have ever happened.  In many ways, I believe this could have been true.  I know that in my own life, I am not really ok with something until I can laugh at it and while it might still hurt... I know if I can laugh at it, I can survive it somehow.

Consider your power.  Consider the power you have, how it impacts others,  how it impacts your world... are you using it wisely?


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Confessions: Always

This week's prompt:
Always

I've always been creeped out by Shaq.

Yes, THAT Shaq. 

He creeps me the hell out. 

I can't explain it. 

Maybe it is because he is a giant. 

Maybe it is all the creepy sex faces he makes in the foot powder commercials. 

Maybe it was the way he wouldn't stop staring at me while making those creepy sex faces when they came out with "Soda Shaq" cream sodas and I wanted one so bad because I love cream soda but wouldn't drink it because...Shaq.

Maybe there is a deep, hidden Freudian thing going on here.  Ew.

Maybe it is the name Shaq.  I've know guys named Shaquille and they don't bother me. 

I don't know what it is, but I've always been creeped out by Shaq and I probably always will be. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Confessions: Quick

This week's prompt:
Quick

I'm not very quick.  I'm not in a hurry to get things done.  Maybe I should be.  Maybe I should spend more time rushing, pushing, hurrying.  

But somehow I just think that going my pace is the right way to be.  Even if it isn't quick. 


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Confessions: Able

This week's prompt:
ABLE

I haven't been able to do a lot of things.  At least I haven't felt like it in a long time.  I haven't been able to do the things I need to do.  I haven't been able to be the person I want to be or the person others need me to be.  I haven't been able to keep up, get it right, get it done.  That's a really rough way to feel about things.  

I've been dealing with my depression.  I've been dealing with the healing that comes with feeling like you've been on the losing end for a long time.  Yesterday, I did something I didn't think I was going to be able to do.  I faced something head on.  It took me two weeks, three instances of chickening out and countless conversations with an encouraging, patient and amazing friend to do it, but I walked in and had a conversation with someone I was afraid to have.  

Maybe that sounds like a little thing to be able to do, but it felt huge to me.  Somewhere along the line, I lost the ability to just do certain things.  Looking back at myself, I often say.... "Man, I used to be able to..." or "I used to do that/get that done/not have a problem with that".  

And I have to wonder, when did I stop being able?  When did I stop just doing all of these things? 

I start a new job tomorrow.  Sometimes I am in awe of people who have been with companies for twenty or thirty or forty years and it is for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest is because I think walking into a new job is a reminder and an opportunity to show what you are capable of, what you can do, what you can be.  I'm excited to walk in to a new opportunity to show how I am able to contribute.

Between yesterday and tomorrow, I'm feeling incredible able today.  All I can do is grab that momentum and hope it stays with me and maybe if I just keep going, keep trying to be able... I'll be able to do and be the things I haven't been able to in awhile. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Confessions: Satisfied

This Week's prompt:
SATISFIED

When I first announced this week's prompt, the two most common reactions I got were about sex or food. 

Interesting.  

To be honest, it was my first thought too.  

But as I sat and thought about it this week I realized that satisfied should really be applied more and I had to ask myself if I'm satisfied in other areas of my life. 

Am I satisfied with my relationships?

Am I satisfied with my home?

Am I satisfied with my job?

Am I satisfied with myself?

There are some people in my life right now who aren't satisfied with themselves.  It bothers me because I think they should be.  They're good people.  They have people who love them.  They have jobs and homes and families.  And yet, somehow... they aren't satisfied and so they look for that satisfaction from people who come along and are willing to tell them a story and sell them a dream.

These people can't provide what they're peddling.  They have no intention to.  Perhaps somewhere in their minds they think they could be the person they want to talk about being, maybe that is someone they actually want to be... but the fact of the matter is that if they were going to be that person they would already be that person.

I think one of the most important things I'm learning is that it is important to ask people if they are satisfied with their life, and then look at their life based on their answer because it will tell you a lot about who they are.  

Are you satisfied?


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Confession: Run

This week's prompt:
RUN

I'm out of shape, overweight and don't exercise much as a general rule.  It is safe to say that I don't run.  

Not that I don't want to.  I've read the blogs and talked to natural born runners... the kind of people who seem to feel the world shift into a place that isn't so confusing when they break that sweat or find sense in the thud thud thud of their own footsteps; People who find themselves best able to think when their own heartbeat drowns out the sounds of life around them.  I've read their blogs and talked to them.  

I don't get the physical act of running.

Maybe the peace, joy, euphoria whatever you want to call it is something that comes later.  Later like when your body stops cramping and screaming at you and when you reach a point where you muscles crave the stretch and the feel of your feet rhythmically landing on the road. 

I'm still a runner.  Just a different kind.

During a previous Sunday Confession, my friend Jenniy wrote about what happens when your first sexual experience is rape (or when any experience is rape).  She said something that described so many situations:
Like a phoenix with an anxiety disorder and a guilt-complex that keeps it from soaring as high and freely as it could otherwise.
As strange as it sounds, this is what it is like to survive the loss of a parent at an early age and experienced the dissolution of close relationships in terrible, hurtful ways.  I have abandonment issues.  I've been hurt so many times that when I think I see "the end" coming my body flies into "Fight or Flight" so fast I feel like I could actually BE one of those runners who actually enjoys it. 

I am an emotional runner.  When I am afraid of something or when something causes me anxiety, I most often react with anger or fear that both infuriates and confuses the people that surround me.  I hide the fact that I am scared with attitude.  

Some people would say that I don't like confrontation or call me passive-aggressive, but when something happens that hurts my feelings or shows conflict between me and someone I care about... more often than not I take it as a sign that the relationship is coming to a close.  In many ways, I just expect people to come and go in and out of my life as if there were a revolving door.  I don't understand people who have had friends for decades, not that I don't wish I did.  But it just seems that for people like me... people come and people go.  Expecting something different is like expecting death not to be a finality. 

When people get too close, I respond in various ways.  But when it ends... when the phone calls or the text messages stop coming so frequently, when the invitations dwindle, when I'm left feeling emotionally "hanging" from someone I invested my feelings in... I pack up my emotions and I hit the road.  The end is always ugly and sometimes I try to get away with as many good memories as I can.  I run from the ugly ending that always seems to happen.  I pack up rather than drag out conversations and situations that will seem unable to be fixed.  

I'd rather run.  I'd rather accept that everything comes to an end than stick around and try to fight it out only to be let down in the end.

I'm trying so hard to stick things out.  I'm trying to find solutions, not another suitcase for what will become emotional baggage.  I'm trying to have those talks about things that hurt me.  I'm trying not to be a runner, but fighting what feels like the unfortunate evolution of your defense mechanisms often feels like fighting to do what comes natural... like breathing.  Suddenly, staying in spite of what isn't going well feels like a fight for air and my chest feels like it is about to explode and I am afraid if I stay I'll drown.

And I wonder, if I don't run... what happens next?  Do I learn to swim or do I drown?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sunday Confession: Revenge

This week's prompt:
Revenge

The thing about revenge is... I just don't get it.  

I might do spiteful, little hateful things towards someone when I'm angry, but all out revenge?  

No. 

I don't think it evens things out.  I don't think it teaches anyone anything.  And at the end of the day, two wrongs don't make a right. 

I strive to be able to be ok with my behaviors and reactions to things.  All I can control in this world is myself.  Best to act like it. 


Sunday, September 14, 2014

My First Love

This week's prompt:
First Love

My first love was a boy I had known since I was 5.  I'm almost positive he had a crush on me going that far back. At first, I refused to date him because he was my friend, but I always loved him in one way or another.  As we got older things changed, and then somehow we started dating.

My first love wasn't my "first".  When I think back, maybe it should have been that way but I'm glad it wasn't because the way he ended things crushed me.  Had he been my first, I don't think I would have survived the extra hurt.

We tried making peace multiple times over the years.  It's been nearly a decade since we were a couple, yet every time he would come around I would feel the same old connection, attraction, and love.  Last year after my break-up with the boyfriend-that-was was no different.

I genuinely wanted to be his friend.  I thought we'd reached a point where maybe we were both adult enough to at least have a friendship.  I got burned again.  I finally realized so many things about myself and about him.  Last Valentine's Day, it all came out.

Recently, he messaged me and apologized.  While maybe that should have made me feel better, I realized that he wasn't actually sorry for what he did.  He wasn't sorry for being dishonest, hurtful, or behaving like a giant douche.  He was sorry because he made the choice to burn me and then got burned.  If the choices he made had turned out differently, I probably would not have ever gotten that apology.  

I realize now that the sweet boy I fell in love with all those years ago, who I loved with my whole heart in a way that I don't know I've ever loved anyone since, turned into a not-so-good or sweet man.  The reasons are varied, but I now believe I see him for what he is and it is unfortunate that no one else will ever have a chance to see what he once was... and he was amazing then. 

In the end, the apology means nothing because it wasn't really an apology.  It was an outward expression of his sadness that things didn't go his way.  He isn't sorry he hurt me just like he wasn't in the past.  And with that I say the same thing I said in February:


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Regret

This week's prompt:
Regret

I've written about regret before.  

It isn't a new confession topic. 

We tackled it at the beginning of the year... in the first post after New Years.

And I'm glad we did because I can look back on it now.

Back in January, I posed the question:

If you don't really love yourself, how can you say you have no regrets because they made you who you are?  

I was dealing with a lot of complex things in January.  Hell, I'm STILL dealing with a lot of those complex things.  I think regret can come from a lot of places, but I notice when I feel personally feel regret it is usually a symptom of a larger problem.

There was so much I was mad at myself for, but since January I've noticed the weight of my regrets getting lighter and lighter.  It isn't that I just magically quit feeling that way...it is conscious decision, but it amazes me how good it feels.

The truth is that I was having regrets because I hadn't started forgiving myself yet.  And now I've started doing just that and I feel so much better.

Hopefully, I'll get to a point where I don't have any of those regrets anymore.




Sunday, August 31, 2014

My Guilty Pleasures

This week's Sunday Confession topic:
GUILTY PLEASURES

I like to think I don't have any guilty pleasures...that I am the kind of person who can enjoy anything and everything she pleases without things like guilt. 

But that would be a lie. 

My Guilty Pleasures

1. I love when Bonehead laughs.  I will say crazy things and do stupid ridiculous shit to make that man laugh.  He might be the only man on Earth I chronically make an ass out of myself in front of on purpose.  

2.  I love spoiling the people I love when I can.  They don't need it, but sometimes it just makes me happy. 

3.  I have lingerie that I've never worn.  In my defense... when I bought the item in question it was just a tad too snug but I loved it too much to return it.  So it sits in my drawers still in the packaging, hoping I'll stop eating long enough to actually be able to fit into it some day, but until then I enjoy knowing there is something sexy in my drawers. 

4.  I love trashy t.v.  I used to watch Jerry Springer at night before bed.  I could name all of Bravo's Housewives for years before cancelling my cable.

5.  The More Than Cheese and Beer Facebook Page.  If I were to be honest, I would have to admit to sharing more on the MTCAB Facebook page because people who like my page are more accepting of me and enjoy my personality more than people on my personal page who actually know me.  So I hide out there, sharing the moments of my life where people celebrate them with me and not condemn me for the less classy and graceful moments. 

6.  I am still a Product Junkie.  While I've given up buying more of things until I use up what I have, that doesn't mean I still don't have more than one person should. 

7.  I don't feel guilty about the food I eat most of the time (this is why I'm fat), but one thing I do feel guilty for loving sometimes...Ramen Noodles.  

8.  I keep thinking at some point I should grow up and wear pajamas, but I would rather buy nice sheets and sleep naked. 

9.  Quality Toilet Paper.  There have been times in my adult life where I have eaten Rice-a-Roni and Ramen Noodles out of force, not choice.  But I have never given up my preferred brand of toilet paper.

10.  Schadenfreude.  To clarify, I don't sit around and wait for bad things to happen to other people so I can enjoy it.  But sometimes I can't help but feel a small twinge of pleasure when I see someone "getting a dose of their own medicine", tasting Karma or experiencing something they either supported, condoned or enforced upon another person that wasn't exactly kind or right of them to do. 


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Denial

This Week's prompt:
DENIAL

I've got a problem with denial.

As in... I go about it all wrong. 

I deny that I have a problem.   That I need help dealing with something.  That something... a person, idea, or thing... might just be exactly what it is as face value.  I live in denial of people, relationships and situations I've outgrown...choosing to keep holding on to things that make me miserable. 


Where does one purchase an ACCESS DENIED stamp?  

Sometimes I think I willingly let people, opinions and ideas into my life, my space and my head that should be denied access at the door.  Deemed "Access Denied" and there is no appeal process.  

The older I get the more I'm finding just how important and good my intuition is and just how much I need to trust and use it.  I think we've all been born with a good amount of gut feelings, we just spend so much time pushing them down and ignoring them to pay attention to what we've been born with as a means to survive.

The older I get... the more important I'm finding it is to just embrace myself and all that I am and quit denying myself good things because other people don't share that opinion, or think it is right, or think it is what I want, need or deserve.  I'm in denial of the fact that the things I don't love about myself might be something someone else loves about me.

Funny thing about denial...as much as we associate it with bad things, perhaps it is how we're applying it.  Something tells me if I spend more time denying things that make me unhappy and stop denying things that just might... I'm going to get a lot farther.

Time to stop hiding the things I don't like about myself inside myself



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sex

This Week's Prompt:
SEX

Sex.

I have not had any lately. Which is a damn shame because if we are being honest, I could probably use the stress relief. It would appear, however, that there are people I know who think I have problems meeting people who interested in me sexually.

Interesting.

There seems to be this idea that when you are a bigger woman, you have problems attracting interested members of the opposite sex. I guess no one told them that there is no rule that says you have to be "fit" to be sexy or to have good sex. Perhaps it is true for some people, but it has never been for me. My current problem is not a lack of offers, but a genuine lack of interest in the men attempting to entice me into bed. While I appreciate the concern for my sexual well-being (why isn't there a sarcasm font yet?), I am doing great and my weight does not hinder my sexual opportunities as much as my winning personality does.

There are some people who consider sex to be very important to their lifestyle. For me, when the situation is not right, sex just complicates things. Then again, sometimes I think I take sex too seriously. Other times, I think other people take it too lightly. Either way, to each their own I suppose.

I have always believed the best thing anyone can do is explore their sexuality and whatever that means to them. Experiment, or don't. Do all the things, or don't. I fully support everyone doing what they want to do. If it doesn’t hurt anyone… do what you will. But I think at the very least, every sexually active person should know how to take care of their own body and know what they like. Sexual Self-Awareness is a joy everyone should have, but I'm not going to say getting there isn't a bumpy road sometimes.

Is there anyone who does not have an embarrassing sex story? Whether it is an awkward injury, getting caught, or most unfortunate flatulence, it seems everyone has a cringe-worthy tale to share. I am not any different and unfortunately I can say I have experienced all three of the aforementioned embarrassing moments (and then some).

When I was 21, a girl I worked with decided she wanted to be a Passion Parties Representative to make extra income. She planned on hosting parties and wanted practice giving her presentation and talking about sex in a room full of people. Her best friend, another coworker, offered to be her first party host so she could practice surrounded by supportive friends.

We all showed up for a night of girly booze and sex talk. We played some party games. The presentation was good for a first timer and even though it was my first adult toy party, I found myself having a good time. The problem was that invitations were not limited to our social group from work and other giggling twenty-somethings.

My boss was there for my sex party deflowering.

If we had met under different circumstances, my boss and I might have really liked each other. She was less than ten years older than me and we had a few things in common. At the time, though, she was a retail manager and there was a "line" between peon and management. Never in a thousand years did I ever need to know which remote-control rabbit she already had. Believe it or not, the worst part was yet to come when the orders were "delivered".

I expected a phone call and a drop off, or a discreet pass off. I thought maybe my items would be delivered in a pink or red gift bag with some pretty tissue paper. You know, something cute and classy or even remotely professional.

I guess I was expecting a bit much because my coworker came to work two weeks later toting one large cardboard shipping box. Nothing was labeled, separated or even grouped together by order. The box was set behind the Service Desk in full access to the prying eyes and scrutiny of every employee. Everyone who attended the party received a text letting them know that orders were in and to come pick up their stuff. The order sheet was left on top of the box for people to check off after digging through the large box of intimate purchases for their stuff.

As I considered this person to be a friend, I decided to really invest in her endeavor and had used the occasion to purchase my first Adult Novelty Item. Upon digging through the box of orders I quickly discovered two things. I had invested more in her alleged future career than anyone else and I was the only one who ordered more than a bottle of flavored lube and bubble bath. I walked out of work that day with my raspberry tingle cream and new battery-operated-boyfriend triple quadruple-wrapped in white plastic bags tucked under my arm like I was smuggling drugs. I have never been to another party since.

I have learned quite a few things since then. The first is that it's always cheaper to buy your sex toys online. Even Amazon sells sex toys; They're hidden under the Health and Household as Sexual Wellness Products. The most important thing is that there might be some great debate on what makes the best sex and what the best sex really is, but I believe the best sex is completely uninhibited. Getting there starts by educating yourself and not buying your Adult Novelties from a coworker.

Have you ever attended an awkward sex toy party?

An InLinkz Link-up

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hope

This Week's Prompt:
HOPE

For some reason, if Hope were a color I would imagine it as being yellow.

You would think that someone who has faced depression before, and who has openly discussed issues with self-harm would know the signs of depression and wouldn't be afraid to talk about it or seek help.  It seems that even being well experienced in struggling with depression and speaking out against stigma does not lead to immunity from stigma and personal shame.  That being said... it's time to come clean.

Hi, my name is Ashley and I'm suffering from Severe Depression.

It is no secret that I've had a real rough time of it lately.  While I've been open about it, I've tried not to whine (and not always excelled in the endeavor).  I've tried to embrace that things are changing for me right now.  I've tried to accept that perhaps right now I'm supposed to be learning something about myself, life, love, happiness, hard work...I'm not entirely sure.  While I've been open about my struggles, the truth is that I haven't been honest with anyone (including myself) just how bad things are.

While it might appear that I am still functioning because I get up and go to work every day, every morning is a fight to get out of bed.  While I still manage to make this blog happen, I feel like I'm not expressing myself as creatively as I would like.  I am exhausted from stress and maintaining the facade things are ok.  I'm not sleeping at night and when I do, I often have nightmares.   My home is messier than it has ever been in my life and I am ashamed.  I am struggling financially and every attempt to cut costs, budget, and find a second job in an attempt to catch up and improve things has proven futile.  While I still shower daily, apply deodorant and wear clean clothes, my personal hygiene consists of the bare minimum; I'm taking care of myself but not taking care of myself in a way that makes me feel good or confident about my appearance.  Speaking of appearance, I'm gaining weight yet again... which doesn't help the chest pains (I know they come from stress and have seen a doctor, but it is an incredibly scary feeling anyway).  I'm struggling with my back injury and my chronic pain is exacerbated by my depression while contributing to it at the same time.  I feel guilty for not being the daughter, sister, aunt, partner, friend or person that I want to be or have been in the past.  And the guilt is crushing...I feel guilty because I feel this way, because I'm letting people down, because I can't bring myself to tell someone because I don't want to make all of this ugly and soul-sucking darkness I feel inside their problem.  I feel guilty for being a fake because I just keep pushing to pretend it is all ok.  I feel guilty writing this.

I have isolated myself.  Following "the breakup", I became incredibly aware and sensitive towards behaviors I felt were manipulative, controlling or abusive.  Realizing that many of those behaviors were also present in some friendships was incredibly hard, especially when no matter what I said or did to attempt to talk to those people about the problem, they just didn't get it.  At some point, you just have to let go of people who don't make you feel good inside.  But eventually I started to feel like I was that person to others.  When things happen, I NEED to talk about them over and over again... it's how I process experiences.  Unfortunately, that can be incredibly hard on the people around you and I felt like I just kept projecting my negativity onto people I care about.  Eventually, I quit answering calls and stopped accepting invitations from people who are genuinely my friends because I hated feeling like I ruined everyone's good time with yet another angry bitter story or comment.  I got tired of feeling like I was being the kind of friend I was trying to get away from, and it became easier to just stay home.

The one person I felt I should be able to talk to about all of these things shut me down with "you should go outside and exercise".  No one who has ever been depressed wants to fucking be told to go exercise.  Is there anyone in the free world who doesn't know exercise helps depression?  Being told to go exercise after confiding that you're struggling with mental health issues is like being nailed in the face with an snowball that turned to ice: cold and incredibly painful.  What I really wanted from that person specifically was for them to just be there for me while I let it out.  I wanted someone to validate my feelings and tell me "You've had a rough time.  It's normal for you to feel this way.  It's ok to be bitter and angry and shitty and salty for awhile.  It's ok and I still care about you" without having to ask because everything feels less sincere when you have to ask for it.  Needless to say, I didn't get what I wanted.

Part of me feels like I need to just sit down and cry because I haven't...as if while trying to be "strong" I forgot to just be human.  I've shed a few tears here and there, but I think I've needed to break down and have a sobbing, ugly cry.  The kind of crying that requires an entire box of tissue.  The kind of crying that leaves you puffy faced the next day.  The kind with sobs that feel like they come from so deep inside that it must be your soul.  The kind of tears that feel hot and somehow cleansing as they come out.

Unfortunately, when you feel as bad as I've been feeling, there is no way to tell people how bad it is without there being an outpouring of the kind of support that feels overwhelming to an introvert.  I don't want people to stage some kind of totally unnecessary intervention.  I don't want people to start randomly showing up at my house to check on me, or doing things that make me feel smothered.   I'm ok being alone.  In fact, right now it kind of feels necessary to me to cocoon until I can make the necessary changes in myself to emerge.  All I really want is some understanding and some love.  I wouldn't say no to a hug, because lately I could really use one more often than not.  I want people to know that it isn't personal, that I just need to work on some things.  I want to know that when I'm ready to emerge or come around that I have a place I can come around to.  If I show up, I want to be welcomed.  I wouldn't say no to a text message saying, "Hey, I miss you and I'm thinking of you" without all the pressure to put on a face and perform the "everything is a-ok" routine.  I don't want to feel guilty or made to feel guilty about needing to take care of myself.  Above all, I really just want to know that right now when I can't do anything for anyone else and I'm struggling to be the best version of myself that I'm still loved.

Through all of this, the one thing I have is Hope.  Hope that when I'm done cocooning I'll emerge a better person.  Hope that the people I've tried to be considerate of, perhaps the wrong way, will be understanding.  Hope that by admitting this out loud that I will be able to do what I need to do for myself and move towards something better.  Hope that by openly admitting that I'm struggling harder than I ever recall struggling before someone else will feel moved to share with someone who cares about them that they are struggling and might need some help too.

When I think of Hope, I think of the color yellow.  I think it is because I realize and understand that without the darkness, we cannot see the light.  And though my world in many ways strongly resembles a long, cold night... at some point there will be rays of yellow sunlight, and as long and I just keep facing a new day I have another opportunity to try and make things better.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Forget

This weeks prompt:
FORGET

One of the most painful experiences of my life was experiencing what it feels like to have someone I love not recognize me on sight, and forget my name.  Not just anyone, but two people who took care of me, taught me things, and helped raise me.  

At the same time, I realize that there is blessing in forgetting.  As someone who struggles hard with change, at the same time I can't help but think that change is such a beautiful thing because many times it helps us to forget the severity of the hurts of the past whether they are physical or emotional.

Sometimes when I look back at things I wrote in the past, I can see the emotion emanating from them and while what I was writing about might seem 100 miles away, when I really stop to look at the events that transpired in my own words, see my emotions and reactions on paper in ink and compare them to my thoughts about the situation now... I can see the beauty that comes with forgetting.  

While I've experienced the pain of forgetting, I've seen the beauty too.  What would life be like if time and change didn't dull the pain, and we never forgot?


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Without

This week's topic: 
WITHOUT

I hurt someone I love very much recently.  I spoke without restraint.  I spoke with anger, suspicion and hurt, but most importantly I spoke without love.  As a result, I am without right now.

I am not so foolish to think that I am truly without them. Ours is not a relationship based or reliant upon physical presence, and being 'without' isn't necessarily a new thing as others might understand it. As such, I believe that I am loved in such a way that I am never truly without them in heart, mind and spirit.  I know that as I write this, even at this late hour, I'm being loved and thought of (even if only in anger).  Nonetheless, I am bereft of the comfort that knowledge usually brings me.

I am without words.  Unfortunately, I am entirely devoid of ideas, intuitive notions, or the knowledge as to how to soothe the hurt I caused and remedy the situation; a simple apology feels inadequate.

It appears after all this time, after everything, I struggle with living a life without fear and suspicion caused by the pain of the past.

It's time I learn to move forward without my baggage.

It appears that I am still learning and growing, I just hope that perhaps I can do so without hurting too many more people.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Faith


This week's topic: 
FAITH

When people hear the word "Faith", I think the automatic assumption is that I'm talking about religious faith; a reasonable assumption as that is the context in which we most often discuss faith.  

But I think Faith goes so much deeper than that, doesn't it?  What about the Faith we have in each other?  Faith in our friends and family?  Faith in humanity?  Faith in the things we're supposed to be able to trust and believe in?  What are the limits of Faith?

I find myself struggling with Faith of all kinds, not just the kind that believes in a higher power or religious doctrine.  

Our world has become such a corrupt place.  Every day there are news stories about corrupt police officers, exoneration of innocent men placed on death row for decades before being found innocent, suffering Veterans who were willing to sacrifice for this country who now can't get decent healthcare much less proper care for traumas suffered during their service.  The United States Government is trying to poison citizens.  Even doctors can no longer be trusted... how can you trust someone to have an individual's best interest in mind when the doctor works for a corporation that has a bottom line?

That all just sounds so sad, doesn't it?  And I struggle with that sadness.

My faith in humanity wavers.  I see people do beautiful things to help other people.  But then I lose it all when I see how fickle some of those actions can be, like in the case of the Hot Felon who's story and face made international news when people chose to donate money to his cause because they found him attractive, while innocent men are sitting on death row with no help, no GoFundMe account, much less anyone willing to even listen to their story.

I don't know how I feel about marriage anymore after seeing so many fail and after having so many of my own personal relationships end in ways unnecessarily ugly.  

The only solution I have is to believe in something higher than myself, in a higher purpose, and to try and act in ways that inspire people to have faith in others.  Sometimes I suck at that and fail miserably, but just think... what would happen if instead of worrying about some kind of agenda and financial bottom line, everyone just looked out for each other?  What would happen if instead of thinking it was us against the world, we started pushing to succeed as a group?  What if we all fought to be the best version of ourselves?


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Captive

Welcome to another Sunday Confessions!  


This week's topic: 
CAPTIVE

The English language is such a funny thing.  I can't help but wonder at the vast difference in meaning between the words "captive" and "captivate". 




Maybe there is something wrong with me but I just can't see how the noun and the verb can have such different meanings.  But in hindsight, I realize that so many of the things in my life that have captivated me have ended up holding me captive.

I've come to realize that when I get into something, I go all in and get a little obsessive about it.  I over-do everything because I want to be good at everything.  I people-please to the extreme.  I get so captivated that it stops being fascinating and becomes confining.  And even though I know that, it doesn't stop me from going all in when it comes to relationships, hobbies, even things like holiday preparations.  

I've been captive to so many things... fear, relationships, poor coping mechanisms, binge eating... unfortunately, it seems that I have some habits to break. The worst part has been finding just how captive I've been to negativity and ugliness; how much darkness has been in my life and it's been the hardest thing for me to walk away from yet.
Shortly after the break-up from a man I once found captivating who was really no good for me, I went to get an Energy Healing Session (Reiki).  I felt blocked.  I felt dirty on every layer of my being.  I didn't know what to expect, but I was willing to try anything.  It was an awesome and interesting experience.  As I was getting my healing, there were so many ugly things that went through my mind and I realized that I had been poisoning myself for so long with things that seemed harmless.  I walked away thinking "It's time to clean up my life".

It's pretty easy to walk away thinking that, and another to actually do it.  To cut out things that could be considered poisonous to the brain, body and psyche when you're embraced them for so long thinking they were harmless.  On some level, I still seek out the poison because it is like a sickness or a drug and it's been the hardest thing I've faced yet. 

Very shortly after I left the relationship and started on my road towards healing, I tried to help someone in a similar situation.  After awhile, I realized I wanted to help them because I wanted to be the person I needed someone to be for me, and because it gave me something to focus on other than what was important: working on myself and my own healing.  I let myself be consumed by their problems and issues and be distracted by them in order to avoid dealing with my own problems.  When all was said and done, I took on their ugliness to avoid dealing with my own and eventually it made me vengeful, angry and caused me to act in ways I normally wouldn't.  

It took me a long time to realize that I wasn't practicing what I preach.  I've come to believe that bad, unhealthy relationships are like crack.  No... I don't know that much about crack and I've never tried it so many this is the world's most inappropriate comparison and I'm not trying to make light of a very real affliction.  But I once had a friend of a friend who had struggling with a crack addiction tell me how much she loved crack.  She didn't do it anymore, but she loved it.  And I realized... bad relationships are like crack because even when they're killing you, even when you've given away everything for it and it's ravaged the health of your mind and body... you still want it.  And addiction is a sickness.  Sickness, like the common cold, is contagious.  Being around sick people will make you sick again.  And that is what I was doing... exposing myself to sick people who only reinfected me when I was beginning to heal and I was SO sick.  I was so sick that I considered calling the man I once considered so captivating who was no good for me.  After fighting so hard for progress, I still had days where it was all I could think about.

Some days I'm still held captive by the ugly things I swore to get away from.  I keep trying to remind myself that being bitter/anger/resentful is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.  I keep trying to clean up my life and work towards something beautiful, something captivating... but I keep struggling with being a captive of the past and sadly, sometimes, I think it makes me a sick person who infects others and I hate myself for it.  I've been wondering lately if the things that have held me captive and made me miserable have begun making others miserable and I struggle with that... with the idea that I'm making people I care about miserable because I'm struggling to let go. 


I read this the other day and it reminded me why I have to keep pushing, to keep trying, to keep working towards removing the things that are ugly but also the things that make me feel and act ugly because I am a collective of every experience I have ever had... and I've worked so hard to see, feel, have and know too many beautiful things to have it all shadowed by the ugliness I've encountered along the way.