My Mom has a Favorite; It’s not Me

My Mom has a Favorite; It's not meMy mother has a favorite child, but it’s not me. Yes, she has more than one. Yes, it’s pretty evident that there is a favorite. No, she’s not subtle about it. No, it’s not in my head. This is a for real thing. My mom has a favorite child.

I know they say that a parent should not have favorites, but I’ve read enough Dear Prudie articles to know that there are parents who certainly do have favorites. I’ve seen enough Whisper posts to know that there are parents who have favorites. I’ve had a favorite brother; why not have a favorite child?

Well, for starters, it’s not fair. All of you out there who also know that your mother has a favorite will also know that it feels awfully unfair. You don’t get the same type of treatment. You don’t get the same advantages. You don’t get the same help, the same encouragement, the same types of presents, or anything the same. How this usually goes is the favorite child gets away with a whole lot and gets a lot.

In my family, I am the oldest child, the most responsible, the only one with a college education, the most talented one, as of yet, but none of that makes me the favorite. I’m even the only female child in my family. Does it matter? Nope.

Now, out of my three younger brothers, you might imagine that the youngest was the favorite, or the next to youngest for being so smart. You would be wrong. The favorite child in my family is the trouble-maker, the one who does everything wrong, the one who has caused more crap than the three other children combined. That one–that child, is the favorite.

I’ve always known this. Ever since this kid was born, I have known he was the favorite. He got more than I did. He got more attention from my mother than I did. He got more of everything. He got to sit up front in the car, a practice which would be frowned upon these days. He got the bigger room. He got the more expensive presents. He got the more expensive clothes. He got away with everything. He was defended more times than I ever was. More excuses have been made for him than anyone else in the family. If I had a dollar for every time my mother made an excuse for my brother, I probably wouldn’t have to work right now, well, at least for a couple of weeks anyway.

What’s more, people can see that my mom prefers my brother, over anyone else in the family, anyone, that includes her other children, her husband, her siblings, and various pets. It’s obvious. As my boyfriend put it, “She talks about him like she’s talking about a high school crush.” Everything is always centered around him. She’s calling him. She’s waiting on him. She’s paying for something, for him. She’s buying something for him.

Now that he has a baby, it’s worse. The baby is going to be the most spoiled baby in existence.

I don’t understand why. I don’t get why he is the favorite. It’s not that I want to be the favorite, because I don’t, really, my mom puts way too much attention on my brother and I’m just not that into that much attention from my mother. I just think it’s unfair. I have three brothers who are all valuable and great in their own rights. It’s like my mom practically ignores my other two brothers. Sure, she still loves them and still does things for them, but her emphasis is not on them; it’s on our other brother.

I do want to be a bit selfish about it. If my mother had defended me like she defended my brother, how much more well-adjusted would I be now? How much further would I be in my life if I had had a mother who actively participated in protecting my mental health, or my physical health for that matter? If my desires had been listened to, where would I be now? How about that time I begged to go to boarding school, seriously, how much better of an education would I have gotten? How much better off would I be mentally had I not had to live in a house with constant fighting all of the time?

My mom was still my mother, still is. She still did things for me. She still made sure I had a roof over my head. Ultimately though, whatever my mother has done for me and my other brothers pales in comparison to what she has done for the other brother, the favorite.

So, yeah, my mom has a favorite kid. I have no idea why he’s the favorite because he’s certainly caused her the most trouble, but he’s the favorite none-the-less. I don’t love my mom or my brother any less because of it, but it hurts a bit knowing that your own mother just doesn’t care for you in the way she cares for one of your siblings.

Don’t Take me to Church

Don't Take me to ChurchI used to go to church, every Sunday, for three hours. Sometimes church started at nine in the morning and sometimes it started at noon, or one, or ten, or eleven. I’ve gone to church at all sorts of different times, for three hours, on lots of Sundays. In addition to Sunday, there were also occasionally Wednesday night meetings, Thursday activities, and various meetings for positions I volunteered for at church. There was a lot of church. Church used to be this big part of my life.

I say used to be because it no longer is. I didn’t stop believing. I didn’t convert to Buddhism, Satanism, or Pastafarianism. I didn’t even take a yoga class, that’s how not, not church I am. It’s not that I wouldn’t take a yoga class, or that I associate it with eastern philosophies. I think it’s a form of exercise, but some people certainly do associate it with other religious teachings. That comparison was just to show that I’m not even really flirting with other religions.

If nothing else has peaked my interest, why not go?

There is nothing better than my church. I don’t have an alternative to go to. If I went anywhere, I would go to my church. I simply love some of the beautiful and very spiritual things about my church. I have not found religious teachings more beautiful anywhere else. I have not felt closer to the divine anywhere else, well, besides nature and when I see the beauty of human beings, not physical beauty, the beauty of things that people are capable of.

So why not go, if I have nothing better?

I’m tired. I’m worn out. I’m tired of church drama. I’m tired of following teachings and ending up in bad situations because I did. I’m tired of being told that God cares about sins more than he cares about me. I’m tired of being told that God cares more about men than he does about women. I’m tired of being expected to fulfill certain roles because I’m a woman in a religion. I’m tired of being looked down on because I don’t fit the cultural expectations of my church. If you don’t believe that your church has its own culture that goes above and beyond what your church teaches, you better think again, and think hard.

I’m also tired of not learning anything new. I am a spiritual person. I want to broaden myself spiritually through my worship experience, not hear the same thing over, and over, and over, and over again. Religion is not about repetition; it’s about growth and you only grow, or change, if you do something different. Sure, you could argue that you have to repeat the same action over and over again to form a habit, which could bring about a change, but you would have to make a decision to start the new thing in the first place, which is different from what you were normally doing.

I hated school. I heard the same thing, over and over again. I had already learned it, years previously, but, yet, I had to sit there and hear the same thing over and over again. It never did me any more good than the first time I heard it and it became frustrating. It was a chore. It was a chore to wake up five days a week and go listen to stuff I already knew, all while sitting in a hard chair, in a boring room.

My church attendance was no different. I went to church. I heard the same thing, over and over again. There were no revelations. The teachings I heard, over and over again, which I already practiced, didn’t really do me much good playing on repeat. I took to doodling in a sketchbook, while attending one hour, instead of three, on Sundays. I then took to not going at all. If I was going to take time out of my Sunday to get up early and go doodle in somewhere that wasn’t my house, to learn nothing, why should I go at all?

Moving forward, there were teachings and cultural things about my church that started to hurt. There were so many, “If you follow these teachings in your life, things will be ok,” statements. Yes, really? No, not really. I did a whole lot of following. That following got me a mentally abusive marriage, that not many people associated with the church would label as mentally abusive because of the lack of teachings about such things. My own grandmother was the best voice of reason in the whole thing. She told me that it could be a greater sin to stay in a bad marriage than it was to keep it together. I prayed. I fought. I got out.

It’s so hard to split apart some beautiful gospel, from a culture that can be very flawed. If I adhered to all the things I used to adhere to, because of my church, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m in a much healthier place mentally. I am not miserable. I’m not depressed. I am in a great relationship, with a man I don’t fight with, with a man I can do things with, with a man who has shared interests. That man is not a member of my church. He even has qualities that members of my church would look down upon, heavily, but he is a wonderful person, who is very generous and responsible. I would not have this relationship had I adhered to the “only date members” repetition that many church members go about playing on repeat. You know what I would have? Not much. I would be alone. I am in a relationship with a person I could actually raise a family with and he would be responsible about it. That means so much to me. You know what means more? The fact that he would be happy if we had children, or, heaven forbid, if we couldn’t. He values his relationship with me more than the prospect of passing on his genetic material, unlike the last guy.

I think part of what made my ex-husband so abusive was the fact that he felt entitled to treat me however he wanted because of how he twisted church teachings in his head. It’s not the church’s fault he did that; it’s his, but it doesn’t change the fact that it happened. He thought he could do whatever and I would take it, that I would have to take it, because of church teachings. He picked the wrong woman for that.

Through all of this, I’ve learned that a person’s own perspective about their belief is a lot more important than what that belief supposedly is on paper. Church teachings are wonderful and beautiful, but it’s what you do with those teachings that is either the wonderful thing or the terrible thing, after all, many people have done a great many terrible things in the name of God. I don’t want you to tell me that you are a Christian, or a Buddhist, or whatever, I want you to show me with your actions and who you are as a person. If you truly are whatever religion you claim to be, it will show in your actions with the world.

I’m not perfect, nobody is. Maybe I could benefit from going to church every once in a while, maybe someday. Right now, I’m assessing the good things about my beliefs. I’m tallying up the things I know to be true. I know Heavenly Father cares a whole lot about me as a person and would like to see me happy. I know he cares a whole lot about me becoming a better person through personal interactions, relationships, and knowledge. I know he gave me a brain and the ability to reason, so I could think about things and make my own darn decisions. I know he hopes those decisions will lead me back to the spirit kingdom to be with my family forever. I don’t have to go to church every Sunday to know those things. These are all things I’ve learned outside of church among other people, normal people, probably even some hipsters.

You want to know God? Go see what he created. See the mountains. See the sky. Look at the stars. See all the wonderful things people can do. Be amazed at the talent of others. Think about how photosynthesis works; it’s pretty important.

I Don’t Get Networking

I Don't Get NetworkingI Don’t Get Networking

I’ve recently read a book about networking and I’ve heard about it for years, but, I don’t get it.

I’m an introverted person. When I hear the word “networking,” I think about going up to complete strangers and bragging about yourself in hopes that said stranger will give you a job, or by your product, or whatever. It all sounds like a lot of uncomfortable talk to me. I don’t like bragging about myself. What are you supposed to do after that introduction anyway?

People at a networking event:

Hi, I’m Bob. I work at Logistics Corporation in finance.

Hi, Bob, I’m John, I work at Logix Corporation in data processing.

What are you supposed to say next?

How’s the finance world? How’s data processing? Do you like data processing? Can you tell me the history of data processing?

I mean, really, what in the heck are you supposed to say to a person after you have pretty much walked up to them and pulled your Ace out of your sleeve?

I could certainly walk up to someone and say, ” Hello, my name is Ashe Arterberry. I have two bachelor’s degrees–one in Fine Arts with an emphasis in technology and mass production of images(printmaking) and one in Information Technology. I have CompTIA A+, Network +, and Security + certifications. I can program in HTML, CSS, Javascript, JQUERY, and Cold Fusion. I know both SQL and MySQL. I can manage databases. I can create websites. I can manage Microsoft networks. I can terminate internet cables. I am well-versed in many art forms. I can produce photography and also excellent hand drawings. I can create sewing patterns. I’m an excellent cook. I can play the piano very well. I’m classically trained to sing. I’m an excellent problem solver. I’m also excellent at creating solutions to those problems I solved. I can teach you classes on how to do just about anything. I have technical writing experience. I can take large amounts of data and simplify it in a manner that anyone can understand. I also know English, very well, and I’m not terrible at Spanish. I read over a hundred and eleven books every year. I’ve written thousands of pages on many books and fairy tales. I’m also pretty good-looking.”

So I can go up to someone and spew all of that out, but isn’t that weird? Why would the somebody else care? I don’t even say all of that stuff when I go for a job interview. I think it’s pretty darn impressive, but it would be really weird if I just went up to someone and vomited that information out. What’s even weirder to me is a bunch of people in the same place doing the same thing.

I forgot to add that I’m pretty good at Scrabble to that list.

The concept of going up to someone else and talking about how important you supposedly are, has always seemed as dishonest to me, or rather, lacking in character. It goes against the idea of being humble. Yeah, I’m awesome, but I don’t have to go say it to everyone I meet. I don’t need to go to some “networking meeting” and tell everyone there I’m awesome, especially when they’re all trying to tell me that they’re awesome. I don’t particularly care that they’re saying they’re awesome and I’m sure they don’t particularly care about me saying I’m awesome. It all seems like a big farce.

It shouldn’t matter what you can say about yourself; it should matter what you can do. If I can do these wonderful things, my work should speak for itself. Conversations about my merit should really be something like, “Hi, my name is Ashe Arterberry, let me show you what I can do.” If my work is up to snuff, then I should be hired, or collaborated with, or whatever the case may be.

My whole misunderstanding of networking is also compounded by the fact that in my personal experience people who are good at networking, are simply good at schmoozing, and while that may be great for that aspect of life, they can’t actually back up all their schmoozing. They’re like professionals at going up to other people and bragging about the things they can do, but if you actually looked at their results, it wouldn’t be that impressive. They think the end-all is knowing how to talk the talk. In reality, I think it’s better to know how to walk the walk, if you had to choose.

In my personal experience, I have always gotten to do something based on my merit, rather than because I “knew someone.” Knowing someone has never gotten me a job or a big opportunity. Being good at what I can do is what has gotten me advantages in life.

So in the end, I’m still very confused about networking.

Oh, Honey, Just Wait for God to Change Him…

Oh, Honey, Just Wait for God to Change Him...Oh, Honey, Just Wait for God to Change Him…

I recently read this awful book. I went on about it, at length, on my main site. It was one woman’s perspective about marriage and kids,–all about what God wants. To sum the whole thing up–if you’re a woman, you’re meant to stay at home, having babies, and letting your husband make all the decisions, because he’s the man. Women were made to serve men after all. As if that wasn’t infuriating enough, this woman, has the gall to suggest that if you’re in an abusive relationship, you may have to distance yourself physically because of danger, but you’re still supposed to respect your husband and maintain a relationship with him, because God can change any man.

Look, can God change any man? Well, yes, certainly. If God can create universes, God can change your abusive husband’s heart.

Here’s the thing, just because God can do something, doesn’t mean he’s going to do it. It’s not that God isn’t sympathetic to the fact that your abusive husband is being a jerk and, quite frankly, acting against the things God wants by mistreating another one of his creations; it’s the fact that your abusive husband, no matter how abusive, or how bad, is an autonomous being.

People were given brains so they could think for themselves. God, or whatever higher power you believe in, gave people brains so they could learn about the world and then decide how to act based on their knowledge. Generally, God doesn’t go around forcing people to think and behave in certain manners. We are allowed to think or behave however we want as long as we’re willing to pay whatever consequences there may be.

Let’s say your husband is really abusive; let’s make up a hypothetical guy. Let’s call him Ted. Ted is a real dick. Maybe he’s physically abusive. Maybe he’s mentally abusive. Maybe he’s both. He treats you like dirt. He treats you like you’re not a person. He tries to convince you that you’re crazy. Everything is your fault. All his problems are because of you. You’re stupid and you don’t know how to do anything. He’s the man and he knows more about everything that you. A little slap every now and then is warranted because you were making him angry. If this sounds familiar in your personal experience, I do apologize.

Let’s say you are religious. You pray to God about Ted. Please God, please let Ted stop trying to convince me that I’m crazy. Please God, I’m terribly depressed, please get Ted to stop. Dear God, please don’t let Ted hit me again.

It’s not that God doesn’t hear your prayers, because he does. In fact, they probably depress him a great deal. One of his children, is treating another one of his children in a terrible manner, in a relationship that is supposed to be the most important relationship on Earth, and beyond, to both of them.

We have to get back around to this Ted is his own person thing. Ted can make his own choices. Let’s say God hears your prayers and he decides to send realizations and good thoughts to Ted. Does this mean Ted is going to stop being a dick? Nope, well, chances are, no, but there is also a chance it will work.

Here’s the thing, for this whole thing to actually work, Ted has to accept the help from God. Ted has to accept these good thoughts, or good vibes, or whatever it is. Ted has to want to accept these things. They’re not going to be forced upon him, most likely. I only know of one scriptural story about a man forced to change mentally by God. So the chances of God forcing Ted to be a better husband are not good.

There are several things that make this process more complicated. Maybe God is sending out a ton of life changing vibes to Ted. Maybe Ted doesn’t want them. Maybe Ted realizes what he is doing is wrong, but he doesn’t care, and therefore will not accept any promptings from God on the subject of changing.

Maybe, Ted is so utterly screwed up that he doesn’t realize he’s doing anything wrong. The fact of the matter is to correct a wrong behavior, someone first has to admit that they’re wrong. If you’re a heroin addict, you have to admit you’re a heroin addict. If you’re an alcoholic, you have to admit you’re an alcoholic. If you’re an abuser and you want to change, you have to admit that you’ve been abusive.

Ted may be so high and mighty with his opinions, that he would never allow the thought that he is wrong to even enter his head.

So here is God, sending all these life-changing promptings to Ted, and he’s over there either ignoring them, or not realizing they exist because Ted is Ted and he’s always right, right?

Is Ted going to change if either of these scenarios are the case?

No!

Granted, maybe Ted does allow these promptings from God into his life. Maybe Ted says, “Oh man! I’m abusing my wife! I’ve got to stop. She’s a person. She deserves respect. She deserves love.”

This one is the least likely. It’s not that I’m a pessimist, it’s that how this usually works is that abusers keep on being abusers; they just might mellow out a little as they get older, but they’re still abusers. Maybe they quit beating you after age fifty, but the mental abuse is still good and strong.

If you believe that God loves you, you should also believe that God wants you to be happy and safe. If physical and mental abuse from a spouse has gotten so bad that you’re coming close to being killed, or killing yourself because you can’t take the mental abuse anymore, this is not something God wants. God does not want you to stay with a person who has hardened their heart to your extreme detriment.

What can Ted’s wife do?

Ted’s wife can stay in the abuse and end up a battered shadow of herself, possibly committing suicide because she can’t take it anymore.

Ted’s wife can leave Ted. Ted’s wife can get a divorce. Ted’s wife can go find herself a man who knows how to treat women like people.

Maybe Ted will realize he’s wrong and stop his terrible behavior, but how long is Ted’s wife supposed to wait for this to happen? A year? Two years? Five? Ten? Twenty? Until she’s dead? Is she supposed to wait until Ted is resurrected?

Ultimately, it’s a decision that a woman would have to make with much thought, and prayer, if you’re a praying person.

Before taking some terrible advice from a supposed Christian woman who wrote a book, it’s better to use your brain, which God gave you, to make a choice that benefits you the most physically, spiritually, and mentally.

You’re Holding a Chicken

You're Holding a ChickenYou’re Holding a Chicken

Look, we all love the taste of chicken, but that’s not what this is about. I’m actually lovingly calling this chicken theory. Well, what’s chicken theory? I made it up, so it hasn’t existed before, unless there is some other official theory about chickens, perhaps about the chicken and the egg. This theory isn’t actually about chickens, the chickens are just metaphors, object lessons.

This theory is about problems that are only problems because society says they’re problems. We’re not talking about littering, global warming, corrupt politics, people without enough food, abuse of government systems, or disease epidemics, which are all very real problems, we’re talking about problems people have for no other apparent reason than society has deemed it a problem. Society has said, “I don’t like the way your nose looks,” so from that point forward society has it out for you and your nose, when there is nothing wrong with your nose at all. It’s actually a non-issue.

Imagine you’re just standing there one day and Society comes up to you and hands you a chicken. What are you supposed to do with this chicken? So you’re standing there holding this chicken, not sure about what to do next, when Society looks at you and starts making fun of you because you’re holding a chicken. Maybe you ask why you’re being made fun of for holding a chicken, and Society replies, “Just because.” Maybe you ask why again, and you get, “Because I said so.”

So you have this chicken and more of Society starts making fun of you for it. Some of them ignore you because you have the chicken. Some of them are downright mean to you because you have the chicken. Maybe you start losing out on opportunities because you have the chicken. Maybe you didn’t get a job, because you were holding a chicken. In real life it would honestly be a bit strange if you showed up to a job interview with a chicken, but we’re talking metaphors, not real life.

People start overlooking you, and marginalizing you, and saying mean things about you on the internet because you have this chicken.

Finally, you’ve had it with this damn chicken and you decide that you’re going to put it down. Well, the thing is–Society Superglued this chicken to your hand. You can’t put it down. You can’t get rid of this chicken.

You realize that you’re stuck with this chicken because Society Superglued it to your hand, so you try to make the best of it. You try to live your best life, despite the fact that you have a squawking chicken Superglued to your hand. As you can imagine, it’s not easy. Not only does Society make fun of you, belittle you, and discriminate against you because you’re holding a chicken, it’s also difficult to go throughout every day life with a chicken glued to your hand.

Putting on clothes is not easy. You have to fit an entire chicken through your jacket sleeve, which is no easy feat. It’s hard to open doors because you have a chicken glued to your hand. It’s difficult to drive. The chicken is noisy. You have to feed it. Sometimes it’s difficult to fit places because you always have to keep in mind that you have a flailing chicken glued to your hand.

A reasonable person would assume that since Society gave you this chicken that it should make accommodations for you in order for you to live a normal life. That’s not the case. In fact, Society has seemingly gone out of its way to make life more difficult for you because you have the chicken. There are places you’re not allowed to go because you have the chicken. There are things you’re not allowed to do because you have the chicken. There are jobs you cannot get because you have the chicken. Don’t even get started with the airlines because they don’t like chickens at all. Everyday, you go out and try to be normal, but people talk about you and your chicken loudly. It’s getting pretty depressing. You feel defeated.

No matter who you ask, you always get the same answer about the chicken, “Just because.”

Why did you glue this chicken to my hand?

Just because.

You know life would be so much better if you didn’t have to deal with the stupid chicken. You would think you could just put it down, but Society has made that impossible. No one will take the chicken away from you. Once you have the chicken, you have the chicken. Maybe you try to disguise the chicken with on point makeup tutorials from YouTube. Maybe you knit sweaters for it. Maybe you make a cover to throw over your chicken hand, but everyone still knows there’s a chicken under there.

Are you actually supposed to live your entire life with this chicken on your hand, which causes a multitude of problems in your life, knowing that if the chicken was just unstuck from your hand with some solvent that you could live a normal life?

Well, Society expects you to. You better not even think about taking that chicken off your hand. The minute it’s off, Society will come back with another chicken to take its place, maybe two chickens.

The entirety of Society isn’t awful. There are actually some people who don’t mind your chicken. Maybe they have chickens of their own to deal with, or maybe they’re just that accepting. People who have chickens on their hands will definitely bond more readily than people without chickens on their hands, but there is always the off-chance that for a person with a chicken on their hand to feel the least bit better about themselves, they’ll put you down for having a chicken on your hand. Maybe it’s the same type of chicken, or maybe it’s a different type of chicken, either way, they’re all still chickens.

Alright, let’s get down to it, what do the chickens symbolize? The chickens are problems you have in your life that aren’t real problems, or shouldn’t be, rather, that are huge problems in your life because Society said they were problems.

What kind of problems? Maybe you’re overweight. Maybe you’re a child of a lesbian couple. Maybe you’re missing a leg. Maybe you have really bad adult acne. Maybe you have a beard and you’re a woman. Maybe you’re a Quaker. Maybe you’re from the South. Maybe you’re not white. Maybe you’re not a man. There are so many things the maybe could be.

If you really get down to it–should any of these things matter? Should any single one of these things, or a combination of these things, matter as far as your worth and value to Society? Does being a bearded woman make you any less good at what you do at work? Does being from the South mean your life is worth less? Does being a Quaker mean that you shouldn’t get to participate in societal activities? Do any of these things mean you should be shunned by society? Do any of these things mean that you should be made fun of? Do any of these things mean that you should have less rights?

No. No, and more no.

These things are all superficial to your worth as a person and your worth to Society, but yet, Society makes a huge deal out of these things. Society actually gets downright angry about some of these things. If you’re the overweight, Quaker child of a lesbian couple, from the South, you better just turn your tail around and sign out of Society, because it’s going to be Hell. Plus that’s at least four chickens, so you’re going to need plenty of chicken feed and you’ve got to get to the feed store before it closes.

It’s almost laughable that Society expends so much energy in trying to discriminate against people, for whatever reason. Good Lord, if that energy had been concentrated elsewhere, we would have already solved world peace, world hunger, and time travel. Heck, if Society suddenly decided that these things weren’t actually problems and detrimental qualities, that would actually solve a huge amount of strife in the world.

Just think about it. Are some of the problems you have in your life chicken problems?

If Society suddenly thought that your problem wasn’t a problem, how much easier would your life get?

Thinking of your problem, is there any actual reason that it’s an actual problem or do people just say, “Just because,” with poorly cited sources and arguments?

 

 

 

An Ikea Bag and a Paper Box

An Ikea Bag and a Paper BoxAn Ikea Bag and a Paper Box

A couple of months ago, I had to quit my job, that I had worked at for almost five years, in fact, I was just days short of making it to five years at my former workplace. I didn’t quit because I found something better, or because I was moving, or because I was joining the peace corps, or whatever. Nope, I quite because things got to be unbearable there. This is saying something because my former job had been a wonderful place to work. I had friends there. I had my own office. I had the equipment I needed to do my job. I was respected and my opinion was trusted. People liked me. People depended on me.

The whole problem was that I got a new boss, who wasn’t very nice, or at least he liked to pretend that he was nice.  They’re not above doing whatever it is to make themselves look good.

I was given a huge project to do, which I did by myself, which was a project traditionally done by an entire team. I was left out of the loop. I was told to do one thing and then not made aware when projects were changed. My opinions were not respected. I was not included in any decisions about the department. My time was wasted with extraneous projects. I was told that things would happen a certain way and then the opposite happened. I was accused of not doing my job, even when I was in fact doing my job and something that was supposed to be my boss’s job as well. To top it all off, I wasn’t even making enough money to live on while doing all of this.

None of this would have happened under my former boss, as in the one before the previous one, because he knew I did my job. He knew I worked, and worked, and worked and I didn’t mind so much the fact that I wasn’t making as much money as I should because I had a good environment to work in. The not doing my job part was offensive. I was doing my job so much that I had people  come up to me and say they never saw me anymore because all I was doing was sitting at my desk working on this huge project I was supposed to be doing.

Since I am highly qualified in my field, even though sometimes I don’t feel like it, I know I’m worth more. I talked it over with my boyfriend and my family. They were all of the opinion that I should quit. I was qualified enough that I could find another job, my boss was going to continue being how he was and any more time I spent there would be miserable, and the area held a lot of negative connotations for me anyway because my ex was from the area, so I quit.

It was also abundantly clear that I wasn’t going anywhere else in the company. I had no place to go other than where I already was.

Everything I had in my office during the five years that I worked there fit into an Ikea bag and a paper box. All my little desk knickknacks, my books, my drawer full of tea and Ibuprofen–all of it. This was all I had to show for my five years at this place, which I had enjoyed working at until the new boss.

I did find a new job. I did get to move. I wasn’t even really out any money because of it because things just turned out well. I had a boyfriend to move in with, in a different area without bad memories. I had a temp job to work at until I found a new job. I did find a new job. My apartment even got rented in only a few days after I moved out so I wasn’t even out much rent for breaking my lease. I didn’t have to rent a U-haul to move. I got the money, or part of it anyway, from my retirement account at the former job.

The situation was stressful. I didn’t like the idea of leaving one thing and not having another to go to, but I made out ok. It was actually less than a month from the time I quit to when I started working at my new job. Things turned out well.

It still irritates me that one person, one person, just one, could push me out of something that was mine. It was something that I had and I was good at and this one person came along and took it away from me and accused me of things that weren’t true. I shouldn’t be surprised that one person can cause this much havoc in my life, as I had just experienced that with my ex. He turned my life upside down and it was just him.

The job had been my life for so long. I used to enjoy going to it in the mornings. I hate mornings and I hate getting out of bed, because I usually feel awful in the mornings, but I enjoyed working there. My job got to be something that I didn’t enjoy. I ended up dreading going there every day. It ended up being a chore. I miss the fact that I enjoyed it at one point and now I no longer can, but it’s not the same as it was.

I’m in a better situation now, things really did turn out better than I ever would have expected.

Holidays Anew

Holidays AnewHolidays Anew

My holidays have been different this year and it’s not a bad thing. My holidays have been different because I haven’t had my ex in my life. He wasn’t much for holidays, in fact, he expressed quite a hatred for most holidays, calling some Satanic and some Pagan, some silly, and some stupid. This year, I haven’t had to worry about any of that because he’s not around.

The first six months of this year I celebrated my holidays with my family as  I was single at the time, but for the past six months I’ve had someone to celebrate holidays with. We’ve actually been together over six months now. We had a nice night out, besides the traffic. We had a nice fish dinner and browsed Barnes and Noble for over and hour, then we came home to watch The Grand Tour. It may not be your idea of a nice night, but we enjoyed it.

My holidays have been more satisfying with someone to celebrate them with who actually likes holidays for the most part. We didn’t do any big deal for the Fourth of July, but other holidays have been nice.

For my birthday, which isn’t technically a holiday, I actually had a somewhat nice time, besides dealing with stuff at my former job. My boyfriend did not throw a fit or ruin my birthday, like the case has been every year for the previous eight years. It was nice. There wasn’t even a huge present involved and there was a gas shortage, but my birthday was still nice.

Halloween was right after a move, but my boyfriend isn’t opposed to Halloween and would have dressed up had we not been worn out from moving.

Thanksgiving was a good one though. I didn’t have to listen to my boyfriend bitch about my family, as I would have had my ex been involved. There weren’t comments on my family being “incomplete” or their house being dirty, or small, or gross. My family was accepted for who they were. In fact, my family really likes my boyfriend. They actually came up to me at various times and commented on how my boyfriend is so much more sociable and nicer than my ex. It’s nice to know that my family likes my boyfriend.

My boyfriend even volunteered to help drive down to Georgia, volunteered, really, he did, instead of bitching about driving to a different state. He didn’t complain when I went shopping with my mom after Thanksgiving. He had fun watching movies.

Christmas is going to be different as well. Even though my boyfriend isn’t all in for Christmas, the music mainly, he’s not opposed to the whole idea. In fact, he was up for doing stockings.

Stockings was something I tried to get my ex to do, but he never wanted to do it. Whereas, my boyfriend and I went to JoAnn’s and picked out fabric to make stockings out of. We got a great deal. We came home and I made us both stockings. He even helped a little.

His stocking is black pleather with the car/motorcycle fabric, and mine is the blue one with the cream cuff. We’re each going to fill up each other’s stockings with various things.

It is so nice to be able to celebrate with someone who doesn’t oppose holidays or complain about them all the time. It’s an entirely different experience. It makes things more enjoyable.

It’s both good to know, and a little sad to know, that getting a new person in your life, or getting another person out of your life can change so much.

Humane Treatment

Humane TreatmentHumane Treatment

Sometimes it surprises me how some people treat other people. Sometimes we justify it, saying that it’s not that bad. When kids are bullied, we tend to say, “All kids are bullied,” or, “it happened to me when I was their age.” When we’re mistreated, we tend to say, “Oh, they mean well, but they just don’t understand.”

Quite frankly, I call bull crap on that, “Oh, they mean well,” thing. If you treat a person like dirt, there’s really not an excuse. You can make a conscious choice to treat someone better than you do. I was treated poorly for a long time and a lot of the time I didn’t even realize that I was being treated poorly. I wrote off these moments as joking or personality, when in reality, these moments were hurtful and mean.

I went for years, having almost everything I did, or said, be ridiculed in some manner. If I exercised, it wasn’t doing much at all because I wasn’t running faster, or for longer, or because I wasn’t sweating more. If I watched a show that I liked, artfully directed and portrayed, it was a stupid show. If I liked a funny video, it was childish. If I liked a ghost show, it was Satanic. If I cleaned, it wasn’t clean enough. It was my fault if XYZ thing was done to me. This went on for years, and while I wasn’t physically beaten, I was trodden down mentally. Nothing I ever did was right, or enough. It didn’t matter how hard I tried.

Fast-forward to today, I’m treated well. I’m treated great. I’m treated as if my opinions matter. I’m treated as if I’m smart, which I am, very smart. I’m treated as if I’m beautiful. My interests and endeavors are worthy. I’m not treated as an inferior. I’m not treated like a child. I’m not constantly told that things I’m interested in are weird, stupid, or too much. I’m not always told my efforts are too little. I am appreciated for what I do.

This is a stark contrast to how my life used to be. Part of me has a hard time with this. I know not everyone is the same, specifically men, and I know that not all men will treat me the same. They don’t treat me the same. I’ve had wonderful treatment from men, since I’ve been dating again. I’ve only had one or two people who even said anything remotely mean to me out of a lot of people who I’ve talked to. Even though I know this, sometimes I still have trouble realizing that some people actually know how to treat other people.

I was conditioned to believe that being treated like a person wasn’t a thing that happened in relationships, but it is. I’m treated as if I’m more than a person actually. I’m treated like I matter. Kindness isn’t begrudgingly given to me. In turn, I try my absolute best to treat my man-friend(man not boy) with the most humanity and respect that I can muster. Treating another person like a person goes a long way.

My Sock Party

My Sock PartyMy Sock Party

Some time back, I said I was going to have a party when I got divorced and it was going to be a sock party, well, it happened.

The entire premise of this party is based on the Harry Potter series, which I love. I’ve read the series multiple times and find the lessons and values in the series to be wonderful. In summation, you stand up for what you know is right, even when there is danger in your path, even when it’s difficult, even when you may lose friends over it, and even if a strong political type group says otherwise. You do the right thing.

In the series, Dobby is a house elf, essentially a slave. When Lucious Malfoy unknowingly give Dobby a sock, Harry’s doing, Dobby is freed. Dobby was not allowed to wear clothes, proper clothes anyway, as a house elf, read “slave” there, or actually, whatever you feel would be appropriate.

I was in a relationship that was mentally abusive and controlling. I already had problems with depression and low self-esteem, which made me an easy target. Some things happened to me because someone did them to me. Someone wanted to be manipulative and mentally abusive to me, but some things happened to me because I allowed them to happen because of the depression and low self-esteem. If I would have stood up for myself a lot earlier, I wouldn’t have gone through half of what I did, but I didn’t think I was worth it.

I felt trapped, even more so when I was separated and trying to get a divorce because the treatment was worse than it had been before. I felt I was outright being terrorized and was scared to death. For a time, I literally carried my phone and keys with me everywhere, even inside the house, so I could call 911 at the drop of a hat or make a dash out the door and to my car, if I had to.

I identified with Dobby from Harry Potter. I wasn’t physically kept in the situation I was, but I was kept there mentally. It was difficult to get away from that, very difficult, as such, when the divorce was over, I wanted to celebrate the break of that tie. I felt as if I had been freed. I was no longer legally bound to someone who made me feel as if I wasn’t a person. This person no longer knew where I lived. I no longer owed anything to this person, nothing. I no longer had to be scared.

I came up with the idea of a sock party from Dobby’s story. Dobby got a sock; I wanted socks. I have a very nice friend who loves Harry Potter as much, or more, as I do and she organized the party. She has also been there for me throughout the entire divorce. She was one of the first people I told about it and was there during pivotal times. She stayed with me and kept me away from home the entire day my ex was moving out of the house, and outright taking things he shouldn’t, but that’s over now. She helped me move. She even helped me scrape lighthouse wall-paper off of one of the bathroom walls.

My Sock PartyMy friend was nice enough to make reservations at a restaurant I liked and send out invitations for my party. She even made a cake. The cake was a gluten-free Funfetti cake. It’s not easy to find gluten-free cakes.

I had a good group of friends and co-workers show up to celebrate my freedom and they brought socks with them. I ended up with quite a few socks to start my new life out with.

My Sock PartyAs you can see, I got socks of all assortments. I got Doctor Who socks, awesome. I got long socks. I got cat socks. I got pink socks, I got red socks. I even got cactus socks. I’m calling the magenta, grey, and black socks my sexy socks.

A pair of the socks even came with a naughty present and I’m still not sure what that thing is, but it was a good laugh and laughs are appreciated.

I got enough socks to last me near two weeks, obviously, I’m going to have to wait until it cools down to start showing all these socks off. It’s just too hot right now. South Carolina, and the southeast in general, is pretty brutal during the summer.

We had fun. We laughed. They could hear us downstairs, which was awesome. The waitresses wanted to join our party. I admit, it was kind of a nerdy way to celebrate my divorce, but I’m kind of nerdy and I liked the symbolism.

I realize that not everyone would be thrilled about the idea of my celebrating getting divorced, or anyone celebrating getting divorced for that matter. Look here, when you’re in a situation and you feel like you’ve been controlled, terrorized, and abused, celebration is in order when it’s over. I don’t care what type of situation it was, a marriage, a parental house, an imprisonment, a toxic friendship, whatever, if you can breathe a giant sigh of relief when it’s over, it’s worth celebrating even if fundamentalist fuddy-duddies say otherwise.

I’m free now and these are the socks I can wear in my new life.

Take that, Lucious.

Moving Out and Moving On

Yucca bloomsMoving Out and Moving On

I got to see my yucca plants bloom one last time before I moved out of my house. It was a bit sad, but also a relief. Someone finally made an offer on my property, at a bit of a loss, but I took it. I had to get out of the situation and away from my ex. I had to get out of a situation where he had power over me and as long as I was still in my house, as much as I had enjoyed living there, he had power over me, so I had to leave.

I saw the irises, peach trees, yuccas, and apple trees bloom one last time.

Moving was difficult. I couldn’t find a place to go. There was literally nothing to rent. Apartments were getting snapped up like crazy. There were no duplexes for rent. There was nothing. I had nowhere to go. I finally found a place to go, paying more than I wanted to, but it’s a nice place to transition to a new life.

I had some very nice people, and my family, help me move to my new place. Organizing was the first thing in the line of business when I moved.

Organized Spice DrawerOne of the first things I organized was my spice drawer. I used to have spices on my wall. In my old house, before I redid the kitchen walls, I had bars mounted on the wall and my spice jars sat between them. In my new place I have a drawer big enough to hold them. All my spices are in uniformed 4-oz mason jars with the name of what the spice is written on top of each lid with a dry-erase marker. The marker just wipes off so no one lid is doomed to always be one type of spice.

You have to admit that various sized mason jars are just about the handiest thing in the world.

My spices are currently organized alphabetically, makes them easier to find. I also have other spice paraphernalia in the drawer, such as vanilla extract and a nice set of measuring spoons.

KitchenI put some artwork up in the kitchen, which makes my kitchen a bit nicer. I have actually added more artwork than this and at some point I will take photos of everything in its organized state and post it all online.

One thing I have learned from living in this place is that high ceilings are good for displaying artwork. So if you happen to have some nice tall ceilings in your place, put some artwork up there.

The next line of business was my closet. For the first time in my life, EVER, I have a walk-in closet!

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I have organized it with origami shelves, tensions rods and curtain rods. It’s pretty awesome. Tension rods are just wonderful. In my closet tension rods are used in several places.

I have used tension rods to store hats and shoes, but also my head scarves and bandanas. I have used curtain clips to clip each head scarf and bandana. I have used cheap shower curtain clips to store my knit hats as well.

For the scarves, I have used curtain rods through rings. You can go to Wal-mart and buy an entire bag of metal bits, called findings, from the craft section and they’re just good for all sorts of things. I ended up making a chain out of them that I could put curtain rods through, then I put my scarves on the rods and hung the rods/chains from one of my closet shelves.

Having an organized closet is wonderful. The closet was one of the first things I did when I moved in and it’s still that way. Pretty awesome, huh?

There will be more to come on the status of my organizing, but these are the first highlights. I think organizing things has definitely helped me to feel grounded in my life, if that doesn’t sound too cheesy. It helps me make sense of where I’m at in life right now.

I’ve had some awful experiences since I’ve moved out of my old house, but I’ve also had a lot of good experiences. Being able to take charge of my surroundings has really helped. Things are organized how I like them. I don’t have someone else telling me that I can’t decorate how I want to decorate or telling me I cannot organize things a certain way and it’s pretty great.

I’m slowly getting out of the controlled type of mindset that I used to be in. I think I’ve made excellent progress. Control is such a fleeting thing. Things always change in life. I didn’t have control over anything for such a long time. Throughout the entire divorce, I didn’t have control over anything. Nothing went my way, nothing, because my ex called the shots and got things his way and it was just easier to let him have it. Even after the divorce was over, and selling the house, I had some health issues, still do, which I can’t control. I can’t say one way or the other to be well or not be well.

Organizing my new place has helped me feel some sense of control. This is where my clothes go. This is where my spices go. This is where the couch goes, which I totally have. I have an actual couch that I picked out. I decided where to put my bed. My books have a place they live and nobody is complaining about it. I have a studio set up, but that’s another post.

This is my place and things are how I like them. It’s a small piece of the world to have control over, but it’s my domain and that’s what counts.