STEVIL!!

I had a bit of a breakthrough last night.

I was lying in bed, and I asked myself, how far back does my relationship-pattern issue go? Like, has it been there my whole adult life, or what? 

And the answer came to me: Stevil!

Steve is my next-door neighbor. I met him while walking around the block with Echo, the springer spaniel, back in March (circa) of 2012. He and I became friends and started taking long walks together.

To give some history, 2012 was a very hard year for me. In late February (circa), my sister assaulted me by throwing me into a wall. She continued to live downstairs until June (circa), when my dad finally realized I was terrified, so he kicked her out. (She loves living in apartment complexes, but she wanted to live with us to save some money. Worst roommate ever.)

So that spring was the worst possible time to try to forge a relationship with my neighbor. Not only was I terrified of Ellen, but I had no other friends nor any support system in place at all. I was living in pure fear, the sort where the person living downstairs is a psychopath and you have no one to report her scary behavior to. Like, today, I could easily email a half-a-dozen people and report on something awful Ellen might do. Back then, I had no one. And that was the way my life had always been.

But things went wrong with Stevil, and honestly, I’d put a lot of it on Stevil himself. I liked him more and more, so after many fine walks, which would last for hours and go everywhere, and we’d talk about everything, I asked him out.

“No. I’m sorry. You’re best friend material, but not more.”

“What?!”

He hemmed and hawed and finally said he couldn’t go out with me, because his girlfriend would dump him for sure.

Fair enough. Except that he’d never mentioned having a girlfriend thus far. Um, hello?! You have a girlfriend, and you never mentioned her?!

Yeah, that was cold. It’s so easy to casually mention it. “So, do you have any fun plans for this weekend?” Followed up by, “Yeah, actually, my girlfriend and I are going to…” And then I know he has a girlfriend without any awkwardness having ensued. It’s a good system. He failed to use it.

Well, I was mad. We argued. He said, “You seem to have anger issues. Were you molested as a child?” He hinted to me that he’d been sexually abused by his older siblings, a brother and a sister.

I answered honestly. “No, I wasn’t. But I was physically abused.”

“Pssh,” he said. “So your parents spanked you? That doesn’t count. Whatever. I got paddled at school, and it turned my life around. I knew the principal cared enough to set me straight.”

I was horrified and stunned. “I was sometimes naked,” I added lamely. “And they’d beat me for long periods of time.”

“Yeah, that might be sort of bad. But not really.” He shrugged.

And that was when my relationship issue became cemented. To this day, eight years later, whenever a guy rejects me, I hear him saying, “I’m rejecting you because you deserved to be beaten. And it pales in comparison to whatever bad things I’ve experienced, so get over it already.”

So, when a guy rejects me, what my parents did to me isn’t what’s being triggered. It’s Stevil. He hurt me so much, and so unexpectedly with that conversation, that now I raise my arms in defense whenever a guy rejects me, terrified he’s going to add that I deserved to  be beaten, and that that’s why he doesn’t want to date me. I’m terrified that being rejected means that I’m not being rejected–rather, my horrific experiences of physical abuse are being rejected. Stevil! Damn that man. Damn him to hell.

I just wrote and mailed him an angry letter saying as much. My dad found out and was horrified. (He’s always afraid I’m going to get myself in trouble with the law, or whatever.) But my dad has taught me well how to express anger without adding any illegal threats. Nothing in the letter is actionable. Not even close. It’s extremely angry, but not illegal.

In retrospect, I realize that Stevil asked if I’d been sexually abused because he himself wanted sympathy. Kind of like this:

Person 1: How’s your day going? 

Person 2: Great! How’s yours? 

Person 1: [Burst into tears] awful!! Thanks for asking. 

I don’t judge Person 1 in that conversation, but the way Stevil used my own trauma against me in order to elicit passive-aggressive sympathy for himself was unconscionable. And it screwed me up in the head. Gee, thanks, Stevil.

So that’s what it all goes back to: Stevil.

My dad said, “But what good can come from that letter?”

“I don’t want anything good to come from it. I want him to realize the seriousness of his bad attitude, and how much he hurt me. I can’t guarantee that’ll happen, but he needs to know how awful he was.”

Stevil was also the guy who confessed he didn’t want to date me because I’m not pretty enough. I always “hear” guys saying that, too, when they reject me. “Sorry, I’d be interested if you were prettier.”

And then, back in 2012, Stevil accused me of planning to throw a Molotov cocktail onto his house. I had to google that–I had no idea what a Molotov cocktail was. I was horrified. What the hell?! I’m angry, yes, but I’m not evil.

My dad explained that Stevil’s afraid of the world. If my letter makes him even a little bit more afraid, then today has been a success.

If anyone out there has any advice for how I can quit the pattern, I’d really love to hear it.

 

Spirituality is dead.

I’m about to reject my spiritual roots.

There’s a core spiritual belief that everything happens for a reason. We’re led to believe that more enlightened people agree with this, whereas idiots who haven’t thought it through think life happens randomly.

Bullshit.

Life may or may not be completely random, but one thing everyone can agree on, in the lack of any compelling evidence to the contrary, is that we have free will. Our actions aren’t manipulated by a higher power. So if you rob a bank, you can’t blame God. You chose to rob the bank. And God, with his gift of free will, didn’t stop you.

Likewise, if you’re the victim of something, you also can’t blame God. Did God protect you? No, but He can’t. Free will isn’t only applied when it benefits us. It’s there all the time. Right now, I can do anything I want, whether it be loving or cruel, random or well thought out. (And what I choose to do is fart, but that’s for another blog post.)

And here’s the beauty of not blaming God: it also means not blaming ourselves. I have a lot of anger about how my parents treated me as a child. And on some level, I fear that I signed up for it before I was born; that I knew what my life would be like and agreed to experience it. And those scary thoughts relocate the blame from my parents onto me. I signed up for it! I chose it for higher learning! Therefore, the burden of guilt is on me, not my parents. 

If anyone’s wondering why I’m on this, I was stupid enough to join a spiritually oriented FB group. Someone posted about how much more enlightened we all are due to the trauma we’ve experienced, and things got out of hand.

Guy #1: Answer me one question, How enlightened would you be right now if all the traumatic experiences never happened to you? [That was the original post.] 

Meg: Quite a bit more so, I daresay!! Trauma has a way of really setting a person back in their enlightenment!!

Guy #1: Meg, funny, that’s where we differ, life has been a different teacher to me than you, but I guess that’s one thing of many that makes us different and many others no doubt.

Guy #2: Meg, trauma is what caused my Spiritual Awakening…. I lost my fiance very suddenly… She came to me afterwards and have her to thank for my Awakening. The things I have experienced since would blow your mind… But that’s me. 😊💙

Meg: The responsibility for trauma is solely on the perpetrator of said trauma, unless that’s not applicable [i.e., natural disasters, illness]. I refuse to feel more enlightened because my parents chose to abuse me. It was their choices, and those choices were bad, and I take no ownership nor personal burden for them. While it is sort of on me to pick up the pieces, it hasn’t enlightened me at all, unless you count my ability to see the dark side that we’re not supposed to see; the reality of human nature and how base it is.

Guy #2: Meg, we all have our roles to play in our current incarnation and challenges to overcome and hopefully master so we don’t have to keep coming back.

Guy #1: Guy #2, only those that are meant to see it shall see it.

Meg: So I deserved it? Maybe I’m glad your fiance died. You deserved it. Now go learn something from this! 😀 And Guy #1, let me come traumatize you right now. We’ll see how much you can learn and grow from it! 

Things only went downhill from there.

Today, I got this private message from Guy #2:

I don’t understand why you come into my group and be rude to people? We were truly trying to help you but you got it in your head that we were not… If you’re familiar with Dolores Cannon’s work then you would understand what we are talking about… I suggest you look up Dolores Cannon since you don’t know who she is… She theorizes that we all come to this planet to experience these horrible things that we have to experience in order for us to grow… so you chose all the bad things that we’re going to happen just like I chose all the bad things that we’re going to happen to me… That’s why I said we all had roles to play… But you come in and are hateful to other people for some reason I don’t understand. I’m going to assume this was just a misunderstanding and not report this to Facebook or take any further action.

He offended my intelligence. I’ve been well aware of the concept of our lives being planned out since I was college-aged, maybe even in high school. The whole concept underlies my paranoia and the Evil Spirits, who I lived in fear of for over six years. (The Evil Spirits made us suffer on purpose so we could grow stronger and overcome stuff.) I responded thusly:

Facebook would laugh in your face, and I already left your group. I refuse to blame myself for my parents’ abuse of me.

He said:

Nobody said to blame yourself.. You’re misunderstanding… You have a lot of anger on sorry to hear that.. I wish you all the best.

And I said, “Whatever,” and he blocked me. (YES! I got the last word.)

I wasn’t misunderstanding him at all. If I knew before my life that my parents would abuse me, and I still allowed myself to be born into this world, then it was my fault that they abused me. And don’t try arguing logic with the person who missed one lousy question on the logic and analysis portion of the Graduate Record Exam.

Maybe it wasn’t my fault, though. Suppose you know that if you enter a certain room, the person inside the room will throw a rock at you. Sensibility being what it is, you’d avoid entering the room. Right? So then why would anyone choose to be born into a life they knew was going to be hellish in some ways?

This whole New Age mindset that we choose our suffering before birth is offensive to me. Regardless of any knowledge of my life I may have had before I was born, my parents abused me of their own free will. I couldn’t do a thing to prevent it, and nor did I cause it. 

Even if God can predict what will happen, like if He knew upfront my parents would use their free will to abuse me, that doesn’t mean that I have some sort of damning karma that led me to deserve it, or that I needed to learn from it (which is stupid, because I’ve learned nothing–I was already the sort of child who believed no one should be treated that way). So, New Age types, what’s the leson? To not be angry? I’m entitled to my anger. It’s like if someone grabs three-hundred dollars from your hand and runs away. Are you going to be like, “Oh, did you need that money more than I did? Go with God!” Right.

And don’t get me started on the spiritual belief that people should release their anger. It’s a psychological response from the human brain. There are ways to lessen anger, I’m sure, in order to be happier, but let’s not say that I’m inferior or inadequate spiritually because I’m angry. That’s offensive. Anger is a natural reaction to being mistreated. And I own the anger! (Well, that probably goes without saying if you read those FB threads above.)

I do believe that we should learn from our experiences. If we go to the pharmacy and the pharmacist is mean, we should learn to avoid him, switch pharmacies, have someone else pick up our prescriptions, etc., etc. But the extrapolation of such learning to trauma situations takes the whole concept way too far. Maybe there’s nothing to be learned from trauma except that we can’t control others’ free will. That’s all it is. If I’m walking down the street and someone decides to shoot me, there’s nothing I can do about it. But does it reflect poorly on me because I have bad karma, or some such idiocy? Absolutely not.

Spirituality is dead.

Meg can’t take anything seriously tonight, but she’s trying.

I’ve been curled up in one of Granny Franny’s old chair-and-ottoman sets, where I’ve been ardently reading more of my non-fiction book about the death of Brad Maddux. I can’t pull myself away. This is (c) Judith A. Yates.

Several people involved in this case confessed that, to this date, they wonder if Doug Sims had assistance in cleaning up this crime scene. No one will ever know the answer to this, unless that person, or persons, comes forward and tells the truth.

Such an authoritative non-fiction writer! Hmm… an unsolved mystery, as it were. And being imaginative to a ridiculous degree, after reading the above passage, I lowered the book and said reverently, “The mailman…. Yikes!” And then I gasped in mock horror before bursting into riotous laughter.

I’m such a ham. I’m sure the mailman didn’t really aid and abet a killer. I mean, that’s pretty far out there, even for my life.

But anyway, to update the whole guilty-or-not-guilty question, Doug Sims is so guilty. First off, he led them straight to the body by drawing a crude sketch of a local cemetery. They’ve found blood in his truck–under a part of it he didn’t think to power-wash at the carwash. I’ll tell you who I feel sorry for–the kids in this story. Junior and Rob, who I referred to in my latest blog post, floundered a little on what to do, and then they came forward and told everything that had happened the previous night, despite how damning it would seem to their parents, and how difficult it must surely be to discuss having an adult make sexual advances at you and parade around with his pants deliberately left unzipped. (I can’t imagine.) Brad’s friends Junior and Rob wanted Brad to be found as quickly as possible. Wherever they are in the world today, I sure hope they’re doing okay. It’s heartbreaking. Brad was their best friend, and now they sort of hate and blame themselves. How crushing. That must be hellish, and it’s all so senseless.

The next chapter to be read is called “Mitigating and Aggravating Circumstances”. I guess it’s time for a courtroom battle, or some such. Good grief. Just lock up the guy and throw away the key. (Don’t listen to me. I’m just being glib. Naturally, justice has to follow a certain logical path.)

Reading this book has brought the tragedy of it to life for me. It’s opened my eyes to a lot of horrid realities that people are thrust into. And the whole reality of it is so far removed from my own childhood, just because I grew up in a big city rather than a small town in the middle of nowhere…? Yeah, Louisville’s a big city, but you don’t have to drive far to reach the small towns. Freaky.

 

The blog post to end all blog posts.

Okay, and here we are. The facts:

  • The book I’ve been reading is called The Devil You Know: the crime they said “could not happen here”
  • It’s about the murder of Brad Maddux, a boy who was born the same year as I was, and who lived near my Hoosier relatives in Indiana, the state to my north (I live in Louisville, KY, which lies across from Indiana, separated by the Ohio River)
  • Brad was twelve (as was I) when he died on March 10, 1990
  • The convicted killer’s name is Doug Sims, and he was 28 years old at the time
  • The man I met from the post office, who I’m going to call “Chopper Dave” (not his real name) claims that he was Doug Sims’ best friend and ardent defender when Doug was falsely accused of murder and set away for it for 29 years, until last autumn, when he was released.

Due to Chopper Dave’s interest in the case and close proximity to it (he sent me photos of where his grandparents lived in relation to the crime scene), I decided to read the book. I made this decision out of curiosity and my desire to show Chopper Dave that I cared about what he cared about. You know, solidarity against the wrongly accused, what we’ve been through in life, etc.

This is what Chopper Dave told me:

I got in too deep defending Doug after a horrible book was written about the crime he was accused of. Doug was setup and threatened with death penalty if he didn’t confess to something he didn’t do. Mom went to school with the officer who set him up. Yes, the small town has many sordid secrets.

 

I sorta trolled the author who wrote about it. And I trolled some of the people involved. Yeah, I went too far. I’m okay now. I like to be social at work and simple at home. If I had not been stopped by another good friend, I probably would have pushed money at Doug to get him settled. His mother is probably sitting on a healthy savings. I forced myself to keep my distance.

 

Please read [the non-fiction book] with an open mind. Doug has clarified many details for me. Most of the events described did not happen. The people supplying statements are covering their own tracks. The one officer involved had a long history of coerced confessions. At first I thought the song “Hazard” by Richard Marx roughly described the situation. After Doug told me his story I learned the better song/video is by Ray Stevens about a squirrel in a Mississippi church. If Doug started naming names, he would embarrass a whole bunch of people. I will find an aerial view to show my Grandparent’s proximity.

 

Doug was born in 1961. His family moved to Sardinia in 1966. My Grandparents moved there in 1968, I believe. My Grandparents knew everyone in the county. Doug’s Mother was a Maddux. His first cousin is Atlanta Braves pitcher, Greg Maddux.

 

So, Chopper Dave, the guy I knew, clearly believes in Doug’s innocence. I stayed up late last night reading the book. I’m on chapter 6, page 82. The book has gotten some poor reviews due to formatting issues. (The paragraphs aren’t even tabbed over, for one thing, nor are they separated by an extra space instead.) But the content is quite thorough and compelling.

 

Allow me to quote an excerpt from the book. This is (c) the author, Judith A. Yates. To set the scene, there are three boys at Doug’s trailer home late at night: Brad, Junior, and Rob. Doug, the adult, is called “Mushroom” or “Mush” as his nicknames.

 

Rob got up and leaned to look down the hallway. The house only had one bedroom, the last room off of the hall. Rob saw Brad handcuffed to a leg of the bed. This is when “fight, flight, or freeze” really kicked in and punched Rob in the stomach. He sat down and looked at his friend. “He’s handcuffed to the bed,” he whispered to Junior. 

 

Junior became so nervous he had to go to the bathroom. He wandered down the hallway, closed the door behind him, and as he stood there relieving himself, his mind raced and he ran his tongue over his teeth. “What,” he asked himself, “are we gonna do?” He watched the bathroom door nervously. “What if Mush breaks in here?” He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He saw a kid, a little boy, who had no other place to go. Junior stood barely over 5’3″ and did not weigh near eighty pounds. Mush was a giant compared to his stature. A grown man controlled them all, and the morning seemed far away. His very best friend, more like a brother than anything else, sat handcuffed to a heavy piece of furniture. When he exited the small bathroom, he glanced into the bedroom, where Brad was still handcuffed. Brad sat leaning back against the wall with a huge grin on his face, and Brad waved to him. Junior, feeling numb, slid back into his seat in the living room and took a long drink of his beer. He looked at Rob. “He’s handcuffed to the bed!” he whispered unnecessarily. 

 

Meanwhile, Mush kept taking alcohol to Brad. 

 

Rob’s face was pasty, and he looked suddenly very small. “Shhhiit,” he whispered. 

 

I don’t think I need to read anymore to know that Doud Sims is guilty. But anyway, after that, Rob and Junior successfully conspired to break out with Brad in tow. Later that night, Brad wanted to go back and hang out with Mush some more, for the sake of coolness, and Rob and Junior begged him not to. “He’s a pedophile! Stay away from him.”

 

“He is not! He’s my cousin. He’s not like that.” (These aren’t word-for-word quotes.)

 

They finally convinced Brad not to go, but Brad insisted on walking over to Doug’s truck to explain to him why he’d be staying with his friends. Meanwhile, drunk as all get-out, Rob and Junior fell sound asleep in the tent they were camping out in. Brad never return from the truck.

 

God bless Rob and Junior. I can’t imagine. It’s unthinkable.

 

So, I find this very strange. I believed Chopper Dave when he told me his best friend was innocent. He made it sound like this: “Doug and I grew up together. He had nothing to do with Brad’s death. Small-town secrets have falsely conspired to make him look good for it.”

 

And I sensed, even though I ignored it (because who listens to their intuition, am I right?) that Chopper Dave had a mini-freakout when I told him I was going to read the book. Now, in retrospect, that makes sense. Freaky, scary sense. He knew I’d draw the only viable conclusion. Any relationship I could have with Chopper Dave was doomed from the start. The man must be deluded times a million. That… or he enjoys playing the victim while hoping no one will look too close at the details of his victimhood. Hard to know. But I would just say that if you want to be a victim because your best friend got convicted of a horrible crime, maybe keep the actual victims at the forefront of your mind. Bradley Maddux was a good boy. He refused to accept that his cousin was dark-hearted. It’s tragic and heartbreaking.

 

I haven’t even gotten to the chapters about how Doug sexually tortures Brad for hours before nearly decapitating him. I suspect I’ll be peeved that he’s out of prison now once I read that far. [Shakes head and rolls eyes.] He did his time, I guess, but still… Geez. This is so senseless. What would Chopper Dave have me believe, that those preteens made all that stuff up? Uh-huh.

 

Can anyone say I dodged a bullet with Chopper Dave? I’m sort of… appalled and confused by my inability to be a better judge of character than I was. This book has been eye-opening.

Mesmerizing Meg sees all.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: Why can’t I seem to think about what I’m doing in the present moment? Mistakes? When I am interested in something I can usually focus and accomplish things quite well, but when it comes to less important things like tasks around the house or small things at work, I struggle to focus on what I’m doing and make stupid mistakes or don’t do things properly. I seem to find the task I’m doing too boring to think about, so my mind seems to be thinking of more interesting things rather than what I’m doing. I guess I struggle to stay in the present moment when it’s too boring. I have been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder in the past but I don’t really feel anxious at all anymore. I guess my mind does wander too much. 

Kind Querent: It’s completely normal to let your mind wander when you’re performing rote tasks. I’d advise against doing it at work, since you’re getting paid to do a good job; so try to focus while you’re on the clock. At home, if there are no safety issues involved, I’d say, let yourself space out. Living in the present moment is overrated. Not living in the present moment becomes an issue only if you’re troubled by bad memories and/or worried about the future. Those issues aside, if you’re having happy thoughts about what fun you had a week ago, or if you’re excited about your upcoming vacation, then “living in the moment” becomes meaningless and unnecessary. It also becomes a New Age bragging point, as if it has some sort of higher meaning. I’m a very New Agey person myself, but I reject the whole concept of “living in the moment” as having some sort of innate virtue. Enjoy happy memories! Get excited about next week’s big thing! It’s all good. 

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: From the beginning of our relationship, from time to time, she’ll say “I don’t know how to make you happy” and i’ll reassure her by saying “You do make me happy, love. I don’t think i’ll be with someone who doesn’t make me happy” and she’ll be glad that i reassured her. Like I could get mad at her for something small and she’ll actually avoid talking to me because she thinks she’s “annoying.” 

I got mad at her for something she did but I also did to her so basically I believe she was being sarcastic and wasn’t serious, I lost it and got mad. She said “idk what ur so mad about I was literally playing. You don’t believe me do you.?” I eventually left for a little. She said “come back” I ended up coming back but I still couldn’t control my temper that’s when she said “If ur gonna act like this then bye.

I tried to say something else and she said “no bye” The next day she was distant. She responded with small words. I believe she was ignoring me, but I could be wrong. I called her out on ignoring me and she said “sorry” and I said “you should be” She said “ofc I should be” I said “yes” she said “k then idk if ima talk to u anymore cos I only make u mad. I’m not enough. U deserve better. Ur out of my league. Sorry for everything. I asked her was she coming back and she said “idk I don’t want to leave u but idk how to make you happy anymore.” I went online and saw her profile it said “lmaoo” then she unfriended me. It’s been 1 month. Can I get her back? 

Kind querent: Yeah, no, this relationship is dead. But if it’s any consolation, it sounds like you and she weren’t a good fit. I get the sense that she didn’t believe you when you said she made you happy, and so she was being passive aggressive in an attempt to get back at you for not loving her for who she is. I’m not accusing you of pretending she made you happy; but SHE was definitely attacking you as though you were guilty of it. 

That’s not a healthy relationship dynamic, and I don’t see any sort of way to fix it. I’m sorry. While I have your attention, please swear off the text-speak! Thank you. 

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I’m 26/f & ended a REALLY Bad 4-year relationship in March 2020. He was a cheater, a liar, and a thief and towards the end he was physically abusive which is why I left. And blocked him on everything.

I’ve been doing good so far but recently I’ve been missing him. I know he did some messed up stuff to me but in a weird way I do think he actually loves me and he was my love.

I know I sound stupid and I usually try to think of the bad times to avoid reaching out to him. He was my only real relationship and I don’t think I can have what I had with him with anyone else. I just don’t think I’m capable of having that spark again. Most guys I meet want sex and don’t care to appreciate what I have on a deeper level. I’ve rejected so many guys that I thought were good. For example I was on a date last week with someone I’ve been seeing for a month. We were having a great time and out of nowhere he says “can you Suck me in my car” Im so over this dating life and just want to get back with my ex. He was never a creepy horn ball and he actually listened. Would I be stupid to forgive him & get back with him? Slowly of course? I’d appreciate some hard honesty Bc I feel so weak right now and I never wanted to be that girl.

Kind querent: Yes, I agree with you that your abusive ex actually loved you. I think that love can take many forms, not all of them good or healthy. And you want that love right now. I understand that. But your loneliness can’t be filled by an abuser.

The guys you’ve been dating sound like true gentlemen. [Eyeroll.] I can’t help but wonder why the leading men in Hallmark movies never express their desire to be sucked.

Don’t go back to your ex no matter what. It’s like an urge for chocolate or alcohol or gambling or anything addictive and unhealthy; but if you go back to him, you might not be able to walk away for a long time. You could get lured in, or he could trap you, etc., etc. Think about that. Going back to him could have irreversible consequences. So whatever you  have to do to prevent it, do it. And no, taking it slowly with him isn’t good enough. You’ll slowly destroy your life. Please don’t.

Secondly, you shouldn’t be dating now. You need to fix the loneliness problem with friends first. I’d recommend you focus on being friends with people (even guys if you want, or just females), until your head is cleared enough that you don’t wind up on dates with frogs.

You need friends so badly, because you need support. If you can find an online support forum, that would be great. You’ve only been broken up since March, so your head isn’t remotely clear yet. Abusive guy: bad. He listened, yes, but that’s not enough. Don’t let that be enough. Whatever you do, don’t open the door and let him back in. If dating the creeps keeps you away from your abusive ex, then keep on dating the pervy creeps, because staying away from your ex should be priority #1. Otherwise, I’d give up dating for a year or so.

Wanting a spark is overrated. It’s a great thing to find and to have with someone, but it should never involve massive sacrifices like being abused or treated badly. Don’t worship that spark. Find stability without it.

I’m perpetually single, and I dream of finding someone. But if I were on a date with a guy who asked me to suck him (and there’s a long history of my hating that word… someone once gave a writing peptalk about how much writing “sucks” and I had a meltdown), I’d stare at him in horror and say, “What?!” I think the problem you’re having is that you can’t accept the possibility of not having a boyfriend. But that’s a very real reality, and trust me on this, right now, it’s the best reality out there for you.

Goals!

I have a few goals for the rest of the year, although some of them are rather nebulous because I don’t know whether I’ll be able to visit Sonya or not. No clue. So far it’s not looking good.

One goal is to lose fifteen pounds. I’ve been doing pretty well on the treadmill at the gym. It’s a mile up the main road (which I live just off of), it’s open 24/7, and the membership is a mere $10 a month. Amazing! I always use the same treadmill. It seems to have my name on it. The best times for me seem to be at night, anywhere from 8:00 PM until 11:00 PM. I’m trying to add a late-morning/early-afternoon session as well. As long as the music never dies, I guess I’ll keep treading! I’ve come to enjoy it, which I never thought would happen. I’m bummed out that they’re closed tonight for July 4th. Weirdness.

I can lose fifteen pounds that way, right? I still have slightly unhealthy eating habits. In particular, I can’t eat under 2,000 calories a day without getting hungry. And I don’t deal with hunger well at all. So what I think I should do is aim to eat that many calories of healthy foods, and then try to burn roughly 250 calories a day. I think (although this is just a theory) that eating 2,000 calories and burning 250 would be healthier and better somehow than eating 1,750 calories and not exercising. That way, your body’s fueled, and you’re staying in shape.

My other goal is to become a successful woodworker. I’ve been working on a little rainbow side table to sell.

DSC00403

But I’ve found a few things about it that I’m unhappy with, so I’m reworking it. Mainly, I don’t like how the legs connect. They’re on folding hinges in this photo. I can’t readily ship this to a seller without the legs being off, somehow, including having the legs fold. Normally, I’d have the legs directly connected, end of story. Today, I came up with another solution. I remembered that I figured out how to screw legs in using a hanger bolt and two starter holes back in 2013. (Great year for woodworking!) With very simple assembly instructions, I could ship it, and it could be put together by the buyer. That should eliminate the wonkiness of the legs while maintaining the integrity of that gorgeous tabletop.

And I shared my tabletop Christmas trees, right? They haven’t sold yet, but it’s July, so I’m not shocked.

DSC00375DSC00366

I might make another batch of these in green, and a batch in black, and maybe a batch in deep purple and/or white. I’m hopeful people will buy them. They have bling! Who doesn’t love bling?

So, those are my goals for the rest of the year! Is anyone else out there setting goals for 2020 part 2? I’ll say this: since we’ve survived part 1, we can survive anything. (Famous last words. Don’t jinx the rest of the year, Meg!)

 

 

 

 

 

My thoughts are turning to autumn.

It’s around 8:30 PM on July 3rd, which means that in three-and-a-half hours, the year will be half over. Mind-blowing.

Usually, July 4th is the midpoint day of the year, with 182 days before it and 182 days after it, I guess putting the middle of the year at noon; but this year was a leap year.

I just can’t believe half the year’s over. Can anyone say good riddance to 2020 part 1? I’m not an empath per se (I sense energy, not emotions), but you don’t have to be empathic to pick up on this level of worldwide misery.

So far this year, I’ve self-published The Enervation of Eve, which I’m proud to say has seen around seven sales! And I’ve written maybe 40% of my latest novel, which I started on May 18; and I’ve written some of a cozy mystery series that wound up getting scrapped. I made it to round 2 (of three total) of the 100-word challenge with future results forthcoming, and I made it to round 2 (of four total) of the short-story challenge before tanking in that one. Go Megz!

I thought it would be fun to set some goals for the rest of the year. Things I know I’ll participate in are: the upcoming flash-fiction competition. It’s so much fun! And the 250-word microfiction event, later in the fall. And I’m thinking very seriously about doing NaNoWriMo, but I don’t like the community over there. For one thing, the way their forum is threaded(?) confuses me despite my best efforts. I can’t make sense of it. For another thing, some of you may recall how offputting one particular pep talk was to me a few years ago. I was in a bad place already, but that pep talk caused me to have a complete meltdown. Hey, guess what? I found a link to it! If any of you want to relive the horror of that pep talk, just click the link! You can consider it a tutorial in how not to write a pep talk. If you want the short version, just read the first two words, which get their own opening paragraph.

Anyway, last year I didn’t do NaNoWriMo. I participated in the National 3-Day Novel Writing event instead. However, that’s not going to happen this year. Even though the 3-day Novel Writing event is as old as I am, the management for it has fallen asleep. Recently, their web site disappeared for a while. It came back, which was a relief (because we all had to pay to enter), but the last time they announced anything was January, and it was for 2018’s event. For my event, which was last Labor Day weekend, they haven’t announced anything at all. And you know it’s bad when, on their January post, they promised to announce 2019’s longlist later that month, and their comment was met with laughter and derision. [Shakes head and sighs.] Never a good sign. So I won’t be participating this year, assuming it even happens; but hopefully I’ll find out about 2019’s entry sometime this decade.

There’s something I like about NaNoWriMo. Oddly, I love the month of November. It’s a magical month of changing seasons. I associate it with NaNoWriMo and ice skating lessons. Great time of year! However, every single time I take the ice skating lessons, I get sick. Germy kids! The adults have their own corner of ice to practice on, but those kids are so skilled at spreading germs!

The goal is to write 50,000 words in November toward your NaNovel, or you can set a modified goal by changing the word count or by writing 50,000 words of short stories, etc. It’s mainly a personal marathon. It’s fun, because spending the cold month of November curled up and writing by the heat of a radiator or electric fireplace has a certain magic to it. And it’s not easy to write 50,000 words, but it’s doable if you try hard enough. It’s 1,667 words a day, and/or 5,000 words every three days. (However you want to look at it.) The fun thing is using the NaNoWriMo website’s word counter and watching your graph go up. There are local write-ins, but I’ve never participated. For one thing, I don’t have traveling internet. I guess I’d have to write by hand! Scary thought. I hate writing by hand. My hand muscles get all cramped up.

Another fun thing is prepping for NaNoWriMo, and therefore looking forward to its starting moments. Before November, you’re allowed and encouraged to come up with the characters and a plot outline. Come midnight on Halloween, I’m always excited to start writing the story already! I often get a whole day’s worth written before I fall asleep, since I stay up past midnight often.

I didn’t realize what a big part NaNoWriMo would play in this blog post. I must be excited about it! Nervous is one of my favorite books that I’ve written, and I wrote it during NaNoWriMo in 2016. I wrote a never-published sequel to it in 2017 called Medley, and I can’t remember what I wrote in 2018 for the life of me… oh, yeah! The Enervation of Eve. And then last year, I didn’t participate. Not only did I do the 3-day event instead, I think I also visited Sonya last November.

(Not that that should stop me! Sonya and I ought to write together. Now that would be fun. When Sonya gets creative, weird characters and stories go flying all around the room. And nothing gets Sonya as excited as writing.)

Hmm…. How to prep for a NaNovel while I’m still writing my current novel? I’d better put some thought into this. I know what I want to write, though: a romance novel with adult characters.

Because I was thinking about this earlier, and you can write the life you want. I started writing in October 2013 with my Advice Avengers series. It’s all about a shy girl who makes friends with the most popular girl around, and they cowrite an advice column for their middle-school newspaper. Back when I created the series and started writing it, I had no friends. None. I’d never had any worthy of note, not in the decades I’d been alive. Something about writing the series (which is my emotional fantasy series) made it happen for me in real life. Maybe prior to writing about it, I didn’t know how to visualize or envision what it would be like to have friends, so I had no clue how to make it happen in my own life. You could call it the law of attraction or simply psychological practice and preparedness. I have no clue.

Working that same theory, I think I need to write a romance novel so I can get the same sort of relationship practice in that area. It could work! Seriously, I had zero friends before I wrote my series about girl-power friendship. I think there’s something to it. Don’t just write what you know. Write what you want. Make it real. Yeah. I might change my mind about what to write, but I’m excited to start planning for it already!! Write on!!

NaNoWriMo 2019 "Typewriter Time Machine" Poster – The NaNoWriMo Store
This would be such a cool NaNoWriMo poster to own!! The magic of the typewriter!

 

 

 

Her magical universe.

Today has been very creative and productive. It’s been the first good day in over a week, so YAY for that! I worked on my novel, of which I’ve written around 29,000 words so far (I always aim for 74,000 to 78,000 total). So it’s coming along. I feel like it’s missing something so far, but I have faith in my ability to figure out what that is and include it.

I heard back from some EMDR practitioners today. Not good news. One said she isn’t doing anything in person anytime soon, and she doesn’t know how to do EMDR online. (That’s a bad option for me, anyway, because I’m not very tech-savvy.) The other said he has one person on staff who does EMDR, and who’s my insurance provider? I wrote back and said I’d self-pay, and I got no response. Never a good sign, especially when their costs aren’t listed on the website. (I guess it’s easier to milk an insurance company than a self-paying customer.)

I also wrote a letter to Dr. Phlegm and put it in the mail. It was a good letter, I think. Four pages of fun. Here are some excerpts:

I hope this correspondence finds you well. I called your office, and the machine said you’re only seeing people “in person” if they’re new patients. None of my personalities are new [ba-da-ping!], so… I’ll just wait for you to be back in the office.

[…] I felt awful: shaky, weak, fatigued, steamrollered, crampy, and headachy, and that was before my period started affecting my mind. It was all downhill from there. I haven’t seen The Exorcist, but I’d imagine it applies.

[…] The egos of professional psychologists genuinely scare me. Very fragile. Even more fragile than the egos of writers, and I would know. I’ve had similarly bad experiences with a dozen other therapists. I think the whole profession is quackery. So, if I find a new EMDR practitioner, I’ll make sure that all we do together is EMDR. No talk. No insight. That way, my good mood can’t be grossly misconstrued.

Do I get points for the rhyme there?

[…] But I’m not exaggerating about how godawful my period was. There was weeping in the streets. Oh, wait, that was the civil unrest. Anyway.

The most fun thing about being a writer is that everything–and I do mean everything–becomes a fun writing prompt. Writing a letter to the psychiatrist morphs into a fun form of creative expression! Why bore the man? He’s not paid enough for that.

Uh oh, I’m falling asleep. Woooo! I might get wacky. No one panic. I’ve got it under control. It’s all… under… control.

And after a day filled with happiness, she’s out like a light, falling asleep in her magical universe.

Picture 61

 

Treatment options.

Having just survived a very, very bad menstrual cycle, I need to decide on a course of treatment to prevent it from happening again.

Options:

  1. Take extra Prozac for the week leading up to my period. I did that once before, several years ago, and it seemed to help, if I recall. I typically take 200 mg a day but can go up to 300 mg for that one week. I doubt Dr. Phlegm would take issue, because I also take the extra amount during the difficult winter months.
  2. Take Seroquel as needed if/when my period gets difficult. Problem: more self-awareness and preventive thinking would be needed. Several times during the past week, it occurred to me to take extra for a good night’s sleep, since I was miserable (it’s allowed), but I never thought to take any during the daytime. Um, it really would’ve helped. I’m forehead-flicking myself right now.
  3. Try birth control. I’ve never taken birth control, and I worry that what’s left of my mostly destroyed sex drive would disappear forever if I were to go this route. Antidepressants are bad enough. Since it’s my dream to be loved by a man, I’m not sold on birth control as an option, but it still gave me hope when Ashley Leia suggested it, so there’s that!!
  4. Do nothing and hope for the best…?

I find option #2 to be the most appealing. It would just require me, though, to be on the ball. This last period started a week ago with godawful menstrual cramps, fatigue, feeling as if I’d been steamrollered, and headaches. I realize now that I should’ve seen it as a sign that I’d need some daytime Seroquel for the duration, but instead, I brushed it off as general PMS even though I don’t normally suffer before my period begins. I really should’ve seen the signs. The most difficult thing about picking option #2 will be forcing more mindfulness on my part and being hypervigilant for when Seroquel would help.

The other appeal of option #2 is that most often, my periods don’t wreak destruction. More often than not, I’m fine. The problem is, though, that suppose I choose option #2 and don’t have issues until the end of the year. I will have forgotten to be vigilant! If godawful PMS strikes again, I’ll just brush it off again. (I’m a slow, slow learner.)

I like option #1, but it seems like overkill, considering that I have bad periods roughly twice a year. Why go to all that trouble when the odds of needing it are roughly one in six?

If I opt for option #2, you all have my total permission to comment in the future and say, “Take some Seroquel, Meg! It could help you today.” It’s not the sort of thing that would offend me. Rather, knowing me, it would send me into deep thought, and then I’d probably go take some.

It’s just that life was going so swimmingly that I didn’t see the hormones coming. It takes me a while to realize that I’m feeling off-kilter, and by the time I realize it, the week of my period is pretty much over, leaving a hellish scene of destruction and interpersonal disaster in its wake.

Meet Ernest Borgnine & Cast of Original "Poseidon Adventure ...
The ship hasn’t just sailed, it has capsized. From The Poseidon Adventure.

If I had been prepared for such a horrible menstrual period, I could’ve protected myself better, primarily by taking daytime Seroquel. My fear, whenever I go off the rails like this, is that I’ll lose my relationships. Nothing matters to me more than relationships, as I’m sure you all know. Fortunately, every relationship built on solid ground is still standing. God bless for that!

Friends-holding-hands-images-HOLDING-HANDS - Great Bear Recovery ...
True friends are always there for each other! Silhouette of friends holding hands.

I called Dr. Phlegm’s office today, and his answering machine pretty much said he’s out due to the coronavirus. I’ve been saving money on psychiatry bills, so that’s the silver lining. He is on-call for emergencies, so I can reach him if I really need to.

I think my body fell apart because of my treadmill use. I’m not accustomed to actual exercise–you know, the kind that makes you all sweaty and that challenges your cardiovascular system. I’m hopeful that I can keep exercising without anymore disastrous periods, on the hope that my body will adjust.

In incredibly good news, the ice skating rink isn’t mad at me. I contacted them and said that, due to my personal regrets, I’d tried as hard as I could to get FB to take down their old page (this is true–I sure the heck did), but that I was unsuccessful (also true–apparently, emailing Mark Zuckerberg isn’t worth writing home about). They actually appreciated my efforts! Holy flip. Such a nice company. Wow.

I’m still trying to find an EMDR therapist, which my dad has agreed to pay for. I’m also going to read a book about false memories. I don’t know what to believe anymore. I spoke to my dad again today, and he swore up and down that he has no recollection of having abused me thusly.

“I have a memory of every awful thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “I cheated on a test. I hit my older sister on the head with a brick when I was four. I still hate myself for it. But I have no memory of what you’re saying, and I can’t imagine I would’ve done something so horrible; and if I did do it, why don’t I remember it along with all the other bad things I’ve done?”

I don’t think he’s lying. But one of the following must be true:

  1. He’s guilty, and he knows it, and is lying outright;
  2. He’s innocent, and my memory is false or vastly incorrect or skewed, etc., etc.
  3. He’s guilty, but he’s blocked it out and genuinely believes in his own innocence. He seems stumped by that possibility.
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE - UFO POSTER 24x36 - ALIEN 4729 | eBay
The truth is out there. Aliens and UFOs from The X-Files.

I’m so relieved that my period appears to be over now. Heaven above! At least I should have several weeks of peace before I have to deal with it again. Although this is why I never visit Sonya in Prague during my period. I sort of love her too much to subject her to this level of insanity. And it’s looking like I can’t go this year. The Czech Republic is still banning American tourists. Sigh.

 

How bizarre!

I told my dad how triggered I’ve been lately because of how physically abusive he was to me as a kid, and he swore that it never happened, that I’ve created it all in my head. [Eyeroll.]

As much as I’d love to believe that…

  • I never forgot it after it happened. I didn’t just wake up one day remembering–it was in my mind forever forward.
  • How could you be traumatized by something that you invented yourself, and/or why would you invent something so horrific?

I tried to explain to him that he used to be meaner, but he flat-out insisted that he’d never have done that. Huh.

It’s tempting to want to believe him. But I don’t… not fully. I was there, for crying out loud. I tried to explain to him that he was married to a bitch (my narcissistic mother) at the time, which was stressful, and he must’ve been in over his head; and he still said he’d never have done it.

I said, “What if you die and go to Heaven, and they tell you, ‘Hey, guess what? You did it, and here’s the film reel’?”

He said that would never happen.

“I understand,” I said. “Guilt can be powerful.”

“I don’t feel any! It never happened! I have no reason to feel guilty.”

It got me to wondering about how I used to imagine things the wrong way as a younger child. Now, when my dad abused me, I believe I was nine or ten. And by that age, I’d reached the concrete reasoning phase wherein I no longer saw things that weren’t there. Prior to that age, I saw a lot of things that were wrong. A kid in my preschool class tipped back in his chair, hit the floor, and his brains spilled out and his skull separated into all these different chunks of skull that the teachers quickly tried to put back together. In reality, I suspect he bumped his head.

Another time, I saw a girl peeling off her skin. She was really taking off her tights, maybe for ballet class.

A third time, our spaniel, Allister, got hit by a truck. I saw his tummy flattened in the middle where the wheel had driven over him and squished him. But in reality, he was hit, yes, but not run over. And he wouldn’t have still been walking around if his tummy had been flattened.

And oh my God, there were gremlins.

My brain saw things in a literal way that I believed to be true. My God, I am schizophrenic. There was no abuse during that younger phase of childhood, and even my narcissistic mother was happy then. No, my brain was hallucinatory all of its own accord.

But how or why would I have invented my dad doing that? I want to believe I made it up, but that doesn’t make sense. What he did caused me to dissociate to the ceiling, feel humiliated, and lose all respect for him until I was much older. An argument could be made that I exaggerated the incident in my head, but I remember the details with such clarity that there was no room for exaggeration.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ve never had a grip on what’s real and what isn’t. As an adult, I’ve dissociated a few times and “lost” time, and something would’ve gone wrong and I couldn’t fill in all the gaps. Like the time I noticed my hair had been chopped off (this might have been seven years ago, I don’t know), and I searched my memory and the house for clues, and I never figured out what happened. Maybe my default view of reality is shaky.

I want to believe my dad, but I don’t. I was there. I know what he did, and I could name the details: my pink robe, my sister’s bed, the fact that I was using the bed next to her crib because my room was being repainted from brown to yellow, how I was positioned on the bed, exactly what he was doing, how I played the piano rather distractedly later that day, what the scene looked like from the ceiling, his hand, the windowsill, and so forth.

“You have these dreams you tell me about,” my dad said, just now, while I was talking to him. “They seem so realistic, like they have full worlds and people. You must’ve dreamt what you think I did. With you, there’s no difference between a dream and reality.”

I don’t know what’s real. I tried to convince him that he used to be different, more violent, and he said he was never that violent, nor very violent at all. I think he’s wrong. Guilt can be powerful. It can block out a lot of sins. He doesn’t want to remember the way things were.

He did say I didn’t deserve it (even though he didn’t do it). That was nice to hear. He said I didn’t deserve it at all, and that I need some therapy to get the wrong memories out of my head. I’m just not a believer, though. I’m too nice to push against his guilt and convince him he did it. In my heart, I think he did it. I’ve never doubted it until today, and the only reason I’m doubting it now is because he swears he’d never do that. But, come on. Who can answer for who they were over thirty years ago? No one!! He doesn’t want to face what he did to me and how it destroyed me. I can understand that. I sensed he blocked it out that same day, telling himself, “I never should’ve done that. It didn’t happen. It didn’t happen. I’m separating myself from what I did.” That’s what I sensed, and I still sense it.

But what if he’s right? How could I be traumatized by pretend? It makes no sense. I was traumatized at the time and every day after. There were some delayed reactions, but there were also immediate reactions of humiliation, dissociation, and feelings of worthlessness, like I was a disposable whore–used in a dark alley and thrown away by someone who was supposed to protect me.

I’d love to believe it didn’t happen. But it can be scary to stare into the gaping maw of my surreality. Like, really scary. How could I invent something that was that traumatic? It’s not possible. Is it?

I don’t know. It sounded like my dad just wanted to pretend he was never a monster. That’s what I think. He’s not the same person he used to be. I’m the person who raised his energetic level to who he’s become. I urged him to quit being violent. He was threatening to spank my sister one day when I was in college (or thereabouts) (my sister is eight years younger), so I spanked him, and we all had a good laugh. The truth, I’m afraid, is that he’s shit-deep in denial. I’m just not sure where that leaves me.

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