Internalized Misogyny

It wasn’t until Wonder Woman came out that I fully understood how deeply I had been missing legitimate female badass characters on that scale and of that quality. We’ve all been aware of the very few roles that have heretofore fallen into that category because most of the scripts with those types of women also had men that did one of a few things:

1.) Bailed them out when they got in over their heads;
2.) Resented their power and were assholes about it;
3.) Betrayed them and caused them to question everything, ultimately finding the real meaning of love with another man;
4.) Et cetera.

In terms of the writing for the women characters themselves, the badass women were often bitches, hardasses, man-haters, childless, incapable of love, commitment, or relationships, or were just utterly cliche. There were precious, precious few otherwise “normal,” functioning human beings.

Years and years ago, I wrote a blog post about my favorite female characters in media. It begins by saying, “I may not be remembering correctly, but when I was growing up, I don’t recall many totally independent, strong female role models in television.” I want to reach back in time to my thirty-year-old self and pinch her cheeks. “Oh sweetheart,” I would say, “you’re remembering just fine.”

What brings this to mind is watching “Continuum” on Netflix. I’m only a few episodes in, but right from the first minutes of the show, I was struck by the complete normalcy of the lead character’s life outside of her badassedness. She is happily married with a child. Her husband just grins when she beats up a punk on the train and doesn’t try to stop her or back her up in any way – he knows she’s got this and he loves her for it. He just grins and lets her do her thing.

There are other shows now which have similarities: “Game of Thrones,” “Once Upon A Time,” and so forth, and they make me super, super happy. Farther back, “Buffy” did a pretty good job, too. Xena? Ehhh, not so much, really.  “Firefly,” definitely.

This gives not only women something to reinforce what being a strong woman can mean, but it also helps men who might not understand that accepting and embracing a woman’s skill and strength is possible – it doesn’t have to be threatening. Some men of course just know this, but as a society, we do not – men and women alike, generally, don’t understand what’s possible because we have been told these stories since birth.

The media has done its damage to both genders, and part of what it’s done to men is to train them to be misogynistic in many ways, both large and small. Much like how racism is so ingrained in this culture, some of us with the best intentions and mindsets might have these things we feel or think and believe to be true that are only figments of what we’ve been told about race. It’s work to overcome, and such important work at that.

I think it probably takes a lot of mindfulness to be a good man in this world when it comes to women. Everything screams at them to behave in these certain masculine ways to their detriment and to women’s. They’re taught to believe that what I guess I think of as the “frat boy mentality” is the way things should be. Women are taught to believe this, too (myself definitely included,) and that steals away from us. Speaking from a heteronormative perspective here, we’re taught an entirely skewed meaning of sex: It’s the male’s job to convince us to “let them” have sex with us, and it’s our job to deny that unless it’s some kind of reward. We’re taught that denying sex to our partners for any reason will lead to smoldering resentment that will force him into the arms of another woman. “Isn’t it easier to just give in than to worry?”

Louis CK, for all his flaws, is one of my favorite comedians; I think he’s one of the most genuinely funny people alive today. I love watching his shows. In my most favorite of his shows, “Live at the Beacon Theater,” he does a bit on Pussy. You can see it in full here, with an introduction about how hormones make men stupid. The Pussy Bit begins at about 1:45 in. That’s the mentality. About four minutes in, he offers some redeeming thoughts about women having just as much sex drive.

Anyway.

This Saturday morning, I attended the breakfast before our BMW club’s group ride. Typically, breakfast is from 8am until about 9am, and then we ride. Today, things were not wrapping up on time. I found myself wanting to say, “You guys are worse than a bunch of women, let’s GOOOOOOOO,” and realized “… wow. That old saying actually has some important shit behind it that I never really thought about.”

In years past, I thought could utter that phrase “without harm” because I’m a woman – typically the only one present – and it should be funny and perhaps shame the men a bit into action. It must be obvious I don’t really believe all women have this problem, I know better, right?

Wow. There’s so much wrong with that, and I never saw the full scope of it until that day.

First, there’s the obvious dig at women in general because we (I first wrote, “they”) can’t contain their talking to get anything done. Next, there’s a woman saying it, reinforcing that notion. Last big one, it’s implying that men should feel ashamed to be compared to women. How the fucking hell was I so obtuse as to miss these points? Crossed that off my list of go-to phrases.

At the midpoint of the ride, there were four of us left in the group. Two of the men took off their helmets and immediately began combing their hair. Before I could think, “Look at you two, doing up your hair. Worse than women!” spewed out of my mouth and flopped onto the pavement like a dead animal. Everyone had a chuckle, but inside I was filled with shame.

Oh my fucking hells.

I know I’ve said these things countless times in the past; it’s an old habit. Old, stupid, wrongheaded habit (as habits often are.) I had made some similar comment in a group forum probably 20 years ago and another female member said, “wow, internalized misogyny much?” I scoffed, offended. This bitch doesn’t know me, she has no idea. I am, quite clearly, certainly far too self-aware to even entertain the idea of buying into that sort of misogyny. I’m being ironic, I convinced myself. This was before the term “ironic” was obliterated by millennials, mind you, and actually meant “ironic.”

Clearly, this must stop. I can soooooo easily see nuances of racism, but sexism is apparently an enormous blind spot for me – because a large part of me bought into it part and parcel. Some incorrect beliefs about myself, sure, but a huge number of absolutely 100% wrong notions about the entire swath of the female sex.

At my going-away party back in August, I was showing people how to play AudioShield in VR and likened it being like Wonder Woman fending off blows. I asked one of my favorite male friends, “do you want to feel like Wonder Woman,” in a mostly-joking kind of way, with overtones of sarcasm. Without missing a beat, he said, “Hell yes, I do!” and jumped in. Because Nathan is awesome and he knows it would be super fucking cool to be Wonder Woman. [EDIT: After reading this, my longtime friend Alex sent me the following fantastic link: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/halloween-gender-non-conforming-kids_us_59f7712ce4b09b5c25682078?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009 ]

There are so damned many blind spots, so many nooks and crannies that have been saturated with bullshit for so long, they don’t even recognize it anymore. In March of 2016, I underwent The Great Girly Transformation of eDar: I spontaneously fell in love with clothes and shoes and make-up for no reason I could think of.

This sent me into a tailspinner of an identity crisis, man – a whole bunch of Who I Was had heretofore been tied up in jeans, t-shirts, and engineer boots. Motorcycles. Guns.  Cars. Planes. You know – Guy Shit. <sigh>

Part of me wonders if it’s because I’m a large person, and I perhaps subconsciously gave up on ever being the “perfect” vision of femininity, so I violently and completely rejected all the trappings of it. Maybe I saw the roles and stereotypes and couldn’t figure out how to reconcile those with who I was and wanted to be, and wasn’t bright enough to realize I could blaze my own feminine path. I dunno.

Recently, the universe has, through various means, dictated I now have two pink riding jackets. I’ve come to accept them, despite being wildly uncomfortable at first. I have violently hated pink for most of my life because it is girly. Far too girly for a non-girly girl such as myself, right? I wanted nothing to do with it. (“Internalized misogyny much?”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Indeed, I’ve started actually embracing these pink jackets, and even bought matching pink gloves the other day because fuck yeah I can wear pink and still be a badass. I don’t have to try to disguise myself as Not A Girl – that’s silliness and insanity.

Yesterday, riding home from the club’s Sunday morning excursion, I stopped at a light near my home. I looked to my left and saw a little girl’s face pressed up against the car window, eyes wide, mouth literally agape. She was quite young – maybe six or seven, and she rolled down the window, but didn’t say anything; she just stared, eyebrows up as high as they would go. I grinned and waved at her. She giggled and waved back before hiding under the window. Her very young dad grinned, too.

This happens from time to time – young kids noticing a girl on a motorcycle and just going bonkers with surprise (usually followed by delight.) If I can inspire a few kidlets to shed stereotypes and be awesome? I’m very, very happy with that idea.

When I first starting creating website content for myself circa 1994 (before “blogging” was a word,) my main objective, my mission, was to connect with people and to put myself out there – warts and all – in the hopes of helping other people feel “ok.” Life is not television-show neat. Life is messy and complicated and human beings even more so. Some of my friends at the time objected, thought I was going too far, “showing my ass in public,” as it were, and they were in some cases absolutely right: There is such a thing as TMI sometimes. By and large, though? No regrets. I’ve met some of my closest friends from writing things on the internet.

With the advent of Mommy Blogs, that 1950’s Perfect Housewife mentality began making a resurgence, but a funny thing happened ten or so years after Mommy Blogging became a super lucrative venture: The mommy bloggers who wrote about imperfection, rather than having everything together, started to take off even more than those who portrayed their lives as neat and tidy. People who put their struggles and failures up got more traffic, and more loyal return traffic, than many of their “perfect” competitors. I have no hard data to back this up, mind you – I have over 10 years in the web hosting industry, and my source is purely anecdotal experience.

So, fellow humans, don’t hide, don’t buy into the shame, don’t isolate yourselves out of fear or anxiety. Connect and support and love and indulge and communicate with each other, warts and all. Steal the stigma away from those powerful talismans (mental illness, “embarrassing” health issues, feeling scared or small or like an imposter,) and talk to someone about them. If you don’t have someone in your life you feel won’t judge you, seek the anonymity of the internet (mind the trolls, obviously, but there really are Actual Safe Spaces for just about everything and everyone out there – moderated, supportive places.)

Having, as usually, strayed quite far from my original point, I’ll leave you with this: If anyone would be inclined to talk to me about anything at all, my ears and my heart are always open. I have made so very many bad decisions in my life, I’ve done so many things I regret and am ashamed of, I don’t judge. I can’t – I know what it’s like to be imperfect – it’s my every waking moment. If I seem like I have stuff together, that is an illusion: The Swan Defense – Serene on the surface, paddling like fucking crazy below. You can talk to me if you want. Anytime. <3

Wanderlust Sated

…and various other ramblings

If you follow me on Facebook, you know things are happening very quickly for me right now, and man – I need to write this stuff out to get it all clear in my head. We’re going to cover a lot of material here, and I’m going to digress many times, so I won’t blame a soul if you get three paragraphs in and say “FUKKIT, TLDR.”

One of the roadways in the complex. This, to me, screams CALIFORNIA!

I have somehow managed to stumble through life riding this immense wave of luck on so many levels. When I step back and really look at where I have been, and what I have done… holy shit I have been incredibly fortunate. I am not saying this to brag in any way – I am saying it because I recognize I have not done anything to deserve it; it is LUCK. None of this happened because I earned anything. I have careened, headlong, into the most amazing people, places, and experiences. I am awed to my bones. I am grateful. I feel unworthy.

My day-to-day luck on the little things is often terrible – from the airline lying to me about carry-on sizes to almost losing my luggage to my Lyft driver getting lost several times an nearly getting me a parking ticket to computers loathing and despising me to a laughable first class “upgrade” to catching every red light… these are little things. These, I can handle.

The big stuff, though, and I realize I am tempting fate by saying this aloud, tends work out well. For this, I am thankful and humbled.

This is not a “humble brag,” nor is it fishing for reassurances or compliments –  you guys already take care of me on that front very well. This is honesty – I don’t feel like I deserve you, or some of the good things in my life, but holy wow am I ever glad you have, for reasons I may never comprehend, taken a liking to me. I hope I am able to give some of that back to you – I pour my love into you, I carry you with me in my heart every moment of every day, but I don’t know if that shines through. I surely don’t tell you enough. I let my hermity ways interfere with socializing too often.

The Next Adventure

Because I work from home now, I can live pretty much anywhere on the planet I want (well, anywhere I can afford, anyhow.) While I love the idea of going ex-pat eventually, for now, I’ll stay state-side.

Right now, I’m in San Diego, in this lovely AirBnB house, hosted by a wonderful woman named Jessica. That I got this house at all was pretty much a small miracle unto itself – she is constantly booked, but just happened to be available for the duration of my time here. She is friendly and chatty. Originally from Jalisco, she’s now an American citizen, though that journey unto itself is quite a tale. We bonded quickly, and yesterday, we spent three hours talking while she colored my hair (she runs a hair studio next door.)

I’m here in San Diego (henceforth SDO because Lazy) because I wanted to scout it out as a potential place to move when my current lease is up. I must get out of Michigan. There is no other option. I am so miserable there in that environment – my people have made it fun and wonderful when I’m with them, but the every day of living there is just an ordeal, even with my beautiful friends backing me up. I resent it, because I know there are far better places out there. I have seen them. I’ve lived in some of them.

Riding around with my friend George today, I mentioned I’ve been on anti-depressants for years, but how only recently have I begun to feel Not Depressed.  “Oh, they took years to start working?” he asked. I talked about how the drugs were doing their job just fine, but I wasn’t doing mine – I was just… coasting. I wasn’t doing the things that would make me happy. Increasing my serotonin uptake can’t make me happy in a city where I am miserable, or erase decades of self-doubt and self-loathing: That took a team effort.

This Job, Though

I am so fortunate Justin found me on LinkedIn. I almost didn’t answer him, because who ever gets legit, interesting offers there? I bumbled my way through the technical evaluation and my first few months. I am still not great, but he’s happy with me, and that’s what matters.

This man has my undying loyalty. He is a wonderful person, a generous and kind person, a laid-back and flexible person. He is not perfect, but he is in the top three people for whom I have ever worked.  I will do whatever it takes to keep him happy with me…even if it means… learning Python. <shudder>

This job has, literally, changed my whole life.

Breathing

I’ve noticed over the last few months it’s not just that I don’t feel depressed anymore – I think I’m happy. The weight of financial stresses, the enormous pressure from my last job, the fears of not succeeding at the new job… all of these things have sort of melted away, leaving me able to breathe for the first time in a long time.

George and I have wrestled with many similar issues, but have taken very different paths as a result. I still feel a deep kinship with him, though, as our mental states have a great deal in common. It was really nice talking with someone who understands what it’s like to be chronically troubled in some of the same ways I am.

Over the course of my life, I have met the most amazing people through completely random happenstance.

Motorcycles

I met my Iron Butt friends on a total fluke – I was on a Honda 4-cylinder, single overhead cam motorcycle list, and heard of this “crazy guy” doing a record-breaking long-distance ride visiting all 48 contiguous states on his motorcycle in a ridiculously short period of time. He had a huge network of friends helping him with parts and logistics, but the ride itself was incredible.

My first reaction was, “wow, what a colossally stupid, dangerous thing to do!!” Then I read more. And more. And I joined an email list.

Less than two months later, I rode my first 1000 miles in 24 hours with my friend Troy, going from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Plano, Texas. There, I met icons of the motorcycling world – too many to name. They were warm, welcoming, and immediately adopted me as one of their own. I’ve known these folks for almost 20 years now, and they’re no less wonderful, though living in Michigan has kept me apart from them for a decade.

Two icons of the endurance riding world raising hell in Gerlach.

Thanks to them, the country opened up to me – I never would have considered pushing myself that hard, but once it’s possible to ride 1623 miles in 24 hours (my personal best,) travel becomes Different. I rode to some of the coolest places in the nation, and saw amazing things, thanks to extremely clever (and devious) rallymasters.

Planes

Similarly, in 2004, I walked into the Olympic Air Museum on a whim for a tour, and, on another whim, asked if they needed volunteers. They eagerly said yes, and I was accepted. I gave tours, washed the planes, marshaled air shows, and just generally helped out. Once again, the group took me under their literal and figurative wings, and I ended up not only spending time with, but being tossed around the sky by some of my childhood heroes in the most amazing planes. It boggles me to this day how incredible that summer was.

I was able to arrange a flight in a WWII plane for my dad, an even bigger plane nut than I am, and I will never forget the look on his face when he landed:

Dad Post-Yak Flight

Catalyst

I got to do that for him! One of the things that makes me happiest is being the catalyst for someone else to experience an amazing thing. Whether it’s my dad in a Yak-11, or George piloting a sailboat, or getting Jim a tour of Fifi, or taking Heather on an unscheduled boat ride in the Gulf of Mexico, or getting Wes to finally tear down his garage or giving Adam the bike that Wes gave me… I love making things happen for people. I think I may enjoy that even more than experiencing these things myself.

Historically, when I am not out there being the enzyme, being the catalyst, and I am alone – I shut down. My attention turns inward, and the brain weasels come out to play. Like many people, my childhood scarred me, and left me with baggage I carry to this day, though I am slowly shedding much of it.

Therapy Failures

Some of you have heard the story of my last encounter with therapy. My counselor was a very nice woman, who was very good at what she did. However, I wasn’t ready for our fifth or so session, when she made me look into a mirror while she said nice things about me.

I never went back. I made excuses and cowardly exited the whole process. Like many people, I crave compliments and positive feedback, but when I receive them, I become deeply uncomfortable – self-esteem issues, of course. I have so many narcissistic traits, yet I am completely at war with myself. Thanks, Mom! Thanks, Society! Thanks, people who dragged me down a a young person!

Lately, though? I don’t eat myself alive and tear myself to shreds.

My Saviors

“eDar, you are my favorite planet.”

My amazing group of friends gently, but persistently, pulled me out of that dark place over the course of two years. My friends at Liquid Web and elsewhere really did save me from myself. They filled me so full of love and faith that I had no choice but to accept that maybe… just maybe… I am a person worthy of those sentiments. This has made a huge difference in not only my mindset, but also in how I comport myself. I owe all of you an enormous debt of gratitude.

Unexpected Opportunities

I am a sucker for Stories. I so truly love hearing about peoples’ lives and experiences, things I’ll never see or hear or experience myself. I’ve gotten slightly better at telling stories myself, but I really lack the knack. Toward the end of Jessica doing my hair, she mentioned she belongs to an anti-human-trafficking organization, and asked if I wanted to come with her to a meeting Right Then. Surely!

She told me most of the ladies were older, and so I took about 45 seconds to cast off my Dr. Whisky t-shirt and ratty jeans in favor of a vintage pin-up dress, stockings with ribbons at the heels, and incredibly awesome vintage dancing shoes, hoping to offset the crazy teal-colored hair and tattoos with nice clothes and a kind smile. Jessica has taken some kind of crazy shine to me, calling me “so cute!” and giggling when she introduces me to her friends as her sweet friend “Erin, who wears these clothes and I did her hair and she rides motorcycles!”

When she spoke of this organization, she was surprised I wanted to come to the meeting, because it was “kind of dangerous to be involved.” Her brother-in-law was killed, apparently, for helping some of these women. That just made it all the more appealing to me, in truth – you know me, eDar the Adventurous.

As I drove us to the meeting down the street, I envisioned this kind of cloak-and-dagger scenario, meeting in a dim room off a dark alley, speaking in hushed voices, pulling up case files of the woman who had most recently called the rescue hotline, organizing plans for extracting them from their entrapment… you know, that kind of thing.

Expectations Dashed

I pulled up to the Lemon Grove library, which they had publicly reserved.

We walked in the door, and there were about 20 women present, as well as a snack table in the brightly-lit community room. The average age, myself included, was about 60. I was initially regarded with some strange looks, and some people looked outright hostile about my presence.

Rather than planning emergency escapes, they were planning… a chili cook-off. To raise funds.

They held a drama-fraught election for their Treasurer – “fraught” because there were tense words between the two candidates. The responsibility of their tiny budget was too much to treat any less seriously. I wasn’t supposed to be there for that, which was quite embarrassing for both Jessica and me, but everyone eventually decided this top-secret process was ok for a guest to witness.

They organized organizing their storage unit.

They wrote things down by hand. On paper.

Well, this was certainly not what I expected. This was most definitely not The Front Lines of the Fight in any way, shape, or form. This was a tiny, local, volunteer fund-raising thing. Le sigh. But ok, I’ll roll with it.

One of the things I strive for in life is to be a good ambassador of the things I “represent:” Motorcyclists, tattoo-bearing people, people with crazy hair colors, white people, you name it, I’m going to try to make a good impression and let people know I’m nice to shatter some of the stereotypes. It gives me such pleasure to win someone over who previously regarded me with judgment, and to perhaps help open someone’s eyes that even the “odd” people like me are just folks. This has long been a life mission.

One woman solicited toiletry donations, and I told her I would send her some homemade soaps if she could use them. A few eyebrows raised at my offer – maybe I wasn’t some random punk-rock interloper. Incidentally, I never thought of myself as “punk” at all – but that’s how Jessica has labeled me because of my hair color. She’s so tickled at the color she gave me – “it’s my first punk hair!!”

A short time later, they began discussing their online presence – or rather, their lack thereof – and I offered to host their website for free, to help with tech things, and so forth. People started actually meeting my eyes and smiling.

After the meeting was adjourned, most came up to me to compliment me – not on my offers to help, but rather on my dress, stockings, and hair. They were quite friendly after the meeting was over. The sternest women kept their distance, but by everything holy, I will win them over.

At any rate, this is one example of how things are coming together nicely for this big shift in my life. I want to give back, and an opportunity came at me when I least expected it. Whether it’s the right fit remains to be seen, but it’s a beginning. One of many.

“I will fight and I will love and I will give”

I wrote all of the above last night, and tonight, I saw the film Wonder Woman. I had tears streaming down my face for most of it – it was powerful on so many levels. I have’t stopped being weepy since I left the theater, as I replayed scenes in my head. The line that keeps resonating in my head is the one above: I WILL FIGHT AND I WILL LOVE AND I WILL GIVE.

That is what I try to do, what I want to do: Fight for justice and equality, love unconditionally, give unceasingly, pour myself out into the world. I will keep trying.

Surrendering

For the last six or so months, I have been riding a surging tide of strong emotions. I cry when I least expect it, I love more deeply than I ever have, I am humbled almost to the point of collapsing to my knees at times. Music moves me more than it ever has in every way. I sing.

As I sat in the darkened, comfortable theater tonight, surrounded by three friends and several dozen strangers, I was in tears within the first few moments. In the past, I would have fought them – bitten my cheek, looked away from the screen, thought about hockey, whatever it took to keep my lip from trembling and the tears from spilling over. I never wanted to cry in front of anyone – it was “weak,” and I am not a “pretty crier,” and it would make me “too vulnerable.

I stuffed and squashed and hid all of that as much as humanly possible – until recently. Tonight, I let the tears flow openly to the point of dampening my sweater. My lower lip did what it does when I am profoundly moved. The film stirred and challenged and validated and gratified and comforted. It was immense.

As I drove home to Lemon Grove, my heart was full of something I cannot describe – it was powerful, an enormity, and I had an epiphany: I cannot fight and love and give if I do not also forgive. And so, I sent three lines to my last boyfriend, with whom things did not end well at all. I have carried around bitterness and hurt and anger and resentment and a bizarre sense of gratitude that we had what we did, however short-lived it was:

i forgive you.
despite the lies you told to me and about me, i forgive you.
i release it all, and wish you peace.

It was this person whom I felt rescued me from my dark, imaginary, soul prison. But it wasn’t – it was me. He was, perhaps, the catalyst, but he didn’t rescue me, and no one else could have, either. I rescued myself. He may have provided what I felt was a safe space into which I could emerge, and for that… I am grateful. I am happy to know I can love that deeply, to trust so completely, to make room in my heart, my home, and my life on that level. It is sad that things did not work out – but they so often do not.

I bought this shirt awhile back, and will treasure it always.

I spent decades in that cage, and can only imagine this is what it feels like to be free, what many people must feel like all the time, and it is wonderful.

Things happening quickly

A series of things happened over the last several days:

  • I mentioned to George I was struggling with the logistics of moving my belongings, a car, and two motorcycles to SDO. He offered to drive my car for me, for the price of an airline ticket. Problem solved: I can tow the motorcycles behind the truck.
  • My current lease expires at the end of September, so I planned to move sometime that month. I found a perfect apartment, available August 7th, which they would either a.) hold for me until September, or b.) use my deposit if another, top-floor unit became available before my move. Perfect.
  • When I put my deposit down, I really didn’t know what part of town I was in, relative to anything else; I thought I was quite far out to the northeast – nope. It’s 10 minutes from everything. Five in light traffic. There is a trolley stop at the complex which runs downtown, if I don’t feel like driving. The location is perfect.
  • My adorable, planet-loving friend Luke asked me if he could maybe take over my lease, as his is up in August. Hm. Interesting.
  • This morning, I got a text from my landlady saying they were thinking of selling the house I’m living in, and did I have any plans for staying or leaving? I told her I would be happy to leave in August if she would let me, and also that I had someone interested in taking over my lease and/or renting it next term. She is considering these things.
  • Barring crazy, unforeseen circumstances, SDO will be my home in either two or three months – tops.

My new home

The apartment I will be renting, to me, borders on the absurd. It is so nice, so beautiful, so big… so expensive. It is at the upper limit of my budget…but within my budget. When I first walked into the leasing office, and was looking at the floor plans, I first looked at the smaller two bedrooms as the likely targets. When I saw this one, I said, “wow, I wonder what it must be like to be able to afford that.

Nancy, the agent, and I bonded instantly – that is her job, of course, but you know when someone is being genuine. I was wearing my dia de los muertos skull sweater, she liked it and commented on it, and she was so warm and friendly, she immediately put me at ease. This is a girl I’d like to get to know.

Nancy’s the kind of girl who can get along with anyone, but I like to think maybe we bonded a bit more than the usual agent/client relationship. When I went back for a second viewing, she gave me a big hug, and we chatted about all kinds of things. I just adore her.

The first time we spoke, I didn’t even mention to her that their largest unit was something I would consider – surely there was no way I could afford it. Then she asked what my budget was, and I told her “less than $2800, hopefully.”

Girl,” she began, “why are you not looking at this one?! It is perfect for you.” And she was right – it is.

It is bigger than my house by at least 50%. It is also almost four times more expensive. But this is where I will live and work. It needs to be someplace I love. And I do. The windows and the community and the perks are just… well, better than I should probably have. Photo album here: No Facebook account required.

The unit I’m holding is a third-floor apartment, which doesn’t have the topmost windows in the master bedroom, as it has a slightly lower ceiling. However, Nancy is on the lookout for me if a fourth-floor unit becomes available. My hold can be applied to anything in the complex, thankfully, even something smaller if need be.

There are three fourth-floor units available right now, but those are likely to move before I do.

I put down a deposit to hold the unit. And then I had a minor freak-out about money.

Finances

I know talking about money can make some people uncomfortable, so skip this next section until the bold if you don’t want to see specifics about my finances – trust me, they are not impressive.

I am bad at money – this is no secret. Just when I got myself into a stable financial state, with a credit score over 700 for the first time in over a decade and money in my savings account for the first time ever, I went batshit crazy, turned into a girl, and came damn close to maxing out my credit cards buying clothes, shoes, jewelry, make-up, and toys. I went from a few hundred bucks on my credit cards to over $11,000 in the course of a year.

Since getting this new job in March, however, I have been aggressively paying that down, knowing I needed to move, and soon. Currently, I have less than $5,000 on my cards. I took out a loan at a lower interest than my high-rate retail cards and paid them all off. My remaining bank cards are at 10%, I have about $1,000 six months interest-free on PayPal credit, and less than a grand on Home Depot interest-free until next April. I owe about $850 on one motorcycle.

I’ll have most of that taken care of by the time I move, whether it’s August or September, so I feel like I’ll be ok on that front, and that my credit score will get back to where it should be over the next year or two (it fell to 680 when I opened several new accounts.)

I’m going to meet with a financial consultant to talk about my state of affairs, including my abysmal retirement outlook – at present there is about $50k in my various funds, and I am 46. Not good.

You might say, as George has about a dozen times, “but edar – get a smaller apartment and save more money! Jesus!” And you’d be right… but life is for the living, and I am all about The Moment. Future edar may well fucking hate me for this, but it will be ok. I’ll work until I die, and that will be fine.

SDO in General

When I first saw Seattle, it reached into my soul, gathered me up into its arms, and welcomed me home before I knew I would move there. It was an immediate, intense, passionate connection, and I was a part of it instantly.

SDO did not do that: I initially found it “nice.” I love lush, green things, and jagged mountains, and flowing waters and lakes. SDO doesn’t really have those things (though they’re not terribly far away north.)

However, it does have its own beauty, especially as one moves out into the desert. The mountains aren’t the young, rough, sharp peaks I’m accustomed to: They are old, worn down, eroded, exposed. They are a visual reminder of the immensity of history. They are living evidence of the passage of time.

More important than the landscape, though, are the other things here. Sam and kphelps are 10 minutes away in Lemon Grove. George is two hours north in LA. Chuck is 30 minutes east in Poway. Various other friends I haven’t seen in a small eternity are near or nearish.

Gerlach, and pretty much everything west of the Rockies is a day’s ride away.

The roads are spectacular and perfect for motorcycles, and I can ride year-round. The weather is paradise. The ocean is less than 10 minutes from my apartment, and Kevin has a sailboat harbored there.

And yet…

Remember how my people saved me? Being in SDO means I am not with them, that I will seldom see them. Sure, sure, there is Facebook and Slack and email and whatnot, but I can’t grab Smuj, Cait, and Lilith and go to Jumbeaux for lunch on a whim. I won’t see Han and Forty whenever we like. They will be physically out of reach most of the time.

I won’t hear Nat’s giggle, or see Kev’s eyes, or listen to Jack rail against the evils of customer support, or hear Gary’s genuinely tickled laugh, or hang out with Sarah, or listen to my little spaceman’s fork-bomb stories, or hear tkillian call me “kiddo,” or have Sewell come to me in person for advice or to fix whatever most recent computer plague ails me.

No after-work drinks with Brueggy, or seeing Nicole’s newly-found confident smiles, or having Byerly regale me with tales of his hilarious love life, or getting hugs and dinner with Lexy, or going drinking with Russ and Jordan, or watching ckelly’s man bun mature as he does, or helping out when Jenn gets her lungs, or seeing Stephanie at Jumbeaux, or hearing mattador’s crazy sneezes, or watching Josh L get stupid drunk and silly, or witnessing the many moods of Siena, or calling Jerry a giant Asian man, or standing by and admiring Ani be the powerful being she intensely is.

No seeing dpock’s dancing eyes, or talking politics with Calvin, or having Wineland fix something in 18 seconds flat, or catching up with gamborg, or getting to know John B better, or going riding with Jim and Mary and Brandon and mtodd and Sam and Steven, or watching McBride shuffle around in his sandals in the middle of winter, or tasting Lucia’s cooking, or hearing Tommie’s soothing amazing voice, or hearing Jaspers laugh, or watching Misty tear out her hair at the latest work shenanigans,

No more getting hugs from Alex K, or going riding with Alex O, or going dancing with Deakin, or seeing Cal’s “dammit, edar” face, or watching in amusement as Luke bounds up to me like a giant puppy with his latest ideas in tow, or seeing Shooltz’s smirk, or hearing Bianca agonize over some thing she rrreeeeallly wants, or watching Zack blossom into an amazing adult, or watching mrjung’s face light up when he talks about his passions, or, or, or.

I am leaving so much. But I am also moving toward many things.

Ok. Enough now.

ALL OF THIS CAN BE SUMMED UP THUSLY: BE BOLD, MY FRIENDS – BE BOLD.

Fight, Love, Give.

Do the things. Live it. I can’t say this strongly and loudly enough – BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE. Fuck everything that stands in your way: Find a way around or through it, find a way to be yourself within it, make peace and move on – just do it.

Careening Pinball

A few days ago, someone to whom I had not spoken in a very long time wrote a lengthy, wonderful, deeply touching bunch of words to me when I really needed them. Much of it I cannot share, because it’s just too much, but this bit – this really helped me to wrap my brain around a bit of why I have been so extraordinarily lucky to have people sometimes pay attention to what I say and do, who wish me well, and who seem to truly care about what happens to me:

We want you to win. We see ourselves in you. You’ve managed to channel the angst and hope and struggle and random joy of life into a strange and wonderful arrangement. We want to know it works, that there’s a better way, or at least another way. “If Erin, that careening pinball, can make it, doing all that crazy shit, maybe I can do this.”

“Careening pinball.”

Adding that to my usual “Tornado/Catalyst” self-description lexicon.

All of My WTF

My team at work is a tight group: Most of us get along ridiculously well, love and care about each other, and are a wonderful support group for our team members. I treasure almost every one of them like family – indeed, they are my family at this point.

After much agonizing thought, I recently decided to take another job, leaving my beloved LW friends and tribemates after four wonderful years this time around, and more than two years a bit before that. This place has been the biggest part of my life since 2008. These people are my life, and we depend upon each other – I feel like such a traitor by leaving.

In my opening paragraph, I wrote, “I treasure almost every one of them;” “almost” because the person who acquaintance-raped me is on our team, and I most definitely do not treasure him.

Last night, I received a text message from him:


Will this number work later?
Just found out some news and Im not sure if its true but it makes me extremely depressed.
either way, happy valentines day. Know that you are loved!

Let me know if you can.
2:58 AM via Project Fi


Know that I am loved. Oh, ok. Though I was still awake, I ignored him until this morning. Because I am (for the time being) forced to see him at work, I feel the need to be civil. Plus, I’m just not someone who easily dismisses anyone outright. Anyhow.


what’s up?

11:50 AM via Project Fi

I heard a rumour and I was hoping it was not true. That you might be going somewhere? It really made me sad and I just wanted you to know that everyone I know of on 2nd shift loves you and thinks the world of you.
And obviously the person that mentioned it to me slipped up and didnt mean to tell me. So Im not going to talk about it or mention it to anyone else if it is true. I dont really feel the spreading rumours is helpful.
12:25 PMvia Project Fi


When he arrived at work today, he immediately came to my desk, visibly upset. I confirmed I was, in fact, leaving. His lips trembled. He stood here for awhile, wiping away actual tears… because I’m leaving LW. I was taken aback for a moment, and literally could not find any words.

I was, to say the least, stunned by his reaction. I wanted to grab him by the face, shake him around a whole bunch, and ask him, “where was this concern when you took advantage of me? When you let me believe what happened was my fault?!”

Instead, what did I do? I comforted him. I consoled. Because that is what I fucking do when people are in distress.

Afterward, I relayed the texts and the tale of his appearance at my desk to a trusted advisor, who is aware of the whole sad situation. I told him the story awhile back because I needed him to know what went on to make sure a.) I was not in any way letting on at work how much I hate this person,  b.) to ensure I was treating him fairly, and c.) to cover my ass in the event the guy came after me somehow. I love and respect this guy so much, and trust him implicitly.

He said:


it’s your go-to
you always wanna make folks feel better, even if they don’t deserve it
you need to be more of an asshole sometimes lol


He’s probably right. I wouldn’t even know where to actually start, however.

I have no point here – I just had to share my abject befuddlement. I sat at my desk, shaking my head, trying to wrap my brain around … oh, everything.

Not having to see his face every week is a definite plus to leaving LW – one of very few happy things.

Onward!

Sand

What an odd expression, “a line in the sand.”

It has unclear origins, historically, and may be based entirely upon a misunderstanding of words Jesus is said to have spoken.

The thing about sands is they shift. They move with the slightest breeze. 

A line in the sand is quickly blurred, and soon eradicated altogether. A gust of wind, a small wave, a footstep – gone.

Ironically, I have found my line in the sand; I know what it is – at least for the moment, I do. As I have learned over the last three days, “having made up my mind” is suddenly a fluid state of being. I am certain one moment, uncertain the next, and certain of another thing four moments hence.

The gods are having a field day with my life right now, laughing uproariously as I struggle to get a handle on this rapidly-changing, constantly unfolding trainwreck. “Look,” they cackle; “she thinks she’s got it now! Wait, wait – hold my beer,” and they throw something absolutely ludicrous into the mix.

I take the blow, smash face-first into the floor, blink in abject confusion, and then stand back up again, reassessing, beginning the whole process anew, but with different rules, different information, and a deck stacked against me – the deck I myself shuffled, and either subconsciously stacked badly, or just had my usual horrifically bad luck with random number games.

This is all my own doing. I knew going in that it was a bad idea – but I didn’t realize I was going to be the one to suddenly have the shoe on the other foot. My mood this very second is nothing short of absurd – I have tripped an emotional circuit breaker of one sort or another, unplugged my ego, and am being controlled by whatever inmates run rampant in my head when I’m not at the wheel.

I keep hearing this quote from WKRP in Cincinnati back in 1979 running through my head – Johnny Fever is … doing something dumb, I assume. Someone says, “let the chips fall where they may!” to which Johnny replies, “wait… I’m the chips!”  Later, as the story unfolds, things get tense, and he murmurs in a very scared voice, “chips are falling!”

Welp – I’m both the chips and the thing making them fall here.

All of this is maddeningly vague, I’m sorry. I can’t go into details for more reasons than you can imagine, but these last three days have been a rollercoaster from the depths of hell. A ride of Shakespearean proportion. I half envision a Greek chorus following me around, providing foreshadowing to the audience – none of which I can hear, of course, because the actors don’t know about the chorus.

The irony won’t stop – it steps up its game every time I think things cannot get any more unreal.

I’ve said this many time before, and I’ll say it again – life is not for cowards. My heart-like place is just chaos – it doesn’t know what it is, what it’s for, where it’s going, why it’s here, or whether it’s even a real thing. It is simultaneously dust, and glass, and stone, and tender flesh. This is my life right now.

Unsurprisingly, from the time I began this post until now, the sands have shifted and my line is … if not gone entirely, then certainly blurred all to hell and gone. FOR THE CRAZIEST FUCKING REASON: The least likely person on the planet, almost totally literally, has put my mind at more ease than anyone else has been able to do thus far. We were having two entirely different conversations, depending upon which perspective one took, and it all worked out beautifully for both of us. And I’m at peace. For the moment, of course.

It could be matter of days, hours, or nanoseconds before I am ripped out of this “everything is hilarious/fine” mode – I’m guessing a matter of less than an hour, given the material at hand (buckle up, babycakes!!) – and then who knows what’s next. And then after that. And after that. How long can I keep this up?

Answer: Until I either don’t have to, or until I can’t.

Fuck, I wish I could go into more detail, and maybe someday, I can. But for now – just laugh with me, friends, and wish peace upon my soul. I need both.

Anatomy of a Date Rape & Its Aftermath

I have written the following account hastily – I wanted it out of my head and onto paper before midnight, before this stinking hellhole of a year breathes its last, shitty breath. I want to start 2017 by not carrying this around.

It is, perhaps surprisingly, not a terribly heavy burden – it’s just an annoying one. I had mostly left it all behind until the individual in question began getting weird with me again this past week.

So. Here we go.

Superfluous trigger warning: Sexual assault; rape; societal bullshit; gaslighting.

In autumn of 2015, I was date-raped by a co-worker. I say “date,” but we were not on a date; there just isn’t really a better term for it. We were hanging out, watching a movie.

“Rape” is the applicable legal term, but I feel saying “I was raped” somehow lessens the experiences of women who have had to endure the more classical definition of violent, forced intercourse.  So, I say I was date-raped, which sounds somewhat akin to “Rape Lite.” Thankfully, I was unconscious or otherwise so altered during the event, I only remember two very brief moments.

Before I continue, let me say this: I’m ok. I’m not scarred, I’m not traumatized, I’ve not lost a piece of myself I’ll never recover: This was not that sort of incident. I don’t feel “brave” for telling the story.

What I am, though, is angry.

People are surprised this person is still in my life in any way shape or form – but he is, and I doubt he’s going anywhere anytime soon. People have said to stop tolerating him, to shun him, et cetera, but given we work together? Sadly, that is not completely possible.

Important backstory: I am a supervisor at my place of employ, and the man who date-raped me also works there. He is not a supervisor.

This automatically creates a power dynamic in my favor that could be used against me.

For that reason, and for many others, I never came forward with this story – except to three trusted friends. I’ll go into some of those reasons in a bit.

Too, I know I could have (and should have) done things differently, both before and after the event. However, immediately after the incident, and for a fair amount of time thereafter, I didn’t realize I had been drugged; I thought I had been irresponsibly drunk. Because there was a slight tinge of attraction between us, I thought I had gotten really, inexplicably drunk (which I never do,) and came onto him – because that is what he told me had happened, and I believed him.

This caused me to respond very differently than I would have, had I been in complete charge of my faculties, and not riddled with self-doubt.

I want to say again – I really am ok. The support and compassion which erupted on FaceBook yesterday was so touching, so overwhelming, and I am very fortunate to have these people in my life.

Let’s get started.

When this person began working for our company, I liked him. He is interesting, and talented, and very good at his job. He is reasonably attractive on the surface. The underlying instability didn’t reveal itself for some time.

I am an outgoing person at work, and I am typically direct. I make a lot of eye contact, and sometimes I use touch to emphasize a point with people who are comfortable with that level of contact. I hug. I swear a lot when riled. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Sometimes, I flirt a bit as a way to connect with people, and to break down initial, awkward barriers (please note – the “flirting” in the sense I’m using here with people I don’t know well is very mild, and stops fathoms before one can even begin to see sexual harassment on the horizon.) It is mostly the direct, unflinching eye contact that seems to break through the most, which unto itself may not seem like flirting, but can be.

All these things work both for and against me, depending upon circumstances.

Were I to go to Human Resources, or to the police, and report this event, my character and comportment would immediately be called into question. I get it – one must determine the legitimacy to any claim of wrongdoing, and, right or wrong, part of that determination is going to come from assessing the character of the person bringing the allegation.

Let’s look at a few potential outcomes of going to HR:

1.) He denies the claim, they investigate, they find the accusation without merit. I could probably lose my job here for several reasons: Michigan is an at-will state.

2.) He admits the act. He would probably lose his job, and the company would lose a valuable employee (no really – he’s very good at what he does; that’s separate from his predatory sexual behavior.) I would be viewed as someone who put herself into what some might consider “a vulnerable position,” given the circumstances of the event itself (more on that later, of course,) and I would actually lose credibility as a leader on a number of levels with some people. I could also potentially be labeled as a troublemaker. Women who report sexual harassment are often vilified – this should come as no surprise to anyone. I would love to think no one at my company would respond that way, but it’s possible.

3.) He denies the claim, they investigate, they find the accusation to have merit. Pretty much all of the consequences of #2 above, with the addition of who knows what level of outrage he would feel, and who knows how he would retaliate. We need employees with his talent very badly.

These are the broadest strokes, leaving aside the myriad ripple effects on an individual level with people I know. I think most will see why I was unwilling to rush to action.

Couple that with my initial assumption of self-guilt, and I didn’t report it; I’m sorry that disappoints people, and I understand why it does. “He can just keep doing this to other women,” they will say; “are you ok with that?” Of course not. But there are very real, very pragmatic concerns at play here with my life.

What Happened

This person and I got to know each other, became casual friends, and there may have been a very slight undercurrent of mutual attraction – which I ignored. I ignored it mainly for professional reasons, but there was also something odd about him I couldn’t put my finger on, something that made me keep him at more of a distance. Thus, I interacted with him like I do with people in general.

He would text me often about random things. This unto itself was a source of some contention, even before the assault, because he uses his phone to text (like most people do,) whereas I type texts on my computer and it sends them over SMS. I hate typing on my phone – it is slow, tedious, inaccurate – all the things. I would rather chew off my own legs than type on my phone for an extended period of time. He exhibited some paranoid tendencies during some exchanges (“can you see what I’m typing while I’m typing it? you’re responding so fast,” that kind of thing.)

I need a name for him, so I don’t keep referring to him as “this person.” I’m going to call him Harold, which of course is not his real name. I explained to Harold many times that my texts come in quickly because I am typing on a real keyboard. You’ll see why I specifically mention that later on.

Also of note, Harold and I had hung out together in groups of co-workers, but not on our own.

Harold was texting me on his night off while I was at work, chatting about random stuff. The conversation turned to movies.  I mentioned “The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, & her Lover,” a beautiful film very few people I currently know have seen. Harold has seen it, and loved it.

I’m going to include a lot of our text conversations in this post, because it is the only way to fully understand the confusion and consternation Harold causes me. My lines will be italicized, and narrative will be [in brackets.]

Harold: I dig foriegn films. Sorry. A sucker for them.

Me: i like film in general
i’m a sucker for a good story, presented well

Harold:
The days of film snobs are almost gone, but plots will always need more.
Youre making me want to watch a movie instead of unpacking…
😀

Me: mission accomplished, returning to base

Harold: And i want hard liquior now.. errr
Have you ever seen “Baraka”?
Its a 70mm art film, made just to say “can you make a film that is asthetically beautiful without a plot”

Me: that’s two movies no one ever knew
pretty cool
i saw that when it came out and was blown away

Harold: Im going to watch [Baraka] right now actually

Me: jerk 😛

Harold: HEY, ill wait.

Me: really? i don’t want to inconvenience you.

Harold: Yea. If course.
Of
Sure comon over

[At this point, I should tell you guys – Harold likes to drink. A lot. I didn’t realize how much of a problem this was until after this event, but I now know Harold is an alcoholic. I didn’t know that on the night I went over to watch Baraka, so, being a polite guest, I offered to bring something. However, I wasn’t going to be able to bring either of his two favorites, Fireball or Jagermeister (hork,) because … well, I don’t buy them, and I was going to bring stuff from my own stash, rather than stop at the store.]

i’ll bring some booze – any preference? i, um, don’t have any fireball or jager…

Just bring what you like to drink.

i can do that

If you can get a shooter of fireball, that would be enough.

i need to run [home] and let the pooch out, but that’ll just take a minute
i can stop and get some fireball, sure

Im tipsy so be warned
Kk

[At the time, I didn’t realize the implications of that statement – “be warned.” I mean, who would? People say stuff like that all the time.]

i can’t wait to see this again. i have no idea why i haven’t watched it since .. decades ago.

Its so good!

hokay, home to pick up booze and feed the pup, then will head over.

Kk

[End texts for now.]

Thus concludes our pre-date-rape relationship.  I went home, grabbed some whiskey, stopped at the Quality Dairy to pick him up his stuff, and drove the ten or so minutes to his house. I wasn’t nervous, per se, but I was a little worried it might be Awkward. I worry about that a lot, because that is part of what social anxiety does. I figured if nothing else, I’d get to see that amazing movie again, which would be awesome unto itself. Maybe get to know him a bit better – which is not a euphemism; I had no intentions of doing anything other than having a drink or two, talking, watching a movie, and going home.

I arrived, and he gave me the nickel tour. It was a nice little rental house. We chatted a bit,  and then I went with him outside while he had a cigarette. We talked about painting, and he said he’d love to teach me what he knows about it. He said he would love to cook me dinner sometime. We talked about some health thing or another, and he brought out his Physician’s Desk Reference [PDR] to consult. I remember chuckling and thinking, “of course he has the PDR; why wouldn’t he?” He seemed quite pleased with himself about it.

It was all pretty normal conversation for people getting to know each other.

Back inside, we poured ourselves a small glass apiece of spiced holiday brandy and sipped it in the kitchen before pouring our next drinks and getting the movie started. We each sat on opposite ends of his very large couch – we were easily five to six feet apart.

If you’ve not seen Baraka [link goes to official site,] it is a very visual movie. There is no plot, per se – it is just a beautiful accounting of our world and its inhabitants.

During this time period, I was going out to the bar at least once a week, and I had slightly more tolerance for alcohol than I used to: I could have three drinks in a couple of hours before feeling like I was unsafe to drive or make important decisions. Yes, that is still a lightweight, I know: Cussing like a sailor doesn’t mean I can drink like one.

I had a drink with, at most, two shots of whiskey mixed with Coke and ice. This is not a volume of alcohol which would incapacitate me.

We watched the movie, mostly in appreciative silence, with the occasional commentary here and there.

This is the last scene I remember seeing:

Somewhere in the middle of the Monkey Chant, I remember getting very dizzy and sleepy, and I think I started to lie down on the couch. Then, I was out like a light.

I woke up with my face in his lap and his penis in my mouth. I was only conscious for a few seconds before slipping back into blackness.

I woke up with him on top of me, and inside me, again, only for a few seconds. I didn’t even have enough time to be confused or angry or scared before crashing out again.

I don’t know how long it was before I actually fully “woke up.” The movie was over, or had been turned off, and I had my pants back on, though unfastened. There was no mistake I had had sex.

I have no memory of the first words we exchanged upon my regaining consciousness, but the parts after I started being able to remember things now seem surreal after the fact.

Reading the following, please rememberI was not in a lucid, rational state of mind: I was heavily altered by whatever was in my drink.

Also, I am a person who takes care of other people, who respects their experiences, and who has seen sexual assault victims be re-attacked by the people they tried to get help from. I have been sexually assaulted in other situations. If someone claims sexual assault, I believe him or her first, and ask questions later – to me, the greater evil is assuming someone is lying when they are not. I would rather believe and be made a fool than to disbelieve and be proven wrong.

Those two things caused me to say things which could easily be used against me as admissions of guilt. It wouldn’t even take a sneaky reading of the remarks – I straight-up said I was guilty, because I believed him. I never said I remembered any of it, mind you.

I remember kind of coming around as if through deep sea waves, with Harold sitting on the other end of the couch again, shaking his head and saying, “I don’t think that was a good idea, edar. I feel like you took advantage of me. I wasn’t ready for that.”

At that point, I burst into tears. I remember feeling humiliated, violated, confused… and now, apparently, I was the instigator? Shit! I’m a terrible person! I tried to untangle my own thoughts while still respecting the things he was saying to me.

“Oh, don’t cry, don’t cry,” or words to that effect. “It’ll be ok. It’ll be great, actually!” He went on to compliment parts of my body, and various aspects of the sex he’d had with it.

I was reeling – he was claiming I was the aggressor, that I took advantage of him… while saying things like, “you have a really pretty pussy.” What the literal living hell? Even drugged, I knew something wasn’t right, but, ever the only child, I have to take responsibility for everything, even if it isn’t my fault.

So, I apologized.

I apologized to someone who date-raped me.

Saying that makes me want to vomit.

I couldn’t stop crying as he spoke of how this was just not at all what he expected. Yeah? Me either, Harold. This wasn’t what I signed up for here, pal.

At least he had used a condom.

I got ready to go – I had to leave, to get away from him and from his house, the scene of (apparently) my crime. I was most definitely not okay to drive, but that was the least of my concerns at that point in time – I was envisioning my job crumbling out from underneath me after Harold went to HR and claimed I assaulted/raped him. I was wracked with guilt for (apparently) forcing myself upon some unwitting soul. I was thinking about the fact that I’d just had sex with someone I had absolutely no intention of having sex with… but apparently attacked and coerced into sex. It did not occur to me I had been drugged until the following night.

Harold begged me to stay the night, to cuddle up with him, to “heal” the wounds caused by the night’s events. To “bond.”

No thank you, please.

As I was gathering up my things in the kitchen, Harold scooped me into his arms, tugged at the v-neck of my t-shirt, and made a “rowr” sound as he tried to kiss me. “Why did you have to wear this shirt,” he purred, smarm pouring off him, almost tearing the fabric.

I’m fairly sure I pulled away and walked out the door, but there may have been more words at that point.

I drove the short distance home, and found he had texted me. We had a long text conversation, during which I tried to be respectful, to fully own my (alleged) actions of “having attacked him,” while coming to terms with everything.

Reading this a year later, it is easy to see these are not the words of someone who was just taken advantage of sexually. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to 100% conviction he had drugged me; what a horrible, horrible thing to accuse someone of, only to be wrong. Surely it is better to assume he did not, right?

—————-

Did you get home safe?

yeah, just dejected

Yikes.sounds gruesome.. glad youre home safe 😉

i feel like a predator

Lol

with the past i have, it’s so not ok to pressure anyone.
and yet i apparently did
i’m really having a hard time 

Ease up on the predator talk so I can feel normal, Im sure that will make us both feel ok
Try to think about what you liked.

[Yes. I shall try to think about what I liked about having sex whilst unconscious.]

…i legitimately feel like a complete piece of shit
but we carry on, i guess
12/27/15, 4:59am

[The conversation ended, and I went to bed to sleep off the rest of the drugs and the night. I don’t even remember if I showered. When I woke up, he was back, chipper as anything:]

Good morning sunshine!
How you doing?
12/27/15, 11:01 AM

Didn’t really sleep, feel like ass. I don’t get hung over, but the sleep thing is kind of killing me

Aw hun 🙁 next time Im in [his hometown] I’ll find out what meds I used to use which seemed to help.
Didnt you think that was funny that I plopped down that PDR last night!
12/27/15, 3:22 PM

i have stuff i know will work, 100% – but it’s the stuff i really don’t want to take anymore.
some nights are better than others, last night was just one of the bad ones.

That really sucks. Also dont forget to start thinking about what might be going on for new years eve
• 12/27/15, 3:54 PM

[Ah yes – New Year’s Eve. Prior to these events unfolding, I had told Harold I would be happy to take him out on New Year’s Eve, because historically, he has had a completely shitty time. And why wouldn’t he want to spend the last night of the year with someone who had taken such advantage of him? Of course, we could turn the tables around here and ask me the same question – but I wasn’t in the mindset of “this guy date-raped me” yet – I was in the opposite mentality.]

[Now he still wanted to do something? Ugh. I was still in recovery mode, trying to make sure not to further offend him so he wouldn’t go to HR or press charges or any other damn thing, since I had apparently attacked him, and not the other way around.]

[By this time we were back at work. We do not sit near each other, so we were mostly conversing over text still, though he had stopped briefly by my desk when he arrived.]

[“I got stuck in some thorn bushes last night,” he said, laughing.]

[“What?” Very confused.]

[Harold lifted his shirt to show me dark red scratches along his chest, sides, and back.]

[“Holy shit!” I exclaimed, “did you fall or something when you went out to smoke?”]

[He stared at me in amusement. “Erin – those are from you.”]

[I was mortified. It didn’t occur to me that, even drugged, I was trying to fight him off however I could – by scratching the shit out of him; I assumed I just got carried away.]

That really sucks. Also dont forget to start thinking about what might be going on for new years eve
• 12/27/15, 3:54 PM

it’s your [NYE thing] – you pick.
in all seriousness tho, i was apparently way, way drunker than i’ve been in probably 15 years last night. that big drink plus the brandy must have done me in. i haven’t ever had memory lapses from drinking before. it’s just not like me. i don’t know what went wrong.
so sorry about the scratches, good lord.
12/27/15, 5:00 PM

Yea I was too. Its all good 😉 😉

i think i failed on every possible level last night.

Nah. I was sad that you were crying though. I wouldnt worry about anything.

i am really worried about all of it tho.
i mean, you seem pretty ok with it all, and i’m glad about that, but you felt taken advantage of, and that’s 100% nowhere near ok to me.
i didn’t go over there with the intention of getting thoroughly obliterated and doing that 

You shouldnt worry about it. Bc then you will start to not act like yourself and Im much more worried about that then anything.
I like you being yourself

i have no choice but to be myself

Good 🙂

Nice hat today btw
• 12/28/15, 1:46 AM

Https:/twitter.com/imternetofshit/status/680753875247345665
12/28/15, 2:36 AM

ha
the hat i had forgotten about, dug it out of an old bag

It was good!

you’re too kind

Never saw you wear it before
• 12/28/15, 3:00 AM

Just a question, when you message me from your google number to my phone do you use your computer to send that message or do send it by typing it in your phone?

i’m on my desktop, i can’t stand typing on my phone

So its open knowledge then.. whether you decided to send earlier texts to my number vs sending them to chat. They still went through chat. Just wanted to know.
No biggie.
I felt much more worried than you think today even if I am presenting myself as collected. I was totally worried about you
• 12/28/15, 3:39 AM

[To this day, I have no idea what “it’s open knowledge” means, or why he is worried about them going to “chat” instead of “text.”]

don’t worry about me, i’m pretty good at it.
i’m sending to your phone via sms on my desktop, thanks to google voice
i’m really upset about last night still, but time heals, etc

Well I am too.
And the only thing that heals is trying to understand one another.
Will you let me know about you? Can I let you know about me?

i do need to know more about you so i can process what happened and where everything went off the rails

It didnt go off rails. But ive seen this before. So thats why I notice this

[“I’ve seen this before,” he said. I bet that’s true. I would be surprised if there isn’t a slew of women who have had these conversations with him over the years.]

what went wrong was me apparently not paying attention to what you wanted or needed.
and i’m really really not ok with that.

[Still really wanting to vomit about taking all the responsibility for what happened, Just In Case it was, indeed, my fault.]

No no, how could you know.
I didnt think you drank too much. But we did.. it was youthful and fun. That was great!

[“YOUTHFUL AND FUN??!!”]

ideally, you’d tell me if you weren’t ok. 
i wish you didn’t feel taken advantage of
that is not great at all.

Huh?
Previous

you said last night you felt taken advantage of

I did

yeah that’s not ok with me at all
that’s what i feel the worst about

This is placating, but you really shouldnt.

there really isn’t anything you can say that’ll make me feel ok about it.
i’ve been really taken advantage of like that myself, many times, and it’s not in any way ok.

Would you just come over sometime when I want to test a gourmet meal and we can try cooking together?
I just want some honest partnership, a good friend, so if youre okay with that.. that would be relaxing.
So… is that something that I said that you are okay with?
cooking, friendship, companionship
Jk
. Just fuckin with you
No yes.. that is right!
Yes that would be a nice start to a good friendship
Is that okay with you?

sure

[Anything so you don’t get me fired]

Me too.

those were my intentions last night before whiskey got involved

Well, I got wind of that while talking with you longer and I thought it would be right to not make assumptions and to learn more about you.
Btw I told my dad what happened. Lol

[Because that is a totally normal thing to tell your father.]

what?! and he said, i assume, “you idiot.”
i meant my intentions last night were not what happened
they haven’t been at all
i don’t make a habit out of having sex with [people at work], yknow?

[Dad] said… “good luck at work” very sarcastic like im a stupid idiot and should have known better.
Yea I got ya

well, 2 different kinds of people and this would be a recipe for disaster

Do you mean IF this was? Or just if this was another type of person?

if either of us were a different kind of person, i think we’d be in a truly shit situation right now. but apparently we’re both adultish

True. We care about each other. Thats what counts

[“We care about each other?” That’s where we are now? Sincerely? Fuck off.]

But a recipe for disaster… I dont know about that.
Haha
WHOA THORNS!

truly a facepalm moment; i am so embarrassed.

You shouldve seen the other side.

yeah that’s just not ok. that’s tacky as fuck.

I was really shocked this morning.

i can certainly see why

Looked in the mirror and was like holy shit! Haha
It was nice. Made me feel wanted. Very cool

[THESE ARE NOT THING THINGS SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN SEXUAL ASSAULTED WOULD SAY!! “Made me feel wanted?” Please!]

you must have such a skewed sense of who i am now

[There is more to this statement than just this incident. At our bar gatherings, I would often pick up the tab, and I would sometimes do the same for food. Harold took that to mean way more than it did, thinking I was picking up his check to express interest in him. NOPE! I just do that sometimes for my friends. He also took my inviting him to the bar as a come-on, which it most definitely was not; it was a way to help a person new to the group feel included.]

No

pissing you off paying for your food and whatnot too often, taking advantage of you, and scarring your ribs.
who the hell is this person?

I am taking you at face value.. granted Ive seeb this before so Im trying to not let you embarrass yourself mixed with how unusual I am. But I just want you to feel good.

lol. “trying not to let you embarrass yourself” is not congruent with me feeling good.
i feel like you think i’ve had these untoward intentions all along, and that’s not the case. i’m just an open person, a friendly person, a flirty person.
yes, you’re attractive, but i had no plans to do anything on that front.
but thank you for not writing me off as a complete shitshow

Yea but I just saw some simalar things and I didnt want you to get caught up in it.. advanced level secret kinda thing, I just wanted you to be yourself again

i’m not parsing “advanced level secret kinda thing.” how do you mean?
but please don’t apply what you’ve seen previously seen in similar situations to me, because i guarantee something else is the case. i am not those people.

Huh? Did you mean “previously sent onto me”?

sorry, “previously seen,” as in, behaviors and patterns you’ve seen in others likely will not apply to me.
i think you are likely a person worth knowing, and that we have some communication style gaps to cross
plus, we’ve been informed by vastly different life experiences
i’m ridiculously naive and trusting, and you’re more wary and cautious. both serve purposes, both have drawbacks.

Its like mario bros.. you can either play all the levels or have someone tell you which tube to take. I JUST figured I would let you know which tube to take to get closest to my heart. Sorry.

nonono – don’t misunderstand – “getting closest to your heart” is not my end goal here.
i appreciate direct and honest communication – that’s what i want. 100%
i think text-based discussions like this are probably causing some misunderstandings, too
especially since you have to type it all out on your phone, ugh

Absolutely.

very sincere question – what do you think i want from you?

I dont know at this moment. Seems like a question like “how & when” did my website get hacked? I understand youre trying to be sincere, which I assume but what if I dont pick up on social ques whether vocally or textually. So I dont know? What do you want from me?

that’s fine – i just want to make sure you don’t think i have some kind of agenda. i don’t. what i want from you is to get to know you better, develop a solid friendship, and have fun hanging out with a group or without. that’s all – no intentions otherwise.
i was afraid for a moment you might think i was looking for a boyfriend

Haha. I dont know what you want, I figured you wanted a girlfriend earlier on, so a guy wasnt really in the picture but it doesnt change anything.

not looking for any kind of committed partnership with guy, girl, animal, vegetable, or mineral.
but ok. air cleared. fresh start.

[Subtext: Please don’t report me to HR]

Fresh start was there all along
Youre a great woman. What can I say.
• 12/28/15, 5:17 AM

[The next day, I had lunch with a good friend of mine. I told her what had happened, and asked for her opinion. At that point, I was beginning to suspect something was not right – I had regained a clear head, and a better perspective, and nothing was lining up.

I relayed the events, and showed her some of the text messages. “Edar. Those are DEFinitely not things he would say if you’d attacked him. Those are things he would say if he wanted to date you. This asshole thinks you’re his girlfriend now. I’m not even joking.”

Hearing her echoing the thoughts I’d been mulling around in my head made me feel so much better. Validated.

Later, Harold texted me, asking what my plan was for our NYE outing. I offered a few options, but said I remembered he had said he didn’t want to go to any parties.]


I did say something similar but it wasnt exactly that. It was that I wanted a party but everybody at the last minute, changed plans and went to another party bc on nye every new party seems better. Hard to describe. Yea I wanna go to a party
I just want it to be a good one!

ah ok – i misunderstood or misremembered. what’s a good party for you?

Oh my.
something that is not approved of.. a little bit crazy, a little bit silly, a little bit sexy? Tough question.

these parties are fairly tame

Thats cool. Going to bed. Night
• 12/30/15, 6:10 AM

[We did go out for awhile on New Year’s Eve, and had an awkward time, thankfully most of it with friends (one of my most favorite people even came out with us the whole time to chaperone at my desperate request,) and he behaved himself.

At the end of the night, however, he was very well into his cups. I hadn’t had anything but a sip of homemade spiced rum all night, because I wanted no chances of a repeat occurrence. I had dubbed myself the designated driver to avoid being heckled into drinking.

I dropped off our chaperone, and drove Harold home. He wouldn’t get out of my car. No, we instead had to have a very long, confusing, many-vectored, fork-bomb-like “conversation” which mostly involved him whining and begging for me to come inside, “just for one drink,” “just for a minute,” “just for a kiss,” “just to spend the night and cuddle, nothing has to happen.” Needless to say, my resolve stayed firm.

After about 30 minutes of this asinine back-and-forth, he started getting Cranky. Harold turns into a belligerent drunk after sufficient time/drinks have passed. The 180-degree turn is radical, and, if you’re not prepared for it, it will take you by surprise.

He went from trying to hold my hand to vicious, snarky remarks about how he’s seen “my kind” before – older women targeting him to be their boyfriend. I assured him that was the farthest possible thing from my mind, but he wouldn’t listen. Instead, he went off the deep end disparaging both me and himself for another 20 or so minutes – before circling back and wheedling some more to get me inside.

I got really firm and ordered him out of my car, moments from either punching him in the face, or driving to the police station. He finally complied, and I went home to find this text:]

It was very special to met you before the year ended and also after the year began.
• Jan 1, 6:23 AM

[I was too pissed off to reply.]

Haha. Thank you for taking me out. I had a really fun time and appreciate what you did for me.
• Jan 1, 3:16 PM

you’re welcome. how are you feeling today?

I have a huge hangover.lol I just woke up a bit ago. Was on the phone with my dad
• Jan 1, 4:35 PM

sorry about the hangover. i’m glad i don’t get them.
do you remember the stuff we talked about in the car?
Jan 1, 5:02 PM

Barely. Actually not at all.
Which probably really sucks. I’m sorry.

it was all important stuff, but no worries.

Im sure It will come back to me though.

we can cover it again sometime if need be

Okay.
I would like that.
I just hope I didnt say anything to hurt your feelings.

you did, but it was also a good talk in many ways – or at least, it would’ve been if you remembered it.
i think i may have gotten through to you on the whole “no really, i don’t want to date you, i didn’t ever want to date you, and i never had intentions of having sex with you but that happened and let’s just move on” front.
you seemed very convinced i was out for you from the moment we met
which is 100% untrue
but we’ll rehash it whenever
altho, even after that talk, you were still badgering me to spend the night.
you were so fucking drunk.

Okay now I remember. Ah yes. Yes it was a good talk. I dont ever want to hurt your feelings. And yes I was.. Thank you again. You made it great.

[Pretty sure he doesn’t remember shit, because from his perspective, the talk was not “good,” let alone “great.”]

Got a question for you. Do you remember holding hands?
• Jan 3, 2:42 AM

i remember everything from NYE – i wasn’t drinking. i remember letting you hold my hand because it was proving to be pointless to get you to stop trying, and holding your hand was harmless. why.
Jan 3, 4:30 AM

Oh the jabs… well i remember all of it too, with some help.
Memories are always in a place, you just need the trigger to get them back.
Thank you for being patient enough to give me a tidbit to get it back. I Dont normally get to have a New Years so doing something that everyone else has done for years as their nye was really special.
• Jan 3, 4:46 AM

[Thus concludes the text surrounding incidents and NYE. However, in the following months, the onslaught of bizarre accusations and rambling thoughts continued.]

[Days pass, random unimportant texts do, too.]

Btw I really like that site whydoesedardrink. That was really cool. I had no idea but I think I need to get you some fine whiskey… and at some point you should tell me your bday so I can reciprocate.
• Jan 18, 2:44 AM

thanks for the compliment on the site

It was nice to see another side of you that everybody cares about.
Whens ya bday?

[Then… shit gets slightly weird weird.]

I sometimes (past two nights) get the feeling you can see what Im typing before I press send.. kinda like chats. If so thats ok just let me know if so.

lol, i can’t see what you’re typing

[Paranoia?]

My favorite was Jacks <spit-take> combined with your love of using <anal-fisting> hilarious
Yea fucking great people!!
It always seems like everyone is better at making humor/comedy via message. I am not so good at that because Im literal most of the time
Oh well

i do much better over writing than i do in person
when i try to tell a story or say something funny, i stumble all over myself
i had this long story about an impromptu boat ride in the gulf of mexico that was part fiasco part “what the fuck was i thinking,” part dumb luck, and it usually comes out, “i saw a boat once.”

I think youre good at it. But thats just me understanding what you say.

that makes one person who gets it
cuz even i do not

I still think you can make some art though. Also I was thinking but afraid to ask. Would you be up for a trivial pursuit night some time?
I dont want it to be a big group thing, just something light.

Whens the last time youve thoughr of something that has made you completely relaxed and went and did that?

i don’t even remember what that feels like.
i am bad at relaxing.
there are things i enjoy doing, but they don’t relax me, per se.

I am too. I just realized that idea while we were talking, and thought… when was the last time I was relaxed, and then asked you too. I dont know.. I dont know.
Me too . But they are imaginative.. like I think they would make me relax.
Phfew.. i dont know either.. the regularity of work, the problem solving gets my mind off of the fact my life is not the greatest. A warm bath, talking, falling asleep next to person I was talking with, waking up with them, continuing the conversation. Not thr answer, but the start.

<nod> sounds like a good start indeed. 
Feb 5, 5:15 AM

Erin, how are you doing? You seem to be absent as leader figure. Are you ok? What is dragging you down? You are a pinnacle , pure relaxment, pure fight, pure balance. A lot of people need you. Yes you. But balance it.
• Feb 10, 4:44 AM

I dont think you realize, that who I am is all because of Red.

i couldn’t realize – i never met him, and i don’t know much about your past. i’m really sorry you’re hurting.

I didnt think that you would, but thats why I said that. So you knew. This is really really bad. He was the glue that IS “the family” not to mention the only friend I had that knew how alone I was. We were both confidants of lonelyness. Not something you strive for but it happens when you purposely do nice gestures to people in need. He was so much better at it than I was.

it’s always so hard to try to come to grips, to be able to move forward, when suffering a loss like this. he can still be the glue, though – you all hold him in your hearts, and remember him. and, if you believe he might still be around and watching, you can still talk to him and perhaps find comfort there. it sounds like you’re a better person for having known him; carry that legacy with you, strive to live up to it.

Talk to him?
Copy pasta? Admit it. If so.

what?
i mean you can still talk to him, as if he were still here. i’m not copying/pasting anything, i’m typing.
but now, i am also going to bed.

ERIN, your messages came in out of order bc of hangouts. Dont go.
I have no one to talk to.

i’ll try to stay awake a bit longer
i’m sorry you don’t have anyone to talk to… your dad isn’t of any comfort?

Is your Dad up right now?

i didn’t mean right now, specifically, but yes – he is. i wouldn’t expect anyone else’s to be, though.
i thought you meant you didn’t have anyone else to talk to in general.

Sorry for bothering you.

you’re not bothering me, Harold.

I know, but I wanted to talk with someone that knew me better, and you do. In little ways, but still, you do.

i can talk to you

I appreciate it. I really do. ‘

please forgive me if i fall asleep, though – i really was just getting settled for sleeping. i should be awake a bit longer, but just in case, etc.

T for sure! Go to bed.
Well.. your g shit always is delayed. So there is a relay in there somewhere.. thats why you will always get 3 messages that are sent from hangouts that are always less than the charachter count,but still send in 3 messages.
When you could send it in one text
BUT sending one text in hangouts actually sends 3 and 2 are noticed
Anyway
Have you ever been hit on at a funeral. I have, it was from someone my grandmother really respected too.

Yikes, that would be terrible

I am exagerating what happened. That was just my perception. I dont think that was planned
It was awkward though.
Laugh about it later kind of shit
Just super weird at the time
But right now. This is way serious. Yea got plenty of stories like that. Oddities, unknowns I guess.

Hey Erin! Do something dirty and non-authoritative in respect of my grandfather, whether it be doing something you shouldnt do, or just having a scotch tomorrow. Thank you.
I really stayed at work today bc that was something that he was proud of. He was very happy that I was working at Liquidweb even though he didnt know exactly what it was. He was happy that I worked hard even though it was easy for everyone else.
• Feb 25, 5:21 AM

it will be a pleasure to have a drink in red’s honor later on tonight.
i’m sure he was really proud of you; that should make you feel good.
Feb 25, 1:08 PM

Thank you Erin and thanks for talking to me last night.

i wish i’d been able to stay awake for you longer, but i was knackered.

Its okay. I just cried a lot more.

that’s good tho
Feb 25, 3:29 PM

 

And Erin, you have been so kind to me. You try to understand me. Thank you
Its just Ive lost my only friend that I was able to comiserate with on how lonely I was as well.
• Feb 26, 12:59 AM

you’re welcome – i’m happy to listen. i don’t feel as if i’ve been able to do much for you, but do let me know if you need anything.

Okay. Thank you.

i’m sorry you’re still feeling lonely. you have many people who like you.

how was the service today?

Service. There was no service. It was burial. We buried him the way he wanted. Face down… so the rest of the world could kiss his ass.

he sounds like quite a man

 

Pic would be apreciated too

of?

Just you being you. Thats all.

nope. 

Ok. Well I am going to go to sleep so if you find it, it would be nice. Nite Erin.
• Mar 12, 5:12 AM

cone over and drink.
Come

sorry, no.

You shoulda just came over.
I do know that you have not been vocal/chat or otherwise.
It’s been a weird 6 or so months
Maybe your good leadership has been to gather and support, keep together, the people that want to move forward. I could see that.

That’s often the case with me. I’m a catalyst.

I really wish you could have came over, we could have talked about all this.
“The thing you do”
Jk
You are less than 10 blocks away. Come o er.
Missed the v

Pretty sure it’s father than that, but regardless, sorry, no.

I think its less
Yes. Next time of course. Okay.
Btw I thought it was funny last week when I asked you for a pic and you were expecting me to ask for some puss shot and I just said show me a picture of what you see and I thought it was nice.

Didn’t think you were asking that

I wasnt. But got the impression you thought I was … at the time..

Nope
You read so much into me. Stop it.

What? What am I doing?

Over-analyzing what you think I’m thinking

I do, but now Im wondering if I should have expressed that sexual side..

I’m not following. If you’re talking about the clusterfuck from December, yeah – you should not have “expressed that sexual side.”

[He immediately tried to call. I didn’t answer.]

Voicemail
Hey, Erin, This is Harold. I was just giving you a call. You’re not available to take my call. I just call and leave a message.
00:00/00:11
Mar 18, 4:58 AM

Btw, I just was asking because I am still down. Just wanted someone in the house. You could have sat and read a book for all I cared… I dunno, Im not settled with this loss yet.

it would be surprising if you were fully settled with it – it was a huge loss, it’ll take some time.
i’m sorry i wasn’t fit for human consumption tonight.

Well a spot on the couch could have been claimed and I would have been okay.

Are you joking with me right now? 

You could have done your own thing it wouldnt have mattered.

Jesus, you’re being serious. Harold, I will not be coming over to your house alone at any point in time, now or in the future.

Still up? If not could you call me before you go to work tomorrow? I need a huge favor, for someone to pick me up anything that helps with anti inflammatory as I have nothing at the house and can barely walk, definitely not drive.

i’m up, but i have the supervisor meeting at 1400 😞
if i have time after that and before work, definitely can
they’ve been shorter lately, so i should be able to

Anything. Im really in a lot of pain right now, if anyone has old antibiotics ( i know thats really bad) i dont care.

why would antibiotics help?
if it’s inflammation, they won’t do anything except fuck up your intestinal fauna

Antibiotics can help with inflammation sometimes

i feel like that’s untrue. they only help with infection, afaik.

I dont know, i dont care

well before you start throwing pills down your throat, how about a doctor?

I dont have a doctor right now

if only there were a way to fix that.
i know eric craig will come get you if i can’t

i’ll text you either when the meeting is done, or sometime after 1500 if i can’t get away in time

Okay. Thank you.

K thankyou
• Mar 24, 4:59 AMvia Project Fi

Made it to a doctor, no need to call.

good! what was the diagnosis? if you don’t mind sharing – if you do, is totally ok.

There wasnt really a diagnosis, I told them what I thought it was, and let them know what I took last time to fix it and they precribed it. Its probably a severe case of gout.

right on. i hope it clears up soon!

Hopefully.
On a scale of pain last night 1-10 that was an 8

that’s brutal
really glad you saw a dr tho

Yea well it was hard since my driving foot was the one that had the problem.

yeah that’s miserable
Mar 24, 10:33 PM

Hey come on over.
You can bring pets inside. Only you though.

we’ve talked about this, harold.

Oh okay..
Just come over and sleep.. if you stay awake.

Harold. NO.
Mar 31, 5:15 AM

Its not an offer. Its an everyday thing. The “no drive” thing. Understood. I was hoping you would have brought your pets, and I could have made beds for them too. No worries.
I cant expect you to transistion this late at night.
I am still kinda stuck to playing a game of trivial pursuit, just you and I. You might wonder why I keep bringing it up. Sorry.
I cant do anything but wish you well if you are not here. And if not here to wish (try to fix ) , but you dont tell me so how can I know? Goodnight. Last couple weeks you were adding to your attire. Looked stunning!
• Mar 31, 5:36 AM

Haha that was alot
• Mar 31, 2:41 PM

thanks for the compliments on the clothes – am trying to make myself feel better by trying to look better on the outside, i guess.

Well youre doing great at it. I found trivial pursuit at barbes and noble but it was 60 bucks so I didnt really feel like buying it.

ouch, yeah – that’s a bit steep.

Well if youre not doing anything later let me know.
• Mar 31, 5:17 PM

whoops, sorry – just saw this. do have plans after work, alas.
Mar 31, 6:23 PM

You should come over and chat after work to vent, I want someone to talk to as well…
• Mar 31, 10:24 PM

[And here… here is where we go off the rails.]

So are you stopping by for friendship?
Are you scared to visit?

[“Stopping by for … friendship?” What?!]

i was planning to call you in a bit so we could talk over what you wanted to vent about

No. I wanted to talk to you in person. I didnt want a call to subverse that.
As well I didnt need to vent, you do! I’M trying to help you out but you wont let me.

i’m not coming over. when i’m done here, it’s going to be close to or after 4.

All of that is ok. I know youre not coming over. Knew that before the original request. Was not expecting it, but I’m really worried about you. Give me some leway in a way that I can atually care about you.

i’m going to be ok, promise. i’m a very difficult person to help, but i do appreciate the offer immensely, thank you.

[The next day]

Erin, you promised that you would call me. You didnt. There is something important about you
You flaked

Harold. i said i was going to call you – you told me not to, that you wanted to see me in person. i did not flake.

That was quick and like you saw it before I typed it.

i’m typing on a keyboard remember.
do you think i work for the nsa or something?

Don5 bullshit me.

i don’t even know what you’re talking about right now.

I dont care if you do. Good d3al
Erin, just go to bed.
You still flaked
No legitemacy to her promises
Dammit, can you extract yourself? Can you lighten things up for a bit? I’m afraid youre taking everything so literal thats it causing you stess. Dammit we needed to talk.
If you get to point of doubting yourself then somethi g is wrong

You are highly variable, and that stresses me out. You ask me to lighten up after accusing me of lying to you.
I think we should just plan on seeing and communicating with each other at work and nothing more.
Apr 1, 3:49 AM

You did not lie to me and I would never think that you would. I TRUST you implicitly! And that is why we need to talk, because ypu dont know how I feel about certain tjings and I think you should. Im just trying to levee your added pressure and trying to find a way to alleviate it for you. You did so much for me in the beginning. The highly variable stuff will be very static, I was giving plently of oportunites to know but it seemed that you didnt care to.
Rains are there. Just grab them.

I want to be clear I’m not angry or upset. If you read through our conversation history when you’re sober, I think you’ll understand why I have to keep my distance.
Heading to bed. Nite.
Apr 1, 4:10 AM

Who said I wasnt sober, ( judgement) waiting for your call like you promised. Sleep well. Yea its txt, everybody can read through it. Next time just stop by like a normal friend.
Goodnight E.D.
And bottom line. I care about you. I do. I think about you every day. I dont know if that matters or not to you. If you dont think that is okay then fine. I was just trying to make something that is more advanced than topical.
And now I feel like total shit. Thank you very much.
• Apr 1, 4:43 AM

Because you feel that my conversations are not stable(but who’s should be? Its communication) but yet you leave it at topical, rather than personally talking to me. Stop by…, borrow some sugar …like a normal person. Youre still worried about something but I dont know why or from what? And last night I started to feel like it was my fault for your problems… your problems are not mine.I have taken on caring about your problems, you dont know that,… but I do. I feel like youre so scared of me because youre worried about telling me about your life. Fine. Whatever. Ps dont ever tell me “when youre sober” in another text again. I choose when I want to talk to you and so do you. Stop cutting me down.
Not only are you worried about your career, your motherly instinct isnt working and you might need advice… or people that are friends that care about you.
You should have stopped over.
• Apr 1, 5:17 AMvia Project Fi

Just a side note, I have no idea why you think you need to prim & proper yourself. Who are you trying to impress? Is someone looking for something more?, dont change just wait it out .patience my friend.
• Apr 1, 6:09 AMvia Project Fi

Eh that was horrible. Sorry about that.
Apr 1, 6:15 PMvia Project Fi

Thank you for calling me out on that today. It helped. I needed some self reflection and I appreciate you for noticing. I really do.
• Apr 7, 3:23 AMvia Project Fi

And I understand youre doing the best thing. But , how you did it was super polite and it made me respect you more. And made me grow. I am trying to become a better participant at work. There are things that I want to do but there are technical topics that I am limited to , but Im pushing myself by not hanging out and studying instead.
• Apr 7, 3:51 AM

Erin, I understand that you are under a lot of pressure to change things. Do it. Take hold of the team you have. Strongest team there is. Someone must have decided to give you that in the first place… whomever decided that… thought that you could use that to change the company. Noone gets so many power players on the first round…to see what they can do with them. They gave you the cards!
Stop worrying and start accepting your empowerment.
And then do something about it! . Be the person you wanted to be at home, and care and nurture your team.
I am limited. I am alone. So dont trust my ideas. But maybe I could have some relevance.
• Apr 7, 5:12 AM

AND.. thats why this isnt personal in the first place because its just a link to some fake phone number that is redirected to chat client that you may or may not pay attention to… DNA it was personal to me. You were important to me even though you persisted on me. Do you even remember how many nights you tried to talk to me? A lot. And now .. i have a question, who am I supposed to look up to, it was you.. but my questions go unanswered. So who is the leader? Is it you anymore?
• Apr 7, 5:27 AM

I respect you more than you know. When you tell me Im fucking up I listen. We both know that. Btw trivial pursuit was not about the challenge.. it was about the chance that you could have a possibly embarrassing time without worring about be embarrassed… you didnt like the one on one, which is my most helpful trait. I wanted to show you so much as well. I will never hold these regrets as they can always be settled. But youre backing off I know that, so just say that…
Youre stopping talking. So say that. Define your point. You are one of only a few people that has this kind of strength.
Its hard that I honestly like you in a way that wouldnt matter what you did. Just like you. I know youre backing off because you know that too. Dont think about it too much, we both have exciting lives to live and sharing that is what makes it special. Care about you. Sure you care about me too in your own way. Ty
• Apr 8, 3:33 AM

Ps. Youre not a nun, so dont try to be one, no perfectly straight legging are going to show that, and only someone that was taught that would understand it. This is our time, not a time for regret. ANY impression to a group of sales people will not work. Unless you make them desparate. This type of people are very nice, but we are different.
• Apr 8, 3:55 AM

Stop trying to be someone youre not.
I like you just the way you are.
• Apr 8, 5:18 AM

Harold, please stop texting me.
Apr 8, 5:44 AM

Im not stupid, youre the one that sucked me into talking to all the time… now that you dont want to, or are tired of it.. i hesitated for good reason.. because I had seen people that create novelty out of their own want and then… thier own curiosity bores them… thanks alot for making me your plaything. I still cant understand how you couldnt make the time to drop off ibuprofin. You were the only one I trusted and you made me go through all that pain. That hurt. Not only physically, but mentally to know you lacked the courage to help when it was really important, and basically I was disipointed because you had made me look up to you… i dont know what to say…
Okay. I just saw that. I’ll stop texting you. Removing your number now.
Fattening Frogs for Snakes, Sonny Boy Williamson & AnimalsFattening Frogs for Snakes, Sonny Boy Williamson & Animals
One last thing. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-b-UF0FlZjo
• Apr 8, 6:04 AM

I’m not going to respond to anything further. You are not rational.
• Apr 8, 6:08 AM

[He left me alone after that – our interactions were strictly and thankfully professional only. Until this past week.]

Erin, I just got off work a while ago, but I wanted to wish you Merry Christmas belated. I hope you had relaxing time and enjoyed every bit of it.
• Mon, 2:50 AM

Thanks Harold – Merry Christmas to you as well 🙂
Mon, 11:13 AM

So another year has went by, but I wanted to let you know that my last birthday was very special to me and thank you for being a part of it because you truely enriched it and made my life happier. Thank you so much!

have a wonderful evening with your friends 
Fri, 10:39 PM

I just went out with my family. Youre going to have a great year. . I can feel it! You have a special place in my soul, friendship, and heart for everything you are and have done. I hope to return it with the same warmth youve given me.

thank you for your kind words
Fri, 10:58 PM

Well you are.we can talk more about ark at work.. And you will always be highlighted in my mind as someone that genuinely cared about me. So the kind words are insignificant compared to how much I appreciate you. Even though youre busy most of the time. You are appreciated and awed and looked up to so much more than you know. I Hope you feel cared about… because you are!
Ok. Enough words. Good night. And have a very happy new year.
But as “short round” (temple of doom)once said… lets hope for
“Fortune and Glory!”
• Fri, 11:16 PM

Hey would care to do me a huge favor on your way home?

[ARE YOU FUCKING JOKING WITH ME?!]

i really appreciate all of that, and thanks harold. what do you need?

Its a horrible request. And I did not spend and hour trying to tell you all that.. just for a thought of how to enjoy my bday before it happens a day later, but 4 tall boys. Miller or bud.

[YOU’RE BEING SERIOUS. YOU WANT ME TO BRING YOU FUCKING BEER?!]

i’m sorry, but i have plans.
Fri, 11:57 PM

[Aaand then we’re off to the races again.]

Thats great. Dont let me bother you with “on purpose ideas that are not sexy on purpose” and ” well I just dont know you well enough, but I want too ideas.” Im glad you denied the beer run girl idea.. i realized after about 30 minutes of what I had had said, I had no choice but to ask you, but my initial reation was just to thank you. Got all screwey. Sorry, but not sorry. Love to learn about what you think sometime!
Eh. I try. I care about you. Thats the simplified version of it.
Have a great time then. Cheers!
Just out of curiosity, why did you skirt, knowing you had plans.. for a simple drop off favor?

i didn’t know what you wanted – you didn’t say you needed to have something dropped off.
your house isn’t really on my way home, so i thought maybe it was something else.

It wasnt something else, I know better to know when Im not wanted but to just be casual.My house is a straight shot east, then south to your house. We can work on the frienship thing, I know I already am. Sorry if I have caused you doubt about that strong part of our relationship.
12:37 AM

Its okay. Have fun. Never a worry because I know we can always talk about it if we are confused about descrepancies. Thank you wonderful.
• 12:55 AM

You are amazing in my eyes, and dont let anyone tell you different.mucho lovo googly goo and all that messy unconfortable stuff. Big hugs and slopply wet kisses. Youre my favorite! Good night sweet uncomfortable princess. Wish you the best, just like you treat me all the time. Thank you again!
1:36AM


That’s the end of things thus far.

To anyone who read the whole thing, thank you – I would love your input, anything you would like to share.

 

Size Insanity

If you’ve seen me in person lately, or if you follow me on Facebook, you know I have recently undergone a bit of a transformation in terms of how I dress: I’ve taken a sudden (and wildly unexpected – almost unwelcome) interest in dressing nicely, focusing on a lot of retro styles – Pin-Up Girl Clothing, ModCloth, Steady Clothing, Blame Betty, et cetera. I am more confused by this change than anyone else, believe me – I have never thought twice about “cute shoes” or “darling sweaters;” indeed, I have held fashion in a sort of contempt for 90% of my life. If you had told me, eight weeks ago, I would have a “Fashion” category on this blog, I would have laughed you across the street, down the block, and off the pier.

If I were seen in a dress or skirt, it was because of a special occasion, or because I’d forgotten to wash my regular clothes.

Dia de los Muertes Dress

Now one of my favorite things.

Jeans and boots were where I lived, man, and happily at that. I took power from my motorcycle boots, and my identity was very wrapped up in being super low-maintenance and unfussy.

As it turns out, it’s possible to dress well and still be those things. I can still wake up and be out of the house in 20 minutes, lipstick and all (that’s right, I said lipstick,) and I haven’t worn jeans and a t-shirt outside the house in at least two months. Who am I? Not a single clue. Maybe a fledgling adult. Maybe having a mid-life crisis.

ridiculous platform shoes

I don’t want to talk about this. Ok no, I really do! I love these! Fuck!

Now, I find myself wandering, wide-eyed, through a labyrinthine online maze of endlessly amazing skirts, dresses, tops, capris, shoes. I find myself saying things like, “Oooh, those are adorable,” when not referring to baby animals.

cute!

Right? Right.

As I’ve been shopping (mostly online) of late, I remembered part of why I fled into the world of comfortable and practical t-shirts, jeans, and boots – there is seldom any size fuckery with those items, especially when dealing with men’s clothing.

In the highly variable and viciously fickle world of women’s clothing, however, what size I am remains a complete and utter mystery – a humiliating exercise in comparing size charts and reading every single review, searching for someone close to my measurements to see what did (and did not) work for them. Opening livechats with customer service representatives imploring them to solve the riddle for me.

Recently, I have purchased clothing which fits me well in sizes running from a 12 to a 4X – what?!  The 12 was very generous, and the 4X was very cruel, but for fuck’s sake – could we please work out some kind of sensible, universal guideline for this nonsense? “Oh, that’s an Asian extra-large;” “Oh, that’s an English 2X.”  We live in a global society, and we should act like it.

Sure! Why not!

Hello, this is what a Size 4X looks like in some places: 5’7″, 175 pounds.

I am not getting hung up on numbers here – I don’t care if I end up as a size 5 or a size 500 – I just want to know what the fuck I am buying. I want consistency. My measurements are what is considered an “hourglass” figure by most manufacturers: At the fullest part of my bust, 45 inches. My waist, 37 inches. Largest part of my hips, 45 inches. In short, “big,” compared to the idolized 36/24/36 figure.

“Hourglass” sounds nice, right? But plus-sized hourglasses are just too much for many companies to deal with in their larger sizes – they tend to design their clothes with one shape in mind: Round. Round is fine – round is great! – but it doesn’t work for those of us who are NOT round.

They often forget that many women have large breasts – regardless of overall body size, large-chested women fight this battle every day, finding the perfect garment, only to discover the top is laughably small, and that the size which would accommodate our girls would look like a mumu. Many larger women have proportionally larger breasts, which do not fit into the …. ok, never mind – this is an entirely other rant for another time.

Back to the point at hand: I understand I am not pixie-sized – I get it that I am on the larger side. I don’t expect every line of clothing to cater to every conceivable body type, nor does anyone need to coddle my ego and tell me I’m a size four. What I want is some sanity.

Check out these size charts as examples:

size1

size2

size3

size4

size5

This may be the most helpful one yet, as it supplies international sizes, as well as numeric and letter-based sizes to compare, and it seems at least loosely based on reality:

size6

From that one small random sample, we see an XL person could be someone with a 31-inch waist all the way through a 38-inch waist. Seven inches of variance is a huge difference.

Women of smaller sizes have it slightly better than I do, but not entirely – “small” waists ranging from 24.5 inches to 27, “medium” from 26.5 inches to 29.92 (point-nine-two? Seriously?!) Girls in the “large” category, watch out – waists of 30.5 inches all the way up to 36.

Even more infuriating are those sites which list most of their garments in numeric sizes, only to have some pieces suddenly turn into S/M/L/XL/XXL and so on – sizes not addressed in their numeric size chart. <dramatic eyeroll>

I have no point, really; I’m just pissed at the lack of consistency. Truly, a “first-world/the struggle is real” sort of problem. There are meatier posts in the pipeline… but I needed to not think about those for awhile.

So here we are. In summary:

  • Finding clothes in my size is an unmitigated bitch;
  • Fuck you, most clothing manufacturers;
  • Please come to your senses.

Wanderlust

I’ve had this restlessness creeping in of late. Until the last few days, I’ve been in complete denial of what this feeling has heralded in the past.

Every ten or so years, I get a nearly uncontrollable urge to pick up and move far, far away. In 1988, I moved to Ann Arbor to go to college. It wasn’t far, far away, but it sets a baseline for when I arrived someplace away from the house were I grew up, someplace that wasn’t yet Home.

I had a solid career at the University of  Michigan, and a really nice group of friends. Then, in 1999, I moved to Seattle on about three week’s notice. In 2007, I came back to Michigan, also on fairly short notice, in part due to complete financial deconstruction, in part due to a false sense of homesickness brought on by my grandmother’s passing, but also because I could feel that wanderlust creeping up on me, and couldn’t afford to go anyplace else.

Now, it’s 2016.

And I’m getting antsy.

The only reasons I am still here in Michigan are my dad, my friends, and my job. I would love to be nearly anywhere else, for I am tired (once again) of crap Michigan roads, crap Michigan winters, crap Michigan politics, crap Michigan crap. There is very little to recommend central Michigan, folks, at least for me; verrrrrrry little. I do know people who love it here – but it’s just not for me.

There is no wilderness here. There is no nearby adventure. There are no breathtaking, huge mountainous landscapes. No waterfalls. No curvy roads. No ocean. Precious little Culture.

My dad is talking about moving West to be near his step-grandchildren and to get out of the Michigan winters, which cause him unbearable pain. That leaves my friends, and my job, both of which are very tightly enmeshed.

At this stage in the game, I don’t feel I am especially employable elsewhere, at least not without putting substantial effort into polishing up my tech skills, so finding a good job, a career, outside of LW might be difficult. Too, I believe in this company – I love it. I live and breath it. I have made, and can continue to make, a difference here. I believe I am doing good things here. It’s a wonderful place to work, but they (at present) do not allow telecommuting. If I could stay with this company, but work remotely, I’d probably do it.

My friends, though – I can’t really telecommute to bar nights, or have someone stop by to visit if I’m 2500 miles away. Three years ago, that wouldn’t have been a problem, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt as much a part of things as I do right now; I have a tribe, a chosen family, of really wonderful people. They have somehow, some way, managed to convince me they love me for who I am. They accept me, flaws and all, when I don’t even really accept myself.

The upside on the friends front, though, would be getting to see distant friends I seldom (or never) see anymore, and easier access to motorcycle endurance rallies and other events.

If one were to dip one’s toe into potential psychological reasons behind this recurring wanderlust, it wouldn’t be too difficult to come up with a few highly plausible theories about why I do this to myself. Part of it is being heavily seeker-oriented, and but that’s not the entirety of it. Let’s save the rest of the self-analysis for another time, though, shall we?

This time around, I’m going to try to resist, at least for awhile. If I do this (again,) it needs to be better planned out; I am getting too old to be financially unsecure and cavalier at the same time.

Still, South and West are calling to me. As much as I would love, love, love to go back to the Pacific Northwest, it would be nice to live someplace where 4-5 months of the year aren’t cruddy in terms of outdoor activities. Ideally? Summer house in Alaska, winter house in… oh, I don’t know… northern New Mexico, maybe. Southern Utah? Someplace beautiful.

With luck, I’ll do some traveling this summer that will either temporarily sate the need to move around. The risk, however, is that it will not sate things at all – it may only spur them. Frick.

Lack of Established Common Ground

[or, why online dating doesn’t work for me]

Disclaimer: Online dating is completely legitimate; I am not judging anyone for using it, and I’m actually a bit jealous of those of you who can. 

Some time after I separated from my ex-husband, I naturally wanted to try dating again. Working second shift (and weekends to boot,) it is, shall we say, “difficult” to meet people organically. A mad scramble to enjoy an hour and a half at a bar after work doesn’t lend itself to getting to know people there, and not many acquaintances are going to be up for doing something after midnight on a “school night.”

What the heck, I thought; I’ll give this online thing a go.

I signed up for the least offensive online dating site I could find, meticulously and thoroughly filled out my profile (because words are my addiction,) took a photo of myself I could stand to have online, and published the whole kit and kaboodle.

As is the case with any female profile, the men pounced quickly, and relentlessly. It wasn’t long before I was matched up with, as far as I could tell, every living being with a pulse within a 50-mile radius. Most of them were not very compelling, more than a few worked with me (awkward,) some were outright NOPE, and a very few piqued my interest. Like maybe two. My hopes plummeted rapidly.

Some of those who messaged me seemed genuine, others were clearly nothing I wanted anything to do with, but the sheer volume knocked me back. A lot. I tried to answer each one with something personal to the original message, but quickly realized that would be a full-time job unto itself. Clenching my teeth against my own rude behavior, I started deleting those who were clearly just non-starters without replying.

I did end up meeting someone from that site, and he was great. His introduction was essentially, “are you a real person?” He was actually what I would consider wayyyy out of my league – a true Grown-Up; a lawyer, a father with kids out of the house, obviously very intelligent, well-informed, politically and recreationally compatible, attractive – all the things. We went on a few dates over the course of a month or so, and despite enjoying his company, I just couldn’t get comfortable; there was something huge and oppressive holding me back, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I loved conversing with him over email, but in person felt a little … the first word which comes to mind is “caged,” as if there were all these inherent expectations I wasn’t sure I wanted anything to do with just yet.

How does one navigate these online dating situations, in terms of etiquette? I have no idea.

I’m reasonably certain that caged feeling was a product of my own insecurities and neuroticism, and that what I perceived as a fraught environment was anything but. Still, it was there, and I couldn’t ignore it (neither could he; he noticed.)

As unfair as it may be, it was having met online. The only reason we met was because we were both looking for someone to date: That’s not something I’d dealt with previously. As much in common as we actually did have, all of that was (in my mind) overridden by the fact we didn’t meet through natural happenstance. This is irrational, I know; get over it, edar.

Typically, and I suspect this is true of most of us, I have dated people I met through shared interests (pool, motorcycles, guns, writing, anything,) mutual friends, or at work. Given my schedule, I have limited time for hobbies during normal waking hours, and my friends these days consist almost entirely of co-workers.

Dating people at work is largely out of the question, because I am a supervisor, and most of the people who share anything close to my schedule are not (not to mention, it’s not generally a good idea to date from the work pool, right?)

To go back a moment, I have fallen in love with people I’ve met online – sometimes even before having met them in person – but not through dating sites. These are people I met through email lists, games, and other venues which were very much not about dating.

Evidently, for me, I need to have that shared common experience, that foundation which has been laid without the overtones put forth by having met through online dating. While I’m not always a “friends first” kind of person at all, it apparently does make things easier by orders of magnitude.

Too, I enjoy my solitude immensely; more often than not, I am content being alone. The last person I dated ran into that obstacle time and again – he wanted to spend more time together, and I….. didn’t. Ideally, I’ll find someone who makes me want to spend time together, but in my head, I can’t even imagine what that would feel like anymore.

To get back to the already belabored point, barely a month after having signed up for the free dating service, I nuked my profile and fled, never looking back.

I know people who have married someone they met through online dating, and many more who have had wonderful, fun experiences. It’s been a year now since I tried it, and I still can’t bring myself to go back, despite being cautiously interested in maybe sort of dating someone, and having precisely zero appropriate prospects at hand.

Finding someone who not only has a compatible schedule, but who can put up with my nonsense is likely going to be a long, rough road. I suspect blood will spill from some of the bumps. Maybe it’ll be fun?

(Maybe I’m an Albanian jet pilot)