gratitude

Every day I am grateful for:

My weird house

Elvis…

My weird dog

My boys. Their partners. Their happiness. Their resiliency. Their pursuit of their dreams. My heart nearly explodes with joy and love

Jay. Jay. Jay…

and all that he brings. All that he is. All the love that he showers on me.

Friendships. You know how every break-up or rough time, has, in hindsight, a theme; the lessons that you learn from that particular crisis tend to all be in the same general arena? This last go-’round was all about friendships – I learned a shit-ton the really hard way. I lost so many, gained some incredible new ones, and re-connected with some of the best people I have ever known. Then the pandemic moved in, I stopped working in public, I moved way out of town, and we weren’t allowed to see each other…

That seriously weeded out any of the fringe elements. I got weeded out of some too. It’s okay. But, those who remain have made this past year manageable. The humor and love and support have been sanity-sustaining.

I am over-the-top grateful for my sexy new firepan. Valentine’s Day gift. New boating gear is always fun but even more spectacular when it can be used at home for a backyard fire around which you can safely sit with a couple of those incredible friends.

And IT’S SO NICE!

Thank the heavens above for rivers.

For landscapes of stone.

For hot springs at 9000 ft after skiing in the mountains.

I’m super appreciative that my truck is still running with 230,000 miles on it. Well, kind of running. My friend’s Toyota has 340,000 miles on it, so, fingers crossed.

My new skis bring me all sorts of joy.

He’s a really good gift-giver.

The blue of the sky over the cliffs of red rock that I see out my window fills my soul.

I have the freedom to walk into that blue any time I want.

That is sanity-saving.

I love my mommy. Y’all know that. She and I have spoken nearly every day of this Pandemic. She’s a keeper.

I love my birds.

Jay’s home has big birds. Raptors. Big birds. I love his birds too.

That sounds kind of dirty doesn’t it?

I have songbirds: Juncos and Finches, and Chickadees, and Towhees, and Titmouse(s?) (Titmice?). I have Quail. Quail. They are the best. I could watch them all day with their little head accessories bobbing in synch with their scampering feet. They bring me so much joy.

A male Meadowlark just arrived this week. In the snow. He’s gorgeous. I think he’s looking for a place to put down roots; he’s got marriage and children on his mind. I hope he moves into the neighborhood. I’ve been feeding my birds special treats like kibble and brown rice to entice them to settle in.

Yesterday a juvenile Northern Harrier flew around my tree. I don’t have birds of prey here. I barely even have Ravens. Yet here he is.

There is magic in this canyon.

My life is just grand.

Rough

I’m having a shit day. It’s been building over the last few days – 5 to be exact.

Five days of Impeachment Hearings.

I tried to write a lengthy, eloquent piece that sounded intelligent and unemotional, but here’s the reality…

I am TRIGGERED beyond imagination. Hugely so. Hide under the covers all day so.

Because I am reliving my ten-year divorce by watching a narcissistic sociopath get away with bullying, manipulation, dishonesty, and abuse, yet again.

I am angry and frustrated and disheartened. It hurts so badly.

I had hope when we won the election. And I am grateful that we did. But it doesn’t matter right now. That doesn’t erase the despondency that is taking over my heart and soul.

Because a win here and there doesn’t last. It doesn’t mean that anything will change. In my experience, it only amps things up, makes the sociopath that much more determined to get his way.

Regardless of who is destroyed in the process.

My children.

It makes them more determined to crush the opponent.

Me.

I spent thousands of dollars (many of them my father’s dollars) trying to get him to play by the rules. THREE different attorneys, TEN separate court hearings…post-divorce.

Boxes upon boxes of paperwork: beligerent emails, threatening texts, personal attacks, blatent lies, contradictions, disregard for the rules.

He was found guilty of comtempt of court on three counts and only got a “Mr. X, you really shouldn’t do that.”

No matter how much proof I had, no matter how many bleeding battle scars I showed, no matter how much he pissed off the judge in the courtroom, no matter how many court orders were in place,

he still did exactly what he wanted.

AND GOT AWAY WITH IT.

Over and over.

One of the things I hated was some of the blind loyalty to him that I saw. Hearing, “Aw, he’s not such a bad guy…” or worse, “He only wants what’s best for his children…” sent me into apoplectic shutdown.

My world was under constant attack. My mental and physical well-being were threatened. Always. My children were being hurt in ways too big to accept.

I was fighting for peace and my sanity and safety for my children. I was fighting to breathe.

I experienced the hatred and insanity and self-serving cruelty that this man was gleefully choosing to inflict upon me and my boys…with absolutely no repercussions except for a slap on the wrist and a court order giving me full custody which he promptly ignored.

Rules never applied to him. At one point in our relationship I thought that was exciting and edgy. Stupid me.

The few battles that I did win – like full time residence and 100% decision making – made me feel hopeful in the moment, but what does a piece of paper mean to someone who would use it to wipe their ass rather than adhere to it?

He just chose different battles, different tactics, different, more elaborate attacks.

The dread I feel, the anxiety, the grief, when I am listening to the impeachment arguments presented brings about one thought, “It doesn’t matter what the proof, what horrors we have all experienced, how blatant his actions, how absolutely WRONG this all is,

Because he’s going to get away with it.

Again.”

And I am sickened and scared and so so sad and desperately hopeless.

Again.

Living through the years of torture and abuse nearly broke me. I suffered such deep trauma and pain and fear. Facing it now, along with millions of people who are also suffering the abuse and the lies and the total disregard for human decency, feels so final because I understand the futility of fighting against it.

If the judge had brought the hammer down on my ex’s head and made him pay some sort of price for his contempt, it may have changed things for me and for my children. But the judge letting him get away with that gave him the green light to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, knowing that he could.

He continued to abuse and torment and manipulate and FUCK WITH us for years. In reality, he still does, because he’s never been told he can’t. Because no one ever stood up to him but me.

And we all saw how well that worked.

I’m sorry, this isn’t written well.

I am a wreck.

walking in terror

The other day I went for a hike in my backyard. I was traveling along what remains of an old dirt road that follows the creek, through the willows, into a narrow canyon the top of which was my destination.

I rounded a corner and there, as fresh as fresh could be, were these:

For my city dwelling readers, these are mountain lion tracks. Big feet. Big cat.

I kept to my path. I told myself that I always travel in mountain lion country as soon as I leave my fenced yard.

This is not an exaggeration.

Anyway, the hair on the back of my neck was standing up. My heart rate tripled. My legs became shaky. I made myself dizzy swinging my head around looking for danger behind every bush, branch, and boulder. I was in the woods, literally and figuratively; my sense of impending doom slowing my every step.

I imagined worst-case scenarios. I questioned whether or not Elvis would leave my half-eaten side to run for help if I were to be attacked. I wondered if I would let the cat go in peace if she had Elvis trapped between her jaws.

After trying and failing to convince myself that we were safe. I turned around.

I firmly believe that I am alive today because I listen to and act upon my intuitive sense of impending doom. If you’ve ever traveled in mountain lion country, you just know when there is a kitty nearby.

I continued my hike in an area that was more open, in the clear, away from the creek – the drinking hole. I began to relax; my breathing and heart rate returned to normal; I thought that I was out of danger and that everything would be okay.

Then, I rounded a corner and came upon more tracks; same cat, only this time there were kitten tracks next to them.

Fuck me.

When I got back home and was safe and secure inside of my house, some chamomile and indica coursing through my veins, I realized that I had been totally terrified.

And super exhilarated. I love me a mountain lion. I love being in a place that is so wild that I might actually get eaten. That feeling of holy terror is fun.

At least in the aftermath.

Now, let’s compare that to the holy terror I am feeling as I wake up and read the news today.

The Impeachment news.

Because I am terrified.

My sense of impending doom is off the charts.

Our democracy is me, in the woods, being stalked, in imminent danger, not knowing where the attack will come from or if I will survive it.

This heart-pounding fear is what I experienced in November. The election was the thing that made my heart race, made me plea to the powers that be to get out of the danger zone intact.

We won the election. I breathed a sigh of relief; there was a collective sigh of relief. We turned away from the direction in which we were heading and made a better choice; a choice to remain safe in our democracy. A choice of self-preservation.

I thought we were out of the woods.

Then, we rounded a corner and more tracks, more threats, more reasons to feel utterly panicked. Only we can’t turn tail and run home to safety; we have to fight the beast.

The solace I felt after the election allowed me to sleep at night, my stress-zits cleared up, my legs stopped quivering. I was filled with hope and elation.

The fear I am experiencing around this Impeachment (and I say “this” because, well, you know, we have to differentiate) is the same as then, but currently even more consuming because the results of this one will again determine if our democracy will remain alive and kicking or if it will be charged, pounced upon, chowed down on, and left to bleed out somewhere along the trail.

With none of the exhilaration I feel when being watched by a big cat.

Our democracy and lives are totally dependent on the outcome of this trial. When I hike, I am choosing the risk, the potential danger, the heart-pounding, wobbly-legged, fight or flight response. It’s thrilling.

This trial…

Not thrilling.

Scary.

Give me eaten-by-wild-animal over eaten-by-politician any day.

all things Russia

Every time I hear Aleksei Navalny’s name it brings me right back to my college days.

Going into my sophomore year I chose where I wanted to live based on location, not friendships. I was determined to live in this hippie vegetarian co-op based in an old defrocked fraternity house where none of my other friends wanted to live, which meant that I would gain myself a new, unfamiliar roommate, whom, since we had both chosen this alternative lifestyle, I assumed would become a fast friend.

Not so much.

Her name was J and she was something else. Physically she landed somewhere between adorable and sexy with her perfect skin, bright blue eyes, and turned up nose.

This may have been my first real experience with “don’t let looks deceive you.”

She was a spoiled little girl who had never been told “no.”

She got to school a few hours ahead of me on that first fateful day of our second year. When I entered our room, which at some point had been a master suite, I was blown away by how much space we had, and by how much shit she had.

Including a giant Isabella Rossellini spooning with a python hanging over our fireplace.

We got along well in the beginning, despite her lack of housekeeping skills (or interest), her bossiness and entitlement, and her weird habit of piling up dirty dishes on the floor behind the bathroom door.

Men loved her. Between her looks and her ability to make a man feel immensely small and insignificant, she was irresistible. They came ’round practically begging for just a few minutes in her abrasive company.

I didn’t get the appeal but I did enjoy having so many cute boys around.

She had a couple of close girlfriends who I didn’t particularly like and vice versa, and whom I often saw crossing the quad wearing my clothes.

J decided that year to take Russian. The language.

She dove head first into the culture and mastered the language like she’d been raised in Siberia. Personally, I don’t like the Russian language; I find it harsh with rough edges.

To me it sounds bossy, which is perhaps why she loved it so much.

To keep up, I decided to take a Russian class too. I had failed miserably in life with German, French, and Italian, so for some reason, I thought I could get a handle on Russian.

Nyet.

I dropped it and instead took a philosophy class in which we read Charlotte’s Web under a tree.

Much more my style.

With J’s growing obsession with all things behind the Red Curtain, she spoke fewer and fewer words in her native language and started dictating my life with words I couldn’t understand, but whose meaning came across loud and clear.

She also decided that to really be Russian, she needed to start incorporating vodka (Stoli, of course) into her daily diet, starting each day with a shot (or two) from the bottle in the freezer of our tiny dorm room fridge. This did nothing to maintain the thin thread of friendship that we attempted to maintain since we shared a roof over our heads.

We often argued; she was mean to the nice boys with whom I had become friends. Her friends continued to sport my favorite items of clothing on campus, in bars, to frat parties where they ended up with too much vodka in their systems which in turn ended up all down the front of the sweater that my mom had knitted for me.

And when we argued, she pelted me with words that made me feel small, chastised, and relatively stupid for not being able to grasp more than one syllable.

Needless to say, at the end of that year, we parted ways never to speak another word to each other – in any language.

I heard that after college, she moved to Russia, married a local, and continued to drink Stoli for breakfast. Is it true? I have no idea.

Is she living in the Kremlin right now?

Could be.

Don’t know. Don’t care.

I haven’t really given her a second thought in years, but when I listen to Navalny’s fellow countrymen (and women) my stomach starts to turn. I shudder at the harsh, guttural, utterances of language that I so hoped to forget.

I imagine that giant python crawling it’s way up my naked body – not in a sexy way but in a creepy, slithery kind of way that makes me want to run.

Or drink a lot of vodka.

gaslighter

This has certainly been a year of gaslighting.

Four years of a narcissistic leader means four years of being told that what we see shouldn’t be believed. It means that blame has been placed everywhere, on everyone, except on the person who is to blame.

And obviously lots of lies.

And denial.

And bullying.

And evasion and twisting words and defending indefensible behavior and yelling and projection and criticism and confusion and division.

Expecting special treatment, which only goes one way, except to those who bow to the gaslighter.

And nary a concern for anyone else.

Oh, did I mention playing victim?

But, this is not a political rant. Not today; the day after hope has been restored for our nation; the day that we can all breathe a sigh of relief to be out of the abusive relationship.

I can’t tell you how many times I have said to myself, my friends, my mother, “This feels exactly like living with my ex.”

Here’s the thing, there is a gift of having lived with my ex for oh so long and then being under the dark cloud of a narcissistic leader:

I can spot it a mile away.

And better yet, I can walk away from it rather than get sucked into the whirlwind of deceit and confusion that leaves a recipient lost and questioning herself.

The sad thing about it is seeing just how many people in this world are gaslighters.

I have had a few experiences this last year that, in the past, would have left me reeling; questioning my every word, every action, every thought.

I spent 20 years doing that. I spent what has felt like 50 years undoing that.

I’m not 100% cured. After a couple of these run-ins, I have wasted spent more time than I should rehashing the interactions. But, as I rehash, I always come to the same conclusion…

“That was bullshit.”

And I walk away.

“I thought you loved me for who I am,” leads to immediate reassurances that I do love you for who you are, that quickly turn into the reality of, actually, I don’t.

Because your behavior sucks.

Because you’re fucking gaslighting me.

“You don’t appreciate all that I do.” Oh yes, I do, and thank you thank you thank you.

But wait, you haven’t done shit, so never mind.

Having had so much experience with super-narcs has given me a leg up when dealing with what I consider to be amateur narcs.

When an encounter feels a bit hinky, I ask myself, “Can I hear these words coming out of X’s mouth? Out of our President’s mouth?”

If the answer is yes, then my answer is no.

I walk away. I walk away like I wish I’d been able to during all of those long years of mental undermining and self doubt.

I am proud of myself for being able to set boundaries. I give myself a pat on the ass each time I say, “Enough.”

I’ve cut off a few friendships this year; friendships that go way back, running the risk of losing other connected relationships. It is painful to do, but knowing that the twisting of my reality will stop is worth any other pain.

Sometimes, it’s not difficult at all; the relief is so great, so relieving, that I don’t give the relationship a second thought except to say, “Whew, dodged a bullet there.”

And that brings peace that is far greater than any loss.

And just like I have worked so very hard to no longer succumb to fucked up, detrimental, confusing, abusive behavior, our country has decided to also set a boundary.

We have decided as a collective that enough is enough.

We’ve said, “That was bullshit.”

America, give yourself a pat on the ass.

my blood is boiling

“This is a time to unite and heal. This is a time to come together as a country. Therefore, we should move forward and put this behind us.”

Don’t invoke the 25th Amendment – that would be divisive

Don’t impeach – that would be divisive

Voting to overturn an election is definitely unifying

I’m not going to wear a mask when I am in lock down with my fellow law-makers

That’s not divisive at all

I’m not going to give up my gun or even walk through a fucking metal detector in a place where innocent people were just attacked

Because my gun-toting rights come before the safety of my peers and every other person in this building

That’s not divisive either

How DARE they hide behind our message of unity and healing to avoid accountability.

Do NOT talk to me about how to create unity

Fuck you

Why this is racism 101

Someone said today, “Yes, this is horrible, but people are saying it was a racial thing and I’m not sure I’m buying that.”

I’ll spell it out:

Yesterday’s attack was not directly racially motivated like, say, kneeling on a black man’s neck. The focus was instead, aimed at our country as a whole.

But the people who carried out this insurgence were predominantly white; as we all could see since no one had on a mask. Many are members of white supremacy groups who fly confederate flags and threaten BLM supporters. They carry Kek flags and have KKK tattoos on their grossly soft midsections that they somehow feel we need to see.

They support and are supported by a man who has proven repeatedly that he himself, is a white supremacist, a racist.

And a lot of other things too, but we are sticking to one topic here.

So if you look at the bigger picture, keeping their person in the position of power allows those rioters to maintain their positions of power as white men.

That was certainly behind yesterday’s attack.

But the most blatant and frightening display of discrimination was in the response. No one can seriously deny that if that crowd had been full of dark skin, it would have looked very different.

More violent. More deadly. More horrific.

So think about it: either systemic racism really is a thing, or the cops were in on it.

Or both.

coincidence or am I being targeted

First I post this:

Study links some forms of spiritual training to narcissism and “spiritual superiority”

Next day, I get a facebook friend request for this:

(Person) spent 3 years at The University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism (sufiuniversity.org) developing her Healing Skills and Psychic Abilities.  She has since gone on to deeply study various energetic Healing Practices in a variety of modalities and with a wide range of teachers.  She has explored Shamanic Healing, Angelic Channeling, Psychic Studies with the Berkeley Psychic Institute, and reading The Akashic Records.  She currently studies and practices Divine Light Transmission with William Lewis (williamlewishealer.com).  She now uses the panoply of healing skills she’s gained to serve her private and group healing clients, as she is directed to do so by the client’s system, and the Divine itself.

(Person) is thrilled and excited to support you in developing yourself and your work and hopes to meet you soon!

WTF?