Tuesday morning journaling in November

Haven’t had much to say on here in a while. Feeling a cold coming on since yesterday morning, so I probably won’t type much today. Just a short update.

Not sure how to describe my feelings lately. This year has been chaotic and unexpected on various fronts, most especially in watching my former partner fall in love with someone else and become engaged, with the wedding scheduled for this January. That’s been a bit of a trip, though I do wish him well. Just leaves a person a bit unmoored when your people drift away. He’s still around so far as phone conversations are concerned, but he’s moved with her out of state and this month has successfully sold his house. Times change, as they need to. Still feels a bit bizarre though, seeing his life alter so dramatically in such a short amount of time. But he’s happier and he fits in well with her family.

I’ve set adrift this year, trying to figure out where to focus my attention since that chapter has officially been closed. I won’t go in to details about my lifestyle and proclivities here today — just know that so much remains up in the air and that shifts back and forth continue occurring. My business took a bit of a downturn over the summer due to a few clients moving out of state (seems everyone is fleeing this place all of a sudden), so that’s been a bit nerve-racking to contend with, forcing me to be much tighter with money. But money tends to be easy come, easy go, so I don’t worry too terribly much. I always find a way. Plus I’ve taken on a part-time side job, not so much for the additional money since it doesn’t pay well but for the opportunity to work in a completely different environment than I’m used to, learn some new skills, and to take up some of this time I find on my hands. Idle hands are the devil’s play things, so they say, and lord knows I’m prone to give my own inner gremlin too much leeway when bored.

Times aren’t bad, they’re just kinda different. Reconnected with a friend whom I had a bit of a falling out with back in the summer. Glad to be back around him and to be past all of that. We likely can prove valuable to one another if we play our cards right. Negative lifestyle choices always factor in to our ordeal, but maybe this time we’ll figure out a way to make things better. I’m no longer convinced I can contend with everything on my own. People need their tribes, need somewhere to belong and others worth trusting. Leaders worth following. But I also know that no one can save you but you.

Been lying low and unfortunately not felt up to chatting with family members who’ve reached out in recent times. Nothing personal, just don’t know what to say to them. Plans have changed and convictions overturned for the time being. Not wishing to worry them but also not interested in offering up justifications. Hence why I live 900 miles away. Space and privacy can be a luxury.

Sometimes I still think of leaving this place eventually, but I know not where I’d rather be. Winter is coming and it’s already getting bitterly cold here, per its norm. Still resistant to breaking out the thick winter coat just yet, but soon enough it will force my hand. In a way I’m kind of glad I won’t have to work outdoors as much for a change.

My soul hurts a bit lately. Been going to the gym off and on. Haven’t been to the shooting range in probably 3-4 weeks but will eventually. Yes, self-care matters, and I know I feel better when energy is exerted and physical intensity forces me out of my head for a spell. Stomach hurts a good bit this past week, but I ate well on Saturday when out with a friend and also made myself eat dinner last night. I have very mixed feelings about my life choices at present, but I’m trying to have a little faith that things will turn around in due time. As always, much of the problem lies within my own thoughts and framing of life. It’s difficult to feel grounded when the future appears so perplexing. I don’t know how to effectively respond to it other than to try to find a home, so to speak. Figure out where I belong and take up roots there. Because this blowing in the wind bullshit is for the birds. Done it for enough years and feel the toll it’s taken. Individualism is the bee’s knees, but we’re indeed collectivists by nature as well. And I can’t really see a point to any of it when viewed from my own isolated, alienated, individual perspective. That hasn’t changed and apparently will not. Moorings matter. Civic nationalism always used to matter to me too, but it’s no longer enough either, not when we see what’s being done politically here and abroad. We the common people are losing a say in how the future unfolds. Part of me finds it all rather terrifying, but part of me has been living with these thoughts so long that I’ve grown used to them. I just know that the orientation needed has be about something bigger than oneself, has to include others one can work with, or else all these precious principles we claim to care about wind up being meaningless in the end.

I’m not depressed currently. Or at least not to the level I once was. Some would call me “black pilled,” which I initially didn’t like the sound of but am growing to accept the term. I am, however, emotionally tired — worn out and needing to somehow recharge. This has been an ongoing concern that needs to be remedied. Some of us need people around and recognize how strange we can become when left to our own devices for too long. Sometimes it feels very necessary to pull away from others and hole up in my apartment alone and to take care of myself; but so too it feels necessary to come back out to socialize and reconnect and to share one’s den. It’s been interesting observing how noting so many of life’s complexities actually strips one down to paying attention to basic core concerns. It’s as if the bigger life shows itself to be, the smaller we seem therein and the more the root fundamentals come to matter. That’s what it’s been teaching me anyway.

So, life remains crazy and mad, as to be expected. A lot has changed and yet a lot still remains the same. I’m not certain of much right about now and have many mixed feelings. But I am glad to be back around someone whom I’ve missed. I have no idea what the future will hold for me and try very hard not to stress too much about it nowadays. It’s just life — try not to be overwhelmed by it. Keep it simple, stupid — a good mantra to keep in mind. My dreams have nearly all disintegrated over time, so I’m not entirely sure what to aspire toward now, truth be told. In a sense, I’m lost, but not entirely. Or at least I’m not overly panicked about that fact at the moment. Just feels paralyzing sometimes, not knowing where to turn or what to do. Expectations can do more harm than good. Stripping down to essentials appears to be the new name of the game. I’m not sure what it means to win, though I have a clearer idea of what it means to lose. Sometimes we need to tread water and just be where we’re at, letting go of the guilt and anger that keeps poisoning our psyches. Just be human, fallibilities and all. I keep asking myself what I’m afraid of, but I can’t say for certain. Lots of things, yet fewer things over time. Missing out on worthwhile experiences worries me.

My confidence isn’t high at this time. Insecurities are a plague. The hope is that through dedication to simplicity perhaps this will improve eventually. Conscientious living in an effort to combat (or at least learn to better manage) neuroticism. It’s all a big experiment, as always, trying to figure out what feels like the proper way onward.

All humans are potentially dangerous (story sharing)

Always good to keep that in mind. Seriously.

Had a weird event occur this week, and since I can’t get to sleep I might as well journal about it. This involves a young man I met at my old regular bar about 4 years ago when he as a 21 year old began coming in with his roommate. Just chatted casually there at times, and that was the gist of our relations throughout much of the time we’ve known one another. Then in recent months he began showing up at another local bar due to moving to a house in the neighborhood, so we ran into each other and became a little more familiar. Not much to it really since we don’t see one another often, I having been back and forth on re-quitting drinking throughout most of this year.

Fast forward to a couple months ago when he asked me out to dinner. Well, wait, before that there was a bit of an issue back in the spring when he would call and text my phone late at night, which I had to check him on a couple times, roughly at that, since I try my best to discourage most people from playing on my phone in the late-night hours. Thought I got through to him that that pissed me off, and so I dropped the matter and he eventually came back around to invite me to dinner in the summer. That went fine. We enjoyed chatting, had a decent night together. And then that was that. Basically went out separate ways afterward, for whatever reasons. Saw him out and about a couple more times, maybe.

I recall he texted a few weeks ago at 4am to ask me to lunch the next day, which I declined due to too short of notice. Once again explained to him that he needs to contact me during daytime hours to request that we go on a date, letting him understand that this disregard for my boundaries and sleep schedule is doing nothing to turn me on. Kind of irritating to keep having to spell this out to the guy, but he’s young and I grasp that youths aren’t too quick on the uptake so I was trying to have patience and explain myself clearly.

Then a couple weeks ago he tried texting me around 11pm, inviting me to meet him for drinks, which I declined since I quit drinking again (and intend to stick with my decision this time around — going on nearly 8 weeks as of today). Kept texting me that evening, and I kept telling him NO, not coming out, done with drinking, don’t appreciate being bugged when I’ve already said no. Was out grocery shopping at the time and was on the phone with my best guyfriend, so he heard about how persistent this young guy was proving to be.

Which then brings us to the events of this week. Wednesday night I laid down to go to sleep about 2am. Was watching a video and had just started to drift off when I heard my doorknob being jiggled, then came a knock. I’ve been sleeping in the livingroom (per my usual custom) so there’s not much distance from the front door and where I tend to sleep. I had no idea who it could be — maybe a crazy neighbor, maybe someone wanting to rob the place? No clue. So I jumped up and grabbed something to defend myself. Another knock at the door. It’s about 2:30am at this point. I’m half-dressed and already know from past experience with a crazy neighbor to not answer my door unless I’m damn sure of who’s on the other side. Called out asking who it was, and he said his name, which I couldn’t catch at first. That’s how much I know this guy — took me a minute on hearing his last name to even process who it was. Man, not too cool to show up here this late and completely unannounced, so I was hot under the collar about it right off the bat. But I decided to open the door and he then asked to come in, and I figured it would be best not to wake up everybody else in the corridor and so let him. Immediately took note of the fact that he was somewhat drunk. Smelled like liquor from a foot or two away. Not fucking cool.

So, he came in and I was pretty pissed, understandably so. Told him how not okay this shit is, in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS. Wasn’t in the mood to try to spell everything out to this otherwise typically non-idiotic guy. Not sure what the hell is wrong with him this year, but it’s grating on my nerves big-time by then. Anyway, I said my piece and he started acting like he thought I’d let him stay the night. Hell no! Stopped by unannounced and I had to work in the morning, plus we really don’t have this level of familiarity where he should be expecting anything from me so casually. He took off his coat and started untying his boots while I’m telling him he needs to head out. Started telling me about how he recently inherited some money — great, that has nothing to do with me, nor is an excuse to show up at my place in the middle of the night. Should’ve invited me out on a date like a normal person instead of disrespecting me this way. But it’s useless saying much to a drunk — goes in one ear and out the other. So, fuck it, I decided to get kinda loud and told him he needed to leave, which he finally did. Told him never to do this again while locking the door behind him. And that definitely should’ve been the end of the ordeal.

Though once you’re woken up like that it’s tough to get back to sleep, so I stayed up another half hour or so smoking a cigarette and watching part of another video. Nestled back in and tried to get to sleep when, lo and behold, here comes ANOTHER KNOCK on my door. I stayed silent and refused to answer, but I did look out the peephole and observed him standing in my hallway, using his phone. A few more minutes went by and then—DAMN, more jiggling of my doorknob followed by another knock. Answered that one briefly simply to shout at him to “Go home!” and locked the door again.

Now I’m wondering what on earth is wrong with this guy. Never figured on him being that crazy. Pondering on how maybe my judgment of him might’ve been flawed. Could he be dangerous? An hour had elapsed from the time he initially knocked, meaning he was hanging around my apartment building all that time — until about 3:45am. Laid back down and was once again starting to fall asleep when my phone rang across the room. Didn’t answer. A few minutes later it rang again. Gotta be fucking kidding me, right? Didn’t answer. Rang a third time — I answered to ask if he’s trying to make an enemy out of me, telling him to stop trying to contact me. Laid back down…a few minutes later a text message arrived. I ignored it and went to bed.

Woke in the morning to a message where he was apologizing, telling me how he was “seriously” sorry about the night before. Ignored it for several hours.

Forgot to mention that while he was inside my home he kept saying that he missed me, which was pretty weird considering we don’t hang out hardly ever and don’t know each other that well. That sent off a red flag in my head — never any fun to deal with in the middle of the night when you’re super tired and already sleep deprived after 2 nights of being woken up repeatedly by my cat walking all over me. Ugh. Just no fun at all to deal with. Yet in his drunken brain he seemed to think this should somehow melt me toward him, like he was expressing something of real significance to me, a woman 12 years older than him who’s wanting to be left alone and not harassed while trying to sleep.

Sometimes you have to ponder the audacity of some people. But then again, I’ve been a drunken idiot numerous times in the past myself, so…I do try to be somewhat understanding about that shit, though also firm with people about how I don’t want that bullshit around me any longer. Trying to heal, recover, and move forward in my life. Do my former barpals give a damn about that? No. Honestly they don’t. It’s just the way these types of people often can be. Done it enough years to know this for certain. And there’s no point in trying to reason with a person in such a state. Will only forget whatever you tell them. Even if you explain things to them while they’re sober, next time they get drunk they’ll either forget what was said or at least pretend to. Every. Fucking. Time.

I texted the guy Thursday afternoon to let him know how tired I was after being kept up all night, how I’m not interested in his empty apologies, and basically to never pull a stunt like that ever again. Crystal clear. He responded back: “Understood.” Talked to my best guyfriend about it later on and he didn’t like the sound of all of this and so requested the guy’s name. Just to be on the safe side and all.

You’d think that would be the definitive end to that crap, at least for this week. But no. At 2:41am today (now Saturday morning) my phone began ringing. Was from a number I didn’t recognize. After about 4 rings I finally picked it up. Guess who? Frickin’ amazing…

Shouted at him to never call me again. No more contact! He murmured something about how he just wanted to let me know he got a new number — as if that’s relevant in the middle of the night. I hung up.

And so now I can’t sleep. It’s approaching 5am and I need to be up in 4 hours, but I got to wondering if that son of a gun might try walking over here and knocking again, so I’m up. Shouldn’t have to deal with this, but I’m really not one to call the police unless it’s absolutely necessary. He’s treading on a fine line with me right about now, and only getting away with this much because I do know him and previously assumed he was a relatively sane and decent person. Now I’m not so sure. He received a head injury earlier in the spring (due to his drunken shenanigans), so I’m starting to wonder if possibly that has changed him somehow. Is he not the same young guy I thought he was? Is this just alcohol getting the best of him? Either way, I should be able to sleep in my own home in peace. Dialing and texting my phone was annoying enough, but stopping over unannounced is completely unacceptable. AND THIS IS WHY I RARELY LET PEOPLE KNOW WHERE I LIVE. People call me paranoid, but THIS is why I’m like that. This shit sucks.

Am considering my options currently. Emailed my best guyfriend after receiving that last call, letting him know what info I have on the guy (phone number, approximate address, full name). Just so that info is logged somewhere. I don’t play with people who behave like this. He’s not my boyfriend — we’ve been on exactly 1 date and he’s been to my place exactly 2 times (once a year or more ago, once this year). Knows me from the barscene, fine, but still — this is not acceptable. Why would he jiggle my doorknob like that, and not once but twice?? Even after I told him that scared the shit out of me. He knows I don’t play, and yet here he was, trying to mess with me anyway. Did he want to be cussed out? Because that’s what happened and what keeps happening and is what he can reliably expect from here on out. I won’t be any fun to deal with. The goal has become to create a strong disincentive so that he’ll give up on whatever he thinks he’s trying to pursue here and move along.

Part of me feels kinda bad for the kid. He’s told me previously about how his mom was a major alcoholic and he drinks a great deal himself, which we’ve discussed many times throughout our time knowing one another. I understand he wants someone to relate with, that he’s craving attention and comfort right now. And this is not the way to go about it. I do believe the alcohol is messing him up badly these days, that that’s probably the main culprit, but it’s not going to improve until he figures that out and decides to make a change. Still, it shouldn’t be my problem. The kid hasn’t taken any advice I’ve offered on that so far, and I’m busy working on helping myself these days. Can’t help someone who won’t help himself. Can’t even reason with him. So, there’s really nothing I can do here except walk away and maintain a firm boundary to ensure he keeps a distance from me. Won’t reward this shitty behavior and lack of respect. Am getting too old for such nonsense.

I figured this matter was over on Thursday, but here it is again on Saturday. Here’s hoping he heeds my warning and decides to move along, but I don’t trust people under the influence of drugs (alcohol most especially included). Have too much experience with how badly we can behave on that substance, with plenty of regrets of my own. I hate that lifestyle and wish it would cease and desist entirely in my realm. But maybe the gods are giving me this experience to strengthen my resolve and to clearly remind me how many problems one can create for oneself. He was otherwise a nice young man whom I enjoyed playing cards with and would’ve, under different circumstances, liked to have played board games with and listened to music. But no. Now he’s taken things too far, and that cannot be tolerated. Give someone like that an inch and he’ll take a mile. No respect for boundaries or rules. Seems to think he can win me over by appealing to my sympathy — not alluring.

So much feels like looking in a mirror nowadays. I’ve made so many poor choices in the past that I can usually find a way to relate to others’ drunken shenanigans. Hard to not feel guilty about the times I’ve made others uncomfortable when it was totally uncalled for. But that still doesn’t mean I ought to be tolerant of that behavior in others now. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now, regardless of which one of us is responsible for the bullshit at the time. The best thing any of us could do for ourselves and others is leave these substances alone. Obviously turns some of us into people we don’t want to be. Gives a person reason for regrets that can last years. Not to mention how many of our relationships wound up damaged along the way.

It’s not as if I’m devoid of compassion for the guy, but I can’t fix anything there, nor should I have to put up with it. It’s truly sad to see younger folks going down that same wretched path of self-destruction. Hell, check out the old folks who succumbed to it — pretty gross to behold. Who wants to become that? Who wants that to be their story in the end? And I know the young man likes me and looks up to me (or at least he seemed to), but he’s stepped over a line here and has to get that through his head. He’s ruined relations with me at this point. And now he’s gotten me worried about what he might wind up doing next or if this will become a more regular occurrence. I’m not going to stand by silently while losing nights of sleep as he’s trying to demand my attention. Puts me in a bad position since I don’t want the kid to get in trouble because he won’t control himself, yet I have to think about taking care of myself here. This is my home. You do not bring bullshit to my doorstep. Romantic partners might give one another some grief, but that’s not who he is to me. I don’t think he means harm, but he doesn’t seem to be thinking much at all right now. Just wanting something, nevermind how the other person feels. Alcohol is a hell of a drug — true story. Can allow a person to behave very selfishly and myopically.

Anyway, I need to try lying down again since time is ticking by and tomorrow (or, technically, later tonight) I have a dinner date scheduled with a very sweet older man whose company I enjoy very much and who’s always behaved like a gentleman toward me thus far. Really prefer not to be tired all day again, so I’ll probably have to shoot for a nap in the afternoon if possible. Am not too good at crashing during daylight hours.

Never a dull moment…

More joys of apartment living. Some neighbor down the way nearly caught the building on fire. Was sitting in the livingroom yesterday late afternoon and heard sirens nearby, then kept hearing sirens until finally I decided to go investigate. Thought maybe there was a problem on my street, but no, somebody downstairs fell asleep while cooking, so other neighbors told me. Apparently the guy was passed out drunk and his upstairs neighbor heard his smoke detector going off. She and another woman knocked on his door, no answer. Fire department arrived and knocked again — no answer. So they beat his door in. They said the guy finally woke up after that and began drunkenly fanning the smoke in his apartment with an empty beer carton.

Ugh. Yeah. Always something happening here. But the ordeal brought a lot of us out to see what was going on, during which I introduced myself to a neighbor down the hall who turns out to have lived here the last 3 years. Shows how much I interact with others who live here — my bad.

The guy downstairs responsible for the incident is said to be new here (personally never seen him before), and the word is that our landlord plans to boot him after this fiasco. Probably for the best.

Been waiting for somebody to eventually fuck around and catch this place on fire. Nearly 10 years here and no one has managed it so far (*knock on wood*), though one previous resident did manage to catch her stovetop on fire to where the entire appliance had to be replaced. Other than that, we’ve been pretty lucky. Kind of nerve-wracking living so close to others whom you depend on to at least not destroy all of our shit — that being the downside of apartment dwelling. I pay for rental insurance, but still, it would majorly suck to lose my home and everything I own because of someone else’s carelessness. The other neighbors were pretty pissed about the ordeal, as is understandable.

Alcohol’s a hell of a drug. I keep repeating that because it’s true. Many of us probably know what it’s like to pass out and wake up to smoke because we’re burning food. but that’s really not okay. Too much at stake to let that happen.

So…now entering my 7th week of sobriety (this time around), I’m grateful for the strength to walk away from such a destructive lifestyle. Been down that road too many times already — always leads to the same place. Always involves letting others down in one way, shape or form. Always culminates in disappointment and regret. Sincerely wishing so many of us would leave that drug alone, especially when it leads to foolhardy shit like that described above where people’s lives could’ve been put at risk. It’s no good.

An actually helpful grip tip when starting out shooting (plus additional thoughts)

Came across a video last night on the topic of proper grip when shooting:

Others kept telling me to simply grip tight and stay high up, but what this man explained is what he referred to as the c-clamp hand-grip and how that’s better than letting your fingers curl around in a squeeze since that impacts the trigger finger. Good call. Tried out his advice today and shot better than I have thus far, as someone who hasn’t shot often throughout my life (nor ever been properly trained) until in recent months when I began heading to the local shooting range (typically on my own).

A lady who works at the range has offered me pointers during a few visits, and I’ve tried to apply her advice as well. But this man’s explanation of proper gripping technique proved to be just what I needed. Pressing the grip from the front (in a pulling motion) and the back (in a forward motion)—basically squeezing the front and back portions of the grip of the gun specifically with my right hand and worrying less about the sides (though applying pressure against the grip with my left hand for stabilizing purposes)—makes sense to me now. Before I just squeezed all the way around with my right hand and pressed in as hard as I could with my left, because that’s what folks seemed to be advising me to do. Getting your other fingers out of the movement does help because the trigger finger wants to react when the resent of them curl tight.

It was an ah-ha moment, however small it might seem to others.  lol  Papa never explained much about guns other than don’t point them at others and then just try to aim in the direction of what you want to shoot and pull the trigger. Nothing else. No discussion of sights or proper holding of the gun or even explanation of what he handed me to shoot. So, that was my early experience with guns — the occasional opportunity to point at bottles in a sand pit and try to plink them off without much preparation of know-how. My one time at the shooting range with my ex-stepdad in my early 20s was no more educational, except for him being more safety conscious (and the location required wearing hearing protection, something Papa never brought up).

Fast forward several years and I had only been out shooting a handful of times as an adult. A guyfriend here or there allowed me to shoot at something on some rare occasions. A couple years ago two family members allowed Grandma and me to come out to shoot on their land after I had purchased my first revolver and wanted to try it out. My second-cousin and great-uncle were kind enough to share their guns as well so that I could try shooting them across the pond to see how they felt. That was a fun day, though I still didn’t know much beyond pointing and pulling the trigger. Managed to shoot all right under the circumstances though. At least hit the cardboard target much of the time.

Last November my former partner and I headed to the shooting range for the first time together ever to try out a second semi-auto handgun I had purchased. For years I had been wanting to learn more about shooting, increasingly out of self-defense concerns, but most of the men in my life never got around to taking me to the range or showing me anything despite many promises to do so. And I finally grew tired of waiting on them to make time. My former partner hadn’t fired a weapon in close to 20 years by then and is only very slowly getting back into the “hobby” again himself and so couldn’t really instruct me on much. Though he was kind enough to purchase some cleaning accessories for my guns as a gift.

So, I’m a perpetual newb at shooting. Decided to try to change that earlier this year and pressured my guyfriends to go to the range with me. One acquaintance did go with me one time, which was my first opportunity to shoot an AR-15. Extremely loud. But he and I parted ways for other reasons and haven’t been in contact since. The former military guy I used to hang around kept talking about wanting to go to the range with me — never happened. An old buddy I’ve known for many years keeps saying he wants to take me out into the country to shoot — as of this summer, still hasn’t happened. I understand he’s busy, but damn. How many years have we known one another now? Nine?  Grrr…

I get it. The whole world is busy with jobs and raising kids or drinking themselves into oblivion, etc. So I decided to take the initiative myself and signed up at a local shooting range and have been going in probably a couple times a month (on ladies’ day when it’s discounted) since probably late spring this year. Took pictures of a few of my targets afterward to send to close friends to demonstrate my progress (or lack thereof). Got frustrated on more than one occasion, wondering what I was doing wrong. Tried my best to listen to the lady who works there’s advice and apply it since she’s really the only teacher I have at this point. And I’ve watched many videos online to pick up what tips I can, though there’s so much conflicting info and hyped up material that doesn’t suit my modest needs.

One channel I’ve found great value in is Hickok45’s:

Basic stuff, sure, but it helps to gain a better understanding of why you’re being told to do whatever you think you’re trying to do.

His channel is chocked full of worthwhile things to know, considering how much babbling there is online about the differences between guns and people’s preferences. Can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff and find those gems worth following.

Truth be told, I haven’t found hardly any female shooter channels I’ve been interested in following. So many are involved either in competitive shooting or are mostly just trying to sell gun-related items to other women or appear to be more directed toward attracting male viewers with sex appeal. Maybe that’s just what comes up in my feed — surely there are quality female shooter channels out there that I haven’t discovered yet that provide practical, no-frills and no-bullshit advice and ideas. But until I find them, I’ll continue sticking mostly with Hickok’s channel and a handful of others.

TL;DR: The first grip-related video up above helped improve my accuracy immediately — necessary basics lesson. The next 2 videos shown are of Hickok45’s channel, which is a quality resource for other newbs like me (and more experienced shooters). Highly recommended.

If anyone has any other channels or specific videos or websites on this topic they’d like to recommend, I’m all ears.

Perhaps it can be no other way…

Some people say they can’t understand how so many others can be deceived into supporting communism and denouncing capitalism. Others say they can’t comprehend the logic of those who display signs stating “support the blue.” People also like to talk about how silly it is to follow religions and pray to unverifiable deities.

There’s so much we can’t grasp about one another.

Something I can’t understand about a number of you is how so often you prove willing to accept government’s official narratives about events that couldn’t possibly have played out as described. Case in point: the events on 9/11/01. I’m still stuck back there, unable to accept political discourse since then as being anything more than farce. Yet I apparently belong to a minority in possessing these views. That’s been troubling me for a long time, this representing either a severe departure from reality for myself or for a whole bunch of you.

So I keep turning back to the question, again and again, trying to locate the flaw in my own thinking since people like to say that when you find yourself in opposition to most others, the problem likely lies within yourself. Fine. Challenge accepted. This has been an ongoing struggle in trying to reckon with what my lying eyes and mind are telling me versus what so many of the rest of you are saying.

A video I came across last night, just one more in a long line over the years, on top of so much I’ve read on the subject, along with the contradictory news reports from back around that time in 2001:

Building 7 makes no sense in accordance with the official narrative. Most won’t even touch that portion of the story, leading me to believe that people won’t reckon with its implications precisely because they fear the questions that will unearth. Flight 93 makes little sense either. Nor does the Pentagon attack. Nor do the twin towers falling into their own footprint.

Yet I’ve read where physicists dismiss such inquiries with condescension. And I’ve taken note of the many mainstream publications backing the official narrative. I’ve also listened to military personnel aggressively admonish people who dare to scrutinize the official claims.

And still I remain stuck, unable to go along with the flow of what appears to be the majority in this country. Do my eyes and mind deceive me?

Everything turns into little more than a circus in light of that information. And the inquiry into it forces one back further into history, learning about how America hasn’t been what we’d like to believe for at least a century. Then further back, branching out across world history. Through this exploration I’ve learned a great deal about human nature and how people are willing to believe nearly anything under the right circumstances. How we’re prone to repeat certain cycles. How successive generations wind up having to learn hard truths for themselves, again and again, despite all prior warnings laid out for them by those who came and learned the hard way before.

Such inquiries have led me to the understanding that I am wasting my time and energy in identifying too closely with our human/material realm. Hence why past people sought to turn toward God probably. It’s a never-ending maze that covers the same ground again and again, yet we so often remain blinded to this fact. So much is an illusion, created by us and for us. Power has been the name of the game since antiquity. Lies and deception aren’t new, though what is new is the vast amount of information available to us today, allowing us to challenge what’s presented before us and compare it to historical precedents.

And yet still, many refuse to look. Why?

Because to do so would undermine our current beliefs, hopes, dreams and strategies. How does one orientate oneself within a twisted labyrinth with no way up or out? What does one believe in when the principles we’ve been taught to embrace and uphold are exposed as mere talking-point lures to lead us toward serving ends that defy these very same principles? What is the value of Truth in an impossible see of misinformation/disinformation, wherein acknowledging what is real leads to ostracism, ridicule and even threats of violence? Worse, where such expressed thoughts can get one labeled as “crazy” and, if very unlucky, sent involuntarily away to be evaluated by psychiatry professionals.

That’s where the truth appears to stand today. Exceedingly unpopular, rendering those who insist on speaking it social misfits and pariahs.

Certainly doesn’t help that there’s also this label of “conspiracy theorist” whereby one gets dismissed right away for mentioning anything associated with its major talking points. Also doesn’t help that some who embrace such subject matter are prone to take up other lines of inquiry that are much less provable/more speculative, reducing the credibility of “conspiracy theories” as a whole in the eyes of many onlookers.

I get to thinking sometimes these days that there really is no point in trying to “wake” people up to these ideas any longer. Sometimes I wrestle with the question of whether it’s right to even attempt to do so when they seem so blissful in their ignorance as is. Perhaps shattering their illusions is cruel and would only likely lead them toward deep depressions that they might not escape. Is it the selfish side of oneself that wishes them to see what you see, even if that means paying for it by descending into hell as a result? Is it a case of misery loving company? I suffer in this way and so should you? I don’t know.

But I have a few people close to me who claim to be happy and beg of me not to mention these sort of things, preferring their tranquility to remain intact. One I speak with on these topics occasionally, but he’s immune to my concerns on the topic. Just goes right along with his day as if nothing had been said at all. Never stops to question. Never seems to care. As much as I love him, I have never been able to understand him on this level. I’ve been forced to accept that it’s truly a difference in our personalities. But what he calls optimism, I call distracted escapism. Sure, he’s a good person. Probably a lot better and more helpful than I am. Yet in this instance he blatantly and outright prefers to not know. He prefers his peace of mind. He prefers the comfortable lie.

I told him today that while I can sympathize with people like himself, I won’t pretend to respect that decision. He said nothing in response.

And that’s how it goes. The silence of friends can be deafening at times. Many times I’ve wondered if I’m just losing my mind here. If there’s something wrong with how I interpret information. If I’m truly and utterly deluded in this respect. And if so, what can be done about it? But then I return to the materials and keep digging for answers, and it keeps telling me that I’m not wrong on this. Might not know what did happen on 9/11, but I know damn well what didn’t happen. What couldn’t possibly have happened. Regardless of what so-called “experts” have come out saying otherwise. They’re doing a disservice to their own fields of study by confusing people about the sciences in an effort to prop up political preferences. Deep down I believe they know that. I hope they do, anyway.

I’ve been wrong on plenty of things in this life. Don’t normally assume myself to be right about much. Mostly I am a wanderer and ponderer, asking questions and listening to various viewpoints while studying life. But there are a couple areas where I have to take a stand and state the obvious. Call me loony for plenty else, fine, but a building on fire for a few hours doesn’t fall like that. To “pull” a building means to intentionally demolish it.

Demolition.

A fire doesn’t cause a steel structure to fall like that (or to fall at all). Recall that that building wasn’t even hit by a plane.

How are we, in good conscience, to continue pretending this didn’t happen and that our government didn’t lie about it? How is it all right to lead people to believe there’s something wrong with themselves mentally if they won’t believe and accept the official narrative?

No, we’re certainly not all on the same team. That’s been made clear many times over. Many will sell the rest upstream if it means their precious illusions can be maintained for just a little while longer. Many care more about redecorating their homes and pleasing their corporate bosses than they do about the state of this nation. So why do I care about the state of this nation? I don’t have kids. The future isn’t mine. Why do I care about law and order if so many of the rest of you obviously do not, despite all your lip service to the contrary?

Not sure how to answer that, though I’ve felt my allegiance to our so-called social contract waning for quite a while now. What do I owe any of you? If ignorance is bliss, then have at it. You receive the government you deserve.

Sounds cold-hearted, doesn’t it? Does to me too. I don’t wish to feel this alienated, but I don’t know how to swallow lies and smile while doing so. I’d rather be alone if that’s the trade-off. So greater solitude is something I’m trying to make peace with currently. Can’t stand to watch another person walk away from these realizations and head back to the bar where he can drown it all out, year after year. Hard to listen to those close to me say they’d rather stay happy, nevermind these ongoing, unjustified wars in the Middle East that our tax dollars fund. How she’s too anxious about her own problems and past, too busy raising kids right now to worry over such seemingly irrelevant matters…

I’m not trying to judge my people harshly. But I do judge all of us. Someday when our economy topples and foreign nations intrude on our domestic affairs, do you think they will look upon us with kindness and charity for our human rights record? Do you imagine they will sympathize with our extravagantly hedonistic ways that led us astray? Will our God hear our prayers once we’re forced down our knees?

I don’t know. I just know this isn’t right, and I wish we’d care more about the exploration for truth rather than simply securing our comfort. And that’s a pipe dream. Humans simply are this way and always have been. Some of us have a fetish for staring into abysses, but that doesn’t necessarily make us better people either. I’m not sure what the game plan ought to be anymore or how to orientate oneself in this situation. Our government lies to us more often than not, and there’s little reason to have much faith in my fellow Americans to do a damn thing about it. I try to forgive us for being this way — perhaps we cannot help. Perhaps people have always been prone this way because it’s simply something within our nature hell-bent on being this way. So maybe it really can’t be helped. Maybe those who say there’s nowhere to turn but to God are correct. Whatever that even means in a world where religions have proven very deceptive as well.

Perhaps radical individualism is our fate. Maybe it can be no other way. Even as so many others opt to collectivize so as to skew power in their favor…

This is what an existential crisis looks like.

Apartment living among strangers

Always something going on in my apartment complex. Yesterday while I was indoors roaming the internet peacefully there came a knock on my door. The police, again. They were trying to get my next-door neighbor to open up, having been called by his son and asked to conduct a wellness check. In other words, the man’s son was worried about his safety and wanted the cops to look in on him. So, they had tried knocking on his door and received no answer, then knocked on mine to ask if I knew the man. Said I didn’t. Actually don’t even know what the guy looks like. Told them that we have such a high turnover rate here, particularly in that apartment, to where I just don’t barely keep up with who moves in or out. (People have to stick around here for several months or a year before I take much notice of them — perhaps sad, but true.)

While speaking to the police the man next door did answer. He barely got his door open before falling with a loud thud. Sounded rough. Like maybe he hit his head. The cops were talking with him, asking if he could hear them. Another neighbor opened his door and we both exchanged looks at one another while listening to what transpired. I could hear the fallen man making a sort of groaning/wheezing noise. No clue what was wrong with him or what led to his condition. Decided instead to head out to my next work appointment before the ambulance arrived and blocked our driveway.

Sound crass on my part? Welcome to the modern world, folks. Tis the age where many of us do not know our neighbors nor barely care to. Though, in our defense, the lady across the hall who’s lived here a couple years did knock the night before to offer me a bowl of her homemade chicken noodle soup — wasn’t half bad. And I do offer food and cosmetic items to another lady who lives upstairs. The man who lived directly beneath me was sociable but recently moved (they always do), as did the couple downstairs whom I’d grown to like quite a bit. Besides an old lady down the hall, I’m now officially the longest lasting tenant in this joint, approaching the 10 year mark this winter. But out of 30 units, I know people in maybe 5 of them at this point. Maybe.

This place is like a revolving door. Always people moving in and moving out. Half the time you don’t even find out they’ve moved until a couple weeks have gone by. The herd of buffalo who lived above are gone, which only dawned on me after belatedly realizing it’s pretty quiet around here. No clue how long they had been gone before I awoke to that realization.

Our parking lot is filled with all sorts of people who are always coming and going, some who live here, some who are just picking up people who do, a couple others who seem to be up to shady shit out by our dumpster (not curious enough to investigate — maybe sex in their cars?).

As I tell people, this place is much nicer than when I first moved in. Out with the meth heads, in with the Mexicans and Africans. A better lot of people overall. Though, I wasn’t a fan of seeing women’s panties hanging off the satellite dishes, nor was I enthused about finding a used condom left near my door. But we haven’t caught people fucking in the stairway anymore, so that’s a bonus. And the rowdy kids who lived here last summer (one of whom was responsible for busting out my car’s rear windshield accidentally) are all gone.

Could be worse, could be better. I don’t mind living here. Cheap rent. Not too much bullshit usually. Though it wasn’t that long ago when the cops were knocking on my door asking about a couple who abandoned their van in our parking lot and presumably ran into our building. Showed me pictures of them — no clue who they were. Doubt they live here but I wouldn’t be able to say for certain. The cops roamed around our building for a couple hours that night, searching the periphery with their flashlights (searching for what, I do not know) while waiting for the tow truck to come remove their van.

Several months ago we had another joker abandon a vehicle in our parking lot and take off on foot. Not sure why they like to do that here. *shrugs*  All I know is I went out to my car to grab something and while out there I see his van roll up, the driver’s door opened and a short black (presumably African) man stared at me before bolting out of it and running toward a nearby street. His van slowly descended toward the rear of our parking lot, narrowly missing the dumpster before coming to a stop. I had to call the cops on that event so as to report the running, abandoned vehicle that needed to be towed. Perhaps because of calls like that in the past is why the cops like to keep knocking on my door nowadays. Not sure.

Not that I mind. The cops around here are a pretty friendly bunch. They don’t scream at us the way Omaha and Mississippi cops used to. Very professional and helpful overall. These ones around here don’t seem to have much of an axe to grind, though some of the locals like to chide them all the same, pretending as if the police here are horrible about violating our rights and behaving as racists. I’m not seeing it, even while living in such a diverse building as I do. You’d think if they were wanting to pick on people of color they’d hang around here more often and act like jerks while here, but they don’t. So I see no reason to give them guff.

Gotta appreciate the good ones where you find them.

Anyway, no clue what happened to the old man next door. Never did get a good look at him either. Maybe I was skittish over the ordeal due to all we went through 4 years ago when the older man across the hall drank himself to death. Was a pretty unnerving situation that I’ve yet to stop thinking about. Basically just holed up in his apartment and quit eating and decided to drink vodka until he died, resulting in his body being effectively mummified. That is, until his body was moved by the paramedics/the guys in hazmat suits. I wasn’t around to witness that day, but a neighbor who’s since moved away told me everything. She was very shaken by the ordeal and had been worrying about him for many days before the landlord finally went inside the apartment to check. His name was Sam. I had dinner with Sam once, not too terribly long before he died. Never had a problem with the man and let my cat go over to hang out with him occasionally.

Anyway, I know I’ve written about him on here before, but I suppose it’s hard not to think about him when the cops show up in the hallway. It was a sad situation that most of us aren’t sure how we should’ve handled differently. I interacted with him more than I did with most neighbors here at that time (and more than I have with others since). His family didn’t come by to visit him, and I know he seemed upset about a lot of things, most of which I don’t know the details of. I was mired in my own personal drama back then and was pretty depressed, so it was just a rough time all the way around up in this corner of the building. But I didn’t realize he was that depressed. How would I though? People who pass one another every few days on the stoop.

The man right next door has been there maybe a month (or has it been two?). I never see him coming or going. Never hear anything from his apartment. Kind of sad to think that I was sitting here yesterday, probably no more than 30 feet away on the other side of a wall from a man who was in a bad way. Had no idea. Wouldn’t have known either had his son not reached out to the police and requested that they check in on him. Perhaps we’ll eventually see him come and go and get a chance to speak in the future.

So, yeah, that’s what people have to look forward to when living in apartments in the city around folks they do not know, especially where low-income persons congregate for a few months or a year and then move on to the next place. Just a constant trickle of people in and out. Here one month, gone the next. Breaking leases and taking off. A couple deaths. Listening to indistinct beats of music drumming in through an open window — location unknown. See so many faces one time and then never again. The routine scent of weed wafting through the hallways. This is just a place for us to lay our heads, store our stuff, rest and relax when we’re not working. Maybe everywhere is becoming this way.

Guess I’m just reflecting on my answer to the cop about the man next door, not knowing for certain when he moved in or what he looked like. And I wouldn’t have even thought about it if not asked.

I’m not convinced that we humans can all adapt to this sort of atomized style of living. I can understand why it proves so depressing to plenty out there, especially if they lack family and a strong social network. Especially in the winter months when we’re trapped indoors. But, strangely enough, I seem to be adapting, albeit not in the most pro-social way admittedly. Guess I ought to keep an eye on this situation and how it may be impacting me and my other neighbors. Kind of disconcerting to think we may be witnessing the full-on erosion of any sense of community right here in a place like this. Close proximity alone doesn’t necessarily bring people together—barring an emergency—not when walls and locked doors exist where we can retreat into our own individually-stocked cubbyholes.

A new chapter begins

He’s Kansas-bound beginning tomorrow. Off to embark on the next chapter in his life, as I must also turn to in my own.

I’m gonna fight ’em all
A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back
They’re gonna rip it off
Taking their time right behind my back

And I’m talking to myself at night
Because I can’t forget
Back and forth through my mind
Behind a cigarette

And a message coming from my eyes says leave it alone

Don’t wanna hear about it
Every single one’s got a story to tell
Everyone knows about it
From the Queen of England to the hounds of Hell

And if I catch you coming back my way
I’m gonna serve it to you
And that ain’t what you want to hear
But that’s what I’ll do

And a feeling coming from my bones says find a home

I’m going to Wichita
Far from this opera forevermore
I’m gonna work the straw
Make the sweat drip out of every pore

And I’m bleeding and I’m bleeding
And I’m bleeding right before the Lord
All the words are gonna bleed from me
And I will think no more

And the stains coming from my blood tell me go back home

That was “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes. A long-time personal favorite that’s coming to take on a whole new meaning right about now.

Stopped by his house today to help load junk into the dumpster he rented. Trying to empty the house to get it ready to be sold. Sat on the front steps when we were done, looking around at this place that soon enough I won’t step near again. Piece of shit problem house with more things wrong with it than it’s worth. He’s glad to soon be unshackled from it. I’m glad for him too, much as I can’t help but miss the comfort of that place. Lots of fights and pain in there too though. Seven years went by…

Of course I’m going to miss him. But he and his fiancee will have a chance at a fresh start in a new city, which will be good for all involved most likely. He is my friend these days and I’m grateful for what I’ve learned while knowing him, rough as these years have been on us. He’s figured out how to love again and says I will eventually too. Hope he’s right. Hope they’ll be safe.

It’s always hard to say goodbye to our loved ones, even if they’re only moving a state or two away.

May the Lord protect and defend you…

And now I’ve got to walk this off. Turn my attention elsewhere for a while. He’ll be back periodically to work on the house and get it ready to sell, and this is not goodbye forever. But it definitely does mark the beginning of a new chapter. Been coming a long time, but I didn’t have the strength to force the issue all the way myself. So life intervened and made it so. It’s understood. Hard to imagine ever falling in love again, ever bearing my soul like that again. But we must. C’est la vie. He’s proven strong enough to do so and says he knows I can too, so I’m going to believe him. But I’m still going to miss him.

His new adventure, my time for greater solitude. The writing’s been on the wall for so long, and yet it still hurts anyway in the final hour. The heart wants what it wants. Even if it no longer makes any sense.

We filled the dumpster pretty darn full. So much to be tossed out, no longer carried forward. Old memories for him of a life raising a kid to adulthood, for me these last several years of turmoil and crazy magneticism. We seem so much older now, still spry in our own ways but definitely weathered by time and experiences. It’s been a long road. Here’s to the next leg of the journey…

The libertarian woman vs. the “liberal” Leftist (on unwanted pregnancies)

This past weekend I kicked a hornet’s nest on Twitter, resulting in my first big feud on that platform. Granted, since joining in 2012 I hadn’t used the site much for socializing until in recent months when I decided to find out what all the hubbub was about on there. Have been enjoying the memes and humor, but then I wound up following political threads (per my curiosity) which inevitably led to the topic of women’s rights and abortion — a topic I haven’t been as keen to weigh in on in recent times after tiring of dealing with feminists in years prior (and men’s rights activists in more recent years).

Not that women’s rights aren’t important to me. I’m a woman so of course I can’t help but care what laws and social/ideological trends are attempting to impact my life. However, it came to feel like a contest of wits, a political battle where people screamed at one another across the void, incensed that this group or that one could dare to see things differently. So I bowed out for the most part, resolving to accept that the only person I truly have control over is myself and that my energies are best directed there when it comes to protecting and promoting my own individual interests. Partially because I don’t agree with what appears to be the majority of people out in society (because either they’re pro-life and therefore detest my pro-choice stance, or because they’re pro-choice feminists who either celebrate abortions like a right of passage into womanhood and/or advocate for more government involvement in our lives in their efforts to push toward evermore “equality” between the sexes in accordance with their utopian visions for the future).

Before I began identifying with feminism in my late teens/early 20s, I first began identifying with libertarianism. Not the Libertarian Party itself, mind you (was over it back when Bob Barr came on the scene and, though I voted for him twice, am not a big supporter of Gary Johnson), but libertarian (or classical liberal if you prefer) ethos. Individualist strategies for seeking and preserving liberty, in other words. Which boil down to the fundamental principle that I as a human being have dominion, first and foremost, over my own self, my own body. That remains true if we’re talking about the drug war or self-defense and it’s what underpinned my own understanding of feminism/women’s rights.

But feminism took a hard left long ago, perhaps before I was even born, so after 10 years of debating with my fellow feminists and feeling like I was beating my head against a brick wall in attempting to communicate from my own perspective (while being heavily pressured to accept their way of looking at things along with the political positions they, as a collective, overwhelmingly embrace), I exited that movement and ceased referring to myself as a feminist in 2009 or thereabout. We’ve not been on chummy terms since, assuming we ever really were.

Both as a sex worker (in my 20s) and as libertarian-of-sorts (which I remain), I’ve been confronted time and again by feminists with notions that flew counter to my own unfolding understanding of how life works and what reasonable measures can be taken to improve the outcomes we claim to seek. While they busy themselves fighting in the political arena for evermore benefits for women specifically, claiming always that we women are at an inherent disadvantage in a man’s world, I’ve been experiencing and observing quite the opposite reality. More women admitted into colleges with higher test scores on average, more women running for political office, more women rising in ranks within businesses here and abroad, more women heading households, more birth control (and abortion) options allotted to women with legal protections on the federal level guaranteeing access, more freedom to live and work as we choose, more legal protections from sexual assault and harassment out in society (with claims, even without sufficient corroborating evidence, generally being taken more seriously), more products designed with our comfort in mind being marketed to us, etc. And yet feminists are more upset now than probably ever before. More demanding, more sensitive, less consolable, more hysterical, more vengeful toward men in general.

Consider this. Since the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, more out-of-wedlock births have been occurring across all racial and class demographics. At a time when more medical/pharmaceutical technologies exist to curb this trend than ever before, accompanied by legal protections allowing pretty much unfettered access in the U.S. Then, from the 1990s onward we’ve been blessed with so much information at our fingertips thanks to the internet. Nowadays a growing number of teenagers have access to the internet through smartphones: according to Pew Research in 2015 more than 60% of teens have gained this access, even among the lowest educated, lowest income, and racial minorities. And that’s only teenagers, mind you, saying nothing about adults’ increased access.

All the world’s information literally at people’s fingertips.

Leftists like to frame matters in terms of a lack of access, lack of resources, lack of life skills and knowledge to make better decisions. That strikes me as a rather glum view of humanity, giving the impression that they have pretty low expectations of both females and minorities when it comes to directing our own lives. Makes me wonder which came first, women and minorities’ ignorance and evident lack of self-determination, or the Leftist rhetoric that tries to convince us that we are victims of circumstances incapable of directing our own lives successfully?

Dr. Thomas Sowell’s books paint a very different picture, particularly in regard to his own racial demographic (black American), alerting us to the fact that many of these problems arose most markedly AFTER the Civil Rights era, arguing that all Americans actually had lower rates of unwanted pregnancies and crime and higher rates of marriage in decades prior (especially black Americans!). I recommend his books to others as food for thought, particularly: Black Rednecks and White Liberals, The Quest For Cosmic Justice, and Intellectuals and Race. These books can aid us in putting matters in a clearer perspective that we otherwise won’t hear about through our media or our education system.

Here’s a quick takeaway: Ideas being pushed from the Democratic Left aren’t helping people. Not really, despite all claims to the contrary. And the proof is indeed in the pudding.

Now, I’d like to share a bit from my own personal perspective, anecdotal as it is. Some of the Leftists I encounter online like to project onto me their assumptions of what I must be in order to hold the opinions that I do, including that I must be rich (or come from a well-off background) and afforded many opportunities others were not, that I am undoubtedly white (because frickin’ white people suck, right?), and that I haven’t encountered struggles that others face and lack firsthand experience with the topics under discussion at any given time. I’m occasionally mistaken for a man online and berated for being the “type of guy” they’re complaining about.  lol  Seriously. I am also told that I lack sympathy for “victims,” that “it must be nice” to have higher income and greater access to that which they claim other women lack, and they also like to dismiss me as “one of the lucky ones” who pulled myself up by “bootstraps” (a perennial favorite). If my experience doesn’t jibe with their narrative, it must be because I am somehow a super special snowflake all of a sudden, otherwise I must support the dreaded patriarchy. My ignorance must be due to my “privilege.”  Ha!  No shit. Guess I am to be counted as one of the extreme outliers whose experiences don’t count and needn’t be injected into any of their public conversations on any given topic, lest I offend the “real victims” who are trying to share their perspectives without “feeling shamed” by a conflicting point of view.

Ugh…

ALL OF WHICH ARE PROJECTIONS. Unwarranted and inaccurate.

So let’s see how I shake out in accordance with their own so-called “progressive stack.”

First off, I was born to a single mom living with her parents in a trailer in a small town in Mississippi. She became pregnant during her freshman year in college by a Saudi foreign exchange student, resulting in her dropping out of college and returning home. So, while I am Caucasian, less than half of my blood is of European origin. Without going into all of my upbringing and background, I will say I had some advantages while at the same time I most definitely don’t qualify as someone born with a silver spoon in my mouth or as a product of a remarkably stable and nurturing home environment. In the 7th grade I was exposed to one sex education class where protection and STDs were discussed. I dropped out of high school in the 10th grade and completed the GED. That same year, at age 16, I walked into a Planned Parenthood (in the Midwest where I lived at the time) and asked to be put on birth control pills, which were funded by what’s referred to as donation services offered by PP since I had very low income. No parental help with any of that and was living out on my own at the time.

I later attended university by applying for student loans (which I still carry the ever-growing debt from). During that same time period, I got married and 4 years later we divorced. I didn’t want to have kids, so we did not have kids because I remained on birth control (while pressured by a doctor to switch to Depo Provera, a method I absolutely loathed and gained a great deal of weight on). After my ex and I split and moved apart, I became a sex worker at age 21 and remained in that line of work for about 7 years. Still attended college throughout (did I mention I was a Social Sciences major?). Also managed to not get pregnant or contract an STD despite having numerous sexual partners because I remained on birth control pills, used condoms, and screened my clients the best I could.

In 2010, I decided to take a rest from taking hormonal birth control after 13 solid years of usage. A year later, during one careless occasion with a man I was dating at the time the morning-after pill failed and I became pregnant. He, being a decent human being and a close friend, helped me through that time and covered my abortion through Planned Parenthood 6.5 weeks in to the pregnancy. (I have a video where I discuss this matter on my youtube channel and will not go into further detail here.) He and I had for years discussed our positions on abortion and not wanting to have children, so this matter was handled without drama between the two of us. (Though, I will say this: after years of being accused by random people out in society for being a “baby killer” simply for supporting a pro-choice position, such harsh words launched at me since—typically from strangers who do not know me nor about whether or not I ever underwent an abortion—do noticeably sting more.) Tried the Paragard IUD after that and hated it (had it removed within a few months), but I have still managed to remain pregnancy-free, nearly 8 years on. Partly due to dating a partner for a few years there who agreed to undergo a vasectomy, thankfully — it’s nice dating men who give a damn about my health and well-being. (Albeit, clearly further evidence of my “privilege.”)

The last 10+ years I have worked in a different self-employment position where I don’t make much money, partly by choice since I’m not a fan of paying much in the way of taxes to our corrupt government. Personal decision there. I have not been covered by health insurance since I was 12 years old when sent me off to live with other relatives, aside from 1 semester in college many years ago. Yes, I was an avid Obamacare holdout and have been vocal about that. So, not rolling in dough over here or privy to health care coverage that plenty of others do access. Thankfully my health has remained pretty good, now entering my late 30s.

AND it’s not as if I sidestepped all of the pitfalls and vices that commonly plague our society. I drank heavily for a number of years. I smoke cigarettes too and have for over 2 decades (both are expensive habits). I’ve made all kinds of stupid, dangerous decisions in my day and put myself in situations where I am admittedly lucky to have not been more hurt by.

YET STILL I have managed to avoid an unwanted pregnancy 99.99% of the time (and terminated the one mistake that did arise). How is this possible for someone who comes from a poor household originally, who isn’t fully white, who’s female, who’s made bad life choices (according to plenty of people out in society), who’s a high school drop-out, who isn’t earning a high income (or even remotely a middle-class income), who isn’t insured, and who’s considered promiscuous even?

MUST be muh privilege to blame!

Did it require me threatening men to conform to my wishes? Thankfully a couple men in my life agreed to undergo vasectomies, but I’ve been intimate with far more men than just them — so, no. That alone wouldn’t have cut it. Have I ever had a man remove a condom during sex? Yes I have, and they received an earful too. Have I ever experienced negative encounters with men where I felt intimidated? Yes, and thank God I had backup methods or was on birth control pills at the time so as to protect myself. Have I ever encountered pressure from my former spouse to have children? Yes, and I told him he knew my position when he chose to marry me, so he didn’t get his way on that. Have I experienced condoms that either broke or slid off during intercourse? Yes, that’s why it’s best to utilize more than one form of birth control at a time (or use a backup method). Am I claiming accidents never occur? Obviously not.

Am I claiming other women in America can embrace their agency and protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy if they so choose? YES. They could if they really desired to. Am I encouraging others to follow in my footsteps? Well, you all will live however you personally choose, regardless of what I say, but it becomes a problem when you start talking about wanting others, via taxation, to provide women with free birth control (especially when so many—particularly those who can afford it—aren’t demonstrating a willingness to take the responsibility seriously enough thus far) and/or abortions. The idea of state-funded abortions is a real stickler in the U.S. that upsets people whose religious convictions conflict, and I cannot and WILL NOT endorse any plan to force people to fund a practice that they consider immoral to such an extreme level. Similarly, I have a huge moral qualm with paying taxes that fund all these wars/invasions elsewhere around the globe — it’s wrong to compel people to be complicit (going so far as taking money out of their pockets) in matters that injure their soul. People are bound to be far more tolerant of our lifestyle choices if they aren’t foisted upon them or financed by them without their willful compliance. Hence why I don’t support government funding of Planned Parenthood, despite continuing to support that organization 21 years running — donations are the way to go there, not forced funding. Continuing down this path will only create greater social and political divides in this country that I don’t want to see.

Now, I think I’ve written enough on this topic, so if Max Brett () or whomever else wants to keep replying to argue or project, I’m going to go ahead and redirect you here because I’m tired of repeating myself and find Twitter to be a poor platform to try to debate ideas on. I am willing to expand at a later date on differences between libertarianism and Leftism and why the two camps can seem to share certain points of agreement while arriving at those points through totally different means, resulting in a desire for totally different outcomes — but not today. This was a looong post, so that’s enough typing for now.

Pondering on purpose

Been bumbling through life up to this point and figure it’s a grand time to pause and consider my purpose going forward. Might’ve jacked up the first half of life, but here we stand now, at what could be the midpoint of life (assuming I live to age 72). Didn’t know how to guide myself too well the first bit, but it’s taught me a lot so I can’t entirely regret it for its lessons. Have to learn some way. Trial and error.

Anyway, I got to thinking tonight while watching a video from Pastor Joe Fox, after having listened to a few by him since discovering his channel recently. Paused to ponder and write down the thoughts that sprang to mind when contemplating what may be my purpose from here on out. What matters and what direction I personally wish to aim in. Basically loosely outlined a few goals/values/areas of focus. What I jotted down:

1.) To learn more and become skilled at various worthwhile tasks.

  • Sustainability (or at least the move toward that) matters.
  • Curiosity is actually a positive attribute.
  • Consider what’s of base-level, fundamental value to us human beings.

2.) LOVE MATTERS. Tough love included.

  • Connection matters.
  • Love of family, friends, values…

3,) No pain, no gain. Challenges are necessary for growth. Pick your poison.

  • I want to keep growing.
  • Respect matters.

4.) Quality of Life deserves attention.

  • Past, present, future, successors.
  • Consequences arise regardless of what may be our intentions.

5.) Personal Autonomy is sacred and God-given.

  • Hence our natural right to self-defense.
  • One is not merely a cog within a collective, but nor is one an island unto oneself.
  • Freedom matters, but so does Sacrifice. Find the BALANCE.

6.) What is that which we call God? What does God seem to direct me toward?

  • And how does one really know when it’s not just Ego playing its typical games? Discernment required. Meditation/prayer. Deep reckoning over time.

______________________________________________________________________________

That’s a start. Put it in writing. Reflected on it this evening. Could’ve added more, and did in a couple places.

Preparation matters too. I won’t claim to be of much use to others currently, aside from being cared about by my friends and loved ones (and tending to my job), but I do want more out of my life than what I have constructed thus far. The word redemption keeps following me around, going on a few years now. Keeps insisting that it matters, saying that atonement is required for some of what I’ve done, lest I never be able to forgive myself or the situations that arose as a result. Right or wrong, regardless of how many tell me to let it go and move on, this feeling stays with me, nags at me, proclaims itself to be real. And so apparently I must accept that and figure out what it wants from me. And I guess I will try to give it what it wants , if that’s the cost of some measure of eventual peace. So be it.

Have nothing better to do anyhow. Except languish in this apartment when I’m not working, watching the wheels go ’round and ’round, ruminating on so much that cannot be changed, that’s done and over with, regardless of fault or blame or regrets. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…

I look forward to however many years I get to experience in this next half of life. To see where it might go, to shape what I might become. There have been a lot of blessings in life too, and I am grateful, though there’s a lot that’s made me bitter. Gotta work that out, gotta direct that energy somewhere more productive. Otherwise life will likely turn out to feel long and pointless, aimless, meaningless…lost. That’s no good. But it does appear a bit daunting, knowing how much I wish I knew but don’t. To figure out how and what to learn while restricted to living where I do for the time being, rather isolated in the city. But I see what is within my control currently and know where to direct my attention more to begin with, so that’s where I’ll keep plugging away and expanding. The first steps in a better direction.

Helps to have something to look forward to. To realize what’s a better option, a more worthwhile struggle, and to start heading that way.

Been pondering vaguely along these lines for many years now, but it’s all finally starting to crystallize this year. Coming together, making better sense to me. That being a blessing unto itself. So, that’s where my mind is right now.

Monday journaling in early July

Hangovers truly do hurt more than they used to. Said it before but feel the need to say it again. Takes less to bring on the pain these days also. Makes me wonder how I functioned all those years if this was the fog I’d been routinely living within.

Amazing the difference in perspective time taken away from drinking provides. Makes it increasingly difficult to accept surrendering to that lifestyle, despite its ongoing powerful allure. I go back, guilt consumes me, my head aches and my vision blurs for a day or more afterward, stupid events may or may not occur that leave me resenting my weakness for giving in yet again, then I resolve to leave the mess alone until the next time I succumb to its temptation. Rinse, repeat.

A big part of the problem here isn’t merely a lack of will power — it’s a lack of an alternative direction, a better vision for the future. Some call this nihilism, which I suppose is accurate enough. It’s a lack of giving enough of a damn. Life feels very long and I’m not sure where to direct it from here on out, disconnected as I am from any great sense of community or common purpose. To simply throw myself into attempting to help others conjures up a whole host of questions, such as in what ways and how, toward what end, in service to what philosophy, would this be helping or rather enabling, etc., etc. Though that remains the conventional response from others during one’s “dark night of the soul” — Go help others so that you’ll quit focusing on yourself! If only it were that easy and clear-cut…

Makes me wonder where the line is between trying to be helpful and fashioning oneself into some form of masochistic martyr. The distinction isn’t as bold as people like to imagine, come to find out.

And what about one’s own self-interest? Oh sure, being of service to others can indeed boost one’s own sense of purpose and esteem, depending on how one goes about it. Can also waste a bunch of time and energy on matters of trivial importance too if you’re not careful. Can wind up leading to another dead end where you realize that what you’ve been attempting is just another game of smoke and mirrors, yet another useless distraction wherein you attempted to save others when in reality you can’t even save yourself. Food for thought.

I am bitter these days. Very tired inside from this unending struggle to right my wrongs and to reorient myself toward living and socializing. Apparently this is just the way life goes and there’s no real reason to complain, but it is wearing over time. Hard to recharge one’s batteries under the circumstances. Tough to decide on where to head from here, what to shoot for and plan for. It’s ultimately a question of values, though what I value isn’t necessarily in line with how I tend to live, truth be told. Bad habits can and do change us, re-shape us, deform us, corrupt us, perhaps in some cases irrevocably so. I’m not sure who I am when considered in this light. Seems pretty late in the game to fantasize about starting over and becoming something wholly different.

Also, I’m not sure how one can re-fashion herself into something new while planted within this larger social/political/economic context. Though I understand it needs to happen, I’m not sure how to go about it entirely. Sounds like a recipe for greater social exclusion, which pains me to consider. But there’s no way around it really — I know. The trick is to somehow stonewall myself in the face of that realization and attempt it anyway. Not as if most of the socializing I’ve been doing is worth salvaging anyhow — half these people I deal with are in no better positions themselves, so what are we really trying to hold on to here? A sense of escapism? Yes. Mutually-bolstered delusions and retreats into unfulfilling comforts. That’s all it is and all it ever was, so life has been teaching me.

But when I look out and try to imagine alternate paths, I wonder how I might walk them in my present condition. One foot in front of the other, you say. Sure, but unguided by much, heading toward the unknown from the abyss. Carrying with me my past pains and neurotic problems that have distorted my thoughts and emotions, because such baggage doesn’t simply go away despite our wishes for it to. Seeking what? New opportunities to socialize and maybe even experience a sense of community, to prove helpful and useful, to discover redemption of some sort so that my mind might give me some peace finally. In what fashion? That which can be sustained, that which is truly human. And that’s a long way from home.

Lots of charlatans out here in society pretending to be what they’re not, advertising lures that they can’t deliver on. I know that. Undoubtedly will learn plenty the hard way regardless of which path I choose. Learned plenty the hard way already, so what’s the real difference there? Wherever humans are, trouble is nearby — that goes without saying. I tell myself that I need an adventure, to break away from Cookie-Cutterville and all of its inane trappings that numb my soul and entice me to escape myself as a means of coping. I don’t belong here in this land of families worried about good schools and crime rates, jabbering mindlessly about mowing lawns and sports scores, regularly anesthetizing themselves in local pubs where people like me get in the way of their good times. I’m too moody and dark for this place, too uncomfortable in my own skin and itching for something more to life than this. Yet I too have been lulled into a sense of complacency here, appreciating all these creature comforts and tasty foods and the relative ease in which society functions day-to-day. Can’t shake the feeling of being an alien here though, over a decade running.

Feels like I’m hiding here, but from what? From God? From a call to leave my comfort and to instead risk everything I have for what I can’t yet foresee? Damn. That’s a tall order. But I get it — appears necessary. Just tricky and unnerving and leaves me wondering if I’ve finally flown the coop since all the rest here claim to be relatively content and aren’t chomping at the bit the way I am. Why must I differ from them? Why can’t I be content with what’s been provided to me? Probably because I’m a disagreeable jerk not originally from this place and unable (or unwilling) to assimilate properly. Not that these folks deserve to be given grief; they mean well. I just don’t know what to do with myself while among them. Serve them so as to earn a living, yes, but what else? And that’s been the question forming over the years.

Am I scared? Probably. Most of us fear change, even if we’re uncomfortable with where we’re at currently. Not sure why — just a normal human response, I figure. The longer I stay here, the more difficult it feels to leave. Yet the longer I stay here, the more bitter I become, and that’s of no benefit to anyone. Not sure where else to go. Will take me at least a year to pay off bills and raise money and finish out my lease, but in the meantime I have to worry about leaving alcohol alone and coping with my present circumstances. Kind of feels like a catch-22. The longer I stay, the more I fear I will never leave and will grow colder and more withdrawn until I cease to be me. It’s a conundrum, but I suppose it can be surmounted.

I do get lonely. The hours in a day grow very long toward the evening. I read up on what’s happening in my society and all sounds so chaotic, so impossible to reign in. On some level a simpler life is needed, maybe so that a creative life becomes more possible. Because what I’m experiencing now is not life-affirming, it’s life-deadening, numbing, trying not to feel what I can’t help but feel. And it won’t change just because I wish it would — I know.

The answers are simple, though not necessarily easy. That much is true. What do I have to lose? Not much by this point. Am already pretty isolated. Already have picked up and developed bad habits. Already learned the wicked ways of people, including that in my own self. Spent enough time staring into the abyss and feeling it staring back. Learned a good bit about what not to do and have a better idea now of what’s in my greater interest, finally, as I slide into middle age. Money comes and goes — that doesn’t dictate everything for me. Have a pretty simple life that’s uncomplicated by too many major responsibilities. And maybe it’s that which I’d miss the most, that being my perch from where I’ve been free to watch, listen, and ponder for all these years.

But then there comes a time for action, for putting into practice what all we’ve been wrestling with and figuring out. So, on to the 1-to-2-year plan. Research what I can in the meantime. Because, Lord help me if I am still sitting here in this city 10 years from now. That would represent the opposite of growth — pure stagnation. Not certain my soul could bear it.