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. Content of Your Soul .

I watched the video/commercial. I am stating my opinion, which may be biased as a woman, but here we go. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this commercial.
 
If anything, I find it empowering, for BOTH men and women.
 
If anything, I find it validating, for BOTH men and women.
 
If you’re a man who is finding issue with a commercial or company promoting respect, then the issue is not with the content of the commercial, but the content of your soul.

We are in the midst of an awakening within our society. People, men and women alike,  are beginning to hold each other accountable for unacceptable behaviors.

Women no longer need to remain tight lipped with grace over inappropriate behaviors, comments, or actions towards them or their bodies.

Women no longer need to, “smile and giggle” when there’s an unwanted ass grab. 

Women no longer need to accept unsolicited dick pics in private message while active on social media.

Men no longer need to remain “tough” and carry the persona of “strength” when bullied, belittled, or mocked for showing emotion.

Men no longer have to hide their “less than masculine” hobbies or interests. I have male friends who find that over the last 10-20 years, aspects of their “male persona” have changed. “I used to be uncomfortable with my wife’s purse in our cart. Now, I just don’t care.”

Men are even allowed to show support in one another without it looking, “Gay”.

If toxic masculinity is, as Piers Morgan says, “… pathetic global assault on masculinity,” then why is it even a hot topic? What I am finding is that men who are offended, protesting, and boycotting like Piers Morgan, are avoiding the question of whether or not they’re actually guilty of these very behaviors.” (compiled with the fact that a lot of them I’m reading on social media haven’t actually WATCHED the video). Don’t come at me with your defensiveness if you haven’t fully educated yourself on the topic at hand.

Just to be clear, Gillette’s ad does not implicate all men as those who act in this manner. This ad promotes that all men should hold each other accountable by calling out the behaviors.

This is not attacking “all” men for this behavior, it’s attacking the behavior itself. If those seeing this as an attack on “all men’s” masculinity, then it’s not the commercial with the issue, it’s your perception of masculinity that is.

“The gender doth protest too much,  me thinks. “

Maybe it’s time to actually discuss and define, “Toxic Masculinity”? What I have found researching the new coined term, “…a manifestation of Patriarchy that both harms men, and causes men to be violent and aggressive against women and occasionally other men.”

Personally, for me, it is when we even need to call out “boys will be boys” mentality. It’s when we tell girls that, “…it means he likes you if he pulls your hair”, as opposed to teaching our sons that pulling hair is not way to express your crush on a person.

Or, the doxxing of female game programers, artists, geeks, nerds, cosplayers, and activists who fight against the men who feel women have no place in the gaming cyber geek world.

Women, such as Brianna Wu, had all of their personal information released online opening avenues of abuse from men worldwide. “One tweet said, “I’ve got a K-bar and I’m coming to your house so I can shove it up your ugly feminist cunt.”

If you do not see an issue with this, then the problem isn’t Gillette, again, it’s you and your belief systems.

Another example of abuse because of gender and nationality, Kelly Marie tran. Who had this to say when she penned a beautiful statement as to why she’s leaving social media. She was mocked and harassed for everything from gender to weight, from role to ethnicity. The attackers took open hunt on her instagram and even her woookiepedia page.

Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories,” Tran wrote. “Their words reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was “other,” that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them. And that feeling, I realize now, was, and is, shame, a shame for the things that made me different, a shame for the culture from which I came from. And to me, the most disappointing thing was that I felt it at all.”

Or, how schools push and shame their preteen to teen girls about their clothing, as opposed to teaching boys to respect women and their bodies, and then punish them for wearing shorts and tank tops in 102 degree weather.

Our daughters are raised with vile, sexually charged advertising in EVERYTHING, but then shamed if they immulate the very examples they’re taught. Toxic masculinity is defending and promoting advertisers like Abercrombie & Fitch or Carl’s Jr, who make a point of objectifying women, and encouraging the behaviors behind it. There’s even a study that shows men and women (BOTH) are affected mentally by these types of advertisers. (Sited Resource) This study has found that sexualized advertisements could have a negative effect on men as well as women .

Final example of toxic masculinity, in my eyes, are the sheer number of sexual violence and assaults that do not get reported. Why? Because women aren’t taken serious when they say they are victims.

Do you know how many rape kits have sat unopened, unexamined, untested? In my state, Washington State, according to a 2018 statewide inventory conducted by the Attorney General’s Office, 6,460 backlogged. If that’s just one state, imagine the numbers for our whole nation. It doesn’t help when certain celebrities promote these ideals

If toxic masculinity isn’t a thing, there wouldn’t be NUMEROUS social media pages dedicated to showing that women are property/meat, and men deserve all of it no questions asked….
Because, as Piers Morgan says, “Let boys be damn boys. Let men be damn men. Sexually harasses coanchor.

More sources:
Women Women Refuse

#MeToo

Addressing Gender-Based Harassment in Social Media: A Call to Action
Rachel N. Simons, The University of Texas at Austin

End the Backlog – Accountability Project by Joyful Heart Foundation

Justice and Research Statistics Association

#Gillette #MeToo #Empowerment #Toxicmasculinity
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. Prowess .

** warning – sexually graphic content. read at your own discretion **

I had a rough session with my therapist today. The end conclusion is that I really, truly have never experienced genuine love; but yet I desire a love of a lifetime deeply. I yearn for a hearth and home. I’ve blogged about it before, but today is a bit different. It took someone from my past to really resurface some buried memories and feelings.

The mental road trip I took with him has left me staggering; tripping over my own defense mechanisms that jut out of my past like broken pieces of glass in my path.

Here we are a week later, and I have had nothing but time to think about it. (By “think about it” I really mean, “Overthink, overanalyze and personally demean self worth.) I have never really identified with an addiction, this week however, I have the realization that I too have an addiction. My addiction isn’t so much “sex” per se.. It’s more the desperate longing desire to actually be wanted. I tend to sell my self worth for a brief moment of intimacy. In those moments of sexual gratification, I could convince myself that I was wanted and loved. I told myself this for so long, I actually believe the lie.  I have spent 20+ years selling off pieces of my soul like a bargain at a dollar store. I have been taught to believe that men promise a relationship for sex, and women promise sex for love.

How do you come back from that?

I have had a lot of sexual partners. There it is. It’s out, it’s open. Judge lest ye be judged. It’s the only thing I “knew”. It’s the only thing I identified that the male gender wanted from me; from age 14 when I was raped by a 26ish guy. Before I actually lost my virginity, willingly, all I ever heard were rumors from various groups of guys who would boast, “I could hit that.” There are a few key moments in my teenage years, that I really feel were pivotal in my sexual awareness and development.

I will start at 14, when I was in a foster home. I was always an early developed teen. I had hips, small waist, big ass and size C/D breasts. I was immediately placed into a sexual position because my genetic code made me a “woman” at a young age. This memory has been blocked from my conscious for years, until just recently. So, bare with me. I remember partying with a neighbor at the foster home. He had all the teens at his house, he always did. We’d drink beer, listen to Guns N’ Roses, and just talk like “adults”. But I wasn’t. I was only 14.  What I remember in my jagged memories is that the group left. I was left behind. I remember feeling kind of out of it, loopy… from the booze or maybe more. I remember we were in his room and he started kissing on me, grabbing my thighs, reaching up under my shirt. I remember kind of “checking out” mentally. He was far too big to fight. I remember him trying to penetrate me, but as a young… virgin.. he couldn’t. He got frustrated and pissed. He just kept pushing, forcing. I remember whimpering and he shoved me off his bed. I remember a friend had come back to find out where I was, because I hadn’t left when they did. I remember this friend kind of sort of sneaking me back in my house to sleep it off. From this point forward, I remember being a “mean” girl towards guys, this lasted until I actually willingly slept with one. And then, it became the norm. “Fuck it, sex is all they want, then fine.”

Second incident, I can recall that instilled and enabled the thought that all my worth was tied into being a “cum dumpster” (actual term a guy used “jokingly” when I was around 19.) I used to take the public transit everywhere. I was probably about 16 or so. It was summer. I was wearing this cute, typical 1990s figure fitting floral dress. It wasn’t too revealing, short, or trashy.  I was standing up on Pac Hwy waiting for the bus; Pac Hwy is known for a lot of street walkers. I was minding my own business, standing there reading my book. A car pulls up next to me, this guy rolls down his window and asks, “How much?” I was totally, completely taken aback. I started crying from shock. I sputtered, “I’m not a hooker!” The bus started to arrive at that moment. So, the impression this left me with subconsciously was that I really am only worth what my body can offer.

Third incident, was in Junior High. It’s not as pivotal as the first two in my mind which is why it’s out of linear timeline, but it still affected me. I never realized exactly how much it affected me until counseling today. There was this peer named Adam. Adam was apart of the “in” crowd. I had taken a photography class, so this had to be around 9th grade. I was in the dark room, prepping my film. Adam came in, got up really close behind me. He used his pelvis to push into mine, and rubbed himself on me. He turned me around, put his right hand on my left breast and forced me to kiss him. He laughed at my face when he was done. Later, at lunch, he told everyone I tried to kiss him. He told everyone I was just a slut. That labeled me for the rest of my school career. I think at this point, I gave in and just became what every man expected me to be.

This lasted up until last week. It’s weighing heavy on my heart. I have never been worth dating; from teenage years to current. I am sure lacking a father, knowing a “good” / “true” man has a lot to do with the shaping of my sexual identity. I am sure that having a chaotic childhood instilled the grasping and grabbing of any attention given to me; even if it’s a falsified promise of love. It’s still touch, emotion, feelings for a brief moment. I am also sure that the reason I carry so much weight on me is so that men don’t see me as a ‘sex symbol’ anymore, they just see me as me.. or don’t see me at all. I’m pretty fucked up in the head.

Now, with my counselor’s help, I am able to recognize it for what it is. I am going to learn to readjust my thinking. I do know that I dream of hearth and home. I dream of a love of a life time. I have to let my convoluted ideas go. I have to relearn what love is.

First assignment from her, “Define what love is to you”. Yay.

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. Drops of Jupiter .

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Life is way too short to waste…
Make every moment count.

This is so easily read,  just as easily as it is to type. Digesting it, however, is like taking a spoonful of medicine without the sugar aiding it on the way down; bitter, grainy and really hard to swallow. 

Make every moment count. Well, what happens if you wake up 39 years old and realize there are only a handful of moments you chose in your life to make count? What happens if you’re facing death, a mere 30 years if you’re lucky? What happens when mortality, and that fact that you do only have one life to live, knocks the wind out of you?

You become me. Broken, but healing. Lost, but slowly finding my way. Cynical and jaded, reclusively hiding from the world; one book, one netflix program, one video game at a time.

All I can think about, right now at 2:20 a.m. on Thursday, May 28, 2015, is that I really lived this life wrong. I have made so many horrible choices that just flushed the best years away. Most of those choices were for love. They were for men who presented love in a package that was beautifully wrapped, colorfully attired, and perfectly alluded. I was always able to see the best in even the worst of cases. What I was seeing was this brilliantly presented gift, what others could see was a torn trashbag barely holding the contents within. Because I was seeking love. I was searching for it, harder than finding a hidden bedazzled, heart-shaped geocache’. 

Irony here. My favorite quote from the Bible, “Do not arouse or awaken love until she so desires.” Song of Solomon 8:4. I first read it sitting in the most painfully dull church sermon. I absentmindedly thumbed through the Bible, and it jumped off the page at me. I was roughly 17 years old. I was eye deep in bad choices; trying to find validation and love through sex. “Do not arouse or awaken love…” Simply put, “Bitch, stop pushing. Stop fighting to be seen and loved. Stop arousing life with bad choices.”

 Choices. . . that’s a heavy word. C.h.o.i.c.e.s; each letter weighs upon my shoulders like Atlas’ own sphere he holds up. Atlas, who was punished for a choice he made with his loyalties. Atlas, whose common misconception is that he held up the Earth. Atlas held celestial spheres, a globe shape with stars, planets, systems. Humans make wishes every day, almost as many choices are made as wishes. We wish upon those stars, those celestial entities that burdens Atlas. 

If I could time travel, I would go back to pivotal moments in my life where I had made wishes upon stars, and would tell myself to pay attention to my choices, and not so much my wishes. I would travel to those moments when I had opportunities to be a stronger, vibrant, intelligent woman. I would whisper sweet nothings in my own ear, encouraging me to just love me, for everything that I am. I would hold my own hand, pat my own back, and hug myself when times were too rough. I’d offer an encouraging word when the negative in my head takes shape from the shadows around me, pulling in the dark, while it looms over me. 

I would be my own lover, my own soulmate.  

I would do all of this so that I could enjoy being me without the additional hurt I’ve put myself through; by my own words, by my own thoughts, by my own choices. I didn’t follow my creative path, because conforming was expected. I am having a midlife crisis, with a body that feels 60 years old and a mind that never emotionally matured passed mid 20s. 

I love that I am getting to know me. I love that I am working so hard at healing, counseling, and reshaping my thoughts about myself. I hate that it has taken me my whole life to get here. I hate that it has taken suicide attempts, self hate, and the desire to disappear to realize that, by God(dess), I am worth

Every breath.
Every step. 
Every fucking heart beat in my chest.
And every good choice I will make for myself from this point forward. 

Because, I am thankful to wake up and realize my big bang is still forming. That I can still create a livable, viable environment in the next 30ish years.

This point forward, I do not want any regrets. I do not want to look back and see my choices were horrible from puberty to death. I want contentment and genuine happiness; even though I’m clinically depressed. I know that I can be happy. 

A few songs of solar systems, choices, and being okay.

Abuse · Batterer · Beauty · Belief · Body Positive · Counseling · Depression · Forgiveness · Happiness · Healing · Health · Journey · Love · My Life · Positivity · Self Acceptance · Self Esteem · Self Love · Spirit · Suicide

A day of steady.. blows to the gut.


Shit I work out in counseling – Although it’s not really worked out it, it’s just floated to the surface.

I never really realized how .. mean I am to myself until a friend said something the other day about western state. Aparently during the hike, I was beating myself up under my breath. I mean, I know I am in my mind. I never realized how vocal I am about it. I thought it was primarily in my mind.
But I catch my mom doing it.
“I’m such a dumb ass”
“What a fucking idiot”

And then I noticed … I do it too. “Come on fat ass.”…”cow” fat ass” toad” dumbass” ugly nasty cow”.

The truth behind all the fat / body positive posts is that I’m hiding behind that.

I would love to be substantially thinner; 180 ish.
I flood my page and my eyes/mind with images that it’s okay to be a fat girl; because that’s all I am.

But, I hate it. I hate not having energy. I hate being short of breath because of my sarcoid AND my weight. The two combined are killing me.

I would love to be able to wear clothes that I find adorable, unfortunately they stop at size 22.

I hide behind it, because I’m trying to convince myself I’m okay.

I’m talking this out with a friend. She says to me, “What would YOU tell you? If all those “tapes” disappeared, what would you really say to you?”

Truth be told. If I memory banks were magically wiped, I would be reverted to a child like state. I would have no clue how to positively encourage myself. I have never had that.I have never, in my life, been reinforced. Or taught how to reinforce confidence myself. 

That’s a sad, sad thought. 

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Put it in your dream journal, you freaking hippie.

Today, has been the one year anniversary of my fleeing my abusive situation. One year. One year should be enough to toughen up, pull on my big girl panties and move forward. It has not been that simple. I am sure it would have been more simple if I hadn’t side tracked myself into believing I was ready for love again.
Michael, was a deceiver.. he was a liar in the purest sheep’s clothing. He led me to believe I was in a safe place to fully open and begin healing. He encouraged me to open, flourish heal. In a lot of ways he damaged me more than my batterer did. He took what was left of my trust, my faith, my ability to stand up and heal myself. And I allowed him to do it.
I need to get up off of this couch. I need to get a move on again. I am crippling my own damned self by this personal talk of ‘no good’, ‘no worth’ and all the other horrible things I say while sitting here slowly disabling myself.
I have fallen hard a few times these last few years, and even though I have gotten up each and every time, I have found it has been getting harder to do so. This last plummeting event has proven so. But you know what, I’m up. I may not be fully functioning, but I am up. I have risen. I have risen in my own way, in my own due time, but alas, I am standing.
I need to embrace my weird. I need to marry all my differences into one amazing being. I’m an odd duck, I know this. So I need to stop trying to conform and fit into some idea of what I “should” be and accept who I actually am. I’m hiding behind fear (so, so much fear) and I need to get up, this one last time, stay up and own who I am. I have written about this numerous times. I know this. I believe this on a intellectual level, I know this. It’s getting the rest of me to pull the line.
I queried a few of my friends to find out what they think of me, who they “see” me as:
* retrobilly
* rockabilly
* retro
* eclectic
* ghosts
* geek
* hippie (my son calls me hippie all the time)
This really is what is thought of me. I have convinced myself that they see ‘fat’, ‘pathetic’, ‘poseur’ … Nope. This is all my own crippling thoughts enabling my decline. Well, no more.
So, I need to get up and get dressed. Make an effort to embrace who I am. (of course, with all this said and done, tomorrow may be a very different view point.)
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Bare Bones

I had a conversation with someone this morning in regards to domestic violence, getting out and finding myself again. I am literally bare bones. I am stripped down to nothing trying to rebuild, and I have no clue where to start. A few things were said that really triggered me, and I felt I needed to write a blog to work through what it was exactly triggered me.
She said to me, “You need to find you…. and where you want to fit in your own life.”
After she had written this to me, I broke down and cried. Since she said it, I have been crying periodically. This took place about noon; it is now 8:32pm.
I cried because of the reality in which her words stung. I don’t even know where I fit in my own life anymore. I cried because I didn’t know how to respond. I cried at how exposed and raw I feel. Through sinew and marrow. Through cells and bile. Through surface and core. Raw, bare bones. 
I know, I know, I know. I’ve read all of the quotes. I’ve listened and heard all of the motivational comments from friends. I’ve processed it. I sit here daily, on my couch, without motivation to do anything… without motivation to even care to do anything. I have big ideas in my head of things I want to do. Things I dream of achieving. But I sit. Daily. Not caring.

So here I am, open and available, and all I can motivate myself to do is sleep. I am nearing my one year anniversary of getting out of the abusive relationship, but the abuse hasn’t stopped. I’m more abusive towards myself. I can’t flee myself. 

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2015 Approaching.

I seen this quote in an email today. It reminded me of a photo I had taken a bit ago. I married the two, and here is the result. It’s totally needed right now. It’s now a reminder on my desktop wallpaper.

roadtofreedom-rv315

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Try.. do they like you…


Wait a second,
Why should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself
Do you like you? Do you like you?

The question, “Do you like you” literally crippled me incapable to continue what I was doing when this song came onto iHeart. I had never heard it before, but damned if the Universe’s gift to me on Christmas was a soul penetrating song that forced me to stop in my tracks and tune in. I leaned against the counter (as I was doing dishes) and just listened. Unfortunately, I couldn’t rewind it. When I finished with the dishes, I headed to my laptop to pull up the video. Even more amazed at how beautiful this video is.
We’re dawning on a new year. This has to be the hardest holiday season ever for me. Before, I could numb myself to it, just live through whatever was surrounding me. But this year, I am necessitated into really looking at myself. I have made choices that has obligated me at looking into my life and why I have arrived here, at this moment. I have to stop trying, I do. I have to let go. I know that’s a running theme in my blog. I really need to stop going backwards. I need to look at now, right now. I had a friend send me a picture:

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Purpose. 2015 will be devoted to finding MY purpose. I have a reason why I’m here. I have to. No one person should, has to, is meant to go through all of this. 
I vow to myself to be present, mindful, of myself; me and only me. I don’t mean to come across as selfish, but I really need to repair everything, from my outer surface to my inner core.
I vow not to “change” anything about myself, but instead, learn to accept, adapt and incorporate every part of me I think is flawed. Every part I think people judge me on. Every part of me I apologize for, over and over again.
I vow to stop apologizing… for just existing. I wish I could see “me” as everyone else does.
I vow to forgive myself. This is going to be the biggest struggle for me. Forgiveness. I am so ready and willing to forgive everyone in my life, but myself. Why is that?
I vow to finally, fully, like who I am. To stop putting off the impression that I am “fine”, or that I am “strong”, or that I actually like myself. I know how to put that impression out there if I need to, when it’s appropriate. But, no more. Raw, real and me in all scenarios of my life. All walks. All persons. Me, take it or leave it… but do so with respect.
Because, you as well as everyone else, deserves the love and respect that you give to others.
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Committed.

I’m going to just leave this right here. Process it how you must.

“As a society, we assess the seriousness of a suicide attempt based on the severity of the method. If you didn’t use one of the more lethal methods, you didn’t really mean it. You weren’t committed to it (see what I did there?), you were just seeking attention.

In short: your pain is not valid.

This is a perspective rooted in ignorance, and it further perpetuates discrimination against those of us who struggle with minds that sabotage us into believing that we’d be better off dead.”

Brought to you by an amazing project called, “Live Through This

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Heavy Heart

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I write this with weariness, a bit of trepidation and an incredibly heavy heart. I know full well that if it were seen by the individual it is written about, a whole whirlwind of anger, abusive language and flurry of drunk emails and texts will begin.
I have not talk to this individual in a couple years. I could not handle her drunken raging. Through counseling, I came to a point where I was strong enough to say “no more” with her. My last interaction with her was 11/9/2011. You can read about it in a previous blog entry: Sisters, Sisters.
I just wish my mother could do the same. She’s so accustomed to not seeing abuse for what it is, and she has such high hopes that one day all of her children will be able to come together and reunite, that she cannot walk away from the tirades she’s put through nightly.  (Literally, nightly.)
I have always wanted a tight relationship with my sister. It was never going to happen. If you talk to her, she will tell you I’m crazy. She will bash me and bad mouth me. She will try to play  sympathy card and rally her troops against me. She will tell you that I am jealous of her. Truth be told, I am not. Maybe in my younger years I was, but I’ve grown far too old to care about petty things like body size and looks. All in all, attitude and demeanor show more about a person’s character than what you adorn on the outside.
The abuse has not stopped. When I hit my ultimate low, I called my mom and asked to come home. I asked for help. I asked for my mom. This is my business, with my life and I asked for my mom’s help. Why?? Because I recognize a woman in need of assistance. I am suicidal. I am very depressed. I, in a sense, am “crazy” if you want to put that label on me. The difference is, I recognize this. I acknowledge this and I can no longer hide or live my life in a manner that is hurtful for my soul and spirit.
When my sister found out I had moved home, she blew up my mom’s text… “Is she finally going to get the help she needs? Or is she just being moody because she was broken up with?” My sister has always passed judgement on me. (Hell, not just me, but anyone she comes across that does not benefit or suit her needs; our mother included.) She cannot handle the fact that she has no control over my life, or can use her methods to influence, hurt or bully me anymore. I cut that out November 2011.
What she doesn’t see is that she is hurting our mother.. each and every derogatory text she sends, she crushes our mother’s spirit more and more. It is abuse. I’ve spent enough time in domestic violence classes, group counseling and individual therapy to know that this is abuse. My mom says to me all the time, “It’s so nice to have you home. At least we have conversations and you don’t lecture me nightly.” I hate seeing her like this. I hate seeing my mom hang her head, take the abuse and cry quietly to herself. I hate that she’s so accustomed to the abuse, she just “All well, she’s just drunk again.” I hate that she has expressed to my sister, “Please, stop. Just stop texting me like this.” and she is totally, completely ignored.
She has bashed me. SHe has bashed my mom. She has turned to other family to play victim. I have not talked to, written, or paid attention to my sister since 2011; there’s a reason for it. I don’t care what she says about me, or to whom. I do care about the emotional and physical toll it’s taking on our mother. It literally hurts me to see my mom’s heart aching as much as it is. My sister’s a drunk, she always will be. She’ll end up drinking herself to death like her father did. She’s her own burden to bare. But she needs to back off of mom. Mom is too old, too fragile to continue putting up a good face for it all.
I don’t hate her. I don’t wish ill will on her. I simply do not want her in my life. If she can, just for one moment, think if someone other than herself,  my “christmas wish” is that she backs off mom and leaves her be. Please. Have some compassion for our mom.
And to answer her question, yep.. I was “moody because I was broken up with.” Am I, “finally getting help?” Yep. I have been since January 21, 2014 when I left my abusive relationship. I am a little crazy. I am a lot depressed; which isn’t a “moody side effect of being broken up with.” I am a human with chaos inside of me. I am a woman with fluctuating hormones due to a hysterectomy and now failing ovaries. I am emotional. I am me. However, I see your query and raise you, “Are you sober yet? Are you getting the help you need?” (maybe that was a bit snarky, but, I feel I need some clarification and redemption. I am just trying to live my life the best of my capabilities; sans alcohol, drugs or lies.)