This Is Not A Confession

There was this gorgeous natural pool between two mountains with cute, small waterfalls descending from one side and a river with a reasonable fast current down on the other side with a picturesque bamboo bridge across.

I like the place because it was kind of private, peaceful and the fauna and flora were simply breath-taking. I was stripped down from the waist up and ready to hit the water when I saw her.

She didn’t see me at first; she was deep in thoughts concentrating on negotiating the narrow, steep path leading down to the pool. She was wearing a blue bikini with a green and yellow flower pattern with a matching pareo tied around her hips. She was so beautiful! The sight of her almost took my breath away.

When she was almost at the bottom of the steps, she saw me. A strange mixture of surprise and fear (?) registered on her face. But that was only for a fraction of a second, she quickly pivoted on her heels and run!

But I was quick. I only wanted to stop her and talk, thinking this is maybe my only chance to catch her alone, I simply could not let her go away.

 I caught up with her easily. This is my terrain, my playground; I know the place better than anyone, I grew up here, negotiating treacherous surfaces is second nature to me. She, on the other hand, is a city girl. Too bad for her.

When I reached her something I never planned happened. What I did was___ grabbed her, turned her towards me, pulled her closer, and kissed her passionately. It happened so fast she didn’t get the chance to react. Why she must taste so sweet and so soft to hold I right away lost control of myself?

I pulled her even closer against me, she let a moan, she said: “Oh, Michael.” And went limp in my arms.  My knees buckled, my legs turned to Jell-O, my mind went blank, and suddenly the world had stopped from turning. I heard thunder and lightning everywhere and I was stiff as a pole.

When I carried and laid her on the grass, she did not resist. It was starting to get dark. When I lay next to her; she closed her eyes and bit her lips. We kissed hungrily for a while, touching, exploring. I was only beginning to discover where everything is. I never realized that a kiss could taste like heaven I didn’t want to stop.

The moment I removed her bikini top, she gave me a look I had never seen before anywhere or from anyone in my life. Not even on her. All I know was what the look did to my blood ‒ boil!

When I pulled the rest of the bikini all the way down, she clung to me passionately, we’re like two people drowning; very fast and there was no tomorrow. When I entered her, I thought I was going to pass out from ecstasy. It was good. No, better than good, better than anything I have ever experience so far, it was worth dying twice over.

When I murmured in her ear that I have no idea it would be like this, she said: “You don’t see nothing yet.” And she showed me. Not one, not twice, but six times over!

We laid side by side afterward looking at the moon.

Then she said: “Now, what?”

There Was A Boy There Was A Girl

Dusk is just an illusion because the sun is either above the horizon or below it. And that means that day and night are linked in a way that few things are there cannot be one without the other yet they cannot exist at the same time. How would it feel I remember wondering to be always together yet forever apart? ― Nicholas Sparks

The above quote reminds me of the film Ladyhawke with Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer starring Matthew Broderick. But most of all, it makes me think of a song my mother used to sing when I was little. I told D. about it and for some unknown reason, it seems to traumatized him. I don’t understand why. It is just a song. Here are the lyrics.

There was a girl, there was a boy
If they had met they might have found a world of joy
But he lived on the morning side of the mountain
And she lived on the twilight side of the hill

They never met, they never kissed
They will never know what happiness they’ve missed
‘Cause he lived on the morning side of the mountain
And she lived on the twilight side of the hill

For love’s a rose that never grows
Without the kiss of the morning dew
And every Jack must have a Jill

To know the thrill of a dream that comes true
And you and I are just like they
For all we know our love is just a kiss away
But you are on the…

Am I Guilty Of “Roaching?”

“Roaching” is a new name for a practice that’s been around for many years. Essentially, it’s a failure to define a relationship as monogamous (or otherwise) and the hurt feelings that often result.

One person believes that the relationship is progressing toward a meaningful one-on-one partnership and is blindsided when they find out that their partner has been seeing other people.

The offending party claims to be surprised that monogamy was assumed or expected because it was never openly discussed. This can seem heartless to some, myself included, but viewed objectively, it’s a valid point.

Mismatched expectations in relationships are nothing new, but regardless of the details or what new dating terms are used, the root cause is the same: the lack of open communication. [Source: Renée Suzanne via Tiny Buddha]

I’ve lost a few friendships because of misunderstanding. In my experience, boy-girl friendship always ends up in tears. Unless both of you belong to a group. Then, there is a chance the relationship might survive. But seeing each other exclusively (even) on friends term, sooner or later, it would go amiss. One of you will expect more and want more and from there downhill all the way.

Aside from one, all of my best friends had been boys. Easier to deal with, play with open cards and no trouble with jealousy. Till they demand to (re) define the relationship, give it an official title and rights to go with the title. That was when it started to go wrong for me and I had no choice but to terminate the connection.

Why they cannot leave it as it was, enjoy the ride while it lasts and forgets about terminology. Who cares about labels? isn’t the moments you share what’s important? Why throw a spanner in the works? Why fix what is not broken? Like Shakespeare said: What’s in a name?

If we started as lovers, then that’s what we are. If we’re friends, then we are no matter how the relationship evolves. We can redefine (not the meaning because like Juliet said – Romeo is still the man she loves had he a different name. It means that a name means little – it is the worth of the individual that counts) the relationship. But it got to be a mutual understanding. You have to be on the same page regarding this matter. But oftentimes, giving another label to the relationship leads to confusion. Suddenly, there are rules involved and expectations become sky-high, so are the disappointments when both parties failed to meet the expectations.

In my experience, men are notorious for wanting to define a relationship. And how fast you can get rid of them when the relationship becomes official. But when it is the other way around- a girl wanting a name attach to a certain understanding- they are also notorious for looking the other way and pretend they don’t understand. So, I found out (accidentally) that it is better not to care (too much) and let whatever you two are having to run its own course.

I enjoy certain togetherness as long as it is not interfering with my own agenda and doesn’t have too many rules attached to it. I think the appropriate term for it is no string attached. I love that. Everybody is free to do what they wish because it will come down to that anyway. And I truly believe that if someone wants to be with you they will be there. If someone wants to stay they will. Likewise, when somebody wants to leave, they would no matter what you say or do. So, relax and enjoy. Don’t overthink and never, never forbid or try to change someone. It is a sure recipe for disaster I can tell you. Not that I tried already. Just logical thinking. Would you like someone to lay down the rules? Tell you what you can and cannot do and force you to be someone you are not? I don’t think so. You know… Golden rule… Don’t do unto others what you don’t want to be done unto you. That’s it! If You do not agree with whatever it is you don’t agree about in a relationship… You always have a choice: You can either stay or go. And whatever decision you make, don’t blame it on anyone but yourself. You got a choice, remember?

So, I will disagree with what was mentioned above: Open communication. Communication is good. The saving grace of every relationship romantic or otherwise. And the downfall too. Hearing the truth doesn’t always mean a solution to the problem. Often times it is the opposite. The glue that holds most relationships together isn’t love, honesty understanding or trust but acceptance in every sense of the word. Acceptance of the situation and of the person you are having a relationship with. Acceptance of the mistakes and shortcomings and acceptance of yourself.

I will tell you what is even better than open communication in regard to an understanding between a man and a woman: Expectation. Or rather the lack of it. We all know that if we don’t expect something we will never be disappointed. If s/he is treating you right and you feel good about it, who needs a definition. If you have the formality but being abused, what good is the name attached to a union?  I’m all for undefined as long as I’m okay with whatever is there at the moment. But the moment I feel violated and used, that’s when I am going to close the chapter ring on it or not.

If you ask me what I can tell you is: nothing is forever. Things will sort itself out. No use stressing yourself about the things that you have no control about.  You will make decisions along the way and it’s up to you to choose which one is right. For the moment, enjoy the ride.

I didn’t Break my Marriage—I Healed Myself.

“Healing is less about ‘saving’ or ‘fixing’ and more about ‘allowing’ ourselves to ease into the remembering that there’s a wholeness that has been there all along.” ~ Emmanuel Dagher

Sometimes healing can look a lot like breaking.

I have always despised the terms broken home or broken marriage because if something is broken there is the expectation that it is able to be fixed—yet sometimes the sad reality is that it’s just not meant to be.

The decision to leave my marriage was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, and it would be futile and dishonest to pretend otherwise. I never set out in this life to be divorced, I never wanted this to be my life, or to have these stereotypes surround me that I feel I constantly have to break—yet that doesn’t mean that this isn’t the life I am meant to live.

I’m a forever person—I always have been and I always will be.

So the decision to leave my marriage not only became about that but about who I was because of those choices. And perhaps most of all, who was I, now that a relationship I had used to define myself, had to come to an end.

It was never about breaking my marriage, but about healing me.

It wasn’t about an ending—but about a beginning.

There might have been one moment, but the reality is there were several, where I suddenly realized that this just wasn’t where I was meant to be. But knowing that and actually deciding to leave are two very different things. Once we have had those moments though, we become faced with a choice; do we choose ourselves, or do we choose someone else? In the end, we will either make a choice for ourselves, or we will make it for our children, family, or even our spouse.

But for me, the longer time went on, the more difficult it became to just simply not choose myself.

Perhaps there are those instances or times when we don’t need to completely undo our entire lives in order to get back to who we really are, but for me, there was no other way.

It wasn’t just my marriage that was over, it was me. I was done with not being happy, with not being the woman I truly am, and with not living a life that felt connected to my soul.

In truth, it was me that broke long before my marriage did—and so I had no other choice but to break it so that I could find myself again—and perhaps really for the first time.

There’s no easy manual for getting divorced and building a life following it. There is no one right way, so that means there isn’t any real wrong way of doing this for any of us. We just have to be willing to try, to explore and to fail all the while hopefully getting closer to ourselves. We have to open ourselves up to life again and this means all of it—the joy, the confusion, the love, and even the pain.

In order to heal our deepest wounds, we actually need to expand rather than try to shut down and close ourselves off.

So, I made the choice to take in everything and make as many mistakes as I could along the way. I made the choice to end my marriage and not look back at this time. I was done wondering if it was the right decision, or questioning if I really didn’t love my husband anymore.

I was done. Period.  I never looked back.

Instead of spending time thinking about all of the hurt and mistakes, I focused my energy on what kind of life I was building now, and what type of woman I was becoming in this process.

More importantly—I often stopped to wonder—do I like this new woman? Was I becoming someone that I wanted to spend my time with, someone that I valued and respected? Was I becoming myself or just another version of someone else?

There were check-points to see if I felt authentic in this new life and if I felt connected to it.

Those who haven’t had to start their lives over don’t always understand what it means to have to redefine ourselves but for me for the first time in my adult life I wasn’t someone’s wife, wasn’t part of a family unit, and therefore I had nothing to define or heal me but myself and my own choices.

When we venture out on a new path in this life, we don’t really know what lies ahead and sometimes our only choice is to continue on even when we can’t see or don’t know all the answers. It becomes the choice to follow our hearts; our inner compass on what feels right—even if it doesn’t make sense to everyone else.

Ultimately, my healing began when I made the choice to put myself first—not selfishly, or carelessly, but with a knowing that if I wasn’t truly happy then no one else in my life would be either—including my children. I had to first figure out what I was all about before I could even know what would make me happy, and the only way that was done was by trying it all on for size.

I experimented, I played, I forgot to follow the rules, and in between the moments of breaking down, I realized that I was truly just breaking up with life as I had known it. I was leaving behind the pain because I wanted to become the healing.

I made the choice to find out what this life could be when no one was holding me back—not even myself.

There have been many nights where I have cried myself to sleep, and I still don’t profess to have it all figured out but the one thing that I do know is that I am headed in the right direction because for once, I am undoubtedly following my heart.

No matter where it leads me.

“You have the right to change your story.” ~ The Goddess Rebellion 

~ Author: Kate Rose

The Clitoris is not a Button, it is an Iceberg

By Julie Balsiger

“How is it possible that we landed on the moon before we figured out the anatomy of the clitoris?”

It’s not surprising that most men haven’t a clue about the female sexual organ—the clitoris…most women don’t either. Today the word vagina is used for that general region of our lady bits, but as Sophia Wallace states,

“‘Vagina’—the single-most misused word in the English language. This is one of the laws of Cliteracy. It’s intentionally hyperbolic. ‘Vagina’ is a Latin word. It means ‘sword holder’. Vagina, medically, technically, only includes the opening. This term is used almost universally in doctor’s offices. It’s also used in feminism to sort of advocate. But it’s a term that ignores the clitoris, which is the female sexual organ.”

I don’t remember having “the talk” growing up, other than the often-heard, “don’t get pregnant!” shame-filled accusation thrown at me before every school dance. In school, we had a few vague conversations about periods, but mostly these talks centered around what not to do on your period. The female body was only discussed when we talked about where babies come from and never about female pleasure. I babysat for a young couple who had an interesting library of books and that’s where I first read The Joy of Sex, and then that other classic, Our Bodies, Ourselves. This book introduced me to all sorts of new worlds and I still have my vintage copy.

What we’re taught about our bodies extends to equality in the world.

“In sex education, it is taught that boys are both sexual and reproductive, boys have erections, boys have wet dreams, boys ejaculate, and then the semen fertilizes the egg. Girls, we’re taught, have reproductive organs, they menstruate, menstruation is painful. Girls should not get pregnant if they don’t mean to. Girls should not get sexually transmitted diseases. We never learn about the clitoris. We never learn that girls have a desire, that this is natural, that girls have sexual dreams, that girls have fantasies.”

Clearly, some better sex education is needed for teens but also for everyone. There’s no real excuse to not know more about our bodies. Like…about the clitoris, did you know that inside that “iceberg” it is actually shaped almost like a penis? That only what we see on the outside is the “tip of that iceberg.” I didn’t, but so much makes sense now.

Check out this image, it’s basically a hidden droopy penis with balls (not the actual medical term):

Mind. Blown. Life makes a bit more sense, no? I’ve known so many powerful women “with balls” and now it’s true. Science! And maybe if we start to know more about our powerful bodies, we’ll stop using female anatomy references as a way to put down men? We should be rising up, erect and powerful, and showing the world that we are not just “empty voids” for male pleasure.

Sexual organs, of women at least, are still steeped in mystery. Case in point, I live as an expat in Turkey and the first nine years here, I was living in a rather small village where patriarchy was (and still is) the way of the land. It is not uncommon in rural areas to have men and women completely separated in daily life. After being annoyed one day about needing to move my seat on the bus because an older man didn’t want me (a woman not his wife, daughter, or sister) in the aisle seat across from him…yes there was an aisle separating us…one good, a local friend of mine (male, university educated, mid-30s) explained the logic like this, “Women have special powers downstairs. Men are unable to resist these powers and so the woman needs to move otherwise the man cannot be blamed for his actions.” Yeah…some Deuteronomy-style rape logic but it made a lot of sense of how things were arranged as a society. After he said that (and basically agreed with that way of thinking), a good friend of mine (also an expat) and I would make jokes about our special “hooha laser beams” that shoot out as we make “pew, pew” noises with hands shaped like pistols whenever a guy annoyed us. I might just need to send that illustration to a few guys there now, or at least to their wives.

“All bodies are entitled to experience the pleasure that they are capable of. This is a core pillar of cliteracy. In making this work, I had to say that the clitoris, first, as an organ, has a right to being and that this right is not just about not being cut off. Sadly, to this day, over 140 million women have had their external clitorises cut off. This doesn’t make it into the news very often, and this doesn’t come up in foreign policy discussion. So number one, the clitoris has a right to exist, free of harm, like any other organ.”

the-nude-maja-by-francisco-goya

Parallel Lines Don’t Intersect

The poem at the bottom reminds me of the time I was convinced I had a crush on a senior in high school. I was a freshman, we were both in pilot classes. The best of the best.

I was there by brain alone. No prestige no wealth not even looks. He had all of those and more. Naturally, he didn’t want to be associated with me. Avoided me like the plague. I remember enrolling in the woodworking class because I thought he would be there but no, he was in embroidery class. Joined the gardening class hoping to catch him there but what do you know__ he was in the baking class!

He grew up to be the most successful individual I know past and present. Traveling around the world for his job and belongs to crème de la crème in his field. He is never married. To his job by the looks of it. He never stops studying. A Ph.D. here, there and everywhere and still going. I wonder what his motivations are. Anyway whatever it is, he made it.

A couple of years ago, his cousin – who used to be my classmate – and I came across each other online and since she was just across the border from where I live we decided to meet for old time’s sakes. I heard he will be there as well. But at the last moment, he dropped out. I concluded that even after all these years he still doesn’t want to be in the same room with me. I retreated inside my walls and never heard of them since then.

you said you like old stuff
so I bought a vinyl player
and a typewriter.
I thought it’ll make you like me too,
how could I be so futile?you said you’re into painting
so I enrolled in an art class
and practiced drawing.
I heard you wrote him handwritten poems,
oh god, this feels like drowning.you said you’re into bad boys
so I tattooed a dragon across my chest.
I saw you date your nerdy classmate.
guess I’m all too late
again.

see? no matter how many times
I change myself for you,
you still can’t see me.
no matter how fast I chase you
I’m still miles away behind
your
free-versed heart.

you said you’re still a virgin
so I stopped watching pornography.

I heard he banged you hard.

God, I deserve a drink.

~from Postcard Promise via Facebook

5

The Day You Said You Regretted Me

“And perhaps, you would still cross my mind after two, three, five or sadly, ten years later. Maybe after those times, I’d still wonder how it feels growing old with you. Maybe after those years, I would slowly turn into a blurred image sluggishly subsiding in your memory. Maybe, after all, you will remain as my could-have-been

and I, 
I will stay as your never-again.”

– Mica Meñez

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Identifying Emotional Abuse before it Happens

I want to tell you an important story, and here’s why: not a lot of people will share their versions.

It’s scary. Too scary, for many.

Like for my hairdresser, whose husband was “the sweetest guy she ever met” at first, yet ended up nearly choking her to death against the kitchen wall. He didn’t spare her—she would have died if her 11-year-old son hadn’t come into the room.

Like for a friend of a friend who wasn’t able to leave her abuser until the day he popped a blood vessel in her eye.

Like for another friend of a friend whose boyfriend, for years, would threaten to kill himself with the nearby gun if she tried to leave him.

Like for my colleague whose sister died at the hand of her abuser, though he is still walking around free.

Like for the millions of women, men and children who don’t speak up every day because they are exhausted, don’t want to be reminded of the situation, or simply can’t say anything because doing so would risk their lives.

I’m doing my small part by sharing my story because violence of any kind, but especially domestic violence, is perpetuated by silence. The more we talk, the more we know, the faster we learn and demand better.

I love my bike more than almost anything in the world.

I think there’s a disease for that–object sexuality, anyone? But really, I do. There’s nothing that compares to riding, whether or not I have a destination, I’m exhausted or energized, my music’s blasting or I’m just enjoying the silence of my surroundings.

This time last year I met a boy who loved bikes, too. So we loved bikes together.

We rode our bikes everywhere and then pretty soon we did everything else together, too. All. The. Time. Every minute together.

But I was always unsettled with all this togetherness, that went from zero to 60 in just a few weeks time. I blew off the discomfort as me just learning how to be less independent and self-sufficient as if those traits could actually adversely affect my future.

So we kept riding. The boy told me some things that were massive red flags, akin to those at Running of the Bulls, waving in my face, yet I was still charging right at them.

“Don’t judge,” I said.

“He’s changing,” I convinced myself.

“I won’t be like the rest,” I lied.

Every time I said these things my standards dropped lower and lower, and I perpetuated my own lie that everything was okay. I knew that if my family even knew the half of it they would douse me in a bucket of ice water until I cycled away as fast as I could (which is pretty damn fast).

But I kept riding.

The fights got worse, the anger more explosive, the jealousy and put-downs and blatant hypocrisy so intense, only to be appeased by a shoulder shrug or guttural laughter that didn’t even sound like my own voice.

My brain felt like putty so often that all I wanted to do was sleep forever.

“It’s normal,” I assured myself, “It’s the dead of winter, who would have the energy to get out of bed?”

But I never stopped riding, and one day I rode so fast that even my bike said enough.

Though I love him to death, sometimes that carbon-fiber bastard has the weirdest ways of looking out for me.

Wake up, he said, or I’m gonna make you wake up and see it.

So he did.

My chin hit the pavement and that was it.

Well, it was more like, where the f*ck is all this blood coming from?! plus five days of hospitalization, six weeks of a wired jaw accompanied by a liquid-only diet, zero bike rides, dozens of nauseating painkillers, and two weeks of the most unimaginably inhumane response to my trauma from the “man” who was supposed to be there for me.

He took my weakened state and used it as an opportunity to yell, control, blame, punish, flees and cheats.

The cheating after my major surgery was the moment that finally allowed me to leave my abuser in the physical sense, yet it was the compounding layers of intense emotional abuse that will keep me away from him forever, along with anyone who possesses the same traits.

While I certainly don’t have everything figured out, or even know what a “perfect” relationship would look like, I have learned what relationships are most definitely not, what love is most definitely not, and that is the following abusive behaviors:

1. Frequent hanging out, right from the jump.

This intense togetherness is probably the hardest one to identify as a key sign of abuse, and I’ll tell you why.

In an age where we can deposit a check, order a burger, listen to the latest tracks and swipe through photos of potential matches all at once, it is safe to say that instant gratification has become the modus operandi. We subconsciously apply this to relationships, too, where hookup culture is expected and anything else is too old-fashioned.

Abusers, who tend to be extremely charismatic and complementary in the beginning, capitalize on this idea, convincing their partners that they need to be together all the time, and anything less is insincere. In this intense period abusers quickly establish a pattern of dependency whereby the partner begins to rely on the abuser’s opinions and habits to affirm their character and sense of worthiness as a match.

It is also common for the abuser to suggest “big steps” like moving in, taking trips alone or sharing financial resources. Because of the preexisting fast pace of everything else, at the moment it’s easy to go along with these big steps. These “suggestions” from my abuser were attempts to further control my actions, decisions, and whereabouts so that when the abuse started, my options for leaving would be more limited. Every time I voiced hesitation about moving too fast, I felt guilty.

2. Creation of isolation.

Because abusers need to maintain a strong power imbalance in the relationship in order to carry out the abuse, a prerequisite is making the partner feel isolated in every way.

Beyond physical isolation, this can manifest as threats of being alone if you ever leave him/her, verbal manipulation regarding those in your network and how they feel about you and reprimanding you for speaking to close friends and family about problems in the relationship.

“You’re missing out on a really good man,” he said one time I tried to leave. “You should be lucky to be with someone like me.”

When my family came into town after the bike crash, he got angry and resentful, calling me “spoiled” and “selfish” for being with them.

3. Extreme jealousy.

This is another hard one because I see so many people—myself included—mistake jealously for exclusivity.

When we first got together, I thought “Oh, he must be really jealous because he really likes me and wants to make sure nothing comes in the way of that.” I was unable to see the jealousy as the deep-seated insecurity that it was.

Toxic habits became the new normal. Things like looking through my phone every day, demanding that I answer if I had slept with any man we encountered who he didn’t know, and telling me not to wear certain clothing that he thought was too revealing.

He constantly fabricated stories about me cheating. He once went into a fit of rage because I didn’t introduce him to someone I had met for a few hours several years earlier, and a few weeks later did the same thing when we met someone who was an insignificant part of my past. In front of dozens of onlookers, he screamed at me, assuming I was currently sleeping with that individual.

4. Lack of respect for your property, aspirations, and values.

Because abusers see their partner merely as an extension of themselves rather than their own person with every right to their own opinions and limitations, boundaries are often blurred.

One of the first weeks I was dating this abuser, I had him drop me at a meeting on a topic that I was sure would be of no interest to him, and he immediately accused me of sneaking off to meet someone.

He often used my car and when I asked him not do things that would put me in jeopardy like smoke weed in it, suddenly I was, once again, “selfish.”

Once the relationship was over, all the money he owed me was no longer his problem.

Kind words that he had feigned regarding my job and career choices turned cold-turkey to, “You’re a f*cking lackey.”

5. Self-victimization.

Abusers very rarely see themselves as abusers, which is why they almost never stop abusing. My abuser said things like, “I only attract crazy people” or “They made me do x, y, and z,” always looking through the lens of a victim when discussing exes, family members, friends, etc.

Because of this, whenever conflict arose, I was always wrong or to blame in his eyes. He refused to utter “sorry,” claiming that using that word makes you a self-deprecating person, yet he expected it all the time from me.

6. Uninterested in self-help.

Abusers tend to find people with bleeding hearts or a savior complex, and they will allow their partner to “fix” them in order to 1) make their partner feel like she or he is different and the only one who truly understands the abuser, and 2) (usually towards the end of the relationship) use this as a threat for why the partner needs to stay (i.e. “you’re supposed to be there for me no matter what”).

At the very end of my relationship, when for the first time I saw the heightened abuse with clarity rather than just a “complicated relationship,” I suggested anger management and offered to go with him so it didn’t come across that I was singling him out. When he used a lack of funds as an excuse, I offered to pay. When he still refused, I finally saw the distinction between someone with demons who is wanting and willing to do whatever it takes to healthily work them out versus a true abuser, who would rather just find someone new who hasn’t figured out their true character yet and start the cycle of abuse over with them because it’s easier.

This list is by no means exhaustive and doesn’t even begin to get at the complexity of emotional abuse, especially when coupled with other factors like substance abuse, family history, and mental illness, all of which were present in my relationship.

But I’m not here to talk about all that, I’m sharing simply to shed a bit of light on key signs of emotional abuse, which is so damn underexposed, if for no other reason that it doesn’t bear the visible scars that physical abuse does.

I’m also not here to tell you that I’m perfect, or that I didn’t possess qualities that probably enabled the abuse at times.

There is a certain kind of gratification that comes from helping someone improve, but if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that the uplifting has to be mutual, no matter what kind of relationship it is. Anything less is a sure-fire path to the annihilation of your self-worth, and a total expending of your good energies on others, leaving nothing left for yourself.

And, please oh please oh please, don’t ask me #whyIstayed.

I did try to leave, but ended up doubting my own intuition every time.

I even called the National Domestic Abuse Hotline once after the abuse hit a verbal and somewhat physical climax. I was on hold for 45 minutes, during which my abuser insisted I was on the phone with a dude who I was making arrangements to go sleep with. But, at the time, I expected nothing else from him. It had all become normalized, you see.

I can’t reiterate enough how slowly emotional abuse can creep into your life—the first stage of complete adoration, gaslighting, and love-bombing from the abuser happens very quickly, but everything else is oftentimes so subverted you can only recognize just how bad it was once you’ve left.

Many people stay in abusive relationships far longer than they would like because they keep remembering the good times and subdue the bad. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t doing the same when it was first over. But as soon as I was able to identify the one thing we truly shared a passion for—cycling—I realized just how easy it was to replace the good feelings associated with those rides with hundreds of others in my city’s beautiful bike community, or even with the dozens of solo rides I’ve taken since getting back on my frame.

And I’ll leave you with this, only because it’s applicable to all injustices everywhere, not just the gross human rights violation that is domestic violence.

Great spirits have always encountered violent oppression from mediocre minds” ~ Albert Einstein.

If someone/thing/force is bringing you down through its weakness, flush that shit and don’t forget to wipe.

~Kendra Davisu

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3 Types of Women

The first kind acts like you’re a feed trough and she is the pony. Everything you got is fine with her as long as you’ve got it. Of course, anytime you can do better is aces with her, but she will expect you to stay at that level or higher. The deal with this kind of women is you don’t go back. Once you get up to steaks and onions rings, the peanut butter and hotdogs are gone for good. So there’s a strain on you, right away from the start. Unless there is food in that trough, and the food is at least as good as it was the last time, the pony is going out the door. She’ll tell you she loves you but she’s leaving anyhow because self-respect means more to her than love. What you thought you had with her wasn’t what you thought it was, at all. You thought it was love, or trust, or a good time, or something like that, but all along it was only about her self-respect.

Now, the second kind is like the first, only the part about self-respect is now all about status and possessions. Women like this don’t really have brains, they have mental cash registers. Marry one of them and you’re so far up shit creek you not only don’t have a paddle, you don’t have a boat. You’re up to your neck, dog paddling to keep your head above the floating crap. You might as well join the army because all day long you’re basically following orders.

There is a third kind of woman but she is extremely hard to find. Which you might or might not care to do, because this kind of woman will mixmaster your brains a lot faster than those other two. The vast majority of the women men will encounter throughout their lives will fall into the first two categories, but once in a blue moon, the third kind will cross their path.

The first kind sticks with you as long as the going is good, and the second kind winds up appointing herself president of the corporation of you. They both take all they can get with both hands, only the second kind of woman is upfront about it because she’s after more than you got right from the start. Now, the third kind of woman could not care less how much money you got in the bank, and she doesn’t give a shit about what kind of car you drive, and that’s what makes her so damn dangerous. 

This is a woman who can think around corners and see you coming before you get there. She’s always one step ahead. You’re not sure where she’s from, but you know for damn sure it’s not around here. There are things about her that are different. Plus, she’s so far ahead you’ll never catch up. And believe me, she doesn’t want you to catch up. Because if you do, the fun is all over. Her whole game is to keep you guessing. She wants you up on your toes, with your eyes and your mouth wide open. 

See, these women are not interested in the stuff the first two are. They don’t want to get in your wallet, they want to get into your head. And once they get in there, they send down roots, they throw out grappling hooks, they do everything they can to make sure you can’t get them out.

Remember when I said they don’t care about jewelry and houses and whatever else money can buy? They want something else instead, and that something is you. They want you. Inside and out, but especially in. They don’t really want you out in the world, where you can mess around with your friends, they want you in their world, which is a place you never dreamed of before you got there.

The point is, either way, you are gonna think a lot about this kind of woman. You’re going to say “The sky’s a nice blue today, ‘ and she will say, “Oh, blue is just blue.” Even though yesterday the sky was red. for all you know, the sky there in her world is red all the livelong day, and up is down, and all the rivers run upstream.

Anyway, the point is, there are three types of women and you better watch out for them.

~ excerpt from Lost boy Lost girl

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The One. The one. Is there a One?

And if there is how will I know? And what if I’m wrong? And what if there’s really two or three or…

We, humans, complicate things so. There are many animals who mate for life and don’t lose sleep trying to figure out if their mate is the only one. Wolves for example. And coyotes, those wild, wild nocturnal maniacs—yes, they have it all figured out.

Owls, beavers, eagles, swans, cranes, pigeons, hawks, ospreys, geese and some apes are a few more. My guess is that they don’t spend 10 minutes asking themselves if they have made the right choice or if something better awaits them right around the next corner.

They just know.

For years I have seen articles that describe in great detail how to know if our beloved is the one. I have read articles and books that strongly suggest that if I answer, “No” to any of their questions I might be in the wrong relationship. Books that ask hundreds of questions and no matter how you answer them you put the book down feeling like you just ate rotten fish and wondering what you ever saw in this person you love anyway.

We talk to friends and therapists and priests and experts. We take quizzes online and haunt the self-help aisles in bookstores and libraries. We look for “signs” and ask question after question.

Does she make you feel…?

Does he say…?

Does he have…?

Does she give you…?

Can he read your mind?

Do you speak the same love language?

And oh my God, what do you mean he forgot your birthday?

It really is so much more simple than all of that and it all boils down to two very simple questions.

1. Do I love this person?

Not, is this person hot or sexy or fun; not, do I enjoy this person; not, are we compatible; not, is it a good idea— but, do I really and truly love this person? Would I give them half of my paycheck, the last bite, my car or…a kidney? Is it that kind of love?

If the answer is yes then you’re already more than halfway there. Real love is the motivation for growth and understanding and compassion. Real love drives us to be better people who rise above petty difficulties and fleeting emotions. People who do whatever it takes to nurture what we hold dear, kidney donation or not.

2. Are both my life and my partner’s life better because of our relationship?

Sit back, put your feet up, close your eyes, imagine your life without your beloved and ask yourself: How would I live without this person? How would I feel? How would I spend my time? Would I feel full? Would I feel empty? Would I sleep well or would I lie awake longing?

Who would I confide in? Who would I spend my time with? Who would lift me up when I am down? Who would be my rock? Is my love my best friend? What would I do on Saturday night or Tuesday afternoon or every day for the rest of my life if this person disappeared from my world?

A thousand questions could follow and we should be mindful of how we would answer them but not get too caught up in the details. We need to keep it simple. We need to put aside all secondary emotions like envy, put aside fear and attachment and know that no matter what happens we will survive. With a pure, courageous, open heart we need to ask the simple question: How would my life be without this person I call my love?

I’m not suggesting that we settle for an unhealthy relationship, nor am I suggesting that there is necessarily only one one. I am saying that we complicate things with mountains of questions which can create doubt and confusion. Sometimes the answer is obvious if we simplify. If we can take a step back and answer these two questions honestly and fearlessly I believe the answer as to whether we should be with our chosen one, or not, will be obvious. If we really and truly-give-up-a-kidney-kind of love our partner and we recognize that our lives are better as a team then with a little attention and a lot of commitment everything else will fall into place.

Relephant via Elephant Journal

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Being In A Relationship With An Alpha Woman

If you’re in a relationship with an Alpha woman, you can be certain of a number of things, least of which will be that things are unlikely to ever be boring.

She has chosen to be with you, so obviously you’re interesting enough to have captured her attention (and her heart), neither of which she gives out easily, so that’s already a boon in your favor.

Below are eight things that your Alpha lady will bring to your partnership, whether you’re ready for them or not. Brace yourself.

1. Zero Bullsh*t Or Drama

As has been established, Alpha women have neither the time, nor the patience for games or passive-aggressive nonsense.

As such, you know you’re never going to have to deal with her giving you the silent treatment, or slamming doors, or pulling the whole “if you don’t know what you did wrong, I’m not going to tell you” crap that a lot of people inflict on one another.

She’s also unlikely to hold a grudge, so when you two quarrel, you can resolve issues there and then and move on, as she’s not the type to keep rehashing old ugliness forever just for the sake of drama. Once it’s over, it’s over. End of.

2. Reliability

If you’ve ever been in a relationship in which you haven’t been able to depend upon your partner to really be there for you when you needed them, then it’s understandable that you might be a bit wary about truly trusting your Alpha partner.

Well, fear not: you can count on her.

Alpha women value and appreciate integrity, and often hold themselves to a much higher standard than they would others.

If you need her, she’s there for you. If she makes a promise, she will keep it unless she’s incapacitated. If it’s her turn to pick up the kids, or if she agreed to attend your cousin’s accordion recital, she’ll be there.

Early…

With snacks.

Furthermore, you can feel secure in the knowledge that if she has made a commitment to be your partner, that means she is your partner in all ways.

She will hold her own – whether in terms of finances or home maintenance – and is unlikely to ever allow inequality to seep into any aspect of your partnership.

3. Sincerity, Not Neediness

You realize that she’s with you because she wants to be with you, and not because she needs to be, right?

You may have some insecurities about being with such a powerful creature, but guess what? She chose you. She doesn’t NEED you.

She’s not desperate for a partner, she’s not settling with just anyone so that she’s not alone: she’s just fine flying solo, and would rather be alone than with someone she’s not perfectly happy with.

This isn’t a woman who’s going to whine when you go out with your friends because she misses you when you’re gone for an hour, nor is she unable to function without you being her pillar of support.

She might need you to be there for her during times of crisis, as she would be there for you, but it’s as an equal. Not a ragdoll desperate to be carried and coddled.

4. Encouragement And Challenge

Remember what we said above regarding zero BS? That includes allowing you to make up lame excuses about why you’re not pursuing your goals.

This woman is aware of your potential and knows what you’re capable of: traits that likely drew her to you, to begin with.

If you find yourself in a slump, discouraged, and lacking the motivation to pursue a dream or other pursuit, she will be the torch bearer who keeps the flame burning under your backside to keep you going.

5. Self-Reliance

If you’ve always dreamed of being the knight in shining armor to a damsel in distress, that’s not what you’re going to find in this partnership.

Your Alpha woman isn’t a princess in need of saving: she’s a queen who saves herself and will set sh*t on fire in her wake if need be.

You’re unlikely to get a call in the middle of the night because she needs you to come and pick her up from some kind of weird situation, though if she’s pregnant, she MIGHT ask you to drive her to the hospital when her contractions have started.

Her bag will already be packed, however, so you won’t need to worry about that. Oh, and the baby seat will already be installed in your car because she will have taken care of that too.

6. Awareness Of What She Wants, Plus Reciprocation

Your Alpha woman has a pretty solid awareness of what she likes, whether it’s a moderately toasted bagel with just a bit of onion cream cheese on it, or a specific position when you’re being intimate.

Particularly the latter.

Not only does this lady know what makes her squee, she has no qualms whatsoever about telling you what’s needed to make it happen.

Just as awesomely, Alpha women tend to enjoy giving as much as receiving, so you can be quite certain that if you tell her what you like in turn, she’ll oblige enthusiastically.

After all, what’s the point of intimacy if both people aren’t enjoying themselves?

8. Honesty

This one has to be said, as it’s extraordinarily important when it comes to a relationship with an Alpha female.

We’ve reiterated how much this lady values integrity, and honesty in the relationship – and with her – is just as vital.

When you’re involved with a woman like this, know that you’re not just going to find out one day that things haven’t been working for a while, or that she’s been getting jiggy with your boss behind your back.

If there are issues in your relationship that need to be worked on, she’ll be honest and forthright with you about them so you can address them properly and work on them together.

If you balk at this, she’ll bring it up again, and insist that things be tended to. She won’t just drop the subject, but will do what needs to be done in order to sort things out…

But if it turns out that she’s the only one who’s making a sincere effort to enact change, she will walk away.

It’s just as important that you’re honest with her, regardless of what the issue is. If you’re upset, or unhappy, or just have something to address as a couple, lay it out on the table so it can be dealt with.

She’s not a fragile flower who will cry at the drop of a hat: she’s with you for a reason, and will work with you to sort out what needs to be sorted to make the relationship work.

Just be honest with her, always.

She’ll know if you’re hiding something from her, and if you ever lie to her or break her trust, it’s over: not only will she lose respect for you, but she’ll never be able to trust you again.

Author: Catherine Winter


Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec’s Outaouais region. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn’t writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.

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I’ll Swallow You Whole

“You want me to be a tragic backdrop so that you can appear to be illuminated so that people can say ‘Wow, isn’t he so terribly brave to love a girl who is so obviously sad?’ You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole.” -Warsan Shire

Businessman-and-businesswoman