“Pamela Morgan Beesly, you need to apologize to your mother right now.”

sleeping

The Depression Monster has had me in a choke-hold for a while. I can’t recall ever spending this much time sleeping in my life. I broke the no napping rule with wild abandon. I didn’t even exercise yet, today. (I absolutely will before I go to bed tonight, though.) I need to locate my mouthguard and start over using my massager to force my body to unclench.

Even though I know exactly how to help myself out of this pit of despair, I’m glad I started therapy again. I appreciate the objective voice of a trained professional. It’s kept me from fleeing the state and hunkering down as far from humans as possible. (There are no limits to what I’ll do to prevent being incarcerated in the VA psych ward again.)

My fear is irrational because they can’t hurt me unless I go there and ask for help. Duh. (I forget this when my thoughts start to frighten me.) I’m not in my bed, which is a victory for today. It’s the first time in my life that I love my bed. I’ve always thought it was weird when people mention hating to get up in the morning, but now I get it. Sleeping can be a refuge from life.

late

I’m so grateful for Sheryl Crow. I’ve been streaming her songs whenever I’m awake. Sometimes while bawling. She’s teaching me the art of songwriting, and her songs soothe my soul in ways I can’t articulate. Between that and working on the drum part of Evanescence’s Wasted On You, I’m hanging in there. I’m good at drumming with hip-hop songs, but Evanescence’s music challenges me.

It’s hard for me to listen to just the drums when Amy Lee is singing. I got a book about syncopation, which is helping. I have massive kit envy over Evanescence’s drummer. He’s got the top of the line Roland electronic kit (drool.) I don’t have the drummer’s ear that would necessitate owning such a setup yet. It’s excellent motivation to keep practicing, though.

I got my Blu-ray set of the show The Good Place. ๐Ÿ˜†ย  I’ll be binging it as soon as I finish watching season 2 of Dead To Me on Netflix.ย Through podcasts, I’ve discovered so many shows I love are created, written, and or produced by a lot of the same people: Karen Kilgariff, Liz Feldman, Michael Shur, Marta Kauffman, Greg Daniels, Mike Judge, Larry David, and Whitney Cummings. (And those are just the names I can remember.)

feet

I’m delighted by how helpful my favorite podcasts have been during the pandemic, too. The episode of Good For You with Whitney Cummings talking to Kat Dennings is fabulous, even though I had to recharge my earbuds halfway through. Heh. I love longer episodes, which is part of why I love Armchair Expert so much. The ability to hold my interest that long is a skill.

Staying In with Emily and Kumail is another excellent podcast. All Fantasy Everything is one I look forward to each week. They crack me up, and I love the sound of them laughing hard. It probably releases dopamine in my brain or something. And of course, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. (Conan is like personified Prozac to me.) He just has to exist, and it makes me feel better. Heh.

Welp, I’d better go work on unclenching my body before I get on the treadmill. Hopefully, my coma-like sleeping marathon is over, so I can get some chores done. I hope your weekend includes lots of laughter. ๐Ÿ’œโœŒ๐Ÿฝ

“What has two thumbs and hates Todd Packer?”

human

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. – Stephen Hawking

I’m surprised by the helpfulness of couples therapy with M and our new therapist. I’m delighted the therapist sees us both as human and doesn’t automatically disbelieve everything I say because I have a black vagina. She hasn’t shamed me for talking about my abuse. She informed me it’s far more common than I ever imagined, and my experience isn’t unusual by any stretch.

It allowed me to recall the fact that during one of my hospitalizations at the VA, there was another woman whose spouse was torturing her. We also both resided in the same town with a population of around 10k. I hate knowing that torturing people is a common practice in American households. At the same time, I’m glad my experience isn’t unique. (It feels too heavy to carry alone.)

I did also note that while we had the same catalyst in crisis, skin color had a tremendous effect on our treatment at the Sioux Falls VA. The doctors and other staff believed her automatically. They could empathize with someone who looked like them. I was silenced, shamed, and told I was no longer welcome at the facility. Later, they backpedaled through snail mail, labeling it confidential, and assuring me I was (now?) allowed at the VA hospital for mental health care. (I didn’t fall for it again. I’m still black. Duh.)

people

If rape and torture is part of your story, too, please know you’re not alone. There are therapists out there who recognize this is a serious problem and want to help us while we heal. No human deserves physical or psychological torture. It’s horrific behavior perpetrated by predators. Predators choose to act out their rage on the living by harming them, dehumanizing them, gaslighting them, and robbing them of free will.

For a long time, I fantasized about revenge scenarios against all rapists and torturers. I wanted them all to cease existing immediately. I still do. I just don’t waste time imagining how I can help hurry up the inevitable. Every single one of them is going to dieโ€”fucking yay. I don’t have to give a shit when or how. I see them as unevolved failures. They can’t even coexist within their species without deliberately harming others.

I’ve heard people say things like, hurt people hurt people, often accompanied by performative empathy. ๐Ÿคฎ Hurt people include every person on the planet. However, every single person on this planet does not commit rape and torture. We don’t all go around treating people like they don’t matter and only exist to satisfy our basest urges. Most of us are decent. Attaching the hurt one has suffered to their potential to harm others is basic shaming.

person

It’s telling abuse survivors, you’re less capable of healing, less likely to remain a decent person, and more likely to become a predator now than before you were hurt. It’s claiming predatory behavior is contagious. It’s not critical thinking; it’s an alarming lack of empathy. Words mean things. I don’t have control over what predators do to me. I have total control over how I treat people. My suffering did not diminish my humanity.

I don’t care about some people on this planet. I also know my feelings don’t give me the right to hurt others. I know rape and torture are horrible crimes, and nothing that ever happened to me entices me to take it up as a hobby. I will fight to protect myself and others from being harmed. I won’t create victims because I’m angry. I won’t punish those who are weaker than me because I don’t get my way.

I evolved beyond the emotional capacity of a toddler. I understand I’m not the center of the universe. I recognize my actions can hurt others, and police them accordingly. I possess the ability to apologize when I step on someone because I understand they have feelings. I honor free will in others. I’m not trying to force the world to change to suit me. I’m trying to adapt to the world as is, and simultaneously find purpose, joy, laughter, etc.

person

Beating someone up doesn’t make you tough; it exposes your weakness. Weak people harm others habitually and think it makes them dominant. In reality, it makes them pathetic. People who survive the violent tantrums perpetrated by emotional toddlers get to choose who they’ll become in the aftermath. Nobody else does. ๐Ÿ’œโœŒ๐Ÿฝ

“Weird. I didnโ€™t get both of your messages.”

teenage engineering pocket operator

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your story. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better. – Bird by Bird, Anne Lamotte

Edit: (May 9, 2020) I recently learned some helpful information while listening to Unlocking Us podcast with Brenรฉ Brown. The latest two episodes included a discussion with Harriet Lerner, titled, How To Apologize & Why it Matters (part 1 and 2.) It made the person understandable to me. I had no idea about the correlation between arrogance and low self-esteem.ย 

Even though I’m speculating, I no longer feel confused. I now see it from a new perspective and am so grateful. I don’t feel hurt by it anymore. Instead, I feel concerned for the person who misbehaved. I hope they choose to focus on healing. It takes time and effort, but it’s a lot like grabbing hold of a life preserver before drowning.

It’s not easy to hang on to the preserver while climbing out of peril, but it feels so much better than drowning. The only thing I can do is pray for them and hope they summon the courage. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿฝ

I debated about sharing this and decided to go ahead. (There’s plenty of evidence to back up what I’m about to share, but I’m withholding the name by choice.) I recently emailed a podcaster who expressed interest in being a rapper or music producer of some sort. I thought perhaps some audio equipment might be helpful in learning and asked if they were interested. (I’m a hobbyist level music producer who is presently obsessed with synthesizers, drums, bass, and guitar.)

I offered to send some Pocket Operators (handheld synthesizers) and books, and they accepted and asked me to email them at another address. (I feel foolish for not recognizing the red flag in the alternate email address. If it registered, I would have realized I was being fucked with and ceased contact.) And then the shenanigans continued. My silly ass emailed the dismissive address, all excited, and in response, I received a physical address to send the equipment.

I only had a medium prepaid USPS box which I filled with six Pocket Operators, already in cases, extra batteries, a small mixer, and cables. I included a printed out page with a photo and a link to this blog. I sent it out Priority USPS (with tracking.) I got a text alerting me it was delivered, and followed up by checking the tracking online. Yep, delivered.

analog setup

I waited a week, expecting it might take a bit before they could let me know it arrived safely. After that, I emailed again, inquiring as to whether it was received. I had another package ready to go with more equipment and some books but wanted to be sure the first one made it before sending it. I never heard from them again. It’s been several weeks.

I thought I was making a connection with a fellow music lover who was just starting to create. I went in with expectations of a friendly acquaintanceship and ended up hurt, confused, and ghosted. I don’t care about the loss of the items, as giving them to this person was my intention. What bothers me is how I feel about it. I feel foolish like I failed at a coolness test or something.

M said this person gaslighted me. If I failed the test, why did they resume contact at the other address and accept the equipment? It feels like it’s their way of telling me I’m a piece of shit who deserves to be mistreated and ignored. It feels like they rejected me as a fellow human, and went out of their way to hurt me. I have no idea what I did wrong, which is likely why I allowed this person’s misbehavior to upset me.

It took me a bit to forgive them, which alarmed me. I felt like a dork who gave away my name, address, and blog URL* to an ungracious stranger. Nevertheless, I managed. I don’t listen to the podcast anymore. While parenting myself through this unfortunate situation, I learned a bit about performative behavior versus sincerity. It can be pretty subtle, but in this case, I believe it’s too much benefit, not enough doubt. I had to adjust my bullshit detector.

person

I talked to my (new) therapist, M, and a few friends while processing. I’m grateful for this lesson and information about behavior. Hopefully, the next time I encounter someone whose imaginary self-image trumps decency, I’ll walk run away unscathed.ย  โœŒ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ’œ

*When I realized I gave my blog URL to someone I no longer want to connect with, I unpublished most of it. I forgive, but I also take notes and measures to protect myself from hurtful people.

“Dinkin’ Flicka.”

evanescence
Evanescence – The Bitter Truth

I’m having a good week. I’m still floating pretty high from Sheryl Crow being on Armchair Expert recently. She’s funny! She randomly slipped into a few accents while talking to Dax, and Monica, which cracked me up. I knew she was playful from when she once told Oprah that Stevie Nicks said kids would ruin her career (while sitting next to Stevie Nicks.)

Stevie Nicks looked so betrayed and proclaimed, Sheryl Crow! I did not say that! (It was so cute.) Then Sheryl Crow dropped the deadpan, started giggling, and I lost it. Sheryl Crow’s rap name is Low Key Loki. Tell a friend. That alone was plenty for me to smile about all week, but then another event took place. Evanescence dropped a new single, titled, Wasted On You.

Naturally, I listened several times (so far) with different cans so I can hear every detail. I loved it immediately, and the video perfectly communicates how I feel right now with the pandemic. Amy Lee has been helping me express complex emotions since I first heard The Open Door.ย I listened to previous albums and everything since, solo or with her band. Um. Obsessively?

I have two copies all her CD’s. Shup, I’m 50 and CD’s grow legs. My zombie bugout bag has a hacked iPod with all my music on it and Koss Porta Pro’s. Guess whose entire catalog is a playlist to help me face the apocolypse if I’m still around? Depression Management 101, yo.

I freaking love Amy Lee so much. Her music speaks for me when I can’t find the words or identify how I feel. It held me when Heather passed, and I was sure I was dying from the loss. When I was finally ready to explore the rage I didn’t know what to do with, Amy Lee sang my anger, and I was able to recognize it, name it, experience it, and let it go. I didn’t know people could connect without ever even meeting until Amy Lee.

I’m getting choked up just thinking about what she means to me, so lets pivot. ๐Ÿ™ƒ Jerry Seinfeld has a new special coming to Netflix on May 5th. ๐Ÿ˜†

Also, Georgia Hardstark (!!!) was on the new Bananas podcast today. It’s hilarious, and the first episode had Kristen Schaal (Louise from Bob’s Burgers.) Thank you, dear universe. The Force felt out of balance, but things have a way of evening out. (Seinfeld reference. If you didn’t need me to reveal that, you’re fabulous.)

I installed a bidet seat on my toilet yesterday. It went well aside from a quick run to a hardware store. I practiced safe distance, wore a mask, and only talked to the cashier who was masked, gloved, and behind a plexiglass partition. I wore it until I was safely back in my apartment and deposited it directly into the washing machine with a load of towels.

I felt a little bit like I was on a mission for the Army, which helped. I was present the whole time, exercising my new skill. It’s the first time I went into a brick and mortar store that wasn’t a gas station in a very long time. (Hi. My name is Alison, and I’m addicted to Amazon.) I scrubbed up like M taught me, then installed, and test drove my new favorite gadget.

It was easier than putting together a Lego set intended for toddlers. My apartments just had a brass pipe to the water line that wouldn’t bend when I used The Force, so I had to replace it with a bendier one. As a new bidet user, I feel like I just leveled up in personal hygiene.

If you have the means, I highly recommend it. -Ferris Bueller

Jeff Bezos is behaving like a superhero again. Thank you, Jeff Bezos, for the gifts and the example. I’m off to listen to Evanescence in my car so that I can crank the volume. ๐Ÿ’œโœŒ๐Ÿฝ

“Break me off a piece of that Fancy Feast!”

It’s okay if you cry while you watch. I did. (Free To Be You And Me, generation.) There are over 40 minutes of love. When you’re ready, the next video should not be viewed while eating or drinking anything. The actress/writer/comedian’s name is Stephnie Weir (@StephnieWeir), and she’s fabulous.

I hope you’re hanging in there as we all grieve and maintain together from a distance. I’m proud of us. ๐Ÿ’œ โœŒ๐Ÿฝ