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Basic Public Health and Epidemiology Information for General Audiences

Also note- much of the Covid-19 specific info is towards the bottom.

Attention- this is a work in progress.

Note: not medical advice.

Reason for this project- to give public a (hopefully) less biased view of science and to educate on public health basics.

My background: What makes me qualified to teach this subject? Extensive scientific education- have spent significant time working in public health- education, prevention, tropical diseases educating on all aspects of public health, epidemics, endemic diseases and vaccines. Graduate work as a master of science in public health. Licensed for medical practice.

General Relevant Medical Terminology Different Types of Disease Causing agents:

Antigen- something foreign in your body that will cause an immune response. Examples can be parasite, virus, bacteria, toxic chemicals, fungus.

“virus”: Infectious agent of small size that only multiples in a host (example person or animal)

Bacteria: similar to virus but more chemically “complicated”. Some live in our bodies naturally and it’s not a problem.

Microbe: a very small creature that we cannot usually see without a microscope. So viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.

Morbidity: diseases that can ultimately strongly impact state of health- example: heart disease or obesity.

Mortality: commonly used as a “rate”- indicates how often a certain disease actually kills people. Example- heart disease kills X number of people per year.

Viral Load: *not exact definition* repeated exposure to a virus causes a person to be more likely to actually get the virus.

Pandemic: defined by the World Health Organization as “when a disease’s growth is exponential. This means growth rate skyrockets and each day cases grow more than the day prior”- source- publichealth.Columbia.edu

Therefore, according to WHO and Columbia (as well as other sources) we are no longer in a pandemic state as the disease in this case (Covid-19) is not growing at an “exponential rate”. Aka- it’s slowed down- ALOT.

Pharmaceutical Companies Target Kids: In January 2021, Pfizer finished enrolling 2,200 teens aged 12-15 in a clinical trial. Modena finished enrolling 3,000 teens aged 12-17 in its own study in February 2021- source cen.acs.org/. As of March, this age group was “approved” to receive the experimental vaccine* (*error- governmental sources were stating that the vaccine was safe for this age group and pushing for emergency authorization, but apparently not approved at this time (May 2, 2021).

How Humans Become Immune to things/How Immune System Works:

What are the different types of immunity to diseases? “Acquired by disease”- example- chicken pox. There is now a vaccine for this but it is one of the “newer” vaccines, meaning most adults have had the disease. Chicken pox is a virus, symptoms range from many itchy, red bumps all over the body lasting for a week or so to more mild symptoms such as only a few bumps. In no the cases, a person who has had the chicken pox disease is immune for life. The disease is not usually deadly. “Acquired immunity”- immune by vaccine.

What are the most common types of vaccines are how do they work?

Live vaccine: a small part of the virus or bacteria or microbe is administered usually by injection to the host (patient). The quantity of the microbe that is put into the hosts body is not enough to make him or her seriously ill, but is the most powerful and most long lasting way for the host to build immunity to the disease aside from actually having had the full blown disease. This type of vaccine usually has the most side effects and is not recommended for pregnant women, anyone who is immunocompromised due to disease or medications they make take.

Inactivated vaccine: particles of the microbe are introduced by injection to the host body and the body’s immune response reacts in a more mild way. These vaccines tend to have booster shots and traditionally do not last as long as live vaccines.

What are antibodies??

Definition of antibody: “proteins (immunonoglobulins) that are made in response to an antigen (virus, bacteria, germs, essentially) and can recognize and bind that antigen. Antibodies can help neutralize or destroy the antigen. Antibodies are highly specific in recognizing the original antigen” (source: Tortora, G. Funke, B. Case, C. Microbiology: An Introduction. 8th edition, published by Pearson. San Francisco, CA 2004*). I will continue to refer to this textbook throughout the article. Antibodies make molecules (compound structures)- an illustration will also be provided. Antibody structure (most basic) is a “Y” shape- having a “stem” and two arms. Antibodies are made by B cells.

Immunoglobulins: 5 classes: IgG- the Y shaped structure that makes up 80% of blood antibodies. Others are IgM, IgA, IgD, and IgE. IgG is most common in blood. Other immunoglobulins are more common in other parts of the body, such as mucus (for example). IgA is the most abundant immunoglobulin in the body*. “The main function of secretory IgA is probably to prevent the attachment of pathogens, particularly viruses and certain bacteria to mucosal surfaces. This is especially important in resistance to respiratory pathogens” (source- same textbook as indicated by asterisk*)

Testing for antibodies:

Laboratory testing for antibodies to novel coronavirus: blood test (that you may get in doctors office). Tests vary from site to site. There does not appear to be one uniform test. If you are tested by blood and have had the vaccine recently – you will likely test positive for antibodies. If you are tested and have NOT had the vaccine, you may still test positive for antibodies but it is unlikely unless the body has recently been exposed to the virus (aka antigen). This does not indicate presence or lack of long term immunity- IgG alone.

General antibody testing- Having no clear antibodies by blood test does not mean the body has not developed immunity to a disease. This is because antibodies are produced after being exposed to the antigen (whatever it may be). Immune memory cells will mount a response of antibodies if it encounters the antigen again several days after being exposed and may last for a few months at most. Therefore, antibody testing is not indicative of whether a person is immune to something or not.

To address: B cells, memory cells, primary and secondary response to antigen. Further examples of antigens also to be provided. B cell activation is necessary to mount an immune response-

Differences between antigens- antigens can be bacteria, virus, parasite, anything attacking the body (foreign substance that can cause illness). Famous example- cold virus or flu virus…another common one is E. Coli which is normally present to some degree in the intestines of humans and animals but when ingested, causes serious symptoms. Often considered a “food borne” illness.

Check this out as it is very similar to what’s going on now:

Polio Scare 1935-1960. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1383764/. see The Cutter vaccine- infected 40,000 people with polio virus- many partially recovered, some suffered paralysis at the site or administration. Famous advocate against Polio- American president FDR who contracted it as an adult and became paralyzed from the waist down. Started what is now know as The March of Dimes.

Contradictions from the American Government About Covid-19:

BMJ reports that those who have recovered from Covid-19 “may only need one dose”. Comes straight from the mRNA manufacturers- Pfizer and Moderna. https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n308

Also recent reports of vaccinated (with mRNA vaccines side effects including shingles and cold sores. Not widely reported on and of course, minimized by American press. Shingles (and cold sores) part of herpes viral family. Details somewhat sketchy and unbiased info hard to find. Unbiased= raw data.

Viral vector shedding- am investigating which vaccines are “competent” in replication- meaning that they may cause disease- even if it’s not the disease that the vaccine intends.

So what’s up with the experimental Covid19 shot?

Short answer- it’s an experimental shot.

Manufactures of vaccine are claiming that mRNA vaccines have no ability to “replicate”. Have not been able to definitively find data to refute this, HOWEVER, in Pfizer’s study detailing the experiments regarding the Covid-19 shot, mention is made of “unintended recipients of treatment (aka the shot)” and defines this as “family members NOT undergoing treatment (experimental shot), fetuses of pregnant women receiving “the treatment” and infants breastfeeding to mothers receiving the treatment. This suggests that THERE IS concern that people in close contact may be exposed to substances in the shot somehow.

In live vaccines- example yellow fever or MMR- nurses are advised to tell people getting those vaccines that it is possible that they can shed the virus through close contact with family members.

That Fauci guy says a lot of stuff- should we trust him? He may be happy if nobody remembers this:

Don’t forget (reminder to self) to detail failed HIV vaccination attempts Anthony Fauci.

So Fauci did this: 2007 STEP Trial HIV Vaccine gives people HIV:

So if I get the experimental Covid shot- will I get Covid?

Some Covid-19 vaccines using viral vector techniques. Non medical terminology explanation- vaccine manufacturers are claiming that the mRNA type of “vaccine” does not carry actual Covid-19. I believe that. What they put in are “instructions” on how to make antibodies to the Covid-19 virus. But there is a catch. The catch is that there needs to be a vector (something that carries something else like a virus) for the body to accept this information. The vector that is being used in some of these shots is called “adenovirus”- also known as “common cold” .

There are many many strains of the common cold. Many people are immune to a lot of them because we have kids or leave our homes, so we’ve gotten these colds and gotten over them and our bodies remember that. That is how our bodies are designed. One issue with using this new system of vaccines is that some of us are already immune to the vector (the cold virus they use to transmit the info) and if you’re not already immune to the type (strand) of cold virus they use- you will be after they give it to you. Again, because your body remembers this cold. This is a challenge in the new “vaccine” because that means that it may not work for a lot of people. https://www.clinicaltrialsarena.com/comment/adenovirus-vectored-covid-19-vaccines-efficacy-during-a-potential-revaccination/

What are other countries doing with the Covid shots? Why aren’t they giving it to everyone?

I put “vaccine” in quotes because I am not 100% sure that this can legally be called a vaccine given that it is experimental. And yes, it is still experimental status according to every government I think in the world.

Many countries have stopped recommending the use of this “vaccine” because of the likelihood that many people may already be immune to the vector that they use.

Back to immunity by disease regarding Covid-19. (Link to NIH) https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/lasting-immunity-found-after-recovery-covid-19?fbclid=IwAR1q4YFE56tAf0IEmOCaYUSVsHhM6-A_7y2m4P-Sa_flDa8hRWmX3kWnv3k

Some of the studies have shown that people who have already had Covid-19 are having more severe reactions to the shot. Pfizer shows this-

MASKS:

https://www.who.int/images/default-source/health-topics/coronavirus/mask_exercise_outdoor_ok.jpeg?sfvrsn=f7339b45_1
CDC says masks decrease chance of transmitting Covid-19 by 0.5%

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7010e3.htm?fbclid=IwAR0XD9e3h4pmmu7Ehz3GhSd5p-lMsuDXjITcySqXk7JBhdrpCtpgMslbHzQ

Medical Professionals Speak Out Against Experimental Shots and Lockdowns:

https://www.city-journal.org/lockdowns-must-end?wallit_nosession=1

The Great Barrington Declaration

On Mandating Experimental Shots:

Federal Law Prohibits Mandates of Emergency Use COVID Vaccines, Tests, Masks — 3 Resources You Can Use to Inform Your School or Employer

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The Epidemic That Doesn’t Make The Papers

By: Kristina Tehrani

2/10/2021, revised 3/16/2021

          Today I stopped by the gas station and as I was browsing for my favorite bottled tea, I happened across the newspaper stand. There were two publications- The Saint Paul Pioneer Press and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The headlines were nearly identical. This is not a direct headline from today because I don’t recall exactly how it was phrased, but it was something along the lines of “Pandemic Rages On With No End In Sight”. As I mentioned, I don’t remember the exact wording but I DO remember how I felt reading that- depressed. I tend to not watch network news because I noticed some years ago that there seems to rarely be GOOD news; lots of death, destruction and gossip though. For the last year, the newspapers and general media has been milking the sensational nightmare of the Novel Coronavirus.

          Covid-19 began making in earnest American headlines around February of 2020. That is over one year past at this time. As of late, I have a difficulty considering Covid-19 to continue to be called “novel” because usually, the term “novel” implies “new” and often “temporary”. In early spring last year, the novel coronavirus efficiently and swiftly swept across the nation, sending probably the entire American population into a collective panic. Different people reacted differently, but I think it’s fair to say most people were terrified, or at least unusually bothered. When the pandemic came to my state of Minnesota, I reacted to it the same way I react to almost anything. I spent hours poring over research, data, studies and anecdotal accounts.

          Initially, I concluded that the virus was primarily airborne, supremely deadly, and unpredictable. The pandemic did not start in the United States; other countries had been dealing with it for weeks or months. I read studies that described the molecular structure of the virus as to be so small that it could be aerosolized and due to its miniscule weight, could take 20 minutes or so to sink to the ground. As a public health nurse, I looked to the CDC for answers. Incidentally, this is when I lost faith in the good intentions of the CDC. Their recommendations were to stay home as much as possible, wash your hands, avoid standing near others and avoid sick people. I can’t recall exactly what the recommendations were but they were saying generally “this is a symptomatic disease, and likely not airborne”. These recommendations did not seem to align with the studies I had read or any other general conclusions coming from the other countries who had been “infected” for some weeks or so earlier.

          I became suspicious of how it was that a “stay at home” mother, with some masters work in public health and no background in creating or administering a scientific study could find so much information contradicting the CDC in about 7 hours of online research. How was it that a huge organization filled with doctors, PhDs and scientists would not reach the same conclusions which the CDC later confirmed by summer of 2020? Initially, face masks were not recommended. Testing for the virus was unavailable and there was no contact tracing system in place that I was aware of.

I used to aspire to work for the CDC. Now my trust in them had wavered, to say the least. I used to accept their recommendations on most health subjects. After a year in grad school pursuing my master of science in public health, I had already been taught epidemiology. I also have a substantial background in exotic and tropical diseases due to several years working as a medical travel consultant. This novel coronavirus was not the first epidemic in the US. Not even the first pandemic. There had been epidemics and major public issues before. I did not understand the CDC’s secretive approach at all for this virus. The CDC even has an “outbreak response protocol”, which is logical, clearly stated and applies to everything from E. Coli outbreaks being traced to certain vendors to the seasonal flu. I wondered why this protocol did not seem to be occurring at any level of government health groups. They were treating Covid-19 as if all prior outbreak rules and experience were thrown out the window.

          Shortly following the (likely) inevitable spread of the virus to Minnesota, the freshman Governor of our state, Tim Walz declared a statewide emergency, which made sense at the time. However, this also seemed to cement the government’s control over everything having to do with the pandemic, which apparently was every aspect of life. Walz had just been elected Governor a few months prior to the pandemic. He ordered schools closed for 2 weeks (“to flatten the curve”) and closed most businesses with the exception of pharmacies, gas stations, grocery, liquor stores and chain department stores that sold groceries. The government endorsed reasoning behind this was “we know we’re all going to be exposed, so let’s try to minimize the entire population being sick at the same time, get our hospitals prepared so that we don’t end up with the entire population in emergency rooms at once overwhelming the health care system”. Seemed like a reasonable enough idea, although I DID wonder Well, maybe EVERYTHING should be closed for two weeks and then maybe the virus will not spread at all? However, I pushed my doubts aside since I had no decision making abilities anyways.

          However, once two weeks had passed, the emergency seemed to be either unaffected by the “lockdown” or the rhetoric changed to “we’re going to keep this at emergency level until further notice”. So two weeks became six, which then became months and now it’s been over one full year that the emergency is still at its peak or even worse. There have been constant messages by both the media and some government officials that “the worst is yet to come”. Is it though? Many people all over the world died from Covid-19, some did not die but had lingering damage to organs but many simply got sick for a week or so and bounced back.

In the spring of 2020, most people did not have access to be tested for the virus. This continued for a very long time. So, initially, most of the cases that we heard about were the severe ones- in which the patient had died or came very close to death. I had a more moderate experience. I got sick in March or April 2020. For about a week, I suspected that I was going to die. But I didn’t want to go to the hospital just in case I was wrong OR to surround myself with other sick people and catch something else that would do me in. So, I filled out a living will sort of thing, outlining where all my important documents were kept and all that, took every anti-inflammatory medication I had hoarded over the years, forced myself to eat and drink and lay in bed having mild hallucinations. After a week or two, I was feeling well enough to put trash into the trash can. From then on, I continued to feel mildly confused much of the time and had a swollen ear drum for a couple more months. It lasted all summer, really. Individual experiences with the virus have varied from asymptomatic (fairly common) to cold/flu like symptoms to death (which in the total number of infections has remained rare). So, that was my experience.

Over the summer, I met a woman who was involuntarily placed in a hospital psychiatric unit. She was in her late 60’s and had been living in a retirement home for years due to a moderate physical disability. She came to be in the psychiatric unit because after six months of isolation within the nursing home, she attempted suicide. She was not the only resident to be isolated- all of the residents were prohibited from interacting with others, both within the community and without. As far as I was told, she did not have a history significant for suicide attempts or other serious psychological disorders. She told me, “I am old, I’ve lived my life, I was lonely and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was going crazy being alone all of the time. No visitors, no pets, no interactions with anyone. I felt like it was time to end my life”.

Would this woman have attempted suicide if she had not been isolated from nearly all human contact for several months? No. No, she wouldn’t have. Isolation is a form of psychological torture that has been used historically mainly in prisons as punishment.

Minnesotans had been experiencing an almost continuous isolation for almost a full year. More often than not, there is no in person school, people are not allowed to gather in small groups, holidays have been essentially canceled, Minnesotans are being mandated to not see anyone outside of their household, ever. The rules change sometimes, but overall, we’ve been isolated from each other. I used to celebrate Jewish holidays at a synagogue. I can’t do that anymore.

My son used to look forward to going to school to interact with other kids, now “school” is him staring at the computer for hours. He was an accelerated math student. Not anymore. He used to get services for autism. Not anymore. He hasn’t played with another child since the summer, when we would go to the playground. Not anymore, not in Minnesota. It’s too cold.

My daughter is four years old. She does not understand why she has nowhere to play. It’s affecting their mental health. It’s affecting my mental health. We used to go to the art museum. Not anymore. My kids are depressed. Schools may be opening again, but for how long? Kids are also failing in this distance learning model. All kids are being affected, but those with a lack of access to technology in addition to increased barriers to special education, barriers to sports, barriers to mental health services are particularly affected. These children are supposed to be the future. What kind of environment is this to raise healthy children??

I am concerned about the increased number of suicides in our state. I am concerned about friends I’ve lost last year to drug abuse during the pandemic. I am concerned that this is going to become “the new normal”. Violence by youth is up, I believe as a direct result of lack of structure. Many people have no way to get physical exercise as gyms have been on almost permanent lockdown since March 2020.

Governor Tim Walz has had “emergency executive powers” for over a year. Some Minnesotans are fighting it, some have already moved away, some have given up. The icing on the cake for Minnesotans is that none of these measures have been proven to stop the spread of covid-19. But these measures have been proven to destroy Minnesota- financially, emotionally, educationally, and effectively. In the course of one year, it feels as if we are on the brink of a partisan civil war. It’s past time to end the Governor’s dictatorship of the state. 

Where are the cost-benefit analysis for the mandates? Where is the public attention for kids and seniors that are so lonely, they want to die? Where is the publicity for the majority of kids literally failing school? Why are we ignoring all of this? How bad do things have to get before the real emergency is dealt with? As bad as Nevada, where youth suicide became such a problem that the government mandated schools open? The warning signs that our state is crumbling are here. Please heed them. This should not and cannot be the “new normal”. This imposed isolation is unsustainable at best and killing more Minnesotans than the actual virus at worst. We need to start healing our state before the executive branch of government completely eliminates representatives and we are in the position of seeking refuge elsewhere. I am not leaving my home state.

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Thoughts on Freedom of Speech in an Orwellian Time: 2084

“Cancel culture” supposedly started with the “me too” movement a couple years back. As a woman and a feminist, I supported women speaking out about sexual harassment. I still support it.

I am not sure if that truly qualifies as “cancel culture” now in 2021 (or as I like to call it 2084) as almost everything is being censored. I have never, ever seen so many “liberal” white people angry about everything. And yes, it does seem to be people who have declared themselves as “liberals” who are silencing others.

I’ve noticed that it IS usually white women (who fancy themselves as the voice for the oppressed, I suppose) taking offense at everything including asking simple questions like “I didn’t get my saliva COVID test in the mail, did you get yours?” The reactions are over the top, illogical and immature. I was called a “Nazi Fascist” for suggesting that black and white people could probably work together on some things. I was called this by a bunch of white “liberal” women. I was shocked. Do people even know what a Nazi or fascist is?

It used to be that questioning things was good. Questions used to be a encouraged, expected, even. We are currently in a society whence questions (even about the mundane) have become unacceptable. Many fear asking questions as some of us are being ostracized for asking “well, do I really need this vaccine?” Unacceptable question now. It is also unacceptable to question the government. This is dangerous. Abraham Lincoln warned that if the United States were to descend into tyranny- it would be at the hands of our own people.

Freedom of speech is very important. Americans who don’t support freedom of speech make no sense to me. Why would anyone WANT censorship? The book 1984 is one of my favorites. It’s a classic. It was probably even banned at some point. All the other rebellious teenagers I grew up with read 1984 and denounced “Big Brother”. As an adult in 2021 in the US, we’re rapidly approaching this dystopian society. Censorship has become trendy somehow. Erasing history and banning books is en Vogue. I never thought I’d see the day that I would be arguing with the same teenagers I grew up with who seem to now be wanting “Big Brother”?! What changed? Is it the whole “I didn’t sell out, I bought in” thing? Because that’s how it’s coming across.

There are a number of stand up comics, black, white, women, Asian, every type of person- all for free speech. It’s not even a liberal/conservative thing. It’s a slippery slope to silence people for anything, really. I don’t use hate speech, I don’t agree with hate speech. But should it be completely illegal? I don’t know. Maybe. But once you go after someone for using a term like, for example, “kike”- what’s to stop people using other terms, terms that have been adopted into communities and reclaimed by those who are meant to be disparaged by such terms.

I like “heeb”. I AM a “heeb” and I like joking around too. Do I have family members that died in the Holocaust? Actually yes. I never met them of course, having been born in 1981, but I have visited Israel and my German Jewish sort of second cousin by marriage- her whole immediate family was incinerated. I would have loved to talk to her more but unfortunately I speak neither German nor Hebrew. So communication with this cousin was mainly gesture based.

Things are constantly changing. They say “the only thing you can count on is death and taxes”, but I think the only thing you can count on is that every element of the universe is constantly changing, for better or for worse. Astrophysicists recently found that every element in the periodic table “move” constantly. And we already know from chemistry and physics that those elements can change and form new elements under various circumstances.

Any effort to homogenize individual thought is going to ultimately be futile, as it is not natural by the laws of science or reasoning that this is possible. Our genes as human beings even resist homogenization. When you inbreed, you have problems because too much of anything leads to problems. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that.

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Clowns

When I was a kid, maybe eight or nine years old, I was enrolled in the “Big Brother, Big Sister” program. Coming from a family in which I was the only sister to my three younger brothers, I really appreciated my “big sister”. Lisa was in college at St. Thomas and we did things like drink Diet Coke and play truth or dare. Lisa also liked to buy me little keepsakes, mostly journals and books. I liked the journals and books; I loved to read and write.  

A few months into our budding sisterhood, for some reason that I cannot fathom now, my sister Lisa started buying me these dolls.  I don’t recall having a particular fondness for dolls and these were no ordinary Barbie or Raggedy Ann dolls. They were these elaborately painted ceramic clowns with ornate satin costumes. In retrospect, I would call the dolls “noir”, in a way. They were not happy clowns. Their faces were lifelike, but weary, as if they had already seen too much of the world. They were certainly not meant to be played with. At my age, I had never really experienced the idea of a toy to not play with.

The dolls also came with individual display stands inside their large and partially transparent boxes. The clowns ranged in size from about 8 inches to more than a foot and a half. This was the 1980’s, I don’t remember if there was a sad clown doll fad or not, but I think I remember being with Lisa in the mall one day and seeing such a clown in an upscale gift shop and Lisa asking me if I liked it and I must have said yes or had some sort of positive reaction. To be agreeable, of course. As it turns out, I should have been honest and said “they’re a bit creepy”, but how was I to know what would follow?  To be honest, I may have manufactured that memory in order to make sense of how these clown dolls ended up becoming such a bane to my existence.

It was not very long until I found myself the reluctant recipient of one such decorative clown. After receipt of the first clown, I brushed it off as a curious but isolated incident. However, I must have too enthusiastically accepted and given her the impression that I was a serious collector because the clowns became a regular gift, almost as regular as the diaries. I recall liking one clown. It was very feminine with bubblegum pink paint and white and pastel pink ruffles. Even as a child, I could appreciate couture to some level. Perhaps that was the first clown, because they progressively became larger and more frightening from then on.

I could not tell Lisa that the clowns scared me. After accepting a half dozen of them with false enthusiasm, I was too deep into it. I didn’t consciously make the connection between these garish porcelain clowns and the evil child-eating clown portrayed by Tim Curry in the Stephen King movie “It”, which I had recently seen with my elderly Persian grandmother. However, I did notice that I had begun to develop anxiety around these clown dolls. The clowns were stored out of sight in a closet, buried underneath things I would never have a use for. I hoped that the clowns would go away on their own, but that hope remained unfulfilled as apparently, the mother of all decorative clowns was soon to be bestowed upon me. A reckoning was coming.

The final clown I got from Lisa was the largest yet. I don’t know where she found these dolls, but this one must have been nearly half my height. The most imposing stationary clown I had ever seen in person. Real people dressed as clowns had never frightened me that I can recall. It was the glassy eyes and the ivory, motionless skin of the dolls that awoke a sense of fear. The possibility of demonic possession seemed very real in some of the more sinister looking clowns.

The night that Lisa had gotten me the clown doll to trump all others, I was sleeping in her dorm room (as I often did), in the living room on a couch-alone. The clown was stationed directly across the room from me; I was right in its line of sight. The clown appeared to be watching me out of the corner of one painted eye across the room. I tried not to make eye contact and a couple times looked away, and then glanced back to find that it seemed to have crept a millimeter closer to me. I was almost in a state of panic. I felt imminently in danger and could not turn my back to this clown. I didn’t even want to breathe too heavily for fear that it would notice me, come to life, and attack. I was not sure exactly what the clown would do to me in terms of physical harm, but it was obviously menacing. Who knows what these clowns are capable of? And did I really want to find out?

I lay rigid and sleepless most of the night on the couch, uncomfortably aware of my potential assailant in the corner resting (waiting?) against its display stand. At some point, Lisa came out of her room, noticed that I was wide awake and managed to pry the truth out of me. The charade was over. Somehow, Lisa made the connection between me having seen “IT” at the age of 8 and my fear of clowns.

You see, my grandmother had shown my three younger brothers and I the IT entire mini-series on tape. Bless her heart, she sincerely believed that because there was a clown in the movie, it was funny and appropriate for small children. She truly thought that we would love it. I am not sure about my brothers, but for me, not a single night passed for the next several years that I was not plagued by dreams of murderous clowns of every variety. Almost thirty years later, I remember the details of some of these nightmares.

When I confessed my embarrassing secret to Lisa that not only was I afraid of clowns at the time, but I had also been afraid of them for awhile, Lisa realized that pretty much all of the clown dolls she had given me were resulting in anxiety and nightmares, and thankfully, she was very understanding about my white lies. I was ashamed that not only had I been lying to her by pretending to like the clowns for months, but I was also old enough to know that porcelain dolls really don’t come to life and kill people- in theory. I was embarrassed about it for quite awhile, so much so that I avoided her for some weeks afterwards. Despite the fact that she had also seen the movie and insisted that I was definitely not ridiculous at all for being terrorized by a collectible clown, I remained a bit ashamed for years. In retrospect, it must have been pretty comical for her to realize that with her limited college student finances, she had spent a moderate amount of money on accidentally scaring the hell out of me. How could she have possibly known that my clueless, foreign grandmother would show a Stephen King movie to little kids?   Even at the time, I recall my grandmother being confounded that we children were frightened by the evil clown that lured children into the sewer, severed limbs, ate them and could emerge from any water pipe it desired, not to mention a career defining performance by Tim Curry that helped bring the movie to life. When I revealed to my mother that my grandmother had subjected all four of us children to this four part bloodbath, my mother was furious. Many expletives in Farsi ensued.  

I received no further clowns following the revelation that what I felt for them was the opposite of gratefulness. If there was a lesson to be learned from this, perhaps it would be that one should not pretend to like a gift, for that gift may become a curse. Or maybe the lesson is that it’s better not to let a person who thinks Stephen King is appropriate for children babysit your kids carte blanche for extended lengths of time? I suppose I learned both.

Alice and Lief Confronting Their Pasts

Alice, while looking for information on how to handle what felt like a downward slide in her relationship with Leif, stumbled across attachment theory and revisited love languages. She still loves Leif and believes that he probably loves her too, but after a weekend of moving/fighting/breakdowns/makups- Alice came to the conclusion that she would somehow need to make things work with Leif but she didn’t know how. So she turned to her usual way of coping with the unknown: intensive studying of the subject at hand.

Alice ran across attachment style theory again while searching something like “relationship dynamics” and took a quiz on attachment style. She had taken one already several months back and it had said she was “secure” but she wasn’t feeling so secure with Leif anymore.

She and Leif had spent some time over the weekend while Leif was helping Alice move discussing their childhoods and intermittently bickering. At one point- Alice came right out and ordered Leif to leave. Leif refused. He said he wasn’t going to let her sabotage the relationship. That struck a chord in Alice because she knew that she had done that in the past. She was/is fearful of depending on or caring for others to a fault.

For example, after having children- Alice realized that she cared so deeply for them that their hurts became her hurts and even came to a point where she said to a friend “I wish I had known that I invited these people into my life that have so much emotional power over me…what if something happens to them?? It will destroy me!” She doesn’t truly regret having children but Alice does try to minimize absolutely the number of people she truly cares about because she has learned that caring almost always results in pain. Alice did this semi consciously. Sometimes she recognized that she was scaring someone away but did nothing to stop herself. Sometimes she did it accidentally- scaring a person away by telling them too much or showing them her worst side immediately. It was only the beginning of this year that she realized that she would do that on dates sometimes.

Prior to this year, Alice had been mostly single for 5 years. She did date someone exclusively for several months the prior year but it was “safe” because she knew the relationship was going nowhere. The man she had dated, Tim, was literally schizophrenic and had been committed twice. He wasn’t mean to her, he didn’t abuse her, but she saw him as more of a friend than a partner. She felt safe. Despite his mental illness, he had always been empathetic with Alice when she had been depressed or ill. Because he was often depressed or sick- so it was more of a friendship than anything. Until Tim started needing more time and energy than Alice could give. Plus he lied to her to get her attention sometimes. And he lived four hours away. When his car stopped working and he couldn’t come to Alice anymore, Alice was relieved. Relieved to be alone again.

However, Alice was also truly busy. She was trying to take care of her two children and make a career in politics for herself and eventually realized that she couldn’t do it right now. She was devastated. Devastated by the lack of resources for a new candidate, angry with the party she was running for and angry that she had done so much volunteering and helped out the party in so many ways and when it came time to support her run for office, she felt alone.

Alice also realized that the last several months, years, as long as she can remember, she had been do things she felt she “had to” and not enjoying herself very much. She sought some relief from this mindset and decided to give dating a try. She wanted to get to know people, have fun, hopefully meet someone who she may have a future with. Alice was okay as a single mother- she didn’t technically need anyone, but she did want the same support that her married friends and political colleagues seemed to have.

She tried one app in which she met a few guys and it was exactly as she expected- a nightmare. And when she wasn’t meeting a lunatic whose idea of fun was attempting to pressure her into sex or talk gibberish, she felt like it was a waste of her time and energy.

She brought it up to friends. That after 3 weeks of this, she was done and going back to being single. Several friends pleaded with her not to give up yet. Try this other site, they said, give it a few more months, then give up. Alice reluctantly agreed.

So she joined a new site and met a couple men. One of them she really liked from the outset although she was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to accept that they came from different religious backgrounds. He insisted it wasn’t an issue and she chose to believe him.

This was how she met Leif. First, they were messaging back and forth for a few weeks. Then as Leif lived a bit farther than Alice from the city, Alice told Leif that she would be in his neck of the woods and if he wanted to meet up for an hour…well, she suggested that they do.

Alice was at a hotel with an extensive pool and water slide area with her son. She hadn’t brought anything particularly impressive to wear and didn’t see that as a big deal in meeting Leif. She mostly wanted to see if they got along at all and to make sure he wasn’t going to bite her (yes, one of her previous dates had bitten her). When he showed up, he was 10 minutes late and Alice was about to just walk away. She was literally about to leave the lobby area when he showed up with no explanation for his lateness- which she noted mentally.

She let that go and they chatted for a bit about their mutual interests and played some arcade games. Leif seemed unimpressed with her looks- which Alice also noted mentally. Alice knew she wasn’t wearing her cutest outfit or any makeup. She had been doing laps in the pool shortly before meeting up with him and hadn’t brought along anything too cute because she didn’t expect a date this weekend.

But she liked Leif immediately. He had also recently quit smoking and was vaping like her, they discussed books that they both wanted to read and had a very competitive game of air hockey. Lief seemed genuinely annoyed that Alice won, even though perhaps unbeknownst to Lief, Alice did a lot of sporty things with her son and regularly practiced because of this. In fact, her son who was only 13 was kicking her ass at airhockey. Not just beating her, wiping the floor with her.

Following this meeting, in which Alice also noted that Leif seemed at bit nervous, Alice gave him an impulsive surprise kiss (to both of them) goodbye. Alice knew she wanted to see him again. And she knew she would have to bring her best physical appearance next time because she could feel Lief not liking her her oversized cardigan and menswear pants that while comfortable, weren’t exactly the most flattering clothes she had.

They made a date for a few weeks into the future as they both had kids and complicated schedules around them. They spoke a lot over the phone at first. Alice reveled in telling him stories of her favorite historical periods, politics, activism and sometimes they would just laugh about things. She became to feel emotionally connected to Leif. So much so, in fact, that she worried that she would commit the ultimate dating “no-no” (according to some)- she was nervous that after speaking with Lief so much and growing to like him- she wouldn’t be able to restrain herself from sleeping with him.

Alice could tell that Leif prided himself on his looks. And Leif is a good looking man by anyones standards. However, that’s not what caught Alice’s attention. Good looking men are available- Alice sought someone with depth, insight, humor, intelligence, and someone who was maybe a little bit difficult. Alice fell for Leif while they spoke on the phone, she fell for his personality, not his looks.

Prior to the first “real date”, Alice expressed her concerns to a friend who frequently gave her sage advice about her fear that she wouldn’t be able to “hold back” on sleeping with Leif. Her friend said “hey, if it feels right, just do it” effectively giving Alice the permission she needed.

The date was perfect. Alice dressed up to make up for her previous menswear look. Alice liked to dress up anyways but it was a challenge to look cute bowling, but Alice is creative and pulled it off. During the date, Alice found herself hugging Leif, holding his hand, and even kissing him. He seemed as happy as she. She found his quirks adorable rather than anything else. He was insecure and she could tell. Alice doesn’t feel insecure about herself- she didn’t then and she doesn’t now.

Alice and Leif, against all common sense around dating, ended up spending the entire weekend together. They were hooked on each other. They laughed, talked, “watched movies”, ate gas station food because although they had originally planned to go out to dinner- they were more keen to get into bed. Leif claimed that he forgot about dinner but Alice had her doubts. She didn’t forget, she simply didn’t care. Her friend had given her permission to jump into bed with Lief and she was ready for it.

She found his stubbornness charming. She found his insecurity charming. She found his nervousness charming. And he made her laugh like nobody else had in recent memory. She was not blind to me what he likely perceived as his faults, rather she noticed them and found them endearing.

Things moved pretty fast from there. They spent all their free time together, which really only consisted of every other weekend. But Alice began to notice things about Leif that she wasn’t sure she could live with. He made promises that took months to fulfill. She put all of her effort into showing Leif that she cared about him- she cooked him a complicated meal, went out of her way to give him everything he ever wanted in bed, dressed to the nines whenever she was with him and let a lot of “little things” go.

But the little things built up to the point that Alice needed a break. She wasn’t sure Leif appreciated her or was able to give her what she needed. This resulted in some explosive anger on Alice’s part, which hurt Leif and surprised Alice and resentment that Alice was maybe wasting time and energy on someone who couldn’t be the partner she needed.

Alice requested a break from the relationship. She felt like she should date others and that he should also. She felt that he would appreciate her more when he dated other women who wouldn’t give him a fraction of what Alice had to offer. But that’s not what happened. Instead, Alice continued to feel strongly for Leif and Leif only. She experienced an episode of anemia which prevented her from going out with another guy she had met online and she also realized she cared too much about Leif to let him go. She wasn’t ready to let him go. Especially since he had a therapist and was working on being a better partner. So Alice changed course and recommitted to Leif.

The caveat this time for Alice was that she would be more careful in giving too much of herself and would be more vigilant about the relationship dynamics. Also Alice had a lot on her plate at the moment. Much more than the average person. Basically, Alice was still working on getting her shit together after having left an abusive relationship 6 years ago. But that relationship was complicated by the child she had with her abuser. Alice had alot going on. Alice also wasn’t as aware of her own ineffective relationship issues as she thought she was.

This is how Alice ended up searching for answers that were originally focused on what was wrong with Leif but turned into discoveries that they both had issues from their pasts that they grapple with and that come out during conflict. Alice even tried to figure out it Leif was a narcissist, although in her heart, she didn’t think so.

Alice ended up looking into attachment theory- which is the idea that adults behavior within intimate relationships are a reflection of how they learned to see the world as very young children.

Alice wasn’t the only one in the house suffering. She felt like a mother to her three younger brothers and remembers telling them when she was 11 years old that as soon as she could, she would get a job and take her brothers away and take care of them, too. Her brothers also remember this and looked to Alice as their mother. Alice would comfort them after they would get yelled at or put outside naked in the middle of winter. Alice swore up and down that she would save them all.

Alice was severely abused as a child. Her mother had beaten her regularly and severely while telling her that she was “nothing”, “a mistake”, “a waste of time and energy” and that her mother wished she had never been born. Alice began to look for other places to live when she was 12 years old. She regularly ran away; at the age of 14, she found herself a foster home and lived there for three months before her parents called the police to bring her back.

Alice’s mother Susan not only abused Alice in private, but also in front of Alice’s friends- which was probably the worst thing for Alice because word spread and her friends parents had forbidden them from being friends with Alice. So Alice did not have any friends anymore growing up. Her friends were her books and her journal. She wrote voraciously and drowned herself in book after book after book. Alice found it ironic that the same mother who had driven Alice to this abject loneliness then turned around and boasted to others that her 10 year old was reading Shakespeare. Alice also developed an eating disorder, which was another thing her mother boasted about. Her mother tried to get Alice into modeling because Alice truly was beautiful and had the body of a model, with the exception of not being tall enough. Another reason Alice was so skinny was that her family literally had no food in the house. Nobody cooked. When Alice was maybe 8 years old, she learned to make egg salad from a book and so that’s what she ate for several months until she first began to steal food and then as soon as she was able to get a job, she was able to afford to buy food and hygiene products at age 15.

At 15 years old, Alice begged her parents to be emancipated. They refused. Alice moved out again- this time to a place where her parents knew the family and let her live there for as long as she desired.

Alice was unable to save her brothers. She was at a breaking point mentally and her need to escape and escape successfully became her top priority. She could only tolerate being in the family home if she was drugged. She stopped thinking about saving her brothers completely. But they didn’t. Alice still feels shame for escaping and leaving them there, even though she took the brunt of the abuse by a long shot.

During her teenage years, Alice tried everything to escape the abuse. She spent more time living in other homes and shelters than she spent at her family home. Alice recognized eventually that it wasn’t her fault- that there was something wrong with her mother for abusing her. Once she had accepted this- she spent her last year at the family home preparing for college as her parents had offered to pay tuition. She lived at the family home for about a year and moved out as soon as she was accepted into the university at age 17.

Alice had thought that twenty plus years on, she had moved past her frightening childhood. But when she took the attachment style test- she found that she still harbored an intense fear of loving anyone. Alice still remembers trying to tell her mother how much it hurt her to be told she was worthless and how that didn’t change anything for her mother.

Alice found that her parents were impressed were her intelligence. Not impressed enough to attend her graduation ceremony from high school- which she graduated with honors. She immersed herself in academia, double majoring, being in the honors program and graduating magma cum laude.

Where was her father during all this? Alice didn’t know.

Alice became successful. She was a well paid, well respected nurse. She thought she had left the past behind her. Unfortunately, Alice faced tribulations as a single mother that left her ripe for abuse. She became involved in two extremely abusive romantic relationships in a row and following that, Alice had given up on love. She was again terrified of people.

Alice’s attachment style is “fearful avoidant” meaning that she wants to love and be loved but also she is so scared of it that she chooses unavailable partners and scares away ones that she may have a future with. And now, not only is Alice protecting herself, but also her two children. She is hellbent that her children not suffer the way she did. In fact, that’s why she wanted children- to give them the love she never got.

Leif grew up in a household where his father dominated. His father was always right, everything was about him and emotions were discouraged. Leif learned that if he expressed “negative emotions” there would be trouble. So Leif learned to bottle his emotions.

Like Alice, he has a hard time trusting but for different reasons. He feels like he may be taken advantage of and thus considers himself absolutely independent and does not want to lose control over his feelings or behavior. He avoids conflict and feelings and needs a lot of space to maintain his identity. Alice doesn’t need as much space, but she fears being hurt again. So she is afraid to let anyone in.

How these two managed to get together and stay together remains a mystery. Leif has refused to let Alice sabotage and Alice has refused to let Leif off the hook when he avoids her feelings. It seems that they love each other. They both know they have work to do but Alice’s pessimism has already threatened her faith in Leif’s willingness to address his past. She wants to believe him but she is afraid to get her hopes up.

Leif has expressed desire to help- both himself and their relationship. Alice has a lot to overcome but is starting to work on it.

To be continued…

Continue reading “Alice and Lief Confronting Their Pasts”

Guide on What to NOT do it you want to be in a relationship of equals:

Subtitle: people will take and take and take and write checks that their asses can’t cash.

If someone tells you they will do something and then don’t, that is a red flag.

If you have to nag about something that your boyfriend said he would do- that’s demeaning and WILL take a toll on your self esteem.

If you care about his life and he doesn’t care about yours, time to stop investing. Doesn’t matter how cute or funny or whatever he is. If he doesn’t care, move the fuck on.

Support should come from both ends. You give and don’t get back, talk to him, that doesn’t work- rethink this.

How old are you? If you’re in you’re early 30s and okay with being jerked around, that’s one thing. But if you’re young looking and time is limited- be discerning.

Examples of giving; massages, reading books on how to have a healthy relationship, sex, sex the way he wants it, always doing what he wants to do, looking up and worrying about his medical conditions.

When you’re not getting the same or even some back- it’s a problem. Because I guarantee that he will not take care of anything having to do with your needs when he’s too busy taking all your energy and headspace.

There are men out there who believe in give and take. I am sure of it. Don’t give at the expense of yourself. He’s the lucky one, lucky he scored a chick that will do whatever he wants on command and around his schedule.

You are not his slave or his bitch to command. And if you’re being treated this way, time to look at other possibilities because this man may not be able to acknowledge that you have needs also.

And for the love of god, if you’ve neglected responsibilities repeatedly to appease him- stop immediately and focus on yourself and the people who write checks that they WILL cash.

Don’t sell yourself short. Ever.

And for fuck sake- don’t ever let a man encourage you to buy a bunch of sexy lingerie until it’s been several months. Otherwise you’re saddled with a bunch of cute clothes and no man to wear them for.

Fortune Favors the Bold But Occasionally Also Punishes Her Boldness

Leif and Alice had been dating maybe four months. Because they both “moved too fast” and had strong chemistry- those four months sometimes felt like four years. It felt like a long time and a short time simultaneously. A long time because they were in constant communication but also surprises popped up to remind one of them that really, they hadn’t known each other for years.

Leif and Alice talked every day. They were in a sort of honeymoon phase. They both thought about each other all the time. They were both scared and insecure about their emotions for the other person. They both had tendencies to be dramatic. Usually not on purpose, but secretly they both enjoyed it. They are smart people and easily bored with the ordinary.

Leif and Alice were both single parents and bored with adulting. They both used the relationship to indulge in eccentricities and to take a mental and emotional vacation from daily life. When they were together, they wrapped each other in themselves like a thick blanket to shield their time from reality. They would be so totally immersed in interacting, trying to get into each other’s heads, engaging in verbal foreplay that in a sense, when they were together, they were like one person.

Alice justified this enmeshing by normalizing it and calling it “the honeymoon phase”, which is a real and common phenomenon to be enjoyed but of course as she had general anxiety, it was hard sometimes to relax and not analyze things. In fact, she is still undecided about “how fast” they are moving. She knows some things can only be revealed with time, but she has also thrown caution to the wind.

Alice and Leif had already had deep conversations about pretty much everything. They had argued, she had backed off only to realize she didn’t want to, he had backed off at one point but more subtly. They were fighting their feelings. Because they are adults with responsibilities and feel like they should “know better”. They choose everyday to move too fast. It’s possible one or both of them has trouble with impulse control.

They had committed to an exclusive relationship within the first month, which is not unusual. They liked each other a lot and it happened very suddenly and neither of them expected to meet someone that they felt such a bond with so quickly. It was scary in a way because again, they both have anxiety.

The relationship had already had some ups and downs and it seemed that things had stabilized and both of them were content until something unexpected happened at the wrong time. Not that there is ever a right time for anything but Alice was under a lot of stress in her personal life.

In a way, they are both “not ready” for having met each other and getting so involved. They knew this because they analyzed it to death. Especially Alice, who was always a sucker for mysteries and figuring things and people out. She was also the type to not give up or give in on anything she found interesting. Rather, she would immerse herself in it and learn everything about it. That’s Alice’s personality.

Leif was just starting to date after his marriage of seven years had ended. Alice was emerging from a period of semi self imposed isolation and had been single for 5 years. She had gone on a few dates, dated one person with whom she knew there was no future with for a few months and didn’t expect to have anything change. She was still dealing with the fallout from bad choices made when she was younger and just starting her life over, really.

They were both aware that they “shouldn’t” get involved so quickly, but sometimes things happen and there is no way around it or changing it. Alice knew that if she ended her relationship with Leif because it was “too soon”, she would regret it. Leif knew the same. So they had had a few arguments already over the future. But neither was willing or even able to walk away. It didn’t feel right. What felt right was being together. Alice doesn’t regret it. And she inadvertently had put Leif through the wringer a couple of times already by questioning him and his intentions at length. But Leif wouldn’t walk away and ultimately got upset with Alice for having what felt like one foot out of the door.

Alice had really just started to relax and embrace her feelings for Leif when their relationship what tested in what Leif felt like was an avoidable situation but Alice had to learn, learn fast.

Alice had a male friend with whom she spoke frequently and genuinely trusted. She had known him for a couple of years and seemed reasonable enough. His name was Jeff and he is old enough to be Alice’s father. Jeff was single and dating, as Alice was and Alice had made it abundantly clear to Jeff (as she had to many other male friends and acquaintances that she had met over the past few years) that she wasn’t ready for a relationship and even if she were, she had very specific standards for whom she would consider dating.

A mistake that Alice made with Jeff, and that she has made on other occasions was that she told him it was mainly his age that was an issue for her. She had stated this towards the beginning of the friendship, years ago, and Jeff had backed off, for good- or so Alice thought. There were other men who wanted to date or sleep with Alice and she was generally entirely too polite about rejecting them.

This mistake was made clear to Alice shortly after she had invited Jeff to have drinks with her as platonic friends but it was made evident that evening that Jeff was playing the long game. Alice had no idea he would be anything less than gentlemanly. Alice was in for a rude awakening.

On the evening in question, Leif had said he was uncomfortable with Alice having a male friend over for drinks. Alice didn’t see the problem. She explained that she had been friends with this particular man friend for years and although Jeff had indicated that he had romantic interest in Alice years ago, he had since accepted that she would never date him. Or so he said. Alice also reminded Jeff when she had invited him to have drinks with her on another occasion (those plans fell through) that she absolutely would not sleep with Jeff under any circumstances. And Jeff had really appeared to be the platonic friend that Alice believed him to be. Jeff played the part of “supportive friend” very well for some time now.

Also that evening, when Leif had said to Alice that he was uncomfortable with the idea of her having drinks with a friend alone in her home, Alice made her second mistake of the day. Alice, in her naïvety, had thought that by telling Leif that she loved him (for the first time!) that Leif would not be insecure about her having a guy friend over. See, Alice thought that Leif was worried that Alice was romantically interested in Jeff. She didn’t understand that Leif was more concerned about how Jeff would behave than how she would.

And because life is ironic, Jeff did indeed make Alice uncomfortable by making sexual comments, sitting too close to her, and behaving altogether much more much like a date than a friend. When Jeff had arrived at her home, Alice started to have doubts about the decision to invite Jeff over almost immediately. However, it was when Alice t had her shoes off and Jeff touched her foot, that Alice began to panic internally.

Unfortunately, as has happened to too many women, Alice had been in a situation before with someone she didn’t know very well who had not listened to her when she said no to sex and physically forced himself on her. He had raped Alice.

It happened quickly and was over quickly that night but Alice was shaken up for a long time afterwards. She also pretended it never happened and told nobody because she was scared that she would be blamed because she had been alone with this person and even though she had protested and tried to push him off, he did it anyways. She knew she had been raped by any definition of the crime and there was no room for interpretation. He had quite literally overpowered her physically while she was saying “no, stop!” and was attempting to push him off of her. He ignored her and did it anyways.

Alice did not want to call the police. Alice did not want to deal with it at all. She simply couldn’t handle it at the time. Alice doesn’t even want to put this story out because she knows her Leif will find out and she doesn’t want to upset him, but she also isn’t ready for him to know but she also thinks he may need to know to understand.

Mostly, Alice wanted to have that not have happened, so she did what she does sometimes and pretended it didn’t and moved on with her life. She even forgot about it after a couple weeks. It was like it had never happened…expect it did, and when Alice was alone with Jeff and he was sitting so close- Alice began to feel nauseated and shaky. Then she started to feel scared. She froze up. While other people have “fight or flight”, Alice has been conditioned to “freeze”. And that response of freezing immobilized her that evening with Jeff.

In retrospect, Jeff had done little more than make suggestive comments and disrespect both their friendship and her relationship with Leif by making it clear he wanted to sleep with her. However, in Alice’s mind- she was back in that situation where she was held down and violated.

In her (just under the surface) thoughts, Alice knew that Jeff might rape her or try to. And she had invited him over. She had both misunderstood and dismissed Leif’s concerns and now she had to face the consequences. Alice was prepared to fight, but she also knew that Jeff carried a gun. Alice no longer remembered all the hours she and Jeff had spent on the phone chatting and being friends, she felt like she had a stranger in her home who was capable of anything and was terrified.

Alice told Jeff that she was extremely tired after not very long, maybe an hour and a half. Jeff had been mostly appropriate for the first half hour or so, it was when they sat down to chat that Alice began to really feel trapped. So it took her maybe 45 minutes to react to her feelings by telling Jeff she was tired and basically wanted him to leave. She also called her boyfriend from another room and was in no hurry to get off the phone with him while Jeff sat by himself three rooms away and out of earshot.

But Leif was still upset that Alice had a male friend over for drinks and both of them were focusing on the wrong things…how Alice had blurted out her feelings for Leif earlier and he had been taken by surprise but also she felt rejected on some level. So, that became the topic of conversation, which ended with hurt feelings on both ends.

After beating around the bush a little more and Alice nervously insisting she needed to go to bed immediately (alone), Jeff announced first that he thought he would have to pass out on the couch and then upon seeing Alice’s facial reaction of sheer terror- he stated would “probably be okay to drive”. He then followed her to her bedroom asking insinuating questions about her bed, which was a cot at the moment, and even going so far as to lay down on it while Alice looked on in horror.

Once Jeff had *finally* left, Alice broke down a little. She locked all the doors and started to breathe heavily. Although he hadn’t “done” anything, Alice felt violated. She felt betrayed and used. And exhausted. Alice felt as if Jeff had totally ruined their friendship, and as if they had never even had a real friendship because he was after “one thing” just like Alice’s father had warned her about “all men” in the past. Jeff had validated both Alice’s father and her boyfriend. Alice questioned how her judgement could be so impaired that she trusted Jeff to not hit on her and he not only hit on her, but could not have been more blatantly clear about it. He had gone just beyond pushy before giving up and leaving.

The next day, Alice was still exhausted, physically and emotionally. She then did something she hadn’t done for over a decade, she woke up and drowned her feelings in booze. She just wanted to not feel and to sleep away the incident. She wanted to sleep away the argument with Leif and pretend that this also did not happen.

Meanwhile, Leif was trying to contact her; he was calling and messaging her. But Alice was checked out that day. It didn’t occur to her to simply shut off her phone or think about Leif’s feelings- she just couldn’t- she was too wrapped up in feeling betrayed. Only now, she felt betrayed by both Leif and Jeff. Leif because he had been right and also she was still tender about having said “I love you” to him and he hadn’t been really in a position to say it back, but also because saying it had been for naught. Mostly, Alice was angry at herself for her foolishness. And she remained angry with herself the rest of the weekend and into the following week.

Alice told Leif what had happened and he seemed…happy! Happy that he had been justified and happy that Alice had learned her lesson. This infuriated Alice. On some level, she knew he was right in a way, but also she felt like he didn’t understand how wrong it was for Jeff to unabashedly come on to her, causing Alice to feel like a trapped rabbit in a snare. Alice had been terrified of what Jeff was going to do and having him there had been torture from shortly after his arrival until he had left, and honestly afterwards also.

Alice had NOT told Leif what had happened to her before this in any detail. She was afraid that Leif would then judge her even more.

Alice had suffered and feared and cried and felt like a total and utter fool and Leif was happy?? Alice tried to see things from Leif’s point of view and tried to explain her point of view, but it wasn’t going anywhere. Both Leif and Alice were stuck in their mutual feelings of betrayal and incapable of supporting each other through this.

After a couple days, Alice had it out with Leif. She tried getting him to understand her point of view while also understanding his point of view- but really the views are completely in contradiction with each other. Or are they? Maybe if Leif knew the whole story, he would understand more why Alice had been so upset. Or maybe not.

A few days after all this happened, Alice blew her top with Leif. Surprisingly, to Alice- Leif claimed that he had been kissing her ass and trying to understand! Alice was beyond shocked at the time. In fact, that statement just aggravated her more. She began to question just how much she had in common with Leif and she misinterpreted a statement he made about “not being treated this way” or something along those lines. Alice was so emotional, she couldn’t see straight.

Upon reflection, Alice did do some work before telling Leif how she felt about him. She had looked up the difference between “lust and love”, she had read a bit into the timing, she confirmed that generally, it wasn’t “too soon”. But it was too soon for Leif. He didn’t want to hear it yet. He didn’t want to say it yet. Even though he had already said it himself weeks earlier, it was a clever way of saying it. He could blame it on sleep talking.

Alice didn’t realize that she hadn’t told Leif the “whole story” nor had she really made an effort to accept his viewpoint. She thought she had tried, but she was too caught up in her own feelings.

Leif and Alice were both so upset and emotional, had they been in the same room, she would have slept with him. That’s how Leif and Alice express themselves to each other best. They do it in bed. There are no misunderstandings there. Not even the first time. But they were on the phone and couldn’t communicate that way.

Alice was blunt and said Leif couldn’t accept her feelings and said he wanted a robot, not a real woman with real feelings. Then she cried her eyes out before sending a goodbye message to Leif, as she had truly thought that this was it. It was over. She calmed down in her goodbye message and Leif called her. At first, Leif was still very upset. About everything that had happened the last few days. Then he began to calm down also. They were then able to have a real conversation in which they actually listened to each other.

Later on that week…

Alice knows that Leif will read her secret and that she had told him. Alice believes fortune favors the bold and that nobody can take that from her- either by her own submission or by force. Alice feels what she feels and owns it. Whether Leif can own it or not is his business.

John and Alice in Love

He said it while he was asleep….”I love you”…she was stunned and confounded.

Ever since, Alice considered this statement, what does it mean to love and whether it is too soon…and she knows know. She loves John and has been loving him for at least a few weeks. She loved him then, when he said it and she loves him now, when she is too shy to say it back.

She is, however, certain. She loves him. It is obvious in her actions, who she wants to contact first, what she does in his presence, his attempts to annoy her. She finds it all endearing. She loves him and she thinks he knows this and should be glad. Because she knows he loves her too.

Custody Battle with Sociopath Trauma

Gotta get something off my mind. It’s not technically political but when you think about it- what isn’t political in some way?

We all go through personal tragedies in our lives. It’s part of life. Some tragedies are harder to move on from and take longer.

Before a couple years ago, I was in self isolation basically due to a the worst trauma I had ever experienced in my life. You all know how much I love to write, but for years, I couldn’t even write about it- it was so painful.

It took the sudden death of a close friend combined with the tyranny of Walz and Co. to shake me out from under my rock if not living life to the fullest. I was just existing after the trauma and not really living.

Well, some trauma goes unresolved for some reason or another and unfortunately becomes something that has to be dealt with again.

They say “time heals all wounds” but that’s not possible if you’re still bleeding or if the scab is still there.

I find myself now unable to sleep, racked with anxiety over the fact that I will have to relive the trauma and face it again. I have to. I have been put in a position where I don’t have another choice.

I find myself dragging my feet. Distracting myself from addressing it. Needing more and more time to “relax” by doing mindless things like window shop or look at furniture that I won’t buy for months probably.

That’s why I’m up at 2 AM and that’s why I only slept a few hours last night. There is no amount of anxiety medication or baths sometimes. Sometimes one just has to remember that this shit won’t last forever and that I’m stronger now than I was then in many ways. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I can almost see it.

I can’t be specific about what is going on because somebody who participated in that trauma could be watching me. He has before.

So I’m trying to relax and breathe and all that and keep trying to get some sleep. But if you’ve noticed my detachment, this is probably the biggest part of it right now. I expect this to be the last showdown between myself and the other person, so I don’t expect this to last forever, but there are pressing issues that need to be addressed, like yesterday and I’m dragging my heels because it’s like touching a hot stove on purpose.

That’s just me venting.

If you read this, thanks. I know I should really just keep a journal.

Wokeness Perpetuates Stereotypes and Here’s What to Do Instead

Decided to make a whole different post on this because it’s important I think. Treat people as individuals. Don’t assume that every black person supports…whatever. Don’t assume all women support whatever. Don’t assume all of any group supports people who claim to speak for them.

I think assuming things about people rather than simply treating everyone the same down the line is a form of laziness. And don’t forget- you don’t know other peoples experience just because you follow BLM or Harris or AOC or whoever. Everyone should be speaking to their own experience period.

We have such a melting pot here in the US- you never know about anyone- so stop pretending and pandering is annoying AF.

We are all different! We have different heritages, different experiences, our own opinions, etc.

Example- white liberal woman I knew posted a thing on “movie stereotypes”. Okay, her heart maybe was in the right place but I had to correct her on the Middle Eastern characterization because unbeknownst to her- there are people in middle eastern countries that are NOT Muslim. She didn’t know that. So in a way, she was actually perpetuating stereotypes. And did she thank me for correcting her? No, she ignored my comment. To me, this proves that woke culture is about virtue signaling and NOT about trying to understand other people.

Just don’t act like you know what other people are experiencing or going through because the media days so or you saw a woke meme.

Everyone wants to be treated as an individual. Period. Just because some is a certain ethnicity or religion or whatever- don’t treat us like we need special handling. Just respect us by treating us the same as everyone else.

The Media is Trying to Divide People- Don’t Let Them and Here is Why:

Media has for some time now been less about fact reporting and unbiased truths and more about keeping viewership through unethical tactics. These tactics include biased journalism, telling one side of a story, leaving out or even altering facts to make a story more sensational.

Journalists such as Dan Rather have expressed profound dismay at this new form of media as it really degrades the trust people have in journalism. The news used to be the news, now we are often left with more questions than answers. Questions such as “who owns this broadcasting company and what it their interest in promoting this narrative?” And “I know this to be untrue, so why is this being stated as fact?”

Mainstream media is in a decline and they will do anything to keep selling newspapers. Even if it means compromising their integrity. With the success of streaming services, cable television is becoming irrelevant, also. Therefore, they employ the same sensationalistic tactics, but they are also concerned with remaining “politically correct”. Being “politically incorrect” in 2022 comes with consequences. People lose their jobs for telling the unbiased, unvarnished truth. So what remains of mainstream journalism is the journalists willing to compromise their integrity in order to keep getting a paycheck.

If you believe what the mainstream media is claiming, you would believe that most Americans support unconstitutional mandates, enjoy being singled out and pandered to because of their “race”, as the black community has experienced, and that Covid-19 is the most deadly disease ever, killing thousands of people daily.

None of this is universally true. Some of it is patently false. There are of course, some radical left wing individuals who DO agree fully and unquestionably with this narrative, but when I speak to people of different backgrounds, and being of a “different background” myself, I have been told and observed that most people, even if they identify as “liberal” have reservations or outright disagree with this narrative.

Real life examples: an 18 year old mixed “race” but mostly black woman watching “the news” (mainstream media) with me when Sidney Poitier died. The media made a big deal of his black identity even though he was an excellent actor regardless of his ethnicity and this young lady says to me “why do they always have to bring up “black actor”?? Why can’t we just be people like everyone else??!”

Many parents of school age children who have never voted “conservative” have confided in me that they will be voting red this year. Why did they confide? Because I asked and promised not to reveal my sources. One gay man with depression who lives in the heart of the city said “my son is struggling with depression from the school shutdowns to the point of being suicidal, I didn’t know how to handle it and now I am depressed, also. I will be voting red for the first time ever this year”.

A mental health professional RN heard me interviewing patients and wanted her opinion known. She stated that “masks and Covid restrictions being enforced in the psych unit are coming down from the government and we have been threatened to be closed completely if we don’t follow them. We know that these restrictions (closing common rooms, mask wearing) is negatively impacting our ability to really help our patients but it’s either follow the restrictions or be shut down completely and when weighing the pros and cons we opted to not be shut down. Also we are short staffed due to lack of funding for mental health. This is not the normal level of staffing”. This woman spoke under the condition of anonymity, also.

In watching a video of an MD discussing the mandates and partisanship in Facebook videos, where viewers are able to comment, the doctor originally presented as pro-mandate and liberal. Many, many (I would say hundreds) of facebooks viewers commented at rapid fire pace that although they identify as primarily “liberal”- they do NOT support mandating this shot. They also condemned the doctor for making a “non partisan issue” partisan.

Partisanship and the History Behind It

George Washington was an independent. The “founding fathers” were independents. John Adams drafted what is considered to be the blueprint of our Constitution as a Massachusetts attorney and a similar version was approved on a federal level years later.

It is our federal constitution that has protected us from many of the attempted violations of our civil and constitutional rights. Recently, Joe Biden’s mandate that all federal employees with over 100 employees be mandated to get Covid-19 vaccines was overturned based on the fact that it is unconstitutional.

It is necessary to remember that the federal constitution, opposed by the Jeffersonian Republicans- who also mud-slinged Adams out of a second presidential term- opposed a federal constitution.

Now, it seems that this very constitution is the only thing that stands between us and a national mandate to be forced to undergo medical procedures without our consent.

John Adams’ main fear was not a central figure in government (President) but a leading aristocracy that would end up controlling everything. Turns out he was right.

It is nearly impossible for a “regular person” who is not independent wealthy to gain a seat in the legislature. It is time consuming, money consuming, and requires at least two people to run. And if you’re a single parent, forget it.

This means that we do indeed have a leading aristocracy in government that has bought votes in one way or another through their wealth and empty promises of representation.

I was told I would be “unfit” for politics as I am unwilling to sell my ethics. This is not the spirit under which this country was founded.

As Abigail Adams put it “If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation”

When Politicians Say “Black Lives Matter”

This probably also goes for many people who have no idea what black people experience.

For most people who use this phrase- people who use it in an “armchair manner”, for example, it is simply a way of pretending they care. BLM has become a cause du jour briefly celebrated by many self professed “liberals” similar to the “me too” movement. Also similar to the “I’m an ally”.

Actions speak louder than words. As a woman of mixed ethnicity, when I hear white liberals profess that they support “me too” or “support people of color”- alarm bells go off. If you have to say it- that makes me suspicious. It makes me think you want to appear well educated and it also strikes me as somewhat arrogant as these seem to be largely catchphrases these days.

In my area, “black lives matter” according to our elderly, white male representative. “Black Lives Matter” also to our old, white male Governor. In fact, both take every opportunity they can to pander to every minority group while taking no action.

In fact, it’s worse than no action. When these so called supporters of all minority groups make mandates- these mandates effect everyone. Our cities have a high concentration of people of color- and they are now faced with the vaccine passport. Meaning that businesses MUST see proof of Covid-19 vaccination to let people patronize businesses. Who does this help? Who does this hurt?

Many of the issues that affect people of color affect other people too, of course. Take special education. Our Governor says “black lives matter” but the NAACP is suing him for withholding special education money.

I am just saying- and I’m sure most people of color already know this- but stop fucking pandering. What we need is people like us in office. And people of color, minorities, whatever- we’re all different too- so stop acting like we’re a homogenous group of morons who believe everything we read.