karma, lessons learned, musings, narcissists

When “obsessed fans” are also obsessed with their own privacy…

Wednesday has arrived, and my nose has finally stopped acting like a faucet. So far– knock on wood– the skin under my nose isn’t completely destroyed. I’m a bit congested and tired. I slept for most of the afternoon yesterday, and then through the night, with one potty break. I ordered some tissues and ointment from Amazon, even though I live within walking distance of both a pharmacy and a grocery store. I threw in some mini Reese’s Cups to boost my morale, although maybe I should shop for a new Apple Watch. 😉

I am experienced enough with life to know that I should hold off on being too optimistic. Maybe this will turn out to be a brief cold, though. I hope it will. The weather is positively glorious in Germany this time of year. Very soon, it will turn to shit for months on end. I would like to enjoy the last days of summer 2023.

Last night, just to pass the time, I went Googling and soon ended up on LinkedIn. I haven’t used LinkedIn in years, and actually thought I’d deleted my account. But no, I do still exist on that site, albeit with a very naked profile using my maiden name. I went on the site because I was curious about someone I met only once in person, but who, along with his late wife, has had a profound effect on me since we moved to Germany. I don’t think I’ve ever written about him, mainly because I only met him the one time. I wasn’t all that impressed by him on that day in late August 2014. He’s former tenant’s husband, a guy who gave Bill a fake name and basically lied to our faces about how “wonderful” the landlords were.

I found him on LinkedIn last night, and for the first time since 2014, saw his face in a photo. He’s leaving the Army and looking for work. I would imagine retiring is now a necessity, given that he has a couple of kids to raise on his own. The specialized work he did required a lot of dangerous, classified travel to exotic lands. I took a look at his profile and passed it on to Bill, who basically deciphered it for me. Some of the words he was using were code for certain activities in the military… things that civilians wouldn’t necessarily understand at first glance, but Army folks know very well.

I didn’t spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, in spite of my curiosity. Seeing that guy’s profile just made me feel icky. I do wonder, though… I think it’s only natural.

Ever since I found out that former tenant died by her own hand last year, I’ve been left with all kinds of questions. I’m sure a lot of people might think that’s weird, or I’m just being nosy. I guess that’s a fair enough assessment. On the other hand, since she left me with this weird legacy, I figured I’m owed a little wonder. Thanks to her, I went through some pretty significant psychological trauma. Yet, I barely knew her. She knew– or thought she knew— a lot more about me than I did about her.

The only reason I even know about former tenant’s death, or have any questions about her whatsoever, is because for the four years we lived in our ex landlady’s house, she was monitoring my blogs. She had led me to believe she liked my travel blog, but she’d also found her way to my main blog, and she regularly took issue on the rare occasions that I wrote anything about ex landlady or the absolute psychological shitshow our time in that house eventually became. Former tenant would leave me blog comments, then delete them. Later, she unabashedly wrote that ex landlady’s daughter was also reading my blogs, as she chastised me for my content. In her last missive to me, she insinuated that I was “unhinged”. And yet, here I am still among the living, with no young children mourning my absence in their lives.

She shamed me over some fiction I’d written, but not yet had the chance to develop. She thought I was going to “trash” the family… who, frankly, totally would have deserved it. But, for the record, that wasn’t my plan at all. It was a fiction piece— yes, based on people I know, but most of the people who read this blog don’t even know me online, let alone off. And the story itself was a complete and obvious fabrication. Aside from that, she presumed I was writing about the ex landlady’s daughter; a woman I have never met in person, and whose first name I never even knew, until former tenant mentioned it in her final message. Ex landlady had never deigned to introduce me to her daughters. I guess she didn’t want me influencing them. 😉

Just because I’ve written snarky stories in the past, that doesn’t mean I ALWAYS write snarky stories. Moreover, the piece I’d started writing was barely developed. There was no outline to the story. It was maybe a page or two, with no significant plot development. I didn’t even know what the plot was, myself. It also never entered my mind that my actions in late 2018– in my new home– were of any concern whatsoever to a woman I had met one or two times in 2014. If I wasn’t “unhinged” at that point, I sure started to feel that way in February 2019, when it felt like I still had a “bug” in my home.

All the while, former tenant would stress how important her “privacy” was. She used different names for every comment, most of which she later deleted. She apparently assumed a lot about me, and what kind of person I am, simply by reading and judging my blog entries. I think she also wildly underestimated my intelligence, as it soon became obvious.

When former tenant was still living, I didn’t stalk her online. I didn’t so much as look her or her husband up on Google. I tried to be respectful of her privacy, even as she clearly had contempt for mine. I tolerated her complaints and even edited for her at least once or twice. Meanwhile, she must have been assuming I am a complete lunatic. I wouldn’t mind that so much if she’d kept it to just thinking I was crazy. Lots of people who don’t actually know me have thought that about me, over the years. But she was, apparently, sharing her thoughts about me with the landlady, and then later boldly admitting it to me, as she shamed me for having the nerve to be pissed. Somehow, this was all supposed to be my fault.

It all came to a head in February 2019, when I read that final private message from former tenant about how cruel and hurtful I was to her “friends”, and demanding to know what they had done to deserve such “mean” treatment from me. The reality is, they were the ones who were cruel to me. All I ever really wanted was to be left alone. You don’t have to like me, or even respect how I live my life. Just leave me alone. Otherwise, yes… I may be inspired to write about you in an ambiguous way. The difference is, you don’t have to read what I write. It’s a conscious choice– one that is usually brought about by being a nosy busybody with a complete lack of respect for boundaries.

Folks… the reality is, I didn’t actually write that much about ex landlady. I vented a couple of times toward the end of our tenancy, mainly because she was driving me crazy. She kept accusing me of doing things I didn’t do, yelling at me in my own home, and treating me like a five year old. She’d complain about ridiculous things, like a clump of dog hair in a doorway, declaring it “filth”. She’d show up unannounced when I wasn’t prepared to receive her, then look at me with disdain when I wasn’t dressed properly. She was extremely rude to Bill, and when we moved out, she tried to rip off our deposit as she declared us the worst tenants she’d ever had. She refused to negotiate over anything, and then threatened us when we had a lawyer write to her, reminding her of German law. She also falsely accused us of theft. And all of this was happening as we were losing our beloved Zane, one of the beagles who kept me sane when I lived in that house.

Meanwhile, former tenant got a pass, because they were “friends”, even though I know very well that at least some of the stuff ex landlady was complaining about were things that happened when she and her husband lived in the house. Fortunately, I DID have those blogs, which served as a record of events, since ex landlady never did a proper check in or check out between us. I also had photos and a few comments from former tenant that helped us prove our case when we later successfully sued ex landlady. So, we were vindicated in the end, although it still left me fuming at the violation and the gall they all had. It could have so easily gone the other way, with us stuck with the bill for upgrading ex landlady’s rental house and looking guilty.

Bill and I have had a few less than stellar renting experiences, but we have NEVER been treated with the level of disrespect and unfairness as we were when we left our last house. And never before did I have someone affiliated with a landlord or landlady monitoring and reporting on my blogs. Especially not someone who simultaneously demanded privacy for herself.

I’m pretty sure former tenant had people in her family monitoring my blogs, too. I could tell by hits I was getting from certain parts of the country, which stopped when the case was settled. I imagine she told her family and friends that I was some sort of mad blogger, trying to ruin people’s lives. That’s not true at all. I just enjoy writing, and I write about things that affect me. It’s sort of my vocation. She made me out to be some kind of crazy person, when all we were doing is asserting our rights to be treated fairly under German law. I’m sure to those people, Bill and I are just crooks who ripped off a kindly elderly couple in Germany. I guess it doesn’t really matter, since I’ll probably never meet those people, anyway. It still smarts a bit, though… because former tenant accused ME of spreading lies, when the opposite was true.

I tried really hard to block former tenant from my mind, but it was hard. The lawsuit took about 18 months to settle, mainly due to COVID. By then, it was around August 2021, months after we reached an agreement– our lawyer had to send former landlady another letter demanding payment, because after she agreed to settle, she never bothered to pay. Hopefully, the lawyer charged her for that letter, too. Former landlady finally sent the money to the lawyer, who then forwarded it to us. Pure contempt, straight to the end!

Once all that awful stuff was finally over, I tried to put it behind me, even though it was pretty infuriating and left me feeling violated on many levels. For three years, I had former tenant blocked on Facebook, and never so much as did an online search of her name. But then in late May last year, Bill told me something that made me curious. Since former tenant had worked for the same company Bill did, he noticed when she was no longer on the roster of employees. He also didn’t see her working for the government.

I decided to search her name on Google, just to see where she was. That’s when I found several detailed obituaries for her in at least two states, as well as a couple of memorial services on YouTube. She’d committed suicide several months earlier. So much for her privacy. She left behind her husband and two sons, as well as a host of family and friends who obviously loved and missed her, and grieved her decision to end her own life.

Here I am, years later, still ruminating on this. I think it’s because it’s September, and that was the month we moved into that house. I remember thinking from the get go that we may be in for a difficult time, but I was so glad to be back in Germany and settled somewhere. The summer of 2014 had been absolutely terrible for us. So I was just glad to be in a home, even if the former landlady had seemed obsessed with monitoring us and was very untrusting. Never did I ever conceive of being in the situation we found ourselves in a few years later.

As a person who likes to read and write stories, maybe some people can understand why this situation is still in my head. It reminds me of a Lifetime movie. All we wanted was a place to live. We ended up with a situation that I could probably turn into a made for TV movie screenplay, if I was so inclined… and maybe if it was the 90s, and people still watched such things on TV.

Sigh… well, at least it’s Wednesday, which means it’s a light chore day. Maybe I’ll find another diversion. I started reading a new book, which promises to be interesting and fun to review. And there’s always trashy TV. That might cause me less trouble than writing blog posts. 😉

Anyway… as my literature loving husband, Bill, likes to say, “Murder will out…” Or, maybe in this case, “Self-murder will out.”

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communication, ideas, karma, language, social media

Sometimes being bitter is better than “keeping sweet”…

This morning, as I was waking up next to Bill, I looked at my Facebook memories and came across today’s featured photo. It came from a page called A Debt Paid In Ink: The Writing Of Clyde Hurlston. I liked the quote, which comes from novelist Anne Lamott. I don’t know anything about Anne Lamott. Like most people on social media, I didn’t take the time to explore her history when I saw her quote. I don’t know the context of why or how she came up with that thought. All I know is that it really resonates with me.

A very quick look at Anne Lamott’s work on Google tells me that the quote probably came as a way of encouraging fledgling writers. I see from this link that in 2019, she did a TED Talk called “12 Truths I Learned from Life and Writing”. I’m reading it now, and I would encourage you to read it, too, if you have the time and inclination. Anne Lamott is a very wise person. Today’s quote sort of comes from her list of twelve things she’s learned, but the other eleven things she learned are just as important and insightful, and they’re worth sharing. So I hope you will take a moment to consider the rest of Anne Lamott’s list.

Today, though, I would like to focus on that one thing in the featured photo…

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

~Anne Lamott

This particular quote doesn’t appear verbatim in Anne Lamott’s list. She writes “…the two most important things about writing are: bird by bird and really god-awful first drafts. If you don’t know where to start, remember that every single thing that happened to you is yours, and you get to tell it. If people wanted you to write more warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better

If you’re one of my regular readers, you might know that I’ve pissed off a few people by writing about them in my blog. The most recent incident happened in May, when I vented about a relative by marriage who kept giving me false compliments about my looks. I had shared a post on Facebook that included a photo of an overweight woman. This person who was on my friends list thought it was me, and said I looked “great”. I got annoyed, because the person had completely missed the point of my post. Then, when I pointed out that I wasn’t the woman in the photo, instead of an apology, I got an “oops” and an emoji giggle. That reaction struck me as disrespectful and kind of demeaning.

My choices in that scenario were to: call out the offender on my Facebook page, possibly starting a shitshow for all of my “friends” to see. Swallow the embarrassment and disappointment and suffer in silence (or vent privately to Bill or other people). Process my feelings in a blog post from which other people might get something useful. I chose to write the blog post. I think it got a total of nine hits. One of those hits came from the “offender”, who was so upset about it that they hit the block button. I guess things might be awkward at the next family gathering, if we’re both there.

I suppose I could have sent a private message to my former friend, but I didn’t feel like that would have been productive. Given their reaction to my blog post, I can see that they weren’t really a friend, after all, and never really cared about me. A person who cared would have wanted to have a conversation to preserve the friendship, especially over something as ultimately trivial as that situation was.

Moreover, I don’t think I started the conflict. I shared a post that resonated with me, and my former friend didn’t read it carefully and responded inappropriately. I was legitimately offended, both by their initial response, and their discounting response when I pointed out their mistake. Maybe some people might think I shouldn’t be offended by something like that… but I was. My way of processing the offense was to write about it. Their way of processing my writing was to banish me from their life. To quote the great Kurt Vonnegut, “so it goes.”

Anyway… not to rehash that business. It was just one example of my using things that happened to me to generate content. I write every day. It’s possible to write every day, because something happens every day. Sometimes, the things that happen are mundane. Sometimes, they’re not. I think that was mostly Anne Lamott’s point, that you can find content in everything that happens to you. And if someone inspires a less than flattering account, that’s not necessarily your fault.

Not everyone is a writer, though. Some people process things that happen to them by engaging in another form of creativity, like painting, composing music, dancing, or singing a song. Some people do something athletic. They go for a run, play basketball, or hit the slopes. Some people read a book, watch television, talk to friends and family, or get drunk or high. There’s an endless list of ways people can process things that happen to them, whether those things are good or bad.

For me, personally, writing works very well. In fact, those of you who have known me awhile, might remember that a few years ago, I was having a terrible drama involving our former landlady, who, from my perspective, was treating us very badly. Complicating matters is the fact that I blog, and the landlady’s former tenant was following me and, apparently, sharing my blog with the former landlady and her daughter. Former tenant would, on occasion, ask me to change things I’d written in my blog. One time, I mused about how she and her husband had left the rental house halfway through their three year Germany stint. I wondered if they left because former landlady had been abusive to them, too. It was maybe two sentences in a pretty long post, but those two sentences really upset former tenant, and she told me so. So I edited for her, but I became pretty suspicious, and I started making plans for what we’d do after we moved out of that hovel. And I realized, then, that the former tenant was a liar. I don’t know why she was so concerned about being friends with the landlady, or why her friendship with the landlady had anything to do with me. It’s all moot now, anyway, as the former tenant exited life last year on her own terms.

Sure enough, though, ex landlady tried very hard to steal our deposit. She was quite shameless about it, and flagrantly broke several laws. We sued her, and she ended up settling the case. She had to repay most of our deposit, and she was responsible for paying court fees and lawyer costs (although she tried to get us to pay for our own lawyer). It ended up being a very expensive lesson for all of us, but especially her. One of the main reasons why we were so successful, though, was because I blogged most every day, and I had comments from the former tenant that she’d forgotten to delete (she had a habit of “dirty deleting” things). I also had a lot of photos. A couple of the photos were pretty damning, and the ex landlady must have realized that if we went to court, she would definitely lose. She had accused us of stealing from her, and we had proof that hadn’t happened. So, in that case, writing my story was a very positive thing.

For me, writing is a way of preserving history… and making sense of the crazy. I write about Ex a lot, because she has a way of revising history and promoting false narratives. She gaslights. When I document things she says and does, I provide evidence against the lies she spreads. And sometimes, that evidence comes in handy.

I was curious about other people’s reactions to the post shared on Clyde Hurlston’s page. Quite a few people posted negative reactions to Anne Lamott’s quote. Below are a few examples of what people wrote in the comments:

Folks generally have a different perspective on events. Maybe you think they wronged you and maybe they think you wronged them. If you don’t want to talk it out like adults, just walk away. What would be the point of spreading just your version of the truth about another. Plus we all have our bad days & are far from perfect.

There’s some truth in what this person wrote. However, there’s nothing to prevent the other person from writing about their perspective. Maybe it would even be helpful in resolving the conflict. I find that writing helps me clarify things. But I know, not everyone writes. Besides, not everyone is capable of just “walking away” from conflicts. Sometimes, it’s crucial NOT to walk away. In the case of our ex landlady, it felt like a duty to sue her, because we got the sense that she had treated other tenants in the same despicable and abusive way she treated us. And Bill and I have both been doormats for other people way too many times.

A lot of people seem to be projecting their own bitterness or frustrations onto the OP. I took it as an encouragement to actually writers for including their personal experiences in their work. For some people writing is the way they work through things. Or life experience inspires their stories. I did not take it as an encouragement to just go around telling anybody and everybody about every time anyone has ever looked at you wrong. That’s silly. We all have a limited perspective and we have all harmed others.

I like what this person wrote. This is kind of my take, too. Writing helps me maintain my mental health. Yes, I could keep what I write private, and sometimes I do that. But keeping things private means that I don’t get the opportunity to learn from other perspectives by discussing things with impartial people. Sometimes, the things I write are helpful to others who can relate, or are in a similar situation.

Forgiveness is a thing too. Forgiveness doesn’t absolve the person who hurt you from their actions. Forgiveness sets you free from hate, and allows you to be even stronger than before! Try forgiveness…When you live in the past, you stagnate.

You can forgive someone and still write about what happened. The two actions are mutually exclusive. The writing doesn’t have to be angry or bitter. It can be matter-of-fact, or funny, or even spun in a positive way. Like, for instance, my recent post about how ditching my sister at our parents’ house gave me the strength not to stand for Ex’s bullshit the following year, when she tried to force me to spend Christmas with her. At the time we ditched my sister, it was a very negative event. Years later, I realized doing that was a building block for dealing with Ex and the former landlady. And those experiences will be building blocks for dealing with other people who try to bully and exploit us for their own gain.

Lol you mean “you own everything that didnt happen to you. Tell your lies. “So many people are either complete drama queens adding in lies to make the story sound better or more in their favor, or complete compulsive liars. Our society has very few truths anymore. Its all rewritten history and fabrications. The truthsayers are shit on and are treated poorly.

Well, this person just sounds like an empathy challenged asshole. Glad I don’t know her.

I lost a job over this – how dare I *speak* about how I was being treated by coworkers. I have a lot of emotions over it and keep going between what could I have done differently and they were gaslighting bullies and I’m better off. Definitely sucks.

Sounds like a toxic workplace, anyway. You deserve better. Get away from the gaslighting bullies and find somewhere healthier to work. And write your story, if you want to. It’s your right.

Some things are better left unsaid. Memories are past experiences. Don’t manifest the negative ones into your present life. Instead, move on to allow for wholesome positive experiences.

You can move on and still write your story. The most important thing is to learn and grow from your experiences. And sharing the experiences can help other people grow and learn, too, as long as you’re being constructive.

There was one more comment from someone who responded to a person who agreed with Anne Lamott’s quote. The person– who appeared to be a male Hispanic– wrote a very discounting comment that I can’t find at the moment. But the gist of what he wrote was, “That sounds ‘bitter as fuck’.” He implied that the woman he was responding to was wrong for reacting to a slight by writing about it. He seemed to be promoting “toxic positivity” by encouraging the person he was responding to to not be “bitter” and just turn the other cheek.

The Hispanic guy’s comment is what inspired today’s post title. That is– sometimes being bitter is better than “keeping sweet”. In our culture, we are often pressured to keep quiet when someone does us wrong. We are encouraged to accept bad behavior and disrespectful treatment, let bygones be bygones, and forgive and forget. Sometimes, that’s not bad advice, as some things are not worth causing a fuss over. But… when it happens repeatedly, and the behavior never changes, there’s a problem. Speaking up about abuse or bad behavior isn’t wrong, as long as it’s done honestly and constructively.

“Keeping sweet”, as a lot of people– especially women– are encouraged to do, can be very harmful. It can keep people trapped in bad situations. Owning and writing one’s story can be healthy and liberating. Besides, everyone has the ability to share their own stories. So, if someone has shared a story that from their perspective that misses the mark, there is nothing to prevent the other side from being shared. As long as people are basically honest and not trying to destroy others with their tales, it shouldn’t be wrong to write them. Of course, it’s probably wisest to obscure the details, to protect the innocent… or the guilty.

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art, humor, karma, language, narcissists, work

The many ways to be inspirational…

For some reason, when Bill was away last week, I started watching episodes of America’s Next Top Model. I will grant that it wasn’t the most wholesome show on the airwaves, but it was kind of entertaining. I probably decided to watch it because I figured it would help me pass the time. I was soon reminded of how toxic that show was. It gave me some food for thought… and fodder for my blog.

I’m not sure why I ever got hooked on ANTM. I’ve never been into hair, makeup, or fashion. I never liked Tyra Banks, either. To me, she came off like a total narcissist– like, my “N” chimes rang off the hook when I watched her on TV. I didn’t even know much about Banks until I stumbled across Cycle 7 of ANTM. Tyra’s show was probably the first reality show I ever really paid any attention to for longer than an episode. I never got into Big Brother or Survivor at all.

Shameful as it is, I must admit that I did get hooked on ANTM, and I watched it until maybe Cycle 18 or so. After that, it simply became unwatchable to me. I think life events also intervened, preventing me from tuning in anymore.

To view ANTM, you’d think Jay Manuel, Nigel Barker, and Miss J (J. Alexander) were all the best of friends. Jay Manuel, in particular, seemed to be in Tyra’s hip pocket. He served as the creative director of ANTM for years, before finally leaving the series. In 2020, Manuel published a satirical novel based on his experiences with ANTM. In January of 2022, I downloaded his book, The Wig, The Bitch & The Meltdown. A few days ago, I finally got around to starting to read it.

In the past, I would have been done with Jay’s book by now, but it’s harder for me to read these days. My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, and I have a tendency to fall asleep when I start reading. I will admit, however, that I am enjoying Jay’s book. I do think it needs an editor, and maybe some of the characters should be fleshed out a bit more. BUT– I am enjoying the snark and the “T” spilling going on. Yes, it’s a novel, and fictionalized. But it’s also clearly based on a true story, and all I have to say is, the people who were regulars on that show and weren’t as narcissistic as Tyra is, definitely went through some shit.

I will be reviewing Mr. Manuel’s book when I finish reading it. I hope to complete the book sometime this week, because I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on it. However, I can’t resist mentioning it today, because in writing his novel, Jay did something that I like to do when I need to “unpack” something. He turned his real life experiences into a fictionalized “based on a true story”. I imagine that dealing with Tyra Banks gave him lots of material to draw from for the book. When you’re dealing with a narcissist, you have a lot to unpack… but you have to do it very carefully. Narcissists have a way of bringing the pain.

A few years ago, when Bill and I were living in our last house, I did very occasionally write fictional stories about certain people who irritated me. It was a creative way to get out my angst. Not that many people read my short stories, anyway, so I thought of it as a constructive way to “process the crazy” without causing undue upset.

For a short time, I even considered starting a fiction blog. Our former landlady was legitimately driving me nuts, and I needed a safe place to vent. My fiction blog lasted less than a day, though. I started to write a story, but before I got far, I received a private Facebook message from the now late former tenant. She’d read what I’d written, figured she knew what I was about to do with my characters (though she was actually wrong), and decided to intervene on ex landlady’s behalf. She basically told me I was a no talent hack, and tried to shame me into silence. She also implied that I was crazy and “mean”.

I subsequently scrapped the idea of the fiction blog, but not because I agreed with former tenant’s assessment of my talents and character, or lack thereof. I mainly aborted the fiction blog because I knew that Bill was going to take legal action against ex landlady. I didn’t want to complicate matters with my creative and purely fictional doodlings. Thanks to former tenant, ex landlady and her other flying monkeys were on high alert. I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of using me to fight against Bill in court.

Former tenant probably thought she’d fixed things when I abruptly stopped writing my fiction story. But it soon became quite clear to her that things were about to get much worse. I’m sure, if she was still capable of hindsight, she might have preferred to mind her own business and not interfere in situations that don’t involve her. Unfortunately, she was entitled and emboldened enough to meddle, and made things a lot more difficult than they needed to be. Really… knowing ex landlady, losing money was probably a lot worse for her than being the fodder for little read fictionalized short stories that were inspired by her narcissistic, passive-aggressive, crazy-making behaviors. I’m sure she also might have preferred my use of a creative outlet rather than my going off on her to her face. Trust me. She got VERY close to that experience, and I feel pretty sure she would not have enjoyed it at all.

In retrospect, for many reasons, I probably should have made the fiction blog invite only, and then opened it to the public years later. Maybe, if and when I feel inspired to write fiction again, I’ll do it that way. Or maybe I’ll just self-publish a book, like my friend Alex is doing. I no longer have to worry about getting any nastygrams from former tenant, since she is no longer among the living. I’m truly sorry she’s no longer with us, mainly because I know she has loved ones who miss her.

I don’t know what former tenant’s motivation was for harassing me. She obviously lacked understanding of the situation on a number of levels. Or, maybe she simply didn’t care. Maybe I wasn’t an actual person to her… or a worthwhile person, anyway. She was clearly a lot more concerned about her former landlady of 18 months, than she was about what was happening to us– the people who innocently took her place for four years. I wouldn’t necessarily expect her to care about us, but I certainly expected her to have a better understanding of things before assuming she had the right to send me chastising and accusatory PMs about my writing projects. In the end, I guess we did the right thing and just let the law handle it.

I know I’ve written about former tenant’s interference before, so I don’t want to rehash it too much. It’s just that reading Jay Manuel’s novel reminded me of that situation. Some people don’t realize that creative people are inspired by literally everything. You might not think writers, artists, musicians, or other creative types ought to be inspired by things that are negative. I’m sure, to former tenant, I should have just suffered in silence… or just privately talked trash to people in the community… or spoken to a therapist, or whatever, instead of channeling that experience into a fiction story.

Or, maybe she felt my complaints weren’t worthy of consideration. Maybe she thought it was okay that I was being screamed at, slandered, and blamed for things that weren’t my doing. Maybe she thought I should have just smiled and sucked it up, rather than trying to process it in a way that was funny and creative. Of course, given what happened to her, I can’t say that she was the best judge of what people should do to preserve their own mental health.

I don’t know Jay Manuel, but he’s obviously a creative guy. And as I read his novel, I recognize the Narcissism 101 traits of his protagonist, Keisha Kash, who is clearly modeled (heh heh- see what I did there?) after Tyra Banks. Last night, I read a couple of passages aloud to Bill. After one passage, I quipped “She sounds like a female Donald Trump!” And yes, it IS a fictionalized book, but obviously, there’s some truth in jest.

Tyra even said it herself to a contestant who got eliminated in Cycle 10. When the exiting model said, “I think I’ll go be an anesthesiologist,” Tyra replied that that was why she was “going home.”

When the contestant said she was “just kidding”, Tyra said, “There’s truth in jest.”

Jay Manuel’s book is obviously snarky, humorous, and satirical, but… “there’s truth in jest.” I have absolutely zero doubts that he drew from a huge well of direct experiences for inspiration when he wrote his book. In fact, as glamorous and exciting as fashion seems to be, Manuel reminds his readers that that world– along with the entertainment industry– is loaded with narcissistic creeps who ruthlessly tear down good people with their obnoxious, entitled, selfish, and crazy behaviors. So… although I think The Wig, The Bitch & The Meltdown could be improved with help from a professional editor, I also congratulate Jay for turning his experiences on ANTM into art… digital art, in my case, as I’m reading it on the Kindle app. 😉

Maybe someday, I’ll be ready to write fiction again. And perhaps there will be some people who will see themselves in my words. There are many ways to be inspirational… and perhaps we can even take heart, realizing that even the most awful people can lead to the creation of something beautiful, entertaining, or educational. I have said and written it often, and it bears repeating… Even the worst things can inspire good things.

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complaints, condescending twatbags, funny stories, karma, sex, social media, YouTube

She wants sex. She just doesn’t want it with you.

I’m on quite a roll this week. I noticed that yesterday’s headline got a lot more clicks than usual. I suspect today’s headline will also be provocative for some readers. I hope there’s more to today’s post than just a funny title, but we’ll see.

First, a little old business. I wish to update yesterday’s post about men peeing while sitting down. It seems that one Irish Times Facebook commenter from Ireland was quite put out that I wrote, jokingly, that German women “train” their men to sit down when they pee. He told me that was “absolutely false”. And yet, there’s a book written about the phenomenon, signs in public (and private) restrooms, and lengthy threads on social media platforms and message boards about how German men are expected to sit down when they urinate. I probably should have added a caveat that they sit if there isn’t a urinal for them to use.

Now, this topic actually isn’t that big of a deal to me, personally. I just think it’s kind of funny and interesting. I don’t insist that Bill sit down when he pees in the toilets at our house. He voluntarily does so sometimes because it’s easier for him. But I don’t actually care either way if Bill sits or stands, as long as he cleans up after himself. He’s very good about that, so this isn’t a subject that we discuss very often, except for when we see the signs in public men’s rooms and laugh about them. Below are just two such signs.

I’ve never seen this anywhere else but in southern Germany…

I posted the link to the book called German Men Sit Down to Pee. That was the end of it, as far as I was concerned. I went on about my day. Hours later, I got a notification that the Irish guy had come back. He left a comment along the lines of, “I see you weren’t able to ‘prove’ that German men are trained by their women to sit down to pee.” Then he added a link to some article about this topic “proving me wrong.”

The Irish guy caught me at the end of the day, so I “laughed” at him and wrote something akin to “Nah. It just isn’t that important to me. I just know what I’ve seen in many years of living in Germany.”

In fact, I was already over the subject hours earlier, so I hadn’t even read his “challenge” to prove that German men sit to pee. Men sitting down to pee was not really what the Irish Times article we were referencing was about, anyway. That article was a classic example of a headline being too inflammatory to actually get people to read the article. Everyone was too busy commenting on the title, instead of reading the op-ed that followed.

You’d think that would be the end of it, but no. This guy is apparently very triggered by the idea that a woman might dare tell a man what to do when he pees. Again, I don’t do that to Bill, because he cleans up after himself. That’s honestly all I care about. But the Irish guy obviously needed to have the last word on the subject… or, perhaps, the last piss? 😀

I didn’t bother to read Irish guy’s next comment. I think he’s a little psycho, and continued engagement with him might encourage me to further “take the piss”. 😉

Think it would “piss” him off if I responded with this video? 😀

Now, on with today’s fresh topic… SEX!!!

Today’s featured photo is a screen grab from the hilarious short film, “Laid-Off: A Day in the Life” by Odd Todd.

Worth a view… This is an oldie but a goodie, though it has little to do with the topic below…

I’ve noticed that the God page has really gone downhill, lately. A lot of pages on Facebook have gone away from posting fresh, insightful, thought provoking content. Instead, they post endless “am I the asshole” posts from Reddit. I’m getting a little tired of that trend, myself. However, sometimes they do post some pretty funny AITA articles. This morning, I saw one that made me laugh. Behold:

It should be mentioned that the original post was removed. I don’t know if it’s because the answers this guy was getting about his “problem” were too embarrassing and humiliating, or because of Reddit’s
spam filters. I didn’t read a lot of the responses to this post, because frankly I was too busy laughing. In three paragraphs, this guy has basically stated the following about himself:

  1. He obviously thinks he’s a great lover and his wife isn’t a match for his virility.
  2. He obviously thinks she’s not very attractive to other people. Or, he did until she started having sex with other men.
  3. He’s selfish and entitled, and he thinks he “owns” his wife.
  4. He lacks communication skills.
  5. Sex is the only thing that is important to him in a relationship.
  6. Other men know how to treat his wife better than he does.
  7. He’s jealous and immature, and thinks his needs are the only ones that matter.
  8. He’s a loser who’s about to be served with divorce papers.
  9. He’d really like to watch his wife with other women.
  10. She actually does want to have sex. Just not with her husband. I can’t say I blame her.

What does this clueless guy have in common with the Irish guy? On the surface, maybe it doesn’t sound like much. However, on closer examination, I see a certain similarity in their attitudes. Both guys are a bit overbearing, and obviously think women are beneath them.

The Irish guy acted like I owed him “proof” of the veracity of my offhand, joking comment about German men sitting down to pee. He was surprisingly insistent about it, continuing to try to engage me, even when I wrote that sitting down while peeing isn’t that earth shattering a topic and I don’t think it’s important enough to argue about it with a stranger from a strange land. 😀

The immature guy in the Reddit post obviously thinks that he doesn’t have to adhere to the same expectations he has for his wife. This comment pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

“When I asked for her to also sleep with women or I’d want to close the marriage again she rolled her eyes and said no. One of the guys I fear is trying to seriously date her. He brings her flowers and food, pays for her nails and never even acknowledges me when he’s over. I feel like she’s dismissing my feelings and I’m getting frustrated. I want to close our marriage again.”

Um, guy,… maybe she felt a little “dismissed” when you said that after five years of marriage, she’d already given you all she had to offer, and though it’s “not her fault”, you expect to be allowed to have sex with other women at will. You “generously” ask to open the marriage and she generously obliges. Somehow, you are are shocked when she has more sex than you do… with other men, because she is “bisexual”, after all.

Mood music…

This guy doesn’t mention being interested in having sex with men. He’s apparently not bisexual. He doesn’t mind participating in sex with other women or watching his wife have sex with another woman… or women. He was clearly hoping she’d find him another woman with whom to get his jollies. Now, he’s basically accusing his wife of lying to him about her sexuality, because she’s been having sex with other men. He’s jealous, insecure, and frustrated. I’ll bet she can relate.

I don’t think this couple is going to survive unless he’s got something better going for him that compensates for being a totally insensitive clod. I hope she dumps his clueless, selfish, narcissistic ass, and hooks up with the guys (or gals) who treat her right. Life is too short for BAD sex. 😉

I’m glad that sex isn’t the only important thing in my relationship with Bill. Otherwise, we would have divorced a long time ago. Every day, he reminds me of why I love him so much. I could probably list a new reason every day without thinking too hard about it, but I think at the top of the list is the fact that he doesn’t just think of me as just a life support system for my vagina. Sometimes, when I read these AITA posts, I think that a lot of people are in very transactional relationships that aren’t based on love, friendship, or regard. How sad that is.

Well, it’s Thursday, so that means I have to vacuum later. I guess I’d better close this post and get on with it. Arran had his latest chemo last night. The vet was pretty sad to see that his lymph node is so big. He does seem more tired lately, but his blood work isn’t too bad at this point. The disease is progressing, but he’s in good spirits. I hate canine cancer. 🙁

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communication, family, holidays, karma

Thanksgiving thoughts… or, why I like holidays in Germany.

Here’s another too personal, introspective story about my psyche, and why I am the way I am. It’s probably not very interesting, but it’s what’s on my mind. The featured photo is of me in 1979, visiting Granny’s house. It was probably for my maternal grandfather’s funeral. I see there’s snow on the ground, but I’m not wearing a jacket. Seems pretty much par for the course. 😉

Traditionally, Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday. I grew up going to my Granny’s house in Natural Bridge, Virginia, where my dad and his brothers and sisters were raised in a cool farmhouse by two creeks and surrounded by mountains. Granny died in 2007, but my Uncle Brownlee and Aunt Gayle have kept the tradition going. We lost Brownlee in 2019, which was very sad for me. Brownlee was probably my favorite relative. Gayle and my cousins are still throwing the annual shindig, which will no doubt include good food, dancing, singing, live music, and card playing… and probably some beer drinking. I wish I could be there, but for obvious reasons, I can’t… And actually, given the politics that are going on right now, maybe it’s for the best. I come from a long line of Trump admirers. 😉

Today, we’ve been invited to go to one of Bill’s co-worker’s homes for Thanksgiving. This guy is kind of special, because he’s someone Bill knew when they were both in the Army back in the late 80s. They served in Germany together, back when they were young and single. Now they work together again, and get along great. It was because of Bill’s co-worker that we were able to spend our 20th anniversary together in France and seeing James Taylor perform. Otherwise, Bill would have been in Las Vegas at a conference.

Bill will repay the favor to his friend for Christmas, since we almost never go anywhere for the holidays. The lone exception was 2019, when my hometown friend, Audra, invited us to France. She lives there, but we met in Gloucester, Virginia, when we were in high school. I have another hometown friend who lives in Stuttgart now. We met in the third grade at Botetourt Elementary School, in Gloucester. Sometimes I wonder if my hometown friends moved to Europe for the same reasons I did. I suspect at least one of them did. 😉

The funny thing is, I think we only spent one Thanksgiving in Gloucester out of the 19 years I lived there (Mom and Dad lived there for about 29 years). The rest were spent at Granny’s house… except for one year I went to a former friend’s house. I was 17 years old at the time. I remember my dad gave me a ration of shit for staying home that year, even though there were many times when he acted like, and even outright stated, that he couldn’t stand me. He was mostly concerned about what other people would say, worried that he would “look bad”.

I called my mom yesterday. She sounded terrible. She said she thought she had a cold, having been out with some friends of hers. She said she tested for COVID and the result was negative. Frankly, I suspect she didn’t wait long enough, especially since she said she had no energy. But aside from having a scratchy voice, she didn’t sound super sick. And she said she would be making herself a Thanksgiving dinner and eating it alone, since she doesn’t know what illness she has. She has plans to go to my sister’s house for Christmas next month.

We mostly had a good talk. She said she enjoyed my song for Bill… the one I did last month, not the more recent “Secret O’ Life”. Then, as I was about to sign off, she said she would like to see me. But then she said, “I know that won’t happen, though.”

I said, “I never said I wouldn’t come home. I said I didn’t know when we could come.” She hasn’t specifically asked me to come home, either… although maybe she asked my sister to invite me to Christmas. I had to decline because of Arran’s chemo, and because boarding the dogs at this late date would be a challenge.

Mom said she loved me and to take care of Bill and the dogs. Then we ended the call.

When our call ended, I kind of sat there dumbfounded. My mom isn’t usually one to pull guilt trips. It’s one of the things I like about her. She’s very pragmatic. I have explained to her that I find family gatherings very stressful and overwhelming. But I also remember how, when I needed understanding and support as a young woman with crippling anxiety and depression, she kept telling me she wanted me to leave. I actually wanted to leave, too. No one wanted me to move out more than I wanted to be gone. But she was very vocal and impatient about it. Now, that I’m gone, she wants me to come back again.

I am grateful that she and my dad let me stay in their home when I needed treatment for depression and anxiety… although I probably could have used that treatment when I was still a minor. A lot of it was caused by growing up in a very dysfunctional, alcoholic home, and having parents who made it clear to me that I had disappointed them. I know they love(d) me in their own ways… but breaking out of that place was very hard to do, and one of the best things I’ve ever done.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized a lot of things… maybe I’ve just become pragmatic like my mom is. I realize people are often disappointing on many levels. One of the great things about being an adult is that you don’t have to stick around or show up for disappointing people. I don’t like being around people who can’t accept me for who I am. My mom is probably more willing to accept me now, since we’re both a lot older… and I’m happily married and no longer a burden to her. I’m still a little traumatized by the past, even though it’s been 8 years since I was last “home”. I don’t want to spend hours on a plane to go back into a toxic situation. That’s less likely with my mom than it would be with my mom and my sisters together. But there’s still a risk.

I would like to see some of my family members. Some of them would probably like to see me. I would like to see my mom, too. I know I’m running out of time. But it’s kind of like making an appointment to see a doctor. Sometimes, it’s what you have to do for your own good, even if it might be unpleasant. I could probably use a doctor’s appointment, too. I have never been one for taking care of my physical health, because it wasn’t really a priority back when I was a child. It’s easier to stay where I am and just ignore everything…

Anyway… I’m sure we’ll have a good time with Bill’s friend. He lives in a beautiful home, and I remember him to be a lot of fun. Hopefully, Arran won’t get into any trouble while we’re out. I’ll still miss my family today. I do love them. Maybe someday, I can go home again. It’s not going to happen this year, though.

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