complaints, mental health, Military, modern problems

Melting down over mission first…

There was a time in my life when I was like Velveeta, melting down at the slightest sign of heat. I’ve always been sensitive, but for the first thirty years of my life, I would get easily overwhelmed. I had problems with anxiety and would hyperventilate in panic attacks. Sometimes the attacks would happen in very embarrassing places. One time, I melted down in front of my boss, who was a nurse. Oddly enough, she thought I needed a trash can because she assumed I was going to vomit. I managed to croak out that I needed a bag to breathe into. She gave me one and I soon calmed down enough to talk to her. You’d think a nurse would know what to do for hyperventilation.

My panic attacks used to happen fairly frequently. For a long time, I didn’t know how to stop them. I’d get so upset that I’d find myself tingly with carbon dioxide overload, panting in a fight or flight reaction to whatever had me so bothered. Many times, it was fighting with my parents or some other authority figure that would get me in those states. For awhile, I even had Klonopin prescribed to me. It did nothing for me. I’m surprised people get hooked on it, to be very honest.

I don’t remember the last time I had a panic attack. It’s been many years. I have had a few meltdowns, but they aren’t like they used to be. Now, I get angry rather than panicky. Sometimes I cry a little bit, but I can’t even muster tears much anymore. In some ways, I’m glad crying is harder for me now. I was embarrassed by public crying jags more times than I’d like to remember. Some people legitimately thought I was crazy when I was younger. Others wondered if I was bipolar (I’m not).

Then there are times when I miss having a good cry. Crying can be very cathartic. I remember the rush of endorphins that would inevitably come after I released my emotions all over the place. I kind of miss being able to do that. Now, when I cry, it doesn’t last long and isn’t very intense. I’m sure some of it has to do with getting older and hormonal changes that come with that. Some of it is because I just don’t physically feel like I used to. I haven’t felt the way I felt as a young person since I started taking antidepressants in 1998.

Good plan.

I took psych meds for about five and a half years– first Prozac, then Wellbutrin, which turned out to be a much better fit for me than Prozac was. I also took Topamax, which is a mood stabilizer/migraine med/anti seizure med. My doctor prescribed it for me because he wanted me to lose weight. It did effectively kill my appetite and made drinking anything carbonated unpleasant. I didn’t lose weight, either, which disappointed my psychiatrist, who seemed to think my weight was the root of my problems. Bill didn’t like me on Topamax, so I got off of it. Beer began being fun to drink again. Looking back on it, I think the shrink was irresponsible to give me Topamax for that purpose. He prescribed it not because I had medical issues due to being overweight, but because I think he preferred thinner women himself and figured that being thinner would make me happier.

I had a slight meltdown last night. It turned out Bill couldn’t leave early and, in fact, probably won’t be home until late. I got pissed off when he sent me an email telling me about his issues getting home. It’s not because he’s not getting off early. It’s because, once again, he got my hopes up and dashed them. It’s not the first time he’s done it and this time, I’m having a particularly hard time dealing with life.

All of the other times he’s had long TDYs, we haven’t been in a pandemic situation. We’ve managed to have some fun somehow… going to a restaurant, taking a short trip, or doing something social. This time, we’ve been locked down for months. Seriously, Germany has been locked down in some way since November 2020. I haven’t been to downtown Wiesbaden in many months. By now, it’s probably been a year. I haven’t had a dental cleaning since May 2019. We did manage to take a trip last summer, but after we picked up Noyzi in early October, we were pretty much relegated to the neighborhood.

Germany was going to open a little bit this month, but the rising COVID-19 infections forced the lockdowns to extend. The AstraZeneca vaccine rollout has stalled, thanks to stories about a few people having rare blood clot reactions to it. We can be vaccinated on post, but we’re low on the priority scale. So while the United States is getting people the shot and things are becoming slightly more open over there, here it’s still isolated and weird. And it pissed me off that my husband had to go on a business trip for three solid weeks, even though travel is highly discouraged right now. I’ve been sitting at home alone, faithfully awaiting his invitation to chat, which always came when I was in the middle of watching a movie.

I don’t know what happened, but when he said he was going to be stuck there until late, I just got pissed. Because, what it comes down to is his job coming before me. I understand that his job will always come first. It’s that military “mission first” mentality that every recruit is indoctrinated with when they join one of the services. Intellectually, I get it. But after three weeks of boredom and loneliness and having my hopes raised, I was not very happy to hear that they were going to be dashed. I got so pissed that I even told Bill I didn’t want to chat with him and didn’t care when he comes home.

I probably should have kept my disappointment to myself. I should have found something to pour myself into, like I usually do. But I wrote on Facebook that I need a boyfriend. I was half kidding. Most people laughed. One person, who also spends a lot of time alone due to her husband’s work, opted to give me advice. To be honest, it kind of pissed me off that this person offered advice. Sometimes, people just want to vent. They aren’t looking for anyone to help them solve their problems. They just want to be heard and validated.

I understand that advice giving usually comes from a place of wanting to help, but she knows I’ve been a military wife for 18 years. This ain’t my first rodeo with being alone. Moreover, I’m not a kid. I don’t need someone to tell me to go out and “join” things. But even if I wanted to join things, I can’t right now. First off, it’s Germany, and not everyone speaks English. But even if I spoke perfect German and they spoke perfect English, the culture is different… and we are not allowed to congregate, anyway. It’s literally against the law right now. And, to be honest, I don’t necessarily want to hang out on post, either. For many reasons, I don’t fit in with most of the military wives. There are some exceptions, of course. Things are closed on post, too, but even if they weren’t, I wouldn’t want to hang out there.

I don’t need to be told to do something creative. I do that already. That’s why we have five guitars in our house when a year ago, we had none. That’s why I write a blog. I would write fiction, but a certain stalker let me know that she doesn’t appreciate my efforts or respect my privacy. So I’ve kind of lost the desire to write fiction for now, because someone might assume that I’ve written about them or get the wrong idea… or offer an uninvited critique. Even if I wrote it offline, I’ve just lost the urge.

I was just feeling low and wanted to express it. I still knew in my heart, someone would try to fix things and offer advice. And I would be put in the position of being a bitch and stating that I don’t want or particularly need any advice. I just want a virtual hug or something… hell, I don’t know what I want. I guess I just feel like I’ve wasted my life. I spend so much time waiting around for Bill. It’s not even so much that I want to join other people. I actually find a lot of people irritating… and they find me irritating and weird. I don’t want to get dressed and get in the car and go somewhere. I don’t need anyone to tell me that I chose this life. I know I did. I love Bill with all my heart, but I often feel like a loser. Just once, I’d like for him to have to wait at home alone for me. Or really, I don’t want either of us to have to wait at home alone. I just feel like I’ve already put in my time with this “mission first” lifestyle. For once, it would be nice not to have to put the mission first.

A few weeks ago, I fell and tore up both of my knees. Fortunately, I wasn’t badly hurt. My pride was injured and I had bruised, swollen, oozing, itchy knees for two solid weeks. The knees are mostly healed now, save for a bit of scarring and almost healed scabs. It occurred to me that I could have been badly hurt and no one would be any the wiser. When he goes on these trips, I might as well be single. I survived being alone as a single person just fine. I expected to be alone and coped with it. As a married person, it’s harder to cope. Especially when I can’t go hang out in a bar when things get too solitary.

When we lived in Stuttgart, it wasn’t as bad. I knew more people there. Of course, I much prefer where we are now to where we were then, but I don’t know Wiesbaden as well as I do the Stuttgart area. The past year hasn’t allowed for much exploration. I’m not that close to my family, which is probably a blessing, since they’re all thousands of miles away. I have the dogs and they are great company. But they’re dogs… and they require care more than anything else. I did get a kick out of Noyzi this morning, who asked for butt rubs and head scratches and expressed appreciation by rolling on his back with his legs in the air and smiling goofily at me. I wish I’d been able to get a picture. It was adorable.

I miss Zane a lot. He was high maintenance and worried me with his health issues. However, he loved to snuggle with me in bed and would burrow under the covers and curl up next to me. Arran only snuggles with me occasionally. He likes to snuggle, but not like Zane did. He’s more Bill’s dog than mine. And Noyzi isn’t going to snuggle in bed as long as Arran is around, because Arran doesn’t like him.

I miss physical contact and conversation… and I feel like I just wait all the time for something to happen. And I don’t need someone in the United States, who doesn’t understand the reality of life as a childless foreigner during a pandemic, telling me what I should do. I mean, I know she meant well… but she’s got children and grandchildren and a job… and lots of friends. And she lives in the USA in a familiar place. I don’t think things are locked down there like they are here. But in the USA, you can expect that most people can speak your language. Here, I can’t make that assumption, even if it’s often true.

I think I also have PMS. My skin is a mess… and it’s about time for Aunt Flow to show up. Just in time for Bill to get home, too. Wouldn’t you know it?

I do feel somewhat better today. I woke up at 2:15am and couldn’t get back to sleep. By 4:45am, I was chatting with a former co-worker who lives in Washington State. We had a very entertaining chat, not about my problems. He didn’t offer advice or try to fix my issues. He just talked to me and we gossiped about the old days. It was fun, and it made me feel better. He even said he liked me the minute he met me because I’m “authentic”. He’s not the first person to tell me that. Say what you want about my personality… it’s definitely mine and it’s real, even if not everyone likes it. And he told me he likes me the way I am, which was really nice. I probably should have chatted with him last night, but I ended up chatting with Bill, who apologized profusely.

I told Bill that I get it. The job will always come first. He has a “mission first” mentality that he won’t let go of, and frankly, that’s what makes him so employable. And, to be honest, I’m not sure if it would be a good thing for him to change jobs for my sake. I wasn’t asking him to do that. I simply don’t like it when someone raises my hopes and then disappoints me. It’s happened too many times. If he had just let me think he’d be home late tonight and never mentioned leaving early, I probably wouldn’t have gotten so irritated.

Also… people are finding that post I wrote about Adam and Darla and, apparently, want to correct my opinions on that. And those who are regular readers probably know how I feel about people who want to correct other people’s opinions. Right or wrong, I don’t like it when people aren’t allowed to express themselves unmolested and uncensored. Must be part of my “authenticity”. On the other hand, at least they care enough to comment.

Anyway… I will probably be happier later. If I know Bill, he’ll make it up to me. Or maybe he’ll disappoint me again. Either way, I probably won’t melt down, because I expect I’ll finally be ragging. I think I’ll make this morning a vocal morning. It’ll make me feel better.

Standard
politicians, social media, Trump

Mayor Bowser has major moxie!

Hi folks. I’m not feeling particularly deep today… I guess the events of the past week have shaken me up a little bit. It occurs to me that just a few months ago, I’d be itching to go out and do something fun today. Saturday used to be my day for outings. Now, I don’t have much of a desire. I don’t feel like mingling among the mask wearing folks… nor do I necessarily want to see demonstrations or riots. We have no riots in Germany that I’m aware of at the moment, but there are demonstrations. I suppose I could get dressed and venture out to downtown Wiesbaden to see what’s going on… but I just don’t feel like it. Coronavirus has really done a number on my desire to go out anymore. I’m sure I’m not the only one. The weather is kind of overcast and yucky, anyway.

I’m proud to be a Gen Xer like Mayor Muriel Bowser. She’s got guts!

I started off this morning playing Sims 4, which I haven’t done in ages. Then I practiced guitar. Now I’m sitting here thinking about Washington, DC’s mayor Muriel Bowser, who responded to Donald Trump’s overweening power grab by having the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” painted in bright yellow paint at what was once known as Lafayette Square. Mayor Bowser also had the square renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza.

This was done partly in response to Trump’s decision to have federal police and National Guard units sent to Washington, DC against Mayor Bowser’s wishes. Trump wants to quash protests regarding the murder of George Floyd by cop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and he thinks he has the ultimate authority to send Guard units, even if governors or mayors don’t want them. Trump is acting like he’s king. Bowser is reminding him that he’s not. I think that’s pretty awesome.

I looked up Mayor Bowser last night. She and I were born weeks and a couple hundred miles apart. She was born in Washington, DC and lived her whole life there. I was born a couple hundred miles south. I am very impressed by her. She earned a scholarship to Chatham College, then went on to earn a master’s degree in public policy from American University, which happens to be Bill’s (and one of my sister’s) alma mater. I read that she never saw herself as a politician, but I must say she’s doing an incredible job of setting Trump straight. I think she’s going to go places.

The mural was paid for with funds for DC’s mural project. I’m sure Trump will do what he can to have it removed. Still, the fact that Mayor Bowser had the moxie to do that is just great. Fuck Donald Trump. Fuck him for everything he’s doing to destroy the country and divide people. Fuck him for emboldening the racists, the misogynists, the ignorant, and the general assholes of the country. It makes me sick to see how much the country has declined since Trump took up residence in the White House.

I’m just really glad Bill is retired from the military. He could have easily ended up in this mess up to his eyeballs. Bill was a member of the National Guard before he retired. He was what is known as a Title X Guardsman, serving at the pleasure of the governor of Arkansas. However, because he was Title X, he was “federalized” and basically was paid and functioned as if he was a regular Army soldier. He was simply paid from a different pot of money and dealt with different promotion procedures.

A screen grab from the video below…

Here in Germany, people are taking notice of our stupid president’s antics. Check out this funny news spoof. It’s in German, but you can follow if you try. There’s some English in it, too.

He’s totally humiliating and embarrassing Americans everywhere with this non-stop hateful bullshit.

And finally, I had a good chuckle at what one person’s response was to Melania Trump’s plea for everyone to be peaceful…

Ha ha ha… 3rd Lady! This is too funny! People are fucking fed up with the Trumps. I know I am.

It really feels like the universe is violently doing its best to put things in balance this year. What’s next? Massive floods a la Noah’s Ark?

Standard
musings

Tantrums and “fightin’ words”…

Yesterday afternoon, as winds blew fiercely through our ‘hood, I got bored and started checking out YouTube. Someone uploaded a video of a young girl having a massive tantrum back in 2016 (or possibly earlier).

I don’t know why, but I started watching this… and quite clearly heard the other girl, apparently filming all of this for posterity, say “Fuck you!” while their mom was outside of the car. Mom buckles the girl into her seat and they start heading for home as the child continues to wail and flail. At one point, the other girl yells that her sister has somehow hurt her, and she yells at her little sister to “get off her”.

I know it’s kind of rotten of me, but I laughed pretty hard when the girl said “Fuck you.” It’s as if she’s heard it a lot of times and it means nothing more than a childish oath to her, like “buzz off” or “go suck an egg.” My guess is that the older child either watches a lot of cable TV or has frequently heard older people say that. I decided to share the video with friends because, honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d heard her clearly. Had she really said “Fuck you!” on camera? Yep… she had!

I couldn’t help but remember what it was like for me when I was that age. I HATED seatbelts with a fiery passion when I was a child, even though in those days, they were just lap belts in the back seat and we were not required by law to use them. I hated riding up front especially, on the occasions I was forced to wear a seatbelt (which wasn’t that often, really), because the shoulder belt would always hit me in the face. I remember throwing tantrums whenever I was required to buckle up– usually by my dad, who was sometimes a stickler for safety and always wore his seatbelt, but was inconsistent about making me wear them. Usually, he’d make me wear one if he was feeling especially controlling. Mom was the same way, although she generally would rather let me go unrestrained than listen to me scream, cry, and yell. How times have changed!

Another thing that struck me was that if I had ever thrown a tantrum like that, especially at that age, my dad would have really given me something to cry about. And if I had said the word “fuck” in front of him, particularly at that age, there would have been a beating. I’m not exaggerating about that. My dad hated swear words, even though he spent over 20 years in the Air Force.

Bill once made him turn seven shades of red when he explained the expression “Charlie Foxtrot” to him. Dad was unaware that it was a euphemism for “cluster fuck”. Bill whispered, “You know, Sir… ‘cluster fuck’.” My father looked like he was going to pass out right there on the spot. I think he didn’t like swearing because his father cursed a lot, and my dad didn’t have a good relationship with his dad. So anytime someone cursed– even my mom– he’d get uncomfortable or even upset. And unfortunately, I have always enjoyed cussing, so I sometimes got in trouble for dropping four letter words. Dad would usually respond in a physical way or lecture me about how unladylike/unrefined/”lazy” cursing is. (I don’t agree that it’s any of those things, and I don’t let men tell me what to do anymore. I have a great vocabulary. I simply enjoy cussing.)

When he was angry, my dad could be very scary. His face would turn beet red and he’d lose control. Then he’d take out his rage on my tender ass. I remember one time, I said “Hey! You! Shut the **** up!” and he was in the next room. It was something I’d heard on TV and I thought it was funny. I hadn’t even said the word “fuck” , and he came over and knocked me upside the head. Then he yelled at me, causing me to want to keep saying “fuck” over and over again. I generally hated my dad when he disciplined me in that manner. Years later, I still deeply resent him for hitting me. The last time he did it, I was almost 21 years old. I told him if he ever laid a finger on me again, I would have him arrested for assault and battery. I meant it, too. Anyone who hits me now better kill me.

Them’s fightin’ words… better watch your step when you use them.

As you can see, I learned nothing from those discipline sessions. I still use the word “fuck” with wild abandon. I never understood why it was such a big deal not to use it. I think most “taboo” words are stupid. Yes, it’s important not to use language to hurt other people, but by and large, they’re mainly just words. I’m much more concerned about the intent behind using certain words than I am the words themselves. The child in the above video said the word “fuck”, but it didn’t come across to me that she was being truly hateful. She was simply annoyed by her little sister’s outburst. She probably didn’t even know what “fuck” means.

This is what Bill says to me…

I think if I were that girl’s mom, I might have her look up the word “fuck” and use it properly in a sentence. Then, I’d tell her to be more careful about when and where she uses that word, and consider whether or not it’s the word she really wants to use in any given situation. Because… when it comes down to it, some words are “fightin’ words”, and if you use them in the wrong place or in front of the wrong person, you could really come to regret it. On the other hand, I say this not as a mother myself. As irritated as that mom sounds as her other child is filming, I give her credit for not exploding. She seems upset at first, but then calms down and drives the girls home, even though the younger child is still freaking out. Some might debate whether or not she should have kept driving during the girl’s fit, but my guess is that the mom just wanted to be in her home, rather than a hot car. I also wonder if she knows all of this is on the Internet for the world to see.

And this is my response.

Looking on YouTube, I see that there are a lot of videos of children having tantrums. I guess some people are amazed by them and start filming, then can’t resist sharing them with the world. It makes me glad YouTube didn’t exist when I was a small child, although I’ll admit, sometimes tantrum videos are fascinating, funny, and/or disturbing. Personally, I think it’s very risky to share such things online, but that’s probably because of my social work training.

I do think that tantrums need to be addressed in children, although it’s best to do that when the parent is somewhat calm. Otherwise, the child can grow up to behave like this woman…

There’s no telling what led up to this outburst… It was widely publicized a few years ago and I think I read that these two eventually broke up.

I wonder what led this guy to film his wife. I guess she had a habit of freaking out like this, because otherwise, why would he be prepared? He thinks it’s funny, which, of course, makes things much worse. On the other hand, I can’t blame him for laughing at his wife because she does look and sound ridiculous. As I wrote the other day, when someone is making a scene, it’s not the calm one who is going to be stared at and judged. And that’s certainly true in this case, although I’m sure some people probably think the guy is a jerk for filming his wife and laughing at her. God bless him, though…

This behavior in me would probably prompt Bill to shop for ballgags. Fortunately, I did eventually outgrow tantrums, even if I never outgrew swearing. Either way, I prefer swearing to physical violence.

Standard
mental health

Being unlikeable isn’t always a bad thing…

This morning, Bill and I listened to James Taylor’s new Audible book together. The book, called Break Shot: My First 21 Years, is all about James Taylor’s first 21 years of life, the time before he was famous. I wrote about Break Shot the other day, before Bill had a chance to listen to it with me. I wanted Bill to hear it, since I related to so much of it and I figured he would, too.

After the book was over, we had a conversation about this pressure many people feel to be “liked”. Bill is a very likable person. He’s kind, generous, friendly, thoughtful, respectful, and decent. I, on the other hand, am not always likable. I have a tendency to be loud, opinionated, profane, annoying, disrespectful, and unfriendly. However, one thing I have noticed is that while I may not have tons of friends, the ones I do have tend to be high quality people who treat me well. Bill, on the other hand, has some good friends, but he also tends to attract people who try to take advantage of him. Those people might be “friendly” and “nice” to him to his face, but then they would roll all over him.

Several times in his life, he’s found himself a doormat to others who were willing to make a scene. Or he’d do favors for people who probably didn’t deserve the consideration. More than once, I’ve witnessed him helping people who don’t appreciate his efforts and even criticize him when he doesn’t do exactly what they wanted. It seemed to be lost on those people that he was doing them a favor– he could have just as easily told them to fuck off. In fact, I probably would have, in a less profane way. Bill gave up a lot to those people because he couldn’t stand the idea of not being at peace. It was easier to give in to his ex wife when she did crazy things than put his foot down and say no. It was easier to be apologetic and understanding to other abusive people in his life than demand that they treat him fairly, or not take advantage of his good nature. I have often joked with him that he needs to develop a resting bitch face more like mine.

I’ve always thought it was curious that my husband, who would bravely and willingly go off to war, would be so quick to let things slide on the domestic front. Having gotten to know him for the past twenty years, I can see where he’s learned to be so accommodating. Bill’s parents are also extremely nice, likable people who don’t like strife and hate disappointing other people. My parents, on the other hand, were a lot less willing to put up with abuse from others. They didn’t mind having enemies, and they taught me that having enemies isn’t the end of the world.

I think Bill and I are very compatible because we even out each other. He’s made me feel less depressive and angry, and I have prompted him to be more willing to stand up for himself. I have tried to teach him that it’s better to have a few genuine friends than a lot of people who “like” you, but feel no compunction about screwing you over. I’ve also tried to show him that it’s not the end of the world if someone has a public meltdown. In fact, I even told him about a book I read some years ago where this point was illustrated. The book was called Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy People at 35,000 Feet. Written by flight attendant, Heather Poole, it was an entertaining collection of anecdotes about working in the airline industry. I wouldn’t have thought I would take a nugget of wisdom from a book like hers, but sure enough I did. Here is the pertinent excerpt from the book:

What is the wisdom I gleaned from this anecdote? A man was being abusive to a flight attendant who was simply trying to do her job. When she corrected him in an assertive way, he became even more belligerent and abusive and said “fuck you” to her. He probably figured the flight attendant would back off and maybe even offer him a free drink to calm him down. Instead, she leaned over and whispered “fuck you” right back to him. He then proceeded to completely lose control and was escorted off the aircraft. Who was the loser in that situation? It certainly wasn’t the flight attendant. She kept her cool and said “Buh bye.” to the guy as he was dragged off the plane. Do you think she cares if the guy who said “fuck you” to her thinks she’s a bitch? I highly doubt it.

Was what the flight attendant did something a “nice”, “likable” person would do? No, not particularly… but I’ll bet that profane passenger thought twice about using abusive language when speaking to a flight attendant on his next airline experience. The moral of the story is, if someone makes a “scene”, it’s not the end of the world. As embarrassing as scenes can be, it’s helpful to keep in mind that if someone makes a scene, other people aren’t going to be looking at the person who is calm and mortified. They’ll be looking at and probably judging the person who is making a scene. They’re the ones who are out of control, not you. Adults are expected to be in control of their own behavior, and you can’t control anyone’s behavior but your own. If someone thinks you’re a bitch or an asshole for standing up for yourself, they’re not worthy of your company.

I am a firm believer that you have to teach people how to treat you. That doesn’t mean being mean, nasty, or rude; it means being assertive and having the courage to stand up for yourself. Of course, it’s wise to pick your battles. Some fights are simply not worth the effort. However, if someone is being an asshole, it’s not wrong to call them out. People have called me out before and, fortunately, I have matured enough to take an honest look at myself and apologize when I behave badly. Everybody behaves badly sometimes, and being apologetic when it’s warranted never killed anyone. But neither has standing your ground when it’s warranted.

Bill struggles with wanting to be liked. He grew up with little conflict. He and his mom are very close and rarely fought with each other. He saw less of his dad when he was growing up, but when he was with him, there also wasn’t much fighting. Bill has a huge, sympathetic heart and he loves to please people. He’s one of the most service oriented people I know. It truly brings him joy to help others, especially when they appreciate his efforts. I, on the other hand, grew up in a family where there was a lot of fighting and selfishness. I certainly didn’t enjoy the fights and, to this day, I get really upset when people yell at me. I can remember having panic attacks when my parents and sisters fought with me. However, because I had those conflicts, I think I’m less concerned about ruffling feathers than Bill is. I know it won’t kill anyone if I piss them off. If they’re reasonable people, they’ll eventually get over it and we’ll repair the relationship with strengthened boundaries. If they’re not reasonable, then the relationship is worth letting go. Not everyone is worthy of being a friend. The older I get, the less time I have for people who aren’t reasonable and decent. I have NO time for abusive, unreasonable people anymore.

So, while we were digesting James Taylor’s early life story together, Bill and I were discussing what we took from the Audible. Somehow, we segued into talking about situations in which Bill has often found himself. It may be unbelievable to those who have never met him, but he is one of the kindest, most understanding, genuinely loving people I have ever met. I look at him every day and can’t believe my luck. He’s willing to give so much… to a fault, really. He’s already been through hell when he was dealing with his greedy ex wife, who separated him from his children, tried to ruin his relationship with his parents, and demanded that he give her much more than she was entitled to. He’s survived that experience and is now thriving. I was with him every step of the way. I remember telling him that this shit with his ex wife was temporary and that he’d come out of it a survivor. And he has. He doesn’t tolerate her abuse anymore, either.

Ditto to when Bill went to war in Iraq with an abusive colonel who played mind games with him, demanded all of his time and energy, and did everything he could to humiliate him. Think Donald Trump in a uniform– completely narcissistic, uncaring about other people’s needs, and selfish. Someone finally stood up to that colonel. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Bill who took a stand, but that guy finally did get his comeuppance in the form of a very embarrassing and public firing weeks before he had been planning to pin on as a brigadier general. It was very satisfying to watch that guy’s career go down in flames, knowing the way he regularly treated the people under him, especially while they were in a war zone.

I remember taking calls from Bill when he was in Iraq. He told me his boss reminded him of his abusive ex wife. I knew it was really bad when he compared his boss to his ex. Fortunately, Bill is now thriving after that experience, but it took some time to undo the mind fuckery. And years later, when that abusive colonel wanted to add Bill on Linked In, Bill felt fine about ignoring the request. That guy wasn’t someone who deserved to be in Bill’s life, even if ignoring the request felt like a “mean” thing to do. Bill established boundaries and enforced them. He’s looking after his own interests, as every wise person should. It’s noble to want to help people, but even in a plane crash, you’re told to put on your own oxygen mask first before trying to help other people.

We’ll have other challenges ahead of us that will require backbone and assertiveness. But we’ve already survived a hell of a lot. Sometimes it’s scary to be “unlikable”, to rock the boat and ruffle feathers, and to take a stand. But we’ve already survived so much. If someone doesn’t like us for standing up for ourselves when it’s warranted, that’s their problem.

I often run into people who don’t like me, especially in the military community. There’s often an undercurrent of misogyny in military circles. I’ve seen it directed toward female service members, but I’ve especially seen it toward wives of service members. Women who are “dependas”– overweight, uneducated, entitled women who sit on their asses and spend their husband’s paychecks are frowned upon, of course. But so are educated women who refuse to shut up and color and dare to speak up when someone is abusive. In fact, in some ways, the educated women get even worse treatment and less respect. It’s usually from insecure men who can’t stand the idea that a woman might make him look stupid. Of course, there are a lot of people like Bill in the military, too. Some service members are true heroes in every sense of the word. But some are abusive and disrespectful to everyone they think will take it without a fuss. I’m less likable because I protest when people are shitty to me, and I don’t mind speaking my mind. Could I be more likable by sitting quietly in a corner? Sure… but what’s the payoff? Someone who pulls a jock strap over my face? No thanks… I don’t want to be liked by that type of person, anyway.

Sometimes being too accommodating really stinks…

You may not like me. Lots of people don’t. Plenty of people find me annoying on many levels. Those who know and take the time to understand me usually find out that I’m not a bad person at all. I have my good points and my bad points. I don’t suffer fools and I don’t tolerate a lot of bullshit. But I’m a good and loyal friend to those who deserve it and can tolerate my idiosyncrasies. I may not be as “likable” as Bill is, but I also don’t tend to be crapped on by people for very long. When people crap on me, I tend to answer in kind somehow. If I were more like Bill, I doubt our marriage would survive because there would be no end to fending off people who want to take advantage… especially Bill’s ex wife. He needs a partner who will call bullshit and risk being in the dog house without being abusive and exploitative. In that sense, I think we’re perfect for each other.

But I would never be cruel enough to use liquid heat on someone’s jockstrap. That’s truly a “dick” move.

Those who would like to read Heather Poole’s book can follow the Amazon link. I am an Amazon Associate, so if you purchase through my site, I will get a small commission from Amazon. But there’s never any pressure. I share these books because I think they’re worth reading.

Standard