Letting Go.

A woman once suggested that if we complain enough that the Universe will eventually give us what we need, or at least give us the tools and resources to get what we need. In my experience, it seems that you have to do a lot of loud complaining in order for this to happen, but it does happen.

Please allow me to ramble a bit.

I’d been looking for a way to get out of a toxic friendship for a long time. I’d tried many times in the past to leave but ended up being manipulated into staying. I’ve known this woman for years and at one point was convinced that I was in love with her.  I met her a short time after I came out. She expressed interest, so what the hey, I thought.  Let’s see what this whole dating thing is about.

She had a boyfriend who was “okay” with the idea of her seeing another woman. I don’t think she was honest there, because I don’t think he was ever really “okay” with the whole thing.  That’s the vibe I got, anyway.  In the time we were “together” we were rarely intimate. Most of the time we were together, she spent talking about her boyfriend. DO I KNOW HOW TO PICK THEM OR WHAT?

She married the boyfriend, got knocked up, shit out a kid and then her quirky behavioral personality things went off the charts. Terms like schizoaffective disorder and PTSD were thrown out. She moved out-of-state.   I was done.

She got divorced, I figured, “cool, it can finally be just the two of us..”  Wrong. She immediately started hunting for a brand new male companion. I was, as always, chopped liver, unless she needed a ride to her occult stores or a trip to a graveyard or something.  Ultimately, she ended up moving in with a dude two hours south of here.  I got married.   She got pissed when I didn’t want to revisit what we had.

We drove down to Eugene last summer to bring her up to see a movie at the Clinton Street Theater and she was overmedicated and slept through it, which was irritating. That particular day I had been looking forward to seeing her.  There wasn’t much catching up to be done because she was out of it.

Cut to this year: she came to town when The Damned played the Crystal Ballroom. I love The Damned.  I’ve loved The Damned forever. They are one of my favorite bands and I very much wanted to be up front for this show.  I was dreading going with her to this show, because I knew that a.) she’d require all of my attention, b.) she’d require that I do whatever she wanted, etc.   Luckily for me, I’ve been in therapy for the past couple of years and have finally learned to look after myself and ask for what I need.

As I expected, she didn’t want to be up front for the show, but I did. She wasn’t pleased at my idea of her going to the balcony for the show, while J and I were up front. J didn’t want to be up front either, so okay, cool. They can balcony and I can be up front.  Hooray.   All parties are happy? Doubtful. We got to the Crystal Ballroom early, as we had purchased VIP tickets, which included a meet and greet, etc. I sprung for her to do the VIP Meet and Greet (because I wanted to do it and it would be a shitty thing to ditch her) so there you go. After the meet and greet, she slipped on the stairs and almost fell down the stairs. J caught her and she didn’t fall, thankfully.

In an attempt to kill time, we walked over to Everyday Music and met another person from the meet and greet and started chatting.  We ended up bonding and hanging with her the rest of the evening.   This toxic friend of mine spent most of the evening talking about herself and I got the sense that she didn’t like that I was paying attention to someone else.

In the weeks after the show, she’d posted some pro-Trump shit on her social media page.  To be honest, she’d been doing this for a while.  She wholeheartedly supports the president and all the right-wing shit he stands for. There was something that I commented on, in a snarky manner or something and she told me not to engage on her page.  So, out of respect, I didn’t.

Cut to June.  Her son was coming to visit her and she wanted to know if I wanted to get together.

My therapist and I had been discussing a way to sever ties and end the relationship.  My therapist suggested that based on her behavior she might have Borderline Personality Disorder and, if that’s the case, there’s no getting out of it without setting off a nuclear bomb. “It’s probably best,” she said, “to tiptoe out of the relationship.”

So that was what I was working on.  The Universe, however, had different plans.

She sent me a message:

Her: <Redacted> will be here June 27th to July 7. We’ll be in <Place> the 3rd and 4th of July like usual. I don’t know if that’s enough time. One question tho: The political stuff. Can we keep it where we don’t engage? Because everything I see you post I don’t agree with.

I interpreted her question to mean “stop posting political crap.”  I could be wrong about that, but that’s how I interpreted it at the time.  I sent the following:

Me: I am not sure what my schedule will be like that time. I am taking classes this summer on top of work. The new term starts that week and I’m not sure what it’s going to be like. I hope, regardless of whether or not we’re able to get together, that you have an amazing time with <Redacted>.

With regard to your question: I have spent the greater part of my life censoring myself for the comfort of other people and refuse to do that any longer. You have requested that I not engage on your page. I have done my best to comply with that. Perhaps I need clarification on what you mean. I interpret your question and statement to mean that you are requesting that I not post political things on my own page? (I don’t recall doing this when we met up last, but If I did, I apologize. It’s reflexive sometimes.) If this is so, I do not tell you to not post pro-Trump/conservative things on your page and expect the same courtesy. If you can not extend this courtesy to me, perhaps it’s a sign that as we’ve aged our values are too different for the friendship to continue.

To which she brought up that she didn’t care what I posted, but she felt like she lost a friend. “Years ago, people didn’t even ask who you were voting for,” she lamented. “They didn’t discuss politics or religion.”

I was at work at this point and my lunch break was over.  So, I left the conversation.  When I checked it on my break (a few hours later), I saw more messages. To summarize, she thought of me “like a sister” and  how could I throw away this long friendship over political differences.   Then, she hoped to see Trump in office for 8 years and that I should fight my ‘resistance’ for nothing.

I wanted out of the toxic relationship and was looking for the safest way to do so, looking for a way that I could preserve my boundaries and keep myself in tact.  The Universe, apparently, sought to give me this opportunity.  I didn’t have to tiptoe (though I was prepared to) and I didn’t have to set off any sort of nuclear bombs.   Though, she did email me an angry email in which she referred to me as a “snowflake” and told me how shitty it was to toss her out ‘like street trash.’

Though it was tempting, I  did not respond.

She wrote me today, again.  I will not respond.  I’ve blocked her and set up email rules so she goes to spam. I’m finally done with this toxic relationship after all of these years and it feels liberating.

I am told that I can expect to receive messages from her periodically, but eventually they may go away.   I guess we’ll see.

 

 

 

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A Clusterfuck..

As a child, we frequently sat in the basement of my grandparent’s house and watched slide shows. My father and my grandparents would tell me stories about random vacations, funny anectdotes, etc. In those slides, my father would show his slides of concerts he went to. Alice Cooper’s ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’ tour and KISS and things like that. I was immediately intrigued by the theatrics and the gimmick.

A few years ago, while flipping through J’s Terrorizer magazine, I see this piece about a band from Sweden. There stood a man with a ghastly face, dressed as a black pope, surrounded by five hooded figures. “Who the fuck is this band?” I asked.

“That’s Ghost,” I am told. “I hear good things, but I haven’t actually listened yet. They’re totally on the list.”

A week later, we lose power in the middle of cooking dinner. So we venture outward. On the radio, some lady interviews ‘A Nameless Ghoul’ and then ‘Year Zero’ comes on. Instant cartoon hearts. A male chorus kicks in with “Belial, Behemoth, Beelzebub / Asmodeus, Satanas, Lucifer…” a pause and then boom! It was dramatic. It was dark and yet not what I was expecting. Not in the least.

I was excited about music for the first time in a very long time. There were bands that I had discovered and enjoyed thoroughly and it kills me to say this, truly, but they didn’t have the same effect on me that Ghost did. It’s kind of like when you fall in love: your heart beats a little faster when you see that person, your stomach prepares for Olympic Gymnastic tryouts, everything feels electric, your knees turn to pudding and you melt into a pile of goop.

I was in love with Ghost.

I loved what Ghost represented. There was mystery. There was a solid concept. There was a demonstration of thought and care that had gone into the formation, which isn’t really seen that much these days. When I saw Ghost for the first time, I pondered what it was like for my dad to see KISS or Alice Cooper for the first time. Though he’s been gone for (holy fuck!) almost six years, I felt connected to him again. Would I have been able to, despite the imagery and lyrics, sway him over to Ghost? I really wish I had had the chance. The madid love rock ‘n’ roll.

We saw them live.  It was October 2015. We saw them at the Roseland Theater.  Between watching each Ghoul play, each with his own mannerisms, body language and flourishes and watching Papa Emeritus captivate an entire audience was somehow otherworldly. Their performance was tight. It was flawless.

We traveled to Vegas (in which I learned that there is a clinic in the McCarran airport if you need antibiotics and shit, which is very, very helpful.   Also, don’t go to Vegas if you have Bronchitis. I digress.)

What was most amazing, though, about this band was how wonderful their fans were.  In L.A., I was shocked at how kind their fans were.  People saved our spot when we had to step away. We returned the favor. I’ve met some amazing people in the Ghost fan groups and am very thankful for the friendships/acquaintances that I’ve met.

In recent months, there have been rumors that Papa Emeritus (I,II,III) had fired the Nameless Ghouls and replaced them with other musicians.  As fans, we agonized over whether or not the rumors were true.  Sure, the ghouls were ‘nameless’ but had been given names (Alpha, Omega, Air, Earth, Water, Aether).  Beneath their masks and costumes, we connected with them. We adored them.    As it turns out, the rumors were true.

Most can go on loving the band without issue.

“I’m with papa!”

“I’ll support papa!”

#StandwithHim

#ZOMGPapa

I am..heartbroken. I am conflicted.

As a person who doesn’t see things in black and white, as a person with enough empathy for everyone, I’m struggling with this.  I still love the music.  But humans are fallible and let things like greed and egos get in the way of truly being great.

My opinion means precisely jack and shit, I recognize.  I wanted Ghost to be better, above the petty drama and the bullshit. It was, to me, something else entirely. The way Bowie was. The way Trent Reznor was to me. Ghost was, as ridiculous as it may sound, a tiny spot of light in a very dark world. I desperately hoped they wouldn’t follow the likes of KISS, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Van Halen, Queensryche, and so on and so forth (there are countless examples out there). Here we are, though.

Not being involved, I’m not sure who is right or wrong or if both sides are wrong.  What I do know is that the mystique is gone.  I don’t really care about the identities. We all knew there were people under the masks and they, in reality, had names beyond ‘Nameless Ghoul’ or their designated element. These are human beings, of course.  For me, the heartbreak comes with the idea that these individuals have a personal and professional relationship and that this bond is so easily discarded.  If this was truly a partnership, the band’s direction should have been discussed openly.

Look, I’m not in a band, nor will I ever be.  But I’ve dealt with a lot of people in my lifetime. Not always a pleasant experience, but you do what you can. It’s not always rainbows and kittens.  Sometimes it’s a motherfucker of a shit sandwich that you have to smother in ranch dressing just to make it edible. Sometimes you have to put your ego aside. Sometimes you have to be willing to be flexible and willing to compromise. But fuck, what do I know? Social interactions are weird for me.

I suspect that all parties will end up having regrets one day. Papa will maybe regret how things were handled and alienating his band.  Perhaps the ghouls will also regret how things were handled. I am saddened at the possibility that there was some sort of disrespect or lack of consideration for this group of men with this personal/professional relationship. 

On a bright note, though, there are new music projects to listen to. Priest and Magna Carta Cartel are very promising.  There are other side projects.  New music. I’m a sucker for new music.

While I still love Ghost’s music, even with the best possible outcome of this drama,  I will never view them the same.  Dammit.

Click here to read about the Ghost Lawsuit (Identities revealed).

Well, Shit.

I’ve been tasked with writing something positive about myself daily.  At least, I think that’s what my counselor wants me to do.  But I’m stubborn. When you’ve quite figuratively been raised to think you are less than scum, not worthy of the attention/affection/time of other people, it’s hard to suddenly have to see yourself positively.   I’m struggling with it, but I’m trying.

 

Fuck.

Fuck.

Goddamn it.

Fine. Here goes nothing.

 

 

I have an incredible work ethic.

 

 
There you go. Something positive.

Frustration. Anguish. A Wake Up Call?

Well, it’s official. I’m diabetic. When my father passed away, I said to myself: I’m not going down that road.  And here I am.  Just shy of four years later (has it been that long already? Fucking hell!) and SURPRISE! I’m walking down that fucking path. I am ridiculously fat and am now face with high blood pressure and the ‘betes.  I’m trying very hard not to kick myself (always easier said than done.)  I’ve gone through anger and denial and I think I’ve arrived at some sort of acceptance.

When I look at how much I weigh, it’s like standing in front of Mt. Everest with no friendly guides, no gear and saying, “Welp, Mountain, it’s just you and me. Holy. Fucking. Shit.”  But I’m learning that I can’t focus on that mountain.  If I want to have any success with taking off this weight and getting myself healthy, I’m going to need to start small.  I’m starting with baby steps. Step 1: reducing soda consumption.  This is huge for me. Soda was something that was always around at my house. My grandmother always kept it around.  (Alcoholics like to have mixers handy, you know.) So, yeah. I’ve consumed my fair share of soda.  In the past couple of weeks, however, I’ve significantly reduced my intake.  That leads to my next step.

Step 1b:  Eliminating soda altogether.  Eliminating junk food.  I love these things. This is hard.  It’s hard to get rid of 30+ years of bad behavior.  It’s hard to get rid of habits you’ve had since you were a child.   Goddamn.

Step 1c: Utilizing other sources of sugar (i.e. replacing candy with fruit, etc.)

Step 2: Finding activities that I enjoy and incorporating them. I took one Belly Dancing class, and it was a lot of fun (despite me being uncoordinated and feeling just a bit foolish), I would consider going back.  Also on my list: ballet, tap.  I loved those classes as a kid. Of course I was smaller and not so old. But they could be fun, right?  Ultimately, however, I’d love to get back to kickboxing.  The bootcamp was very challenging, but I also felt amazing (and oh the stress relief!  Being able to imagine the faces of those who cause chaos in your life on a bag and then punching that bag as hard and fast as you can?  Cartoon hearts.)  Additionally, there are a lot of trails near my house. We’ve been here for 4 years or so and I haven’t checked them out yet.  I think it’s about time I did.

My focus isn’t on losing weight. My focus is on developing healthy habits. My focus is on being mindful of how I feel. I’m going to have days where I eat like shit. I’ll have days where I won’t. I’m not going to worry about it.

A Lesson.

Take it from your pal, Nic. Don’t ever look for advice on the internet. Especially medical advice.  It’ll always end badly. ALWAYS.

Some additional food for thought: when the pharmacist hands you that sheet of literature for the pills you’re prescribed? Skim them, but don’t read them. You’ll end up with more questions and concerns and yadda yadda yadda.

That is all.

A Tale

I was eighteen, staring at the vast options in the ‘New Releases’ section of our neighborhood Blockbuster. It was a blustery Saturday night and I was decked out in the black trench coat my grandparents had given me for my birthday. I was in the middle of a ‘goth’ phase. I had been for awhile. I pieced my lip. Wore a lot of black. Dyed my hair blue-black (Clairol Nice and Easy  #124). Oh, yeah. I was overweight. I was the fat, pasty goth girl with the bad bottle job.  But, at the very least, I was semi-comfortable with myself. Or so I thought.

Would I rent a horror film? Would I rent a bad comedy, a guilty pleasure of sorts? I was deep in thought as I perused the shelf. I hadn’t seen the couple next to me. I happened to glance over at the man. He was orange, with a large nose, and he donned a Cosby sweater on PCP. He made eye contact, and nudged his girlfriend. “Hey, who the fuck let Uncle Fester spawn?”  He gestured at me.  His girlfriend let out a quiet giggle and gave him a quick ‘shush’.

In high school, a guy and his friends referred to me as ‘The Beast’.  My senior year, another random jackhole and his friends were laughing at my double chin. One would think that I would be used to the cruelty expressed by others.  It was the first time a stranger had ever been needlessly cruel. I called him a moron, but I wish I’d had a witty retort. I wish I’d had the courage to say something or call him out on his cruelty.

This was fourteen years ago. Though these wounds still hurt, they don’t hurt as bad. Things are getting better. They do get better.

 

Where to start?

It seems that I created this blog awhile ago and I let this slip by the wayside. I believe I had created this blog for my writing. I think I was going to use prompts to write stories at least once a day and maybe talk about other things. Since my father passed away in September, I’ve been shoved face first into a river of change. I’ve been evaluating many aspects of my life: health, education, career, etc. I was tested for food allergies and have since eliminated gluten, dairy and sugar from my diet. I’ve started kickboxing. I’ve also learned Transcendental Mediation.  I’m even going back to school this winter.

All that aside, I need to sit down and focus on writing. Please be patient with me as I figure out what/how I want to use this.