Hard Things are Hard

Yesterday I did something that I never expected to have to do. I cut loose someone very important to me. I won’t go into details, but it’s been an act that I’ve been musing on for some time.

That time doesn’t make it easier.

We make decisions everyday that change our lives. We constantly face crossroads, deals with the devil and appeals to our better nature. The worst part is that you rarely know that you’re there at the time. It’s not until later where you realize “hey, turning left instead of right sent me far from where I meant to go. This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. How did I get here?” Or “turning left was one of the best decisions that I ever made.”

And some decisions are harder than others. Some of them you know will change your life. Some of them are failures. Sometimes the decision is not turning at all, but letting fear and indecisiveness freeze you in place. Every action has a consequence, and not choosing is still a choice. I avoided choosing for a long time, but I finally did it.

We’ll see if I chose the right path. Right now I just feel hollow. Not good or bad. More like an emptiness. I feel spent. The choice took all of my spoons.

But I’d probably do it again. Part of being an adult is doing what has to be done.

Being an adult is hard.

In honor of the 5th anniversary of my fiance’s death, her collected works is now available for FREE for 5 days. Val was an extraordinary writer, the best that I’ve ever known. Please share in her work and my love by picking up her story collection.

valerie cover

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Family Music

I remember.

I was a child, later an adult. Every holiday we gathered at my aunt’s house, taking in the scent of all the delicious Gramma food in the kitchen: chicken or turkey, kugel, chopped stringbeans, matzoh ball soup, all a beautiful blend of tradition that made me remember the Old Country that I never knew.

My Old Country is the Bronx. That’s all I have. No shtetls, no pogroms, no Holocaust. I only heard of those from my Gramma, and thank goodness I never had to live through them.

And we had music.

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To Catch a Predator

On Sunday my cousin sent me a screenshot of a “conversation” between her and a facebook friend of mine. Then she sent me a half dozen others from her friends that have also been harassed by this guy.

They were disgusting, the foulest of the foul.

At first, I was tempted to publicly out the guy. He’s a local and people deserve to know. It’s the modern equivalent of the public stocks. But I found that everybody in my county already knew. I was the last, or near the last.

I went to grade school with him and he was one of my bullies. About 13 years ago he tried to break me and my girlfriend up. I showed up at his parents’ house, where he lived and still lives in their basement, and “convinced” him to stop harassing her. I’m not so easily bullied anymore (no, I didn’t beat him up, but when an angry 6 foot, 280 pound man shows up at your door, you back down). But I saw him a couple of years ago at a party, and he seemed changed. I allowed him to add me as a facebook friend.

He’s been collecting facebook friends and harassing women that he found through his “friends.” He used me to get to two of my cousins and a couple of friends.

Because of my history, I was added to a group that’s collecting information and screenshots of his gross, angry, and threatening texts to present to the police. I’m glad to be a part of it.

I’m disgusted at how many incidents there were. Dozens of people posted their interactions. Some of them are underage (the guy is 40, the same age as I am). The police said not to out him, because some predators get off on the attention (eww), or it moves them to more aggressive measures. I don’t know if this is the police protecting him (his best friend is a local cop and his parents are heavily involved in the community, and police are infamous at dragging their feet on harassment claims due to the ambiguous laws around them), but I hope that they will act. There’s too much evidence.

Some of the messages are to women out of the state. I don’t know the law, but does this make it a federal issue too?

I am far from perfect. I admit that I’ve thought and done creepy things in the past, though nothing on this level. I can’t change the past, and now I’m doing all that I can to make amends.

Being a man in our patriarchal society molds you a certain way from childhood on, and no matter how good you try to be, you are conditioned to think and act “like a man.” I think that bell hooks said it best:

“The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem.”

In other words: if you don’t “act like a man” and circumcise your emotions besides acceptable ones like lust and anger, you’ll be beaten down until you comply. The shit splashes on all of us, and we either don’t notice or we accept it. Hell, some people roll around in it.

Consider how many women had to come forward before people believed that Bill Cosby should be charged. How many have accused the president (including admission in his own words, like that he walked into the dressing room at the Miss Teen USA pageants). How many have accused Roy Moore, but he still leads in the polls. Nine women accused him. That’s not enough. To those circumcised by the patriarchy, a women’s word isn’t even worth 1/9th of a man’s.

I want to make amends, and while it starts with admission, it continues with nailing this motherfucker. He attacked my family, he attacked my friends, he attacked children, he attacked people I don’t know but know that they didn’t deserve it.

I’m fighting back.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress against Frankie Fuckboy.

doge in space card redux

 

 

Happy 40th Birthday Val

Friday would have been my fiance Valerie’s 40th birthday. She passed away suddenly on January 24th, 2013.

It still haunts me. I don’t think that you ever get over something like that. I don’t think you should.

I visited the grave, as I do every other month or so. I brought her a cake. I sang Happy Birthday and left a toy on her grave, this time a Wonder Woman figure. It suits her.

I know that it means nothing to her. How could it? If she could talk, she would tell me to stop. She’d tell me to let go.

Fuck letting go.

Trying to Escape Social Media

I read an article the other day, and there have been several derivatives on it now, that says that too much social media is increasing depression and mental health in teens. I wonder what it is doing to the rest of us.

I’ve become addicted to facebook. I constantly have to check it, even if it’s the same posts over and over. Why do I do this? Maybe I’m addicted to input, I need new info at all times. That’s fine, but taking in info without time to process it away from the computer is not.

I want to break away so bad, or at least cut back. So that’s my thanksgiving resolution (no need to wait till New Year’s).

I tried this in august after the car accident. I told my friends that I was cutting back, and wouldn’t be chatting as much. I needed to look after my health. And the other day, when I came back and contacted someone, I got a guilt trip for it. Suddenly I’m not allowed to take a break. People demand to hear from me. And I’m not that important.

So maybe I need to cut all the way back. For my health. For my productivity. Or maybe I’m just tired of the bullshit. I’m tired of feeling like shit, and if social media is doing it, it has to go.

cosmic-cat-tripping-balls-redux

Ketchup, You Devil

As some of you know, I went on a long journey from close to 400 lbs to 230, though I’ve bounced back up to 245. I’m incredibly frustrated that I can’t drop back down to 230 (my goal is actually 220). Last year I visited my father in Las Vegas for Thanksgiving. I was 232 before I left. I stayed there a week. My next weigh in at the doctor had me at 244. Since then I’ve been hovering in that 240-245 area.

I thought about how my diet has changed in the past year, and what I’ve been doing differently. My sodium and calorie intake is up (I started adding ham instead of fat free cheese to my massive veggie egg monster in the morning) and I’ve been using more hot sauce, since I’m losing my sense of taste. My exercise level is about the same, but after the car accident in august, I went about a month with no exercise and a lot of stress eating from the pain, mostly chinese food and pizza.

pizza rat won

Ok, those are obvious things that I can change. But there was something secret and insidious that I never thought of.

Ketchup.

I’ve been dumping ketchup on everything. I thought that it would be healthier for me than my usual condiments because it’s lower in sodium. I never looked at the calories.

Holy shit, it’s a calorie bomb. One tbsp is 20 calories loaded with sugar.   Since I have big, veggie-loaded meals, I add a lot of it. I figure that I’m adding 80-100 calories per meal in ketchup alone. Three meals a day and you get the idea.

pikachu ketchup

That’s it. I’m swearing off you, Red Devil.

Back to Tabasco sauce 😉

guinea pig card

War on Thanksgiving?

November 1st, my next door neighbor put up her Christmas decorations.

I love Christmas. It’s a great holiday, and even though I’m of a different religion, I embrace it, falling into the metaphorical melting pot that is the foundation of American culture. I say Merry Christmas. I watch Christmas movies like Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas (best Christmas movie evar!!!!) I write about Santa Claus and his New York roots. I celebrate with my Christian friends. I don’t get upset when people wish me “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Hannukah.” I understand that my people are a small population (even in New York), and I don’t expect people to include me in their reindeer games. It’s about the sentiment, not the accuracy.

November 1st, my next door neighbor put up her Christmas decorations.

What about Thanksgiving? Where are the “Happy Thanksgiving” signs and the cornucopias? Where are the turkeys drawn by spreading out your hand? Where’s the stuffing? Where’s the cranberry sauce. How did we lose an entire holiday?

And this isn’t just a minor holiday. Thanksgiving is one of the big ones. It’s turkey and family and football and listening to Alice’s Restaurant on the radio (the whole thing…Did I mention that I come from a family of hippies?). It’s also a holiday where I don’t have to sublimate my religion to celebrate it. It’s a national holiday, not a religious one.

I love Christmas decorations, but there is a time and place for everything. Thanksgiving comes first.

btw: said neighbor always wishes me “Merry Christmas.” She knows that I’m Jewish. I just smile and nod. I’m sure she means well.

doge in space card redux