My Right to Say No

I have been harassed since November 25, 2017. It’s unnerving. This happened before when I was in high school. A boy I dated when I was 16 decided we were destined to be together forever wasn’t letting me go, so he followed me. Everywhere. He showed up at my school, my church, and in the town where I lived. At the time I was still with my parents, surrounded by more protection. It didn’t seem unsettling. Today, I see everything with merciless eyes.


None of this had to happen. I wasn’t in a relationship. So here’s the thing, if I decide I want to stop seeing someone I say so. And I did. No stringing it out, no rude remarks, and no yelling or breaking of objects. Mature adults. Oh, was I wrong. One-sided maturity. I was slapped in the face with a string of drunken texts claiming there were audio sex tapes. (Illegal alert) Days later I was threatened to be exposed for the vile woman I was and told I gave the man HIV. (He had flu-like symptoms.) During this time, he also had contacted a friend of mine and made verbal sexual advances toward her. (Illegal.)

The court ordered the defendant to pay restitution to the women and certified him as a sex offender. — Forbes

After doing some research I’m surprised by how common this is. Recording audio or video without consent is illegal. Nonconsensual Taping of Sex Partners Is a Crime.

As Stephanie’s Law and other unlawful surveillance statutes make clear, invasions of sexual privacy constitutes a crime. – Forbes

Harassment is a crime, as is slander and defamation of character.

Harassment Law and Legal Definition. Harassment is governed by state laws, which vary by state, but is generally defined as a course of conduct which annoys, threatens, intimidates, alarms, or puts a person in fear of their safety.

Harassment Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc.

If someone is threatening you, tell a friend, phone the police, get a lawyer involved. Don’t let anyone bully you. It’s alright to say no, and you should be free to walk away. There’s no voice without the ability to refuse, and the Almighty “NO!” Courage grows its roots in the choosing.


Want to read more? Check out Limitations, Boundaries, and those cute Picket Fences or Hope


Is Anyone Looking?

What would you do if there was no one watching? If there was no one to approve or disapprove? Would you dance? Would you draw? Laugh at stupid things? Spin in circles? I think I would run. I also miss hiking. I haven’t been in a few years. I enjoyed the trails. I would do that even if someone was watching. We pretend we don’t care what people think and maybe that’s true. I may not care, but I don’t like being stared at. And doing anything outlandish makes them stare. So I won’t run naked down the street.

Shame keeps us in hiding. What are you ashamed of? Cracked feet? Mold in your shower? Thoughts that keep you awake at night? The funny thing is that we all have these things. I’ve never been great at cleaning windows. Like most of us, it’s the least important item on my list. Sometimes not even making the list.

I had a house that I never once cleaned the windows. Friends came by and never noticed that the windows weren’t clean. The carpet was pretty, the kitchen was updated, and the walls were newly painted. They praised my upkeep. And I kept silent. Later we left that house, rented it to some folks who didn’t keep it clean. Complicated story but, the friends from before wanted to buy the house. They had fallen in love with it. It was in a nice location and it was a perfect size for them. Later after they moved in, they remarked how the renters had let the place go downhill. Even the windows were yucky. They must have never cleaned them, according to my friend. It took a bit of effort on my part to stay silent.

It feels so good to have a loved one come and say, it’s okay. That ugly thought you have is normal. The hateful feelings are normal. The embarrassment you have is normal. It’s all okay. We all have shame. We all have embarrassing things like dirty windows that we cover up. Some of us just cover a bit better than others. My advice, for what it’s worth, show off what you’re good at. Don’t worry about all the other stuff.

What If

What if we changed our culture? What if we no longer applauded great wealth at any cost? What if we applauded generosity, compassion, and forgiveness? Yes, it’s easy for me to say these things since I’m not wealthy, but I’m not alone in saying them.

Malcolm is targeting the systems we’ve built, the truths we hold so dear and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we can produce some more heroes. – Seth Godin in review of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book.

From ABC news –

At the age of 14, Hugh Evans spent a night with cockroaches crawling all over him. That experience turned out to be life-changing for Evans, now 30. Far removed from his comfortable home in Australia, he traveled to the Philippines with an aid organization that set him up with a host family. Their home was in Smokey Mountain, a teeming slum in Manila. A boy in the family, Sonny Boy, was the same age as Evans. The disparity between their lives struck him hard.

In some circles we have improved. But there are enough sub-pockets in our culture that keep the generosity movement bogged down. We are a generous nation and so are people all over the world. You can see groups which care about cleaning up oil spills, those concerned about animal endangerment, and many are helping provide clean water for those in need. But we need to start at the bottom, at the base of society. Our desires. Our ambitions. Our vision of ourselves. There is a level of crud and corrosion that we must clean or we will all drown. We envy and want great wealth because we are afraid. I am afraid. If I don’t get that job, that bonus, that raise, that particular car, I’m afraid I will starve. I will perish. I will not exist anymore. I feel jealous, unloved and abandoned. Over an iPhone that I didn’t get. It’s ridiculous. My whole mindset needs rearranged. I live in a rich country. So rich that I have never missed a meal because of lack. Others around me live the same and yet we feel poor because we don’t have cable television. Or internet. Or whatever latest gadget that someone else has.

There’s an experiment going on all across the world now, or I should say it’s a conversation. It’s called by a variety of names, but in essence it’s living at the poverty level for days or months, voluntarily.

The next post in the continuing frugal gastronomy series features a pair of schoolteacher-writers who gave themselves the toughest of all restrictions: All their food had to cost no more than $1 per day per person. Amazingly, if they invited guests over to eat, the guests’ food had to be covered by the $1 allotment. You’d have to really like the guest, I suppose.

Once again, I’ll repeat: Eating on a budget is not a contest; it’s a conversation.

Read more:

And the most famous instance is probably Ben Affleck and his challenge from April 29 through May 3, 2013.  Could you eat for $1.50 a day?

The challenge is simple: Agree to spend no more than $1.50 on your daily grub from April 29 to May 3. That figure represents “the accepted global figure used to define extreme poverty,” according to The Global Poverty Project, which created the challenge. – Live Below The Line

Some advice from Joe Vigil:

  • Practice abundance by giving back
  • Improve personal relationships
  • Show integrity to your value system
  • Eat like a poor person

Hair Happens!

Bad hair day
Bad hair day (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

While cleaning my bathroom floor, I was disgusted. I had hairs on the floor. Matted swirls of blonde hairs. How did I let that happen? Why do I not prevent that?

Is it possible to prevent a mess? Somewhere in my thinking I believed I was the only one who had hair on their bathroom floor.

I can still hear my family, “Janet, your hair is everywhere.” And, it was only my hair. No one else had hair that floated from room to room. My hair was errant in nature and very naughty. I don’t know how it became so naughty. And then suddenly, while I was on the bathroom floor no less, I realized, my hairs weren’t bad or evil or gross. They are just hair.

Everyone (mostly) has hair. We all have germs. Mine aren’t super alien strong germs either. My hair isn’t magically searching for some solid surface to glue and multiple itself on. It’s just freakin hair and it just freakin needs cleaned off of the floor.

Hair happens.

Dirt happens. Pain happens. Death happens and so does life. None of these things are preventable.

When I get on a roller-coaster I never expect it to crash. Usually it doesn’t. When I eat food from a restaurant, I expect it to enjoy it and I don’t expect it to poison me. We are lulled everyday into expecting things to go on. We expect life. We expect health. But sickness happens. You can’t plan for the unexpected. Life should run smoothly. Children shouldn’t die. Roller-coasters are fun amusements and aren’t meant to be dangerous. And cars shouldn’t rear end us on our way to work. Safety is the norm, or so we think. But is it really?

So should we lock down all our facilities? Shut the doors and keep the windows barred? Maybe tag everyone and keep them monitored like sheep. This isn’t the way any of us would want to live. That’s the obsessive way of existing. And even in that, we would still die. We would still have illness.

If someone disobeys or finds a loophole, make a stronger law.

I’ve heard it too many times now. Why was this not caught? How did this happen?  I believe we have created a picture safety being the norm. Otherwise how would you cope with everyday life? Would you send your child to school? Drive to the store? Without the story of “this won’t happen to me”, I don’t know if I could fully live my life. The illusion of safety and control of my destiny allows me to fully express myself, to take chances and challenges.

I know the temptation to say, Why me? The why me, doesn’t really mean “Why me, why not Jack?”  We really aren’t asking why me at all, but we are trying to grasp the situation. Have you ever tripped and fallen flat on your face? It stuns you. The suddenness of the fall surprises you so you can’t even feel the pain sometimes. If you’ve been in a car accident you know how quickly it can happen.

A friend just lost his wife. Suddenly. She lost her grip on the coffee cup. Something wasn’t right. They went in to see the doctor and found a tumor on her brain. After investigating they realized it was pancreatic cancer that had metastasized into her brain and various organs. Ten days later she was gone. Ten days. Eleven days ago she was the picture of health. Taking her son to football practice and cleaning her house for the holidays. Suddenly life changes. Why me? Why her?

SAFETY (Photo credit: calignosus)

Maybe it’s our form of therapy, these questions of Why me? or Why did we not stop this?

These questions keep us from dealing with the sudden shock and pain of the accident. We take a step back mentally. We have to. The shock is overwhelming to our nervous system. Our brain is not capable of handling the shock, so it handles the next immediate detail, ‘How did this happen?’ If we’d had metal detectors at the door, then no one could bring in a gun. If we’d worn non-slip shoes, we wouldn’t have fallen. It’s our method of handling the tragedy. If we can control this preventative aspect of the accident then we feel calmer. As if by naming something we can understand how it works.

It’s not so bewildering once we’ve identified it. We can look at the situation and say it is less likely to happen again in the future. We can’t process not having control over our future safety. We have to believe that we can prepare, that we can foresee the danger and prevent it.

It amazes me when I watch the news. They seem to tell us that death could be prevented. Whether from massacres, riots, or wars. I’m sorry, I thought we all died. Maybe years down the road and certainly not children, but still death is not preventable. Neither is the mess on my floor. It isn’t because I’m a lazy, irresponsible person. Life is a circular motion of pain and happiness. Joy and searching. Loving and losing. Birth and death. Fear and excitement. It is all of these. Life is a merry-go-round of living.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.-John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy”

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Safety First?

My wants.  Safety.

I thought it was prosperity?

No, I want to feel safe. I’ve tried many things in order to feel safe. Some have worked, like buying my house, my car and having steady job. My savings and paying off my debts haven’t been as effective.

But even then would I feel safe?  No.

Is SAFETY what I need?  Maybe I need to get past the need for safety.

Success comes from having a clear goal. The things I have accomplished readily are the things I knew without a doubt that I wanted, clearly and for their own sake. I wanted my own home. I absolutely knew what I wanted. I had the criteria written down.

So, to clearly define my wants is my aim right now.

This need for safety is tripping me up. It may be even in the wrong direction.

So what do I want?  To earn a living without giving up myself. To prosper and be in health.