Posted in Blogging, Family, Mental Health, Relationships, Stay at Home Wife

Lonely by design…

A few days ago on Facebook Ra was talking about how she wanted to write a post about loneliness and asked if any of us had written posts on the subject. I’m not sure if I have written a post about it before, but it got me thinking about the way I’ve got my life set up.

I started writing a post early yesterday morning but ended up trashing it. Then I read Holly’s post on the subject of loneliness and decided to give mine another try.

My husband and I live hundreds of miles away from all of our friends and family. We originally lived in Connecticut but moved all the way out to Utah a little more than 12 years ago. All of the friends that we’ve made out here have been through my husband’s work. Those friendships can be hard to keep up though because I don’t socialize. I’m 100% an introvert. We now literally live right across the street from where my husband and his co-workers/friends work and I have still yet to actually invite my husband’s coworker/ friend that I’ve made via Facebook over on her way home from work. It’s not that I don’t want to see her, but the thought of inviting someone over causes anxiety for me. The nice thing is that she can totally relate, because she deals with anxiety herself.

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I do not have a job. I haven’t had a job since the beginning of my marriage almost 14 years ago. I’ve tried to work before, but it never ends well. My anxiety, bipolar disorder or panic disorder always end up causing me to leave all my jobs. I am extremely lucky that my husband is able to support us both.

So, I don’t socialize and I don’t work outside the home for the sake of my mental health, add to that that I also hate talking on the phone and that leaves social media, texting, email and interacting on blogs as my ways to connect with other people.

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Only sometimes even that is too much. Sometimes I go full hermit mode and drop off the face of the earth for a while.

But none of this is loneliness, this is how I’ve set up my life to survive since I have not received treatment for any of my mental health issues for over a decade. And because I’m an introvert and generally don’t really like people. It may not look healthy to you, but I’m doing a hell of a lot better than I ever did on medications.

The loneliness comes in when I come back to social media or my blog and no one’s around anymore. The people who used to read and comment on my blog aren’t there anymore. I can’t blame them, I’m the one who went radio silence for months.
So I try to reach out to other bloggers, I make a conscious effort to actually comment on their posts instead of my usual “liking and lurking” but I feel awkward and like I don’t belong. I feel like an outsider among the blogging friends/family. I feel like no one actually wants me there, but they’re too polite to tell me that I just don’t fit in anymore because I’ve fallen into the blogging black hole one too many times.
It’s nothing that anyone says or does, and I know it’s all in my head. I’m just very socially awkward and never know how to go about the whole “making friends” thing.

Especially since on some level I feel like I don’t deserve any friends anyway, because I know I’m just going to disappear again in the future at some point.

And that is a very lonely feeling.

Posted in Apartment Living, Health, Random, Relationships

Our December move is still not officially official…

Yesterday my husband was able to talk to the woman at the apartment complex office who is responsible for letting us know if our rental applications were accepted. The day before he had spoken to someone else at the office who said that everything looked like it came back okay, but that she wasn’t the one who normally dealt with the applications so we’d have to wait to talk to the person who did. Apparently everything that has come back looks good, but they are still waiting on confirmation of my husband’s employment and of our rental history. She said that she doesn’t anticipate any issues, but that she probably won’t have confirmation of those 2 things until the end of next week. My husband and I can’t wait that long before handing in our “Intent To Vacate” paperwork where we are currently living though, because if we did we would not be giving 60 days notice. So we will be handing in that paperwork in the next few days. At least the things that they still need confirmation on are the things that we are not at all worried about. I will feel much better once we’ve actually officially been accepted though.

I also keep telling myself that our last couple moving experiences are nowhere near typical. Usually when you put a deposit down on an apartment, that is the apartment that you actually move into. The next step in a normal moving process is not to be contacted by the apartment complex and told that particular apartment (and the next one, and the next one) is not actually going to be available for you to move into. I know that, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to tell myself not to become too attached to that particular apartment’s location. It would be amazing to be able to move into the apartment that we chose and not whatever they happen to have available when all other options fail. I really hope that this moving process actually proceeds as it should.

Go Minimal

In other news, as of Tuesday when I had my final 2 fillings done and my permanent onlay installed, all of my major dental work is now done. I am so relieved to have that behind me. The next step is for me to get braces of some sort once my gums are healthy enough and I have the funds to pay for them. Which will probably be once I am able to pay off the debt from all the work that I already had done. So it might be a while still.

Dentist Said I Needed a Crown

Also, tonight I will be going to a BBQ that my husband’s work is hosting at a local park for all the Team Leaders on his project. This will be the first social event that I have attended in a while and I’m surprised that I’m not really all that nervous about it. I am excited for the chance to be able to finally meet some of his coworkers, but me and social situations don’t usually mix well. We’ll see if my anxiety rears it’s head at the BBQ.

Having Plans

Posted in Blogging, Family, Marriage, Relationships

No longer anonymous…

When I started this blog a few years ago I didn’t start out as anonymous. I let people on Facebook know that I had a blog and had my posts automatically shared on Facebook when I posted them. But, to my knowledge, not many people I actually knew were reading my blog and I wanted to start writing about things that were going to be easier to write about if no one knew who I was, so I decided to unlink my blog from Facebook. I went completely anonymous. No photos of myself, no names, only vague references to where I lived.

And then as I made friends via my blog I slowly started to give out bits and pieces of information about who I was and where I lived. I let people know that I lived in Northern Utah, in the Salt Lake Valley. That before that I lived in a little town on the Connecticut shoreline where I grew up. I slowly started to post pictures of myself, first without showing my face and then no longer hiding my face. I even changed my user pic to an actual picture of me.

The one thing that I have not done is let people know my real name. But as I have made friends on here and have started to connect with them via my personal Facebook page I have realized that eventually some of my other friends and family are going to figure out that I have a blog. And while that used to worry me because I fear judgement from them for the opinions and life choices that I discuss on this blog, I find that I no longer care as much if they might disapprove. I will be 33 years old on the very last day of November. I have been married to my husband, Curtis, (also known as unremarkable man) for 13 years and living on the other side of the country from most of my friends and family for over 11 years. In other words, I’m grown ass woman, and while I will always appreciate input and support from my friends and family, their opinion on how I choose to live my life doesn’t really matter.

Don't be afraid to rock the boat

I don’t need anyone’s approval or permission to live my truth. And if anyone decides to voice their displeasure with my life choices, just know that one of my life choices is that I don’t need to have negativity in my life. You are allowed to have your opinions, but there is no reason why I need to hear about those opinions unless I have specifically asked for them.

WhatYouThinkOfYourself

My life choices are not up for debate.

I have recently come back to blogging after taking a break from it for almost a year. I spruced up my blog layout. And I have decided that I’m tired of hiding. This is my space to write about what I want, and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it.

My name is Charlene Perry.

Posted in Family, Hairstyles, Relationships, Shaved Head

I shaved my head and people freaked out…

I made the decision to shave my head a couple of days ago and posted a picture of the result on Facebook.

9-10-2015

I knew that people were going to be surprised by just how short I went, just the year before I had hair down past my hips.

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But I had been slowly cutting it shorter and shorter over the past year, and had recently cut it to about a 1/2 inch long so I didn’t think that it was really all that drastic or sudden of a change.

I got a lot of positive feedback, along with some somewhat neutral, possibly negative feedback. A guy friend of mine commented that he’s “had that same haircut!” He happens to have long hair now, so my response was “And I’ve had your current hairstyle before!”

And then I got a message asking me if I was “doing alright” “because few women shave their heads.”

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Which honestly pissed me off.

A woman deciding to shave her head is not a sign of mental illness.

Then my grandmother straight out asked me in a comment on my picture if I was fighting cancer.

Oh No She Didn't Just Say That

To which I asked her if she seriously thought that I wouldn’t let everyone know that I was if that was what was going on.

Not every woman who shaves her head is sick. Some women shave their heads because they like the way they look with short hair.

I was then meant to feel guilty about my decision because “some women would do almost anything to have such beautiful hair.”

It’s not like I permanently cut off my hair. If I stop cutting it, it’ll grow back.

Also, I am in no way obligated to wear my hair long simply because other people find it pretty.

WhatYouThinkOfYourself

Think of it this way: My husband cuts his hair just as short as mine all the time and nobody cares. Because he’s a guy.

But when a woman, such as myself, decides to shave her head it’s a big deal and some people decide that she must be ill in some way (either physically or mentally) because “why would a woman shave her head?”

Warning Reflections in Mirror Distorted

“Because she felt like it” is a perfectly acceptable answer to that question by the way.

There is absolutely no reason why a woman can’t style her hair any damn way she wants, including deciding to shave it all off. Women don’t need long hair to still be feminine.

And the only reason why it should be a big deal is because of how awesome she looks with her new hairstyle.

Too Busy Being Awesome

And if “bald is beautiful” is only true to you if that person has cut their hair off for health reasons, if you are offended by the thought of women shaving their heads simply because they want to, I suggest that you may never have really meant it in the first place. Other women who are healthy deciding to shave their heads in no way takes away from the courageousness of women who had less choice in the matter.

Women are beautiful. Period. Hair length has nothing to with it.

judging defines you

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Blogging, Mental Health, Relationships

Oh… Hey, would you look at that, I’ve still got a blog…

It’s been quite a while since I last posted anything in this blog. I wasn’t sure if I would ever come back to it and I may never have come back at all if it weren’t for the fact that I made friends through this site that I have had contact with via other forms of social media during my absence.

I’m not sure exactly what caused me to walk away from my blog in the first place. But the longer I was away, the harder it seemed to come back.

And then recently I started reading Rara’s blog posts on both her sites about coming back to blogging after being imprisoned for 438 days. After all she suffered, and all she lost, she is finding her way back.

So, if she can do it, so can I.

I had just barely started to actively follow Rara when she was no longer able to continue blogging for a while, but her’s was one of the blogs that I went and binge read back through the archives. I was anxiously awaiting the day that my friends on social media announced that she was free again at last. And it hit me like a ton of bricks when I instead read the words that her husband had died while she was still in prison. So much unfairness that it just can’t be comprehended.

But she’s back to blogging, and I want to try to come back too.

But if I am going to come back, there will have to be a few ground rules. I realize that the most popular and searched posts on my blog are the ones about me cutting off ties with my sister. They were the most commented on by people who were going through similar situations themselves before I closed comments. I do not regret writing those posts, and I hope that people will take comfort that there are others’ who are going through things like what they are going through, but I can not give people advice on how to handle their situations anymore. I am not qualified to give advice and constantly talking about my sister, or randomly being reminded of her via people bringing up those posts and asking for my advice is not healthy for me at this time. So, unless I bring it up myself, those posts are off limits for discussion. I am trying to move on with my life, and I can’t do that while looking backward.

Another ground rule, be patient with me and please don’t be upset if I am not able to keep up with your blogs. There’s a lot going on in my life that has me feeling very overwhelmed, and I just can’t add staying completely up to date with all the blogs I follow to that list.

And related to that last one, please don’t be offended if I take a long time to respond to/approve any comments you may make, or if I never respond at all. I’m sometimes very bad about social interaction.

Posted in Blogging, Relationships

If a “right” is going to be taken away because of feminism, perhaps it was never really a “right” to begin with…

Back while I was still dating en ex boyfriend, I had a conversation with him where one of our mutual friends was brought up and then the conversation veered down a side path that had become all too familiar to me. It was all too familiar to me because it’s where our conversations went every single time this friend of ours was mentioned in conversation. Every time that this specific friend came up in conversation, my then boyfriend would always speculate on whether or not this friend of ours might be gay. He would then list a bunch of reasons why he thought this might be possible. Most of the time I would basically just let him ramble on and then I would remind him (again) that I did very briefly date the friend in question, (for about an afternoon in high school) which doesn’t really mean anything one way or the other as far as the likeliness of this friend being gay or not, and that I had no clue what his sexuality was and then I would try to move the conversation on.

Except one afternoon I stopped playing along. I had finally had enough.

When the inevitable speculation about this friend’s sexuality started up I finally asked my ex “What the hell does it matter whether he’s gay or not? Why do you have to speculate on his “gayness” every. single. time. he comes up in conversation? How the fuck is his sexuality any of your business?”

My ex took issue with me saying he did it “every time”, that I was exaggerating and blowing things out of proportion.

I wasn’t though. Out of the two of of us, I was the one with a better memory and I had a much better recall for conversations that we had had. He would flat out tell me that his memory sucked… but apparently when it comes to him doing things that I find offensive he’s the one with the better memory… *eyeroll*

Not only would it come up every time that this friend was mentioned, he’d say the exact same things to support his “theory”.

When he stopped arguing with me about how frequently we’d had this conversation in the past he started listing things that this friend had said to him and then saying to me “Now tell me that that doesn’t sound gay.” or something along those lines. And he would say that “Of course it doesn’t matter, it’s just some things he says makes me wonder.”

And when I pointed out to him yet again that I had very briefly dated this guy in high school his response this time was. “LOL Maybe you were his “beard”!”

I responded to his justifications for wondering and his “beard” comment by telling him that I was “trying really hard not be offended because I knew that he wasn’t trying to be mean.” Although the continued speculations after I pointed out that it wasn’t his business and then the “beard” comment made my blood boil.

His response?

“Geez, I can’t even make a joke anymore… *sigh*”

What my response was: “Oh please, like I don’t let you get away with jokes that are more offensive than this all the time…”

What my response should have been, possibly in connection with the above: “No. You can’t “make a joke” anymore if it’s something that I tell you I find offensive. And there shouldn’t be any problem with that.”

But because of how this conversation, and others like it, actually went, I learned to bite my tongue more often about the things that bothered me because criticism was never taken well by him. And I was always made to feel like was the one being unreasonable. That I was being “too sensitive and needed to lighten up”. That I needed to learn to “take a joke.”

When he would talk about being “okay with feminism as long as it’s fair”, I would think at first “Okay this is a guy who understands and supports feminism.” And then when blindsided by certain things that he would say I would automatically think that maybe I needed to “lighten up” because he “didn’t mean anything by it” because he was “supportive” of feminism. And because he said that he was “supportive” if I pointed out that he was doing something offensive he would get offended because he’s a “good guy” and is “on my side”.

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But as time went on I began to focus more on the “as long as it’s fair” part of that statement. Because he seemed to be of the opinion that anything that would make women’s lives better might potentially “harm” men in some way. That he seemed to believe that if “Feminists” really got their way, that he would lose a lot of rights. As often as he claimed that he knew that feminism wasn’t man-hating, he’d still talk about how certain “feminists” were like that. Only his ideas of what was “man-hating” usually turned out to be an article that I had in fact read earlier and had agreed with. An article that had expressed anger through sarcasm, justifiable anger over situations that I myself have actually been in. And when I would point out to him that that wasn’t “man-hating” he was say something like that he didn’t like the “writing style”. Or that he thought that it was “way out there”.

As a cisgender, straight, white male he was going to decide what was “way out there” in terms of other people being oppressed or abused.

Because he simply couldn’t believe that maybe there are men out there that are really that bad. It must have been an exaggeration.

Which proved that he wasn’t really “supportive” of feminism but was in fact distrustful of it instead. Always afraid that it would go too far and he would lose the right to do things. That he would be oppressed.

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What he never seemed to understand was that if he would lose the “right” to do something (like tell offensive jokes) because of feminism, that maybe be never should have been doing it in the first place.

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Posted in Relationships

Playing “devils advocate” with feminism…

no, i don't hate men.

I read this article tonight from a few years back and a lot of what I read struck a chord with me. Especially this paragraph.

“There are the occasions that men—intellectual men, clever men, engaged men—insist on playing devil’s advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading: Women’s Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun—and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that’s so much fun for them is the stuff of my life.”

This is part of the reason why I tried as hard as I could to bury my feminism while I was dating one of my ex boyfriends. I would talk to him about things that were important to me and he would always bring up ways that it could potentially come back to hurt him as a man. Like when he would bring up “all” the women who would falsely accuse men of rape just to hurt them while I’m talking to him about yet another story that I heard where a woman wasn’t taken seriously and/or was treated horribly/blamed while trying to go to the police to report being raped. He would bring up the “false accusations” as if it were just as prevalent and equal of a problem as what women go through after actually having been raped. As if it was an epidemic.

It was like he thought that his thoughts and opinions were always needed, and there was always a “but men need to be protected too” whenever feminism was brought up in any form.

Feminism

Usually his playing devils advocate would end our conversations because I just didn’t have the strength or the confidence to tell him that he was being an ass. I never had the guts to tell him that there are some things that he just doesn’t get to have an opinion on because women being treated fairly is not a subject that is up for debate. 

“There is the perplexity at my fury that my life experience is not considered more relevant than the opinionated pronouncements of men who make a pastime of informal observation, like womanhood is an exotic locale which provides magnificent fodder for the amateur ethnographer. And there is the haughty dismissal of my assertion that being on the outside looking in doesn’t make one more objective; it merely provides a different perspective.”

Feminism is for everyone

He used to say “Feminism is fine with me… as long as it’s fair.” At the very end of our relationship I pointed out to him “If it isn’t fair to both women and men, it’s not feminism.” I also went on to say “Men have really got to stop feeling like feminism is a potential threat to them. The point is not to dominate men, it’s to get men to stop feeling they have the right to dominate women. It’s not a competition in anyway. It’s just expecting to be treated fairly, and with respect. It’s about the right of women to live their lives however they choose and not feel like they have to apologize for it or explain it. It’s about protecting women, and if men feel threatened by that then maybe they need to examine their behavior…” He then said that what he had said was a poor choice of words, despite the fact that he spent our entire relationship acting like he was in danger of losing the “right” to do things or behave in a certain way because of feminism.

And he never seemed to understand that perhaps he wasn’t in a position to decide what was “fair”.

“There is the unwillingness to listen, a ferociously stubborn not getting it on so many things, so many important things. And the obdurate refusal to believe, to internalize, that my outrage is not manufactured and my injure not make-believe—an inflexible rejection of the possibility that my pain is authentic, in favor of the consolatory belief that I am angry because I’m a feminist (rather than the truth: that I’m a feminist because I’m angry).”

Feminazi