close to open

I had to give up socializing through media for a while, it worked out to be years actually. I had to give up socializing through media because I had to give up socializing at all. I redefined my values. I couldn't be totally silent because I am me and part of me is saying what I think when I think it. I stuck to making videos that no robot would or could absorb the content of. I don't trust "big tech" because their motives are profit. Human lives do not mean more than the profit margins they report every three months, not to the companies that allow me to write this out and share it with others. But there is no alternative method of telling the people who have shared my life with me for the last 34 years what I think and who I am.

In the last two and a half years I have learned so much more about boundaries than I knew before. Boundaries are actually quite exhausting. More exhausting than expectations. I used expectations for a long time. I would be open, totally open, to anyone. Even when my instincts told me that my openness made me vulnerable to someone's intention to exploit me, I would still be open. Until I was exploited. Until I was hurt. Until their actions, over and over, fell into the category of not valuing my life or recognizing the importance of my existence in their life. And then I hurt and I grieved and I put up a wall towards them. Walls that I still, to this day, am working through the pain of their foundations. I have turned many of those walls into boundaries, or set boundaries in the vicinity of the walls, such that my relationship has not changed much from their perspective. I have set boundaries where I wasn't allowing myself to build walls, and those relationships changed significantly. But in no way, shape or form have I been able to tear down walls and return to openness. Except with social media.

We moved from one side of Denmark to the other about 3 and a half years ago. And when we did that the social network that we built up for nearly 5 years; the structure of support that made me love living in this country more than any other place I had ever lived; that network disintegrated. And no new network formed in its place. The people who I called friends never asked me how we were doing. If I was around to visit, because I was around to visit, they would listen to the struggles and become weary that nothing in our life was easy. And that was true before we moved, but I saw the reaction so much clearer afterwards. Any advice they shared was intended to be helpful, but that was rare. For the most part, we experienced treatment that fell along the lines of "out of sight, out of mind." The only thing that anyone seemed to ask questions about was the house we left behind. We left the house behind to serve God but the house still required work. God has granted the resources for that work. God has been faithful and provided for our needs so we have not experienced financial ruin. But the people who we shared our lives with, who used their words to serve God in front of us, but then demonstrated that they had no idea how to follow those words through with actions; those people were not faithful to us. I know they did their best. I know they are ignorant and broken and would never even understand the pain that it takes to still look them in the eye and smile and say nice things to them. But I believe they deserve my kindness over my rebuke. It's not my job to judge their actions, only to say that they weren't good enough to keep my family from suffering. Only to say that, in some cases, their actions became a direct cause of suffering for me, and my husband and mostly for my children. I offer kindness because, I am sure, they would have never taken on the responsibility of preventing our suffering if it was laid out in front of them as an established expectation before anyone become intertwined in our social&support network. It was just a responsibility God assumed they could rise to, their words made us assume it as well, and ultimately the worldly values of their culture ruled over the message of Jesus. But it is the main reason my family will never actively seek to integrate ourselves into a group of Danes who call themselves Christians again. This is how boundaries establish themselves. And now it is just our story. It is just what happened. It is just where we are.

Pain is part of life. I wish my life did not include so much of it. I see people who have many more friends from when they were growing, when they were in full time education so friends were necessary. I had friends then to, most relationships just did not last through my international moves, so I don't know what it is like. I see women with family who just come over and sit with their children so that they can have a break to go work on something that builds them up. I don't know what that is like. I live surrounded by people who have such a deep network of friends and family that they can not comprehend the challenges I face. And they are rude to me about the help I do not have. But it doesn't change facts. I have no one to call in an emergency. I have no help beyond my husband and a group of people who live an ocean away.
I have learned that I have to take on the role of "apologetic burden who can't do anything right" in order to ask anyone physically close to me for help. I know I am not a burden. I know how right my life is, under the circumstances that it was created for me, so it feels manipulative to pretend otherwise and I don't do it anymore. And so, I have had to sacrifice connections with women I trusted to care for my children when my husband had to take me to the hospital in the past. Women I shared my life with on a regular basis, I don't have them any longer. The women I count on are an ocean away now. And for physical support, I am now dependent on my husband and his work-life. His work-life already provides the roof over my head, the food I eat and the clothes I put on my children. Now it has to provide emergency support too. I am dependent on his relationships with people that I have never met. Because if I need to be in the hospital again, and I need him with me, those are the only people we can to call on to stay with our children. And the strangeness of strangers taking care of them will traumatize our children. But, we have to risk that trauma to them because the pain of all the other trauma we have experienced is too great to overcome as just us two. And any attempts to repair that trauma with the people who helped shape it have, thus far, created more pain.

After the end of January next year, I probably won't feel as worried about this emergency scenario with no emergency contacts situation. But it is relevant right now as I am a woman who will end up in a hospital soon. I am in my last trimester of my fourth pregnancy, which will hopefully become my third healthy baby with boy genitals. I am five years older than the last time my body went through the experience of birthing a human. I am significantly more neuro-compromised thanks to the chronic infection of HHV4 that destroys my central nervous system everyday. I am holding more pain than I have ever held in my life emotionally and physically. But, I am also experiencing more spiritual stability and connection to my Jesus than I have ever had. So I have faith that my body will perform exactly the same as it has in the past two pregnancies. The ones which gave us our first two sons; each ten days late and in controlled, drama-free, short but not too short natural labours with challenge-free deliveries. I have no reason to believe this pregnancy will end any differently. And that this pregnancy does not end any differently is the most frequent prayer uttered from my lips and running constantly through my mind these days. Followed by the one that begs for my children to not have to be some version of survivours of World War 3. Even if that version is akin to the children in Denmark who lived through World War 1 and 2.

It is very unsettling to bring a child into this version of the world. I am so heart broken that the Patriarchy would risk the existence of our entire species just to keep their control. I am so disappointed that white women, who I have to count myself among even though I am the mother of brown children; that white women are so ignorant to their slot in the Patriarchal power structure that they would support its existence over a new power structure that can support and benefit all versions of human existence.
Every day in our house hold we have to combat the idea that melanin has more meaning than an evolutionary defense for sun protection.
Every day we have to discuss how the physical appearance, hair and clothing choices, that make a human comfortable walking out in the world have nothing to do with the bits of meat which dangle or do not dangle from their bodies.
And as our children grow, more and more, we will discuss how the prayers a person is taught to pray have no bearing on their overall character, not as much as the daily love they can be shown from others and how it grows their capacity to show that love to others.
It feels like we are the minority in offering these messages to our children. And we are the minority here in Denmark, most certainly, with no doubt. But maybe if all the parents of our generation were collected across the planet, we would learn that we are less alone than our feelings tell us we are. Maybe. Hopefully.

It seems more than likely that the planet will have to experience some concentrated pain before that is certainly true. People have disconnected themselves from the obvious lessons of humanity past. People do not trust other people. As a human carrying so much pain around, such that it is very difficult to not let it out, overflowed, in not constructive ways on to others; as a human who has trusted people who should have never been trusted with her heart and mind and secrets of soul; as a human who hurts more every time she hears a story of pain fueled violence causing deaths of innocents; I can understand why people choose disconnection. I have chosen it myself in these past years. But now that I have the boundaries in place that allow me to feel safe to open back up again, I am. This doesn't resolve the pain, but neither does being closed off. Closing off means you have to numb the pain, and numbing causes the most problems when it comes to disconnection.

Creating is the only solution I have to resolve my personal pain. Creating new bonds with boundaries that make those bonds feel safe. Creating spaces for plants that provide food and clean air to my family. Creating internet content that says human life, every single version of it, is more important than the balances of any bank account on this planet. Creating a new human in the face of the potential for the most destructive forces of humanity to clash and devastate my species. Creating human minds that see past the fears and deceptions of Patriarchy. Creation is the only channel I have to resolve my pain and I will do it until God grants me my last breath.


most awful boss ever

I have this feeling that when something goes unfinished in my life. when it goes unresolved because I have not engaged. because I have felt insecure on the surface, if not deep down inside. I have this feeling that, maybe sometimes, I am not going to be able to move forward. Step forward and on to the next integration of whatever I call "my life." And, possibly, this is a reason why I am having so much stress and struggle when it comes to finding exactly that career which I would do for free if I did not have to do it for money. If I could, I would do it for free. That's the kind of job I want. Preferably with these office hours:

I have all these conditions in my head for why I feel like trying to find that job supplied by another, spending even a moment more on the cause or trying to work for someone else, is not worth my time or energy. My narcolepsy tops the list. followed by the ineptitude and disgusting morals demonstrated by other people in past work experiences. I was just adjacent to it. I definitely had no ability to speak up about what I felt. I would have lost my job. I would have lost my status in the country I lived in. I would have been stripped of my dignity because I am a nervous crier. It would have been awful. I'm not afraid of awful experiences any more though. Not since moving to Denmark :-D

And the one time where I was ready to quit that job, my mom talked me out of it. And it benefitted me financially, but not in any other aspect of my life. Such that, now, I am becoming an outlier. And I am embracing outlier status, which is scary. I don't want to be different than everyone else around me. I want to be included in the group, but I don't want to play the game. I have never seen the point of jumping through hoops. Especially not to hide things that I really can't change. I am not going to feel differently about racism or sexism. I am not going to become less body positive or sexuality positive. I'm not going to want to be suppressed or held back. I'm not going to value myself for less. I am not going to decide that I actually would like to only tell other people how to live their lives over just demonstrating with my own life as an example.

And that is truly the problem for me. I am always the subject of study. I do things differently. I believe in my convictions. I am easily goaded into a conversation where someone feels invited to critique me. And I force myself to endure the insulting aspects of their critique. I call it the "numb, dumb and smacking gum" -it's just part of my life. I don't know if I will ever escape having to hear people tell me about things I already know. things I already understand way better than they do. things that they say in an attempt to demonstrate their wisdom but, to me, just demonstrate that they are far from woke. I like the people who are woke, but the only place I see them is through a screen!

Anyway, I feel like today is the day. or at least this week is the week to tie up the loosest strings I have in terms of my work background. My first boss. A woman engineer who was a horrible manager and, ultimately, a horrible person. I learned only what not to be from watching her. And, as it was my first job out of university, where the females studying engineering were significantly outnumbered by the males. As it was my first job, with a woman engineer for a boss, the failure of that work relationship has always been a personal devastation. The relationship totally failed because I 100% lost respect for my boss. Then I never covered it up well and worked in a company that had 4 people. So when the consequences of the 2008 recession dried up our work schedule, I was the obvious one to get laid off.

And, I never told that woman what an awful person I thought she was. How creepy it was that she would pry into my private life whenever she had nothing else better to do. Because we weren't allowed to be writing emails of a personal nature during business hours. But, if she felt so inclined, asking me twenty questions in front of the other two employees about my new romance and subsequent engagement and marriage was the acceptable form of office entertainment. It exploited me. And I think she did it because I was the other girl. No matter why, it was incredibly inappropriate. I still feel violated .

I never told her how much she let me down. Because when she hired me, she made it sound like I would be the only one she would be taking on. But she took on the kid who still lived at home too. So she pit me against him, essentially. I was living alone and couldn't start working before Labour day because my dad had just died and I needed to go help my family clean out his house. And the other guy lived at home with his parents. He also did not fall in love and proceed to commit to that love in a profound and life changing way. He just worked and went home to mommy where he played video games with his siblings.
It was fine for the first year. Except for the part where there was never enough work for the two of us to do. And the part where even when she assigned you a project, you might come back from a site visit for a different project and find that she had asked the other one to do something related to the project you thought was yours. And then the next time the project comes up, no one knows whats going on. That always backfired at me somehow. When I would acknowledge that I had nothing on the daily to-do list. Somehow, I get assigned the "office organization" tasks. But she always pulled out a new project for him. It was infuriating after two years. Because I could have done the work of both of us and I was fucking tired of being bored at work. Its not what I went to school for. The blatant (but probably unintentional) sexism was just not what I expected from another woman engineer.

She did make the guy research to find her a voice recorder once. It did not work for what she intended. I told her it wouldn't when she started thinking out loud about it, because I knew a lot about voice to text software. but I told her at the end when I did not give a crap what she thought of me anymore. I just never crossed that line that let her fire me for being disrespectful. And I should have done it when she laid me off, but I just left. And I never returned.

And when I wrote to remind her to send me a tax form for the week that she had me work before laying me off in 2009. She asked how I was doing in the return email and I kept my words to myself. Because I was afraid of lashing out in anger. And at the time, the fact that she even allowed me to work in 2009 made me cry with anger. Especially the part where the next year I had to remind her to do her fucking job before her incompetence screwed me. I was mad that she was too spineless to tell me over winter holidays when she actually decided that I should be laid off. And during that first week I worked for her in 2009, when I told her I wanted to take a trip to Europe in February and asked for the days off, she said it wouldn't be a problem in such a simple, syrupy way. without the normal amount of disgust and resentment. Because how dare your employees actually USE their vacation days.... or call in sick! heaven forbid.
It was weird. I told people she acted weird. But I figured out why within 72 hours. She acted weird because she knew she was going to fire me on Friday! Unfortunately, my flights were booked and not changeable by then. A decent person would have been like "Straight up, add another week to that winter european vaca because you are not going to be working here by then."

And if at this point you are like "oh well she probably just blah blah blah blah.." save it. I don't care why this woman behaved as she did. Most likely it was because people made excuses for her constantly. That's why all people who exploit others through ignorance are convinced they are not bad people. Because not enough people are correcting them. I am one of those people who offered no corrections. Decided that any attempt to express myself to the awful woman I worked for was a lost cause. I enabled her. Again, I gained financially. But, no where else.

I was crippled emotionally, and as I stretch those injured emotional tendons. The ones I have nursed into atrophy. The ones I have to use if I want to soar on the love that lives inside of me. I have to work those muscles again. Even if I develop new ones, they can't compensate for what I have lost in the time since working for that awful woman. It was my birth into career and it wounded me with rejection in a way I have yet to see mirrored in another human. I'm sure there are humans out there that can relate. Where I am at, no one gets how much it all still hurts.
but it really only hurts because I never told her what I thought. I never got in her face like she got in mine. So I am writing her an email.

I think it will say:

To the absolutely worst boss, manager and colleague I have ever had the opportunity to work in the same company with:

They say forgiveness is not real until it has been given.

I forgive you for starting my career off in such a horrendous and incompetent way.

I have long since been able to live life without thinking about the back stabbing, bullying and gross corruption I experienced while being employed by you. As of sending this email, I have come to a place where I can forgive you for those things. So, I decided to let you know.


Then its over. right? The only thing missing is the insults I always wanted to hurl. But that's the right way to do it. right? because she is a broken person and I don't think it's up to me to try and fix her.


a story about yesterday

so yesterday. I want to tell you about yesterday. I don't know why it means anything but... I'm following these instincts. or these impulses. Whatever they are. the parts of my life that become more emphasized after this intentional and out loud praying that I am doing because that is what you said to do! And so I want to tell you about yesterday.

I have struggles in applying self love. That is what my recent time spent in isolation taught me most. A lot of it has to do with relocating. moving to Denmark and trying to learn a new cultural expectation; navigate all of that. Defining myself inside and out of it.
But it also comes down to the fact that, in any situation, I make space for others before I claim it for myself. and before anyone even asks for me to make space at all. It happens emotionally to me all the time. I notice because I am so sensitive to other people's feelings. I don't know if I have the words to explain the emotional side of it though.

In the physical world, a good analogy would be, when I'm on a train or a bus and people are getting on. before anyone decides to sit near me or walk by me, I am pulling myself into an uncomfortable position. I am making sure I am not in the way that may become some one's path or place to sit. Other people demonstrate the exact opposite response to sharing the spaces near them. But that is not my inclination. my inclination is to be aware of other people before they are aware of me. They may not even ever become aware of me, but I am still holding myself in that uncomfortable position until everyone around me is comfortable. Ok, then I am allowed to become comfortable.

And emotionally, that final comfort after everyone else is settled. I don't achieve it every day. I need hours alone to get to the place where I have established my space. And then I can live alongside others without compromising myself. The pieces of those hours are incredibly important. They are like steps built one on the other. I can be pulled off the steps at any point by a want or need from another human in my life, so it can take as long as it takes. And I have learned that intentionally stopping to help my child or my husband is a good way to ensure that I can come back to where I paused. if time allows. Then, I don't have to start over from the first step. If I fight to keep the routine, then the fighting itself will throw me off. But sometimes I am in a place where building those steps to make myself space at all is impossible. Any attempt to try will be a fight. in the present. in the moment. So I just decide not to do it. For those around me. Because I am a dirty fighter.

So yesterday I did not get a chance to do any of the things that fall into that category of self love. I was still functional. I was productive. but I did not get to spend time by myself to pray or create. or shower. or eat well. I gave all my energy and time to my family. And at the end of the day I was broken in a way that is scary for me. Sometimes the pain of existing becomes too much. I am overwhelmed. I beg for mercy. as I make more and more space for anyone but me. It does become not intuitive at some point. I have usually committed myself to more than I intended at that same point. So I feel like I have no way of going back if I want to maintain any sort of integrity or growth. I just have to go through it. get it over with and then I can make space for my self love again.

So yesterday. I was broken at the end of the day. Trying to explain to my husband how I felt and not feeling like I can get the point across. But somehow, something made it through. And we decided together that I should go to the sea. Swimming in the sea is some purified me-time for sure. because no one can come with me. We live close to a beach on the Baltic Sea. We found me twenty five minutes at the end of the day yesterday. It was after 8pm. I went to the beach. I prayed first and, eventually, while praying, I was just filled only with desire to go into the water. So that's what I did.

This beach is knee/thigh deep water for a really far distance. I have never ventured far enough out to experience the drop off. I don't even know where it is. And I only I know its there from the satellite images I can see online 😂
As I was praying, a rain storm started on the other side of the water. There is land (its Sweden) close enough that one can see it from the beach, so there was a rain storm over this land and the sun was setting behind me and my beach. A rainbow started to form while I was praying. As I walked out into the water, I walked towards the rainbow and it just continued to become more and more intense in brightness and colour. It was fantastically beautiful.

And then comes one of those full circle moments:
I'm out in the middle of the water with no one near me. The water is cold. its uncomfortable, but I get used to it. Enough that I can get down on my knees if I want to sit in the sand or I can float around without touching the bottom, but still be totally submerged. Sometimes I am facing the gold setting sun. sometimes I am facing this intense rainbow. And I know the rainbow is a promise that God will never destroy humanity, but I take it personal. because I have just been praying about my life and how hard it is to find the strength to endure the pain that comes for me in just existing. Praying about how difficult it is for me to believe that God has anything but plans for more struggle and pain in my future. Then, praying to acknowledge that, outside of my pain, I know He is not trying to destroy me. And, in case there was any doubt, I have this promise right in my face making me understand that even more. The rainbow has my full attention and appreciation when I am facing towards it. I feel as if it is there just for me to go deeper into this feeling of security with God. Going deeper into knowing, for sure, that I will not be destroyed by anything outside of my own self. And, then the rainbow has my back when I face the sun, the center of my universe. And that means something too, though I only have feelings for it, not words. It was such a perfect set of moments. Totally submerged in the sea and, for the first time in a few days, feeling only protected and cared for.

I only have the moment at all because my husband and I agreed together that we should carve it out of our lives for me. We used brute force to make it happen. If I had done it alone, I would have had to fight for it. I would have had to be selfish or demanding. I would never have done it at all under those conditions. But it was created by me with a partner. So it became a fantastic balm for my brokenness that I am still feeling the effects of. But I could not have had it without the cooperation of the people around me. And I do not always get such cooperation.

not from yesterday. but in the same spot on the planet.
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