Monday, June 26, 2017

Pro-Ana and Fat Acceptance. The Difference is in the Jeans Size.

In the last decade or more, the “pro-ana” and “pro-mia” communities of online forums came under fire for promoting a disorder. Anorexia and Bulimia are eating disorders, but many in the pro-ana community viewed it as an acceptance of their disorder and harnessing their manipulative behaviors in order to feel thin, to feel beautiful, and most of all, to feel in control. Rarely did I see anyone encouraging others to vomit or fast – although we did indeed have group fasts. Our goal was never for men to "learn to love" our bodies, unlike the cry of "sexism" when a man prefers not to sleep with overweight women. We know what we're doing.  We did not shame each other for not being skinny, especially seeing as many of us with bulimia were NEVER skinny. 

We traded tips on the safest way to manage a fast, on the safest way to purge a la water (by the way, rinse with baking soda and wait half an hour before brushing. It protects the enamel.)
We posted photos of our collarbones, and we posted “thinspo.” Thinspiration. Pictures for us to gaze upon of girls who were often either photshopped or, preferably, naturally skinny teens. Sometimes we would hit gold and find a collection of very underweight girls. They looked sick. We ached for that.
Thinspiration is like the unhealthy version of “Fitspo.” Thinspo is like the underweight version of “Body Positive Fat Acceptance.”
The difference is in the jeans size. The psychology is semantics; pro-ana becomes addicted to their control, and Pro-Fat Acceptance becomes addicted to food. We are empty and you are full.
 Pro-Ana promotes water, exercise, and by all means, achieving the body we feel we were meant to have. A body we would be proud of, even if our eyes are sallow.

Fat-Acceptance promotes “indulge in that cake, ignore your doctor about that knee pain, be proud of your body as it jiggles each and every way." Fat-Acceptance hijacked the term “curvy” and applied it only to fat women. When I say fat, I am applying it to women (and men) who prefer to take back the term. I don’t mean it as a slur. So let me bring you into the world, if you will, of Fatspo.
Tess Holiday. She had made a career of being a lovely, but obese, pinup model. And at every turn she makes an effort to glorify being fat. She claims to be in top-notch health. I beg to differ.


One of the great appeals for me when I was heavily involved in pro-ana (and I am still working through my ana-mia mindset over a decade later) was that instead of a preachy recovery forum, we had a connection in knowing this disorder was hurting us. We felt at peace when someone else said “yeah, I threw up half a cookie today and then binged again anyway. And Purged.” Because some of us had done it as well. There was empathy when a girl wanted to fast for six days, made it to five and broke down and had a slice of pizza and got depressed. We didn’t say she failed. We wore red or purple bracelets to recognize each other in public. We were friends.

I imagine the Fat-Acceptance Movement - a bastardization of Body Positive – feels the same but they refuse to recognize than obesity is one of the leading causes of death in this country. They refuseto accept that Compulsive-Over-Eating-Disorder makes you just as ill as the anorectic. I want to protect my child from being one of the 60% and rising of obese individuals in this country. Loving your body at any moment is great but loving your body also means wanting to work towards what is best for it. Promoting “feeders” (guys who get off on over-feeding their fat women with tubes) is not body positive. Telling post-partum women not to lose the baby weight and to find a “fat positive doctor” is not body positive. Normalizing obesity is not body positive.

At least in Pro-Ana communities, we admit it.

the bath of disordered denial.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Isolation Nation: Contagious Disconnect

Over the years I have written and talked about isolation quite a lot. Much of the basis for this very blog is my glorification of isolationism and my perceived "choice" to be socially isolated. I like being alone, I like to spend time alone, and I work best when I'm alone. There is nothing wrong with this... but realize that I have maintained my isolation since the beginning of this blog over five years ago. In that time, I have moved over a dozen times and moved to three different states. I went to college, dropped college, went back to college, joined a church, left a church, got work writing, got married, had a baby, ended a marriage, I've participated in art shows, I've gone to literary festivals, published a book, and even went to a few purely social events...and have come up at the end of this trip around the country with absolutely no in-person social network. There is a fine line between an active choice and a pathological behavior. I have more than crossed that line. 

There are studies that show social disconnectedness is actually a death hastening phenomena akin to obesity and some addictions although, like many mental health and mortality studies, it's inconclusive as to how exactly isolation affects health so seriously. But when it's taken into account that serotonin and dopamine are what causes happiness and that oxytocin is an anti-depressant, it seems abundantly clear that we have to treat our brain and our mind for what they are - physical. We wouldn't like leave an open wound to fester. The mental reward system for some of us - myself included - counters the very basic human factor of being a social animal. We get less happiness from our interactions and we may experience excess cortisol when attempting social contact. That essentially means that the effort and fight-or-flight-or-freeze response is stronger than the happiness we experience when we have friends. Friendships are formed during frequent social contact and that's a lot of work. It just isn't worth it.

At least, that's what we tell ourselves. There are many reasons a person may self-isolate, ranging from depression to certain personality disorders to being on the autistic spectrum. I'm on the spectrum. Many of my online friends are on the spectrum or personality disordered and we often pride ourselves in how well we do without much social contact. But I take note of my own behavior and sometimes I wonder if they're pacing holes into the floor as they sink into their fantasy lives that provide just a sliver of oxytocin - I wonder if they've tricked themselves through maladaptive daydreaming. I wonder how functional we really are that our sensory processing doesn't allow for regular social contact. I wonder how apathetic we are when we make a friend-attempt a few times a year and it blows up in our faces. I think about the kind of people our isolation and loneliness attracts. And it just isn't a pretty picture. 

The perks of being primarily fine and dandy without friends is that we are choosy about who we'll let into our lives. We may have high standards, be independent, introspective. We're likely very good at a few things that occupy our time. The downside of genuine desperate loneliness is that sometimes we may interact with people unworthy of our time just for relief. The downside is missed opportunities, of disabling inability to socialize even to work, and our deteriorating health. The downside - and it sounds like a contradiction - is that  perceived loneliness is contagious. All it takes is for one person in a social circle to feel lonely and misplaced for the entire structure to be shaken and then you don't just feel lonely, you become isolated, and your cues will make others perceive themselves as lonely around you. One persons perception of loneliness creates a reality of loneliness for each party involved, even if only briefly. 

I have no immediate plans to make friends. And in all honesty, I would not know how to begin. Is the isolation still a choice? Is this intentional, conscious, did I make myself the center of the universe? Or is this pathological self-defeating behavior that will, in the end, deteriorate my health and leave me with little more than a daydream on my death bed? Perhaps it is both. Perhaps it's not out of the question that we have fooled ourselves and we are not simply being introverts. I advocate alone-time as much as I advocate breathing. But maybe in this moment, if only once, I should encourage others like me to consider deeper connections in-person. It could save your life. 


Thursday, November 10, 2016

We The Minorities - What To Do Now.

On November 8th, 2016, a reality television star was elected to be the president of my country by losing the popular vote and wining the electoral. I also turned twenty-five. The disgust I feel for the anti-intellectualism, fear-mongering bigots I always knew existed - but hoped were limited to places like my hometown- reached a new apex and will surpass every other memory I have of my birthday.
Never in my life have I related so much to Lion Kings “Scar” who was surrounded by idiots as I do right now. People like the geniuses from my hometown who think this man is fighting for the common “work-boot American who ain’t got no food stamps like them lazy damn liberals” are going to eventually face the music when they realize he’s only concerned about smooth-handed men in pricey leather work-loafers and Rolex. An overwhelming number of liberals are actually wealthy and employed, by the way, good ole boys.

Violence is already breaking out against minorities, and people like me who are disabled don’t know how much longer we’ll have healthcare. People like me who are Jewish are seeing swastikas on storefronts along with the new presidents’ name – and they aren’t being ironic. Muslims who were born and raised here are worried to worship freely. Legal Mexican immigrants (and anyone who looks like they MIGHT be Hispanic) are being verbally attacked where they work. I hope they spit in your food and drug your margarita.
 Last summer, gays were granted the right to marry nation-wide, and they are afraid to lose that.  Women are concerned about losing access to birth control and reproductive rights in general while someone who has been inappropriate with and about his own daughter heads straight for the White House. This week we found out that most of white America doesn't care about women, including other women. 

I listen to a police scanner at night and can hear scanners from all over the country; if you’re horrified, you should be. But what do we do now? The first thing, is accept that he won and people who agree with his rhetoric are on a power-trip. Who you voted for no longer matters. Start giving to charities like planned parenthood, LGBT+ crisis centers, and environmental protection agencies. Also important is to stop the idealistic thinking that “we are all in this together.” No, we are not. We are divided for a reason. These aren’t just people who “say mean things,” these are people are happy for the fear of other Americans. These are white nationalists pretending to be republicans.  Stop falling for one-liners. And for all the “I hope he’s a good president, wanting him to fail is like sinking a ship we’re all on” nonsense is making me lose even more respect for the common mind. If he fails his supporters, the ship doesn’t sink. He’s failed a lot, so there’s hope. But his rhetoric is to fail- and I mean destroy - America. Because it would be entertaining.

 Know your rights, and defend them. Defend others. Get a camera - not just your phone - and photograph. Write this story. It's one we're writing together. If you’re disabled, be sure your concerns are known to your doctor. If you take medication, see if you can get several months of refills incase the worst happens and we lose our health care or incomes. If you are any minority – especially racial or religious – and you trust yourself with a  gun, BUY ONE. And ammunition. Go to firing ranges.  Not only to protect yourself, but because when the NRA sees large groups of minorities stocking up, the avid hateful rednecks might calm down and stop threatening us.

The time to educate the people who elected and are defending this man is over. Believe me. They refused to be educated over the last eight years that they rejected Obama – who turned Yes We Can into Yes We Did – and they are demanding our unwavering friendships and to “respect their opinions.” We are not casting opinions about whether Lady Gaga’s new album sucks or not (it doesn’t.)  We are casting opinions about whether human beings deserve to be treated like human beings, even if they are Hispanic, Black, Muslim, Jewish, Disabled, Female, Gay, Trans, or any form of Queer. You don’t threaten to take the right to marry away from someone and then tell them to “respect your opinion.” What you do, if you’re going to hold such a backward opinion, is accept that you are not entitled to friendship and people are entitled to see you for what you are and distance themselves. You don’t put someone in a cage for looking different from you and then tell them to “grow up and respect different opinions.”
That’s not how it works. 
And remember, patriotism is loyalty to real-estate; you do not have to stay in America. I married a Canadian so while that would be the easiest option for MY family, there is a whole world out there and yet again, fools seem to think planes and passports are things of fiction.

Be vigilant and stick together, but do not feel like a bigot is entitled to your friendship or support. They have spoken. And now it’s our turn; not in four years. If we went from gay marriage being legalized to electing a homophobe in a little over a year, the next election is too late. So, come out of your panic, and think clearly always. 

Dizzy - horror author, affiliated with neither political party, Autistic Jewish mother. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

It's a Game

In my two-and-a-half years married and two and a half decades of observing interactions around me, I've taken notice that marriage begins with an illusion. For some of us it's a vague or even toxic concept of love, and for others it's a fabricated bliss that is the umbrella of adulthood. Every person has a concept of the people they interact with, and that concept is not always realistic.
My husband mentioned marriage very early into the relationship, and not just in response to my long-term goals of creating a family. He must have liked something about me. Something beyond the "*beautiful*, *smart*, and *funny*" lie of a description that men give all women regardless of how true it is (because many people are none of those things and happily wedded off.) There had to be something about me to prompt a guy in his late twenties, with virtually no prior long-term relationship experience, to begin referring to me as his fiancée several months into the relationship, a time which half was spent thousands of miles apart. My own motives were loud and clear: I wanted a family with a man who had a job, car, and high level of intelligence. Never had I dated for "fun" and I had several three-year-plus relationships in my past by age 21, when we met. He seemingly met all the requirements, plus he was working on a Masters degree and had traveled. I couldn't find a problem.

I can only speculate what he saw in me. His motives are rarely straightforward and rarely is he self-aware of them. But I can imagine that he thought being married to me would be more "*quirk*" and less "*jerk*." A common mistake is assuming that an eccentric person is live-in entertainment and whimsy, especially if they are on the autistic spectrum, and I am. Maybe he thought I wouldn't be changed by motherhood. Maybe he thought I was smart
, not realizing that our forms of intelligence are very different. *we* are very different. Maybe he thought I would complete him.

We don't like the same food or music, he is obsessed with sports and works in a social environment while I'm obsessed with serial killers and don't leave the house for days. I sell paintings for extra money, and he can't draw. He values tradition, I mock it. I seek to improve upon everything, which makes me sound like I'm being very critical, and he is highly sensitive to criticism (or even just lack of praise.) He isn't interested in anything I go on and on about and has not read any of my books, so he doesn't know anything about half of my life, yet I'm the kind of spouse that seeks understanding.
There is only one common interest we have, and that is our daughter. We agree on most aspects of parenting but, as usual, he's more conventional and I reject social norms. And I need to be heard out as to why. He is not big on listening to me.
He's a fun parent, I'm a bit stern. By now you probably realize he is day and I am night.
Our daughter is our common interest, but we do have another commonality, and that is that we write. But our topics, styles, and literally every aspect of what we write and why is entirely different. What we write about and the fact that we do share that aspect and ability is a fairly good representation of us as a couple.
"We both write, but one writes sports articles that are shared online for college sports fans to see immediately. The other one writes long horror trilogies for crime sleuths and sad people." And that is my husband and me.

In areas where one of us is clueless, the other is likely in the know. If we're both clueless, we're both resourceful. If we could communicate, we would probably be a great team.
In the wake of many fights, betrayal, and several separations, I'm trying to remember why he married me. It's not as if I don't have good qualities or that I hid the "bad" ones - the latter probably made me interesting until it made me difficult.
My "bad" qualities that have been brought up are character traits my husband openly says he hopes our daughter acquires. It's entirely subconscious and he has no response when I mention it. It seems the traits that make for an unhinged wife also make for a fun kid.
The things he saw that were good were real, as are the bad, but the bad blinds us if we let it. Just like the good did in the beginning.

How can we make this work? It's very simple. We can choose to look, listen, and be truthful. Without paying attention to what is happening with each other, walls and conflict inevitably arise. If we don't listen to each others words, we are directly showing that we don't care, so we have to shut to and listen and clarify. Lying is for enemies, not best friends. We wouldn't ignore our daughter if she felt badly. We shouldn't ignore our spouse, either.
It's more complicated than just being aware and honest, but that's the foundation. We weren't given good examples to follow for marriage, and that was out of our control, but what happens in *our* marriage is our choice. So far, the choices I have witnessed have been self-serving if not outright hateful. My marriage feels like a 90's RnB breakup song. I did not sign up for that. I want a sappy, poetic love song. And that's what I'm going to continue to seek - and I'm not going to beg for it.
I made mistakes. Plenty. But I was honest and real and raw and that was taken full advantage of by someone who I thought was my soul mate. And if he really is my soul mate, he needs to step up to that plate before the game is over.
As I sit in a pile of his laundry that I don't know for certain is clean or dirty, exhausted, feeling like an overdrawn bank account, I can't help but think he wants the game to end.

Monday, April 4, 2016

What You Didn't Understand About "The VVitch"

I finally saw "The VVitch" in theaters yesterday and I thought it was fantastic. Many people did not. Many people have made claims that it "made no sense" and that it "wasn't scary." There are a lot of folkloric (the movie is called "A New England Folktale," people) bits that were indeed believed to be the truth of witches and witchcraft by Puritans. Witches and witchcraft do and always have existed and there's always a disturbing line between truth and fiction when it comes to witches, particularly traditional witches (non-Wiccan) and whether or not we choose to use shadows in our craft. Indeed, at the time, any woman could be deemed a witch for speaking out or having an opinion at all. 

Thomasin is the central character, a teenaged Puritan girl who deeply wants to be loved by God and who has some resentment for her fathers pride casting them into the wilderness. Thomasin doesn't make her own decisions. She is not "the witch" that is causing so many bad things to quickly happen to the family because there is no singular "Witch" in the film, there are many, and they all work in tandem with Lucifer (not someone witches have ever actually revered but were and are still feared to) in hopes of freeing Thomasin from her Puritanical Hell. She does not begin the film as a witch and she loves her family. 

The family infant Samuel was taken under Thomasin's watch during a simple peekaboo game. Anyone who saw the trailer knows this. What follows is actually very disturbing, and many movie-goers did not realize how disturbing his demise actually is. The witch that is shown during this part is older, and blood of an infant was thought to be used to keep witches young (and many women who were pretty or young looking for their age in the times of the film were accused of using baby blood and then burned as witches.) The woman on screen doesn't cut the infant for a little blood for a ritual; she's seen grinding something (him, but not many caught that) up for all of his blood, and probably fat. She is seen rubbing it across herself and what appears to be a staff in front of the Full Moon. 
Why the staff? Well, the idea of witches flying on broomsticks didn't start with a cute beginning. Blood and fat of children and infants were thought to be used as lubricants for witches to vaginally take in certain hallucinogens via masturbating. "Flying high on a broom stick" has never been literal. 

There are many familiars in this movie. A familiar spirit, to witches, is someone who helps them on their path and in their craft and is very real. The rabbit in this movie plays a huge role in the symbolism and actual demise of at least one character. Rabbits do and always have symbolized sex and fertility and the feminine, which are the qualities that scare the shit out of this Puritan family about Thomasin. Her younger brother, Caleb, specifically has issues not leering at Thomasin, and not because he is a pervert, but because he is repressed and around no other young but developed females. The rabbit leads the boy and father deep into the woods, where the father injures himself (a minor injury but hit to the ego) in an attempt to kill it for food. Caleb chases it once more when he and Thomasin are in the woods together, after hearing tales about the red apples his mother and sister desired from back home, and he meets his own desire - a young, beautiful witch who kisses him on the mouth, cursing him. Puritans believed desire and temptation were only harmful to those who were not purse of heart, leaving them open to curses such as these. 
Thomasin's sexuality, and his, lead to his death after regurgitating the apple of the curse. From one side, it's because he was not pure of thought, Thomasin (and the mother) could not let go of the fanciful desires of England, which Caleb doesn't remember, leaving him open to the curse of a witch. From another side, the family desire to rid themselves of Thomasin and her scary sexuality leave them with another dead child.

The Raven doesn't seem to show up quite as much, but is another familiar, or better yet, an omen of death. The main role of the raven in this movie is that grief-stricken Katherine, the mother of the family, seems to hallucinate the return of her youngest and eldest son, but "Caleb" (dead from the curse after purging the apple) tells her not to tell father as the baby begins to cry. The mother did as mothers do, and take the baby to feed at her breast. 
There is no baby. She's breastfeeding a raven or, better yet, the raven is pecking her nipple off, adding perversion to and destroying the very life-sustaining force the mother has. This familiar of death, and this omen, takes the very milk meant for the baby - a life force. If that isn't disturbing and foretelling, not much could ever be. Katherine's mind is officially gone, and in her grief and loss of faith, she's lost every ounce left of her mind. 

The twins are the ones who really take Thomasin's joking threats to their full force by repeating what she had said, and there was very little such nonsense as "playing around" about witches (or anything else as joy was frowned upon) with Puritan families. While Caleb is writhing and then dies, the twins seemingly fake their own possessions, a probable Folie 'a Deaux, or shared madness by the intensity and fear surrounding their brothers supernatural death and Thomasin's backlash accusation of them being the witch in the woods. The father boar the three of them up with two goats and during the night, a woman (presumably one of the many witches of the movie) is seen eating the flesh of the two white goats much as Thomasin threatened to eat the flesh of the twins.
 What really seemed to irk people is that they never see the twins die or know what happened to them. In the morning, the father sees the goats dead and only Thomasin left before his own demise, but where are they? Well, the ending of the movie should tell you it isn't a far cry from what happened to baby Samuel in the beginning. The blood and fat of children was used as part Thomasin's initiation into the coven, burned and used as lubrication to vaginally consume hallucinogenic drugs through masturbation. The witch who ate the gut of the goats took the twins.
I found this fairly obvious.

And finally, Black Phillip. Thomasin is finally in a position where she will make the first real decision in her life, and have agency over her own body and mind. She could stay at the farm and starve, she could try to make it back to the community alive to be tried for murder or witchcraft, and in the off chance she was not tried for such, she could be married off and reproduce, or she could wait for whatever is in the woods to kill her, also. But there was another option, a desperate one, and Thomasin goes to the black goat and only other survivor of the family and commons that he speak to her. 
He does, and he offers her to "live deliciously, taste butter, wear a pretty dress, see the world." These offers are all over the place and rather seductive, because Black Phillip is Lucifer. The Christianized version of Lucifer is a man with goat horns, much like the god Pan, and many other pagan gods that came before Christianity. Pan particularly was fond of hedonism and living for the senses and worldly pleasures, orgies, etc. Things Thomasin has probably never even dreamed of, having started the movie as a faithful girl and, despite her faith losing everything and everyone around her as they used God as a way to demonize her. She signs, removes her shift, and off she goes to dance with the other witches. Black Phillip saw something in Thomasin from the beginning that he liked, and he got his way.

And not only does she join and dance with the various witches, she levitates with them, and her face changes into a smile - a highly sexual one as her twin siblings provide fuel for their fire and a means for their levitation or their "high."
Her siblings blood and fat with hallucinogenic drugs inserted into the vagina while she has some form of an orgasm in the air because this was her most freeing, and arguably safest option in order to stay alive - and no one found this movie terrifying? 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why I Hate Disability Inspiration Porn

Inspiration porn - you know, disabled person does something mundane correctly or almost correctly, non disabled person was nice enough to notice and not be an ass about it. I run into a lot of it because I have Aspergers. Ah yes, a guy with Asperger's who also dances to cope with it was *given* a job - not even interviewed like a normal person - because his friend wanted to make his dream of being a barista come true.  I've got something to say to people who love these types of "feel-good" stories so much but I'll keep it brief.

Okay, cool, lucky guy, nice friend, I hope he's handling the bent-for-him-specifically-demands of that job. I'm actually happy for him.  He gets to stim on the job, it's what he's known for, and he even went on Ellen.  If I was magically hired as a barista I would be spilling coffee everywhere and taking forever at the register trying to understand numbers, pissing off customers, and giving them the wrong thing thanks to mild face-blindness. And my dancing would be frowned upon. Apparently you can perform poorly on the job as long as you have a kind manager friend who gets you on Ellen so you can talk about how you were handed a job, which is something the average person can get without much thought. "Look how kind I am."

That's not how things generally play out when you have a disability, and here we are talking about Asperger's, and try to get a job. Many of us don't have a friend who manages a Starbucks. Many of us don't have in-person friends at all. Those who do work tend to be constantly berated by bosses for not thinking or acting quite as expected. I got in trouble because it took me too long to read numbers on a cash register or on a card working at Hot Topic. I got in trouble for not "following directions" that were never clearly given to begin with. I got in trouble for not folding in even lines. The manager never stopped scolding me to "yell enthusiastically at the customers" but when I pointed out it scared the customers away, I was told to do it anyway. I talked to the customers too much, not enough, was given the least hours of anyone... That was before my diagnosis and one day I left work, went on vacation and never returned. 

I've heard people complain about disabled employees in the store (in the case I'm thinking, a deaf woman)  saying "disabled people shouldn't be allowed to work because it interrupts customer service." Yes, really. Often the same type of people who want to cut SSI benefits. We show up to inquire about jobs. If we don't hold eye contact long enough, if we do anything socially off-putting and we usually do - it's over. We aren't handed jobs with no interview and if we get hired and it's not in a field we are suited to, we mess up. A lot. So stop acting like one guy being handed a job - he's not an idiot, he could have been interviewed - is so sweet and inspirational because he has Asperger's. He isn't an invalid. A lot of people have Asperger's and  lately I've noticed no one is getting their I'm-a-good-person-kicks by giving me a job. What's with that?

If you think one person with Asperger's getting a job is Ellen-worthy and worth sharing thousands of times, maybe we need to examine why it's unique for someone with Asperger's to be ab;e to work and stim. 


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happily Never After - The True Story He Won't Read

April 4th, 2013 I met a guy. We met on a dating site since I'm not social and he was busy working, getting a masters degree, and seeming like quite a stable individual with his own apartment. He was almost 7 years my senior which was, in my eyes, good, because I was tired of dating guys who lived with mommy, had no job or education or future. I'd just been in NYC, I was 21, and it was time to grow up, I thought. His profile was vague, and so was he when we met. He "worked with sports, mostly womens softball and volleyball." This rubbed me the wrong way but he came across as professional. I, on the other hand, was an open book about having Asperger's and being a broke writer. I made it known that I struggle badly with eye contact.
We entered an official relationship the same day we met in person for a lunch date. He told me within a week he wanted to "play the role of hero in my life." Within two weeks he had said I love you. I was spending a lot of time with him, often sleeping at his house as mine was riddled with anger. We had similar values about family and where we wanted to end up in life. I was quickly falling for him. He never hesitated to let me know I was strong and quite bubbly for a person who had been through so many deaths and changes. I needed that. I felt safe.

I moved in with my new boyfriend at the end of May, right when my best friend moved back home after graduating, and right after that, my boyfriend went back home to Chicago to work for the summer and cater to his mentally ill mother, who'd I'd met, and who was quite upset that her "little boy" who was 27 was getting so serious with a girl. So I had his apartment to myself, while I took a college summer semester, and wondered what was wrong with the man I had fallen for. I'm a strange girl and while there's no such thing as normal, a baseball-loving goody two shoes must have a few cracks in their system to be attracted to an abnormal-psychology obsessed, serial killer tracking woman with Aspergers. My therapist and even family told me I was paranoid. 
After all, our only fight had been tat he told me he "needed space" so he could "go out for beer with a buddy" who turned out to be a woman who wanted him to break up with me. Oh, and the argument when his ex texted him (or he texted her) while we were up late drinking. Otherwise, things were peachy. I was just paranoid, right?

When he came back, we got into more fights, I started questioning if he liked me at all, but we worked beyond that. He proposed with a 6$ ring after buying a playstation 3 in the same day. The fact he called the police anytime I did anything he didn't like (nothing even violent or illegal) or the fact he told his mom every detail of our personal lives started to wear on me. After a few too many creepy comments about the females on the "sports" teams he did stats for, I was growing more and more wary. At the 6 month mark, I finally made eye contact with him, which was huge for me. He looked me dead in the eyes and said I looked creepy. I was thinking the same of him in that moment. We'd moved into a new apartment, and at Christmas, after making extensive plans with me, I could sense he was up to no good and it turned out he was secretly planning to go see his family in Chicago. I flipped out, rightfully so. How are you going to be two places at once? Why lie? Why make plans with me, or better yet, why not take me with you?
He let his brother - who I believe to be a psychopath - torture me on the phone for hours and his mother threatened a bizarre amount of things. I offered to pay for his car to be fixed, and when
 he got back, I'd be gone. And I meant it. But he stayed.

A month later he totaled my car and we found out I was pregnant. I was afraid and excited and we went to the first ultrasound together. He had proposed, but was hesitant to actually marry. We discovered our baby was a girl, and began making lists of names. Easter came and went, we decided on a name, and we finally planned a guest-less wedding in a city near my hometown in Louisiana. 
Four days before that wedding in May, after dreams and dreams and intuition telling me this is cheater, I went through his phone for the first time. He had been cheating on me - on AIM chat and email (WHO THE FUCK STILL USES AIM) - he had been telling another woman he loved her while I cooked Easter lunch and on the day we chose our daughters name. Those trips for work? He was chatting up some bitch. I went ballistic.

We got married anyway. Blame it on the e-e-estrogen; I was riding high on 2nd trimester hormones. I paid for the wedding. And swamp honeymoon. I didn't trust him but my mind was on my baby, my body, delivery, and how I was going to get the apartment ready in time for her arrival while he sat on his ass and played video games. He had no job. He was applying everywhere, and meanwhile I paid the rent with the help of family and my psych-article writing job which ended a month before she was born. I was focused on being a family. Finally the day came and my jobless husband drove me, blank-faced, to the hospital for my c-section. For that short time in the hospital while we bonded with the fabulous new baby, I felt closer to him. I tried and tried to breastfeed but the baby had a  latch issue so she got some, but not enough, from my body. I had failed, in my mind. I had post-partum OCD, so instead of being depressed, I had become a neurotic perfectionist. Breast feeding meant a lot to me, and so did losing weight. I tried tried tried, barely able to move after my c-section. 

6 weeks after she was born, 6 weeks of being a new mom and a lonely wife, I found out more about his cheating escapades, we fought, and a long chunk of horrid, traumatizing legal shit followed. He took the baby and hid her for 6 days but it was legal, and my family paid 7,000$ to get her back. We were officially separated; I had the apartment and he lived with some old bitch. Supposedly. That's also when he supposedly opened an OKCupid. He was.... Married, with a newborn, and on OKCupid. I rapidly stopped giving a shit if we ever got back together - I filed for divorce. With my specialty being abnormal psychology I was quickly recognizing his Psychopathic traits. Had I married a psychopath?

My confidence came back, I lost 90lb of pregnancy weight, and wondered if I should start dating. He said he didn't care but also accused me of fucking everyone. He moved into my new apartment, became verbally abusive as hell, calling me horrid names and intimidating me in between shifts at a chain restaurant. Then he got a job in Austin and, scorned by the only other person who I'd really taken interest in, I decided maybe a new place would help our marriage, the baby would be somewhere with better schools, and I needed the fuck out of my town. We have good times, we explore the city when we get a chance, I make him laugh, we show our baby new and amazing things as she grows. There is love in that.
Fast forward 7 months - tons of emotional abuse, I haven't gotten to drive my own car except for twice. I'm trapped. And that feeling in y stomach came back and low and behold I found his OKCupid on his phone - ten minutes after talking me into marriage counseling and maybe coming back to the bedroom instead of sleeping in the living room, he was trying to hit up at least 6 different women (who I now contacted) for hook ups or dates or whatever. He portrayed himself like I'd never existed, like he was purely single, and a real "fun and friendly guy and perfect father." I exposed it all online, and have been exposing his emotional abuse for almost a full year, because you can't call me the crazy one when I have cold hard evidence. He never hit me - so he did nothing illegal - but he has been abusing me since the beginning. Lying. Gaslighting. Cheating. Name calling. Using money without my permission. "Bitch, cunt, whore, piece of shit, no one will ever love you, I hate you, your job is over now that the baby is born, your death mother did a shitty job, you're useless." Come at me motherfucker - his mother is still alive - mine died when I was 16 - his had the chance to raise him to adulthood and created a monster. So I said it's over. 

I still love him. But he can't love me - you don't emotionally murder someone you love. We met in 2013 and it's 2016 and he has not read one piece of work I've published. He hasn't even read my blog posts. He probably won't read this! He has no idea how this is hurtful; I'm a writer, my books are my soul. You should be interested in your wife's soul. But I'm not a 21 year old girl anymore, I don't need to hear how strong I am, because I know. He forced me to know. People wonder why I don't "just leave" and what they don't understand is that I am a neurologically disabled person who has to be careful about rent and location and I may have to move our toddler and myself 5-7 hours away, with my car, back to Louisiana if I don't find a cheap place nearby within the next week. I'm not rushing because this is about my toddler, not just me - but we deserve the very best there is. We deserve the caviar version of love, not the artificially flavored shaken-up soda. I pack more and more every day. I'm going to view several places this week before I call it in and go back home. He's begging me to stay. Part of me wants to. Part of me wants to solve him. 

I'm the cooperative party in this marriage even though my dreams were shattered and I was betrayed. I take vows seriously. Better or worse, sickness and health, until death do us part. Well, bro, I'm not sure you were ever alive. And the girl you married is dead. Someone much stronger, a mother and an author and an advocate and an artist, has risen from the ashes of the life I built for you and you burned down. My baby and I will be good even if I never love another man again, though I'm sure someone will love me. I'm enough, my daughter is enough.