Day 1: Dear Mornings, Go Crawl Into a Hole and Die

Day 1: Dear Mornings, Go Crawl Into a Hole and DieDay 1: Dear Mornings, Go Crawl Into a Hole and Die

I am endeavoring to keep track of my excursion into tackling my autoimmune disease and generally get healthier. I’ve never been healthy, so I can’t say I’m getting healthy, because it’s a state I’ve never been in, nor will I ever be, I don’t think. I’ve had to start the AIP protocol, or the autoimmune Paleo protocol. It’s like Paleo, but with a lot more restrictions, mainly restricted of food which can cause inflammation flare-ups for people with autoimmune disorders.

So far, it sucks.

I’m all about trying to get healthy. I’m all about treating myself better and living healthier, but today has sucked. The morning sucked the worst.

I put a fair amount of effort into this yesterday, by cooking, yesterday, getting my lunch ready, yesterday, setting my pills out, yesterday–none of this really prepared me for today, well it did, but I don’t know that it helped a whole lot.

I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep because for some weird reason I was hot. Then I had a weird dream about my best friend from high school. Then When I did get up, my stomach was upset and I generally felt like crap. I did not feel like eating the breakfast I had prepared, yesterday. I ate a couple of bites of it, part of the chicken, and none of the vegetables and mushrooms I had set aside, just for breakfast.

I made it to work, feeling like a run-down old dog and I didn’t really feel like eating a snack. I kind of had a long lunch, as I worked at my computer. My lunch was snap peas, mushrooms, a couple of baby carrots, a little bit of cauliflower, a little bit of broccoli, half of a beef patty, and some coconut sauce I made yesterday, for dipping.

Let me tell you about that coconut sauce–the recipe calls for four cups of flaked, dried coconut, some salt, and a tablespoon of coconut oil. You’re supposed to put all of this in your food processor and it’s magically supposed to turn into a creamy substance known as coconut butter, or coconut concentrate. Well, it takes more than a tablespoon of coconut oil to make this happen. The oil should also be melted. Without enough oil, you’re pretty much just spinning dried coconut around your food processor and it never really goes anywhere. There is a chance my coconut could have been too dry.

Later, you mix your coconut concentrate with some other stuff, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, some water–then you blend that, and that’s your sauce. It’s supposed to be sort of like ranch; it’s not ranch, but it’s not that bad. I did find that once I had cooled it in the fridge, it turned from a liquid, into a solid. It still works though. Broccoli can still penetrate it.

In addition to the food drama–I’ve drunk over a hundred ounces of water today, so far. I feel like a water faucet. Just wait a few minutes and I’ll have to pee. I don’t understand how anyone accomplishes anything while having to pee so much.

I was foggy at work. My head kind of hurt. I also had restless leg, while I was sitting at my desk. I suppose this is from a lack of caffeine, or something in my new supplements.

I came home, hoping to take a quick nap–nope. The darn dog has to bark at every f***ing thing that may or may not exist outside of the house. I have absolutely no idea what he’s barking at. It could be a squirrel, or it could be the Pope knocking at the door. I don’t know. I don’t care. I just want him to shut up. Please quit barking, nothing is out there that is genuinely important enough to bark at.

So all in all, I’ve made it, but I feel very low. It doesn’t help matters that I’ve seemed to have hurt my left hip. People might have noticed I’ve walked with a slight limp today.

Maybe tomorrow will be better, but I doubt it, because there is always a detoxification period in eating changes like this.Your body gets pissed off at you for making a change and everything is pretty awful for a while. So, we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

My Folate Levels Bring All the Boys to the Yard

My Folate Levels Bring All the Boys to the YardMy Folate Levels Bring All the Boys to the Yard

In reality, my folate levels do not, in fact, bring the boys to the yard because they’re so darn low, my folate levels that is. Well, some boys might come to the yard for that because my low folate levels mean that I couldn’t sustain a pregnancy right now and those boys might think, “Yippee, there’s no possibility of child support!” I only have one boy, man, actually, so this isn’t really a conversation about my lack of boys. This is a conversation about my folate levels, well, it’s a conversation about my health in general.

You see, I thought I had two auto-immune diseases, at least, and now I’m not sure how many I have. I have one for sure, but the other two I thought I might have, I may not actually have. I’ve actually spent over ten years thinking I had one of them, but I don’t currently have the blood work to support that. This is a good and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because the one I may not have, PCOS, causes all sorts of problems, especially in regards to fertility. It’s a bad thing because it means the other autoimmune disorder I have, for sure, is so darn bad that it’s mimicking PCOS to a degree. It’s also the reason my folate levels are in the toilet and so are my B12 levels. So all these mornings that I wake up feeling tired and like junk, it’s because my B12 levels are as low as a hot air balloon powered by one guy frantically blowing in the general direction of the balloon.

I’ve had problems for a while. I mean, a while, a while. I go to medical doctors, who may or may not diagnose me with anything, but then they don’t do anything, even if they do diagnose me with something. They’re just like, “Oh, you have so and so, but we’re not going to give you anything for it, nor are we going to give you advice on how to manage it. Give us money and leave.” I decided to see a functional medicine doctor. It’s all diet and minerals and stuff, which is fine. As I told her today, if she had told me to go outside and lick a leaf seven times a day, but it worked, I wouldn’t care how crazy it sounded, I would do it. I’m tired of feeling like crap. It’s been especially bad these past few months, which is unfortunate because I’ve been quite happy these past few months.

What’s my remedy to all of these problems? It turns out that I have a whole lot of digestive issues; don’t ask. This means that I have to try to heal some of this through diet. The diet of choice is the Autoimmune Paleo protocol. It’s Paleo, but a lot more strict. You say almond butter; I say what almonds? I’m going to eat a sweet potato. I can’t even have pepper. Pepper, seriously, or bell peppers for that matter. I also have to take some supplements to help remedy some of these issues, such as chasteberry, probiotics, and fish oil. There’s a few others on the list as well. I also have to drink a camel’s worth of water, but it can’t be fluoridated, or it’s not supposed to be anyway.

None of this is cheap, not at all. The functional medicine doctor is not covered under my insurance. The supplements are not covered under my insurance, and some of them are kind of expensive. I’m going to have to figure out something with the water. I have to eat more times a day. I was eating one meal a day and some snacks and that’s it.

It’s also going to suuuuccckkk for a while. I’ve done elimination diets before, The Whole 30, which I think is just as strict as AIP, but in different ways. If you have ever done an elimination diet before, you will know that you feel like run-over possum guts for at least a week, depending on how dependent you are on caffeine, sugar, coffee, and alcohol. Luckily, the only one of those I regularly consume is sugar, well, and caffeine. We’ll see how bad this is.

I still have to buy my supplements and figure out some sort of meal plan that involves me eating more than once a day. It’s going to be an adventure. I won’t be having French fries, which is fine with me right now because I just ate a whole lot of French fries, but at least they were the kind freshly made from whole potatoes, so they weren’t additive laden potato sticks, although, those are delicious as well.

All in all, I’m going to have to torture myself for a while to feel better, so I can figure out more of what I need and don’t need in my life.

P.S. The picture at the top is kale, which is a source of folate. You know, kale, the super food. I’m probably going to have to drink a kale smoothie.

My Kale smoothie brings all the boys to the yard.

And they’re like,

“Kale is a super food”

“Damn right, kale is a super food”

I can blend it for you,

but I have to charge.

Not at Church

Not at ChurchI recently wrote about why I don’t go to church every Sunday, even though I used to. That’s still true. I didn’t suddenly have a life-changing epiphany that led me to attend church this past weekend, but I did have a spiritual experience this past week. In all honesty, I probably had more than one spiritual experience, but the one I’m writing about was the most spiritual.

I went to see a concert. I went to see The Piano Guys. Call me a dork–I don’t care; those guys are wonderful.

Music is one of those things that just sort of lives inside of me(I know this sounds corny, but go with me). When I see someone else who clearly has the music in them as well, it’s highly spiritual for me. See, I think that God, Heavenly Father, knows each of us and gave us each talents and skills to use in our lives. By using those talents, and sharing them with other people, I feel it’s a way to express our faith in a higher power. It’s kind of like saying, “Hey, God, I know you know what you’re doing. I’m going to use this thing that you gave me and see where it takes me.” Then, by using our talents, others are inspired to use their talents and maybe even discover talents they didn’t know they had. Maybe a person isn’t inspired to go out and use their talent, but maybe you made them smile, or made them think, and that’s not a bad thing. If you can bring any happiness to the world, it’s a good thing. I tend to think that any time we make someone happy, we’re only furthering the mission of whatever higher power you believe in, unless your higher power wants to make people miserable, let’s hope that isn’t the case.

Getting back to the concert I went to–it was wonderful. My boyfriend, Grizzly Pirate Wynn, bought tickets for us to go see The Piano Guys for Valentine’s Day. I love music, and so does he, although, I am definitely the more musically inclined. He enjoyed himself. I enjoyed myself. Lots of people there enjoyed themselves.

I didn’t think I was in any way musically inclined until I was about fourteen years old. If you had asked me at ten if I thought I was going to be musical at all, I would have responded in a shy voice that I wasn’t. I discovered that I was musically talented though, which was a surprise. I started taking piano lessons and I was good. I also started singing. Who would have thought I could do that? I can sing. I don’t mean I can sing along with the radio or in the shower. I mean that I can sing hymns, pieces from musicals, and, yes, even some opera.

I have now played the piano for about eighteen years or so. I have also been classically trained to sing, meaning I can read music, sing scales, sight-read, and even do some singing back to you if you sang me a tune. I love singing. I love playing the piano. I can even do both at once.

I also have a guitar, although I haven’t been as successful with it. I am somewhat double-jointed, meaning my joints are bit more flexible than is normal. You know that top joint in your finger? The one that moves around the segment of your finger attached to your fingernail? That one? Yeah, well, most people’s joint only bends outward, out towards the top of your hand. Well, mine can bend both outward and inward, towards the palm-side of my hand. You may think this is awesome, but I have thus far not found many advantages besides the fact that I can easily bend just that joint in my finger and say “Redrum,” and other things, like in the movie The Shining.

What does any of this have to do with the fact that I have a guitar? For the guitar, and any stringed instrument actually, you use the very tip of your finger to place pressure on the string. The correct sound only comes out of the instrument if you press the string down firmly against the fret board. Most guitars are steel-stringed, which means the strings are extra strong. There has to be a lot of force on that string to make a good sound.

With one string, this is all find and dandy, but if I have to press more than one string at once with one finger my double-jointedness comes into play and I cannot put the force on those strings that I need to, because of that wonky joint. That means my chords, the F-chord for example, sound like someone is trying to strangle a guitar. Thus, I haven’t been as successful with other instruments.

Double-jointedness does come into play with the piano, just not as much. I play much differently than someone who isn’t double-jointed. I can still do all that cool stuff, but my hands and fingers are usually positioned a bit differently and I play thumb notes with the side of my thumb, not the finger pad itself, you know, just in case you were wondering about playing the piano and being double-jointed.

Getting back to the concert–Steven Sharp Nelson is amazing. He’s the guy that plays the cello. I know I should probably be a little biased towards the piano guy, Jon Schmidt, since I do actually play the piano, but I just can’t get over how amazing Steven is. He also really reminds me of Nathan Lane.

I just Googled Steven and found out that he is only thirty-nine years old. Steven, you’re making me feel really unaccomplished because you’re not even a decade older than me and you’ve accomplished a whole lot, not that Steven will ever read this, but if he does, he’ll know that he made me feel a little bad about myself.

Oh, who cares?! He’s still immensely talented and I would love to be able to play the cello like he does. FYI one of Steven’s cellos, the electric black cello, is named Bruce Lee. I would love to be able to play a stringed instrument. The cello has this particularly warm sound that I admire so much.

Back to the whole spiritual thing–when Steven plays, I can feel the presence of a higher power. I know that may sound corny, but I know, I just know that there is something greater than us out there when people like Steven share their talents with the world. Steven’s over there playing these beautiful songs on his cello and I’m sitting there thinking, “This is beautiful! Heavenly Father gave Steven this amazing talent!” It’s almost like listening to the divine.

Again, I know I sound kind of corny, especially to people who are not on the same spiritual level as I am. Maybe you’re not spiritual at all, maybe you  don’t believe in a higher power, maybe you are spiritual, but you don’t feel spiritual around music, maybe NASCAR makes you feel spiritual–I don’t know, but one of the things that makes me feel spiritual is music.

How this ties in with my post about not going to church is that I felt I was worshipping and experiencing a higher power while attending a concert, rather than sitting in a pew, listening to someone talk about Moses, or Nephi, or Adam, or Samuel, or Jacob, or the Tribes of Israel, or whomever. When Jon and Steven shared their music with the entire audience, I was worshipping; I was having a spiritual experience. You could even say I was attending a worship service, not to worship Jon and Steven, but to worship the power that gave them their talents and made each of them who they are.

 

My Mom has a Favorite; It’s not Me

My Mom has a Favorite; It's not meMy mother has a favorite child, but it’s not me. Yes, she has more than one. Yes, it’s pretty evident that there is a favorite. No, she’s not subtle about it. No, it’s not in my head. This is a for real thing. My mom has a favorite child.

I know they say that a parent should not have favorites, but I’ve read enough Dear Prudie articles to know that there are parents who certainly do have favorites. I’ve seen enough Whisper posts to know that there are parents who have favorites. I’ve had a favorite brother; why not have a favorite child?

Well, for starters, it’s not fair. All of you out there who also know that your mother has a favorite will also know that it feels awfully unfair. You don’t get the same type of treatment. You don’t get the same advantages. You don’t get the same help, the same encouragement, the same types of presents, or anything the same. How this usually goes is the favorite child gets away with a whole lot and gets a lot.

In my family, I am the oldest child, the most responsible, the only one with a college education, the most talented one, as of yet, but none of that makes me the favorite. I’m even the only female child in my family. Does it matter? Nope.

Now, out of my three younger brothers, you might imagine that the youngest was the favorite, or the next to youngest for being so smart. You would be wrong. The favorite child in my family is the trouble-maker, the one who does everything wrong, the one who has caused more crap than the three other children combined. That one–that child, is the favorite.

I’ve always known this. Ever since this kid was born, I have known he was the favorite. He got more than I did. He got more attention from my mother than I did. He got more of everything. He got to sit up front in the car, a practice which would be frowned upon these days. He got the bigger room. He got the more expensive presents. He got the more expensive clothes. He got away with everything. He was defended more times than I ever was. More excuses have been made for him than anyone else in the family. If I had a dollar for every time my mother made an excuse for my brother, I probably wouldn’t have to work right now, well, at least for a couple of weeks anyway.

What’s more, people can see that my mom prefers my brother, over anyone else in the family, anyone, that includes her other children, her husband, her siblings, and various pets. It’s obvious. As my boyfriend put it, “She talks about him like she’s talking about a high school crush.” Everything is always centered around him. She’s calling him. She’s waiting on him. She’s paying for something, for him. She’s buying something for him.

Now that he has a baby, it’s worse. The baby is going to be the most spoiled baby in existence.

I don’t understand why. I don’t get why he is the favorite. It’s not that I want to be the favorite, because I don’t, really, my mom puts way too much attention on my brother and I’m just not that into that much attention from my mother. I just think it’s unfair. I have three brothers who are all valuable and great in their own rights. It’s like my mom practically ignores my other two brothers. Sure, she still loves them and still does things for them, but her emphasis is not on them; it’s on our other brother.

I do want to be a bit selfish about it. If my mother had defended me like she defended my brother, how much more well-adjusted would I be now? How much further would I be in my life if I had had a mother who actively participated in protecting my mental health, or my physical health for that matter? If my desires had been listened to, where would I be now? How about that time I begged to go to boarding school, seriously, how much better of an education would I have gotten? How much better off would I be mentally had I not had to live in a house with constant fighting all of the time?

My mom was still my mother, still is. She still did things for me. She still made sure I had a roof over my head. Ultimately though, whatever my mother has done for me and my other brothers pales in comparison to what she has done for the other brother, the favorite.

So, yeah, my mom has a favorite kid. I have no idea why he’s the favorite because he’s certainly caused her the most trouble, but he’s the favorite none-the-less. I don’t love my mom or my brother any less because of it, but it hurts a bit knowing that your own mother just doesn’t care for you in the way she cares for one of your siblings.

Don’t Take me to Church

Don't Take me to ChurchI used to go to church, every Sunday, for three hours. Sometimes church started at nine in the morning and sometimes it started at noon, or one, or ten, or eleven. I’ve gone to church at all sorts of different times, for three hours, on lots of Sundays. In addition to Sunday, there were also occasionally Wednesday night meetings, Thursday activities, and various meetings for positions I volunteered for at church. There was a lot of church. Church used to be this big part of my life.

I say used to be because it no longer is. I didn’t stop believing. I didn’t convert to Buddhism, Satanism, or Pastafarianism. I didn’t even take a yoga class, that’s how not, not church I am. It’s not that I wouldn’t take a yoga class, or that I associate it with eastern philosophies. I think it’s a form of exercise, but some people certainly do associate it with other religious teachings. That comparison was just to show that I’m not even really flirting with other religions.

If nothing else has peaked my interest, why not go?

There is nothing better than my church. I don’t have an alternative to go to. If I went anywhere, I would go to my church. I simply love some of the beautiful and very spiritual things about my church. I have not found religious teachings more beautiful anywhere else. I have not felt closer to the divine anywhere else, well, besides nature and when I see the beauty of human beings, not physical beauty, the beauty of things that people are capable of.

So why not go, if I have nothing better?

I’m tired. I’m worn out. I’m tired of church drama. I’m tired of following teachings and ending up in bad situations because I did. I’m tired of being told that God cares about sins more than he cares about me. I’m tired of being told that God cares more about men than he does about women. I’m tired of being expected to fulfill certain roles because I’m a woman in a religion. I’m tired of being looked down on because I don’t fit the cultural expectations of my church. If you don’t believe that your church has its own culture that goes above and beyond what your church teaches, you better think again, and think hard.

I’m also tired of not learning anything new. I am a spiritual person. I want to broaden myself spiritually through my worship experience, not hear the same thing over, and over, and over, and over again. Religion is not about repetition; it’s about growth and you only grow, or change, if you do something different. Sure, you could argue that you have to repeat the same action over and over again to form a habit, which could bring about a change, but you would have to make a decision to start the new thing in the first place, which is different from what you were normally doing.

I hated school. I heard the same thing, over and over again. I had already learned it, years previously, but, yet, I had to sit there and hear the same thing over and over again. It never did me any more good than the first time I heard it and it became frustrating. It was a chore. It was a chore to wake up five days a week and go listen to stuff I already knew, all while sitting in a hard chair, in a boring room.

My church attendance was no different. I went to church. I heard the same thing, over and over again. There were no revelations. The teachings I heard, over and over again, which I already practiced, didn’t really do me much good playing on repeat. I took to doodling in a sketchbook, while attending one hour, instead of three, on Sundays. I then took to not going at all. If I was going to take time out of my Sunday to get up early and go doodle in somewhere that wasn’t my house, to learn nothing, why should I go at all?

Moving forward, there were teachings and cultural things about my church that started to hurt. There were so many, “If you follow these teachings in your life, things will be ok,” statements. Yes, really? No, not really. I did a whole lot of following. That following got me a mentally abusive marriage, that not many people associated with the church would label as mentally abusive because of the lack of teachings about such things. Oh, but when other people heard, oh my. They couldn’t believe half of it. My own grandmother was the best voice of reason in the whole thing. She told me that it could be a greater sin to stay in a bad marriage than it was to keep it together. I prayed. I fought. I got out.

It’s so hard to split apart some beautiful gospel, from a culture that can be very flawed. If I adhered to all the things I used to adhere to, because of my church, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m in a much healthier place mentally. I am not miserable. I’m not depressed. I am in a great relationship, with a man I don’t fight with, with a man I can do things with, with a man who has shared interests. That man is not a member of my church. He even has qualities that members of my church would look down upon, heavily, but he is a wonderful person, who is very generous and responsible. I would not have this relationship had I adhered to the “only date members” repetition that many church members go about saying, on repeat. You know what I would have? Not much. I would be alone. I am in a relationship with a person I could actually raise a family with and he would be responsible about it. That means so much to me. You know what means more? The fact that he would be happy if we had children, or, heaven forbid, if we couldn’t. He values his relationship with me more than the prospect of passing on his genetic material, unlike the last guy.

I think part of what made my ex-husband so abusive was the fact that he felt entitled to treat me however he wanted because of how he twisted church teachings in his head. It’s not the church’s fault he did that; it’s his, but it doesn’t change the fact that it happened. He thought he could do whatever and I would take it, that I would have to take it, because of church teachings. He picked the wrong woman for that.

Through all of this, I’ve learned that a person’s own perspective about their belief is a lot more important than what that belief supposedly is on paper. Church teachings are wonderful and beautiful, but it’s what you do with those teachings that is either the wonderful thing or the terrible thing, after all, many people have done a great many terrible things in the name of God. I don’t want you to tell me that you are a Christian, or a Buddhist, or whatever, I want you to show me with your actions and who you are as a person. If you truly are whatever religion you claim to be, it will show in your actions with the world.

I’m not perfect, nobody is. Maybe I could benefit from going to church every once in a while, maybe someday. Right now, I’m assessing the good things about my beliefs. I’m tallying up the things I know to be true. I know Heavenly Father cares a whole lot about me as a person and would like to see me happy. I know he cares a whole lot about me becoming a better person through personal interactions, relationships, and knowledge. I know he gave me a brain and the ability to reason, so I could think about things and make my own darn decisions. I know he hopes those decisions will lead me back to the spirit kingdom to be with my family forever. I don’t have to go to church every Sunday to know those things. These are all things I’ve learned outside of church among other people, normal people, probably even some hipsters.

You want to know God? Go see what he created. See the mountains. See the sky. Look at the stars. See all the wonderful things people can do. Be amazed at the talent of others. Think about how photosynthesis works; it’s pretty important.

I Don’t Get Networking

I Don't Get NetworkingI Don’t Get Networking

I’ve recently read a book about networking and I’ve heard about it for years, but, I don’t get it.

I’m an introverted person. When I hear the word “networking,” I think about going up to complete strangers and bragging about yourself in hopes that said stranger will give you a job, or by your product, or whatever. It all sounds like a lot of uncomfortable talk to me. I don’t like bragging about myself. What are you supposed to do after that introduction anyway?

People at a networking event:

Hi, I’m Bob. I work at Logistics Corporation in finance.

Hi, Bob, I’m John, I work at Logix Corporation in data processing.

What are you supposed to say next?

How’s the finance world? How’s data processing? Do you like data processing? Can you tell me the history of data processing?

I mean, really, what in the heck are you supposed to say to a person after you have pretty much walked up to them and pulled your Ace out of your sleeve?

I could certainly walk up to someone and say, ” Hello, my name is Ashe Arterberry. I have two bachelor’s degrees–one in Fine Arts with an emphasis in technology and mass production of images(printmaking) and one in Information Technology. I have CompTIA A+, Network +, and Security + certifications. I can program in HTML, CSS, Javascript, JQUERY, and Cold Fusion. I know both SQL and MySQL. I can manage databases. I can create websites. I can manage Microsoft networks. I can terminate internet cables. I am well-versed in many art forms. I can produce photography and also excellent hand drawings. I can create sewing patterns. I’m an excellent cook. I can play the piano very well. I’m classically trained to sing. I’m an excellent problem solver. I’m also excellent at creating solutions to those problems I solved. I can teach you classes on how to do just about anything. I have technical writing experience. I can take large amounts of data and simplify it in a manner that anyone can understand. I also know English, very well, and I’m not terrible at Spanish. I read over a hundred and eleven books every year. I’ve written thousands of pages on many books and fairy tales. I’m also pretty good-looking.”

So I can go up to someone and spew all of that out, but isn’t that weird? Why would the somebody else care? I don’t even say all of that stuff when I go for a job interview. I think it’s pretty darn impressive, but it would be really weird if I just went up to someone and vomited that information out. What’s even weirder to me is a bunch of people in the same place doing the same thing.

I forgot to add that I’m pretty good at Scrabble to that list.

The concept of going up to someone else and talking about how important you supposedly are, has always seemed as dishonest to me, or rather, lacking in character. It goes against the idea of being humble. Yeah, I’m awesome, but I don’t have to go say it to everyone I meet. I don’t need to go to some “networking meeting” and tell everyone there I’m awesome, especially when they’re all trying to tell me that they’re awesome. I don’t particularly care that they’re saying they’re awesome and I’m sure they don’t particularly care about me saying I’m awesome. It all seems like a big farce.

It shouldn’t matter what you can say about yourself; it should matter what you can do. If I can do these wonderful things, my work should speak for itself. Conversations about my merit should really be something like, “Hi, my name is Ashe Arterberry, let me show you what I can do.” If my work is up to snuff, then I should be hired, or collaborated with, or whatever the case may be.

My whole misunderstanding of networking is also compounded by the fact that in my personal experience people who are good at networking, are simply good at schmoozing, and while that may be great for that aspect of life, they can’t actually back up all their schmoozing. They’re like professionals at going up to other people and bragging about the things they can do, but if you actually looked at their results, it wouldn’t be that impressive. They think the end-all is knowing how to talk the talk. In reality, I think it’s better to know how to walk the walk, if you had to choose.

In my personal experience, I have always gotten to do something based on my merit, rather than because I “knew someone.” Knowing someone has never gotten me a job or a big opportunity. Being good at what I can do is what has gotten me advantages in life.

So in the end, I’m still very confused about networking.

Oh, Honey, Just Wait for God to Change Him…

Oh, Honey, Just Wait for God to Change Him...Oh, Honey, Just Wait for God to Change Him…

I recently read this awful book. I went on about it, at length, on my main site. It was one woman’s perspective about marriage and kids,–all about what God wants. To sum the whole thing up–if you’re a woman, you’re meant to stay at home, having babies, and letting your husband make all the decisions, because he’s the man. Women were made to serve men after all. As if that wasn’t infuriating enough, this woman, has the gall to suggest that if you’re in an abusive relationship, you may have to distance yourself physically because of danger, but you’re still supposed to respect your husband and maintain a relationship with him, because God can change any man.

Look, can God change any man? Well, yes, certainly. If God can create universes, God can change your abusive husband’s heart.

Here’s the thing, just because God can do something, doesn’t mean he’s going to do it. It’s not that God isn’t sympathetic to the fact that your abusive husband is being a jerk and, quite frankly, acting against the things God wants by mistreating another one of his creations; it’s the fact that your abusive husband, no matter how abusive, or how bad, is an autonomous being.

People were given brains so they could think for themselves. God, or whatever higher power you believe in, gave people brains so they could learn about the world and then decide how to act based on their knowledge. Generally, God doesn’t go around forcing people to think and behave in certain manners. We are allowed to think or behave however we want as long as we’re willing to pay whatever consequences there may be.

Let’s say your husband is really abusive; let’s make up a hypothetical guy. Let’s call him Ted. Ted is a real dick. Maybe he’s physically abusive. Maybe he’s mentally abusive. Maybe he’s both. He treats you like dirt. He treats you like you’re not a person. He tries to convince you that you’re crazy. Everything is your fault. All his problems are because of you. You’re stupid and you don’t know how to do anything. He’s the man and he knows more about everything that you. A little slap every now and then is warranted because you were making him angry. If this sounds familiar in your personal experience, I do apologize.

Let’s say you are religious. You pray to God about Ted. Please God, please let Ted stop trying to convince me that I’m crazy. Please God, I’m terribly depressed, please get Ted to stop. Dear God, please don’t let Ted hit me again.

It’s not that God doesn’t hear your prayers, because he does. In fact, they probably depress him a great deal. One of his children, is treating another one of his children in a terrible manner, in a relationship that is supposed to be the most important relationship on Earth, and beyond, to both of them.

We have to get back around to this Ted is his own person thing. Ted can make his own choices. Let’s say God hears your prayers and he decides to send realizations and good thoughts to Ted. Does this mean Ted is going to stop being a dick? Nope, well, chances are, no, but there is also a chance it will work.

Here’s the thing, for this whole thing to actually work, Ted has to accept the help from God. Ted has to accept these good thoughts, or good vibes, or whatever it is. Ted has to want to accept these things. They’re not going to be forced upon him, most likely. I only know of one scriptural story about a man forced to change mentally by God. So the chances of God forcing Ted to be a better husband are not good.

There are several things that make this process more complicated. Maybe God is sending out a ton of life changing vibes to Ted. Maybe Ted doesn’t want them. Maybe Ted realizes what he is doing is wrong, but he doesn’t care, and therefore will not accept any promptings from God on the subject of changing.

Maybe, Ted is so utterly screwed up that he doesn’t realize he’s doing anything wrong. The fact of the matter is to correct a wrong behavior, someone first has to admit that they’re wrong. If you’re a heroin addict, you have to admit you’re a heroin addict. If you’re an alcoholic, you have to admit you’re an alcoholic. If you’re an abuser and you want to change, you have to admit that you’ve been abusive.

Ted may be so high and mighty with his opinions, that he would never allow the thought that he is wrong to even enter his head.

So here is God, sending all these life-changing promptings to Ted, and he’s over there either ignoring them, or not realizing they exist because Ted is Ted and he’s always right, right?

Is Ted going to change if either of these scenarios are the case?

No!

Granted, maybe Ted does allow these promptings from God into his life. Maybe Ted says, “Oh man! I’m abusing my wife! I’ve got to stop. She’s a person. She deserves respect. She deserves love.”

This one is the least likely. It’s not that I’m a pessimist, it’s that how this usually works is that abusers keep on being abusers; they just might mellow out a little as they get older, but they’re still abusers. Maybe they quit beating you after age fifty, but the mental abuse is still good and strong.

If you believe that God loves you, you should also believe that God wants you to be happy and safe. If physical and mental abuse from a spouse has gotten so bad that you’re coming close to being killed, or killing yourself because you can’t take the mental abuse anymore, this is not something God wants. God does not want you to stay with a person who has hardened their heart to your extreme detriment.

What can Ted’s wife do?

Ted’s wife can stay in the abuse and end up a battered shadow of herself, possibly committing suicide because she can’t take it anymore.

Ted’s wife can leave Ted. Ted’s wife can get a divorce. Ted’s wife can go find herself a man who knows how to treat women like people.

Maybe Ted will realize he’s wrong and stop his terrible behavior, but how long is Ted’s wife supposed to wait for this to happen? A year? Two years? Five? Ten? Twenty? Until she’s dead? Is she supposed to wait until Ted is resurrected?

Ultimately, it’s a decision that a woman would have to make with much thought, and prayer, if you’re a praying person.

Before taking some terrible advice from a supposed Christian woman who wrote a book, it’s better to use your brain, which God gave you, to make a choice that benefits you the most physically, spiritually, and mentally.