Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


“No” is a Complete Sentence

NOI’ve written before about my relationship with a narcissist.  But I wanted to expand a bit more on my role in that – the doormat.  Doormats are magnets for narcissists.  Being walked all over is no fun and it can suck the life right out of you.

Do you have trouble saying “no” to people?  Even after you’ve said no, if pushed, do you have trouble sticking to your simple “no”?  Do you understand that “no” is a complete sentence?  Or do you feel compelled to offer an explanation of why you’ve said “no”?  Do you accept unacceptable behavior from others?  Do you get in a huff about “having” to do this or that but feel you must still perform the task?  Do you take on others’ problems only to become overwhelmed by them?

You don’t have healthy boundaries.  How do I know this?  Because I’ve gone most of my life without healthy boundaries myself and still have a bit of trouble setting them.  At least I’m aware of the problem now.  When I become angry, or feel guilty, or get my feelings hurt I’m painfully aware that it is usually my own fault.  Am I excusing the behavior of others?  No.  They are still responsible for their own behavior. But guess what?  So am I.

When we walk around with this martyr’s complex, feeling like we do all the work in relationships, and feeling exhausted by the weight of these relationships we are not exercising the power we have over the one thing we can control: ourselves.

I had a very hard time learning this simple lesson.  Yes, it is much harder to practice it than it is to preach it.  For me, anyway.  Especially when it involves those closest to me.  The fact of the matter is the word no is a complete sentence.  No explanation necessary.   I’ve begun putting this into to practice and little by little, each time I do it, it gets a little easier.

I’ve always been afraid that people wouldn’t like me anymore or that they wouldn’t ask me to do things in the future if I said no to them.  That’s actually a pretty irrational way of thinking.  If the only reason a person likes me is because I can do crap for them they don’t really like me anyway.  If I always so no then, yes, they might stop asking me to do things because most normal people get tired of one-sided relationships – not because I say no once or twice.   If I don’t reciprocate and ask others to do things they’d also get tired of a one-sided relationship.  But that doesn’t happen either.


Under the Knife

Robotic surgery

I’ve been a little scarce.  There’s a reason for that.

I’ve had this sneaking suspicion that I had a hernia for a while.  A good while.  A couple of years.  But it was small.  Since I didn’t think it was life-threatening I just let it go.

Over the New Year’s holiday I undertook a little project and noticed that the longer I was on my feet that little lump became a large bulge.  Not good.  And it was tender.  But I could still put it back.

I did decide that maybe I might outta go to the doctor about it.  First of all to make sure that my self-diagnoses was accurate seeing how I got my P.H.D. from a Cracker Jack box.  Second of all to make sure that it wasn’t serious.

When I made the appointment the receptionist wanted to know the purpose of the visit.  “Well, I think I have a hernia.  I’ve got a bulge where there shouldn’t be one.” When I get there for the appointment I have to repeat it for the doctor.  Then I have to show him.  He touched it and said, “Hmm…yeah, that’s a hernia. Get dressed and I’ll be back.”

A few minutes later he returned to the room.  A wry smile comes over his face and he says, “That’s, um, impressive.  Can you put it back in?”

“Yes, I can put it back in.  I do it all the time.”

“It’s an inguinal hernia. You need to have surgery.  You need to do it before it becomes incarcerated.  If that happens it’ll be an emergency surgery.”

He refers me to a surgeon.

I’ve never had surgery before.  The surgeon asks me over and over again if I’ve had surgery.   He says this kind of hernia usually happens when someone has had a previous surgery, like an appendectomy or a hysterectomy, and the tissue covering the organs is weakened.

Nope.  All my parts are present and accounted for.  I’ve still got everything I came here with.

Long story short, last Wednesday I had a robot putting a patch over the hole in my peritoneum.  More specifically there was a surgeon using a joystick to put a patch over the hole in my peritoneum so my guts wouldn’t spill out.  Nice, huh?

I don’t remember much about the whole thing.  When I checked in they started a sleepy-time IV pronto.  Thirty minutes later they wheeled me to the o.r. I moved from the bed to the operating table and the last thing I remember was the anesthesiologist saying, “Now I’m going to give you some medicine…” I was out.  I didn’t even get to count backwards.

After the surgery I woke up in recovery and an hour or so later I was headed home. The nurse told me I should take my time getting up for a few days.  “Don’t just spring up, you might get dizzy and fall.”

“Don’t worry. I don’t think I’ll be springing anywhere for a day or two.”

Since I’ve never had any kind of surgery I had no idea what to expect for recovery.  I thought I’d be back to normal by Friday.  Did. Not. Happen.  But I’m pretty much there now. This is such a minor thing. It is minor, isn’t it?

Anyway, I did go back to work on Monday which I may get into a little trouble with the surgeon over. I have a desk job.  I can sit at a desk as well as I can sit on a couch.  Do you know what it’s like to sit on a couch?  For days?  B – o – r – i – n – g!   Ain’t nobody got time for that!


White Privilege: I Don’t Think it Means What You Think it Means


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ~The U.S. Constitution

This picture has been making the rounds on social media this week.  It’s intended to show that white people are poor, too, I guess.

What is this thing we’re calling white privilege?  If you’ve never had to think about it, you’re privileged.

If you’ve never had to worry that driving through an affluent neighborhood in a nice car would make you suspect, you’re privileged.

If you’ve never had to worry when you walk into a job interview about whether or not you’ll get the job because of the color of your skin, you’re privileged.

If you’ve never had to worry about holding hands with your significant other because of the color of your skin, you’re privileged.

If you’ve never had to think about whether or not the quality of service you received was because of the color of your skin, you’re privileged.

If you’ve never worried about whether you could get health insurance, car insurance, a mortgage, or whether the rates you are offered for any of those things is higher because of the color of your skin, you’re privileged.

Being rich or poor has absolutely nothing to do with white privilege.  You see, being poor might make you less privileged, but if you are white you are privileged nonetheless. There may be a cast system here where some are more privileged than others, but discrimination based on the color of your skin isn’t something you’ve likely every experienced if you’re white.

The mere fact that a white person felt freedom enough to post such a meme means you’re privileged.

Hating or disliking white people doesn’t render them powerless, it doesn’t oppress them, and it doesn’t deny them equality.

I detest the notion anyone might hate another based solely on the color of their skin.  However I do understand where it comes from.  We tend to disdain those who have more privilege than us.  Especially if we believe that those with the privilege are either keeping us oppressed or denying, or at the very least begrudging, us equality.

It is honestly absurd that any white person in America cannot see that they do, indeed, have privilege no matter their economic standing.

When I saw this meme I was immediately both embarrassed and angered at the same time.  It is a straw man.  Clearly those who perpetuate this fallacy have not really considered what it even means.  Nor have they considered what it might be like to walk around in the shoes of a black person for even one day.

White privilege:  I do not think it means what you think it means.



Atheist Outrage: Checking your Christian Privilege

I see things.  Things I’d rather look away from.  But it’s like a train wreck.  I know I should but I can’t.  A facebook “friend” posted this and it showed up in my news feed.

Atheists Outraged After NASCAR Legend Says This About God and Salvation

I clicked on the article to read about this atheist outrage.  The article never even addresses it.  Nowhere in the article is any atheist quoted, nor even mentioned, as having been outraged.  This is the kind of propaganda unbelievers are up against in the U.S.

Let’s set the scene, why don’t we? It was at the National Prayer Breakfast where NASCAR legend, Darrell Waltrip, was the keynote speaker.  What was that again?  The National Prayer Breakfast.  The United States hosts, at taxpayer expense, a National Prayer Breakfast which is, to my understanding, intended to unite the leaders of the various world religions.

According to Wikipedia The National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by members of the United States Congress and is organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation, a Christ-centered organization.  Every keynote speaker since 1973 except for last year when Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development, who practices Hinduism has been a Christian.

Here is the excerpt of Waltrip’s address which was supposedly the source of all the outrage:

Christians everywhere are giving Waltrip atta-boys and pats on the back for having the courage to share his beliefs at an event where sharing beliefs and faith is expected.  I do not take issue with his speech.  That’s what he was invited there to do.  What I take exception to is the gross mischaracterization of atheists.  The outrage, which is the subject of the title of the article, is not even addressed!  What outrage?

What I find so very ironic about the whole thing is the Christian outrage that has poured out over President Barack Obama’s comments:

You don’t have to look very far to see Christians condemning his remarks.  Here’s an article in The Washington Post:

Critics pounce after Obama talks Crusades, slavery at prayer breakfast

and another here from The Week:

The folly of Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast comments

How dare the President speak the truth?  How dare he compare the Crusades and the Inquisition to ISIS’ terrorism?  How dare he point out that horrific acts, like slavery and discrimination, had their roots in religion – specifically Christianity?  Christians are outraged that the President could make such comparisons because Christians have evolved.  They’ve improved and progressed whereas ISIS is going backward.

Have fundamentalist Christians really improved so much?  All one has to do is a Google search for exorcism, Christian child discipline, or Christians rejecting medical attention in favor of prayer, to see that it most assuredly is still possible for Christians to be radicalized.  Granted the rejection of medical attention is not considered terrorism, but what about in cases where a child is the one who is ill and the parents make the decision to pray away critical illness?  What about the brand of child discipline endorsed, no advocated, by Mike and Debi Pearl and practiced by a large portion of society?  What about recent exorcisms which have resulted in the death of the recipient of such treatment?  Not to mention the psychological harm done in the name of Christ!

Christian privilege dictates that nothing negative be said about the Christian faith.  Christian privilege says, “it’s them, not us.”  “We’re nothing like those savages.”  Christian privilege is outraged that the President could point out the failures of their religion.

If we do not learn from history we are most assuredly doomed to repeat it.  Crucify the President.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Breaking the Law.”

I had a fantastic time in England this past week.  So much so that I really didn’t want to get on the airplane back.  I resonate with much of what Like A Child wrote in this post.***  It would be fairly easy to just pack up and move away sometimes.  But then it’s not really in my nature to run away as evidenced in previous posts.

Packing for an eight day trip to a foreign country isn’t really all that easy, but I managed to get everything in one checked bag and one carry-on.  Woo hoo for me!  I tend to pack pretty light anyway, but when you don’t really know what exactly it is you’re packing for it makes it kind of difficult.  You see, my personal tour guide from the last trip had invited me back for a week but he (Yes, he. But that’s for another post. ) didn’t exactly know what all we’d be doing.

During my packing, in my makeup bag, I came across a fingernail file, you know the metal one with the point on the end.  So I thought, “I’ll never make it through security with that in my hand luggage”, and I took it out.  I finished my packing and was ready to roll. Passport? Check. Plane tickets? Check.  Toothbrush? Check.

My friends dropped me off at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta for my 5:30 p.m. flight.  I got there a bit late and had to rush through to get checked in and it went off without a hitch.  We ran my carry-on, my purse, my shoes, and my jacket through the little ex-ray machine.  I walked through the metal detector and collected my items and boarded the plane.  Everything is going great!  I had a very smooth flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam, slept away most of the 9 hour flight.  There was a two hour layover there, so I got a smoothie, took a load off for a few minutes and then headed for the security checkpoint for my connection through to Bristol.

That’s where things got a little dicey.  They passed my hand luggage and purse through their little ex-ray thingie.  The woman asks if she can check the contents of my purse.  “Sure”, I say.  She opens my purse, peruses around, and pulls out a little key-chain sized can of pepper-spray that says “DEFENDER” on the side.  “What’s this?”, she asks.  I say, “it’s pepper-spray”.  She looks bewildered at me and says, “this is very illegal, you can’t have this here”.  “Okay”, I say, “just throw it in that trash can over there, it’s no big deal”.  She responds, “it is a very big deal, I can’t throw it away.  I have to call my supervisor now”.


Now I’m getting a little nervous.  The supervisor comes over and takes a look.  “What is this, and why do you have this here?”.  I explain to him that I’ve just come from America and that I’m a single woman living alone.  I’ve had this in my purse for probably a year and have never used it, I forgot it was there.  “This is highly illegal in Amsterdam, you can’t have this here.”  “That’s fine”, I say, “keep it, confiscate it.”  He explains to me that he cannot do that.  Because this is an illegal substance he must now call the head of security for the airport.  He sends my purse back through the ex-ray machine while we wait for the head of security.  “May I check your bag again?”  I tell him to go ahead.  He rifles through my purse and lo and behold he pulls out the pocket knife that my brother-in-law had given me about nine months or so ago.

My knees go weak, sweat pops out, my heart is racing now.  I’m thinking, “they’re gonna put me under the jail in Amsterdam for certain”.  I put my hands over my mouth and nearly suck all the oxygen out of the security check-point room.  I swear no one else could have had any, I was using it all.  Just call me blonder than I pay to be, but I completely forgot it was in there.  I’d been carrying it around in there for months and I never even think about it.  I just knew I was done for.  He says, “Ma’am do you not know what is in your handbag?”  I explain the whole bit again and about how I’d forgotten it was even there.  I’m a single woman who lives alone, I have these for self protection. He asks me, “What would the pilot think if he saw these in your bag?”  My reply, and I didn’t mean this in a smarty pants way at all as I was in no position to be so, “If your pilot sees these, we have bigger problems than the fact that I have them.  He would have to be attacking me to see them.  These are an insurance policy.  I hope to never have to use them, but they are there just in case.”

Finally the head of security arrives.  They have a side-bar discussion about it and the head security guy comes back over and asks me the same questions.  I give him the same answers.  He says to me, “The knife is just an airport security issue, I can confiscate it.  But I have to call the police about the pepper spray.  It is very illegal to have this here, did you not know that?”  The entire time I’m apologizing and explaining that, “Obviously I’m not from around here.  I came from America where, no, it isn’t illegal to carry pepper-spray.”  I tell them I went through the security check-point in Atlanta with no problems.  They are both shocked and, frankly, so am I.  I ask if I’m about to be arrested, half panicked by this time.  He says he doesn’t know, it will be up to the police.  Sort of freaking out at this point.

The police arrive on the scene, and yes, by now it is a very big scene.  There is a male police officer and a female police officer.  They are both very kind and ask me a few questions about where I came from and where I am going.  I ask them if they are about to arrest me and they say they don’t know.  They have to call the state’s prosecutor to find out what to do next.  Now I’m in a huge panic.  The male police officer picks up the little container of pepper-spray and examines it.  They all hold it like it’s a nuclear war-head or something.  He shakes it and asks if it has anything in it.  I say, “I suppose so, I’ve never even used it”.  The female police officer gets off the phone with the state’s prosecutor and informs me that I have the right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney.  “Wait a minute, am I under arrest?”  “No, no, no,” she says, “I just have to inform you that you can have an attorney present if you wish and that you don’t have to answer my questions”.  I breathe a huge sigh of relief and answer her questions.  “Did you know you had this pepper-spray?”  “Yes.”  “Did you know it was illegal in Amsterdam?” “No, I did not.”  “Did you intend to harm anyone with this pepper-spray?” “Most certainly not.”  “May we confiscate the pepper-spray?” “Have it, it’s all yours.”  “Sign here, here, and here.”  Whew!  “You mean I’m not under arrest?” “No, ma’am, you may go on your way.”

Okay ,so yes, it was dumb of me to carry those in my purse.  I’m not denying that.  And did this provide me with the scare of a lifetime?  Let’s just say my heart is in good working order. I can laugh about it now, it’s pretty funny.  But seriously, pepper-spray?!?  I just knew I was a goner when they pulled out the knife, but that was no biggie. Just a security issue.  The pepper-spray nearly landed me in the pokey in a foreign country.  A country where I could have walked out of the airport and bought and smoked some of the finest cannabis or marijuana known to man. I could have openly solicited a prostitute.  But I may not under any circumstances have on my person in the country of the Netherlands pepper-spray.


**First Blogged March 1, 2011

***Edited to add that the blog Like a Child has privatized at some point between the original posting date and today’s posting date.  The link has been removed.



Give it All You’ve Got, Ladies!

I’m a ten-year-old trapped inside a forty-two year old body.  I’ve never understood that to do something “like a girl” meant to be weak, to give half an effort.  Just what the hell is dainty?

Everyone should feel at home being themselves in their own skin.  If you can’t feel comfortable in your own skin you’ll never feel comfortable anywhere.

I’ll admit that the message of what it means to be feminine, to allow the man to be the strong one and not show him up, had it’s hooks in me for a time.  A long time.  But even then I’m pretty sure I was doing it wrong.

I’ve always been mechanically inclined.  I’ve always loved to use circular saws, and miter saws, and wet saws, and power drills, and the blower, and the mower.  Tools are not gender specific.  They don’t know if they’re in the hands of a man or a woman.  A man can wield a Hoover every bit as effectively as a woman can.  The Hoover doesn’t know and it doesn’t care who switched the power on.

I’m not particularly athletically inclined.  Neither are a lot of men I know.  That doesn’t mean when they try they’re doing it “like a girl”.  It just means it’s not their forte.  So what?

In everything I try to do I give it 100%.  I don’t care if I look stupid.  When I run I run hard.  When I throw I throw hard.  When I punch I punch hard.

To the women out there; don’t let being a woman make you feel weak or inferior.  Do what you want to do and do with everything you’ve got.  To the men out there;  if you’re intimidated by a woman doing it “like a man”, get over yourself.  Either get better at whatever it is or accept the fact that women are exceedingly capable of most anything we set our minds to.

Women:  Do you typically hold yourself back in order to make a man look good?

Men:  Do you expect a woman to behave like they are incapable so that you can feel better about yourself?

What a load of rubbish!  Why on earth would any man want a woman to hold herself back, to waste her talents, to squelch her passions?  I, for one, want a partner who gives all they’ve got to whatever they’re doing.  I want him to succeed and to dream big and accomplish it.  Why would a man want anything less in his partner?