Missing Ingredient

Come for the weather they said.
For the delicious food,
The wonderful people,
The great lifestyle …

Madrid, you -are- fantastically amazing
In all those respects
But your costume selection
And costuming opportunities are weak.

Where the crazy costume apparel at?
The vintage clothing stores?
The second-hand donation-based thrift shops
With totally epic finds just waiting to be found?

The most interesting piece of apparel
I’ve stumbled across here
Was at el rastro
And it was a flamenco dress.

 

@nicholehastings

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Ktaadn

Seven years ago
Then Now
And yet still to come
These parallel universes exist
Time and Space
Their illusion can make one grow old
With a falsity of living
Of dying
Not understanding that we are all one
Misperceiving our true selves
Overlooking our indestructible consciousness
Going about daily life sleepwalking insane
Instead of dreaming to awake
Instead of deliberately living
Instead of meaningfully being
Distracted with distractions, entertainment
Feasting, drinking until drunking, dosing until drugging
We count followers, likes, digital bank balances,
Material things as successes
Modern day silver platters and goblets of gold
But they remain the common clay
Misguided
Meaningless
Trite
An inglorious Way
Of discounting self, others,
The grass under our feet
Birds, trees, water, sky, earth
The deer running through the woods
The blooming plankton floating in sea
The stars twinkling above in the night sky
Why communicate when we can
Dictate and mandate
And why love when we can
Hate, twist, stir, disassociate
Hanging on
Holding on
Arrested by desire
Suffering
We trapped in our prison of unrealistic expectations
This prison of our fixed thinking
A prison of our own fears
A screen for others to play on
A stage for created drama
Someone’s written script
A sign in today’s newspaper horoscope
This is how false friends take you for a fool
This is how people make themselves
For fools
This is how false thoughts within oneself arise
This is the cave.
Be a mirror
Be a shining light
Be a tiny spring flower
Be a spring-fed mountain stream
Be a cloud
Be the horizon
Be (t)here
Be the architect of your own design
Be love
Be-lieve you are everything
And nothing …
Seven years ago
Then Now
And yet still to come
These parallel universes exist
Time and Space
I am misty blue and green above below
Standing atop a hunted jagged peak
Holding love in my arms
The Klondike stretched out before us
Cold wind buffeting
Cold sun shining blinding
Warming hearts tender embrace
Casting away the mind’s abyss
As my heart crosses the divide

@nicholehastings

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”

Truth. It’s one of those things that everyone values and yet a lot of people can’t bear to face. So here we go, the uncomfortable and awkward expansion on that bit of truth that I brought up in my piece about Why Ice Cube Got It Right When He Said Women Are Bitches, Hoes and Tricks: the story of breaking up and kicking out my abusive ex-boyfriend.

Why is the “truth” so difficult/scary/uncomfortable for so many people?

Perhaps you’ll have to confront something about yourself, others, your situation, and the world around you that you would rather not face.

Then you have two choices: either face “the truth” OR put the blinders back on.

Uncomfortable truths that I face about myself are: I trust people. I forgive easily. I’m a recovering perfectionist. I’m a compulsive organiser and cleaner. I’m used to and quite capable of taking care of myself so I have a hard time asking for help. I have a problem with so-called authority and rules that I perceive to be pointless or unjust and will disregard those ones. I don’t believe that there is anyone on the planet who is better or more deserving than I am of anything, basically in my mind everyone is equal, and that doesn’t work for those who buy into antiquated hierarchical thought constructs. I’m a risk-taker and sometimes that works for and against me. I intimidate people. I don’t believe in or conform to gender roles. I love my family but I don’t like most of them. I still love my ex-husband and this abusive ex-boyfriend in spite of it all. I believe the truth should be honoured above all else, including friends.

So in the context of the violent ex-boyfriend, I have discovered that the truth is incredibly difficult for people to think or even hear about. People can be incredibly sympathetic and obtuse when they do. They’ll say interesting things like “I would call the police if he did that to me.” and “It’s horrible what he did to you but I’m still going to be friends with him because….” And for those who like to put people on pedestals, they are disappointed and sometimes disdainful of you, as if you told them you just accidentally on purpose broke their favorite dish. I had one person say to me when they heard about what happened that it was “terrifying” for them to think about.

For them.

Puh-lease, seriously???

That’s just fucking insulting to hear after you’ve been through a truly “terrifying” experience.

Terrifying is having the person who supposedly “loves” you holding a huge-ass knife an inch from your throat and threatening to kill you.

A friend said to me “Don’t post it on Facebook.” and another just stopped talking to me. The ex’s parents thanked me for not telling too many people. A now ex-roommate moved out after he found me sleeping on the couch and I told him it was because my ex-then-boyfriend hit me. People even asked me questions like “Why did you stay with him?”, “Do you love yourself?” and “Are you going to go back to him?”

The questions were not asked with malicious intent but it’s clear that in their shock and dismay of hearing the truth, they were not really thinking very clearly about what they were saying and why. Nor were they really thinking about how saying these things affects a person. It’s like asking a war veteran “How many people have you killed?” or “What does it feel like to kill another person?” or a cancer victim “How does it feel to have cancer?” and expecting the person to not think you’re an insensitive asshole.

Yes, asking questions like that makes you an asshole.

Asking those kinds of questions goes beyond bad manners and poor taste because it is dismissive and invalidating to the horror a victim has suffered. And if you have been a victim of some sort of threat or attack then you know what I’m talking about. Let me put it into a context, if you were fired from your job without good reason would you want people asking you “What does it feel like to get fired?” and “What did you do?” as if it your experience is some bit of reality TV programming for their entertainment.

I didn’t think so.

So let me break it down, the awful truth about the domestic violence I’ve experienced that still has me only sleeping about five or six hours at night, and my skinny jeans baggy on me:

My ex-boyfriend shoved me around, called me awful names, and said other nasty things to me. He tried to destroy and threatened to sell/keep my laptop unless I did what he told me to many times. He threw things at me. He strangled me three times, once to unconsciousness. I had a broken toe from kicking the floor while he was strangling me at one point which took about two months to heal. He hit me twice in the face, once so hard that my nose started bleeding and I had a black eye which extended over the bridge of my nose. The other time the blow landed on my right cheek but indirectly so the bruising was minor. He punched me in the back while I was lying in bed and in the back and sides of my head. He held a knife to my throat and threatened my life several times. He nearly cut half of the tip of my little finger off with one of his knives but luckily the cut, while deep, was clean so it healed well.

The majority of this all happened over the course of six months after we arrived in Spain. The first time it happened was in his parents house while they were away in Colorado on vacation in January or February earlier this year, I forget now. During that first time he shoved me around and I sprained my right hand. That took a couple months to heal but I stayed with him believing his story about having PTSD and having an episode.

The fact is, as awful as all that happened to me was and sounds, it could have been much worse.

You don’t realise how bad things are/were until you sit down and talk to someone, write a thing like this, are out of the situation. And an even scarier thing is, if I had stayed with him, it probably would have gotten worse if I hadn’t finally decided that I’d had enough, that being in a foreign country, having nearly all my financial resources depleted, not speaking the language well or having a job no longer mattered.

The day I shoved him out the door, literally pushed him out the front door as he stood in the doorway (thank god without his keys) and slammed it closed after he attacked me was the one of the best days of my life. And of course the worst.

That last day, and every day since, I’ve had to face some more uncomfortable truths about myself and my situation.

The fact that I had been fooling myself for several months thinking that everything was alright and things were going to get better between the ex and I. The fact that I was being stupid and careless with my life by being with that guy. My propensity to auto-trust people and give in some people’s minds, give them more credit than they deserve. But I know that bad habits can be broken over time with practice. So yes, I will continue to endeavour to persevere in loving more as Thoreau suggested because I decided it’s best for me to forgive myself.

I forgave my ex-boyfriend as well.

I still talk and interact with him. We argue about the details of what he did to me because he tries to twist them about. I correct him so he’s not operating under a false and distorted pretense and about what actually happened and what he did. But this is proving to be a fruitless endeavour. But being the person I am, I have hope that by being in his life…maybe he will learn, grow from this experience, and one day be a better version of himself.

But the truth is he may never make those things happen for himself.

So why share all this?

It’s pretty simple really. I want other people, especially those who may be in an abusive relationship, to know what happened to me. It’s better to be truthful about oneself, others and a situation you are experiencing than to conform to this foolish idea that you shouldn’t talk about such things because of how others may feel and react.

Fuck that.

Whatever it is you’re dealing with in life, it’s important to talk about the experiences you’ve had, both “good” and “bad” so you can process how you feel about what’s happening or happened. Sharing, reaching out, connecting, whatever you want to call it, is important so you know you’re not alone. Especially in situations involving violence.

It’s important to take comfort in realising that other people have been in a similar situation. And that they overcame and survived. Or not.

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“He strangled me three times, once to unconsciousness.”

It’s important for others to know who those violent abusive people are so they can protect themselves and not find out the hard way, like I did.

It’s important to face the truth of who you are by admitting to and accepting the things about you that make you a beautiful, unique and yes, an imperfect individual. It’s important to realise that if you don’t like various truths about yourself only you have the power to change them into ones that you do like. And last but not least, it’s important to keep in mind that death happens to us all, can come at any time, and that your opinion of you and how you choose to live are the only things that truly matter.

Stop living for others, waiting until tomorrow to do things that bring you joy, and start living your life for you.

Start now.

Drug Abuse is a Result, Not a Cause

Vermont Quits War on Drugs to Treat Heroin Abuse as Health Issue

Inside: Naloxone, used to counter the effects of a heroin overdose

Photograph by Shane Lavalette for Bloomberg Businessweek

Inside: Naloxone, used to counter the effects of a heroin overdose

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin devoted his entire State of the State address in January to what he called Vermont’s “full-blown heroin crisis.” Since 2000, he said, the state had seen a 250 percent increase in addicts receiving treatment. The courts were swamped with heroin-related cases. In 2013 the number of people charged with heroin trafficking in federal court in Vermont increased 135 percent from the year before, according to federal records. Shumlin, a Democrat, urged the legislature to approve a new set of drug policies that go beyond the never-ending cat-and-mouse between cops and dealers. Along with a crackdown on traffickers, he proposed rigorous addiction prevention programs in schools and doctors’ offices, as well as more rehabilitation options for addicts. “We must address it as a public health crisis,” Shumlin said, “providing treatment and support rather than simply doling out punishment, claiming victory, and moving on to our next conviction.”

Read more here.

 

To Online Date or Not?

A few days ago a friend and I were having lunch and I mentioned my relationship woes to her. At that lunch, she suggested I do some visioning and write down the qualities and type of person I desire and seek in a romantic relationship. I have been dating three Scorpios off and on over the last three years and I ended the last of the three unhealthy relationships three days ago.

I look back now at these experiences with these individuals and laugh at the absurdity. Their physical ages range from 36 to 43 and yet they were all emotionally aged 12. I matured at age 9 when my single divorced mother decided I was old enough to take care of my younger brother after school and stopped sending us to a babysitter. I think you can see the dilemma this raises in finding a worthy mate and the discrepancy in life experiences already.

Well meaning friends suggest online dating. I am loath to do so. And once again that suggestion came up while gathered with four awesome women at an intimate moving away party. The one moving away has a boyfriend but all of us are essentially awesome single ladies and we shared an intense conversation I shall remember for a very long time.

I’ve been online since 1995 using social networking in some of its earliest manifestations. My handle was ‘Vamp’ on ISCA out of Iowa State University. I never once considered online dating. I still maintain a handful of friendships of folks I’ve never met in person. The few people I did meet from ISCA all mistakenly assumed that I had some romantic interest in wanting to meet them IRL. Which I of course corrected.

I shared my reason for not doing online dating with the group last night. The reason is: I don’t think the man for me is sitting at a computer doing online dating. I also verbalized that I thought this way of thinking is holding me back from the possibilities that might be out there. A friend said that perhaps that guy also didn’t believe in online dating but decided to give it a try.

Earlier today I posted on Twitter, which then feeds into my Facebook, this statement:
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And received this response from one of those friends I’ve never met in person but have known now for 19 years:

20140323-132009.jpg

Somehow that ‘A-ha!’ moment manifested and finally my vision for the relationship and kind of person I want to have that intimate love relationship with was realized. I wrote back:

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And last but not least (for me), this very important detail:

20140323-132737.jpg

So I guess I’m not looking for a man. I’m looking for a gentleman hero who also wants to live life in epic proportions. You might be thinking, “This girl has got some crazy expectations that will never be met!”

And you may be right. They may never be. I may be alone for the rest of my life to my dying day. But never lonely…and always always always in the best of my own good company!

So the burning question is, will I enter the online dating arena?

Well, haven’t I already with this post?

I don’t presume to think that so many people are reading my blog but if you are and know a single awesome gentleman hero who fits the rest of my bill, please direct them to me and let them know that in gaining my attention I say “Fortune favors the bold.”