Red Flags in the Rear View

I “processed” but didn’t publish Hard Day when I wrote it, but after events of the previous weekend, my first impression of Jax’s wife is relevant now. I was unimpressed with machinations meant to tell me me who’s “got him now.” (Honey, this ex don’t care.) It wasn’t easy, but have at it. I honestly wished them well. I felt empathy and compassion for her, and I loved Jax once. I wanted him to be happy with a nice girl.

My co-worker had warned me to be mentally prepared: This new girl might want me out of the way sooner than Jax promised.

“Oh, he wouldn’t do that.” I answered.

I did pause, though, considered it, and thanked her. Sadly, my co-worker was right.

Jax is the author of his own behavior, but, boy, did I get a taste of his wife! I know exactly who’s fueling this push out the door. That woman scares me! Disingenuous, manipulative, gratuitous. I don’t care, so far as she doesn’t affect my life after Oct. 1, but she has affected me greatly, now.

Those people terrorized me. Carrie is just getting what she wants how she always has. I don’t care after I’m no longer in the way of what she wants. That doesn’t mean she didn’t scare me, scar me, even, but I don’t care… soon.

As for Jax, I’m surprised at the depth of his cruelty. There’s a place in him that feels like he has rights he hasn’t. I’m really trying not posit myself above him. I got dirty in that relationship, and I’ve learned enough to know, “There but for the grace of god go I.”

We are each capable of anything. All of it. There but for the grace of god…

However, I am seeing the red flags in his history. They seemed innocuous. They belonged to youth and arrogance, and Lord knows I’m about the most egotistical person I’ve met. It’s one of my primary life works, to balance the pull of superior/inferiority of an unhealthy ego. Certainly, too, my youth is nothing but “Error, error.” That’s youth!

But in the part of our relationship where we regaled one another with the adventures and follies of coming up in the world, there’s one story, in particular, that didn’t sit right with me. (There’s another that involves company theft that goes beyond the crimes we all commit of stealing time or office supplies, but I chalked it up to getting caught up in young, group foolishness and self-importance. Now it serves to remind me to be impeccable with my character and not feel “owed,” ever. You know how we all become a bit complacent and annoyed on the job. I can get a little more entitled than that.)

Jax didn’t like his friend’s girlfriend. One day like any other, the group was hanging out, and she was reading. Jax asked about her book. After she talked about it a bit, he asked to look at it and she told him to be careful with it. (I should have paid close attention to what he did, because I would ask that. She was probably a Taurus.)

And because she gave him orders, he took the book and ripped it in half.

I took issue at the time, and more than once in our ugly departure shamed him for it, but I should have listened then to what he was telling me. He bragged again in Florida when we were in line somewhere with his brother, who also found it unsettling and said so. Never once did Jax express chagrin. With me, he defended it. With his brother, he allowed the difference of opinion.

And what was his defense? I hadn’t heard the way she talked to him, he said. It wasn’t because the book was brand new, or even important. It was just to tell him what’s what, bossing him around, because she was in charge of everyone and everything.

You don’t get to impose intention on her boundaries. It mattered to her.

Nope, he argued. She was a bitch.

Even if she was brat about it, it was her property!

How dare she assert herself? was the attitude. Woman, know your place.
And it was his right to put her there.

Christie! It was always there!

In fact! Our first fight! Like me, Jax has a very powerful voice, and we both yell. I’m comfortable with that, honestly. I don’t want it. I want to learn together how to disagree better than that, but I hate it when I’m the yeller and my partner is just beaten down by my volume and veracity. Jax held his own. I needed that.

We did improve. We found ways to get heated, with raised voices but not yelling, necessarily, by our standards. There was progress in our relationship that made me feel like this was a partner who could not be bullied by me, but was amenable to taking responsibility – he did sometimes, when I pointed out misapplied blame – and strong enough to make me accountable when necessary. We were good for awhile.

Our first fight, however, was a shock to each of us, I think. Neither of us had met someone who could win just by being loudest. He matched energy, and fed it, too. We went fast from pissed to shocked to rage to fury.

Finally, his screaming shocked me silent, and I paused. “Whoa, Jax!” He continued. So did I. “Jax! Stop! Jax! Let’s reset! JAX!”

I really thought we could. I had never been able to settle myself in that headspace. If I could, so could he. WE COULD. He didn’t stop screaming and finally out-shouted me, a feeling I know perfectly. He’s the first to out-yell me! And now that he had, he was getting it said. I finally screamed at the top of my lungs, “STOP YELLING AT ME!”

His response? “You made me.”

“I’m not responsible for you!” I screamed. “I’m yelling because I’m yelling! I can’t make you yell! Fuck you!” I stormed off and slammed my bedroom the door.

(Blerg. “Fuck off” is NOT OKAY. I also called him an asshole all the time. I did try. On better days, I just called him a jerk. Sometimes I didn’t do any of my old behaviors! But I hate that I still haven’t figured out how to disagree with a boyfriend without disrespecting him. No, it’s the fights. It’s when I’m triggered. There’s something more I can apply there to HALT. Name-calling is a step up the ladder to abuse! It’s called dehumanizing, and I do not want to participate! Blerg.)

That day, I called my best friend in a panic, “Oh my god, is he misogynist? Does he really think I made him do it? That’s what abusers say! Is he just a child? That’s bad enough! I am not responsible for you!!!” I was alarmed and ready to call it off.

I didn’t and still don’t think that’s what he meant, and he did later acknowledge that it wasn’t up to me how he behaves. I still believe him. We were speaking in anger. And we all blame. It’s what we do. God knows I do! Impassioned, we are all the child. Patterns and beliefs come up that aren’t true. We own our mistakes, move on, and work together.

I saw that in him, the working together. It is in him. Not with me, but he’s not one-dimensional. After this weekend, though, wow. I’m more humbled and alarmed the more reflection I give it. Especially now that the threat to my belongings and babies is lifted, and the couple is back to their normal not-coming-around. I can “relax,” and the underbelly is surfacing of a 5-day terror campaign that worked.

She deserved it.

Jax was privy to the pain of the trauma with my sister’s husband 6 years ago, and before that with my family, from childhood to this very moment. I talked about it from the beginning of our intimate relationship, when fears and sorrows and confessions come out. He was there when I went through the heartbreak of “losing” my father and brother, who echoed the sentiment, She deserved it.

He held me when I cried. He knew I was suicidal. I did go to the ER for 2 crisis visits.

Right now, it feels like he didn’t comfort me because he cared, but because he was stuck in a situation where he risked a girl getting sick and she did. I imagine the whole time he wished he could go to Carrie, but she was with her ex-boyfriend. I thought I had a friend who cared that our choice was so painfully costly for me, but now he just feels like a guy who was trapped and long gone in his heart. Now I wonder if he was resentful of me already. He was partly responsible, so… “Guess I’ll suffer the bitch.” ?

What he did this weekend was worst thing anyone’s ever done to me. I’ve been back on my meds for a month now. I’m still depressed, but I have been experiencing pleasure and progress on set and at work. I’m functioning and moving forward toward optimum.

That was all derailed last weekend. I was panicked. I thought I might have to check myself in. I avoided it all summer, no matter how overwhelming the pain became, but I was ready to quit the show. I felt I could never catch up, and the fear and guilt of making myself available to a show that I cannot emotionally or physically honor right now swallowed me up. But quitting meant quitting. And my cats! Don’t get me started.

I was scared.

And that’s not looking underneath! How does one even begin? My whole life has been a sham, a joke. I’ve been so blind, careless, STUPID. I’m too old to change this. I give up! I was curled in a ball in my closet, scream crying. My cats were so scared. I couldn’t handle their panicked faces and efforts to climb up and comfort me, so I hid in the closet and shut the door. I could see their little feet pacing, and it made me cry harder. Sometimes I apologized through the wailing, and I could hear their desperate mews.

And on it went. I was in danger this weekend. I felt brutalized.

He knew. He knew what his behavior could do to to me. He’s seen it. He’s held me, contained me, comforted me, and the whole time he just wanted to get away.

Fair enough. This shit ain’t easy. But he endangered me this weekend, with malice and purpose. And she deserved it.

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Boys Club

boys club

I agree that her comment was reactionary and ridiculous, but his, to my view, was shockingly invasive. By linking all women with those working in the sex industry, simply because we have the same parts, he made the entire audience, including me, think of that woman’s genitals. Humiliating for her, shameful for him.

And completely off topic, by the way. He didn’t answer the question. He just used age-old misogyny to deflect the issue. Her question was stupid. An informed reply would have been far more powerful. I find this more and more disturbing upon reflection. So much degradation against women isn’t even perceived, much less replaced by equity, enlightenment, discourse, respect, and cooperation.

Disappointing also is the fact that this “haha!” is spreading on the web, touting his reply as clever, cute even. “Oh, he shut her down!” No, he didn’t. He simply demeaned her. It’s the 50s! “Don’t you worry your pretty little head.”

In modernity, it’s far more crass. He’s talking face-to-face with a woman he does not know and referring to HER sex organs. He’s talking about HER vagina. And it’s funny. It’s disgusting! And how many thousands of people – according to this meme – obviously see absolutely no problem with that? I can’t even touch on the subject of being equipped by nature to be a whore. Those with a penis are allowed to “Be all that they can be,” in the Armed Services and the world, while women are here to get them off. Still!

Imagine being a woman in the military! I really can’t. Rape is rampant and we all know it.

I know we don’t live in an equal society, but I’m not consumed by differences in the way the genders are perceived and treated. This one just got under my craw. How can people be passing this along to one another thinking his little zinger is so funny, and no one notices the larger message to young girls? If their parents don’t catch it, how can we hope they’re teaching their daughters the truth about their value? I guess I really didn’t believe that this generation was receiving the same message ours did, where their entire worth resides.

Am I truly only seen as emotional and vaginal?

Makes the mantra not so trite: I AM NOT MY BODY.

Incidentally, how many of you have been raped? I have. My best friend, too. That’s too many in a small population of girlfriends. It’s attitudes like this general’s that slide under the radar as harmless and keep women and girls in danger, viewed as commodities. Parts.

(My lifestyle put me in danger, but my bestie was an 18 year-old virgin.)
(I still didn’t deserve it or do it to myself. A rapist did it to me.)

Makes the mind swim with the reality of sex trafficking in the larger world. How blessed I am to live in such comfort, leisure, and safety. Comments like General Cosgrove’s keep us turning a blind eye to a problem that isn’t ours. It may seem like a leap, but I believe these casual, seemingly innocuous views of a woman’s worth and the pervasive acceptability of dismissing and degrading The Anonymous Her is symptomatic of a greater global sickness.

(I believe that gender inequality, while harmful to women in obvious ways, also short-changes our boys and men. We’re all in it together, yo.)privilege(My cousin had this quote on his Facebook page so I clicked on it to save and post here. Not even kidding, it’s from “Women’s Rights News.” Yeah, if you want to think about my body in the context of the Republican Party, geez! Don’t even get me started! It begins to make more sense why he posted this. He and his awesome wife are very, very, VERY politically active here in town.)
in this togetherPolk & Broadway
San Francisco, CA
1/3/13 – 2/11/13

I voted on this billboard in October 2012 at San Francisco’s Burning Man Decompression. http://dreamermadwoman.blogspot.com/2012/10/san-francisco.html

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