Men + Myself + God

Tag: men

Things I Fear Thursday: I’m a Douche-Bag

by P. Braithwaite

pexels-photoOver the last few weeks, I tripped and fell into a snake pit of perpetually-adolescent men. I know exactly when it happened: I wore a tight dress one night, and nothing was ever the same. Now, everywhere I turn, I am in the company of a functional idiot (aka a douche-bag). I went on a date with one. I spent all night with another one. I’ve had meals with more than a few, and have been in yearlong text message threads with about 5 different idiots. This has never bothered me before, as I am a person who suffers fools lightly. In fact, I enjoy a good fool with the politeness of a mad queen: I love to be entertained until I don’t…

But I digress…

Over brunch on Sunday, after a few beverages and some mediocre chicken and waffles, I looked up with a sobriety uncharacteristic of Sunday brunch. My eyes danced wildly around my brunch table as I realized I was surrounded on all sides by really attractive, accomplished, functional-adult male idiots. As if reading my mind, one of them leaned in way too close, put his hand over my plate, and asked me if I was going to finish my waffle.

I wanted to stab him with my fork, but stopped myself…

Where am I? Who am I? I thought as I moved my plate out of his reach. At what point does the constant company of douche bags make you one by association?

No answers emerged, so I shot-gunned my mimosa for good measure (red flag), and thought: Why do we call really obnoxious men douche-bags, anyway?

For those unfamiliar, the actual definition of a douche bag is “a sterile container which holds the fluid used for giving a vaginal douche.” By that definition, the douche-bag is a good and noble tool used for general hygiene and/or medical intervention. To be a douche-bag, it would seem, is to be a vessel of healing and benevolence for women everywhere. The douche-bag is a healer! The douche-bag plunges into the unknown with good fortune and well-intentions.

The douche-bag can ruin your vaginal ecosystem, if you aren’t careful…

The good folks as Slate wrote a brief history on how the term ‘douche’ became an insult. In the piece, Brian Palmer writes:

…The Historical Dictionary of American Slang traces the epithet douche to a 1968 collection of college slang compiled at Brown University, which defined the word as “a person who always does the wrong thing.” The insult douchebag is somewhat older. The 1939 novel Ninety Times Guilty includes a pimp named Jimmy Douchebag, and the Historical Dictionary of American Slang traces the epithetical usage to a 1946 journal article about military slang, which offered the definition “a military misfit.”

These days, it’s not entirely clear what it means to call someone a douche or a douchebag. The Oxford English Dictionary defines douchebag, in its epithetical sense, as a “general term of disparagement,” or more specifically as “an unattractive or boring person.”…There’s some support for douche as simply a nonspecific term of disparagement, much like its fellow d-words dick, dillweed, and dipshit…

I don’t want to be a douche-bag. Actually, that’s not true – -I don’t really care if I’m a douche-bag, and some days I’m convinced I am one. What I FEAR, however, is that my douche-baggery is the fatal flaw that keeps me from having fulfilling romantic relationships with mature men.  Maybe if I wasn’t a d-bag, I’d have brunch with proper gentlemen, some nice boy or girl would marry me, and I’d learn to sip mimosas like an adult.

….but that’s a different post for a different day…

 

Note: I have no evidence that he man in this picture is a douche-bag.

File under: Things I’m writing instead of writing my book.

Men, Myself, and…V is for Vendetta

by P. Braithwaite

The first month after my breakup with The Besticle was really hard. In addition to dealing with the fact that my relationship had imploded yet again, I was trying to own my commitment to myself as a blogger.

A relationship blogger.
You know, a person who blogs about relationships.
A person who blogs about her love life but can’t keep her sh*t together.

It was really hard for me to deal with myself around that time.

I struggled. I really struggled. I really really struggled with my ability to write honest blogs — to be an honest person. The logic went something like this: if I blog honestly about relationships, then I have to admit all of my feelings of shame and failure. If I don’t feel shame, heartache, and failure, then I can write about relationships while still being ‘honest’.

I opted for the latter. I convinced myself that I’d taken things in stride. I hadn’t. I stuffed all of the emotions into someplace I couldn’t see them. I pretended they didn’t exist. They did. Sadness took its toll. I lost over 15 pounds. I painted my nails. Every morning I woke up anxious. I stopped meditating and journaling.

I couldn’t face myself.

And so God/Universe (that tricky lover of mine) found creative ways to bring me back to myself. Over the span of one week IFC played “V is for Vendetta” over 15 times. Every time I turned on my TV, that movie was on and always at the same spot. Evey, Natalie Portman’s character, is in prison. She is being tortured, but still refuses give up V’s whereabouts. One night, after being thrown into her cell, she finds a handwritten note in a hole inside the wall. It’s written by a woman named Valerie, a woman who’d been a prisoner before her.

Here are the words from Valarie’s note:

My name is Valerie, I don’t think I’ll live much longer and I wanted to tell someone about my life. This is the only autobiography I’ll ever write, and God, I’m writing it on toilet paper.

I was born in Nottingham in 1985, I don’t remember much of those early years, but I do remember the rain. My grandmother owned a farm in Tuttlebrook, and she use to tell me that God was in the rain. I passed my 11th lesson into girl’s grammar; it was at school that I met my first girlfriend, her name was Sara. It was her wrists. They were beautiful. I thought we would love each other forever. I remember our teacher telling us that is was an adolescent phase people outgrew.

Sara did, I didn’t.

In 2002 I fell in love with a girl named Christina. That year I came out to my parents. I couldn’t have done it without Chris holding my hand. My father wouldn’t look at me, he told me to go and never come back. My mother said nothing. But I had only told them the truth, was that so selfish? Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free.

I’d always known what I wanted to do with my life, and in 2015 I starred in my first film, “The Salt Flats”. It was the most important role of my life, not because of my career, but because that was how I met Ruth. The first time we kissed, I knew I never wanted to kiss any other lips but hers again. We moved to a small flat in London together. She grew Scarlet Carsons for me in our window box, and our place always smelled of roses. Those were there best years of my life. But America’s war grew worse, and worse. And eventually came to London.

After that there were no roses anymore. Not for anyone.

I remember how the meaning of words began to change. How unfamiliar words like collateral and rendition became frightening…I still don’t understand it, why they hate us so much. They took Ruth while she was out buying food. I’ve never cried so hard in my life. It wasn’t long till they came for me.

It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years, I had roses, and apologized to no one. I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An Inch, it is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you. -Valerie”

I didn’t get it at the time. Not really. And almost every day for a week, when I sat down in front of my TV, I’d inevitably find myself staring at this same scene (I’ve actually never seen the entire movie). What are you trying to tell me, I’d ask. Eventually, I got irritated and stopped watching broadcast TV (yaay Netflix), but now I understand. Our truths, our small stories of mediocrity and shame, give other’s strength. When I feel openly, I give others the space to feel openly. If I expand my own prison, we collectively expand. God is in the rain. God is in the sadness, God is in the shadows and prison cells and catastrophes and sadness. God is everywhere we think we must avoid. God is in the ink, and on social media too.

The entire Universe lives inside our stories of love and loss. And our stories, though simple and not as interesting as we think, our stories can set one another free.

We’ve all been here before — in the prisons of our own minds, of our own hearts, of our own narrative . We’ve all been Evey, trapped by our own fear, and we’ve all been Valarie, hastily documenting our truths to find connection and/or freedom. On any given day, I’m both women. On any given day, they’re the same.

But here, HERE, is the truth of what I know for sure: writing, when done honestly, is an act of love. Writing and sharing is how I love.

And so this blog is a love letter, to those of you I know and those of you I don’t (and to those of you I know but have never actually met). I take Valerie’s words into my own heart and give them back to you: “I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you…”

And so it is.

 

Sending you some silent love from day 8 of my retreat. I’ll see ya’ll when I get back. 🙂

Are you Keeping your feelings inside?

by P. Braithwaite

What are you keeping on the inside?

Here’s my basic rule: Keep inside only what you want to grow.

If you asked The Besticle, my former beau, to describe me, I know he’d use one word: Emotional.

Then, when if I didn’t lunge at him, he’d smile and say, Patia Braithwaite has feelings about everything, and she always wants to talk about them. With everyone. Who will listen. All the time.

He’d punctuate that statement with an exasperated ‘ugh.’

And…for the most part, he’d be right.

I’m an extremely emotional being. I feel things. I find joy in identifying my feelings, in describing my feelings, and in feeling the feeling underneath the feelings. If I could get a PHD in feelings, I probably would. I’m a feeling connoisseur. I feel in an intense way. Feelings come out of my eyes. Feelings pour off my skin. My friend writer friend, RP, says sometimes I wear my feelings on the outside like a coat.

I make decisions based on feelings. I give those feelings fancy terms like “intuition” and “inner knowing.”

I make my feelings sound sophisticated and special.

Despite all of this, I’ve learned that if I don’t honor my feelings and live in integrity with them, I’ll be miserable. I have to understand my own feelings in ordered to be authentic, and so my general rule of thumb is: Only keep inside only what you want to grow.

Thus, in learning how to deal with my emotions I’ve learned that if I’m upset, annoyed, angry, jealous or resentful — I’ve got to get it out. I’ve got to let the feeling seep out from my lips (in a kind and honest way), to diffuse some of the energy. When we try to ignore our feelings they grow larger, they create shadows and block better feelings. They become perverse and rule our actions. I don’t want those feelings to grow, so I let them out.

Conversely, I imagine my good feelings are like babies. Feelings of enthusiasm, hope, optimism, happiness, joy, anticipation are kept inside of a little while. I like to let them pulsate in my belly or the center of my heart. I let them radiate and imagine light from that feeling is shining out into the world. I protect those feelings – I don’t throw them around so that people can diminish them. I keep them inside and allow them to grow.

Here’s some goood-feeling news that’s ready to come out: The Huffington Post has invited me to blog for them! I get to blog on HuffPo about love and relationships. I think this is the coolest thing ever, but I kept this quiet because I wanted to protect it. I told a few close friends and then waited until I got the guidelines to share it with more friends, and now I’m sharing it with you (and I’ll share it once again when my first post is up). I wanted to protect the good feeling. I wanted to nurture it and water it and coax it to fruition. I kept inside what I wanted to grow.

So today, I urge you all to check in with your feelings – what’s going on in your body and do you want it to grow. If its good feelings, find ways to feed that inner fire, and if the feelings aren’t positive find ways to let it go. My sincere belief is that we are all conduits for the universe – we’ve gotta keep the pathway clear so we can be embodiments of love.

Anything you need to let go of? Use the comment section below!!