Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Trolling Report

As most of you know, trolling on this site has been an issue for quite some time and as my name has slowly crept it's way across the Internet, naturally it's only gotten worse. It's mostly a group of about the same five people that like to trail along behind me, commenting on everything I post everywhere, under several accounts and different names, but either way, boo.

Because I am an anonymous writer with a crazy life, it naturally leads some people to believe that I am a fictional person. I get that, I can absolutely see how someone might think that of me. The difference between doubting and trolling is that while a normal person might doubt my story, the trolls make it their life's mission to "take Eden down" as they say.

That's weird, who does that? Whose life is so meaningless that they make it a point to fully invest themselves into a tiny little blip on the Internet radar that makes them so angry? Who makes their mission to bring down someone who very well could be (and is) living a life filled with past abuse and doing nothing more than trying to heal?

Trolls my friend, the trolls do.

As you also know, I have already touched on this subject many times.

In "A Message To The Trolls" I talked about my reason's for writing under a pseudonym and why I would not be providing proof to discredit the trolls outlandish accusations.

In the post "Facing The Silencers" I talked about why it was important for me to move past what the trolls were saying about me and continue on.

Finally in the post "Censorship" I talked about the reasons why I would be editing the trollish comments out of this blog.

So here we are, at the point where I have decided to continue to write under the pseudonym Eden and where I have decided that I'm not going to go away just because the trolls don't like me. So what next? I've watched other bloggers fall down with the trolls, either scared right off the Internet or tangled in Cease and Desist lawsuits, and to be honest, that just seems like a lot of work.

So if they aren't going away and I'm choosing not to fight them, what other options are there?

I'm choosing to embrace them!!

Crazy huh?

I know, I never claimed to be normal, but really, what is this blog all about? It's about healing, personal growth, accepting what you can't change, not letting labels define you, and standing proud in the face of adversity.

Hell I can't be handing out advice and then not taking it myself, can I?

So with that in mind, since I was able to take what my parents did to me and learn how to be a better parent, and then I took what my ex did to me and started a nonprofit, then I can at least make something useful out of this situation, right?

Of course I can!

Hey, if you're not going to fight, and you don't want to cry, you might as well join in the cackling laughter with them!

So with that I bring you a new series, "The Trolling Report." Written by the trolls, about me, for you! From now on I will scour the Internet and gather up the best of the best in snarky comments directed at me. I will then compile them all into a nice little satirical report for you so that you can heed their warnings about me in the form of humor, and then either choose to stick around or go running for your life.

Your choice!

Really, how nice am I?  For most blogs you would have to go back and forth between the blog and the two biggest sites for trolling, XOJane and GOMI to really get the full scope of things, but on here, nope, I will gladly pull it all together for you!

***TRIGGER WARNING*** This is me, being snarky in my own right. This will surely trigger some trolls, so if you are a troll and you cannot handle criticism, satire, and snarkiness, you may want to back away now.

With that I bring you the first edition of :

"The Trolling Report"

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Some People Have To Learn The Hard Way

For years I was doing everything for my ex while I desperately tried to hold him together during the height of his drug addiction. Getting him up for work, getting him in the shower, setting out his clothes, making his breakfast, packing his lunch, and the list just goes on. Every ball he dropped I tried to pick up and hand right back to him before anyone noticed it was rolling away.

It didn't work.

I will never forget attending marriage counseling with my ex. He didn't want to be there, he was more or less forced into it due to some factors outside of our marriage, but to my surprise he did show up. It was our very first appointment and the counselor pulled my ex out of the room and said to me "this guy is going down. You have tried to hold him together for long enough and you can see that it isn't working. You have two choices here, you can let him go down on his own or you can let him take you all down with him."

I stupidly didn't take that advice and when he took me down with him, I almost drown.

After my post "Watch What You Say To Your Mother" a lot of you had questions as to when the right time is to cut the cord and stop saving someone from their own bad decisions.

You know what? That's a tough question and as you all can see, I'm still learning the answers to that one myself. It's never easy to step away from a situation where you know that another person will probably falter and possibly fail without your help, but at what point does your help become more harmful than helpful?

The first rule in saving a drowning victim is to not jump in the water if you can't swim. This is due to the fact that a person's chance of rescue go down when other people have to divide their time and resources to save two drowning victims.

The hard truth is, you simply cannot be responsible for saving everyone yourself, no matter how badly you want to help them.

I will never forget a demonstration that a youth group leader showed us in high school. The leader had one kid stand on a chair and one kid stand next to him on the ground. The leader told the kid on the chair to pull the other kid up onto the chair with him, without any help from the kid on the ground. After struggling for a while the kid on the chair realized that there really was no way for him to pull the kid up from the ground without any help. Then the leader told the kid on the ground to pull the other kid down to the ground with him and at the same time instructed the kid on the chair to try to stay where he was. With one arm the kid on the ground easily yanked the kid off the chair.

The moral of the story? It's a lot easier for someone to pull you down to a lower level than it is to bring them up to a higher one if they aren't willing to help themselves get there.. You can't pull someone up to where you are unless they want to help themselves get up there with you, but it's a real possibility that they will be able to pull you down to where they are no matter how hard you try and resist.

So when is it time to cut the cord and let someone go? When should you stop helping them and allow them to either fail or succeed on their own terms?

I'm sorry, I can't tell you that.

I can however give you some points to consider when making your decision;

*Are they making any progress on their own?

*When you stop helping them, do they continue to move forward because of their own motivation and efforts or do they go backwards in terms of their progress?

*Do they expect or rely on you to help them in a context that is more than the occasional helping hand?

*Are you protecting them from themselves?

*Is helping them affecting you negatively?

Like I said, I can't tell you what the appropriate boundary lines are in your specific situations, but those questions should at least get you thinking in terms of whether your assistance has turned from helpful to enabling or possibly even detrimental.

Stepping back and allowing someone the opportunity to help themselves is never easy. It doesn't mean that you have to say "see ya later, I'm outta here" it just means that you need to redefine your roll in helping them.

For example, I have a woman that I've been helping who while I love her, I've realized that my help was no longer helping her. My help was continuing to allow her to not have to help herself and something needed to change.

I helped her relay her fears to her counselor, connected her with the daycare assistance department, single mom student loan advisers, and the local benefit assistance department. I encouraged her to get a financial advisor and helped her get set up with a great attorney. Once I knew that she had the appropriate resources available to her, I then stepped back my assistance from "handling everything" to "just a friend."

When she calls, I answer. When she needs to talk, I listen. When she cries, I hug her. What I no longer do though is jump in to save her. I help her facilitate her questions to the people that I have set her up with and then I allow her the opportunity to advocate for herself. She is not alone without my help, she is with people who are not only more equipped to help her, but are better equipped to teach her how to live her life.

I simply realized that I cannot be two people. I cannot be me and at the same time be her.

I can be her friend, but I cannot live her life.

If you feel like you are living your life and helping someone else live theirs, it might be time to step back.

Most importantly and above all, don't lose yourself to someone else. My ex pulled me off the chair and I nearly drown in the muck trying to save him.

I can't tell you when it's time to stop helping someone, I can only remind you that they only way to have a successful life is when each person is living their own.

A person will never have to learn to live their own life if they can sit back and watch someone else live it for them.

There is a reason that children grow up and leave their parents; it's because eventually everyone has to learn to live their own life.

If you never learn, you never grow. To not grow, is to be stunted forever.

We all deserve to be better than half of our potential.

Don't lose yourself in a life that isn't yours, for you were never meant to be half of someone else.

Photo Credit
Double Person

Saturday, October 25, 2014

And Just When You Thought They Were Gone....The Nutcase Neighbors Return

It's been awhile, are you guys ready for an update on The Nutcase Neighbors?

(If you are new to the blog and haven't read the back story of The Nutcase Neighbors, click the topic tab labeled "neighbors" on the left hand side of the blog to catch up!)

As I had last left it, they had moved out in August; kind of. If you remember, they had gotten married, despite their obvious relationship issues. Mrs. Nutcase got pregnant and she and Mr. Nutcase had their first child in july. Mrs. Nutcase had been wanting to get out of this state for a while (as long as I have known them in fact). They had a specific state they wanted to move too and Mr. Nutcase was actively pursuing job opportunities in that state.

Well, they got what they wanted and Mr. Nutcase landed a job in the state of their choice. 

The two Nutcases put their house on the market and were all ready to move across the country with their little family when suddenly, there was a flaw in their plan....

Apparently Mr. and Mrs. Nutcase had concocted this little "moving across the country" plan without consulting Mrs. Nutcase's ex. The ex that she shares a child with. The ex that gets the child every Wednesday and every other weekend.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Because No One Ever Told Me

The first time I found myself standing in a courtroom was when I was 18 years old. 

Several months earlier I had broken up with a guy that I had been dating for two years. The break up was bad; so bad in fact that the next morning when the police showed up at my parent’s house looking for me, I realized how bad it had really been.

The night prior I had kicked my way out of the boyfriend’s locked car and run into a Walgreens for help. I left before the police showed up and then ran all the way home.

Standing there that morning with the police at my parent’s front door, I remember looking to my parents for help. I was terrified and embarrassed. I desperately wanted them to step in and save me.

The officer went on to explain that they had received a call that morning from the mother of the boy I had broken up with, stating that her son’s car was damaged. The now ex boyfriend had told his mother that I had damaged it during our break-up and the mother wanted to press charges. The police were suspicious because all the damage to the vehicle was on the inside of the car and in their words “typically the damage done in a nasty break-up is to the outside of a vehicle.”

Monday, October 20, 2014

I Am Just Not Cut Out For This

Two weeks ago my kids and I were invited to go to a pumpkin farm with a single mom friend, her three kids, and her parents. I'm all for pumpkin farms, I enjoy the seasonal festivities as much as the next girl, but I will admit, I have a slightly ulterior motive; A big part of me is in it for the quest of the perfect fall photo. So I dressed the kids up in their photo clothes (you mom's understand what I'm talking about, right?) and off we went to the farm.

For most of that day I would like to extend a gracious “thank you” to my friend and her family for their generosity. For the last thirty minutes of that day I would like to kindly extend a resounding “THANKS A LOT.”

The competition by my house is fierce when it comes to pumpkin farms. There is a farm on every corner and since they are seasonal attractions and only have a few weeks to draw in the crowds, each one tries to top the other. The one my friend’s parents took us to is what I would refer to as the "Cadillac of Pumpkin Farms." With everything from haunted houses to zombie rides, there is enough to keep you busy for an entire solid day.

We spent the day watching the kids climb on a fifteen foot spider web, clunk heads in the bounce houses, almost lose a tooth in the batting cage, ride a train until even the adults felt nauseous, pet some questionable looking farm animals, and stand in line for over 40 minutes to meet Elsa and Olaf. Why were Disney's "Frozen" characters at the farm? I don't know, seriously, I'm asking, why were the "Frozen" characters at the farm? (Now that's what you call rural competition. "So what if the farm next door has the world's largest pumpkin, we have ELSA.")

Anyways, everything was great until we got to the corn maze. By “corn maze” I am referring to the over five miles of corn that has been plowed into something that resembles a mouse maze in a science lab. The thing is so intense that not only do they make you sign in so that they can account for how many people go in and how many come out, they make you sign in with emergency contact numbers. That way if you disappear in there they can easily let your next of kin know where to find your dehydrated body come spring. They even ask that you have your phone fully charged and then they tell you how to find their emergency phone points where you can call and be like ‘I’M AT MILE TWO, SEND THE HELICOPTER!”

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Please Don't Forget About Us

Hi regular readers! Be aware that there were two blog posts today, so make sure you catch the one before this one as well!




Last Christmas the woman who runs the food pantry that I go to called me and told me that she was filling out paperwork to put the kids and I on their Angel Tree and said that she had to ask me a few questions. I told her that there must have been a mistake because I had not signed up for the Angel Tree Project. The Angel Tree is a Christmas tree that is placed in a public location. It is adorned with ornaments, each ornament holding the information of a family needing help.

“Oh no, there is no mistake. I knew you didn’t do it because you are so damn stubborn so I’m doing it for you,” said the booming voice on the other end of the phone; a voice that belongs to a woman who knows me better than I would like to admit.

I think my reply landed somewhere around “uh….yea, no thanks.”

“Eden! Stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about your kids! What are you buying them for Christmas? I’ve watched you struggle for a year now and I want to make sure that you guys have a nice Christmas. Now don’t waste my time and answer my damn questions!” replied the voice in an even louder tone than before.

She actually scared me a little bit.

By the time the phone call was over I had let her know that both kids needed pants, the boy child needed crib sheets, the girl child needed gloves and a hat. She had also pried out of me that Barbie’s and tractor toys would be most appreciated. She still wouldn’t let me off the phone until I admitted that I myself needed socks, a spatula, and a frying pan.

She took my info, put it in an envelope, and hung it on their Angel Tree for someone to choose and then subsequently sponsor us for Christmas.

A week later she called me and told me that our family had been chosen and that the sponsors promised to take care of us for Christmas. I won’t lie, a relief swept over my heart and I had an extra kick in my step that day. It felt good to know that someone cared.

A few days later the Toys for Tots (a program that I had actually enrolled my kids in) pick-up day came around and I lugged my embarrassed face and weary heart to the pick-up location to receive whatever toy had been designated to my children. Imagine my surprise when we were given a very nice, very generous, kitchen play set….that we already had. I only let it disappoint me for a minute before I wrapped it up and dropped it off with another struggling single mom I know and wished them a very Merry Christmas.

“It was meant to be” I thought as I reminded myself that someone else was so graciously taking care of us that Christmas.

A week later I showed up bright and early at the Angel Tree Project pick-up day only to be told that the family sponsoring us hadn’t brought anything, but was told they had been contacted and had assured the food pantry that they would drop our items off the next day. The woman with the booming voice and kind heart told me that she would call me as soon as the items arrived.

The next day came and went without a call, as did the next day, and the next. On the fourth day I called the food pantry back and was greeted by the booming voice. “Eden! I was just going to call you. I talked to your sponsor this morning, she is extremely sorry, but assured us that the items will be here on Monday. I know Christmas is Wednesday and I know how busy you are, so I will drop everything at your house on Monday night after your kids go to bed.

Monday came and while I was waiting for my doorbell to ring, my phone rang instead. “Eden, I haven’t been able to get a hold of them, I’m really sorry. I don’t know what happened but I think it’s pretty clear that they aren’t going to be bringing you guys anything for Christmas.”

"Watch What You Say To Your Mother"

It was one of those mornings. You mom's know what I'm talking about, it was one of those mornings.

It all started with a banana.

I made breakfast for the kids, putting two waffles and a banana on each child's plate. As I went to hand the Girl Child her plate, she said to me in the snarkiest voice I have ever heard come out of her, "I don't want that banana."

"Ok" I said as I picked it up, turned around, and dropped it in the trashcan.

If she had been allowed to say "what the fuck!" I'm pretty sure that's exactly what she would have said because her jaw hit the floor like I've never seen before.

"Mom! Why did you do that!"

"You said you didn't want that banana. Problem solved."

"Well are you going to give me another one?" she said.

"Nope, I already made breakfast. You didn't want it, that's your problem, not mine."

Monday, October 13, 2014

Things I Never Expected To Learn At The Gynecologist

Gah, this was so awkward that it deserved it's own dedicated "Conversations That I Did Not Think I Would Be Having This Week" post.

This was so incredibly awkward.

So....I went to the gynecologist (is anyone else feeling awkward yet?). Nothing special, just couldn't convince the doctor to keep refilling my birth control prescription unless I actually came in for an exam.

The nurse weighed me, took my height (dudes, according to her I grew half an inch. I don't care if the scale is most likely wrong, I'm claiming it!!), took my blood pressure (83/60, they asked me if I needed to lie down. I did not.) Then the nurse told me to strip down to my socks, wrap myself in the twin bed sized paper towel they provided me with, and to chill out on the exam table while I waited for the doctor.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm Not Ok Today

For as easily as words come to me, they aren't coming to me today. I don't know how I feel. I kind of feel happy that I survived a year. I feel like maybe I should be proud that I've learned so much. I feel angry that he was never caught. I'm extremely aware of all that was taken that night. I'm sad that my friends turned their backs on me. I can't believe how deeply, unimaginably, painful it all still is. I wish it didn't hurt so bad.

Gosh does it still hurt.

I don't know how I feel today.

I think today is a day that I am not ok.

Maybe tomorrow will feel better.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Your Text Messages Are Whacked

You all can thank Mr. Attorney Man for this post. He sent me a text the other day that said "this has been a strange round of texts today" and it caused me to pause and think "hum....well....this is actually pretty typical for me."

Now to be fair, I was kind of just messing with him. You see I had a copy of an article he wanted about our nonprofit and I was going to frame it and give it to him for his office, but....why just be nice when you have the opportunity to screw with someone a little bit first? See what I'm sayin'? So I decided that I was going to possibly lead him to the conclusion that I was getting him a stress relieving office rodent. He never caught on.....

Saturday, October 4, 2014

When Telling Your "Boyfriend" To Take Another Girl Out Backfires

So, my dating life. It's weird, I'll admit it.

The Detective Whose Name I Do Not Like and I have been seeing each other for....six months ish (?) and it's been going really well. Part of why it has been going well is the fact that we aren't exclusive.


I know, I know, simmer down people, simmer down. My friends don't get it AT ALL and to be honest, I don't really care. This, whatever this is right now, my dating situation, it's working for me. It is what it is, nothing more, nothing less, and that's the simplicity of it.

Besides The Detective I am casually seeing someone else as well. The Detective is kind of my go-to guy, but at this point I'm not really sure that he is "the one." We are definitely more than casual and I would say that we are some kind of something, but I'm not really interested in totally committing myself to him right now. Because of that I've encouraged him to continue to see other people too, which he is.

I know, I know, "Eden, how can you be ok investing yourself and messing around with some dude and then have him take another girl out to dinner the next night?"

I dunno, I just am.

It truly, truly, does not bother me.

I'm at the point where, if the opportunity presents itself, I would eventually like to be in a monogamous long term relationship, but I'm just not sure yet if The Detective is the one I want to be monogamous with. I really, really, like him, I just don't know if I want to like him for an extended period of time yet. I'm not looking to openly date and then jump into a marriage or anything, I just don't feel it necessary to rush any monogomous commitments right now. Since that's the case, it's really not fair for me to require monogamy from him if I'm not willing to offer the same and so open dating it is. If he meets someone else that he likes more than me in the meantime, well, I would honestly be really happy for him and I would move on to finding someone that is a better fit for me.

So here I am, dating Mr. Detective Man and another guy, which I will admit, is working out fabulously for me.

For The Detective? Apparently not so much.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I'm Not What You Were Expecting

It's Domestic Violence Awareness Month!!!

Let's pretend for a minute that you guys don't know me and allow me to take a minute to introduce myself:


I already know what you are thinking, "I don't need to hear anymore about domestic violence because I already know what it is!!"

 Trust me, you don't. Do me and the millions of other women needing your help a favor and see this article through to the end.

I promise, I'm about to shatter your world.

As domestic abuse becomes more of a socially accepted issue, more and more women are coming out of the shadows to share their stories. As these women come forward, the picture that we previously had of what a domestic violence victim looks like has been shattering down around us.

Now I might not know a lot about a lot of things, I'll fully fess up to that, but what I do know, is domestic violence. I know domestic violence from my own story and I know it from the women that on a daily basis come and go from my house as if I have a revolving door out front.

Because of that there is one thing that I can tell you with all the certainty in the world; what some of you picture when you think of a domestic victim is seriously outdated.

You see, the thing that most people have failed to realize up until this point is that domestic violence victims are the best actresses you will ever meet in your entire life.