Calm Down

Does this phrase actually make anyone feel calmer?

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When it is said to me, it evokes the opposite response.

One day the washing machine at the house broke forcing me to go to the Laundromat. I like going to Spin Laundry Lounge because there are video games to play while you wait, their dryers are awesome, the prices are relatively reasonable and depending on which location you choose, there are snack options.

In addition to getting my laundry done, I was on a research mission for information about the Laundromat. My roommates have never been and they would also need to get their laundry done. I located two empty, smaller size washing machines next to each other and put my clothes in them. There is a spin dial to choose water temperature and desired cycle. I am guilty of not reading all the information before getting started with things. Today would be no different. I picked the cheapest cycle and swiped my credit card to pay. Then I realized there were more options. I wanted to wash them in cold water (which cost .25 cents extra). I guess it was too late. When both loads had finished, I took out the hang to dry items and loaded the rest in one big dryer. I went back to the washing machines to take photos to send to the roommates when I noticed there was a balance of .25 on the washing machine I had just used. I was confused by this therefore I located the only employee working to ask her what was going on. She followed me over, asked me a few questions and then said she didn’t know. She wasn’t even sure if they had gotten washed. Hhhhmmmmm that’s odd, they felt damp when I moved them to the dryer. She said it would have just done a prewash which would explain why they were damp. All I know is I needed my clothes to be clean.

It wasn’t worth taking chances so I went over to the dryer to pull that one load out to rewash. I expressed a bit of my frustration with this process and lack of knowledge when she suddenly says to me to ” I’m just trying to help you – calm down.”

The best part about this is: I wasn’t even that upset about it. I was just expressing my emotion. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was maybe a level 3.

I couldn’t believe she was saying this to me. I know myself. I know when I am being “extra” and when I am not. I know how people can react to me when I am acting “extra” and this situation wasn’t even close. Her words didn’t make me feel any calmer, like I said before it has the opposite effect on me. I immediately knew the conversation had taken a turn and we were in a different place now. A place I didn’t want to deal with. It can be a tremendous amount of work to get strangers to a place of real understanding of who you are and what you are communicating. It suddenly occured to me she was taking it personally. All she needed to do was give me the space to express my moment of frustration and we could all move on. So in that moment, the conversation was over for me. I told her, Thank you, I got it, and I didn’t need anything else. She walked away.

Over the years, I have come to realize when a misunderstanding is taking place. I would love it if everyone knew what everyone was saying all of the time. I also know that people are looking through their own lense at life. They can only meet you from where they are. Sometimes I take the time to correct the misunderstanding. Sometimes the moment is happening so quick and there is not time to do all that is necessary to get back on the same page. I made the assumption of how much work it was going to take based on her response of taking things personally and decided to just end the exchange. I wonder if this was the right thing to do.

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Another time I have been told to calm down, recently, was my first day in Spanish Conversation class. I enrolled in class through Portland Community College to solve a parking challenge at work and get more Spanish in my life. I work on the waterfront right in front of the Eastbank Esplanade in Portland Oregon. There isn’t any parking besides two private parking lots for business and one parking lot for a PCC campus. The class I signed up for is non credit evening class that takes me 30 minutes to drive to once a week however I love it.

The semester had been in progress for several weeks when I arrived for the first time. There was homework from the previous week that, understandably, I wasn’t aware of. I didn’t have the book nor did I plan on purchasing it. I was hoping for just conversation. It’s been years since I have taken a class and my Spanish skills were rusty. Midway through the class it was time for everyone to read their homework. Two jokes and a short story. There were only three other people besides myself and the professor. When it would have been my turn, I said with excitement, I don’t have any jokes because today is my first day. The teacher immediately told me to calm down, in a nice calm way a few times. I was immediately offended. Once again, expressing emotion was causing someone to tell me to tone it down. I wasn’t even upset until this phrase was said to me.

It took a few days of reflection and analyzation to figure out what exactly bothered me so much. I think that because she didn’t know me and her reaction to my expression was one of correction. She wanted me to be different. Therefore telling me to calm down felt like a rejection of my personality. When I feel rejected, I go into self preservation mode. I either let the full force of my personality out and I don’t care who likes it or I withdrawal completely. Either way, I am not trying to be likable. I don’t know why I respond this way but I do.

Thinking about that moment in class over and over again led me to this realization.

I am an emotional creature. A very emotional creature. Sometimes I show that emotion when expressing myself verbally.

Maybe the other person is uncomfortable with the level of emotion that I am expressing and saying calm down is their way of trying to control the situation to bring it to a level of comfort for them. (Emotional Contagion). I don’t need to take it personally! I can understand what is happening for the other person and adjust where I can.

I hope I am able to maintain this point of view so that the next time someone tells me to calm down, I won’t feel the need to be so reactive.

Tips for stress free selling on apps like OfferUp and Letgo.

I sell a lot of things on OfferUp, Letgo, and Craigslist.

If you have sold things on these platforms, you will know how flaky people can be.  It can be quite frustrating. I refuse to have strangers waste my time. I will not be held hostage waiting on anyone ever again.

Here are some tips & tricks I have found to be effective in order to feel less stressed.

Pricing: I like to price things to move. I list it for half of what I paid or I do some research to what others are selling it for and make it a few dollars less.  No matter what price you list your item for- expect people to ask to buy it for less.  It is okay to remain firm in your offer.  The right match will come around once you stand your ground.  Especially if it is a fair price.  If you are willing to accept their offer – go ahead 🙂

Communication: Don’t expect it to be great.  When people message me to ask if something is available- I answer yes and then delete their message.  When people message me to say they will get back to me- I delete the message. I assume that people are going to flake so I just delete all messages. I don’t chase and I don’t follow up after I have provided pertinent information. Just let it go and move on.  The serious ones will come back around. After some time, they become obvious.

**People who are good communicators will get back to you. They will answer your questions. They will set up a specific time to connect with you. They will be responsive and sometimes, just sometimes, even be the one to initiate the details. They will let you know when they are on their way (especially if you have requested they do so).  They show up. Be sure to give them positive feedback about the aspects of their behavior you appreciate ❤

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Location to meet: I like to find a business close to where I am located (this can serve as a reference point for them to map how far it will be from their location). I never give my physical address unless (it works best for my life) / I have gotten a good vibe, the communication has been good and they are ready to head my way.  If the communication hasn’t been great, I just give them a business nearby and ask them to let me know when they are there and then I will come over.  This will save your time.  This way you don’t have to wait at your house for anyone.  I understand that things come up which could change the time they are able to come.  If you just ask them to let you know when they are there then you don’t have to be held hostage.  Sometimes they don’t show up…. makes no difference to you since you aren’t waiting around on them and then a bunch of random strangers don’t have your home address.

I hope that you found these tips helpful.  I hope if you use them, that they work out for you. Feel free to share tips that you find useful!!!  I am always looking to improve…

Happy Selling out there!

 

 

Covert Operation = Get Nieces back

3 thousand dollars & Karma allowed for the covert operation.

Maybe you have read the other blogs about my journey, maybe you have not. This story picks up at the end of the blog that is linked above.

For those that have not, let me give you the readers digest version: I don’t have a good relationship with my biological mother. My younger sister passed away in 2003 which prompted me to connect with the abusive dysfunctional people from my past in order to attend her funeral and to meet my little nieces, whom were 3 years old and 18 months old at the time. I wanted to help raise my nieces so they moved to Austin TX where I was living in 2004. It didn’t go well and my biological mother lied and said she was going on vacation when she was secretly moving to Oregon about 1.5 years later. She then proceeded to cut me out of my nieces lives. She changed the phone number leaving me no way to contact the little girls that had become such a big part of my heart <3.

When I found out they moved, I made plans to visit. Those plans were met with resistance. I was told I had to do certain things, I wasn’t willing to do. My biological mother doesn’t get to treat me however she wants and then dictate my response to it. This is when she told me not to come. Shortly after that she changed the phone number.

I realized that if I was ever going to see them again, I would need my visit to be a surprise. I didn’t take the trip I originally planned since she had all the details and could have easily left town. This would result in me wasting $3,000.00

Covert Operation = get nieces back began to form. I bribed my boyfriend at the time to come with me with some fun plans in Portland before traveling to Salem to sit in front of their house. I decided going around Christmas time would increase the chances of me being able to find them at home.

In 2006, I got plane tickets for Portland, a rental car to drive to Salem, hotel rooms and massage appointments. I went to the local toy store and purchased Christmas presents for the girls. We stayed two days in Portland before headed off for the drama.

Portland was awesome! The size of the city reminded me of the Austin Texas I moved to the summer of 1996. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe- off to Austin TX I go. The nature scene reminded me of growing up in Colorado Springs. Portland has delicious food, cool bridges and nice people. It was becoming clear that I liked it so much that I wanted to live there. I never thought I would see the day I wanted to move from Austin because I loved living there. It’s the place I have lived the longest yet (15 years) Portland was pretty awesome though and I seriously started to think about moving. I would need to finish college first.

After two days in Portland, we drove to Salem, checked into the hotel and went to sit in front of my nieces house. It was completely nerve wracking. The anxiety built with every passing moment. At some point my boyfriend mentioned he was hungry. I didn’t want to leave because Murphy’s Law says the moment I leave is the moment they come home and I didn’t want to miss them. He ended up convincing me to get some fast food for him. We weren’t gone long. When we returned, the lights in the house were on. I knew it! I missed my moment! I was pissed at my BF and pissed at myself for agreeing to leave. Now we have to go to the door. This gives my biological mother more of an advantage.

We crept up to the door and couldn’t really see through the oval circle made of frosted glass that was in the middle of the wood door. I could hear them though. I tried to wait until I heard the girls voices closer towards the front of the house however it was proving impossible. I knocked on the door and she told the girls to go to their rooms because she thought I was going to be someone else that was showing up with something for the girls for Christmas. When she answered the door, it took her a minute to register what was happening. I saw her face change when it clicked. I shoved my foot in the door so she couldn’t close it on me and I started yelling my nieces names. I didn’t overcome the year of sadness and come all this way not to be successful. She let me in…

At first it was very awkward. It took an hour or so for the girls to remember who I was. There weren’t any pictures of me around. I’m 100% sure she didn’t talk about me or say nice things about me or remind them of the good times we had and how much I loved them. She asked if I was there to take them away? My answer was – I’m not you.

I had a hotel down the street and I wanted the girls to come and stay with me. I’m surprised she agreed. I got to spend all the days I was there with them. We went out to eat and had a couple sleepover nights. I couldn’t have been more happy. I got them back!!!!!

After a week, it was time to return home to Austin. I invited each of my nieces to come for 1 week during the summer. The littlest one was too scared to fly so the older one asked if she could have her sister’s week and come for 2 weeks. OF COURSE. It almost didn’t happen because she was very scared to get on the plane. Thankfully a nice couple saw this little girl crying and offered to accompany her during the flight. Words could not express the disappointment I felt at the thought of her not being able to board the plane. I am so proud of her for conquering her fear and making it all the way to Texas. We had a blast. Lots of swimming. Reuniting with old friends. She lost a tooth. She celebrated her 8th birthday while there- We went at Schlitterbahn with friends. Our relationship was back on track. I love her more than I love anyone in the world.

I spent the next 2 years flying to Portland for visits. As my nieces got older, I knew that they needed me to be closer. I wanted to be a bigger part in their lives. I was putting myself through college part-time which would take 10 years to complete. I graduated the summer of 2010 and by the end of December, I moved to Dallas OR, where they lived.

3 thousand dollars & Karma

I can’t remember the name of the dating app or site I was on when I made a connection with a gentlemen.

20190727_115935.jpgWe decided to met at bar called Casino El Camino for drinks and food. This bar is located on the east end of the infamous 6th street in Austin TX. We got cocktails and ordered food while sitting on the back patio. I remember that neither of us wanted to smoke many cigarettes in front of the other person because we were trying to impress each other (smoking is unattractive). Eventually we just had to be ourselves.

I liked him right away. I just wasn’t interested in dating him. I don’t meet many people I want to date so the chances were slim from the beginning anyway.  I will still make effort to engage with the opposite sex since it feels like a numbers game. Eventually I will meet someone to share my life with.

For as long as I can remember, I have been struggling to earn enough money to get ahead of my poor economic situation. Dare I dream to be able to put money into savings.  I always manage to earn enough to survive! I have been working since I was 14 years old- 114 jobs and counting.

The stress of my economic situation revels itself when major changes happen in my life and I’m not able to take care of them how I like.

In 2005, my biological mother took my nieces, secretly moved to another state, changed their phone number and removed me from their lives. I was heartbroken. I cried every day for about a year. I got my first tattoo on the day that marked 1 year since I had seen their faces. Grand stand ideas started to ruminate in my mind as to how to get those little girls back into my life . If only there was a way to do it without having to deal with my biological mother.  The girls were 5 and 3 years old at the time.

I thought of showing up at their house to surprise them. I have their home address.. This surprise plan would require plane tickets, renting a car, gas money, a place to stay, bribing my boyfriend to support me in this drama, and feeding ourselves along the way. I did some preliminary research on how much it would cost to take the time away from work, pay for all those required things as well as doing something fun since I was going to a new city.  It was looking like it was going to cost around $3,000. Shit. How was I going to do that? I only made enough money to cover monthly expenses working  while putting myself through college.

My new friend is a really good poker player.  Plays online all the time. He had a day job working ( I don’t remember where). He had been there for awhile and wasn’t happy anymore.  He liked it the first few years, felt appreciated, received work bonuses but those days seemed to be long gone.

One day when I was at work, we were talking on the phone and I was telling him my grand plan.  I blurted out that I needed $3,000 to accomplish it and I had no idea how to do it.  My heart hurt so intensely it was clouding other aspects of my life.

He mentioned he was playing in an online poker tournament that night and 1st prize was $3,000 and if he won, he would give it to me. Now I know what you are thinking. I know what I was thinking. He can’t be serious. I mean this is too generous of a gift. What would prompt him to do such a thing?  I knew he had feelings for me, (little ones anyways) because we hadn’t known each other that long.  I didn’t want to say no.

After work, I went home to do homework, study and make dinner. He kept calling me to give me a play by play. It was more than I could keep up with.  I told him good luck, I couldn’t talk on the phone all night because of homework and we would see what happened in the morning…

I woke up to a text message with an attached screenshot of the computer screen. HE WON!!!!!

This just became real. We needed to have a serious talk about it.  There would be no way I could accept this gift if he was going to hold it over my head. I couldn’t accept the extremely generous gift if it would come with invisible strings. Our friendship would not survive it. I know plenty of people who use their money for power, control, and to manipulate others. I know myself

He said he wouldn’t and I desperately wanted to believe him. It would take some time for him to get his payout.

20190727_115923_HDR.jpgWe dressed up and went to a Halloween party that year.  Halloween is my favorite holiday. We were sitting around the fire and at some point in the night, he made a hurtful/ manipulative/ power comment about giving me the money. It was the moment I was afraid of. I immediately knew I could not accept his generous gift. I told him so and he instantly felt bad and realized his error. He promised he wouldn’t do that and here he was making a comment before I even took the money.

How was I going to deal with this epic disappointment?! I was super depressed. I was discouraged. I was disheartened by the predictability of people and money. I was sad that I wasn’t going to be able to fly up to Oregon and try to get my nieces back. It took several weeks, several apologies and a couple conversations about his recommitment to being comment free before I would accept his gift.

Eventually I agreed and when he received the money, we made plans to meet.  He would be at La Zona Rosa with a date when I would roll by in my car.  He handed me a small package filled with my dreams. To this day he has never made another comment about it. Thank you with ALL of my being for this mister.

Covert Operation = get nieces back ” was ready to be put in place.

I couldn’t be more grateful. I am truly inspired by his generosity. I’m not sure I could have done the same.  I mean, I am a generous person. I’m always giving things away or feeding people.  I would take the time to help others when and where I can.  Three thousand dollars is a lot of money though.

20181116_233618.jpgThey say you get what you give. This couldn’t be more true in this story.

A few weeks after he gave me all that money, his boss called him into his office to let him know that a couple customers had called in raving about him.  He had received a few positive reviews.  He was a loyal, hard working, nice employee.

He got a bonus that year.

Guess how much…..

You know it.

$3,000.00

 

 

Love you friend. You deserve all good things! Happy we still talk and that I got to see you last year after not seeing you for eight years ❤

 

 

 

 

Stop thinking with your penis and be my friend.

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Why? Why? Why? is it so challenging……

It’s the age old dilemma.

Can straight cis men and straight cis women just be friends?

I say yes, yes they can.

As soon as men think past their dicks.

I have met some men recently that I like. I like who they are. They are Reliable, Generous, Hard Working, Thoughtful men.

I am not attracted to them sexually. I just enjoy their company and it shines through my eyes.

Men tend to mistake nice for interested. Letting them know you aren’t interested means you run the risk of loosing potential friendship.

Once they realize that I’m not interested, I think they feel rejected and have a hard time continuing to hang out.

Age doesn’t seem to matter for this dynamic. I am going to be 45 this year and I have been experiencing this situation since I was 12.

I’m tired of it. When will it end?

I just want to be able to be myself. The nice, supportive, funny, charming, good listening, positive, adventurous side of myself. I want to be able to let someone of the opposite sex see the entire me and enjoy the parts they like without giving me a sexual vibe or entertaining sexual thoughts. Is it really that hard to think with the head on your shoulders and only that head?

It must be considering how often men cheat, try non monogamous relationships and talk about spreading their seed. Variety is the spice of life. I am willing to seriously attempt to understand the science behind the bio physical responses that your dick has. Can I say dick this many times?! I guess so, it is my blog (ha😜)

I have also heard the only way men and women end up as friends is because one of them isn’t returning the others attraction. That one person ends up settling for the friendship. Sometimes the flame is still there and they are waiting it out, sometimes the flame dies and friendship can remain.

I have a dear male friend that I have known since college. I have dated his friends and he has dated mine. We have a great time together. He has added so much value to my solitary life that I can’t say enough good things about him. Of all the things I have learned from him, the feeling of being included and how to be hospitable stand out the most.

One time we were out drinking in Austin TX and I decided to share with him the theory I heard about how men and women become “just friends”.

After I explained, we both said, so you were the one who was into me?

Then we laughed and laughed and went back to salsa dancing.

This is how I know it’s possible. Not one time did I ever think about wanting to be with him. I have nothing but nice things to say about him too. He is married now with a son, caring for his aging parents, working to get his company off the ground and just all around being a good human.

I hope we stay in touch and remain good friends until one of us is no longer on this earth.

I also hope that I will be able to make more male friends. I like men. I like gay men, trans men, cis men, Drag Kings, straight men- ALL the men.

I could also use more friends. Julie party of one is fun. Life is more fun with friends!

Life is more fun with friends and if they don’t show up….

969205_10151468021046033_616595444_nYou go out and do things alone. Yes, all by yourself (with other people) (that you don’t know) so it’s like you are by yourself anyways.

Is it awkward at first? Yes

Does it make you interact with the world in a way that you wouldn’t if you had a friend with you? Yes

Do you get used to it? Yes

Will it eventually be something you look forward to? Yes

This alone thing is liberating!

I started small by :

  • going to the movies
  • shopping
  • Yoga, Pilates, Boot Camp, Boxing, you name the workout class
  • Then I worked my up to eating a meal in a restaurant alone instead of ordering it to go and eating at home.
  • After that came having a cocktail at a bar.
  • I have managed to go see live music by myself.

Why should I have to miss out on all the adventures I want to have because I can’t find anyone to come along?

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Recently I went white water rafting alone. It was such a fantastic Saturday that I feel inspired to plan more adventures to do by myself. Next will be the Downwind in Hood River on a SUP board.

 

Doing things alone this year is easier than it has ever been before.  Many events and meditations have brought me to my current understanding and comfort level for solo adventures.  In 2013 I had a major realization while I was in Maui, Hawaii.  I went to visit a new friend that was going there for the season to work on a boat.  The boat would give whale watching/snorkeling tours.  I would get to be on the island for 10 days. I had never been to Hawaii before and I was very excited!!

What I did not realize about this vacation was that she was in the beginning passionate throes of a relationship and I would be the third wheel. I am no stranger to being odd man out however I was not very practiced in the art of doing things alone and I was looking forward to some quality time with a girlfriend.  She had to work a lot during my time there. When she wasn’t working, she was hanging out with her boyfriend and me.  I did not like her boyfriend which added to the disappointment.  My first day there, I did get to go on the boat she was working on for a whale watching tour. I saw so many whales. Everytime someone had a sighting they would yell it out so we all could catch a glimpse.  Breach- 3 o’clock Jumping_Humpback_whale

Before the boat trip started, I should have followed my friends lead with the sunscreen. I figured I lived in Texas for fifteen years and I don’t normally burn so I didn’t need to slather it on. Hindsight revealed living in Oregon for 2 years was enough time for my skin to turn pasty white effectively making it sensitive to the Hawaii sun.  I did not apply enough sunscreen and got the worst sunburn EVER.  I was miserable for a week easy.  Being so burned made sleeping difficult. I had to take Oatmeal baths several nights in a row and by the time it went away there was only three days of vacation left. I was in paradise and I did not want to spend anymore time in the sun.

Maui is a small island and I did the typical touristy things.  Whale watching, snorkeling, Lunch in Lahaina where the Banyan Tree is,  Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area for disc golf, watching the fire dancers on Little Beach, the Road to Hana where we camped at the end to visit the Seven Sacred Pools.

My life changing realization happened the night we went camping, when we were at the end of the Road to Hana.  We decided to stay so we could explore the Seven Sacred Pools in the morning. I am an early riser, waking up between 4:30a.m. to 6:30a.m. Pacific Standard Time.  Since there was a two hour time difference between Oregon and Hawaii at the time, I was up way too early.  Wide awake at 3:30 in the morning.  My friends were on Hawaii time and liked to sleep late. I would be up a full seven hours before they would rise.  What was I going to do with myself? I layed there for a bout an hour before I got up and went to explore. I knew I couldn’t go too far on the off chance my friends woke up early.  My exploration led me to discover a beautiful waterfall.  I spent some time here taking a bunch of selfies.  At some point, a small group of people came into the area.  They asked if I was alone.  That is when it occurred to me! Even though technically I was with other people, in reality I was alone. Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.  I was just hyper aware of my aloneness.IMG_20130131_094657.jpg

Aren’t we always alone I replied? ( Lightbulb moment) I mean we are born alone, we die alone and the time in between we walk the path of our lives alone.  Here I was on this beautiful island for vacation, I had come to meet a friend and spend time with her but she was busy working and being with her boyfriend.  Technically I was with people. In reality I was alone.  I was on my own, even when they were around.

I could tell you many stories where I have found myself in a similar position.  It wasn’t always easy to be there.  Now I don’t mind.  I frequently choose it.  I also look forward to having it all my way since there isn’t anyone else to take into consideration.  Who doesn’t love that?

One of my favorite sayings is an African saying.

If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together

I would like nothing more than to go far in life so until friends show up and stick around and until friends commit to joining me, you can find me on some adventure by myself having a great time ❤

 

 

Where are you from? this seemingly easy question is not easy for me.

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When people ask me where I am from, I have to put on my happy face and ask some clarifying questions. Like- What does your question really mean? What information are you really looking for?

  • Did you want to know where I grew up?
  • What does grow up mean to you? childhood years or teenage years?
  • Where you looking to figure out where I was born?
  • Where did I move to Portland from?

Each one of these questions has a different answer. Language is important.

Usually I start by saying. I moved to Portland from Austin, Texas. Then they usually say- oh you grew up in Austin.

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Wait? What? I said I MOVED here from Austin.

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I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Then they think I was born in Colorado.

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I was born in San Francisco, California

Spent half of the childhood years and 3/4 of my Senior year of High School in the Bay Area.

I realize this question is meant as a friendly conversation starter however I find it painful.

After all the answers- this question comes.

Did you move around so much because your family was in the military?

oh no… another innocent question is about to open a can of worms….

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No, we moved a lot because I had a dysfunctional family – I say with a smile to ease the tension.

I don’t really have any family per se. I have never met my Dad. Well that’s what it feels like anyway. I did see a picture of him holding me when I was about 18 months, my only half-sister passed away and my biological mother is dangerous to my happy life so I don’t talk to her nor have I for a very long time.

I wish society would come up with some other basic questions to get to know each other. Pronto. It’s quite possible that this question serves to constantly remind me that I am not like everyone else and to be comfortable with that. I can relate to orphans more than anyone else. Next question please.