High-Fiving Male Sex Abuse Victims

We’ve all seen the familiar story.  Hot teacher and young teenage male student.  One newspaper  used the word “romp” to describe a 24 year-old woman and a 16 year-old boy.

I click on the links and read the stories even though I know the reader comments will make me sad and angry.     The majority of men wanted to high five the boy and are focused entirely on the physical appearance of the woman.    What a profound example of the ripples of objectification.

Sad to admit that I used to be one of those guys who thought a minor was lucky to have sex with a “hot” female adult.

I’m also so happy that most women know its damaging and stick up for the male victims despite the hostility and ignorance of the men who want to high five the kid. I think most women probably know because so many have had the confusing combination of excitement from attention and physical arousal yet their soul telling them something is wrong.

Subconsciously the soul knows its being tricked but in the height of the moment doesn’t care. Often times the weight of the abuse doesn’t hit victims until they are the age of the abuser and see a child that was their age when it happened and it suddenly hits them how fucked up it was. They know their abuser was sick and what happened to them was sick. And it cannot be overstated how crushing this is to a persons soul and self esteem when the truth begins to dawn on them.

Children cannot consent to sex. To truly give consent you must know the ramifications of what you’re doing which children don’t. And puberty doesn’t make you emotionally an adult.

Just because a child wants to drive a car doesn’t mean they’re equipped to do it.   Why would exposing their soul to someone who is sick be any different?  Because it gives you an erection?   Do we high five kids for driving a car before they’ve learned what’s at stake because the car is sexy?

I have talked to countless men who had such experiences which they enjoyed physically at the time but now as adults struggle with self-esteem, emotional intimacy, performance anxiety, thoughts of suicide and sex addiction (either extreme promiscuity or extreme aversion).

I want to scream at the men who want to high five the boys but I try to remember I was once one of those ignorant men.

I hope some day the attitude about this changes as it makes recovery for these victims so much more difficult. I didn’t even understand what happened to me was wrong until decades later and when I did, the pain was so intense, I wanted to die. It has taken me several years to heal and one of the biggest stumbling blocks was blaming myself because I didn’t understand that what the soul and body experience can be totally separate.

And thank you to the people (especially the women) who call out the ignorance and stick up for us. Your support has really helped me.

If you want to read some of the victims/survivors accounts click the links below.   Notice how the effects of the ones that were clearly abusive are similar to the ones that aren’t.

Maybe you won’t want to high-five another boy.

Here’s one from the woman’s perspective.  She was 40 and he was 16 and it was via Skype.  Imagine their sexes being reversed.





Scar Tissue by Paul Gilmartin

Scar Tissue


I’m sitting here at my favorite coffee place wondering why I didn’t wear looser pants.  My junk is swollen.  Not with pleasure; with bruising and stitches and a Band-Aid.

I had a vasectomy yesterday and like many of the twelve operations I’ve had, they were more complicated than expected.   The doctor told my wife when he finished he felt like he needed a drink.

I had to be put under general anesthetic.  Two years ago, the doctor tried to use a local while I was awake but because of some previous operations there was too much scar tissue and it was beyond painful.  He told me he had done several thousand of these and never experienced this.  I felt that familiar wave of shame.

Shame around my junk.

My wife and I had been talking for years about me getting one.   We both knew we didn’t want children and she’d like to go off the pill soon.  But I still woke up this morning feeling a pang of sadness.   It’s now official.   I will never reproduce.

My problems with my junk started when my testicles didn’t descend like they’re supposed to and at ten and eleven I had operations to lower them.

I’m not sure if the procedure is any more kind than it was back then but they attached an elastic string to the testicle and the other end to a leg cast.  I think Mengele invented it when he was in his bluegrass phase.  It was painful and embarrassing but in hindsight really not the worst part of the whole experience.

I’ve written ad-nauseam about this, especially on previous blogs, and I kind of want to apologize because I’m afraid of looking weird or obsessive about these issues and memories, but I figure nobody is making you read this.

Some of my most painful scar tissue is the feeling of being helpless, exposed, prodded and abnormal; the doctor informing my mom nonchalantly that I will never have kids and her taking him out into the hallway to rip him a new asshole (I didn’t understand at the time why she was making such a big deal even though I felt a wave of shame when he said it, I mostly felt numb); the multiple doctor visits, laying completely naked (they didn’t offer me a gown) on the table while he handled my body like I was a piece of meat; the time he walked in with a half-dozen interns in tow and talked about my body like I was a defective freak and I tried not to cry; my mom passively letting this happen; me feeling myself leave my body;

I buried how I felt about that experience until two years ago.  I suddenly realized how abandoned and unprotected I felt by my mom.   What kind of a mother wouldn’t sense her son feeling cold, frightened, exposed?  I felt the buried rage and sadness.  Why didn’t my mom try to get something to cover me up? Why didn’t she say anything when the doctors came in with a herd of people without warning?  Why she didn’t say anything afterwards, ask how I was?  Hug me?

I have always felt invaded by my mother’s eyes; like she drinks me in.   It’s like the doctor visits were the perfect opportunity for her to get what she wanted.   I don’t know if this is the truth or not, but that’s how I feel and I know from years of therapy that it’s not about blame it’s about processing our experience.  She never once asked me if I’d like some privacy.  It was quite the opposite. I remember the few times I tried to cover myself up she chided me saying “it’s nothing I haven’t seen before” or “I saw it before you did”.

After the first failed vasectomy I decided, maybe I don’t even need one.  Maybe that childhood doctor was right.  I got a sperm motility test.   For almost two years I avoided making the phone call to find out the results.  I don’t know why.   Maybe I was afraid of revisiting that feeling of shame when the doctor said I would be sterile.  Clearly I was afraid of something.  I finally called and because it had been so long I had to talk to about nine different people and leave multiple messages, feeling like even more of an oddity that I would wait so long.

The doctor informed me my sperm number is about a million.  I was impressed.  Then he said, that’s basically sterile, but there is still a remote possibility of getting my wife pregnant.   A million sperm and those are the odds?  Now I know how parents feel whose forty-five year-old still lives in the basement.

I think the emotional scar tissue is much worse than the physical.

When I had my testicles lowered I was terrified my classmates would find out.  It didn’t even occur to me how shitty it was that my dad’s train home from work would pass right by a stop at the hospital and he didn’t visit.   I remember pretending to be happy blowing out the candles on a birthday cake in the cafeteria and just feeling numb.   I coped by going to a place in my head where I didn’t feel.  I checked out.   I disassociated from my body.  I never once talked about what I was feeling.  I was never asked.  I buried it for the next forty years.

I have one fond memory of that time; a nurse from Philadelphia who would sing to me.  She looked like Liza Minnelli.  I liked her perfume. She would sweep into the room smiling and cracking jokes.  I loved it.  I felt like she was the one person who understood what I felt; who felt me.   I didn’t feel uncomfortable being naked in front of her, because I felt like more than a body to her.  To this day when I’m in the care of a compassionate nurse I want to ask them to hug me.  I want to cry on their shoulder.  Not because I’m still sad.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe because they feel like the mom I always wish I’d had and I know what a difference their kindness can make in someone who is feeling shame or fear.   Like most childhood trauma it has also left me with sexual fantasies around nurses and being cared for.  Yes, there are some videos online, most are terrible and miss the emotional point of the fantasy.

Back to my renegade testicles.  I was told after one operation that I shouldn’t ride a bike for a while.  I thought they meant peddling.  They didn’t say it was because it was about avoiding sitting on the seat and having your legs hang down.   I had my brother chauffer me on his bike, which was even worse and it screwed up the operation of one of my testicles, leaving it higher than the other.   I was sure no woman would ever be able to overlook this.  I now know, thanks to feedback from my wife and other women I’ve shared this information with they’re not big scrotum fans to begin with.    Very few get the newsletter.   Last year’s convention was cancelled.

Why am I sharing all this?  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m one of those people that have to share every personal detail of their life.  Maybe I need to let this out.  Maybe I want to know that other people have been through something similar or are working to overcome an adversarial relationship with their junk.  I started the podcast to help other people feel less alone, but I didn’t write this to help other people.  It didn’t even occur to me when I sat down (gently) to write this.  That’s how “unique” I feel even though I know realize as I type this how crazy that is.   I’ve read the body shame surveys on the website.  But most of the self-hatred shared there has to do with feeling fat.   Very few people share about their junk.   I know there is an epidemic of girls growing up hating the size of the labia.  I hate to say this but when I first heard of this it made me feel better.   That’s so selfish but it made me feel less alone.   I guess that’s how toxic body shame can be.

When I’m showering after a hockey game and I see guys with “normal” looking junk I think to myself “I wonder if they appreciate that?”

I’m normal sized when “in action” but not so impressive back at the barracks.  In fact it looks like I’m in my bunk with the covers pulled over my head.   Every time I get undressed after a game, there’s even more shrinkage and I’m reminded of all of this stuff. Almost like I’m waiting for someone to razz me.   I know it’s crazy, but emotional scar tissue isn’t always based in reality.  Lots of my teammates don’t shower.  Maybe they’re dealing with shame too. I feel like my genitals are an annoying neighbor and neither of us are going to move.

So here I sit for about the sixth time (I also had two hernias and a benign tumor) looking like my groin was hit by a baseball bat.

I’m not sure what to write next.   So I’ll wrap this up like it’s a documentary on A&E being voiced by Bill Curtis.

Scar tissue has been around since the dawn of man.  It carries with it the reminder that life is inherently dangerous on this rocky planet.  Much like the early cave drawings, they bear testament not only to where we’ve been…but what we’ve fought.  



Come See Paul Speak

March 25th at Lassen Community College is Susanville, CA.  There will be a screening of the California PBS documentary “A New State of Mind” followed by some speakers, one of whom will be Paul.   The event is from 5:30-8:30.  Admission is free and reservations aren’t necessary, but if you want them call 530-257-3864 or email    The event will be in Middleton Hall on campus.


Live Show in Toronto Nov 16th with Scott Thompson

Click here for details and tickets.   The show is at 4pm, tickets are $12.

There will also be a group recording of listeners Friday Nov 15th at 7pm.  It will also take place in the Workman Arts building at 651 Dufferin St in Toronto.  Signs will be posted and it will be in the basement.   Stragglers are welcome and we’ll probably go until about 8:30 or 9:00pm.  No tickets are necessary, it’s free.

I will have a bunch of surveys printed out that people can sift through and comment on during the recording.  Former guest and therapist Susan Hagen will be sitting in.   Show up early (6:30 or 6:45) if you want to look through some surveys before we start recording.   People will basically take turns at the mic talking to Susan and me and responding to the printed surveys and time permitting sharing some of their story with us as well.

If you’d like to participate in the group recording email me at so I can get an idea of how many are going to show up.



Childhood Bill of Rights

Thanks to podcast guest Susan Hagen for turning me on to this and Amanda Curtin for developing it.


Childhood Bill of Rights

A child has the right

  1. to be safe
  2. to have parents who are resources in a one way relationship that is focused on the child
  3. to be able to witness emotion being expressed in a healthy way by the parents
  4. to have the family be a safe enough place for the child to express emotions and then to experience validation of those emotions by the parents
  5. to have basic needs net
  6. to witness healthy adult behavior and a parental relationship that is intimate and a partnership
  7. to experience healthy limit setting for the child’s good by the parents
  8. to experience life as usually fun and to be encouraged to explore the world in small steps
  9. to receive support and help around problems
  10. to be given accurate mirroring by the parents


Developed by Amanda Curtin, Center for Change, Cambridge,  MA


What I Learned Growing Weed & Playing Nintendo

The year was 1989 and Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign was in full effect. Weed was getting harder and harder to find and becoming a lot more expensive.

I had just started supporting myself doing standup fulltime and since I only had to work an hour a day (plus another hour or two writing new material and taking care of the business side), I decided I would grow my own.

Be careful what you wish for.

Like most things I do, I either get discouraged immediately and quit, or see a ray of light and go full bore. For some reason, I believed I could grow my own pot. Not sure why my self-confidence chose an illegal activity to make a rare appearance, but I was glad to feel inspired.

I tried using a fluorescent grow light that couldn’t have been more than about 50 watts. I’m not sure what that light was equipped to grow but it wasn’t weed. The seeds I had planted in Styrofoam cups barely sprouted then quickly died.

I was in Barbara’s Bookstore on Wells in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood and found a book on how to grow pot. I soon discovered I needed better equipment; much better equipment.

My wife – at that time my girlfriend– was a little nervous, but I assured her everything would be okay. She reminded me that with the new harsher drug sentencing laws in addition to doing jail time, they could confiscate everything we owned. I reminded her that we didn’t own anything. That’s not entirely true. In about four days we would own a valuable light that made free pot.

I also felt that being a white, college-educated male from the suburbs with no criminal record even if I was caught I probably wouldn’t see much, if any, jail time.

The book suggested buying anywhere from a 250 to a 500 watt metal-halide or sodium-vapor light. Which do you think I bought?

The 1000 watt metal-halide light arrived. It could easily have been mistaken for the sun. It was gigantic. The bulb alone was the size of a basketball. It gave off so much heat it would roast the plants if they grew too close to it, so I attended to their height by pruning them daily.

I set it up on a timer to simulate the shortening of the seasons, which is what triggers the female pot plants to bud and release their sticky THC (the part that gets you high), and the male plants to release their undesirable pollen, which creates seeds when it lands on the sticky female buds.

With the new light, I was shocked at how easy it was to now grow pot and soon our spare bedroom had a half dozen foot-high plants.

My wife was cautiously happy. I was giddy. I had two things rarely found together; weed and a sense of accomplishment. I set out to do something I knew nothing about and did it. I had made and completed my first adult to-do list! And committed my first felony! I was on a roll.

The seeds I had planted came from two different strains of pot; some high-end Hawaiian and some low-grade Mexican.

For some reason the Hawaiian didn’t grow indoors very well, but the Mexican seeds were thriving and were no longer looking low-grade.

But when I cut their light cycle back and they began to bud, I was disappointed. The buds didn’t look like the pictures in the book. So I reread the book.

The author had stressed that a plant will only be as healthy as it’s weakest link (light, water, air, soil/nutrients). Well I knew I had plenty of light, water and vitamins. The weak link must have been the air it was breathing.

CO2 is to plants what oxygen is to us. It’s also the bubbles in drinks, so it’s widely available, but I still felt nervous buying a tank of it in person.


Salesman: That’s a lot of CO2.

Me: I love soda.


I was sure he knew why I was buying the tank of CO2. I used a fake name and paid cash. Driving home I checked my rear-view mirror.

I got the tank home and hooked it up to a timer and a loop of plastic tubing with holes poked in it to disperse the CO2 around the room.

My wife didn’t like it. It looked like a huge bomb. She was sure it would explode, killing us. I assured her it was safe and then casually mentioned to not spend too much time in there when it’s putting out CO2 because you could suffocate.

I went to bed.

I woke up to something out of a comic book. It was like a magic wand had been waved over the plants. They grew more overnight than they had in an entire week.

Within three or four days, the buds exploded in size, color and thickness. They looked like the pictures in the book. The buds were the size of the erection I had looking at them. I inspected the buds through a magnifying glass marveling at the colored hairs and especially the ridiculous amount of THC, which could be seen in the clear, tiny bubble-topped stalks that held it.

By then it was obvious which plants were male and which were female and I got rid of the males, since all they produce is pollen which makes seeds, and I wanted to grow seedless pot, also known as sinsemillia, the most highly sought-after kind.

Harvesting the buds was comical. It was like I had dipped my hands in glue. I could literally press down on a bud with my open palm and pick it up. I hung the branches upside down in our pantry to dry.

I must have opened that pantry door a thousand times, and just gazed in admiration at my accomplishment. I got a kind of a high just looking at them.

The first harvest was probably ¼ pound of the highest-grade pot I had ever seen. I would repeat the process every three to four months for the next year.

In case I needed more reasons to never leave my apartment, Nintendo became popular that year. I would tend to my plants, smoke weed and play Nintendo, only leaving the apartment to do standup, rollerblade with the dog or get food.

I remember looking at the bags of weed in my fridge. I would pull them out and smell them, examine them. I laughed out loud. I would never run out of pot. Ever. And never pay another dime for it. That thought boggled my mind. I knew I could escape any time. forever I felt at peace. I felt safe.

I loved the look on friend’s faces when they’d see the plants and the bags of incredibly potent pot they produced. I would open up our crisper drawer and show them the bounty. Their jaws would hit the floor. I felt smart. I felt tough. I got high from the weed but I also got a high from feeling I was impressing people and that they looked at me as kind of an outlaw. I felt dangerous and clever.

I had decided early on that I would never sell any of it. I knew with my addictive personality that if I started to, I would always be trying to outdo my previous sales and that would get me busted. I also knew that if I were caught, the fact that I had never sold it would lessen my sentence.

I gave away a LOT of pot. You can’t imagine the look on a stoned person’s face when you hand them a free ounce of really good pot in a bone-dry market. I wish I had taken pictures.

Needless to say, I became popular; too popular. It got hard to get people to leave our apartment. I guess they didn’t want it to look like they were just coming by to get free pot, which most of them were, but I didn’t care, I could only smoke so much, and I didn’t know what to do with the rest. I just wanted them to leave so I could retreat into the cocoon of weed and Nintendo I had created.

We lived in a four-unit apartment building in Chicago’s Lakeview Central neighborhood. Fortunately I knew the people in the other three units and they all smoked. If they hadn’t, I surely would have been busted from the smell.

The potency of the pot was so great that one or two hits of it equaled ten or twenty hits of regular pot. When the plants were budding, you could smell the unmistakable skunky scent the second you walked in the door to the apartment building on the floor BELOW us.

Bees even started hanging around me. One day I opened the door to the grow room and there were 50 bees swarming around the plants. To this day I have no idea how they got into a completely sealed room.

My favorite Nintendo games were Mario Brothers and the Legend of Zelda.

I would play for hours, not getting up to eat, shower or even pee, just holding it in, wasted out my mind, intent on finding Zelda’s next hidden treasure, hoping to not be killed by a dragon.

I remember one night my wife left around dinnertime, did three shows and came home to me in the exact same spot. I hadn’t budged in eight hours. She gently tried to point out how unhealthy this was. I pretended to hear her.

My health started to suffer. My back started going out, I’m sure triggered by sitting paranoid and full of pee for hours on end, too focused on Zelda to move. My bladder must look like a weather balloon.

I remember the moment I realized I had a problem.. I was on the phone with my brother, who was annoyed with me about something, and my wife was in the kitchen disappointed about something else, both were talking to me at the same time, and I suddenly broken down. I hung up the phone with my brother and started to cry.

I couldn’t take it anymore. The blunt tool of escaping wasn’t working any more. It worked great for a couple months, then like all addictions it stopped working and made things worse.

It would be years before I would call myself an addict and get help, but I quit smoking pot that day and gave away all my equipment. Years later I would start smoking pot again, but it was the first time I realized getting something you really, really want isn’t always good.

Months later I started going to therapy, and soon discovered the relief of a tool that didn’t have side effects.

It’s ironic I was playing Zelda, which involved exploring a darkened map, square by square, illuminating each one, sometimes finding treasure, sometimes something awful, like a dragon.

I wasn’t ready to explore my own dark squares in 1989. When I finally did, I discovered huge amounts of pain, rage, guilt, fear, sadness and despair; an Irish Catholic casserole. Many, many times I wanted to die, because I truly didn’t believe I would ever get through it.

Nothing presents the opportunity for growth like pain, and if we avoid getting stuck in its two major trappings, self-pity and self-righteous anger, pain can leave some great things in its wake, clarity, compassion, humility, vulnerability, trust and even joy.

We wouldn’t have a word or even a concept for what light is if we didn’t experience darkness.

Most of our actions in life are driven by the feelings at our core, the ones we can’t even put into words; the ones that run the show. If we don’t go in there and identify them and process them we will be unconscious slaves to them for the rest of our lives.

I have lived in that prison. My core belief was that I don’t matter. If you had stopped me on the street and asked me if I thought I mattered, I would have said yes, and thought it was a ridiculous question. But at my core, I didn’t FEEL it. My actions proved it. I had spent my life trying to stand out. I was constantly trying to impress you. I had trouble speaking up for myself, and I didn’t think I deserved a better childhood.

I began to hang out with people who treated me like I did matter, (mostly friends from support groups) and I began to avoid people who didn’t. I began to heal.

I ran around for years thinking the right achievements would bring me love and then I would be able to relax and turn my spinning brain off. Turns out what I needed to relax, was to just give myself permission to do it. But to give myself permission, I had to believe I’m okay exactly as I am. And to believe I’m okay I had to EXPERIENCE living through something terrifying, like processing my past, and coming out the other side okay. And that could only happen by asking for help.

There is no place in the future that is safe from pain.

All we have is here; this moment, this little Zelda square. Explore it. It’s your map. The universe gave it to you.

We all have great things to discover inside ourselves and most of it is guarded by dragons. I have wanted to turn and run hundreds of times, and I often did, but I kept coming back for help. I don’t know why that is. Maybe deep down there was still a tiny part of me that believed I matter.

Ask yourself, “Am I worth working on?” If the answer is “yes”, start doing it tomorrow. If the answer is “no”, start doing it right now. If money is tight, Google “low fee therapy” and the name of your town/city. And most support groups are free. A great resource for any questions is

Break out that broadsword and start exploring. Holy fuck is it an adventure. I’m not bullshitting. Like my support group friend Tim says, “We have no reason to lie to you, you’re not that important.”

You’ll be amazed what you’ll find if you can let go of where you think you should be, what you think you should have, and who you think you should be.


10 Layer Hate Cake

Have you ever made a multi-layered hate cake?

I made a monstrous one today.   Ten delicious layers of built up resentment, fear and worry.

It’s really ridiculous.   It was about nothing serious.   Taking care of some business related to a support group.

But the woman who requested that I take care of this issue talks a lot, and is needy.   And yes, she reminds me of my mom.   So out of the gate, I have an uneasiness and impatience with having to deal with her.  Layer one.

Then, the thing she requested me to do had hazy details, so I wasn’t sure how to respond.  Gray area.   I might make a mistake.  Layer two.

I began to picture her hovering over my every move, questioning my handling of it.   Future projecting.  Layer three.

Then I contacted the business she had the problem with and I kept getting a message saying they were not taking calls at that time.  What.  The.  FUCK!!!!!  Layer four.

I waited a day.  Called back.  Same thing. I started imagining her hounding me for answers while I deal with a business that can’t get its fucking phones straight.   Layer five.

I finally found out the phone list I had was incorrect – a hot wave of resentment at the “stupid motherfucker” who put it together.   Layer six.

I imagined myself holding the phone list in front of his face and quizzing him like one of those pompous British guys with the powdered wig.   “So you knew the citizenry depended upon the phone list in question, yet you abandoned the duties bound by your oath?  Hmmm.   No further questions.” – cut to him being beaten by peasants while a butler serves me a single egg.

I found the right number and called the most horrendous phone system I have encountered in my entire life.   No exaggeration.  Seriously.  The hold “music” sounded like squealing bombs going off.   Screeching, distorted sounds so loud I was afraid my phone was being damaged.  And of course I sat on hold forever.   Layer seven.

I could feel my face getting hot.   I fantasized about finding the owner of the business and telling them they should be ashamed to call themselves a business.

I finally got through and the person I was told to talk to, Karen.  She told me to talk to someone else.  Layer eight.   I wanted to tell her she should be ashamed of herself for not caring about her workplace and pawning me off on someone else, and stuffing that feeling made my heart beat faster.   I could feel adrenaline surging, like my tongue was in a horse gate at a race track, just begging to let loose.

I was then transferred to a dude who sounded as uninterested as he was dumb.  He said I needed to talk to Kenny.   Layer nine.  I asked if I could leave a message for Kenny; of course not.   He was too busy sounding dumb and uninterested.  I probably caught him in the middle of staring at a lamp.

I couldn’t resist telling him about the hold “music”, and reminded him to pack a sweater because fall can be chilly at The Hague.

I went to write down Kenny’s extension.

I couldn’t find a pen.  Layer ten.   Timer dings.  Cake done.

I wanted to scream.  I wanted to drive my car through my front door.  I wanted to put my fist through something.

I hung up the phone.   I felt warm rage in my face.   I could feel it tingle my scalp.   I wanted to cry.

And here is where all my therapy and support group work paid off.

I recognized what I was feeling.   I didn’t brush it aside.   I felt it.   I didn’t judge myself for feeling it.  I asked myself “What am I doing to contribute to what I’m feeling?  What do I have control over?”

I went back to the beginning of what I was doing and I realized I was anticipating the needy woman’s disapproval of my handling this.  I was anticipating being overwhelmed by her phone calls, her micromanaging and complaining, or worse, her being passive aggressive.   I was looking into my broken, useless crystal ball.  It’s where my addiction and mental illness lives.   It presents itself as the truth,  I believe it and act from a place of fear.

I anticipated me not being able to set boundaries with this woman.  I anticipated letting someone down. I anticipated me not being perfect.

THAT is the problem.   Not the woman, not the business, not their shitty phones, not their uninterested employees.

I had become ATTACHED to an outcome:  I HAVE to solve this.  I HAVE to please this needy woman.

I should have approached it with the INTENT to solve it, the ACTIONS to do so, but the resignation to ACCEPT that I MIGHT NOT solve it.  That someone somewhere in the world might be upset with me.

Suddenly I could see the ridiculousness of my fear, which led to feeling frustrated, which led to ten layers of anger.

So the next time we find ourselves screaming, “WHERE ARE ALL THE FUCKING PENS?, “ stop, take a deep breath, let go of expectation and focus on what we have control over (which is usually very little) and accept what we don’t.

I’m having a great day now.  I’ll call that business tomorrow and if I can solve the problem, I’ll solve it.   If I hit a dead-end, so be it.   The needy woman won’t die.   She’ll probably be upset.   And if she’s lucky she’ll know to stop, take a deep breath and accept it.