The late evening sun sank lower, barely peering through the treeline as I sat next to the pile of recently overturned earth, careful not to fall into the carefully dug hole. Eventually, some likely underpaid caretaker would replace the sod that had been cut away and plant grass seed when the sod didn’t grow uniformly, but it was too early for that. It was too early for a headstone, too.
I froze slightly as I heard the scuffling of feet behind me and then relaxed as I recognized the shuffling, limping gait. “You should be resting,” I murmured as he sat down beside me.
“And you shouldn’t?”
I glanced at him, his cuts and bruises looking more pronounced, more ominous in the twilight blanketing the cemetery. Though, I was sure I didn’t look any better. That thought was confirmed as he reached out to touch my face then let his hand fall away.
“Your mom made supper,” he said, as if trying to bridge the growing distance between us.
“I’m not hungry.”
“When’s the last time you ate anything?”
I shrugged and stared into the darkening hole.
He reached for me. “Cass–”
“No!” I stumbled to my feet. “Don’t! They’re putting our baby in a hole tomorrow. This hole. I don’t fucking care about food. I don’t care about any one of the well-meaning lasagnas stuffed into the freezer by our well-meaning friends. I don’t care if I starve because at least I won’t be here without her.”
His battered face crumpled and he sagged as if someone had opened a valve and let all of the air out of him. “I’m so sorry. I tried to get us out of the way. I tried,” he murmured. I wasn’t sure if he was talking to himself or me. But then he looked up at me, utterly stricken. “I tried to take the impact on my side of the car, but I couldn’t get it to turn in time. I couldn’t get it to turn.”
My heart pounded, practically thrashing its way out of my chest as the sounds of crunching metal and breaking glass filled my head, replacing the harsh gasping breaths of my husband, and over it all, I heard the tiny gurgle of sound that would be the last noise our little girl would ever make.
I sank down into the cool grass behind him and wrapped my arms around him and gave in to the sobs building in my throat.
“I promised I’d always be there to protect her.”
I tightened my grip around him despite the pain I knew we were both feeling, and he covered my hands with his. He’d done the best he could. I knew he had.
“I know I failed you both, but please don’t let go. I can’t lose you, too.”
I shook my head, unable to form words as the growing darkness swallowed us. I’d hold on to him. I’d hold on forever.
Prompt: “Just call the police. No one has time for your Nancy Drew shenanigans.”
It was only day one of an entire month with my Uncle Joe, Aunt Tami. Hell, I hadn’t even seen my cousins, Joey and Tiffany yet, and I already wanted to scream. I understood that my mom wanted me to have the same kind of close relationship she’d had with her cousins growing up. In theory, it was a great idea. However, reality left much to be desired.
Maybe her aunts and uncles had made better choices than my mom’s only brother had. Even seeing my Aunt Tami for the occasional family dinner made me want to grind my teeth, but an entire month? I hoped my mom was prepared for the dental bills. Or to pay bail money when Aunt Tami had me arrested for throat punching her obnoxious children. I wondered if I’d still be allowed to start tenth grade if I had a record.
We pulled into the drive of their summer home. It was nice enough. And big enough that I had my own room when I was here. And I did like being on the lake. Though, I’d like it better if I didn’t have to constantly babysit Tiffany. She was awfully whiny for an 11-year-old.
We got out of the car and I followed Tami and Tiffany into the house, stopping short when my aunt gasped. It was trashed. There was broken glass and red plastic cups everywhere. Not to mention puke and the occasional candy wrapper and passed out teenager. In fact, Joey was lying on the couch, clutching a mostly empty bottle of booze.
“We’ve been robbed!”
I looked at Aunt Tami, and my mouth hung open for a second or two. “I don’t think so.”
“There’s broken glass everywhere and the whole place has been ransacked!”
I glanced around the room. “There’s empty bottles and puke everywhere. It looks like Joey had a party.”
She glared at me. “He would never!”
Shrugging, I said, “The red plastic cups and and the fact that he’s sleeping with a bottle of whiskey would suggest otherwise.”
“If he’s drunk, it’s because the robbers made him drink it.”
“Just call the police. No one has time for your Nancy Drew shenanigans.”
I pulled out my phone and stifled a smile. No cop in their right mind would believe the house had been robbed and Joey was a victim. This month of forced family togetherness just got a lot more interesting.
How do I procrastinate…let me count the ways.
10.) Clean. If I need to do something I really don’t want to do, cleaning is a great procrastination technique. Granted, I’m just exchanging one hated thing for another, but that’s usually when my house ends up being the cleanest.
9.) Surfing stock art sites. I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I actually spend looking for future character models for cover art.
8.) Menu planning. It’s a necessary evil because it makes our life run smoother, but it takes forever to do (because I loathe cooking and shopping) but sometimes I use it as an avoidance technique.
7.) Twitter surfing. I use Twitter like a normal person, and then sometimes I fall into the hole of no return–especially during heavy news days. But then, aren’t they all heavy news days lately?
6.) Tumblr. Dear god…I love Tumblr, but I know that whenever I get on, I’m not getting off anytime soon.
5.) Facebook. Pinterest. Instagram. Please see above.
4.) Reading. I love stories. All kinds of stories and diving into a particularly good book is a fab way to avoid doing other stuff. I like to call it market research.
3.) Words with Friends. Despite my children actively lobbying for me to join them in the land of video games, I’ve resisted…except for Words with Friends, though, they’ve informed me this doesn’t count as a video game. But I still probably spend too much time playing it.
2.) Netflix. Though, to be fair, I usually only watch it while I’m doing something else–usually something crafty because I’m incapable of just sitting and watching something. Like it’s a biological impossibility. I just can’t do it. I’m annoying as fuck to go to the movies with, because I’m a foot jiggler. I jiggle my foot because apparently movie theaters frown on people using their phone for a flashlight to check their stitches while watching movies. Whatever.
1.) All the crafting ever. Sewing, knitting, cross stitching, pottery–I love being crafty, and if there’s something I’m looking to avoid, getting my craft on is the way to do it. I’m not actively trying to avoid anything at the moment, but I am making a wedding dress and a flower girl dress. For a July 1st wedding. Because I’m stupid.
You know…sometimes it’s hard to know whether it’s procrastination or just poor time management skills…
Tansy’s cell phone vibrated, and she pulled it out of her pocket. After reading the text, adjusted the countdown clock.
This was it.
It was really happening.
They were going to do it.
Nervous excitement built in her stomach making her feeling vaguely nauseated as she laid out her supplies in the middle of her living room floor. Salt, crystals, candles, herbs, and her athame.
She glanced at at the countdown clock again. In three minutes and thirty-three seconds, they’d attempt something that had never been tried. Witches from every country–covens, solitary practitioners, would join together with a single purpose–saving the world.
When her alarm chimed, she took a deep breath and moved to the center of the room and lit the candles. Gripping the hilt of her blade tightly, she cast the circle, calling to the four quarters and raising the energy she’d need to complete the spell. As soon as she felt the power surging through her, she closed her eyes and focused on the subject of her spell, visualizing him clearly while reciting the words she’d spent the last three days memorizing.
As she held an image of him in her mind, the power swelled as it spread and joined with that of every other witch in the world. The magical current raced along her limbs, leaping from nerve ending to nerve ending, raising hair and goosebumps over her entire body as her heartbeat fell into rhythm and joining her consciousness with the rest of the spellcasters. And still the energy gathered and grew. When it was too vast to be contained, they all released it at once—sending it hurtling toward their target.
Tansy collapsed, breathless to the floor, pressing her palms to the old wooden floorboards as the lingering remnants of magic dissipated. After she’d caught her breath, she closed the circle and extinguished the candles. Before she’d even gotten her supplies put away, her best friend, Diana, had begun texting.
OMG – that was amazing. Did you feel it? Are you as pumped as I am right now?
Yawning, Tansy responded: I’m exhausted. I can barely keep my eyes open. When do you think we’ll know if it worked?
Diana texted back almost immediately. No clue, but you sleep. I’ll call you if there’s any kind of movement.
Tansy thanked her and curled up on the couch. When she opened her eyes a few hours later, pinky-gray lighted filtered through the window and her phone was vibrating and and ringing loudly, Diana’s name flashing on the screen.
“We did it! Turn on the news! Hurry!”
Tansy rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “What channel?”
“It doesn’t matter!” her friend crowed. “It’s on all of them!”
Fumbling for the remote, Tansy turned on the TV and squinted at the news anchor. “In a historically unprecedented move, the United States has thrown itself on the mercy of Canada, granting Prime Minister Trudeau governing responsibilities until the results of the 2020 election are in.”
The camera cut to a smiling Justin Trudeau. “Okay, healthcare’s been sorted. Now, let’s see what we can do about that climate agreement.”
Any time a politician betrays the ideals of our nation, (points if you heard that in Daveed Diggs’ voice) the app updates with one of those annoying little red numbers. In order to make the number go away, you have to open the app and hit the eject button. This jettisons the greedy, self-serving, treasonous assholes deep into into space where they’ll get exactly what they deserve.
It’s time for another Musical Musings, and this month, the subject is songs that remind me of my parents, my sibling(s), and my childhood. This should be fun! Also, I’m guessing it’ll be long. Because music. And family. You’ve been warned.
We’ll start with my dad. When my parents split, there were the weekend visits with my dad, and that meant car rides with the radio tuned to one of three things. Lions football, Tigers baseball, or country music. He’s a big country music fan–but you know, only “real country–not this new horse shit they have nowadays”. (Random thought alert: having spent many of my formative years surrounded by cow shit, I always wondered why he seemed to consider horse shit so much worse. I’m gonna have to ask him one of these days.)
And while there are a ton of songs that remind me of him the biggest are probably The Gambler by Kenny Rogers and Ring of Fire and I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash. They always make me smile. Oh! And Delta Dawn – the Tanya Tucker version. I bet I can still sing that. Not gonna try, though.
There are so many songs that remind me of my mom, I don’t even know where to start, after all, she’s the reigning queen of Wildly Inappropriate Bedtime Songs. For instance, we got a lot of protest songs as lullabies well as other songs you wouldn’t normally sing kids like Brandy or The Eagles’ Take it Easy, Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain, The Beatles’ Lady Madonna and Eleanor Rigby, Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, pretty much all of John Denver, Carole King, and Simon and Garfunkel, but especially Cecelia. My brother, Tim, loooooooooved that song. But the two songs that probably most remind me of my mom are the Peter, Paul, and Mary covers of Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Blowin’ in the Wind and Don Mclean’s American Pie. You know…for those feel good bedtime vibes – lol. But, I think I get my love of sad songs from all of our Wildly Inappropriate Lullabies. And you know what? I’m good with that.
I have four siblings, so buckle up.
My brother, Tim, is closest to me in age, and when we were younger, we fought. A lot. But when we got along, we had some music in common. Like, I bet if pressed, we could both still sing the entire libretto of Jesus Christ Superstar. (Random side note: Probably the best birthday present I ever got [even better than the signed Brian Froud print] was when Tim surprised me with tickets to a really great touring production of JCS in the early 90s.) But without fail, the song(s) that always make me think of Tim, without fail, is the entire Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction album.
When it first came out, I loathed it–probably just to be contrary because he loved it so much. Fast forward to me moving 500 miles away, shortly after getting married. My husband was finishing up his final year of college, and one night, we were at the bar where he was on a pool league. Some bastard started playing Mr. Brownstone on the jukebox, and I was suddenly so homesick and missing my brother so much, I went into the bathroom and cried.
I’m gonna wait here a sec while that sinks in.
I sobbed overfucking Mr. Brownstone. In a super dodgy bar bathroom. In the U.P.
After that, I may have gotten my own copy of Appetite for Destruction. I am nothing if not nostalgic. You guys oughta know that by now.
I’m happy to report that Tim and I still have some music in common–like Hamilton. We went to go see it in Chicago with our kids (and our sister) a couple months ago. And in theory, we’re going to see Les Miz this year, too!
Next up is my brother, Martin. Now, Tim and I are a bit older than our younger siblings, so sometimes, when our mom was teaching night classes, we’d be on deck for singing Wildly Inappropriate Lullabies at bedtime.
I’ve got several songs that remind me of Martin. Puff the Magic Dragon is a big one. One night when mom was singing it to him, he started wailing. Sobbing like he’d lost his best friend. He realized at that point that Puff is a fucking depressing song. He started sobbing for my mom to fix it. So she had to make up a new, happier verse to finish the song with. Poor Cait was in high school before she realized that no one outside our family knew there was fourth verse. My kids think there’s a fourth verse, too.
All the Mumford and Sons songs remind me of Martin because he’s the one who introduced me to them. (Yay, Martin!) But the song that always makes me smile and think of him is Turn Down for What. The year that song came out, he was constantly in my face shouting, “Turn Down for What!” He’d begin or end phone calls that way. It was constant. And annoying. But like most things, Martin, it made me laugh.
Fast forward to that summer, he and he’s awesome fiancée were getting married and asked me to officiate the ceremony. So, I got my internet minister’s license (like you do when your brother asks you for a favor) and helped plan the wedding. His wife didn’t know what music to pick for the recessional, so I said, “We could always do, Turn Down for What.” Because she’s awesome, she thought it was hysterical, she also wanted to keep it a secret from Martin. So we surprised him with it at the end of the ceremony. The look on his face was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. He recovered nicely, though, and danced his way back up the aisle.
Then, there’s Andrew. When he was little, he looked and acted so much like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes that I bought him a stuffed tiger. He had asthma and had to have nightly nebulizer treatments–so many, that he burned out a nebulizer. And like all junk in our house, it ended up in the garage where he cracked the casing off it and attached jumper cables to it and a car engine and jump started it. He was that kid.
I have a couple songs that remind me of him. One is John Denver’s Country Roads. He loved that song and wanted mom to sing it to him every night. Or me. Or Tim. When he got married a few years ago, he surprised my mom by having the DJ play it for their mother-son dance. It was the greatest thing ever–even though I suspect most of the guests were confused. Especially, when the rest of us got up and sang along. Then, he also had the DJ play Carole King’s Tapestry so we could dance to it. If I was putting him to bed, he always asked me to sing that to him. And yes, I cried my eyes out when he wanted to dance with me to that song. Incidentally, I now sing it for his daughter when I babysit her.
That brings us to Cait (of Texts from Cait fame). Trying to narrow Cait down to a song or two is going to be next to impossible, but I’ll give it a go. Meatloaf’s Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad will always remind me of Cait. And Tim. Because when it was his turn to put the kids to bed, he’d rock Cait to sleep, and I’d hear him singing Two Out of Three to her. And it was honestly the cutest thing ever. And it was just as damn cute when he sang it to his own kids.
But there are so many songs that remind me of Cait, like Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid, because she thought the line bright young women, sick of swimming was pregnant women, sick of swimming for years. And sometimes we still sing it that way. And nobody karaokes Janis Joplin like my baby sister. Cait’s Piece of My Heart is amazing. Then, there’s the entirety of Fleetwood Mac musical catalogue. Not to mention all the 60s girl groups. And literally everything Cher ever sang. Also, Cait does a brilliant Cher impression. Jess Jarman was treated to this phenomenon once upon a road trip. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention her love of Bowie. But I think I have to go with ABBA’s Dancing Queen for Cait. She adores all the ABBA, but Dancing Queen is her go-to song forever. It cheers her up when she’s in a bad mood. It makes her even happier when she’s in a good mood. And whenever I hear it, I think of Cait.
Okay, the last topic is childhood–which is tough since, with the exception of Part of Your World, all of the songs here remind me of my childhood. But…if I had to pick just one, it would be Sonny and Cher’s Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. I know – wildly inappropriate on so many levels, but when I was little, it was my very favorite song ever. And also, I wanted to be Cher. Never was a little pudgy blonde girl so disappointed.
I realize this was probably far more than you bargained for when you started reading, so…sorry? But anyway, if you’re still with me, what songs remind you of your fam and childhood? Share!
I stood in the middle of the living room and stared at her. She was playing with the dog. It was always the fucking dog. I didn’t have anything against dogs–even small, yappy ones like that–but the dog had become her way of brushing me off. Any time I brought up something she didn’t want to discuss–or even hear–she’d start playing with the terrier. Like now.
“Does Bella want a treat? Does she? Does mommy’s baby want a treat?”
Predictably, Bella began dancing and yapping at Shellie’s feet, drowning out everything else in the room, and our conversation would be conveniently forgotten. I turned and went into the bedroom. I knew when I’d been dismissed.
I used to think we’d get back to our discussions–that she’d get a handle on her distractibility. Instead, Shellie would navigate around whatever we’d been talking about in the first place, avoiding it like it was quicksand. Then, she’d just act like nothing had ever happened and expect me to play along. I eventually realized that this wasn’t markedly different than the rest of our relationship. Bella had just made it easier for Shellie avoid stuff she didn’t want to deal with and made it more obvious to me. I supposed that little mutt had done me a favor.
I unzipped my backpack and started packing. It wasn’t like I had a lot there. One drawer in the dresser and half a shelf in the medicine cabinet. Unplugging my laptop and phone I shoved them in my computer case and grabbed both bags.
Shellie looked up at me as stepped into the living room, and her brow furrowed. “Where are you going?”
“I thought we were going to watch a movie.”
I grabbed the bag of dog treats off the end table and shook it. Bella danced around my feet, putting her little paws on my thighs. “Does Bella want a treat? Does she?”
“Karen? What are you doing?”
“I’m giving Bella a treat,” I said, keeping my gaze fixed on the dog. “Aren’t I, girl. Yes, I am. I’m giving the puppy a treat.”
I gave her two. I figured owed her for being instrumental in figuring shit out. Tossing the bag back on the table, I pulled open the front door.
“When are you coming back?”
The dog darted for the open door, but I gently nudged her back. “Who’s a good girl? That’s right, Bella is,” I crooned to her in that same annoying voice Shellie insisted on using.
From the corner of my eye, I could see that she’d stood. “Karen?
“Bye, Bella.” I shut the door and walked down the front steps.
I could breathe again.
Heads up, guys. This promptly penned is probably going to to be super short. I’m heartsick (and terrified) at the latest (continued?) political shitstorm facing this country. But I’m going to give this a go anyway.
Prompt: Magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For example, there are 20 spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff.
I stood in the richly appointed penthouse office, my feet sinking into carpet so plush, I wasn’t sure it wasn’t the entrails of enemies or something, and forced myself to maintain eye contact with this guy.
He laced his fingers together beneath his chin and stared up at me–charming smile firmly in place. “I’m surprised to see you. Our business has been satisfactorily concluded.”
“Maybe for you. I want it back,” I choked out.
He leaned back in his chair. “You know the rules: no refunds or exchanges. All sales are final.”
“You misrepresented the product.”
He smiled. “That’s called advertising.”
“There’s a difference between advertising and lying.”
I sighed. Magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. “There are twenty spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff.”
“So, stay away from cliffs.”
“Funny.” I glared at him. “That was just an example.”
“Look, you sold your soul. You got the ability to do magic. I don’t know what else you’re expecting.”
“I expected to be able to fix the government. I thought I could make all this,” I gestured toward the morning’s newspapers spread across his desk, “go away. I thought I could make things better for people.”
He was laughing before I’d even finished speaking. Asshole. “There’s not enough magic in the world for that.” He made a shooing motion with his hand. “Off you go. Why don’t you go make yourself a spot of tea.”
He burst into another fit of laughter as I stalked from the room, stepping aside as his assistant headed toward him carrying a cup of coffee. I muttered a spell under my breath as she passed. I may not have been able to save the world from certain destruction, but I’d managed to manipulate a couple of the tea spells to include coffee. I hoped he had a padded toilet seat. He was going to be there for a while.
Welcome to another episode of Therapy with Bron. But hey, I figure if I struggle with this shit, some of you might, too.
I try really hard not to live my life consumed by regret. There are too many other things I’d rather be consumed by–laughter, love, a good story, kitty and kid cuddles, nature, music, etc. But even though I try not to dwell, I do have some regrets about things that I wish I’d learned earlier in life.
1.) How to say no. 🎼🎶🎵 Lord, show me how to say no to this. I don’t know how to say no to this.🎶🎵 (What? You thought I’d pass up opportunity for a Hamilton reference? Foolish mortal.) This is one of those things I’ve never been terribly good at. I’m not saying that I go along with everything that’s ever suggested to me, but I’m often overly concerned that me saying no to someone will hurt their feelings. In the past, I’ve found myself agreeing to projects or taking on obligations that I didn’t really want to do. Weirdly, these boundary issues have never really extended into my relationships with my husband or my kids or my daycare kids. I don’t even know what that says about me.
2.) Asking for what I need doesn’t make me selfish or weak. I’m not sure why this is such a damn struggle. I mean, it’s really common sense, right? If you need help or you need a hug or whatever, just ask. I think that societally we’re all under the misconception that need = selfishness/weakness – both of which are heavily frowned upon by western society. While I’m clearly not a professional psychologist or a sociologist, it seems like most women skew toward selfishness (particularly older generations) though, with younger generations, I feel like they’re pretty equal. And the majority of men seem to lean toward weakness. Of course, neither of these things are true and most of us are more than willing to cut others slack we won’t cut ourselves, and that’s not healthy.
3.) Self-care is necessary and doesn’t make you selfish (there’s that word again) or lazy. Self-care is any activity that you choose that helps you relax in order to maintain your emotional and physical health and helps you feel able to continue to function. Currently, Parks and Rec and all manner of crafting are self-care go-tos. I think I must have internalized a lot of weird opinions about selfishness and laziness, and TBH, I’m not even sure where they came from. Catholic school seems the most likely place, because it wasn’t from my mom who was my primary parent/caregiver. I mean, she’d encourage “mental health” days from school when we needed them, and trust me, very few school age kids in the 80s had any kind of grasp of mental health.
4.) Being proud of yourself isn’t bragging. I think a lot of us, women especially, have a lot of anxiety tied up with any kind of pride in themselves and their work. For whatever reason, it seems more acceptable to verbalize pride in your children as long as you’re not that person and that’s all you ever talk about or the person who takes ownership of their children’s accomplishments as though they’re responsible.
But back to being proud of yourself for a sec. For a lot of women, (focusing on women here, because there’s a definite gender difference with this issue) there’s a special kind of anxiety that comes along feeling any kind of pride in yourself or your work. And actually verbalizing that pride? Hahahahahahahahaha. No. Even if we’ve worked our asses off, and are genuinely pleased with something we’ve done, we won’t say anything positive about it. We might even speak negatively about it or say nothing at all.
5.) Saying thank you when someone compliments you doesn’t mean you’re bragging. I know I’ve mentioned this phenomenon on the blog before, but dude…still a struggle. And I know I’m not alone. When someone compliments us or our work more likely to say, “Thank you, but…” That “but” is always followed by a variation of the following: “I got lucky.” Or, “I had a lot of help.” Or, “People are just being nice.” Or, “They like me.” Or “They just felt bad for me.” These are things I hear my colleagues say on the regular. These are things I’ve said on the regular. Granted, I’m much more cognizant of this issue now, and I try really hard to just say “thank you, I really appreciate that” without trying to downplay it. But it’s soooooooooo hard.
I know there are people out there who put this behavior down to false modesty or fishing for more compliments, but this is an anxiety-inducing issue for a lot of people.
6.) Imposter Syndrome is a thing that exists. A few years ago, I learned about this little thing called Imposter Syndrome. It, again, predominantly affects more women than men, but men definitely experience it, too–particularly men in academia. The simplified description is basically that you feel like you’re a fraud, you have no business being in your field, and certainly no business calling yourself an expert, and someday, everyone will find out that you have no clue what you’re doing and you faked your way through your entire career. This constant feeling that the other shoe is going to drop is most common when starting a new project, nearing completion on a project, and/or achieving any kind of success with a project. And the more successes you have, the worse this feeling gets. The end result is usually metric fuck-ton of anxiety and it makes sufferers hesitant to call any kind of attention to their work. It’s fucking bullshit.
7.) That one Maya Angelou quote is 3012% accurate. The quote I’m talking about is: “When people show you who they are, believe them.” I have a tendency to take people at their word. I’m rarely suspicious of anyone’s motives, and if they say something that sounds reasonable, I believe them. Some might (and probably have) called me naïve or gullible. You know what? I’m not even going to argue that. I could have saved myself years of heartache, grief, anxiety, and second-guessing myself if I’d a.) come across this quote sooner and b.) paid attention to it. I think we’ve all had people in our lives who purportedly had our best interests at heart, cared for us, and only wanted to help or see us succeed. Yet, so often, their actions were at odds with what they said. And if questioned, they’d always have a reasonable explanation for whatever troublesome thing they did. If you’re particularly naïve or gullible, that bullshit can turn into some next level gaslighting.
8.) Listen to your gut. No, I mean it. Really listen. If something or someone feels off, even the tiniest bit, pay attention to that feeling. I’m not suggesting that every twinge you get about a person means they’re an axe murderer. But you know how you sometimes meet people and they seem super great, (and some of them totally are, btw–those usually aren’t the ones you get twinges about) but you get this weird little feeling in the back of your mind or the pit of your stomach? Or even if everyone else really likes a person, but some indefinable thing about them rubs you the wrong way? Listen to those things. I’m not saying you need to run away and shun them, but maybe that’s a cue to slow down and observe this person a bit more before including them in your inner circle. Those little twinges are rarely wrong.