For new readers, please excuse this preamble to the post. I needed to get some info out to a few of my favorite readers. It will be deleted in a few days. Thank you for your patience.
::: ::: ::: :::
I have waited, patiently and quietly, for years to be able to put up this post edit. And I don’t post it out of anger, mostly just because it is time.
For many years, the guy I was deeply attracted to during the Sex Surge (I call him 40s Guy) has bothered me on social media. If his wife could see his phone she would see that a lot of his search history is taken up by Facebook, Pinterest, and my name. He spends a lot of time bothering me on a regular basis. I have gotten ads for things I know he likes on the platforms I use. I only recently figured out that I could block these ads- which I have done. But the algorithm still uses his data to keep us connected because he still comes around.
I actually want to talk about 40s Guy’s wife first. I used to get a lot of ads on Facebook about cheating, saving a marriage after cheating, doing couples work when one person won’t go to therapy, etc. I thought they were related to my work as a coach. At one point, it became clear to me that I needed to block 40s Guy’s wife (let’s call her 4GW) on Facebook. So I did. And as soon as I did all of those ads disappeared. It was about 30% of my feed (which is a lot). 4GW is also working on her MLM business, a high-end skincare company- and ads for those things disappeared as well, once I blocked her. Ads for ‘building your business’ also disappeared when she was blocked. I am quite sure she does not know that her data- viewing habits, texts, etc- are following her around. Once I blocked her, I had about 3 weeks of peace. But, suddenly, there were the ads again. She had created a second account to come spy on me. (How do I know? Because I started getting ads on my calculator app for “Creating a New Facebook ID”. Your data goes everywhere.) I know when she has been lurking around because those ads appear. In Pinterest her ads are for a symptom of a condition she has. I’m not going to name it, but that’s how I know she’s been there, too.
The same has happened with 40s Guy, too, even though I have blocked the direct ads that are related to him (I can’t block him directly because he isn’t on social media). For instance, I have gotten ads inside articles that ask me to call a specific dealership when I want to get the oil changed in my car- except it’s the type of car he drives. Conclusion? He’s recently scheduled an oil change and his various apps and data sharing are picking up on that and trying to connect us.
When it was near his wife’s birthday I got ads for a specific store which carries items she likes. How do I know what items she likes? Well, for some reason, this website gets bogus ‘comments’ with junk data inside them. Only, it’s not junk. It actually has useful terms and items 40s Guy and his wife have been looking at. You can see an example below for ‘Rolex’ (he likes fine watches; or, rather, the look of fine watches- he actually buys replicas*) and ‘Cartier’ (her brand).
This is for the term ‘replica.’ I have not included all the terms I know for either 40s Guy or his wife because it would give away more detailed information. There are hundreds of these notes, even if the numbers here are small.
As well, 40s Guy had an affair a while back. With a woman who works at a golf club. I had no real confirmation of that until May of this year when I got this ad on my Facebook page.
It seems that if you are texting with someone else- about, say, golf and sex- and then come visit my Facebook page, and that text happens to be something you can buy or read (a sentence in an article, for instance)- it will show up on my feed as such. It’s no different than when you talk about toasters and get ads for them the next day. It just happens to be that someone wrote an erotica book about sex and golf and the algorithm was able to make the connection with those texts between 40s Guy and his mistress.
This summer, there was an ad in an ad for a golf club in a completely different part of his state- away from the mistress and away from his home area. Only, it wasn’t actually a golf club, it was a housing development attached to a golf club. And it made me immediately wonder, “Who’s playing house there? Were they gonna fuck in the car or in a model home?” It’s an old, old play from the cheaters guidebook.
I mention this all because on December 9th, 40s Guy’s wife was all over my Facebook feed. (In fact, she has been lurking around for the last couple of weeks.) And not only were the usual articles there, but there was also an article about consensual non-monogamy (she’s thinking about it) and a lot of stuff about cheating. And the name of the city where the mistress works. I do believe 40s Guy was hittin’ it again and got caught. Again. (Well, he didn’t get caught last time. He fessed up to it. But only after I emailed him and said I saw what was going on because he and the mistress visited my website so often.)
What was 40s Guy doing that night? It looks like he was at a hotel, bugging me again (he found one new way in, which I blocked). His wife had spent all day agonizing over what to do about their marriage. But he was at the hotel, fucking around. Probably literally.
Of course, this happens with everyone. Even 20s Guy, who still hangs around, gets his data pulled. He had a really rough Fall and finally found his way back to dating recently. He got on a new app and last Friday had a date. By the end of the night he had texted or said that he was scared to start dating again. I think his vulnerability got him a second date and by Sunday one of them was saying that they were falling in love. He thinks he’s being stealth by not being obvious about being there, but…he is still there because his data (some of which has been the same the entire time we’ve known each other) is there. Same ads, same articles.
[[Aside: One thing I do not get about 20-somethings is how they call infatuation ‘falling in love.’ Like, did we not learn anything from Justin Bieber and his multiple fiancées or Ariana + Pete or just anybody who gets engaged after a month together and is broken up at month 3? I get that infatuation is wonderful. When I was in junior high we used to call it being ‘sprung’ on someone. Like a spring that has been uncoiled. You feel amazing- so full of energy and joy. There is literally a spring in your step. You think about the other person all day long. You want to talk to them and hang out and you think everything they do and say is perfect. You plan your whole day around being near them. There is a reason there was the meme (before memes) of girls with crushes writing “Mrs. HisLastName” on their notebook paper over and over in this phase. You start daydreaming and wondering, “Could this person be The One?” It’s a wonderful, fun, jubilant time. But it’s not love. Do 20-somethings not know that love takes longer? That you need to be together for at least six weeks, if not more like 4 months, before ‘love’ takes hold? I mean, it’s not like the research and the definitions aren’t out there. We know how these things progress. And you have to go through infatuation a handful of times before you actually learn what your cycle is like and how you fall in love. I don’t know. I don’t get it. Infatuation is great, but it ain’t love.]]
And while he’s a good guy (he researches how to be a better person in relationships, which is lovely) and this is all very cute to watch, I don’t want to know about it. Like, I don’t want to know about any of this stuff. (In the case of 20s guy, he has to learn to make sure his actions and his words match up. I’ve asked him to go away before, and I’ve threatened to come see him if he doesn’t. Now I’m ready to act on that, so if he ever shows up again on FB, we’re going to have a face-to-face chat because I’m tired of boundaries being crossed especially after we’ve both been clear and I’ve wished him well.)
There are two things about all this data harvesting, though.
First, I don’t want to know these things. Like, I really do not want to be a part of their lives, to any depth. There is no part of their lives that I want to know about. 40s Guy is not a nice person, at all, and he’s cruel to his wife and I just don’t want to see or know any part of their life. It is completely sad and uninteresting to me.
Second, the only way this stops is if they stop coming to visit me on social media. It doesn’t matter if they delete their cookies or history- their smart phones and associated apps are going to pull from emails, texts, tweets, etc. and still show me what’s going on in their life. It’s how the apps work (and you have to agree to let it work this way or you don’t get access to the app). There is also no telling what it will pull. But if I know you, or anything about you, I can figure out what’s going on. And knowledge is power. The only way out is to let go and leave me alone.
If they don’t let go, that’s actually fine. I will keep gathering data and share it when it becomes useful to me. 40s Guy is proably gonna go ape-shit on social media just to let me know how very angry he is (but, really dude? You’re a grown up. You know this is happening. You crossed a line you didn’t have to- that’s your fault). Thankfully, that’s what blocking is for.
*One of the things about 40s Guy and his wife is that they both like replicas of expensive things. They like fake things that appear real. And I think nothing could be more true about their relationship. From the outside they are beautiful people with a lot of money and fancy vacations and two kids and full lives. But neither of them is happy. And I’m not sure if they’ve figured out that checking the boxes and being rich and looking pretty are not getting them what they want. Because it’s not the truth they’ve created. They’ve created a replica of something expensive. But it’s not a thing of real value. I have often wondered if they don’t know themselves very well or if they can’t tell the truth about themselves to the other person. (So he ends up ‘telling the truth’ by having an affair and she ends up crying her truth to herself when he’s gone.) It’s probably both. But how sad is it that they can’t tell the truth about themselves or to the other person? The person that is supposed to be the most important to them? Does money or status or nice cars or a swank zip code even matter if you don’t have a good relationship with your partner? It obviously doesn’t- even to them- but they can’t see it. I wonder what would happen if they tried to tell the truth about themselves to themselves and to each other. It would probably be messy and faulted and hard, but wouldn’t it be worth it? Maybe not. For many people I know the pain simply isn’t worth it. I know I am strange in that relationships are the most important thing for me, and keeping them healthy and happy is of utmost importance to me. But I wonder if he could say, “I am tired of being domesticated, I need some wildness,” and if she could say, “I am afraid of myself and my desire for deep connection,” if they couldn’t find common ground again. Because I think they have similar values, it’s just that they’ve gotten lost in the push for attainment. I don’t know…I wish them well. And I wish they would leave me in peace.
Ya’ll. I am so happy right now. Like, wow. Wildly happy.
Because I got the download yesterday.
You know the download? When you’ve been stewing on something and suddenly it all becomes clear?
I have gotten downloads (they might also simply be called ‘clarity’ or ‘solutions’) for many things in my life. I used to run women’s self-care retreats and would regularly get downloads for what content my fellow facilitator and I should put in them, how it should run from one activity to the next, etc. I have also gotten them for classes I’ve taught or a series of blog posts. And a variety of other things (including just what to do to turn particular people on- there’s no limit to what one can find clarity for).
I think this kind of clarity comes when we’ve been stewing on something for a while. For me, it often develops this way. I start thinking about something- gathering ideas, brainstorming, looking at details, imagining different ways the pieces could go together. And then- bam- it all falls into place one day while I’m in the shower (usually) or driving somewhere or drinking a cup of tea or laughing with a friend. I think it’s the ‘stewing’ part that helps it all come together in a way that makes sense.
I have also had clarity when I’ve been so frustrated with something and I’ve finally sat down and either bitched about the whole thing to a friend or wrote out absolutely everything about what’s going on and what’s in my mind and heart. And – bam – there it is. The download. Suddenly everything makes sense and I see why it all had to happen and how the pieces click into place to form the whole picture. [Pro tip: you can use both these tools for yourself and probably get the same results.]
That’s what happened yesterday.
I was feeling so frustrated about several things- personal, professional, relational, etc. I finally sat my ass down in a chair and just writing-barfed all over the page. I let out everything- every detail, every idea, every connection, every desire, every frustration. And when I was done, I asked, “What do I need to see here?” I got very quiet and very centered and noticed.
I noticed patterns.
I noticed places I’ve let go of my own power.
I noticed what needed to be fixed and how to do it.
I noticed who I am and how I have not been honoring that.
I found my lessons for the year.
Learn your lessons and the sky’s the limit.
Typically, Fall is the time of year that I have insight into something about my life that needs to be looked at a little more closely. Often, that ‘thing’ also needs to be dealt with- felt, healed, put boundaries in place or change my behavior. This last year I’ve learned a lot of skills and new things about myself, but I haven’t been as focused on what I need to learn as in past years. I haven’t taken any classes this year, I’ve read only for pleasure, and that’s very different than in years past, so it didn’t feel like there was much in the way of lessons for me this year.
Except Life always has the last say, doesn’t she?
So, there I was, yesterday: sitting down and full of frustration and five other emotions. And I just decided to write everything out. Once I did, some things became incredibly clear. And I know they are my lessons for this year because once I saw them and understood their roots inside me and their impact in my life, I felt calm, clear, clean, and more alive.
What are my lessons?
To Just Tell the Fucking Truth. There are a couple of places where, if I had just been straight out about something, it probably would have gone a lot easier and better. Usually, I only tell one or two bits of truth at a time to see if people can handle it, or to see which direction they will take it. It’s easier for me to disengage if I’m not as invested (because I’ve not been vulnerable and not told the whole truth); it doesn’t hurt as much. I like to think my heart is always open, but maybe it’s not. And maybe I didn’t tell the whole truth because I was afraid of being hurt- and that fear turned things into a bit of a mess. If I’d just said, “Here’s the truth…” it would have all turned out much better (even if it hurt). I’m telling the fucking truth in 2019. Be ready.
Get On My Level or Leave. I give people a fuck ton of chances. And I realized I do this because it is rare for me to want to invest in people. Most people don’t get me. Most people don’t understand me or don’t want to. Most people are dumber and less strong than I am. And I don’t mind helping those people or hanging with them (to a certain extent), but when I find people I connect with and want to invest in, it’s rare. So I give them a lot of chances to hang with me. But that is just not working anymore.
I know that it’s hard to make decisions for some people. And I know some people need to feel 100% about something before they can jump, sometimes (although, that can also be an excuse based in fear). But I know I’m funny, smart, sexy, practical, creative, sensual, kind, supportive, weird, nerdy, beautiful, communicative, healing, etc. and if you can’t or don’t want to hang with that, I am finally good with it. There are people out there who see me and what I have to offer and have jumped at the chance to hang with me. Those are my people. They get me and they get how good it is to be connected to me. And I don’t have to ask them twice. In 2019 I am sticking with these people and not giving so many chances.
I Am Not Afraid. But Other People Are. I’m not as afraid to take chances anymore. I may think about it a lot. I may totally fuck things up in the process. But I do stuff and I think that scares a lot of people. Most people are afraid to change their lives, but I’m a change junkie. Most people are afraid of the pain of healing, but I know that pain results in pleasure. Most people won’t take risks of the heart or mind or spirit, but I will. And, again, I may totally fuck it up in the process, but at least I did it. At least I tried. And I know that scares the shit out of most people. I understand. It’s okay. It’s not a fault- safety is also pretty damn nice sometimes (there are skillful uses for everything). But when I’m ready to jump, I do it. And that is not for everyone. In 2019 if you don’t want to run with me, I’m not going to hope that you try.
I’m Passionate. This Also Scares People. I’m ready to go, ready to walk the line, ready to party: once I’ve decided I’m ready, I’m ready. Like, all the way. I’m not afraid to talk about scary things, I’m not afraid of death (too much), I’m not afraid to make mistakes or go after what I want. And I think that really, truly scares people. Maybe it’s hard to keep up with. Maybe they need their own space and time so my pace and passion are hard for them to take. Either way, I’m not waiting anymore. If you want to run with me, you’re going to have to actually run. Lace up your shoes, grab my hand, and let’s go!
On this particular point I realized something very deeply: I have always done my best, felt my best, had the best time when someone – personal, professional, relational – has said, “Hell, yes, I want to do this with you!” and off we go. The plans might change as we go along, but it doesn’t matter, as soon as someone says “Yes!” then I am off like a rocket. And not everyone can do that or wants to follow.
It’s kind of funny…two of my favorite songs are about this kind of ‘yes.’ Say Yes by Floetry is one of the sexiest songs I’ve ever heard (ooooff). It gets me every time. And it is about this same idea that is now my lesson- that if we just say ‘yes’ it all opens up. I just need someone to grab my hand and I will take them to all the places there are in the universe. Just Say Yes by Snow Patrol is another huge favorite of mine with the same idea: just say yes, it will be fine, it’s easy…just say yes. And that’s really the case with me. When people simply say ‘yes’ to me, I make it the most gorgeous, honest, loved-up ride it can possibly be, whether it’s romantic, professional, friendly, or whatever. It’s just someone agreeing to let my passion flow between us and carry us both.
The lesson here is that I am not going to stop being this way and other people can’t always take that trip with me. And it shouldn’t stop me- it won’t stop me, anymore.
And, Jesus, it makes me giggly happy just to write these things down and feel the truth of them down to my bones, down to my deepest core. Oh, my god. Yes.
It’s the end of Mercury in retrograde today and it’s also a new moon tonight (my favorite phase), which means we (you) should be having more clarity about our lives and our patterns and it’s time to ‘plant’ what we’ve learned under this new moon darkness and let it begin to build into something real in our lives. These lessons are what I know now, and they are what I am going to be making my life from in 2019.
In these last weeks of the year, beloveds, I encourage you to take some time and look at your lessons for the year. Maybe you need to stew on them. Maybe you need a good word-barf session. Maybe you need to put the headphones on and dance like crazy until you sweat out your lessons. Whatever it is, do it. Make the space to find your lessons. Plant them for the new year. Watch you grow.
Under the dark moon, with all my love,
Joanna :: xoxo