When you want to help…

It’s funny how telling the truth can open doors for you.

My sisters and I spent 4 hours yesterday talking to a girl whit a very similar situation to the one we got out of. Same kind of abuse, mostly, same hiding behind the church, same manipulation. Same fear too.

She seemed relieved just to be listened to her. Like us, she’s had people blow her off one too many times.

It’s hard to hear other people’s stories, knowing they are still suffering, but haven’t been able to break free yet. We encouraged her to have a plan, and reach out for help, but we can’t do it for her, not without proof.

I don’t know where it will go, but I do know she seemed a little lighter after unloading all that. Just not suffering alone can be helpful.

It’s funny, between being at home, the life of a victim can be pleasant by turns, just like anyone else’s. What makes abuse a little hard to explain is that you can seem like you do normal things, and the twistedness is always in how it’s just not done the way other people do them.

Like while we talked her parents must have called at least 4 times to ask if she was okay, but she was with us the “Super Christian purists” as her mom thinks, at a cafe two minutes from their house, just talking.

I was like “what do they think you’re doing to do? Drugs?”

But that’s her reality.

At least I didn’t have to deal with that, my dad was paranoid, but didn’t really care about me enough to check in most of the time. Only if I was out past 10pm usually. He did try to discourage me from liking most of my friends, and boys…and anyone who wasn’t in his circle.

Well, comparing stories is useless except to sympathize.

I could see plenty of myself in her experiences, and some things are worse. The physical abuse is worse for her, the emotional abuse was worse for me, but, really, it’s just as damaging either way.

It’s so sick to think how normal this is for so many people, and how often it is even in the church. I don’t blame the church for what these people do, just for not being open about talking about it so that people can seek protection there, like they should be able to do.

My church is better than many, and I can’t speak for every church, of course, just none of the other ones I went to were useful, but since my dad did pick the churches we went to, that may be a symptom more than a cause. He always picked ones where he could get away with it.

Perhaps other people may be wondering what it’s like for us to talk to others with similar experiences, knowing what we know now.

I think the hardest thing is, knowing how much to say. There are somethings I was only ready to hear after months of therapy, recovery, and healing. There are some things I was only willing to accept once I had already decided to trust God.

What I told her is what I think I needed most to hear when I was stuck:

That, I didn’t get explanations and answers until I had already chosen to trust. Understanding does come, faith does come, once you have left that up to God.

I also mentioned that I don’t know why some people get saved from these situations supernaturally, and others don’t. But that God did work in our lives, and I can’t deny that. Why do some people get the fairy tale rescue and others get the action hero type where you’re trained to do it yourself, who knows? Could have something to do with ones calling.

Not everyone who has been abused is called to help other people get out of it, but the girl in question is already one of the healers, I think, and like us, it could be she is supposed to learn how to overcome it so she can help other people.

Let’s be real, for every Christian in this situation, there’s probably 100 non Christians at least, if not more, in a similar or worse situation. Christians may still get abused, but, it can’t be denied it happens to us less often. It would be very strange if it didn’t.

To be able to enter that field and understand the kind of pain and damage those people carry, and knowing how God fixes it, you have to have felt it yourself.

I like to quote Betsie Ten Boom “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will believe us because we have been here.”

We were there.

I am still recovering. New breakthroughs in defeating anxiety are still happening for me every month. New memories that are losing their power. New things I realized about freedom. I am not the same person, but also, I have always been this person.

I tried to give our friend hope. I said “It’s not easy to choose that path, but if you choose it, years from now, at the other end, you will be a new person.”

It’s up to her and we know that. As much as I believe it’s morally wrong to give in and choose hatred and bitterness, I know it can not be forced to forgive and heal. You have to want that.

We told her how we wanted a better life than that, well, I did. And how I fed myself with stories about it so I knew there was something better out there, so I had something to hope for.

I still do that to this tday.

I read Webtoons obsessively sometimes, and sometimes just casually, I know they aren’t very realistic for the most part, some are better at that.

But what it does is constantly put before my eyes a best case scenario, a better version than what I saw growing up.

To the point where my idea of marriage is far more connected to what I believe it should be, than to what I saw. I realize that is actually rare for someone in my position.

I didn’t realize it till recently, talking to other people, and seeing how they hate men, they hate marriage, and they hate relationships, all because of that association with their past.

Like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, I was not informed just by my own family.

Trashy romances (of which many webtoons are not by the way, all due respect to those authors) have few uses in this world, but if you read it with an eye for what is real, even amidst what isn’t, you can begin to dream.

Its also good to read true stories of happy couples, realizing they really do exists, and not listening to bitter people who’ve never made a relationship work tell you that it never happens.

My father spoke very negatively of marriage, though he said my mom was the most wonderful woman in the world, he also referred to her “jokingly” as his slave, made fun of her weight, her singing, and would gross us all out on purpose and tell us stories we said we didn’t want to hear, if we protested, he got upset.

If I went by that, I’d think men were just what the angry feminists say.

But I’ve also read of men who are much, much more considerate, and been treated better by other guys I know, and had some stereotypes called into question even by my cousin.

Heck, men can be more emotionally damaged than women a lot in this country because of our gender stereotypes about them. At least people will believe me if I say it happened.

I don’t hate men. I do detest the kind of men who do thinks I detest, I detest women like that too.

I’m lucky. I was shown the foolishness of doing that much sooner than many women are. But I also wanted to be fair.

I think really, it’s all in what you want to be true.

Someone who really wants it to be true that true love exists, that gentlemen are not extinct, that women are actually compassionate (some of them), that freedom from trauma happens… that person will not give up until they find those things. The odds are, in this life, they will eventually, if you live long enough.

Someone who has already accepted that it’s all a lie will stop looking, and if you don’t seek , you don’t find.

Jesus promised that everyone who asks receives, everyone who seeks finds, and to whoever knocks the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:8)

He didn’t say it happens the first time you ask, he told us to ask again and again until we get it.

He also said he who endures to the end will be saved.

It maybe that some people do not make it out, but I believe, if they seek, if they ask, if they knock, either they are delivered in this life, or in the next. Usually in this life.

Lucky for us God also controls the next life.

I suppose that could sound naive, childish, and even crazy to many people.

Many people are bitter and jaded, and have never understood God to begin with.

To the true believer, the knowledge of God provides something that makes all this suffering worth it. What can we explain about it? It’s like breathing, or like sleeping, it’s not something you really overthink while you’re doing it, you just are.

Of course we have times of questioning if it really is worth it, but it’s my understanding that anything you really love in life, you only really love if you do it when it’s not fun, and believe it’s worth doing even when you’re not getting rewarded for it.

I don’t write for attention, though I do appreciate every view and like that I get, but it’s not why I write.

Just the same, I don’t believe in God and walk with him to get out of pain. I do get out of more pain because of that, I get through pain because of that, but it’s not why I do it.

Getting credit for hard work is the proper reward for the work, but so is just doing the work itself and seeing what you made. In the same way, getting to know God is the proper reward for putting effort into it, and relief form suffering is just the other natural outcome of doing it.

I mean most things have more than one good result. Sex gives pleasure in the moment, but it also creates new life, that takes a little longer doesn’t it? And it’s a lot more work to bring that to fruition than it is to have sex (so I hear) but neither one nor the other is unnatural, or bad. Only one might argue that the long term, harder pleasure of having children is more valuable than the short term pleasure of sex. I’d agree there.

Sometimesknowng God is like sex, exhilaritng, and instantous, and the eoffrt is met with a reward in the moment, you cna’t distuibngis them. (of course there’s going tob e some margin for erro here, just like in real life, not like the movies).

Sometimes knowing God is like having a baby. Plenty of pain, discomfort, and confusion before the final miracle happens, and that miracle tens to just start another series of miracles in the form of child rearing.

Not everyone likes children, not everyone likes sex, for that matter. Ad not everyone likes God. But it doesn’t change how the natural order of things works, and to my mind, whether I am liking it or not, this is the way life works.

If it seems naive, then all I can say is I’ve tried cynicism, and it didn’t do anything for me. Perhaps child-likeness is better in the long run. Cynicism doesn’t make you happy, only self satisfied, and that pleasure just isn’t worth it for what you sacrifice along the way.

all this is osmehting y firend is going to hav eto elarn for herlse,f htough, ad so will anyone else. All I can do is pointe them to wehre this could go, if you are willing. I can’t walk for them.

There are times we have to carry each other, but at some point, all of us will have to stand on our own tow feet and choose what to do with our lives. Love, or Fear; Forgiveness, or Hatred. Complaining or Patience; Depression, or Gratitude.

We can’t make that switch all at once, but in one moment, we can decide what we’re going to aim for. And get as close as we can until the day we die.

And that’s whay I’ve learned about it. I don’t know if oeopel will take my adivce or not, but it’s the trueht. And here, even secular thearpay agrees to a certiane xtent.

Hope this helped, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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Anime Therapy with Momo Yaoyerozu

I had to include the full name because there are so many Momos in animešŸ˜„šŸ˜‚

Well, I revamped my Bakugo post again, if you want to check it out– Anime Therapy with Bakugo.

I am still finding my level with how to write these posts, this one would be harder to do in second person form.

Ah well, just like before, this was partly inspired by CeCe’s Therapy at UA series, though she only has one Momo video.

Gathering Intel

CeCe’s analysis isn’t very extensive, just that Momo is one of the most over-powered characters so she should have more confidence, and that the heroes Momo thinks are stronger than her are “self sacrificial idiots” (which is true, most of the time, except for Todoroki probably).

I will have to expound on it myself, since, actually, I haven’t seen anyone else give the real skinny on what makes Momo an interesting character, especially through the lens of her issues. Though this will be less therapy oriented, and more an analysis of her character that includes her psychology and how it could change, but I don’t know if a therapist would give you this advice, since they are more focused on helping you accept yourself and be the best you you could be, not so much on transformation of who you are, that’s where being a Christian with a message comes in.

And if by chance you are one of the people, or know one, who thinks she’s boring and overrated, allow me the chance to change your mind, let’s go:

Momo has no real personality disorders like most of the boys do. She doesn’t overcompensate, she has no complex, and she isn’t mean or prideful, without being weak. She’s that anime girl we all love, the Classy Queen archetype. The Mom friend. The brainiac with a heart of gold.

So, naturally she’s my favorite, along with Bakugo. But she’s not perfect, and over time I picked out what I believe are her main issues and struggles that never get talked about.

Momo’s lack of confidence is not actually her biggest problem, when it comes to fighting itself. That’s easy to overcome, she just needed to succeed a few times, she’s already pretty well over it. And many might say that concludes her arc. But there’s way more to Momo’s place in the story than just her fighting ability.

Momo has been, from the start, highlighted by the story for her exceptional intelligence, perception, and use of her quirk. She’s the perfect student. A natural leader. She’s essentially, what Bakugo tries to be. To the point where even in season 1, when Bakugo is at his most prideful, he admits he agrees with her assessment of his actions (a little detail most Bakugo haters miss when they say he’s never humble, btw.) Since Bakugo never agrees with anyone, ever, about his actions, that’s noteworthy in of itself. Momo’s analysis is clearly superior if it can’t be argued with.

Yet, Momo often finds herself unsure what to do. It’s like, having all the talent and skill that most heroes dream of at such an early stage makes her even more uncertain how to apply it.

It’s been pointed out that, if she were a villain, the heroes would basically be doomed. Momo couldn’t be beaten if she were evil, she just couldn’t. Not by the students anyway.

And that’s interesting, because misusing her power as a hero is one of Momo’s chief concerns as the show progresses. It’s rather surprising that in the Bakugo rescue arc, it’s Momo who makes up the singular girl on the squad, instead of Uraraka, who’s loyalty to Deku and Iida you might expect to be more of a factor.

Momo’s reason is to keep them in line. She says she doesn’t think they should break the rules and use their quirks, but she “Understands how they feel” and will “Stand by her classmates”. This is an interesting point.

Momo and Iida share a lot of similarities, they are top students who value the rules, and can follow them with ease due to their status and gifting. They both veer more towards order and submitting to authority. You’d expect her to side with Iida on this issue. While she expresses agreement with him, notably her actions indicate more sympathy with the rule breakers. She understands how they feel more than she wants to avoid trouble. When it comes to the point, Momo doesn’t make any move to stop them from taking action.

What intrigues me further is that the MHA movies “Two Heroes” actually revisits this same issue, though I think it’s set before that arc, so you could also say it preludes it. In that movie, there’s a time in an elevator when the students all debate whether they should help or not, and Iida again says they shouldn’t, and Momo begins to agree, but Todoroki ask s “Is it right to just do nothing?” and Momo hesitates and says she’s not sure, “It’s complicated.” (Which, by the way, is one of the ways I ship them, their contrasting views have a lot to teach each other).

In the end, Momo still chooses to help, even to fight once it comes to the point. As, of course, they all do.

I have to love her, but all this wouldn’t have given me insight into her character if I hadn’t had someone else to compare her to, and that person is Bakugo.

At first, they seem nothing alike. But, as I talked about in my Bakugo post, it’s been pointed out by the fandom that he is “crushed by expectations.” That the pressure society puts on him is part of why he is the way he is.

But, look at it more closely. Bakugo is smart, talented, and has a great quirk. His strategy isn’t bad when he actually employs it, and he almost always wins. All that is true of Momo also, though, as girl on a shonen, she doesn’t win as often, but that she beats male characters at all is rather surprising (good for her and Mina, destroying sexism in shonen one small step at a time, right?) It’s not a stretch to say Momo is under the exact same pressures as Bakugo. She is able to please people more– so nartually that it’s too important to her.

The real problem Momo has is not her lack of confidence in her ability, it’s her lack of confidence in herself. She doesn’t believe she knows the right thing to do. She will yield to the judgement of teachers, and other students before she’ll trust her own. It’s brought to light in her episode with Todoroki where she worries that she has not done the “right thing” in the exam, but that could speak for her attitude toward life. Momo is constantly torn between what her heart tells her, and what her head believes because she’s heard it her whole life.

I some ways she stands to be more of a victim of her culture than the boys do. The very fact that she can fit the mold of what makes a perfect hero so well is not a good sign.

To fit any mold completely is to lose any individuality you have to pleasing others. It’s losing your spark that makes you human, not a Barbie Doll of an icon.

It was writing fan fic with Momo in it that made this clear to me. Confronting someone like her with ideas that question the whole foundation of society, you hit a huge wall. Can you picture Momo defying society? Can you picture her doing it, believing it was entirely the right thing to do?

See, not every hero needs to defy society to be considered a hero, but every hero needs to be willing to.

Society is just another word for what the Bible calls “The World” and warns us not to love it, “for the World passes away”. When the Bible warns us not to love the world, it doesn’t mean the world full of people, we’re told God loves the world in John 3:16, The World, in this sense, means all the sins and evils that are brought out by Mass Mentality, or a Mob Mindset, if you will. Peer Pressure, corruption of a whole country, glorifying evil as a whole. That’s the World. The World changes in what it holds up as the alternative to God, but, it never points us back to God. It will never be encouraging true Goodness, because the World doesn’t have any standard of it.

In the words of Switchfoot’s Rise Above It:

“Just because you’re running doesn’t mean that you’re scared, just because it’s law don’t mean that it’s fair. Never let another tell your soul what to fear. Here we go again, give it one more try, don’t believe the system’s on your side. Just another lover turned enemy fight…”

The Hero World, as the name says, is obsessed with Heroes as the alternative to any Divine Direction. Heroes are asked to be more than human. Never to be afraid, never to waver, never to make mistakes. And if they do, instead of it being written off as one person making a mistake, the whole society of heroes is called into question.

Really, it’s just asking for the League of Villains to knock down its scarecrow.

How does Momo fit into this?

Only too well, that’s the issue, as I said. She can be the ideal hero. There’s not one hero in a thousand that’s likely to have all she’s got going for her, on top of her natural talent, she’s kind and has major cash to back up whatever she wants to do. The girl doesn’t even need an agency, she could be her own Agency.

But, Momo is not just some ideal. She’s a kid, with fears and feelings of her own. Which her classmates understand, though it can’t be said many other people do. Aizawa even observes with a tinge of pity that she’s still got the emotional maturity of a 15 year old girl, like that’s somehow a problem. You could call it Pyrrha Nikos syndrome, as Pyrrha was the first character to introduce me to it

But, it’s a bigger problem if Momo becomes unshakable. Someone like her, firmly fixed in the ideals of society, with no filter to measure them though, is dangerous. She becomes a tool of that same society so easily. Much more than Bakugo is ever likely to, she can promote the ideal of perfection in heroes…until she snaps under the weight of it.

Momo’s greatest flaw is her lack of confidence, but curing that simply outwardly by giving her confidence in her hero skills, will actually be more likely to cement the deep issue she has of not following her own morality.

You can’t be a truly good person and spend your whole life doing what others tell you. Read that sentence again.

There’s a quote that’s gone around the feminist circles a lot, but it bears repeating here “Well behaved Women rarely make history.” –Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (You know that originally, it wasn’t “rarely”, it’s “seldom” but that’s another story, sorry, English class is kicking in)

It’s notable that anime preaches conformity, but fills its shows with characters who cannot conform. Whether because they are outcasts, monsters, or idiots. Any reason will do. The one reason you will almost never see is a rational, normal, intelligent person who simply decided the rules were stupid, and chose to rebel. (If you have a counterexample, please comment it below, I’d like to watch it for myself.)

Finally, Momo has one more issue that’s linked to all this, but is more of a microcosm.

Due to her exceptional ability, and her great levels of kindness and compassion, Momo tens to feel it’s her responsibility to fix problems win the class, even between other students.

She’s the Mom character. she wants to take care of everyone. I love her for that. It’s a good thing a lot of the time, goodness knows, it’s hard to care about other people sometimes, having a natural inclination to do that is a gift.

We see it when she encourages Iida in the festival, tells Bakugo and Todoroki to stop fighting in the Jump Fest OVA from season one, and tells the others not to pressure Jiro into playing in public. Momo is always trying to make people feel better.

But it is to the point at times where she feels responsible too much. Sometimes people should be pushed. Kaminari maybe understood better that Jiro really wanted to be valued for her musical talent, and Momo didn’t. Because Momo always wants there to be peace. But, peace is not always an option until issues are resolved.

Momo avoids conflict and confrontation. Because she is a people pleaser herself, and it’s easy for her, she assumes that it’s best for everyone to be that way. To not make waves. She gives way to others, even when it’s not a moral issue, but a matter of preference. She’s almost too giving.

She starts of in the class with this problem not being so developed. She’s willing to criticize and correct. She’s even a little sassy in the USJ incident. But what changes in her is I believe is the result of the trauma of people being hurt so often.

Momo can’t stop it, she can’t be in control and have a plan to keep everyone safe, and she copes with that by worrying even more about them constantly. Momo will treat every small problem like a crisis, even if it’s just someone getting minorly uncomfortable. She will downplay all her own accomplishments because it’s just not enough for her.

Momo might not have had this problem so badly, since she seems to come from a fairly stable background, if not for the UA trauma, but that’s kicked her to be in crisis mode almost all the time. It’s not that difficult to figure out psychologically.

I think it kicked in in the festival, but why did she take losing to Tokayami so hard? Because she felt helpless. When you’ve been in a life or death situation, any failure in training is going to feel like it’s endangering the life of you and people around you.

Even if in the actual crisis she always does something useful, in her mind that’s never good enough, because she couldn’t’ prevent it and handle it all perfectly.

Now that I’ve detailed the reasons behind her problems, what’s the actual therapy?

Believe it or not, this hits home for me too.

I’m not a hero, but I grew up in church, raised to believe there was one right way to behave. I still believe that, but I believe now that you can’t depend on one person to always tell you that. Or one system. There is no man, or man made thing, that will not make you into a villain if you listen to it exclusively. Just as C. S. Lewis pointed, there is nothing in human love that will prevent if from becoming devilish if you let it go unchecked as the Best Love, without moderation.

I don’t personally relate to Momo’s perfectionism. I was tempted to it sometimes as a teenager, but my personality makes it impossible for me to people please, I could never dedicate myself enough to destroying who I am to pull it off, and I’m not easy naturally. But, I do have a sister who’s a lot like Momo in that way. And after listening to her for years, I think I have an idea what it’s like. I also have a mom who’s much more like that.

It won’t be easy for Momo to let go. I think out of all our human failings, letting go of the need to control must be the absolute hardest things for us to do. Even people who embrace a chaotic lifestyle need to feel in content, notice how they usually flip their crap if you suggest any kind of order. To them control is not being controlled.

Other people love order so much it’s like an addiction, those people freak me out, but I imagine I’d freak them out too if they saw my room… yeah…

My sister had to work for a long time on it. She still prefers order more than I do, but she’s become less uptight about some of it. It took a lot of encouragement from us to get her to start loosening up on herself, not hyper scheduling everything, not having a checklist of things to do for every hour of every day.

She wasn’t happy that way, but there was a sort of satisfaction in it, there usually is.

But she’s much happier now, and less anxiety driven.

Another thing she had to do was learn to express if she wasn’t okay. For a long time, she couldn’t even form those words in a coherent way, she was so used to shoving it all aside to make my dad happy, or the rest of us.

I had to rag it out of her a lot of the time. And from what I’ve read, sometimes that’s what you have to do, push and push and push until someone tells you what’s wrong.

Just the thing Momo will never suggest doing, but she might need it done for herself.

I know a lot of people have probably been told that if someone doesn’t want to talk about something, you shouldn’t push them.

There are cases that’s true, but if you notice these warning signs, you might need to actually push them until they snap at you, and get some feeling out

  1. They never, ever, ever talk about how they feel.
  2. They always make it about your feelings, so you feel great, but its been years, and you still don’t know anything about what goes on in their heads.
  3. They constantly apologize if you do anything for them, and never ask you for help unless they’ve run out of every other option, and even then they feel guilty (I can relate to this one, though.)

If they do one or all of these things, you need to make them realize you seriously want to hear about em. They may start with just one, very vague negative feeling, but be understanding about that, and they may start to relax.

It’s important that they now it’s okay to feel that way, at least around you. Sometimes all someone needs is one person who they can be vulnerable with.

About people pleasing:

Again, I’ve never done it. I’ve tried to not offend people, that’s the most I can pull off–and usually I fail at that.

What I notice when other people do it though is that they never show me anger, or criticize me. They agree with whatever I say, and they make my happiness the verdict on how a conversation went, or how their personality is, or if they are succeed in life.

Yes, I definitely see Momo in this.

The only way to fix this is to work long and hard at figuring out what you want out of life. And then, choosing to tell yourself it’s okay to have it.

You won’t feel like that at first, if anything, you’ll feel like a bad person.

It’s then you have to choose to trust the people in your life, and the wisdom of many therapists, philosophers and even theologians that say it’s good for you to have dreams and desires of your own, and it’s good to show how you really feel.

Reach out for a hug sometimes. Other people aren’t mind readers. Try not to change the subject if someone asks how you are. Little steps, built up over time, will do wonders.

The deeper heart issues have to be resolved by feeling yourself different stuff. If you are around people who put you down, you need to look for better friend. It’s true, people who see you as a target will gravitate toward you, it just happens.

Even the best human will take advantage of someone they know will give in, I’ve done it. I try not to as much.

It’s okay to do that in a normal friendship, every so often, that’s just love. it’s not okay if it ‘s only ever you who’s giving something to them. Even if you are comfortable that way, remember, other people need to feel good for being unselfish too, it’s actually doing them a massive favor to make them feel needed. It’s critical to our psyche.

Read books that encourage you to see value in yourself.

In my case and my sister’s. it was getting closer to God, who values all of us enough to die for us. And choosing to believe hat, and t recognizing what our dad taught us was a pack of lies, and bullcrap.

I think the most fun thing you can do to get over this is simply choose to enjoy yourself.

My sister has started taking time purposely to hang out with people she likes, and do things she enjoys. It’s great therapy.

Some of you (I don’t think Momo is this far gone though) may be so damage you don’t even know what you like to do. I’ve been close to that place myself.

Then just experiment. Try stuff that sounds interesting, or at least different, try everything, like the song says. If you gravitate toward something, make it a hobby.

You will probably find friends doing that who will build you up because you enjoy the seam things. That’s the best way to become a real person, enjoying yourself. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.

Once you build up some confidence, don’t be hard to confront people to. Make boundaries. I would try to do with with the help of people you do trust first, my sister found that useful, even I find it useful, though I don’t need it.

Have good people back you up, especially if you are been abused or bullied, never try to confront that person alone. Have a witness. Record it if necessary. Police evidence might come in handy.

If it’s a decent person who’s just never been stood up to by you before, expect them to be surprised and to have a hard time adjusting to it, they never knew you had likes and dislikes.If they really care, then they will accept it once you explain why you never told them before, and forgive you (because eyes, it was unfair to them, but they’ll understand if they love you).

And that’s what I can tell you for now. That’s all a great place to start.

And I hope to see Momo grow in these areas, but, hey, if not, I’ll just write it that way myself.šŸ˜‰

By the way if you are interested in checking out my fan fictions, here is a link to my MHA story, I have two currently, and they are actually getting a lot of view right now. One’s only been up for 2 months we’re already at 600+ so not bad. Plus I have my own fan art that people made for me included.

MHA: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/195185530-my-hero-academia-mystery-from-another-world

MHA Fantasy AU: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/262518284-mha-fantasy-quest-for-the-sol

Hope you enjoyed this and found it helpful or insightful in some ways, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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The Memorial and the Speech

Sorry for the wait, I got majorly busy last week. I got a job though! Yay!

And it’s high paying too, at least for a non professional worker. Though at this point, I really am a profession, they just don’t give certificates in nanny and babysitter–well, I think they do, but how many people really bother to get them? (Maybe I should though…)

And some of you who read my recent posts may be wondering how my Grandmother’s memorial went.

Well the answer is, actually, very well, all things considered.

It was odd hearing stories from her sons and step kids, and granddaughter, and realizing I’d heard most of them from her personally. I’ve seldom had that experience at a memorial, I usually hardly know the person in question…which is less sad for me, but can feel like a waste too.

The weird highlight of the day was my Dad’s speech.

Yeah, brace yourself. This is just my crazy family.

My dad was glaring at me most of the time leading up to the actual service. My friend came with me, and he didn’t seem to dare to approach, and I walked away any time he got close. I think mostly, he just did it to reject me, and tried to make a sad face. The result was more of a sullen one, but he never knows how it looks.

I ignored him, and no one else took much notice of it. I’m sure he talked crap about me to whoever would waste time listening to it, but I didn’t hear any of it. I only know because I know him too well.

Anyway, so when he got up to speak, I thought “Why…oh.” and I knew exactly what was coming. I thought “He’s going to put some message directed at me in his speech.” And then I thought “But, at a funeral? And when it’s about Grammy?” Deep down, I knew though.

And I swear to you all, I am not making this up for dramatic affect, my friend has never met my dad before, and she told me he was looking right at me a lot of the time. And she could tell it was directed at me. My mom could too.

My dad chose 1 Corinthians 13 as his text for the speech, not that it was necessary, we weren’t preaching sermons. As soon as she said that, I knew what I was in for. I grabbed my phone and kept my eyes on that.

“I’m not given him the satisfaction of seeing me make eye constantly,” I thought. When I looked up, I made sure to look at the wall or my mom or friend I did steal a few glances at the others but I couldn’t’ tell if anyone else know what was up, but my aunt probably did. He maybe even talked the idea over with her!

Anyway, this was what he said, in a paraphrased nutshell:

Reference himself, he said there was a time when he didn’t speak to his parents for 2 years because he thought he hated them, or they hated him (or both, I don’t remember, it doesn’t matter).

Then he said a lot of stuff about love (1 Cor 13 is about love, if you don’t read the Bible). Dwelling on where it says love suffers long, is kind, keeps no record of wrongs, and all the other stuff about love and forgiveness.

He said my grandmother was a very forgiving person (which is true)

And that she was very loving (also true)

But the way he said it all, I had heard those phrases directed at me many times, always to wound. And I knew the tone he used was the one where he tries to sound holy and profound… but it’s really just begging for sympathy.

My chiropractor, who know my dad, told me he’d come in months ago, after I started coming, and had displayed behavior that indicated he’d had no change of heart. If I go into specifics, it would be too disturbing for many readers.

I wasn’t surprised.

But this speech sealed the deal. I already knew nothing has changed, but I really thought, my aunt will have nothing to say to me after this. If she even tries to tell me he’s different, I can point to this incident.

At a memorial!!!

My friend was disgusted, and she’s a much less judgmental person than I am. I warned her though.

Yeah… really, I was just glad he didn’t say it to my face… then again, if it was too my face, I could have told him off. Doing it this way was sure to guarantee I couldn’t’ call him out on it, he can deny it. No one would believe that who knows him well, but he could still claim it.

While it was less uncomfortable for me, since I knew, at least not everyone there would know it was aimed at me, it was underhanded and petty on his part.

It’s also impressively conniving. I mean, once you renounce any sense of decency about respecting the dead, it’s genius isn’t it? Perfect security plan.

Ugh….

Well, I endured.

It’s okay, when I Write my book about all this, everyone will know the truth. My friends say I should write a book, I’m sure I will… I just haven’t decided quite what I want to say yet. I mean, I can tell my story, but I want to know how God is going to get me out of it, even more than now, before I try to tell people about it. a blog is one thing, you can update it, but a book is just out there, unchanging, unless you re-release it…so it would be wise to be sure I was saying the right thing before I write one.

But maybe I will soon. I’m sure some people would be interested in the story.

I’m not about revenge, but it would be a real relief to set the record straight… and can you imagine the look on my dad’s face if he read it? Ha! Priceless.

I would definitely not name any names, just to avoid humiliating him… though that would, of course, not be something he would do for me. But I’m not that low, you know.

Well, that’s a subject for another time.

I guess the profudn tpoi o fhtis post could just be: What do you do when your toxic family just refuses to stop being toxic?

Well, you can two things (that aren’t unhelaty)

You can ignore it, learn to not mind it, by growing more and more apart from them, and forming bonds with healthy people who really love you. And not being around said family anymore than you absolutely have to be. In my case, they were all civil except for my dad. Who is probably just pissed that I didn’t care about his temper tantrum.

The other thing, which is what I had any writer and artist do, is use it all as fuel for the fire.

Difficult experiences are what turn your writing, (or art) from good to great. If it’s possible for you to achieve greatness, it is usually through pain or toil. My writing got exponentially better during the period of darkness following my dad’s exeunt form my life. It was hard, but I faced more gloom and doom than ever before, and coming out on top, I learned from it.

Even this blog changed. I never used to lie to share my personal business, I was ashamed of the situation, I knew it wasn’t right, but I though I could never complain. My blog had pretty doubled in size since I started sharing personal stuff. More of you comment, more of you like and share. And not that I do it for that, but I think it shows people connect to what I say more.

My blog has more of a theme than it used to.

And I have become a kinder person through all this. And more stable, as odd as that sounds.

I also have become a little craftier. I know how to get around a difficult situation. My dad may be petty, and childish, and psychotic at times…but I know how to prevent him from doing much real damage.

Folks, you have to get crafty sometimes.

Jesus told us to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” That should be a Bible Study series, I’ve yet to hear it preached on though, we don’t like being told to be wise and shrewd do we?

But we must be. If we wish to navigate this dangerous world we live in. Some risks cannot be avoided, but they shold be the smart risks, the ones done for the right reason.

My dad is smart, unfortunately, it would be easier for us if he wasn’t. But I am smarter. And God is on my side in all this, so, there’s always a away.

And if you’re in the same boat as me, turst me, God will be on your side too.

I don’t know why everyone does not get delivered the way we did… I do think, very few people would have done what we did. I’ve met no one so far who has, I’ve read no account of it.

All the prayer and healing I did for years alone was what enabled me to have the courage to go through with it. And it’s worked out amazingly, I must say.

All of us are happier now.

The hardest thing to convince our family of is that we could really be okay. The drama in the family (melodrama at times) has killed a lot of their joy and happiness in life. How can we be any different?

Jesus, that’s how.

I’ve stopped asking why it happened, mostly.

Everyone has bad stuff happen to them. I was lucky that through the bad stuff, I had good stuff too. I was lucky that I never got permanently hurt by it. I was lucky people helped me get out of it.

Others may get more or less than me.

But here’s what I know:

Jesus said that God will pay everyone the same wage, whether they worked all day or only for a few hours.

In the same way, God will heal everyone to the same degree.

We are not all given the same amount of bad things in life, or of good things. Anymore than we can compare the bad and good of humanity as a while from place to place, without having a hard time deciding where it’s the worst and best.

I was given more bad than some, and more good than others.

I do know, that once you give all that to God, the good, the bad, the ulgy, the beuatiful, He makes it all a par to fhte samething.

To God, compairng our evil is pointelss. He knows he can reedem it all the same, no matter how bad it is, just like luangdy sopa wil clearn both a shirt that’s been dragegd thorugh the mud, and one that looks fine, but has been worn for too many days straight. Both get clean in the end.

Sometimes it’s harder to clean something that looks fine to begin with, until you get closer and see it’s not so fine.

At least I can point to were a lot of my issues came from. That’s useful.

Some of you who feel you’ve had it way too rough my actually be better off than someone who thinks they are fine, bcaue they aren’t fine. And you aren’t hopeless.

Really, after all I went through, I circled right back to where I began. Like Chesterton said, we go looking for a new thing, and find that the old thing was right the whole time. We just didn’t understand it.

All right, I think I will wrap this up for now, homework is calling me, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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New Life, New Season

I suppose it’s unchristian not to do a post about Easter… have I ever done one before?

This may not be the most conventional subject for an Easter post, but I was thinking today about some of my old posts. Back from 2015 and 2016.

I wrote one post about how much I didn’t like being wrong. This was not long after I started my blog, probably just a couple months. Nothing has changed, I still hate being wrong.

Being wrong andĀ surviving

And I wrote another post about forgiveness, at this time I was about 16 or 17, I’d say. I know it was before I moved.

At the time, my dad was still at home of course, and would be for a few more years, and he was as awful as usual, though at that time we interacted less, he was addicted to video games and unless I interfered with that, or was working with him to earn money, we hardly spoke.

By then I was already reading books about healing and coming to realize just how much pain I had from him and my mom. This is an except from a post I wrote at the time.

Then

Letting it go-from anotherĀ angle.

“Forgiving is hard. Yet, I wonder why? We all make mistakes and so why are we so hard on each other for making them? Maybe we want to see a fairness in others that we don’t possess in ourselves.

Let me be clear; by forgiving I don’t mean letting people get away with serious wrong doing. Nor do I mean living in a sort of denial that the damage other people’s words do to you, is not that bad. It is actually much worse than most of us know. Forgiveness is actually acknowledging they did wrongĀ and letting it go.Ā In the words of Stasi Eldredge “It was wrong, very wrong, and I release you.”

Forgiveness is actually more for us than the offenders… Emotionally most of us have probably heard about the necessity of forgiveness. When you hold on to the actions of another, you build them into your brain. I don’t mean in a mind control sense. But when you hate someone you obsess over them, you think of them and the things they’ve said and done to you; if it’s someone close to you then you struggle with not having their approval on your life even as you despise their opinion. You feel indifferent to their pain and even glad when they suffer. You say you’ll forget them but you can’t, because you can’t let what they’ve done go. If you don’t remember who will? It won’t matter to anyone. And that is what scares us, that our pain won’t make a difference in anything. That we ourselves don’t matter. These people who hurt us were right about us then. The emotional and mental damage this does to us couldn’t be fully disclosed if we took hours and hours to talk about it. To not forgive is to agree with the people who hurt us and to sink to their level at the same time.

That is why the first step toward forgiving is admitting it was wrong and you were damaged. A lot of people don’t get this far. They won’t admit their weakness. Or in some cases they will only admit their weakness but never that they can overcome it. They wallow in their pain all their lives…

So, if you are willing to take step one and admit you have been hurt–bad (And someone may be thinking “I can so do that.” Well hold on.) What is step two? It varies. It may involve crying your heart out. Grieving the wound the Eldredges call it. (I highly recommend their books Wild at Heart or Captivating for more detail on this very important part.) In my own journey of forgiving, I cried several times; I shared my pain with trusted people–but don’t do it with the person who hurt you, that was always a disaster–I prayed about it. To which I attribute all progress I made. Pain can be scary because it is so deep. Sometimes we wish we’d left it alone in apathy and numbness. But really that’s even more frightening.

After sadness, or sometimes before it, will come anger. More anger. And fear. Here we face yet another choice, we can press on, releasing the anger and fear, or we can let it drive us back. At this point you will not feel like forgiving, nor will you feel like the person deserves it, it will be purely a choice. I suggest writing it down. Saying it. “I choose to forgive (insert their name).'”

Now

Now that I know so much more than I did then about the situation, this level of grace on my part astounds me. Yet, I know it wasn’t me, I wan’t that wise, I was simply following what my teachers taught me, I always did have that childlike faith.

Actually for some context, (sorry for burdening you with my dark past), at the time I was attending a very toxic church– not by choice, my father forced us all to go. I hated it. “

Well they hounded us from the pulpit about forgiveness and how unforgiveness would land us in hell.

I don’t disagree, the Bible is pretty clear about that… but this church took it to an extreme that ignored that real damage other people’s sins did to you. No talk of therapy, no talk of long term healing.. I ‘m not sure the idea of emotional healing was ever introduced. I know plenty of the parishioners had family issues.

My dad would repeat all this at home, expressing fears over himself not making it, and praying that we all would. His fear scared me, I would not have felt dubious about my own salvation, but he constantly introduced doubt. Small wonder I still struggle with it.

I’m not naturally much of a doubter, not anymore, but it seems sown into me. Popping up when I least want it to.

My dad also found testimonies on the internet about people who’d been to hell and back, or saw visions, and warned about unforgiveness.

I cannot say how much of it was true, all I know is the Bible has no stories of any Christian visiting hell and coming back, and no precedent for it, though heaven is permitted we know from Paul and John. Perhaps hell is not impossible, though no one would like it, but at the very least, many of the testimonies were too much like Dante’s Inferno, a human’s explanation of what hell would be like, and I am skeptical hell could make any more sense to us than Heaven, and no human would come up with what the Bible says about Heaven (read Ezekiel sometime)

That’s not really the point. I have to thank my dad in a way, that is what pushed me to salvation, finally. One has to learned to be thankful for what good did come of anything in our crappy past, though once I felt offended at the very idea. And I wouldn’t take kindly to anyone else telling me that, since they’d be dismissing what I went through.

No, my dad did a few things for me, though not really out of kindness in this case, it stands more to God’s power that the fear and doubt of those years actually led to something good for me, God truly can make goodness out of anything.

My dad also read the post I quoted above. Which I wrote with him in mind. I heard him talk to my mom about it while he was reading it. I remember what he said, I may never forget it:

“I was reading (my name)’s post… I can’t imagine who (she) could know that would have hurt her so badly.”

In said post, I wrote how talking to the person who hurt you did no good… thanks Dad, for proving me right.

I really didn’t want him to read my post, and wished my mom would have stopped him, but turns out I had nothing to worry about. I think that was one of the last times he read my blog at all. I know he doesn’t now, he’d not like what I write about him, I’d be sure to hear about it.

Now, I no longer think that telling someone they hurt you does no good, if they are a mature person who truly loves you. Or even immature, but not toxic (it’s not the same thing, after all), but I was right not to tell him.

Years later, probably a year before he moved out, my dad also said in one family meeting that he got a sense that I had very low self worth, and he prayed for me about it.

I was aware enough by then to be thinking “Thanks Dad, who do you think gave me low self worth”

Wasn’t you treating my like dirt my whole life, neglecting me, abusing my emotions, telling me I was responsible for all your problems.

Now, this is not a post just for me to whine about my life.

But, we’re talking about rebirth today.

I’m starting to, like Paul, boast in my weakness. If I can take pride in nothing else, I can take pride that I have this terrible story (though it wasn’t all terrible), and I still held onto my faith.

There are man things I am still waintg for, the fullr edmeption of my past, the full meaning of why it happened t o me. A chance to tell more peopel my story. I aprpeciate ou 220 or so followers, but IW ant to reach even more peopel, more and more.

I haven’t to dlit all here, some things I did not even realzie were significant until later. soem thing sId id not feel comfortable sharing yet.

What can I say about this trial that other, wiser, better peopel have not alread siad? All I jave if my own story.

I can tell you that I’ve never heard of anyone else doing what I did, reading the books, pupmping thmselves full of self-help, roads to healing, seeking and seeking and seeking.

It was terrible to go through that dark time last year when I feared all that was for nothing, I invented years of my life in healing, and I though I ended up just as screwed up anyway.

While no amount of reading could have prepared m for the shock of getting out of abuse, it did give me something to fall back on. I took the leadership role in my family in my dad’s absence. Not fully, perhaps, but as the other dominant personality, it just happened naturally.

I felt I had to protect them, that since I hatched the plan to get rid of him, I had to make sure they were okay.

It’s been a blow to crumble as much as I did, and not be able to work steadily either, but I had to let go of the idea that everything is my responsibility.

When my dad left, I got my life back.

Really, I was getting it back every time I wrote those posts like the ones above, that I was basing off my real efforts in prayer and self reflection. My dad put all that venom into my brain, and I spat it all out through prayer, tears, songs, and resolutions.

5 years later or so, I still do that. Thouh I make less resolutions, I’ve learned to be suspisonv of those.

While I was still deeply damaged by my dad, the way I handled it back then, by God’s leading, has gotten the poison out of the wound, so it could heal, and I’ve haled faster than I thought I would.

I still have bad days, today even, doubt assaulted me again, even in Church, but I didn’t give way to it like I sued to, I do not know when I will stop being tempted, but I am a lot stronger now.

I gained back the weight I lost too. I’m walking straighter than I ever have, and I have less stiffness and back pain.

My chiropractor tells me I will be a new person when the treatment is finally completed. It’s taken 3 times as long as I wanted to see results, but God never promised it would be done when I wanted, just that it would happen.

I eat more now too. I think I eat more now than before all this happened since I’ve learned when I feel bad, I’m usulaly hungry and low on calroies, not sick.

My gaggin epidose have been over for proably 5 months or more now.

New year, new me, is what I said when 2021 started.

But when I look back at those old posts, and remember how I was then, and see that my heart was more pure than I thought, and that I was trying my best to obey God, as I always have… I think, I’m also just ht old me.

Somehow, my dad never dseprtryon who I am. Though he treid. Somehow, I kept waht I wanted in mind. I’ve never waved for long on what I want.

I want to have a great ministry.

I want to write great books

I want a great marriage

I want many children.

Whether all that comes in the form of adoption, or whatever I end up dong, and travel, or staying home, I don’t care as much as I used to, I know that all this must be part of me for a reason. I was born wanting those things. Except writing, that came once I knew I could do it, but I was always a storyteller even before that.

For ears I eceived little t ono enocuagemanet form anyone about these deams, but I didn’t lose them. That’s a mircale, from what I hear form others, pretty much everyone loses their fdreams as they grow up. To raitne then till you’e 22 is rare. Bt hte ime I’m 30, it’ll be a minoritiy.

I have a feeling I will still wan the same thing at 30 as I do now, only hopefully, I’ll have some of it by then.

I’m a girl from a toxic, abusive family, I’m not supposed to be the statistic that gets a good marriage, and becomes a good parent.

I’m the one who got told she was wrong, and criticized for everything, I’m not supposed to succeed at my talents.

I’m the one who had someone sow doubt into me a lot, I’m not supposed to have a good ministry.

Well, flip all that, God is the God of the unexpected.

Sure, right now, I have small blog, smaller YouTube Channel, and only a couple short published books on kindle that no one reads. I’m not in a lot of ministry, and I’m at a point in life where it feels no one sees all that much in me.

Perfect time to be suddenly launched into something unexpected, God has a pattern, but He’s not predictable.

I don’t know what will happen in the next 5 years, but I haven’t waited all this time for nothing, I’m sure of that.

New Life means Old things getting a new vitality, and new things springing up. Jesus coming back to life didn’t just give us His old life back, it gave us an entirely new kind of man, as C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity.

An odd hybrid between the Divine and the mortal, that is what we are. One that you won’t find anywhere else in heaven or on earth, and how can I say what the purpose of it is?

John said “It is not yet revealed what we will be, but we know that when He is revealed, we will be like Him.” (1 John 3:2)

As I’ve come out of my depression and anxiety, they’ve begun to make less and less sense to me, I no longer understand the logic behind them. I am sure, that is God.

To be sure, I’m still tempted at times, and I won’t say I have the cure all for either of those two problems, since the path I walked had to be for me personally, and my fears, but some stuff overlaps in our lives.

I can’t even be certain I’ll never have another time of my life where I feel this way, though I can’t picture it fooling me ever again. Feelings are not the same as mindsets.

I do think some changes will last.

Someday, I hope, God will give me the words to describe what happened to other people. Just now, I am still too much in the process to explain it, and I’ve noted others don’t really understand me if I try.

But someday, surely, I will be able to look back and see it clearly. Hindsight is 20-20. (That’d be a good blog post title)

I get it, some of you are still in the darkness. I hope some of you have begun to see light.

If you wait long enough for something, with God, it will happen. Or something better will.

God showed me that, actually, one time I was talking to Him, and He brought it to my attention that if I just waited long enough something was bound to change, no state of being is permanent for a human.

We hate being told it’s just a phase, but everything is a phase. The Bible calls it a “Season”

I don’t know if any angry teen or young adult will read this, but if you’ve heard those words “it’s just a phase” I know, it’s annoying, but, take it from me, you’ll want to believe that. All pain can pass. Even the worst and deepest kinds.

And while I was not assaulted with what humanity considers the worse crimes, I’d venture to say I knew that deep pain as much as the next person. I take things very seriously.

At least I could not lie to myself that way. God made me this way for a reason. If I could be blind, like others, I might still be in that situation.

One thing I kept saying to my sister was this “No pit is so deep that He is not Deeper Still” (Betsie Ten Boom).

Well, I tink that is enough for today. Thank you for reading, and have a great day

Until next time–Natasha.

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Coming Up

Y’all might be wondering how my recovery process is going… okay, you probably don’t actually wonder that, but you might not be adverse to hearing about it right?

Well, actually, these last couple months, I’ve been doing really well. My life coach has been very helpful, mostly she helps me realize I already know the answer, I just need to believe that I do, and that God has given me the key.

I actually had a brief bout with nausea that was the worst I’ve had in a while, but it lasted probably just 20 minutes or so, and I was able to stay much calmer than I used to and help it get lighter instead of stressing myself into feeling sicker than before. Mostly, I catch it before it gets bad now, but even so, now that I know it usually passes quickly, I’m less scared of it.

I feel fine most days. Though with the Summer heat coming, I may have to take more steps to stay cool if I want to avoid that heat exhaustion.

My mental problems are also at a new low for the last year. I really can’t believe how bad it was not that long ago, it seems foreign to me now. I’ve always come out of these periods, since becoming a Christian, after a year or less. Usually less.

I never came out of it when I wasn’t a Christian fully, I had better and worse times, but fear plagued me constantly back then, whether there was a trigger or not. Christianity works for me because that fact that I’ve known freedom at all is something I didn’t really have before. Something important to remind yourself of if you go through hard times again as a believer.

I’ve realized too that the person I a has never really changed, she just went into hiding for a while, only occasionally showing herself, now, I see her a lot more often. I needed to believe she was real in order to be her.

You have to believe in your own healing, in the healing that has already taken place, in order to keep healing.

If you live your life as if you are still hurt, even once you’ve healed, then you might as well still be hurt. That applies to physical and emotional injuries too.

I suppose it’s about time I mentioned that my step-grandmother’s memorial is this month.

I plan to go, but would you believe that my aunt has already been trying to get in some emotional manipulation on my sister over it. It’s so nuts.

I now my dad will be there, likely as not, and I am trying to prepare for it. I don’t know that’ll I’ll share my strategies here until after the fact, if they don’t work, I don’t want to take the chance anyone will emulate me, but I think they will.

However, someone in my position might wonder what the prospect of facing my abuser in person again feels like.

I’m not looking forward to it, but I am not utterly terrified.

It’s because my circumstances are a little different than one would normally have with a violent person.

My dad is aggressive, but he’s not generally the type to lash out in public at someone without provocation, and he would not be able to seriously injure me at a gathering like this without someone stepping in, because too many people would be there. He would not like to lose face, he’s never hurt me that badly, physically. My feelings were always more bruised than my actual body.

Some might not even call it abuse, but I call it that because of he power struggle and attitude involved, and the roughness of how he did it.

I don’t use the word abuse lightly, however. I see it all the time, people call stuff abuse that I don’t think should be called that. Abuse has a particular feel of powerlessness on the victim’s part, and sick satisfaction mixed with excuses on the abuser’s part. It’s more than temper, thought hat is part of it, it’s to break you, make you submit, feel like trash.

I mean, what’s abuse to one person isn’t to another, sometimes, but that’s a very vague line.

I guess what I mean is, sarcastic comments are abuse to some people, but to others it’s normal banter, and I don’ think victims should impose their standard on people who see it as a way to bond, the tone and timing will tell you whether it’s destructive or not. Someone should always back off if you make it clear you are seriously uncomfortable, but if you know yourself, and know you feel weird only because of past experience, and that this person in particular is not actually trying to hurt you, it’s also good to try to grow thicker skin. We have to heal from both directions, insider and out.

For me, a little light shoving isn’t abuse. I knew when my dad was being rough, I know when my siblings are being playful. I can compartmentalize.

I realize I am lucky to be able to do this so easily, at least in some areas, though not all. I am far more sensitive to verbal stuff.

I got into another work situation where I feel disrespected and criticized unfairly, and blamed for what is not my fault. I wonder why I keep doing this… and then my sisters stores of working at a sandwich shop tell me I actually ain’t even seen it all.

Seriously, I get people telling me I should work on my babysitting skills, she gets people telling her she’s got no idea what she’s doing. Whose job is worse? Well, it’s income.

We both like what we do anyone, but nothing is ever a positive experience 100% of the time, that’s not realistic.

Notably, this time, I am handling it differently. I’ve always been bolder that my sisters anyway, I stand up for myself. But I used to do it immaturely by getting really defensive and rude. Now I choose my words more carefully.

My dad responds to criticism by getting defensive and losing his temper, that’s not how I wanted to be, but I couldn’t go the route of my mom and just never stand up for myself at all. I literally can’t, I think I’m incapable… trying was excruciating, and I failed.

So, with no role model here, I’ve had to learn by trial and error, but I’m starting to get better. I try to acknowledge people may have a slight point, or grievance, but I refuse to let myself be belittled.

I had a mom tell me today that at my age (22) I may just lack the experience to understand how to take care of a 5 month old, and how a mother feels.

I asked her “How many kids do you have?”

This is her first. She’s 30..

I’ve been in childcare for 15 years. Paid and unpaid, private and in groups, doing int alone, and doing it helping adults. I have two younger siblings I’ve had to be basically a surrogate mom to for several years, at least in some areas. I have two cousins I provide love, attention, and mentoring too. I have taught Sunday school for over 6 years.

I looked at her and I said “I understand you are his mom, but I will not let my years of experience be disrespected just because I am a little younger than you and your other nanny.”

Where does this lady get off? Sure, she’s his mom, but this is her first kid, having a kid doesn’t automatically mean you understand child reading, as I think the loads of messed up kids form broken homes is proof of. I’m 8 years younger than her, so what? She didn’t give me any prior experience she had with children.

The amount of disrespect nannies get is unreal. We take care of children, the most precious things anyone has, and we get treated like barely above slaves with no rights to opinion, no better qualifications, and no right to complain if someone is literally filming us why we are doing our job, without our consent.

Isn’t that illegal in other circumstances? Sheesh.

And yeas, the nanny cam is real. Some people think it’s myth, nope, I’ve worked for two or more families at least with one. And one family just straight up spied on me with their friends. They told me this to my face.

Well, it would take a whole other post to list all my negative experience babysitting, but it has been a great trial by fire for seeing how well I can get past my issues.

If you have low self worth and want to get over it, there’s really nothing like having someone treat you like an appliance in their house and getting frustrated over it to push you to stand up for yourself. Seriously, if you aren’t annoyed, it’s probably just reinforcing your problems, not helping you grow, get out of that job.

But for learning self control, self assurance, and what you actually want, nannying has it’s benefits.

Back to the prospect of seeing my dad again…

I am nervous about it, but I’ve learned that if I acknowledge that, and decide before hand what to do, it doesn’t often turn into panic… actually, it never turns into panic.

That may not work for everyone, but I am a more confident person in areas that aren’t related to abuse, so channeling that towards he areas that are is mostly a matter of self control and prayer for me.

I also have learned not to overestimate myself. I should try to face my dad alone. I need other people around. I shouldn’t treat myself like I’m expendable and can carry the weight of everyone else’s problems by taking his crap.

While it would be theoretically cathartic to tell my dad off in person, I don’t expect it to happen.

At most, I think, I could tell him to leave me alone, that I won’t be engaging with him, and this day is about Grammy, not him.

Now, my aunt once tried this when her son died, my cousin, and my dad completely ignored her, so I don’t expect that to work.

But I have a few back up plans. It’d be really satisfying to just say: “Look, I already know what you’re going to say, and you’re going to be abusive, and manipulative, and there’s nothing you can say that will alter my opinion of you, and no apology you make will convince me you are sincere, and nothing you can say will make me feel guilty or bad for you. You abused me, end of story. Deal with that reality, or stay out of mine.”

I’d never get to finish that speech, even if it’d work. But it’s fun to fantasize about it.

The reality is, it’s best to just avoid talking to him. He will probably try to talk to me, unless he gets some idea of proving he doesn’t need me by refusing to talk, e might say “I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable” Which is a lie. He would only do it to show how innocent he is to the family, if we were alone, he wouldn’t hesitate, so I will have to take great care never to be alone where he can see me.

It’d be best to have another man around I can trust, as my dad will be more bold with women watching than men, I think, he can be a bit sexist.

Anyway, those are my basic ideas. But the rest will have to wait till after the fact to see if it worked.

Many victims remain oblivious to what their abuser will do to them, as long as they are locked i the cycle. There is strong deception associated with abuse, the perps lie, the victim believe them because otherwise they would despair.

Once you get out, mentally, not just physically, you start to see through it all, and you can predict their tricks. Then you can prepare for it.

I have picked up this stuff quickly due to be observant by nature, and I had to manage my dad for years before I finally got away from him. I know that I cannot win with him expect by not playing his game, he cannot stand that.

I also now that truth is powerful, but it must be worded carefully.

Pro tips for anyone consider in confronting their abuser:

Don’t try to be nice. Don’t try to be subtle, don’t be vague.

Don’t do it at all if you think they still have power over you, and don’t do it alone. Don’t do it in private either, they can hurt you if you do. Others should be able to see you, even if they can’t hear you. I’m not at therapist, this to me is just common sense.

Don’t confront them expecting to change them. It should be either to establish a boundary, or for closure. They aren’t going to change.

Don’t expect them to take it with any degree of dignigity.

You can expect immature jabs, passive aggressive digs, angry outbursts, accusations, or self righteous “I was only trying to…” statements.

I would say not to dignify any of that with even acknowledging it, say what you must, don’t change it no matter what they say. They won’t listen, but you need to know you were able to say it.

This is all assuming it’s the right time and right kind of situation for this to be appropriate. Some people should never confront their abuser, or go near them again.

I will have to do it sooner or alter, or else act like a pariah in my own family, and not all of them are bad people, so I prefer to make realistic plans for how to deal with it.

But some will not have the luxury of any family they can risk seeing again, and there’s no shame in admitting that and deciding not to see them again.

If it helps anyone else, these two passages have really helped allay any guilt I feel over not seeing my toxic relatives:

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37).

“Listen, O daughter,
Consider and incline your ear;
Forget your own people also, and your fatherā€™s house;
Ā So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because HeĀ isĀ your Lord, worship Him.” (Psalm 45:10-11)

The Bible is so kind to people who have toxic relatives. Jacob is told to flee his brother who is plotting to kill him. Joseph is put in a position of power over his brothers who sold him into slavery. Tamar is given justice for Judah holding out on her. The list goes on.

Contrary to what may Christians think, it is not Christian to stay with an abusive person. Especially if that hinders your walk with God. Plenty of Christians left their families and went on their own to serve God. It is Christian to be single, it is Christian to marry and have children. Paul says we should turn people who refuse to live in a godly manner in the church out.

He also says church member should be kind to their family, and if they are not, they should not be in authority, maybe they are even false, if we follow his logic.

When my life coach pointed out this simple fact, that my dad was deceiving us into thinking he was devout when he was really not acting at all like a believer, it was a game changer for me.

Suddenly I felt hte fiel of not haivng to call what my dad did “trying to be a good chritian ” anymore, he was not trying, he was whining. There’s a huge difference.

Who knew, I was lcoser to God when I stopped playing alon eiwht his chruch, his prayers, his devotions, becaue the fakeness isckened me too much. AS a churhc girl, It hought It hsould like all those things mroe, but the duplicity was too much.

I now hate hypocrisy more than almost any other vice. I can’t claim I am never hypocritical, but I try not to be.

One other big change: I am starting to really believe that I am Allowed to have a happy life.

Whooo! Somebody get excited with me right now!

Maybe it’s okay to like myself. Maybe I don’t need to punish myself anymore. Maybe my anxiety isn’t permanent.

Some of you are afraid to believe that.

There are a few rare cases where someone has something their whole life in order to learn patience.

But I don’t think God would command us to be anxious for nothing, if most of us were not supposed to be completely free from anxiety.

In fact, that verse makes me think anxiety is not one of those life long struggles we are supposed to have.

We cannot force ourselves not to be anxious, but we can learn to stop ourselves from becoming anxious. The Bible said that thousands of years ago.

Perfect Love casts out fear.

I don’t feel full of love all the time, but I Know God loves me, I believe, it, I remind myself of it, and I don’t need to feel it for it to cast out my fear, I just need to now it.

You see, God’s love is so powerful, even the knowledge of it crushes fear, and the feeling of it makes you forget suffering period. I don’t feel it as often as I’d like, but I also don’t need to, knowing it’s there, behind everything, gives me hope.

“And now abide, faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

I hope this post encouraged you, until next time, stay honest–Natasha

What women from Ocean’s 8 want

Sorry, it’s been a while, but I had a project I was rushing to finish on a deadline, and I had to spend all my spare time on that, I even strained my eyes and hands from spending so much time typing.

That said, I have a bit of a different topic for you all, just a break from the anime and life stories I’ve been mostly doing.

I want to talk about two movies I watched in the last month for the first time. “What Women Want” (original with Mel Gibson) and “Ocean’s 8.”

Now, at first glance, you may say, these two movies have absolutely nothing in common.

But I would make the argument, they both have one thing in common: Unintentionally sexist writing.

I will give the screenwriters the benefit of the doubt, I think “What Women Want” Was really intended to be a good movie, and actually, I don’t have an issue with how women were portrayed in the movie. I thought it did a good job of making us human, but not perfect.

I did have an issue with how men were portrayed, however.

I don’t know why it is, but any time a movie decides to focus on one gender, they tend to make the other one look bad, or oversimplified.

I won’t bash on this movie too much, I really liked Mel Gibson’s acting in it, and his change in the movie made sense, but, it seems a little odd to me how there was no other male character int eh movie that was at all nice to women, respectful of women, or a decent human being. Not one that was focused on, anyway. all the men seemed wiling to take advantage of women whenever they could.

Now, some cynical woman is going to say “And so? That’s how men are.”

If you just thought that, than may I ask you, the sexist, to please leave the site… just kidding, you can stick around I want you to read this.

And actually, before some man goes off about feminists, guess who I’ve hear the most male sexism from in my life? Other men.

My father used to tell me regularly that men were “pigs” that they would take advantage of girls any chance they got (in so many words), and wouldn’t mind if a random woman came up and kissed them out of nowhere (implying consent for men is no big deal), and, my favorite item, that men weren’t hard to please, just “feed us, love us, and leave us alone.” Meaning, cook, sex and affection, and never nag about anything.

Yep, that’s all it takes girls, hope you’re taking notes. Men aren’t complicated at all.

Ironically, my dad is a far more complicated person than that, who I later realized is just impossible to please period, and doesn’t follow his own rules for male bliss.

He also made fun of me for trying to understand men and husbands more (yes, this all has a point to my main subject, I know I tend to go off into anecdotes).

Geez, y’all men should be thankful a girl like me took time, on purpose, to learn more about men. I wish men would do that about women, actually, I know a lot of them have, just not the ones I’ve met.

Come to think of it, I basically wanted what Nick wants, to get to know how men think. And, I can say, I haven’t figured it out yet, no matter how much I studied it. In fact, based on books, I don’t see any gaping difference between how men and women think. Anime can often show this, ironically, by making women the snippy, violent characters, and men the sniveling, meek wimps. Anime is famously sexist too.

Not that there’s anything empowering about a violent woman, Naruto is proof of that, I’d say the best females on that show are the less violent ones.

But seriously, the differences between how we think are not that significant. Do more women like to cook and garden then men? I can’t tell you statistically. Do more women care about relationships than men? Probable, but there are thousands of male counselors out there, and men who write books about love. One I read religiously for a while was “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Which is one of the most unhelpful books about relationships there is in my collection, but it’s not useless for understanding yourself and others better even so.

Nick trying to understand women by hearing their thoughts isn’t helpful, because even if by some miracle you could understand every women around you, you would understand women in general any better. People cannot be generalization just by the random thoughts in their head. Two thoughts can be in different people’s heads, meaning two different things.

I’m glad I read, or my idea of men would be really skewed. As it is, I’m sure I’ll spend years of dating and marriage realizing how different men can be.

Of course, the ideas I got from books were not always helpful. I remember one in particularly “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands,” I read it a bunch of times, and this book essentially blamed women for most of the problems in relationships, told them “They have the power” and that their husbands would “walk through fire to get them a quart of cookie dough ice cream.” I found this intriguing, but it didn’t seem to match up with my father. Who once threw a fit about dropping me off at school when it was a 15 minute drive, just because he had finished working already… or was it the bus stop, a 3 minute drive? Doesn’t matter, he would have either way.

My dad never helped me with anything unless it was related to his livelihood, unless we begged him to over and over, and not always then. He is one of the most selfish people I know. But women, of course, are the ones in charge.

That’s all bull hockey, and the author of this book was a woman, to make matters worse, with a talk show. She seemed to be completely unaware that abuse, manipulation, gas-lighting, and toxicity are a thing for men too. A little sex and less nagging aren’t going to fix that.

There are some marriages a little sex and more kindness would probably help, but if it needs to be “Fixed” that’s not going to do it.

To get back to the movie, having all this in the back of my mind, I rather thought the movie did not go far enough.

Some women are not nice. I get that the writers were probably trying to be nice to us, and goodness knows, if the move portrayed our thoughts the way they really are, the feminists would have jumped on it (I suspect they still would anyway)

It’s not a huge complaint, it’s just that he movie could have had more depth if Mel’s character met some nasty women too that he had to deal with, or else just be shocked by. Women are not inherently less selfish or self centered than men are.

And what’s funny is that the behavior Mel exhibits, using women, ignoring their needs, is exactly what I saw from my father, and the women being above that is what I have striven to be, and seen in other women, so why of all things would I complain ti was unrealistic?

Because, I myself have to choose, consciously, not to broad brush men, and not to assume all women will always be nicer.

I’ve been exploited by many men (not sexually, thank goodness, but in other ways) but I’ve been exploited by just as many women. And sometimes with more of a fury. Given the choice being a narcissistic man and a woman, I think the man may be easier to tolerate, if only because they usually walk away from you, while women can try to tear you down. But that’s a generalization, and men do that too. We’re always only going to be talking about what the majority it prone to, but the majority is going to depend a lot on where you live and who you attract.

See, it doesn’t actually make women look good, to make men look bad. If anything, I always end up wondering after watching a movie or reading a book with this slant “geez, why do women even put up with men if this is how they get treated?” And with the book I mentioned before, I wondered what possessed men to marry women who treated them like this. My dad’s ever helpful response? “Sex. Most men wont’ care, as long as she’s attractive.”

Wow….just wow….

Well, I used to believe that. And it may be true, many men don’t care. Those men are idiots. And have low self esteem.

It’s my dream to see men stand up for themselves a little more. I want to be sick when I see men taking womens’ crap by apologizing on behalf of their sex for what some jackasses do. I’m like “dude, if you didn’t do it, don’t even being it up to me. It’s more insulting to me that you feel the need to do that, than that it happens.”

And women who bring up what other men do, to assign blame to perfectly innocent men, disgust me. But I won’t apologize for them to you, and, if a man were to expect me to, I’d put him firmly in his place. But no man has ever been sexist to me, except my own father. So… yeah…

I think the movie actually came to the basic conclusion I have though, that a man will never understand every woman, because women don’t understand themselves, or each other, any more than men do. Men don’t understand themselves or each other either.

And I can understand people better than the average person thanks to my empathic abilities, and I still don’t understand them, really. Even if you know how people basically feel, you won’t know what they will do because of that.

But you don’t need to understand women, totally, to be able to care about them and what they want, and isn’t that the real goal?

Before I get back into this, let’s talk about thew other movie, that’ll round out my point. “

So, “Ocean’s 8” the unspectacular female spin off of the Oceans movies. I don’t have any issue with it in of itself, it was unremarkable, but enjoyable enough if you like heist films, and the actresses were not grating, but should have had more time to act together and be their quirky selves, instead of the 2 dimensional characters they were.

But it occurred to me after watching it, that, there really is nothing at all about it to make it unique. It’s just, 8 women, instead of however many men it happened to be in the other films. Big whoop.

Aside from throwing in some more female stuff like:

dealing with kids

betrayed by your love interest

not having enough female friends

….?

None of these women were especially bad in any other ways other than their particular crimes, which was interesting from a moral standpoint, but rather redundant from a character standpoint.

The movie was relying on star power to make people watch it, which is why I did, but with all that talent, why not do something more creative?

The simple answer is, it’s just another female empowerment movie because a female version of everything has to exist.

No thought it put into what would suit the actresses best, show off their talent the most, and make the most sense for a story centered around them.

And forgive me for saying so but that seems inherently far more sexist than just saying 8 women wouldn’t pull of a heist.

Have 8 women ever pulled off a heist without any men involved except as pawns? Go ahead, look it up, I’d like to know.

Have 8 women every done anything remarkable in history, for that matter, that involved crime?

If it’s happened, it’s not well known enough for a history over like me to have heard of it, and that’s already kind of telling. If there was a true story of this nature, it would have been made into a movie already.

No, even if you make the argument it must have happened at least once in thousands of years, it won’t do much for the movie industry, since they can’t find it.

So, that said…. why limit the characters so much. This is just Hollywood using these talented women to roll in the cash for a “feminist’ movie, and using them to make money instead of to make a good, well balanced movie, is very sexist. As well as giving them no complex thoughts in the movie.

Excuse me if I think a movie about women showing off their talents at hacking, and inventing tools, and scamming people is not exactly making us look deep, or layered. What about philosophy?

Name the last “female empowerment” movie you saw that talked about the philosophy of a women in it? Go ahead, try.

They all have women who tell off men, care a whole lot about promoting women’s rights, and who wear heels…

Yeah, so all powerful women care about is ourselves? Great message, Hollywood.

And it’s completely untrue. Great women, in real life, often have very deep philosophies, wisdom, and practicality. Often our greatest talents is knowing how to get people to do what we want, not whine about it being unfair. Look deep into the life of any capable, impactful woman, see if I’m wrong.

That’s because we’re people. Who, shock! Actually care about others other than ourselves. Imagine that.

(A much better movie is the Harriet one that came out, that hardly anyone seems to have remembered. Based on my own studies, it was quite accurate in many ways, and didn’t lionize Harriet at all. It made her awesome, but still human. Great story.)

Not to mention, you lose the heart of the original.

Do men make movies about other men to exclude women? I know some SJWs actually believe that, they’ve been fed the idea that patriarchal values dictate our society, and all men are actively or subconsciously trying to suppress women.

Geez, the world forbid a man make a movie about things other men and himself are interested in, because he knows thy are, and he wants to make a movie about it without worrying about political savvy.

Some men like including female characters, others don’t. It annoys me when a show lacks female leads, but guess what I do then, I don’t watch it! Why should I?

And why do I need to care? If I can admit that I only want to watch shows that have women in them, regardless of plot, then…well… that’s kind of sexist, isn’t it? At least, it would sound sexist if a man said it right?

See, me enjoying My Little Pony a female dominated show, is fine. But if a man wants to watch an old male dominated show, then he’s a sexist. Id on’t get it. If he wants to watch men, then fine.

Some men like it if ther’es women on the show too, not all of them for reasons I really agree with. Is a sexual deviatn less of a sexist because he watches a show only if it has hot female characters on it?

No.

Really, writers should be allowed to tell the story they want to tell, regardless of whether they sue men or women to tell it. And while I don’t gravitate towards male dominated stories, I do read them. And I enjoy them. Am I going to get mad at J. R. R. Tolkien because there’s only a few women in LOTR? Am I gong to get mad at Charles Dickens because most of his MCs are men, and the girls ones often die off? (So do the boys).

I guess Ic ould, but it kind of misses the pont of the story doesn’ it?

When we make everything about gender, we destroy any deeper meaning, any actual art. And, at times, I am tempted to think that is what they really want.

If the SJWs and media can keep us fighting about stuff that we will never achieve, like gender equality, (it is truly impossible to make men and women equal, biology itself won’t let us dot hat), Then we’ll stop talking about things like love, honor, respect, truth, self sacrifice, courage, persistence, the things we used to make movies about. And male centered stories used to be some of the best about that.

Call me crazy but I really don’t care whether it’s a man or woman telling me, if it’s true. And I don’t intend to go easy on a liar just because they share my gender. If anything, that’s more insulting to me, if it means people will assume I agree with her.

But I’ll wait till doomsday if I wait for the entertainment industry to stop stereotyping, exploiting, and pitting us against each other, so this is not an indictment against Hollywood. I’m not gong to waste my time doing that.

Instead, I appeal to the viewers.

I’m sure most of you don’t like these slants anymore than I do, but it can be hard to explain why. How do you explain this kind of subtle sexism? Especially if it felt unintentional?

I had someone ask me on YouTube, how they could make a male or female character feel male or female. How do they get that real feeling to it.

My advice to them? Don’t try to make them male or female. I don’t believe that gender is unimportant to life, but to writing, it’s a huge mistake to try to write a character to be manly or feminine. Unless you are doing it ironically. You will not be able to avoid making them too superficial.

See, only God has ever been able to nail making male and female things without some impediment to His imagination because of limited experience.

I can’t write men perfectly because I have not met every man int eh world. What is distinctly masculine? I don’t know. It changes every few decades, doesn’t it? Men have an essence, not a singular personality trait, anyone who seriously they do is an idiot.

Women are the same. We have an essence, but not singular characteristic. Is tea drinking and dresses really universally female? No, even looking at different cultures that becomes obvious.

Being a mother is feminine, because a man can’t be a mother. But a man can have motherly traits, if you think that nurturing trait belongs more to mothers than fathers, I really don’t. You see how it works? You have to start with the assumption that something is a masculine or feminine trait before you can say a character is masculine or feminine for having it.

Lifting weights, it’s manly right?

So women never lift weights. And women never should. Or they can, but it will always be more manly than feminine….why? Why does it matter?

And dresses are feminine, so men can not wear robes, though for centuries, they did… and was it feminine then?

Okay, what about traits of personality?

Men are… unemotional, right? So, all the poets, writers, and unstable men of history just weren’t manly… because we all know, women spend more time making poetry, books, and losing their cool than men do…. right?

Women are… petty? Because we all now women spend far more time stabbing each other int the back over nothing, ignoring the bigger picture, and getting revenge than men do. And the ones who didn’t do that… as in most of the respected women of society, were just not feminine…

Yeah, see how stupid it sounds when you really think about it?

What makes someone seem like a woman or man is something impossible to pin point, you will never succeed, the closest anyone has gotten is in pinpoint what we desire, which does seem to be the biggest difference between us.

We all want love, but men and women do tend to want it in different ways. Women tend to want to feel safe and secure with men, men tend to want to feel they can count on women to believe in them. Even that has nuance to it, in some people it is almost unrecognizable, and other authors beside me have described it better.

But my point is, we can’t put each other into these stupid little boxes. If I try to do that to my husband, I am sure it will end terribly, because he can fit into the box my dad gave me. And I can’t fit into a box either.

I like crowns and sparkles, I also like physical combat more than most men I know, and enjoy doing dark emo looks for videos, and most of the time, I really don’t think about what I do being feminine or masculine.

Of course, some standards are good. I’m not against ladylike behavior. I just think it should be part of your character, not dictating what hobbies you have. You can be ladylike punching someone in boxing, and you can be crass while having a tea party. It’s all on the inside.

And man can be gentile whether he’s an accountant or a soldier or a plumber. If it’s a real gentlemen, you really own’t care anymore what he is. Some men render cleaning pipes a noble act, some men render saving your life a disagreeable experience (bad doctors, anyone?) it depends.

So, I guess, my conclusion is, we should be more fair… and we should stop being ashamed of who we are.

This feminist slant has humiliated women as well as men. We should just respect each other, and stop fanning the flames of hatred. As that underrated show “Girl Meets World” tied to demonstrate in the “Girl Meets STEM” episode.

There’s much more to this subject than I can cover in one post, but I hope this was some food for thought.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

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