I know, what you are thinking. “How could conflict ever be positive?” I have always felt the same way myself but I am an Aries and push come to shove I could be provoked. But with James I tried to avoid conflict at all costs, even at the cost of my health.
I am not going to go into the whole story because it is far too long but this week I learned another valuable lesson and I am going to share it with you.
There is a woman here, well several women (women can be so catty can’t they? I always get along better with men it seems and that pisses off the catty women even more) who rule the dock and have not especially liked me right from the start. If you recall when I first moved in one of the women didn’t like that a single woman moved in across from her because she worked nights and thought her hubby might sleep walk into my bed, so she filed a complaint about Stella barking. I let it go, didn’t want to create conflict by confronting her on it, failing to see that it would not have been me creating conflict but her because she filed the bogus complaint.
Well, I have butted heads with another one of the clique over my dog not being on a leash. I have tried to appease them and kept Stella on a leash until we are off the dock but it has not been enough. One of the women has a dog that she doesn’t keep on a leash and the bitch (excuse my language but it is going to get worse as the post goes on so if swearing offends you stop reading now) had the audacity to say, “If you don’t keep Stella on a leash we will all have to keep our dogs on a leash.”
I looked at her in astonishment and blinked, “Do you even listen to yourself speak?” I laughed and said, “I am not getting into this with you today.” and walked away.
I knew I had started a feud but I can not stand stupid people who say things that don’t even make sense. I did try to accommodate her but it never failed that whenever Stella was off leash this bitch saw her.
The other thing that started was:
The women started asking me what I was hauling down and up from the boat. As you know I make money by fixing things up, selling the odd thing I get in scrap and my painted stuff and lately I was selling stuff from my mother’s basement. Stuff my step dad had kept for the boat he was some day going to rebuild and never did. I sold everything to people who live at the dock and I donated what I had left to a bunch of young people who formed a nonprofit to research the island of plastic in the Pacific. They were fixing their boat getting ready for an expedition. (side note* I had this feeling I should ask them if they needed a depth sounder. I had a 30 year old one, totally out of date and useless but this tiny voice kept saying “Ask them” so I did. They lit up, their depth sounder had been acting up. I told them it was right here in the car and pulled it out. it was exactly the same as theirs! I gave it to them. They were thrilled!!! I also gave them a big fishing net and down rigger for fishing and they couldn’t thank me enough. The look on their faces was enough thanks for me).
The husband of one of the women cut me off one day as I walked past with a wheelbarrow full of my groceries, got right in my face and asked what was in the wheelbarrow.
I sighed, looked him in the eyes, “My groceries.” and went to walk passed but he stood in my way.
“Groceries eh? you sure haul a lot of stuff down to your boat.”
Me: “Yes I do, do you have a problem with that?”
He looked in the wheelbarrow and could tell all I had was groceries.
I said, “If you are wondering what I hauled up to my car earlier, it was saw horse ends that I found while walking Stella, there was a pallet of them with a sign that said, “Free Help Yourself” so I called my son who happens to be in construction and asked if he wanted some. He said sure. So I went and loaded a bunch of them into my car and brought them here. I wasn’t going to see him for a couple of weeks so I hauled them all the way down to my boat. Now I am going to see him tomorrow so I hauled them back up to my car. What a good mom I am eh?
I went on “and his favorite supper is Shepperd’s Pie and he hasn’t been feeling well so I promised I would bring his favorite supper, soooooooo I went and bought GROCERIES” and I pointed at the wheelbarrow. “so I could do that. What a good mom I am eh?” and he nodded his head.
I said, “Excuse me” and went to my boat quietly simmering. The nerve!! I calmed myself down and let it go.
I was unloading the car after coming back from my son’s when the same jerk came up and started rummaging through the wheelbarrow pulling stuff out and looking at it.
Me: “That is MY stuff.”
I had done some landscaping while at my son’s and was unloading my gardening tools, he grabbed a brand new edging tool I had bought a few days earlier and said, “This looks brand new.”
I said, “It should, I just bought it.”
Then he starts looking through my trunk. I was getting very annoyed and said, “I understand that some people are suspicious of what I take down to the boat and I don’t owe any one an explanation but I will tell you and I proceeded to tell him my situation as briefly as possible. About how I make some extra money by painting things etc. Then his wife called him to come and he obeyed.
My gut was telling me there was big trouble brewing but what was I to do?
Within two days, last Friday to be exact; my brother received a formal complaint, not just about Stella being off leash but accusing me of selling stolen property, saying the traffic of undesirables coming and going from my boat at all hours day and night “could” be responsible for recent thefts from boats and at the very least was disturbing my neighbors and if it continued they would have to terminate his lease. Of course he knew it was all bullshit (now is when the swearing really getting started) but he phoned me to see what the hell was going on. I told him I have had one visitor since I moved in and that was our mom. He had already told the woman in the office that the stuff I was selling was from our step dad. He said he understood the dog being off leash, he said, “If anyone ever tells me I have to put my dogs on a leash I tell them to go Fuck Themselves. but maybe you will have to keep her on leash while she is on the dock to appease them.”
I told him I have and filled him in on what had been going on with this one bitch and her team of supporters. He said to let it go, it was Friday, not to worry about it and talk to the office Monday, he said whatever you do don’t confront anyone this weekend.
He called back to say, “If you do decide you can’t handle it and just have to throw the bitch in the river, give me a heads up so I can find a place to move the boat.” Gotta love my little bro’
I was very upset though, VERY. I immediately felt powerless, I was feeling like I had done something wrong but knew I hadn’t, I was feeling victimized again. And everyone, even the ones not involved in the complaint knew what had happened and were uncomfortable. It was so reminiscent of James I felt somehow he must be responsible, even though logic told me there was no way. I was amazed at how quickly I reverted to victim mode.
My son called to tell me how much he had enjoyed the night I came up for supper and how we had some really good laughs and he just wanted me to know he had really enjoyed our time together and he loved me. It was just what I needed to hear. Then he asked how I was doing and I told him. While I was telling him I started to cry. He said, “Please don’t cry mom, don’t let the bastards get you down.”
I tried to explain what I was feeling, “James took everything from me but as hard as he tried he couldn’t take my good reputation. No matter what, I have managed to always hang onto that and to have that jeopardized by a bunch of petty bitches is so unfair.”
He said, “Mom do you remember what you said to me years ago when I was being picked on at school and wanted to change schools?” I said no I didn’t.
“You told me that I could switch schools but that there would always be assholes in the world no matter where I went and I was going to have to learn to deal with them because there is no running away from them. They are every where.
Go tell them to keep their fucking mouths shut and if they don’t I am only 2 hours away and I will come down there and throw the bitch in the river. No one makes my mom cry!”
I had to laugh through my tears, “I appreciate the sentiment honey but you don’t have to do that. I was a pretty smart mom years ago. I can deal with it.”
We talked a bit longer and I laughed when, before he got off the phone he said, “Remember mom I’m only 2 hours away. I was the one who was supposed to be living on the boat, if I was living there I would have the music blasting every night and my dog would NOT be on a leash, I don’t even own a fucking leash and if anyone told me to put her on a fucking leash I would tell them to Go Fuck Themselves!! and if anyone dug through my stuff I would punch them in the head! they don’t know how lucky they are.”
I got off the phone and thought about it and he was right. If I was a man that guy would not have gotten away with what he did, for one thing he probably would not have even tried it for fear of getting punched in the head. But he felt like the big man intimidating a woman. They had all treated me with disrespect repeatedly and I had taken it. And now it was stealing my peace of mind and I was allowing it because I didn’t want to look like a bitch and I was trying to avoid conflict when I was NOT the one causing conflict, THEY were causing conflict and they had no problem with it.
I had shoulder pains all night,(for months before I had heart failure and just before my first heart attack I had what I thought was a knotted muscle behind my right shoulder blade, but in fact it was my heart) my heart was beating so hard when I went to bed that night my whole body shook with every beat. I thought I was going to have a heart attack for sure. The next day I wrote a 7 page letter to the “instigators of the witch hunt” and dropped it off to who I thought was the leader of the pack and said, “Now keep your fucking mouth shut.”
She jumped up and said, “Are you threatening me in front of all these people?” I thought she was going to attack me.
I turned and when I looked at her I think she saw by my face I was not to be messed with, “I did not threaten you, I told you to keep your fucking mouth shut, the letter explains it all, I suggest you read it.” and I walked away. I was vibrating, at what level I don’t know; but definitely vibrating.
The letter had explained my whole situation, James, why I was not working and I provided names and numbers of people who could back my story. I was not apologizing, I was not ashamed or fearful, I was proud of what I have accomplished and angry yes…. very angry but not afraid of conflict any more. Trying to avoid conflict had done me no good and now they could bring it on because I knew I was right and I was not going to back down even if it killed me.
And it almost did, I had neck pain, shoulder pain and chest pains for 3 days, my hair has even been falling out by the handfuls (what happened after my last heart attack). I won’t put the whole letter here but these are a couple of excerpts:
I have answered questions honestly and you all chose to disregard the truth and make up blatant lies, so now I must repeat myself because idle minds in this place have nothing better to do that make trouble in my life. You really all should thank your lucky stars that your lives are so uneventful that you have to make up drama to entertain yourselves.
I refuse to be disrespected any longer and I have nothing to say to anyone and don’t want any platitudes or apologies. Go to the office and tell the truth or go to hell.
As for people coming and going from the boat at all hours day and night. Bullshit! I have had one visitor since I moved in, my mother, once! Anyone else was sent down by my brother to either fix the boat or list it for sale. If there is someone around my boat at night, please CALL THE COPS, it might be my ex!! I have told you all that I have an abusive ex but you prefer to make up lies to suit your wild imaginations.
I also spend 7 days a week on my blog which has had almost 1,500,000 (that is a million and ½ for those not good at math) and has almost 1900 followers. I have attached just a fraction of the messages of gratitude I have received.
It is nothing short of a miracle that I am alive, healthy and happy because I overcame obstacles that would bring most people to their knees. I work tirelessly to help victims of abuse and will until the day I die. What have you done today?
Do you even think before you engage your vicious mouths? You all should be ashamed of yourselves, I am disgusted.
I included my resume, about 100 testimonials from people I have helped on the blog and I refuted their lies one by one. Stuff I had already told them but they refused to believe.
I just have to interrupt myself here because one of my neighbors just stopped to pat Stella who is sitting on the dock outside the boat. I said that Stella loves the attention and the woman said, “We all really enjoy giving her a pet. She has a good soul.” I think we enjoy having Stella more than she enjoys the pets. She is good for us and puts smiles on people’s faces. I agree.
Anyway, I heard from my brother Monday morning and the woman in the office said it was all a misunderstanding, they weren’t accusing me of stealing and no one said anyone was visiting my boat. He said that she mentioned my 7 page letter and that there was no witch hunt going on. funny how on Friday it was a different story which he has in writing but I guess my letter had the desired effect and I got what I wanted. I have stuck to my word, not gone to the office and just stay out of everyone’s way. I am sure that fellow digging through my stuff and cornering me is bordering on being illegal.
When you have a bad heart, the stressful situation may go away the effects still linger and I was having really bad pains last night and was exhausted all day yesterday. I kept thinking, “What would I do with Stella if I had to go to the hospital? My brother is leaving for a month on his boat, my son is at least 2 hours away, and my mom couldn’t take her. I must have had 6 naps and still went to bed at 11. I slept until 7, a full 8 hours without waking which is rare for me. When I woke up my neck felt so much better and the heaviness around my chest was gone.
I walked up to the shower and my neighbor, a nice lady with an equally nice husband ; who have both been nothing but neighborly and friendly to me and Stella; said Good Morning and asked how I was. I said my usual “Fine thanks” and she called me over and said, “You know my hubby and I were talking and if you ever need to go somewhere for an extended period of time we would be happy to take Stella, we both love her. You know where we are and stop by for a drink sometime too.” I thanked her very much. There is no way they would have known I was concerned about Stella.
All day everyone keeps coming by to pet Stella and the guy across the way gave me a salmon steak and all the trimmings to Stella who followed him around like a shadow while he cleaned the salmon he had caught. The fellow in the sail boat in front of me knocked on the sliding glass door and said he had cooked a tenderloin steak and couldn’t eat it all and handed me the leftovers for Stella. I have not said anything to anyone, haven’t tried to get people on “my side” in my mind it is done and I would have carried on if everyone would have joined forces against me because I know I am right because I know I am not doing anything wrong or illegal.
I feel a switch went off this week, all part of the learning process and the growing pains on this journey to be the best I can be.
You see I did for myself what I have done for people I love my whole life. Even people I didn’t know; I have always stood up for people when I felt they were being treated unjustly and I used to defend myself also. But after a year with James I stopped because I didn’t want to be called a bitch. I never used to be worried about being called a bitch when it came to fighting against an injustice.
Not one part of that letter contained fear, shame, guilt or even anger; it told the truth in a fearless and confident way, not as a victim.
Being “nice” does not always attract good things to a person, being “nice” does not guarantee you peace and joy because the world is full of assholes and you had better learn to deal with them because there is no where to hide. I gave that advice to my son over 20 years ago and you know what? I was a pretty smart woman back then, and I still am.
The really neat thing about all of this is; I am not the least bit angry because I can understand it may look suspicious that I haul a lot of stuff down to my boat and I understand that people’s imaginations can get away on them. I think probably I am the only one who learned anything from this though because shallow people never admit they might be wrong.
Oh!! and the woman with the dog, the one who started all this? I saw her with her dog on Monday; her dog was on a long rope trying to swim. She was trying to roll up the rope and it was all tangled. I took Stella to the boat launch like always, off leash. I never cared if that woman’s dog was off leash and now she has made such a big stink about my dog she has to keep her dog on a leash, just like she predicted. Funny, she caused her own grief. Who did she hurt? it seems to me, she is the only one suffering, but I am sure that is somehow my fault too.
What is that called??
Wasn’t I just talking about Karma? what do you know Karma is alive and well and living in a marina on the west coast of Canada.
You too can learn to take your power back without being considered a bitch, or if you are; you won’t care.
The workshop starts in a week, one person is signed up already. Oh did I mention; the price is now $30/ month. More to come later.