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Be a Hell Raiser, Not a Chump

Mother Jones in tent city

Today, in honor of Labor Day weekend, I’m rerunning this column about Mother Jones. Raise a glass to hard-fought child labor laws and the 8-hour workday and I’ll see you back here tomorrow! — Tracy

I’m struck by how often the catalyst for an extraordinary life is loss.

A friend of mine posts various nuggets of history on Facebook and the other day she featured Mother Jones. (Not the magazine that is named for her, but the labor organizer.)

Mary Harris Jones had a shit hand dealt to her if anyone ever did. Born in 1837, she became a school teacher, married a George Jones and together had a family of four children. Then as a young woman, she lost her entire family. Her husband and all of her babies perished in a yellow fever epidemic in Memphis. The children were all under the age of five.

That would be enough tragedy to send you to the mental ward for life, but Jones rebuilt and moved to Chicago to work as a dressmaker. By all accounts, she was quite successful at it. And then the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 hit and she lost everything. Again. Her home, her business, and all her worldly possessions.

Can you imagine? She reinvented again. In middle age! For the rest of her life (she lived to be 100), she was a fearsome labor organizer — called “the most dangerous woman in America.” What was she fighting for? To keep children out of coal mines and in school. Yeah, radical stuff. There were no child labor laws back in the day. The protections we enjoy today, we owe to protesters like Jones. I like this quote — she said: “I’m not a humanitarian, I’m a hell-raiser.”

She had a smart-ass Irish wit. When denounced on the Senate floor as the “grandmother of all agitators,” she replied: “I hope I live long enough to be the great-grandmother of all agitators.”

In 1903, upset about the lax enforcement of the child labor laws in the Pennsylvania mines and silk mills, she organized a Children’s March from Philadelphia to the home of then president Theodore Roosevelt in New York.

The picture above is her outfitting children with shoes for that march. She was in her 60s by then — leading marches on foot, hundreds of miles. The children she marched with, many were missing fingers and limbs — maimed from factory work. She tried to get the president to give them an audience. Roosevelt was unmoved, but she never stopped fighting for workers’ rights.

“I am not afraid of the pen, or the scaffold, or the sword. I will tell the truth wherever I please.”

Take those words to heart, chumps. Loss can make you brave. When your world has been obliterated, it can provoke a fearlessness that is a gift. What can they throw at you that you haven’t survived worse? Could the pen, scaffold, or sword be worse than losing four children, a husband, and everything you ever worked for? They couldn’t touch her.

She could’ve let that loss kill her. Send her into mourning or the care of relatives for life. No one would’ve blamed her, it would’ve been the expected thing for a woman her age back then. But she did the unexpected thing — she became a fighter. She transmuted that pain into a courageous empathy that did some good in the world.

The futurist and inventor Buckminster Fuller once said: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

I love that quote. I first saw it as a tag line in an email from an organic farmer. I think there is great wisdom in that quote for chumps. You do not change things by fighting the “existing reality.” If that reality is infidelity, you will not change it with the pick me dance, by trying harder, by chasing reconciliation unicorns. To change, you need to build a new model — YOU — that makes the existing model (chumpy OLD you) obsolete.

You need to invest in an entirely new reality. A BETTER reality (leave a cheater, gain a life). So often we “fight” instead — we butt up against the existing reality of being cheated on. We fight by trying to prove our worthiness, by obsessing over the affair partner, by staying locked in unhealthy ways of relating, by being the marriage police, when what we need to do is make our old crappy lives obsolete. It’s harder to mourn something, when you’ve got a better something to replace it with.

Did you know Buckminster Fuller was another one of those extraordinary people transformed by loss? If you’re not familiar with Fuller, he was a prolific inventor, architect and designer, who is best known for the geodesic dome. He was also a futurist and humanitarian, and a total odd ball. (He was expelled from Harvard twice: once for spending all his money partying with a vaudeville troupe.)

By age 32, Fuller was bankrupt and jobless, living in low-income public housing in Chicago, Illinois. In 1922, Fuller’s young daughter Alexandra died from complications from polio and spinal meningitis. Allegedly, he felt responsible and this caused him to drink frequently and to contemplate suicide for a while. He finally chose to embark on “an experiment, to find what a single individual [could] contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity.”

It’s a grandiose thought — to contribute your life in such a way to benefit “all humanity.” But then again, chumps — why the hell not? If labor marches and inventions aren’t your thing, find something that is. Invest in your better self. If you find your personal life destroyed by infidelity, yes, it’s tragic. It’s also an opportunity. Think of all the things you could be filling your new life with… making that past life obsolete. So what’s going to be next, chumps?

“Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”  — Mother Jones 

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  • Thank you for this. It’s what I needed to hear. Rebuilding a life is hard but it can be so life affirming. So full of hope for better days, better memories and a better life.

    I left an abuser after 5 years who started up stalking me once I left. The crescendo of that scary 18 months of my life was him hitting me with his car, smacking me in the head with a metal pipe and throwing me in the boot. I talked to him with my dislocated fingers that couldn’t seem to grip things and I was so cold even though it was over 40degrees Celsius (very hot). But he calmed down and took me home…eventually. The police got involved and he stayed away. I rebuilt my life and gosh it was good. The relief I felt in being able to breathe…the hope in my future. It was beyond wonderful even though there was horror behind me.

    Then I met that exhole cheater and so began the next 5 years of a long con with a sociopath narc. I left him the night I discovered him cheating after long years of being his nurse and purse. It was hard to rebuild a second time. I felt less confident that real love could be out there. But my life was so so good even with mismatched and cheap furniture. I built my tribe of good and authentic people around me and I made plans for things I wanted. I found real monkey love when I really least expected it. I travelled. I found who I was and what I liked and wanted.

    Now I am again alone with a different trauma that has visited me. If I didn’t have the baby on the way, I don’t think I would have the strength and will to rebuild a third time. Each time I rebuild I lose so much in regards to time, heart, finances, innocence. But then I gain and keep gaining and that beautiful new life starts to come into being.

    To all those leaving a cheater…I promise it gets so much better. It really does. Even when it feels like you are dying in slow motion, your home is ripped away and replaced with a tiny apartment and your bank balance is so unhealthy that it hurts to even think about it. Keep moving forward one step at a time. Cheaters offer so little and you settled for less than crumbs. You may not see it yet but you will. Use anger to burn away pain and fuel your forward momentum. It works in your favour. Biggest hugs. I promise there are better things to come after a cheater.

  • Thankyou Tracey for your words of inspiration, honesty and sass.

    I NEEDED your words throughout this last year – yours and all the comments in replies, gave me clarity about all the mess surrounding me.

    This post resonates completely with me. I’m printing this one out!

    A year down the track of FW leaving, frankly, I’ve never been happier.

    Fitter, stronger (find “Fabulous 50’’s” on YouTube for amazing free workouts) and I can be who I want to be now without the put downs etc.

    I’ve joined a hiking club, met new people, ran half marathon a few weeks ago (I was 100kg when he left but I sure ain’t now!) and am starting up a small side business in addition to working full time. My son is thriving. I have never felt good and in control of my destiny like this.

    I got out of the gutter and I’m NEVER going back to the sewer.

    I Focus on the future and refuse to dwell in the land of chaos. My mind has slowly unscrambled and I have so much energy for living.

    I’m poorer financially but richer in every other aspect of my life.

    Thank God my ex had double lives (you read that right) that I found out about or I’d be stuck with that entitled selfish prick for life.

    I did 33 years married. It was a prison.

    Now freedom.

    Hallelujah!

  • I remember another post about Mother Jones and how inspirational she was. Reading this today with my personal tragedies and the troubled world gives me
    hope and faith in human kind. Thank you Tracy.

  • Interesting (to me) that both stories are tied to Chicago. It’s Chicago that sort of changed my trajectory. I met FW on the West coast when we both served in the Navy. He was just a friend then and he got out of the service and moved to the one place he loved most: Chicago.

    I got off the Navy a few years later and was living in San Diego. I was open to taken a civilian job anywhere and ended up with my best job offer in Chicago. That’s when FW pursued me and wanted to date. We eventually did start dating (against my better judgement and red flags)… but we married and were happy there.

    It wasn’t until FW (who was fired from multiple jobs within a few years) had to take a job in DC that we moved. We had just bought an awesome condo in Chicago. I had an amazing job I loved. But I gave up both. And it was the one time I saw FW cry… he didn’t want to leave Chicago.

    It was the move to DC that made us decide it was a good time to have a baby and that’s when the narcissist mask started to slip. I had a new job where I was about to pass him in earnings and he hated that (told me he did). He hated DC. After out son was born, he hated my attention on anyone but him. FW continued to get fired from jobs and now I was a SAHM. He effectively shifted all the power to him… and yet he was very unhappy.

    Mr Unhappy made all of these decisions. Then left for a coworker who is FROM the DC area. Her kids go to school here. Her parents are here. So he’s stuck exactly where he doesn’t want to be. His true love (Chicago) is impossible for him now (at least for the next 5 years or so).

    Meanwhile, I have found peace doing anything I want to now. I’m blessed to have friends all over the country and I do as I please. And my heroic fight has been for my son. As soon as FW left — as my kid and I both battled the trauma and grief that feels unending— I found my inner Mother Jones (didn’t know who she was til now) and focuses that grief anger and PTSD entirely on making sure my child was ok. It was a lot of money and attorneys, but I got him safe from a truly abusive FW dad.

    In a few years son will be done with school and I’ll be free to move wherever I like. But I’ve found that I don’t have a “Chicago.” I’ve liked everywhere I’ve lived because I enjoy friendships and exploration, so it’s all interesting and fun to me.

    Loved today’s post, CL. Just a reminder how powerful we all are when we focus the massive shit sandwich we are dealt into powers of good. (For anyone who doesn’t know my story… this wasn’t smooth, I didn’t feel mighty the first few years… but don’t be afraid. Keep fighting for good and a in the direction of a new path for you and your kids, if you have them)

  • I’m just coming out of the 2 year fog. Horribly betrayed and buried under a mountain of lies from a man who I thought loved me for 25 years. I’m finding myself again, the person who has been so utterly devalued. And guess what? I just met someone at age 52. He’s kind, fun, smart, caring and genuine. There are no lies and it just feels so…normal. After all the gaslighting, brain washing and bullshit it’s a wonder that a man is in my life who is real. It’s early days and if it doesn’t work out it’s given me the gift of what a real person is like. Also in spite of it all my
    job is going great and my daughter is thriving. Thanks chump nation. I know we can get through this!

  • 26 years. Life is hard. I will be working full time until I am 70 plus. That is not what I thought my life would look like. I had to buy him out of the house to keep it and that was worth the struggle. He has not had to deal with any consequences of his actions. I did all the work. Many mutual friends took his part and fell for his sad sausage routine (the affair with the ex school gf two failed times round from 30+ years ago has never been admitted). I was ‘crazy’, had ‘mental health issues’, and so on. Yes I did, because I was married to a seriously disordered person, with a family history of alcoholism and hidden bi-polar/personality disorders. I wasn’t on anti-depressants solely because I was stressed and burnt out at work. Part of my distress was the lack of support from the FW over the years. I love doing my life on my own now. I make decisions for me. I have found so much strength from what has happened and the support from groups such as this. The ex was pretty much a runaway husband which made the divorce an uphill struggle. Not having to deal with his narcissistic madness has been a life changer. No matter how thought life is, I’m grateful.

    • “Life is hard. I will be working full time until I am 70 plus. That is not what I thought my life would look like.”

      Me too, MightyWarrior. While I’m very proud of the strides I’ve made in my single-mom-post-FW life (I’m partway through my PhD), I’m looking at my colleagues who are on the same career path I’m on and, good lord, most of them are so young. In their 20s, even. I’m the mature student in the room who came to the table later in life. I have children I still need to support, a mortgage and massive student loan debt, no savings, no retirement fund, and, if I’m lucky enough to get a job in my field when this degree is done (fingers crossed; it’s a very small job pool and I can’t move to chase job openings), I’ll be starting at the bottom of the totem pole along with my much, much younger contemporaries.

      I’m with you, this is not how I thought my life would go. I don’t think retirement will ever be in the cards for me; I got started on this path too late.

      But I feel excited. I feel empowered. I’m trying not to think of how I’ll be working (if I’m able) well into my golden years, and, instead, being at the starting line of this journey with my younger colleagues makes me feel younger too. Not because I think I am but because, like them, I’m at the beginning of something new.

      Yes, I’m at the beginning of something new not because I wanted to be but because I was forced to build a new exciting (and scary!) life.

      Ironically, FW *isn’t* living a brand new, sparkly life. He had a dead-end job with a wife and children and he’s traded it over for a different dead-end job with a wife and children. This Wifetress of his, probably like me, will spend her married life in anxiety, hoping he never strays to another bed.

      Taking this perspective into account (and it’s a generalization for everyone’s mileage varies), yes, everything changes for the chump. Nothing changes for the FW–it’s same old, same old.

      The FW wanted a new exciting life but, really, that’s what we get even though we never asked for it. (Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, huh?)

      So, no… this was not the life I was hoping for. I didn’t ask for any of this. But I’ve been put on the path for more adventures (and hard work, admittedly) than FW, who swapped one wife for another, will ever be on.

      Yes, we’ve been given a lot of shit sandwiches. But we’re not married to the sandwich makers anymore; we’re free and we don’t have to eat them. We can use all those shit sandwiches to fertilize the growth of something better–something amazing. Or we can keep eating them and getting sick. And I say this as someone who mostly uses that shit to fertilize better things, but who still eats the occasional one before realizing that it doesn’t feel good when I eat what the FW hands me. I’m still learning, adjusting, and making mistakes as I go.

      I’m grateful for CL’s post today and to have learned about Mother Jones–my perspective has shifted. What a story. What a warrior. I nearly cried reading it and I may print it out.

      • What a great perspective! I especially like your idea of feeling younger because you’re at the beginning of something new, because I need to reframe my own situation that way. I divorced and retired in close proximity, and it felt and still feels like endings, rather than a chance for new beginnings. So thank you! And with your attitude, I am betting you will excel in your new career.

      • Lovely post Fourleaf. Thank you. I too feel empowered. And I know I will age as a vibrant, engaged passionate woman. That’s enough for me.

    • Be sure to check out the Social Security Administration’s website. Particularly the information about collecting on your ex’s Social Security that you are entitled to.

      • Yes it is important to know all the numbers.
        Here is the info.

        https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/081815/can-divorced-woman-collect-social-security-her-exhusband.asp

        The spouse who you are collecting from does not have to be retired, but the person collecting does have to be 62. Check with the SSA as soon as you turn 62.

        What an eligible ex draws will not affect what they or their current spouse draws.

        Give all the info to the SSA agent and they will run all the numbers.

        • Hi Susie Lee –

          Ex currently DOES have the correct number of points needed to be able to collect SS retirement. He is 59 now and has 3 years to go before he can draw his SS on his own. I am a bit older than he is and started collecting on my own social security at 62.

          Would I be able to start drawing on his retirement now, as I am sure it will be larger than mine?

          • I have checked a couple sites, this ones says the spouse must be eligible to draw, whether they are drawing or not. I take that to mean he she must be at least 62, but honestly I would call the SSA, or go to your local SSA office to talk to an agent.

            However, if you wait until he is 62 you would be able to draw more, so that is good. But, check with an agent. Have your SS number and his ready.

            This site gives the best info.

            https://www.aarp.org/retirement/social-security/questions-answers/ex-spouse-social-security.html#:~:text=Your%20former%20spouse%20doesn't,at%20least%20two%20years%20old.

            SS like any other govt agency is has a lot of rules, but once you are on SS, you should be able to get in touch with an agent they will tell you if you can draw and when.

            My guess is he would have to be at the minimum age, or be on disability for your to draw. So at the very least you only have a couple years to wait.

            They give a number to call in this write up. I do think he has to be 62, however in the case of a divorced person, he does not have to be drawing for you to collect as long as he is 62. But again call and get the info directly from SSA, and put that date on your calendar so you can start drawing the larger amount as soon as possible.

            per this article:

            “The most you can collect in divorced-spouse benefits is 50 percent of your former mate’s primary insurance amount — the monthly payment he or she is entitled to at full retirement age, which is currently 66 and 2 months and is rising incrementally to 67 over the next several years.”

            • Susie Lee –

              I really appreciate the info that you sent.

              I read it all very carefully and watched the video in the link that was on top as well. I think you are exactly right in that he would need to be 62 or older, whether he starts his SS at that age or not. Also, if I am understanding this right, I will not get the full 50% of his SS amount until he turns 66 or 67 (also dependent on what the definition of “full retirement age” is at that time). If I claim on his when he turns 62 it will be some percentage less than the full 50%…. maybe 35% or 40%. In that case, it won’t be much different than what I am getting on my own! 😭

              *** THANK-YOU for pointing me in the right direction. *** I will call Social Security to make absolutely sure though. I also have a question about what their definition of disability is. The Ex will be claiming some % of military retirement disability that he will be able to start collecting in next year when he turns 60. Maybe SS counts that kind of disability and then I wouldn’t have to wait until he turns 62. So many questions.

              • Yep that sounds right. My current husband gets less SS than me, but it is about the same as he would get if he got 50 percent of what I get, so he still draws on his own. He was in another pension plan so he didn’t pay as much into SS as I have.

                However since we are married, he would get an increase if I passed before him, bringing him up to close to what I get now.

                My ex could have drawn from mine (he didn’t get much SS either, he was in a police pension plan) but he got married before he was at the age cut off, so he couldn’t draw from me.

                His whore is drawing from her own which is not much, but it is a little bit more than she would get if she was drawing off his. They fucked each other over in more ways than they intended.

          • CNAR: A former spouse has to have been married ten years to the person on whose record they are applying. If that person is not drawing but is eligible, they have to have been divorced at least two years. I am not sure if eligible means they have worked enough or they have worked enough and are retirement age. I THINK the latter, but not sure. Go to ssa.gov and click on something like filing for retirement and then there will be something about for retiree’s family and click on that. Also call SS (even the national #), have the SS#s ready, etc. and the person you are talking to should be able to look up and see if you are eligible, etc. on X’s account. Good luck.

            • Lee Chump –

              I suffered through almost 16 years so no problem there.

              The definition of “eligible” was a bit confusing for me too regarding having worked enough to be eligible or did eligible mean that the magic age of 62 + had to be reached first. Like you, I think it means the eligible as in 62 + years old. Definitely will check out the .gov site as well as call. Thanks for the advice!

              —————

              Susie Lee –

              Always glad to read a good Karma kicking story for a whore and the fuckwit she rode in on. 🥳

    • That is so unfair it makes me angry as hell. You have to work until you drop and that asshole sails off into the sunset, taking your friends with him. To top it all off, you had to pay him just to keep a roof over your head! Grrrr! These people don’t deserve to live.

  • Historian Heather Cox Richardson’s post for Labor Day (from Letters from an American) on Frances Perkins, long time Labor activist and FDR’s Secretary of Labor, makes a good bookend to Chump Lady’s inspirational post on Mother Jones.

    (Google her name and “Letters from an American”)

    • Adelante, I read Heather Cox Richardson every day. Despite everything going on in the country these days she keeps me hopeful. I wish she had a wider audience.

      • Love Heather Cox Richardson. I think she has a fairly wide audience. It could always be wider though. She knows her history and puts it all into perspective so well.

  • It is part of my faith tradition that suffering is never wasted…it can be the refinement that creates someone new. I will forever wonder if there might have been a time when God was creating me that He asked me if I wanted one path or there other – one being pain followed by purpose and service of many or ease and a life of pointless self indulgence.

    So I dont know if I chose or was assigned parents, a sibling and a spouse who would marginalize and hurt me, but they are who I got. Now in my 50s, I have a spouse who supports me, kids who are quirky but awesome people and a vocation that helps those who are suffering mightily. I cant and dont fix their suffering but I help them survive the crisis at hand in hopes of eventual thriving.

    If I had never known pain, I could not have the life I have now.

    Im honored to be in a group like you of survivors…the sane parents and faithful spouses. I hope we each find our own Mother Jones moments to use what we gained in our experiences.

  • pick me dances never work.
    they do for fuckwits and ow. ow actually think they have won a prize, they won u ex. still hurts tough. ex said he choose me. i wonder how much thinking went into that. said he had a list of complaints about me, should have made my own list shouldn’t i.

  • Well, I guess I’m on round three of my life. Before I met FW, I had to change careers because – as I discovered 8 years into it – the military thinks women are sex toys. I didn’t agree, and I was thrown away. So then I went back to school and got 2 degrees.

    I was finishing up the second degree when Mr. FW came along. He did a little prince charming shtick for me and followed it up with his sad sausage song and dance. I didn’t know the difference between need and love, and I felt needed so I thought I was loved. I spent the next 17+ years following him around with a mop and a couple of babies, wearing myself out. A great cosmic joke slapped me in the head when I finally realized that my husband had the same philosophy as the military – women are disposable sex toys. Use them up and throw them away.

    Here I am at round three – 56 years old, working my way out of a trauma fog with nothing left but broken down furniture and a small house on top of some railroad tracks. Nobody seemed to want to hire me except one very desperate school. So now I’m starting another career and another educational program. I spend all day teaching English to troubled, low-income high school kids and all night taking classes so I can get my teaching license when I’m 58.

    My house is filthy, I eat pre-packaged food, and exhaustion runs through my veins. I would do anything for a wife to take care of my shit while I work 16 hours a day. On the other hand, my FW, just like so many others, seems to have gotten nothing but rewards for being a slithering slug with fangs. Now he hangs out at the country club sipping dirty martinis and talking stock futures. Although I take solace in knowing he has “an elevator shaft for a soul,” I do hope there’s a Hell.

    But I guess I’m not as tired as Mother Jones after marching to Washington from Philadelphia. Teachers’ pay is insulting, but they say no one does it for the money. I guess they’re right because, so far, I’ve been paid $3k but I’ve spent $500 on classroom supplies and $5k for tuition, so I’m at a net loss of 2.5k.

    At least I’m doing something meaningful and maybe giving some of my students a little love, hope, and inspiration that they don’t get elsewhere. In a nation of billionaires, they deserve so much more than a dump of a school with leftover technology, no books or supplies, and unqualified teachers. The injustice in this world breaks my heart. Thank God for people like Mother Jones.

    • Yes, I’m a teacher as well. It doesn’t pay well, but it pays the bills well enough. Teaching is one of the few professional-level jobs that truly doesn’t care that you are older and were a SAHM for twenty years. I applied for a whole range of jobs during separation and ended up in retail (among other things). That’s was not a long-term solution at all, so I ramped up my teaching. I actually teach for two schools. But yes, our oldest makes more than I do not even a year out of college.

      In the military, they call it resilience when you fight your way through adversity and muster all the help you can get. Yes, that’s what I did. The bottom line is that I finally became self-supporting after the divorce. There was no alimony because he’s retired. I got a percentage of his pension which is nowhere near enough to live on, and another pension from work years ago. Still not enough to live on. But I enjoy teaching anyway. Life is good.

      • ” they call it resilience when you fight your way through adversity and muster all the help you can get. ”

        I had an entry level job (barely above minimum wage) working for DoD. I was grateful for it though, as it was all I had when the bomb was detonated.

        I waived his retirement, and for that I got a small one bedroom apartment house on a tiny property. He waived my retirement too, but he at the time had way more in his than I did mine. It was the most frightened I had ever been in my life. But, what are we going to do we just have to keep walking as the old saying goes.

        It took me several years, but I did get a couple promotions, and in fact eventually out earned him. Plus I had better benefits. I took some comfort in that. Both our salaries were public information so he knew. Gee if he had just kept the whore quiet, he could have used up all my pay on her. I don’t know who dropped a dime on him, but I am sure glad they did. I got out in the nick of time. He soon after our D and their marriage, started gambling, and racked up gambling debts of over 250 thousand dollars.

        Really surprised me, I would have never though he would have been so financially irresponsible.

    • Dirty martinis. How appropriate. How is it that these assholes keep getting away with leaving their spouses destitute?
      I’m really sorry Chumpqueen.

  • I’m a fan of both Jones and Fuller. One thing nags at me about the Fuller quote in relation to cheaters. *They* should be the ones getting rid if the old model (their shitty character) and rendering it obsolete. We shouldn’t have to do the work to get rid of our old reality, because we did nothing wrong. Yet we have to because they choose not to take responsibility, the fuckers.
    I think this fact will never cease to infuriate me. I will never be meh about any of us being conned, forced to go through hell and then change our lives completely. It’s unfair and that pisses me off.
    So I fight for character. I call out liars, abusers, con artists, cheats, bigots, exploiters, pedators, etc. at any opportunity. Nobody gets a pass anymore, not even some stranger on the street who’s being an asshole. It’s the only way I know to feel better. I expect I’ll be quite unpopular as a result. That’s fine with me. Fuckwits care about image and making people like them. I do not.

    • “I will never be meh about any of us being conned, forced to go through hell and then change our lives completely. It’s unfair and that pisses me off.
      So I fight for character. I call out liars, abusers, con artists, cheats, bigots, exploiters, predators, etc. at any opportunity. Nobody gets a pass anymore, ”

      Agree totally

    • OHFFS – you’re popular here and will be with anyone who has walked this path. My radar is turned way up too, and I don’t entertain anyone who sends “off” signals. I suspect the people who don’t like it are sociopaths. There’s no shame in that.

  • Fuller was Tesla in another body. Brilliant. I was entranced by geodesic design homes as a teenager to this day. Most energy efficiency & great wind load stability open desugn rooms balconey bedrooms. All built on the most stable of forms the triangle.

    I believe he impacted modern chemistry as they call six benzene rings into a Bucky Ball. A Carbon sphere. Been awhile but i think that morsel stuck properly in my shift register.

  • Please read about Marva Collins who taught inner city kids philosophy and Shakespeare. She is one of my heroes. So is Lady Bird Johnson who made us look at our environment in a new way. So is Nelson Mandela who saved South Africa. I noticed that many heroes are marginalized because of race or sex.

  • This is a well-meaning post but only depressing to me. I’ve already devoted a lot of my life to humanity. I’ve been a public school teacher for 20 years. I’ve spent countless hours doing volunteer work to help disabled children, the homeless, etc. I have an autistic teenager who I’ve spent most of his life taking to therapies, doctors and researching things (successfully) to help him improve, not to mention sacrificing what little money I have to pay for all of that plus private schools for him since public was insufficient for his needs.

    I already know I can survive and that I can also help others. I already have done all of that. What I really need is someone to love and care for me, in the way that only a loving partner can. I’ve never had a genuine version of that and I doubt that I ever will. There has to be more to life than just giving and giving and giving to others. Yes, giving has value, but I think I have value, too.

    • There is more to life than giving. The exhaustion of being used and abused and having to rebuild over and over drags at my bones too. But I am perfectly OK with screaming that it isn’t fair and that it’s a sick and effed up joke. Because none of it is fair. Good people get taken advantage of and we hurt so badly while others appear so blessed. I get it, I ‘m twisted up in knots right now that others have cheaters to leave…because I know there is hope and better days after leaving a cheater.

      But find a life doesn’t have to be about giving to humanity. It’s about giving to yourself too. You deserve care and time and you can give yourself those things as you inch forward. It hard but give yourself permission to cut toxic people from your life, to not care about what stupid shit they do, to have a messy house when you just don’t have the energy to clean. Slowly you can start to pull through to a better life. It doesn’t happen quickly but one day you’ll look back and realise how far you’ve come.

      I sincerely wish you an easier road. Because nothing you have endured in fair. I just hope there are some happier times headed your way.

  • I feel the same way. I have never known what it’s like to be in a romantic relationship where there is reciprocity, equal give and take, and I doubt I ever will.

    I’m not sick of giving, I still love to nurture, but I am sick of giving to the undeserving. So I’m not going to do it anymore. I’m saving my love for people who earn it. I have had to jettison some close family members from my life for this reason. They are selfish users and I’m not allowing myself to be used anymore. I’m being told by others that I will regret losing these relationships some day, but I tend to doubt it.

    • I feel the same way OHFFS, for the same reasons. I have attracted people into my life, personal, work, hobbies, who take and take a bit more. Now I’m seeking balance and better boundaries.

  • I’ve started a fund at the local Planned Parenthood to pay for birth control for women who want it and can’t afford it. I don’t have a ton of money, but this is something I can do, and help a younger woman have more control over her life and her options. It’s called the Giving Women Control fund 😊

    Thank you for this inspiring story about Mother Jones. In the words of George Elliot, “What are we here for, if not to help one another?”

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