Should Clara send this letter to Epifanio as is, edited (how?), or at all?

Should Clara send this letter to Epifanio as is, edited (how?), or at all?

Seeking #readers’ opinions, please.

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NOTES: Since the ebook of Volume I of The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, is perma-FREE, and the paperback is 25% off for July, please read Vol. I before offering your ideas!

Also, Vol. II and III ebooks are only $1 and are also 25% off the paperbacks right now! Best is to read them ALL before commenting!

3 paperbacks

Coupon codes for 25% off discount on CreateSpace paperbacks is in previous blog post: http://www.sallyember.com/blog 7/1/16.

For more info about The Spanners Series: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners

REVIEWERS always are provided coupons to get my ebooks for free. Contact me: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com if you want review copies.

Thanks!


Below, the letter in question. When it’s finalized, this letter goes into Volume V, Spanning the Transformative Years: The Interstitial Changes, of The Spanners Series, featuring the on-again, off-again love relationship between Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator/liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective, and Epifanio Dang, artist, writer, musician, dancer, both in their late 60s by this time.

Currently (July, 2016) I am two-thirds finished with Volume IV, Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude, and beginning Volume V.


Dear Epifanio,

I don’t write you a letter for a while, in this timeline. When I wait so long, what I have to say to you accumulates uncomfortably.

Like plaque or tartar on my teeth, the questions, emotions and thoughts I feel moved to share with you begin to feel more like an interference with my normal digestion of daily life. This all must be removed by cleaning out my psychological mouth and putting what’s inside onto some document.

Unlike the metaphorical build-up, however, these words don’t “go down the drain” when I “rinse and spit,” especially when I don’t send the letters. I plan to send this one.

Or, do they?

Do you actually read my letters, in their entirety? I don’t get much of a response, or any at all, usually.

I’m going to assume you are reading and responding to this one. It comforts me to view our communication as if it were completely mutual.

I love you. I miss you. I miss us.

I believe you love me even though, in this and many timelines at this and “later” points, you don’t seem to know or believe that. Or, you say you love me as a friend, as family.

You also say I irritate you. Mostly, you avoid me.

Or, we’re in love, we are living together, we are partnered/married, and very happy.

Not today.

Once again, I’m trying to find out why we are not together “today,” to see if I can move the needle of our relationship’s direction closer to my understanding of “true north.”

Here are my concerns and questions. I start, usually, at this point in our estrangement, with creating a progression, of sorts, that attempts to discover how hopeless my wishes for our closeness and/or reconciliation are.

First, the deal-breakers:
Am I physically repulsive to you? Is that the major issue?
Does the thought of our being intimate (e.g., kissing and more) make you want to vomit? Does the idea of confiding in me and my knowing your secrets make your skin crawl?
I recognize that if your answer to even one of the above questions is “yes,” there is no hope. I know what it’s like to feel that way about someone and it doesn’t change much.
If you would please tell me that now, it helps me a lot. When I know you can’t even stomach being near me, I am then able to figure out a way to surrender my wishes, to believe firmly that our closeness is impossible.

Next, the inconsistencies:
Do you want us “together,” as friends, at least?
I know you enjoy being with me some of the time. You prolong our talking together on several occasions, by more than an hour or two, sometimes.
How do you seemingly want me around you so much and then not be in touch at all most of the time?

Third, the reasons:
Why do you want to keep yourself separate?
In what way does our being separate achieve whatever you want to avoid, protect, defend or prevent? What are the outcomes you’re attempting to circumvent?
Why are you so certain these are potential threats? How do you know these are possible, much less likely, results of being closer to me?

Fourth, the mysteries:
What scares you? Why do you fling yourself away from me every time we do get closer? How do your fears involve me, exactly?
How are you sure you’re afraid of me?

Finally, the clincher:
How do you know our seeming future?
Since you tell me you can’t timult—don’t know your own or anyone else’s current or alternate timelines, potential karma, destiny/fate—why do you claim that you and I don’t ever have that kind of relationship?
Why do you believe that?
Why should I believe you?

What if…
— your fears are unfounded;
— you’re not repulsed by me (in fact, you’re often attracted to me; I can feel it);
— your predictions are flawed; and
— your negative beliefs about our being closer are all unwarranted?

We laugh together, we have the same core values and a lot of other important aspects in common. We’re almost the same age. We don’t intimidate each other. We don’t need each other to be different than who we are, yet we are wanting and seeking the challenge and support to improve continually from an intimate partner.

Unlike many of our previous partners, neither of us is depressed, too young, wanting to have children or going back to school and moving away. We usually enjoy each other enormously (when you are “with” me).

Please: open your heart/mind and spend some time with me to find out how we are together before deciding we are a “bad idea”?

If you do that and we aren’t compatible, we’ll both know it. It is obvious. I then can surrender my hopes and beliefs. I promise.

If you do that and we are great together, I promise not to say “I told you so” more than once a year.

Offering you my love in every timeline,

Clara


Readers, write to me with your comments on this potential communication. Please send your reactions, suggestions, edits, ridicule, sympathy, empathy and more to http://www.sallyember.com/blog .

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Crush, Harassment, Unrequited Love and Stalking: Which do you know about?

Crush, Harassment, Unrequited Love and Stalking: Which do you know about?

Remember the expression: “mooning over someone?” (circa 1960s)> This described when we have a strong attraction for an oblivious person, one whom we might not even know well. We carry these feelings of yearning inside, in silence, but these feelings are not as invisible as we might believe (or wish), usually.

What about “having a crush”? Do people still “get crushed out” on another person? Usually pre-teens and teens do, but older ones can as well.

crush meme
image from http://www.picturequotes.com

When does unrequited love and its concomitant circumstances, activities and feelings become a crime or a symptom of mental illness?

Can our inner world be measured on some continuum or scale? Is there a set description of behaviors or frequency of actions that forces us to admit we have a problem? When does desire become obsession? When does wishing to be noticed become compulsion?

How many of his/her interests do we take on as our own so that we can be where s/he is “for our own reasons” (sports event, concert, coffee shop, dog show, political rally, nature walk…whatever)? How many times can we “drop by,” drive by, “happen to be” where our love object is/lives and pretend (especially to ourselves) that it is “just a coincidence”?

We think: what if it only takes “one more” for his/her to “come around”? This happens in fiction; can’t it happen for us? How many “secret admirer”-type notes, flowers, emails, texts, other little gifts can we offer or send, leave on someone’s car or doorstep in inbox, before that person feels uncomfortable enough to call the police and get a restraining order?

And, what about the recipient? How many contacts, requests, invitations, gifts does the object of our affect have to endure before s/he can hold up a hand and demand that we petitioners cease and desist? Don’t we each have a right to privacy, inviolate boundaries, being left alone if we so choose?

Have you been on the receiving end of any of this unexpected attention? At what point does it become unwanted to the point of harassment or stalking?

stalker not crush

Are signs of affection and sexual interest able to be labeled officially “unwanted” only after we realize (and then indicate overtly) that we do not reciprocate that person’s feelings and interest?

I ask because two of the main characters in my utopian/sci-fi/romance books in The Spanners Series, Clara Branon and Epifanio Dang, are embroiled in an on-again/off-again, does-he-or-doesn’t-he? (return her affections) multiverse/multiple timelines set of scenarios.

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I wonder if I’m depicting Epifanio’s reactions and position accurately or fairly, or Clara’s persistence as if she’s mentally healthy when, perhaps, she is not. In some of them, Epifanio feels a bit stalked, we find out, but “comes around.” In others, his conversations and encounters with Clara prompt him to discover that he does return her affection (a bit belatedly or surprisingly… to him). In still others, he does not share her feelings.

If you are unlucky enough not to have read even Volume I of my series (This Changes Everything, free ebook on Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, nook, Amazon; paperback $17.99 on CreateSpace and Amazon) what do you think of some of these real-life examples, below?

1) A well-educated, professional woman is in a high-powered, public position. Her male boss engaged in serial, non-stop harassment: he gave her horrifying, unwanted amounts of sexual interest and attention, and all the while he was married. She let him know right off not to touch her, to stop leaving notes, discontinue his arranging/ asking her to work late and be alone with him, etc., but he didn’t end any of it.

It seems pretty obvious that he violated every law and standard of human decency and scared the living SH*T out of her to boot. Plus, remember: he was already married. Plus, she TOLD HIM that she was completely not interested from the start. Plus, he was her boss. This went on for YEARS.

At one point, she asked for and got a transfer. But, a few months later, he re-arranged entire departments’ configurations to get back into her area and become her boss AGAIN!

She finally had to quit her job (on the advice of her medical provider because this guy and this situation were ruining her health). So, she’s suing for loss of income, mental anguish, being terrorized, etc., and because apparently she reported this to higher-ups and they DID NOTHING.

Clear harassment case, right?

sexual-harrassment-in-the-workplace
image from http://www.xceliq.com

But, what if this had been the other way around?

2) What if the attention, gifts, contrivances to be alone and touch the person at work are mostly (but not exclusively) coming from an underling toward her boss? Rather than a male boss harassing a female employee, what if a female employee begs for attention from her boss? AND, they are both single.

Add these facts: the boss keeps inviting this employee to go to the movies, take walks, eat lunch out together, share many snacks and private conversations, for years. He chooses repeatedly to confide in this employee, but they offically do not “date” or even share a kiss or any sexual contact. However, this boss touches his employees (including this one) frequently (on the shoulder, on the hand, on the head, an arm around a waist or shoulders of both males and females).

Only after the employee makes her feelings known in a letter to her boss does he say “no.” She then stops asking or inviting him further and retreats to professional behavior, but he is clearly uncomfortable from that point on.

What options does that boss have when the employee is otherwise exemplary in her position and perhaps indispensable to a small company? How can that boss claim he was “harassed” when so much of their relationship was completely mutual?

Would not this be labeled a “mutual workplace romance,” just one without the overt sexual element, and one in which—unfortunately for them both—all the feelings were not mutual?

divorcing workwife meme

I think some cases are crystal clear, but others are more murky.

3) What do you think about relationships between consenting adult teachers and adult students, particularly when the student approaches the teacher and is the one asking for affection to be returned?

What if, when the student is checking if the feelings are mutual, s/he finds out they are not? Is the relationship able successfully going to be able to revert to more formal role relationships or is it ruined?

4) What about when peers have unequal feelings: neighbors, friends, colleagues, fellow members of whatever group? What if some or one of these pairs is already in a relationship?

Before we know for sure that our feelings of affection and perhaps love are going to be unrequited, it’s all fine, especially if we haven’t revealed anything and the other person can be ignorant or pretend not to know (yet). Or, is it?

Are other people actually that dense? Do they really “not know”?

To be sure, then, we have to ask. Right? How can we find out our status without asking? Aren’t there countless movies, TV shows, books and other examples from our lives in which the person who knows first about loving the other one “should have said something sooner” because the feelings really were mutual, but both were afraid to say so? A lot of time can be “wasted” by not declaring our feelings, true?

Here is my favorite movie scene (with a song, of course) in which the love revelation is welcomed and the feelings ARE mutual:


or https://youtu.be/rm5MDenG5QY
Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin, “I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore,” from Rock of Ages.

Consider, though, when the feelings are not mutual: once we ask about theirs and reveal our own feelings, but we are not “on the same page,” is everything doomed between us? Do things between us become awkward to the point of having a relationships that is impossible to salvage?

crush hearts

Your stories and comments are welcomed here. I’m curious.

#Unrequited #Love is for Everyone: What’s Your Story?

[ First posted 9/14/13 and revised and re-posted, March, 2016]

#Unrequited #Love is for Everyone: What’s Your Story?

Unrequited  love image

With countless songs, stories, plays, poems about the pain and suffering, the noble martyrdom of the person who is rejected—s/he who lives the unrequited lover’s lonely life—everyone knows that part completely. What about the other person, the object of affection? How do those rebuffing love—the REJECTORS—actually feel?

What is the Point of View (POV) of the REJECTOR?

I decided to spend some time learning that role, getting inside the skin of the one who says: “No, I don’t love you that way,” in order to attempt to fulfill every writer’s goal of understanding all my created characters equally well.

I knew the feelings, thoughts, experiences and dreams of the one who is rejected inside and out (unfortunately). What in my past, real or fictional exposure, brings me to the inner story of the one doing the refusing?

  • REJECTORS don’t give a damn about the one who loves.

    One story, with me as the REJECTOR.
    There was a boy in my 7th-grade class of about 350 students who offered to carry my books as he walked me to class He also eagerly awaited me outside our classrooms when his class was the same or hung around nearby to escort me. He was nice and I appreciated the attention. However (nefarious music plays here), I had my heart set on someone else, someone who had no interest in me.

    Maybe, I wondered, if the one I was crushing on saw how much attention this boy is giving me, he would realize how interesting I am and turn his eyes more toward me? I ruthlessly and selfishly exploited the boy who was crushing on me without any regard for his well-being or feelings, I am ashamed to admit (almost fifty years later). If I could remember his name, I would try to find him online and apologize. Not only did my encouragement of his attention hurt his feelings by unfairly leading him on, it didn’t work. Not at all.

    What I do remember is the situation my ploy created: I was barely giving this nice boy my attention because I was eagerly and pathetically ogling my crush, hoping to win his heart by being appealing to someone else. Horrible. Unsuccessful. Embarrassing to admit, now.

    What does this experience teach me about the ways the object of someone’s unwanted affection might feel? It’s possible, unbelievable as it may seem to those of us doing the obsessing, that the target of our love barely gives us a thought. Having his/her own agenda, the only time the rejecting one might even deign to notice the one who longs for our love is in the few moments that person might somehow prove to be useful to our own goals. We who mean “no” sometimes don’t even bother actually to say “no.”

    We REJECTORS can be ruthlessly uncaring, unseeing, deliberately unaware and even disdainful of the rejected lover’s feelings.

    love-rejection
    from http://www.joequatronejr.com

  • REJECTORS grow to hate and/or fear the ones offering them unwanted love.
  • REJECTORS pity the ones who hopelessly love them.
  • REJECTORS feel responsible, guilty and/or angry when unwanted love is pushing on them.
  • REJECTORS can’t view the unwanted lovers as valuable or appealing and certainly not as equals until/unless the situation is reversed or the power balance shifts in some other way.
  • REJECTORS are relieved and feel set free when the unwanted love or lover changes focus or departs.
  • REJECTORS feel stalked even when the lover is not officially a stalker. Hanging around or watching them, sending messages or calling—even with a legitimate reason—all feel stalker-ish when the REJECTORS already know how the lovers actually feel and what they want.
  • If by some miracle or switcheroo the REJECTORS begin to feel interested in the lovers, there will still be all the stones and weeds, the thick undergrowth of past hurts, confusions, assumptions and emotional potholes. Persistent and intense bushwhacking must be done before a pathway to a healthy relationship could be cleared; it may never be possible.

A great post by Gina Stepp on the subject of the impact of being the rejecting person that can help us all develop empathy for and understand the POV of the REJECTORS is Return to Sender: Unrequited Love is Painful for the Rejector, Too
from March 28, 2012
http://subscribe.vision.org/FamilyMatters/bid/76805/Return-to-Sender-Unrequited-Love-is-Painful-for-the-Rejector-Too

unrequitedlovebypetermsm

Put your own story in these one or more of these headings.
Use the comments section at http://www.sallyember.com/blog, copying/pasting the heading from your chosen area. Pseudonyms welcomed, especially of the other parties involved in your stories.
Thanks!