A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

June 7, 2017 | 2 Comments » | Topics: Answers, Interesting

What’s it like to know you are going to die soon?

How does it feel to know you are dying? That is a difficult question, because the answer can be different from day to day or even from hour to hour. The feeling, range from denial, to fear, to guilt, to anger, to sadness and to acceptance. It is the same, I suppose, as any greiving process. You can’t work your way through one set of feelings and neatly move on to the next.

It is almost like being at the beach, standing in the water on a windy day. A wave comes at you and almost knocks you off your feet. You struggle and regain your balance, just in time for the next wave to hit. Over time, the strength of the waves subside and you think your footing is a little more secure. Suddenly, out of seemingly no where another large wave hits and you almost loose your balance again.

I suppose that pretty much describes the grieving process for anything. You can be hit by wave after wave of denial or anger, what ever, each wave trying to knock you down. The emotional waves don’t hit in any particular order or strength. Gradually, these waves do lessen in strength or intensity and you come to the peacefulness of acceptance. You are still not out of the water, and at anytime a wave can suddenly come back and hit.

Over time these emotional waves become less frequent and less severe. For me acceptance came almost as a relief. Knowing, I would not have to deal with the roller coaster ride of emotions, the ups and downs. Am I totally free of these feelings, no. I don’t really know, if I ever will be totally free. As long as you are alive, how can you be totally free of your feelings? Accepting them is one, thing being free of them is another. The waves have just been downsized and more easily manageable.

Maybe, I am still in an element of denial. I know what the doctors have said and I accept that. I just don’t think it is going to happen any time soon. Is that denial or just the human spirit pushing us on? I don’t know. With acceptance does that mean I have given up? No. Does that mean I have lost the will to live? NO. All it means is I am ready to go when God calls me, but not one minute before that. I do not fear death, I just want to delay it as long as possible.

– Bill Howdle

 

 

What’s it like to get shot and knock on death’s door?

I don’t know what death feels like, but I do know what dying feels like.

A year and a half ago, I was shot point blank in the chest with a 9mm. I didn’t feel it, but the bullet severed my subclavian artery. I was losing blood quickly and I collapsed. And let me tell you, to lie there and bleed out would have been the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Instead I did the hardest thing I’ve ever done; I crawled out of the house and into the street, where a neighbor saw me and called an ambulance.

I moved back to my porch and sat down on the steps, pressing on the wound as hard as I could… But I was losing my strength at a terrifying rate. I could hear my neighbor in the background saying to 911 dispatch, “y’all need to hurry up, this boy is bleeding.” I’ll never forget the emphasis she put on that last word. I was in my boxers only, and the blood soaking me from neck to toe was far from inconspicuous.

As I was sitting there on my steps, I began to feel everything shut down. Calm overcame chaos. My pineal gland was dripping. I felt instinct, fear, and everything I had known in my worldly existence slowly drift away. I felt no pain throughout this entire ordeal (that didn’t come until the next day, chronic nerve pain that has been with me ever since, as the bullet also did severe damage to my brachial plexus). My vision began to blacken around the edges. Looking back I know I was dying, but I didn’t know it at the time. I stopped caring, which is the scariest part. For a brief moment, it was almost peaceful. When my vision began to fade, I left my body. My body was sitting on the steps, but my mind had left. In my reality, I was sitting directly over my body, upside down on the ceiling, still facing out towards the street. The ambulance rounded the corner as I had about a foot diameter of light remaining in my line of sight, the rest was black. They say don’t go into the light, but that’s asinine. The light is all that’s left of the world as you know it.

The paramedics came at me like a nascar pit crew. Trying to replenish my blood, and I can only imagine what else. I believe they put 5 pints of blood in me on the short ride to the hospital. I asked them if they had me, if I was safe, and they said “NO.” They had me answer questions over and over about my name and address and whatnot… just to keep me alive. This continued into the OR, I wanted to sleep so badly but they wouldn’t let me. Thank fucking god. I also wanted water very badly (you don’t know thirst until you’ve had half your blood drained), but they would not let me drink as it would interfere with the operation. They put in a stent and it didn’t cover it, so they ran another. The head of vascular surgery (who is my vascular surgeon now) was there that night, and when the operating surgeon was about to give up on the second stent and amputate my arm, his boss made him keep going, so I was fortunate enough to keep my arm. It took a lot of rehabilitation to get function back, and my hand still doesn’t work.

However, I beat death that day. And the world has shone with a touch more beauty ever since.

 

 

 

What’s it like to be asexual?

To be honest, it feels completely normal. I can’t imagine being any other way, therefore I can’t say definitively how it is so different from not being asexual. Not to say that I haven’t perceived some differences while growing up.

While in school, most notably middle school, when relationships were becoming more and more of interest with my peers, I always wondered what the point was. Because I felt no internal stirrings of being physically interested in anyone I misguidedly perceived that everyone else was feeling nothing, which lead me to wonder “Why”. It was hard for me to think of an end game.

Eventually, I realized that they were feeling sexual attraction which made sense to me, but oddly enough I never actually wondered why I wasn’t feeling it as well. My first question was answered and my quandaries kind of stopped at that point. I started reading more about sexuality and books with relationships, alright I admit it, with romances in them, and piece by piece I felt more and more clued into what I couldn’t directly experience. For the most part I supplemented my understanding of sexuality and relationships with various forms of media, and yeah that includes pron. Really who hasn’t seen it?

When I found out about someone having a crush on me I felt absolutely nothing. Most of the time I wondered why they felt I needed to know that bit of information since I couldn’t conceive anything resulting from that piece of knowledge. Whenever there was situation where it was an opportunity to think about myself in a relationship or in a situation where I was a participant in intimate activities, my mind just came up blank. Conceiving of other people in those situations, no problem. That is easy to imagine but myself, I couldn’t think of anything even if I tried.

So,slowly and surely I began to wonder why I hadn’t felt anything yet, or even imagined anything like that for myself. I eventually confided in a gay friend pondering that I might be gay since I couldn’t feel anything for guys, despite the fact that I also felt nothing for girls. But at that point, I like many people mistook thinking that being gay is at least an absence of feeling attraction for the opposite gender. But telling that friend was a big mistake since I believe he immediately told people that I was gay. Not that it changed anything, my high school was extremely tolerant. Our homecoming king was openly gay for god’s sake. So after that I stopped wondering if I was gay or not since I did realize that I also felt nothing for females.

Then I entered into the mindset that it will happen when it happens. Maybe from some of my mom’s trashy romance novels (Note the two adjectives: trashy and romance. I am not saying that all romance novels are trashy), I got the idea that my sexuality will one day be unlocked by some guy that comes along, or girl (I was still open to finding out that I was gay all along). That people only feel their sexuality as a response to other people rather than it being internally fueled. It kind of went against what I had learned but it was the best idea I could apply myself since otherwise I had no answers about myself. It was a stand in answer so that I didn’t have to many questions about myself.

Eventually I met a guy who was classically attractive, was interested in me and I found a bit interesting. Mostly, I was curious about dating. I couldn’t pick for myself so I let someone pick me. I was kind of shocked with the intensity this guy courted me. Never to the point that I felt in danger but just that I was surprised at the first hand experience of such intense attraction, or really any attraction to me. Eventually he asked if I was a virgin, and then when he found out that I was one he asked why. And still I couldn’t really give an answer. I didn’t have religious reasons, and after high school I had realized that I never had a crush either. I knew I wasn’t a prude. I just never felt like that towards anyone. Eventually I broke it off because I couldn’t really understand his quickly escalating feelings nor reciprocate them.

Eventually I got into a relationship, my longest with a guy who I actually liked, he wasn’t what I found aesthetically pleasing but he was intellectually stimulating. At first I just assumed that he was like me not as inclined to physical contact. When I was with him I never thought about kissing or any other intimate contact, which is why after three months of dating he just kissed me right after seeing a movie, I was surprised. But I didn’t feel anything really. And then again I questioned why I wasn’t feeling anything. I would try to give myself goals, to do things that I thought where just done in relationships. Like “Next time we go to the movies, lets make out.” But in terms of physical activities such as that in the moment I would never be able to think of it. It was like as soon as a person comes into the room it was nearly impossible for me to even think about sex.

But just because I had a hard time just thinking about sex or physical contact at certain moments, didn’t mean that someone else wasn’t thinking of it. Eventually started inquiring about more contact, eventually asked me point blank if I was a lesbian since I turned down all of his advances. Then I got into the mindset that I just needed to start doing it and then I would like, despite the fact that I knew sexuality didn’t work that way. But in the reality of no answer, I just defaulted on the same tired old explanations of female sexuality, which are flat out wrong. I started lying that “sure yeah” I liked this or that, just to get him to move on to the next thing or to just get it over with. But each time my hope that it would get better, was diminishing every time I did anything with him.

Activities with him became a bit stressful. I would be careful try to not use any sexual jokes, innuendos or wear anything that would remind him that he liked to touch my body. And I never knew when he would request contact. Some times it would be a great time with him, making fun of bad movies, cracking jokes at the expense of old co-workers, playing card games, and talking about our days. I would always breath a sigh of relief when he didn’t request contact on those days. But when he did request contact I froze and would request time to mentally prepare which was me sitting in the bathroom alone. 

But then he started to become more morose and moody. He didn’t want to communicate with me what was wrong, and I was honestly so clueless about the fact that lack of sexual contact was really that distressing to most people. Also it was the obvious fact that his girlfriend clearly didn’t find him sexually attractive and visibly was distressed at the idea of sexual contact with him. He felt unloved and unwanted, he knew that I cared for him but still he couldn’t change the fact that my lack of reaction to him deeply effected him. He did try. He always asked me what I would like or want. That he was open to ideas for us to try, but at those times I always drew a blank.

I honestly felt like there was something wrong with me. I looked online for some type of female arousal medication, something that would make me want sex or any type of contact, but I didn’t find much. Compromise in this relationship didn’t feel like much of a compromise. I didn’t want to have sex or any touching, while he did.

Long story short, I was watching a show on the LGBT channel LOGO called 1 Girl 5 Gays (1G5G) and the host asked the question, “Do you think asexuality is real?” and I don’t know why I perked up at that question since how the question was answered it didn’t even explain what it was. So I looked it up, and felt so much relief that I could actually put a name to what I was feeling.

And long long story short. You know what happened we eventually broke up since building feelings of resentment and bitterness were starting to ruin genuine good memories I spent with person. We are still friends. I still use his Netflix and he can use my HBO GO account. That type of thing. We still talk, but now it is such a relief that I no longer have to be ever anxious to perform things I honestly could not keep doing any longer.

And long long long story short. Something happened that I never thought would. I actually met face to face another asexual, and not putting names to anything, but now having a close friendship with someone without the worry of having to deal with sexual attraction or sexual needs is so incredibly freeing. In this relationship I haven’t felt so relaxed before, I was beginning to think that it was somewhat impossible for me.

So now I hang out with a person in which I just feel totally normal. Other people looking into our relationship probably think it is a “normal” relationship that includes sex, we are well aware of this and we laugh it off. For the first time I am really optimistic about relationships.

So yeah, being asexual, it feels normal but you are aware that others are humming to a tune you can’t quite hear but you can hear everyone else humming. And people are expecting you to dance to this tune, and dance partners are frustrated that you can’t find the beat and/or that you don’t feel the need to dance. If you don’t know you are asexual, relationships can be difficult, confusing, and a bit painful. But once you know your orientation, things get much easier when you have to communicate what you can and can’t do in a relationship. The big thing is knowing yourself and not letting anyone else dictate to you what you are and what you really want and need.

Chloe Shani Malveaux

 

 

How do you spot a pyramid scheme recruiter?

— Did a friend, family member, classmate, co-worker, acquaintance, nice guy from the gym, customer or total stranger ask you out to coffee in order to discuss a *unique business opportunity*? Is it a time sensitive offer? Is the opportunity only open to a select number of investors? It’s probably a pyramid scheme.

— Or, they might ask you if you ever wanted to own your own business. Or what you would do if you didn’t have to worry about money. If you’d like to retire by the time you’re XX years old… because they just so happen to know someone who actually *DID* retire young and is now sitting on their ass rolling in “passive/residual income”!

— The most dedicated of pyramid scheme recruiters are typically well dressed and well groomed. We’re talking flashy business suits and wing tips for men, and cocktail dresses and heels for women. You’d think they were hitting an upscale lounge for a New Year’s Eve party or something. **THEY ARE TRYING TO CONVEY SUCCESS.** Of course, you’ll also get some that are dressed in smart/business casual. You’ll easily recognize a pyramid scheme recruiter when you see them, because they look completely out of place at Starbucks.

— If you do go for coffee with them, try to make them pay for your coffee. They won’t, but force the issue (“C’mon, *you’re* the one who wanted me to meet with you!”) and watch them try and weasel their way out of it. They probably have a half dozen meetings lined up for the day, so they can’t afford to pay for so many expensive venti lattes. Or, they might pay because they want to keep you happy and more receptive to their scam.

— The recruiters will often “work” in pairs, as a married/engaged/dating couple. This helps make them appear more trustworthy to you. They’ll want you to bring your significant other along to the meeting if you’ve got one. They act VERY, VERY nice and charming and seem like they really want to get to know you and be friends. They’ll pay you inane compliments, like how you seem to them like you’ve got a good head on your shoulders and you’re smart and shit. When you arrive for your meeting with them, they’ll greet you with a hug; and another one at the end of the meeting before you leave. It’s a cheap way for them to further build rapport with you. A hug conveys a higher level of personal intimacy and friendship than a mere handshake.

— They will say that they work as mentors, life coaches, entrepreneurs, or business owners. They initially won’t be very specific as to what type of business they run. They will dodge any probing questions you might have.

— They’ll tell you all about *their* mentors and life coaches, about how successful they are in life (“My mentor owns the most expensive apartment in Seattle!” — an actual quote I heard) and how grateful they are to have been taken under their wings.

— In their first meeting with you, they WILL NOT discuss business. Instead, they will tell you all about themselves — where they grew up, things that they’ve done, and how they’ve become the shining beacon of success sitting before you today. Then, they will try to get to know you and “evaluate” if you’re a good fit for the business — this is pure bullshit, but it makes you believe you have a chance of being qualified enough to join their exclusive club. They are propping up your ego and trying to make you feel special.

— They won’t tell you *how* they make money. They will never outright say the names of the companies they work for, because they know the negative connotations associated with Amway/World Wide Dream Builders, ACN, World Financial Group, Primerica, Mary Kay, Herbalife, Vector Marketing, etc. They want to get you curious and hooked first.

— They will ask if you’ve ever read any of Robert Kiyosaki’s books –[ *RICH DAD POOR DAD*] [*THE BUSINESS OF THE 21ST CENTURY*] These books have dark purple covers and are easily recognizable. Another book that’s gaining popularity is [*THE GO-GIVER*]. In general, be weary of any self-help/financial advice book they try to assign you as homework to read. Reading one single book ≠ a business degree.

— They may try to wow you and tell you about all the conventions they get to fly out to and attend in pseudo-exotic locations… like say, St. Louis! WOW, indeed!

— Do you work a crappy retail job? Are you a server at a restaurant? Are you university-aged (20’s)? Are you in debt? Pyramid scheme recruiters know you’re unsatisfied with your minimum wage job/life (especially in *this* economy!) and try to exploit your burning desire to “get ahead in life” by acting as a life line.

— Most recruiters are *usually* Caucasian and in their 20’s or 30’s. I’ve seen them begin to target immigrants from the Philippines  and the Afro-Caribbean islands, who presumably have no reason to believe that the well dressed, rich-looking white person offering to share the secrets of wealth with them is actually trying to scam them.

— “It’s not a pyramid scheme!” Instead, they’ll call it multi level marketing (MLM), network marketing, direct selling, referral marketing, etc. They’ll resort to saying all the bad things you’ve read online/heard about Amway are rumors and lies, or were from bitter people who didn’t have what it took to make it in the business.

— They will usually have their coffee shop meetings on weekends and after dinner (~7 PM) on weekdays. That’s because they have day jobs (like pretty much everyone else.) The ironic thing is they won’t hesitate to talk shit about day jobs and how MLM will supposedly free you from the shackles of the 9-5 grind.

— That one friend you have on social media who only ever seems to post motivational quotes and status updates about how hard they’re “killing it”? Odds are pretty decent that they’re involved in a pyramid scheme. Motivational quotes are like scripture to pyramid scheme recruiters.

— When in doubt, use Google and common sense. If someone knew the secrets to financial success, why would they ever share that knowledge with pretty much anyone who crosses their path? Why are they doing YOU such a huge favor? Why is this sharkskin suited yuppie conducting high powered business meetings at the Second Cup if he’s already got it allllllllll figured out? Why won’t he pay for your coffee? Do not for a second believe when they say they want to “pay it forward” or “give back”. Nobody ever offers something in exchange for nothing. Be vigilant and skeptical.