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Open Letter To Brian Marcoe

When dumbfucks think I owe their girlfriends apologies after they terrorized me for over a decade, I get all journally.

January 6, 2020

I haven't seen you since we said goodbye at the reunion. I gave you nearly a year to call me, knowing full well that you never would. I called your bluff. There were many in my life who said I shouldn’t have even bothered doing that. You see, we’re not friends anymore and I don’t owe you anything. I told you once that we were going to end up the friends that only sent each other Christmas cards, but we’re not even that. I still tried to meet you halfway though, I gave you my phone number and told you and Bonnie to call me if you ever wanted to talk. You didn’t.

To be completely clear, you had no right to tell me that I owe her an apology. If she’s not over what happened TEN years ago, that’s on her. It’s petty, it’s cruel, and it is ALL on her. I tried. I tried back then (inviting you guys to Maine, inviting you guys to Steampunk World’s Faire, trying to stay on her good side with Hanukkah presents-- fuck, I even at one point offered her $2000 because her family couldn’t pay rent.. I remember all of the ways I tried, even if you do not) and I tried last year (giving you my phone number so we three could talk and meet halfway) but that is not what she wanted. She wanted me to grovel and play the bad guy at the biggest Forum event in years. If I had gotten on my hands and knees that day, like the two of you seemed to want, would that have cleansed me of whatever sins I have committed in your eyes? Would it have erased ten years of your hate? Would it stop you from using me as a scapegoat in the future as you have done in the past? I already know the answer. No. Stop fooling yourself that it would be anything other than a no.

Brian, I don’t care if you approve of me or not. I’ve learned to live without that approval, without you. I never wanted it to be this way between us. And I honestly am not writing you this to argue despite having to tell you some hard truths (or at least as I see them) here and set my boundaries. I do miss you. We were really close before. Going to the Adirondacks with you, hanging out at the Sarvers, our time at Fort Henry, hikes we took at Avalon-- I want you to understand that those were very special moments in my life and I will ALWAYS treasure them. I don’t hate you. I never could. I tried, but it didn’t stick. I consider you like a long lost brother, part of the larger estranged family of you, me, Nolan, the Sarvers. Even Chris, your brother, is in my heart from those days so long ago. I have rarely come across a time that felt so right, or people that I felt I belonged with on such a deep soul level. We were family. We always will be. Bonds like that can not be broken by hate or fights or arguments. There’s a line in the Eagles live version of Hotel California where they say, "For the record, we never broke up; we just took a 14-year vacation." And to me, our little family is like that. There are some days when I drive into the mountains of Virginia and just think of all of us and how we used to all hang out together. There is this beautiful drive called Skyline Drive that is this perfect little scenic highway, and I think of the past when I’m there and how I wish you and the Sarvers and Nolan were there to talk and laugh and game with.

Thank you for being such an influential person in my life, but I can not come back into your life just to fix things for you, to grovel for you, to grovel for a friend who threw me under the bus and walked away YEARS ago. You used me once before like that and it was not my place then and it is not my place now. You told me once that I “wasn't a priority anymore” well, guess what, you and the apologies/groveling that you are waiting for are not a priority to me now.

The life I have now is my priority. The self respect I have now is my priority. The friends I have now respect me and love me. I am important to them. They are my priority and they have told me on multiple occasions that I'm a pretty god damn good and loyal friend. So, your loss. They treat me like a human being with feelings, not like a sacrificial lamb who you only speak to when you need me to grovel and beg and be the scapegoat of the group.

Do you remember when you all when to the New York City catacombs without me? I do. Do you remember when you tried to invite me but make it impossible for me to get up to the house in the Adirondacks the second time we went? I do. Do you remember when you laughed about how Bonnie was soooo uncomfortable at my father’s wake because she didn’t know she was going to “have to sit in a room with a dead body”? I do. Do you remember telling me you couldn’t help me when I ended up homeless? I do. Do you remember going to the beach the next day like it was nothing when I was sleeping out of my car after being kicked out of my house? I do. Do you remember the bullshit you pulled when Bonnie didn’t want to go to Maine? I do. Do you remember telling me I couldn’t come over to your house anymore? I do. Do you remember when Bonnie freaked the fuck out because I visited you for five minutes that one Christmas I was up in New York after I had a miscarriage and just wanted to see my friends from the past? I do.

I’m not even mad though, just disappointed. I had a decade to get over being mad, I just consider it the status quo now. I would like you to be happy, but I have made my peace with the past. I really wish she would as well so I wouldn’t have to appease anyone. I mean, you guys won, right? She got what she wanted. But now you want me to rub my nose in it myself and feel guilty and kowtow so that her victory is assured and all the townspeople can come out and throw tomatoes at me for everything horrible I’ve ever possibly done to the two of you. Hard pass. And a real friend wouldn’t have asked me to do that. Someone who respected me as a person wouldn’t have asked me to do that. If you won’t meet me halfway, why is that my fault? You may bow to her, but I never will. I don’t have to. She won, I moved on. She should be happy. The two of you should be happy. You won, go be free, go be happy, go stop trying to chastise me for something that happened literally over ten years ago. If you and her are seriously that stuck in the past, I’m really sorry and a part of me pities you.

You sound miserable now. And I’m sorry for that. It’s not my fault though and I don’t have to fix things for you when you haven't been there for me in literally over a decade. You said all you do is sit in the corner of her friends parties, occasionally txt “Happy [whatever-holiday-it-is]” to Nolan (like I said would happen), and basically just sit around getting older and grayer and more distant from everyone.

I am very sorry that you are not free to be friends with me or with anyone else unless Bonnie approves, but that's not my problem anymore. I have new friends, better friends, friends that invite me places and don't ditch me when it's convenient to them. I’m very sorry that you seem like a shell of your former self, who is emotionally exhausted from having to validate her and coddle her all the time. It didn’t have to be this way, you didn’t have to throw all of your friends away for your girlfriend (who is still a girlfriend by the way, right, cause if you HAD married I would have heard it through the grapevine since the Forum is still relatively gossipy). Like, I'm sorry, but what am I even supposed to do for you? Is my apology going to change any of that? All of those things are things that YOU, Brian Marcoe, control. Find you fucking power, I sure as fuck did. I'm not the little girl who would line up to get run over when you want to throw me under the bus anymore. That's the biggest thing I regret from knowing you-- I have to be hard with the people in my life now because I never know when one of them might end up tossing me to the wolves like you did. I've grown. I'm a completely different person than when you knew me. So many people from the past know a version of me that doesn't even exist anymore. You and Bonnie are holding onto hate for a person that doesn't exist anymore and that's sad. You're expecting an apology from someone who doesn't exist anymore. You are trying to scapegoat someone who sure as fuck will not accept that anymore.

But if you really want to go over the past again and again, I'm only going over it ONE last time. After that, it's done. And then you are never allowed to rake me over the coals again. I don't care if this meets with your approval or if you don't see things my way, because I am allowed to tell my story. No one can take that away from me. Not you. Not her. This is what happened, this is how I experienced it, this is what I lived. I'm not afraid of it anymore. I'm not going to hide from it because it's better for you that way.

This all started when we got robbed in Canada. You protected me through the whole thing which made me feel really close to you. You were having issues with your girlfriend as well and at one point you asked me, "Do you think I'm in love with her?" I shrugged, but the most I thought about it I realized you weren't. At least it didn't seem like you were since you were ALWAYS arguing. And the more I thought about it the more I realized that *I* was in love with you. We just got each other as best friends do. And you were always calling me and your girlfriend, "your girls".

I tried to stay away from you after that. I just didn't want any part of breaking you two up and the drama I knew that would follow. But you basically cornered me at a get together and asked why I didn't hang out with you anymore. So I decided to hang out with you and pretend everything was normal. Only we decided to get drunk that night... and you turned to me while drunk and said, "You know what our problem is? We're both in love with each other and there's nothing either of us can do about it."

I freaked out understandably. The friend group was like a second home to me-- hell, it was the only place I felt comfortable considering my birth family was so intensely fucked up. I didn't want to fuck up everything. I felt like the part that didn't fit, didn't work. I felt like everything keeping the whole gang together was riding on me-- so I did the worst thing imaginable and told a mutual "friend" about what you said while drunk. This mutual friend was.. let's just say she's never been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, but she should have been. Everything was always a crisis for her and she had a penchant for blowing stuff up. So her way of fixing everything after I left was to call you up on the phone, call you out on your shit, tell you that she knew everything and she was giving you one chance to fix everything before she told EVERYONE what was going on between us.

So you raced over to her house, denied everything, told her that I was the one chasing after you and left me a voice mail saying you were sorry and you were drunk and please don't tell your girlfriend about what was going on. I was crushed because partly because I liked him but also because you were making it all out to be my fault.

We stopped talking for about a month. Until we decided to hang out one last time to talk about what happened. You told me that you wanted to break up with your girlfriend but you "couldn't hurt her like that." So despite NOW saying you had feelings for me, you just couldn't break up with her. We agreed to still be friends because we didn't want this to come between us.

Then about a week later, you were at a convention. I was tired so I was leaning against you and another friend of ours and you were giving me a fucking backrub, cause THAT'S not confusing and you told us both, "I bought Bonnie a ring today." While you're giving me a fucking backrub. Like... what?! At that point I decided to just get up and leave you there.

Eventually, she got wind of what went on behind her back and she turned the whole thing against me. Again, probably with your retelling of the story. And after that, she started to ostracize me from the entire group. I started losing my second family. People blamed me. They pretended we were cool but then people would do shit like not come to my parent's wake to support me, called me a Drama Llama, or told me they would come on vacation with me to Maine and had me book the place only to NEVER show up and leave me up there for a whole week while saying they were going to show up eventually, ect. I was going through some of the worst years of my life and she turned everyone against me to spite me.

And now you're still engaged. Like... 12 or 13 years later. Okay then.

You gave all of us up for a girl you never even married. Good job, John Lennon, I hope you're happy with Yoko.

I often think about our group of 'friends' but there's only so much remincing I can do before I realize that everyone threw me under the fucking bus at a time in my life when I needed people the most. I later ended up homeless (family situation was REALLY shitty and I got thrown out in the course of an hour one day), ended up in an abusive relationship pretty much all because I needed a place to stay and eventually moved to Virginia because of the abusive relationship got REALLY bad. Not once did you or Nolan help me out.

Nolan actually asked to stay at my apartment about a year and a half ago. After everything, I still wanted to reminice and talk about the Good Ol Days. He showed up a day late (a whole fucking DAY after telling me he was going to show up at 4am so I had waited up all night for him), disrespected my apartment and talked shit about it, told me my job was not "a real job", told me I was a bad furkid mom, told me (again) that the whole group turned against me because of what I did to poor innocent sweet little Bonnie, told me repeatedly he was bored during the trip, ect ect. And then he wouldn't leave my apartment when I told him I needed to go to work. My therapist (thank god I had a standing appointment for that very day) basically told me to show him the fucking door, so I did. I gathered all the hurt from the past decade and told him that day, "You weren't there for me when my father died, you weren't there for me when I was homeless, you never showed up when we were supposed to go on vacation to Maine-- this apartment is everything I have worked to build over the past few years when NO ONE was there for me. Now get out of my home." My home, my life, is my sanctuary now. The way our group of friends treated me ended in that moment. I wasn't just saying that to Nolan, it was to you, it was to the past. I was done. I told him things were fine once he was at his car though and wished him a good trip home. Because time and time again, I have been the bigger person despite everything you all put me through.

He didn't even call me or txt me one word to me until a month later (despite me txting to see if he made it home okay) when he asked if they could stay at my apartment again because they had work in the area. I suggested as politely as I could that they get an AirBNB instead. And I realized then that no matter what you do, there are some groups of friends that will always walk all over you and you should probably stop calling them friends. I don't tell you this to hurt you, I just need you to express my point of view. For so long, I was afraid of rocking the boat, thinking that everything was on me, but it's not.

I've dealt with the fallout of having feelings for the wrong fucking person for a decade now. I can't put that lightning back in a bottle, I can't fix our friendships, I can't apologize and make everything better for you. I am living my life now. After that day with Nolan, I felt like I somewhat had some closure (not just between you and me, but between and the whole group). I'm done having my emotions used against me. Was I wrong to have feelings for someone who had a girlfriend? Probably. You can't help who you have feelings for though, which is the real kick in the ass. But were they wrong about everything the group did to me after that? Abso-fucking-lutely!

You owe me an apology. Nolan owes me an apology. The fucking group owes me an apology. You ostracized me because it was convenient. You cut me out, threw me under a bus and are STILL acting like I should bow down before you all. I will not sacrifice myself on the alter for your friendship. I can't do it anymore. You were not there for me. You can make up a million excuses, a million reasons why you missed my life-- and you did, you missed me getting engaged, you missed me being strong and getting out of a physically abusive relationship, you missed me moving into my own apartment, you missed me surviving a cancer/tumor scare, you missed me getting a job in my field and becoming a therapist, you missed me traveling the world and seeing everything I've wanted to see and doing so much that I've wanted to do. I've lived a life without you, my brother. You missed so much that happened in my life and that is something that is always going to hurt me deeply. I needed to grow and expand and not be a scapegoat anymore, and I have that now. I have this beautiful life that unfortunately you will never see.

If you can practically demand an apology, why can't I? You owe me an apology, Brian Marcoe. For not being there, for encouraging the group to not be there, for telling me that I needed to appease you and her, for walking out. I don't even care if I ever get an apology from Bonnie, she's not my concern. I don't have to appease her. But you, Brian Marcoe, owe me an apology. But I've given up on waiting for one. No one can force you to cut ties with your friends. That’s a conscious decision you made. Why would I grovel for someone who doesn't even want to be friends with someone who can allow someone else to manipulate them into not being my friend anymore? To me now, it sounds like a shallow, fake friendship in the first place. So, ask me again to grovel for you. Tell me that Bonnie won't let you talk to me if I don't put everything on my shoulders. Tell me again that it's my fault.

Because it's not. And you know it.

I'm not afraid of losing your friendship anymore. You took it from me years ago. I'm better off. It’s your loss. You used to be someone I could count on for anything. You used to be a phone call away—but you literally changed your phone number without even giving me your new one-- what “friend” would do that? I literally can't even call you and haven't had a conversation with you in years, but you think that you're so important to me that I should drop all self-respect I've created over the years and beg her to let you speak to me?

I'm not afraid of you anymore. I'm not afraid of her anymore. I just know I deserve better.

I'm not angry either. I spent a long time being angry because of the toxicity that this group brought into my life but I am happy with my life now. Therapy helped me see that I didn't lose much here. If someone doesn't want to be in your life, let them go. No offense, but you all are fucking nuts. I love you guys but you put me through absolute sheer fucking hell for years. And you're still trying to drag me down there by showing up at parties and demanding apologies.

You may not want to hear all this, but this is where I am. And despite your and the groups best efforts to shame me for how I feel or who I am for years, fuck it, this is me. Don't like it, move on-- oh right, you already did. Cool. Shrugs. Doesn't change my life anymore than you already did.

I mean, I guess it does hurt that you won't be in my life. That you won't bother to call. That you are going to miss meeting my kids, seeing my life change, that you would give up on your friends so easily and so many different times. We're missing out on group vacations and game nights and long talks and being there at each other's weddings and joking about how crazy Beth is together and checking out weird videos on the internet like we used to. But here's some quick math: what you did = this. You walked away, neglected your friends, made sure they knew they were not a priority and that you were disloyal to them and here we are now. What am I supposed to do to fix YOUR choices? Don't put that on my shoulders. It's your damage and I am not the clean up crew.

All that out in the open though, I want you to know that if you needed anything, if you showed up on my doorstep or needed anything, I would probably be there. It's stupid of me, I'm sure, but I AM loyal to my friends and family, no matter if they are or aren't. I'm just so ridiculously over what happened and how sorry everyone thinks I should be about it. I refuse to continuously have to show everyone that I'm so repentant. But if you want to be here, then be here. Be a friend, be loyal and not a complete dick, call occasionally, show me that our friendship is something more than just a tool to you. Maybe then you would be a friend worth groveling for, a friend worth fighting for.

I’m sorry that we’re not best friends anymore. I’m also sorry if I caused you any pain. I’m sorry that I tried to hate you, because damn, did I try. I tried so hard and for awhile it worked, because hating you and being mad at you was easier than missing you. But then I realized that I could never hate you, no matter how mad I was about what happened, no matter how badly I needed to set boundaries or get you to understand my side. I was not expecting to see you at the Forum 50th. I was not expecting you to want to talk when I did see you. When we hugged goodbye though, something in me knew that it would be the last time we ever saw each other. We're both getting older and there is so much distance, both physical and emotional. Faith once told me, “You're pushing him away and you're going to be sad when he finally goes.” I told her then that you weren't there in the first place, but she said you were. I don't know, maybe I pushed too much. But you hurt me, not because I wanted you and couldn't have you, but because of your disloyalty to our friendship and how the group turned against me because of everything. I needed a friend, I reached for you all and found no one. It’s not easy to accept that your best friend is the one making you cry and feeling like you don’t have a friend in the world when it was that same best friend you thought would always have your back. I'm in a place in my life now where I can't grovel to get that level of toxicity back. I hope you understand that.

I sincerely hope that you and your family are doing well. I wish that you get everything you want from your life, and more. Know that you’ll always hold a place in my heart. The next time I stare out from the top of a mountain I'll think of you and Whiteface and dancing in the living room of Ft Henry and driving your Paladin crazy with my Rogue and hanging out on your computer and hiking through sunflowers at Avalon. And I'll think of the friendship that could have gone on until we were old and gray and everything we lost along the way. I hope you find your peace, but I sure as hell don't have to talk to some girl who has been abusive to me for several years to find mine. That's your story and you wrote every word of it yourself.

The Intelligent Airhead,
Janet Jongebloed
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What is the longest you've gone without sleep and what happened to you?

Back in my 20s, I used to be a bit of a groupie and follow this one band around from NJ, New York City, Boston.. wherever they ended up playing that weekend. This particular time, they had a show in NJ and the following night they were playing in Boston. I ended up at the after party the night after NJ, not sleeping, heading directly to the show in Boston, trying to get sleep at the hotel that I was staying at that second night but it wasn't happening. There was also a blizzard coming in across the coast that morning, so after two hours of not being able to sleep on the second night of sleeplessness, I decided to do the stupid thing and just drive home and try to beat the storm home.

About an hour into my trip, I realized that I hadn't fucking slept in two nights and maybe this was a bad idea. But I didn't want to turn around because I had already driven an hour home to NY. So I continued on.

And then the hallucinations started.

The first ones were people dressed up in colonial clothes and they were hanging from every bridge I passed under. I think this was because I had a small stopover in Salem before I had gone to that show in Boston that night. I was getting so creeped out by it and I just prayed each time I went under the bridge that their feet wouldn't hit the roof of my car.

I continued on. By now, I was starting to wonder if I was okay. The snow had started falling though, so my thoughts went to that instead of maybe turning off the road because I didn't want to get stuck anywhere.

I stopped for waffles at a small diner. The boy working there asked if I was okay to drive. I said I didn't know but I didn't have a choice with the storm coming.

I hit the road once more. Lots of driving. At one point, I was in Connecticut and I swerved to avoid hitting a moose. Then I laughed to myself, realized it must be a hallucination and said, "There's no moose in Connecticut." And just swerved back into my lane and continued driving, not for one second thinking that I should stop. I was just happy that I was able to be so rational about my hallucinations and understand them for what they were.

At another point, I totally lost track of the time. I was driving in pit black night sky, looked down at the gas to see if I had enough and when I looked back up the sky was bright blue and morning had already come. I hadn't crashed or anything, so I figured I was okay.

I stopped at a hotel in Connecticut after that because the missing time was worrying me, as was the several inches of snow that covered the ground by this point. I begged the hotel for a place to stay so I could get a nap but they said they were completely booked and turned me away. An elderly couple said I could stay on the floor of their room because they didn't want me driving in the storm which was turning into a blizzard now, but I didn't want to impose.

Back on the road again, only as time went on I began to realize I was the only person on the road other than emergency crews. The toll booths were even shut down and there were police officers telling me to "Just go! Just go!" I couldn't see anything, pretty much total whiteout on the bridges and getting onto Long Island.

About 20 minutes from home, I decided that I was in a Jeep and I had survived driving in most of the blizzard, so I was going to have some fun and NOT follow the tracks other drivers had made in the inches deep snow that had not yet been plowed on the highway. This was a REALLY bad idea. I was making my own designs in the snow, when my Jeep lost control, spun around on the highway (thankfully, I was the only car for miles around) went up on two wheels, bounced on the metal guardrail and bounced back onto all four tires. And I freaked, put my hands at 10 and 2 and just kept driving and ignoring my panic attack. It wasn't until I managed to park in front of my parent's house that I completely broke down from everything. I walked through the feet deep snow, crying, scrambling for the front door when my mother opened it. She had been crying too and told me that she told me not to drive home and she had been picking out the dress I was going to be buried in that whole afternoon. I told my father I hit his Jeep on the highway and he called me a "selfish asshole" which was his way of saying I had scared the bejesus out of him. He screamed at me that he had told me he would pay for an extra day at the hotel if I had simply listened to everyone and stayed there.

Yeah, moral of the story: just stay at the hotel and get some sleep if a blizzard is coming.
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(no subject)

I'm very excited about tomorrow. A bunch of us are going to Pocahontas State Park-- Beky, Amanda, Cataro, myself... and I get to meet Lawrence for more than a few minutes. He seems like a cool person and I need more friends in the area. He seems like a really cool person.

I'm very excited to see the sun too. It's been raining for DAYS now and my body definitely feels it. Can't wait to get out there with fun people and have the sunshine on my face :)
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(no subject)

I've been thinking of starting up writing in this thing again. Facebook is just filled with too much drama lately. My life is settling down and I think I'd like a quiet place to come make sense of it all.

I'm living in Virginia now. Life is starting to get good again. I still feel like throwing myself off a bridge sometimes though. I'm trying to get a handle on my depression, but it's either I'm in chaos mode with everything happening to me or its gets quiet-- too quiet, and I start feeling the weight of everything in the silence. I've made it through so much but I'm still stuck with the nightmares.

No one likes me anyway. People stop talking to me and I'm left with barely even a scant conversation about why.

I have a handful of people that I continue to live for and who would be sad if I died. But I don't think I'm in that group. It's so hard to live for other people these days-- like torture, and sometimes I think if they really loved me they wouldn't make me go through all this just so they don't have to deal with the grief. They would let me go.

No. I'm okay. Thing will get better.
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Dinner and a Movie Plans: Around The World Parties for Each Country (COMPLETED LIST)

Dinner and a Movie Plans: Around The World Parties for Each Country

A list of music, movies/documentaries and recipes for each country in the world.

I have finished! This is what happens when my love of lists (especially of traveling) meets my OCD and the encouragement of Reddit to finish.

Big shout-out to who I've referenced quite a few times in this list. The blog author is trying one dinner from each country and blogging about her experiences with the different food. Definitely worth a look!

I tried my best in this list. If anyone has any other suggestions though, please feel free to comment below. YouTube Documentaries were documentaries I found on YouTube, usually of 30 minutes - 1 hour long. Some of them were really interesting! I had to suffice with YouTube Clips for some of them because there was so little filmed about that particular country. It was just my attempt at finding the best clips of the country and putting them all on one YouTube playlist.

If anyone tries any of these recipes or party ideas, please feel free to share about what you liked and what you didn't.

A & B
C - G
H - Z