This morning, I got an email from my country's Federal Internal Revenue Service saying my taxes for 2016 are unpaid. Given that I pride myself on having a good documentation system, I almost shat myself when I could not find the letter forwarding the tax payments to them. If I could not prove I had paid, I would pay again plus a penalty. Luckily, I remembered that an electronic filing system was rolled out last year and I had filed the evidence of payment online. I had also sent an email with the documents just in case the e-filing system had failed. I resent paying taxes; which is a sentiment that I am sure is pretty widely shared globally. However, in places like Nigeria, where government hates citizens, taxes are just adding insult to injury. I am not exaggerating when I say government hates citizens; or rather, government officials hate us. It seems government officials think their job is to make life hard for us. Most of the time, we only have contact with them when they are out to fuck us up; usually using the power of their offices to cause problems which can only be resolved upon payment of a bribe.

The upside to this is if one knows the right people to bribe, one can get almost anything.

Saw my regular Primary Care specialist yesterday and got a referral to the Infectious Disease specialist.

Will go have strep A antibody titer drawn today. Ok, the tooth thing is most likely anaerobic bacteria, says the endodontist. Yes AND when we get sick, all of the antibodies go up. Because the immune system says, holy cats, something is wrong, turn them all on. The strep antibodies make me irritated, anxious and feel like caffeine-on-steroids. I started penicillin on Sunday after talking to my dentist about the 2-3 cm lump on my right face. Ok-maybe-it-is-not-strep-A, but two days later on Tuesday, I felt so down and so glum that I just wanted to stop penicillin and give up. At least, part of me wanted that. The other part was driving the 40 minutes to the endodontist and agreeing to an emergency root canal and being a good patient. And then driving 40 minutes home.

When the antibodies go up I feel anxious and irritable and paranoid and awful. When they go down I cry and want to huddle with a teddy bear and want to give up.

I am wondering if I have immune system PTSD. Go ahead, laugh, but remember, my mother had tuberculosis during the whole pregnancy. Cornell University missed it on the xrays. She dropped out, married my father, got pregnant and was at the University of Tennessee. She coughed blood at 8 months pregnant and was sure she would die of lung cancer. It was not lung cancer, it was tuberculosis. She went in the Knoxville Tuberculosis Sanatorium. I was the first baby born there in 26 years, she said. She said the staff was crazy excited. She kissed me and I was whisked away to my father and my grandparents, and she did not hold me again for 9 months.

So mostly newborns with mothers with active tuberculosis die. Because they get tuberculosis. It is airborne. There are mysteries here. Why didn't my father get it? I think it's because he smoked unfiltered camels. Or possibly it was not really "active" until she was 8 months pregnant. It could have been "latent" -- not infectious, before that. Where did my mother get it? Well, my grandmother's sister, her aunt Esther, had tuberculosis and survived it too. Also, my mother spent the year after high school in Paris, 1959, in art school. Apparently there was still a lot of tuberculosis there.

Maybe my immune system got hyper-primed way back then. More and more we are realizing that there are effects on fetuses in the womb. Withdrawing from opiates or heroin in the womb is really really bad, and better to have people stable on methadone or buprenorphine and do a slow withdrawal for the newborn after delivery. Other effects, and gene changes that are passed from parent to child. Tuberculosis does not cross the placental barrier: but the antibodies and infection still have effects. The fetal and newborn immune system is immature and the fetus gets antibodies in the the mother's milk, if the infant is nursed. I, of course, wasn't.

It is all very interesting. My immune system early warning system when I am getting really sick is an off the scale freak out. I did not recognize it after my sister died, nor after my father died, but now I have had two more episodes, without sepsis. I am very very glad not to have a third round of sepsis. My mother said that when my sister and I would get sick, I always got sicker. Am I more vulnerable or is it a hyper vigilent immune system? In the 1917-1918 influenza, age 18-50 died more because the immune system reaction to the influenza overwhelmed them. Their lungs swelled shut, they turned blue from hypoxia, and fell over dead. In San Francisco, there are photographs of bodies stacked 5 deep in the hospital hallways. Because it hit so hard and fast....

Now, if I have immune system PTSD, do other people? Maybe not from tuberculosis, but from all sorts of things and god-knows-what. Babies born during wars, during plagues, when the family is living in terror of ebola. Perhaps that terror-paranoid-PTSD wiring is an evolutionary back up, primed for when a fetus is forming during the Black Death or pandemic influenza..... People like me might actually be useful in the right circumstances. And is the wiring passed down? My daughter did pack that labelled tsunami kit for college, lifestraw and all....

I will report back on the conversation with the infectious disease doc. I think the reply I will get is "Interesting." and "We don't know."

And maybe it all explains the preppers...

Finally back at the library, feels like an old friend I have neglected for far too long. I have a lot on my mind today so here goes. My romantic adventures with fun baseball game came to a screeching halt on Thursday evening. I have issues with depression and I can't afford to let someone else's mood and attitude bring me down. I think we both realized that nothing was going anywhere, I think we both have some hurt feelings, but he's not going to change, and neither am I. Rather than let myself sit and be bummed out I went car shopping last night. The vehicle I wanted to drive needed service so I left and drove back home. I have a face to face interview with a company on Monday, I'm optimistic, but if I don't get that job, I know that there are others out there. Yesterday I met with my therapist who had some good advice for me. I can't control what others do, I can only control myself. I didn't have the week I wanted to with Jill, I'm really looking forward to the day when she realizes that the consequences of her actions are eventually going to catch up with her, but until then, I expect to struggle which is what every parent signs up for whether they realize that or not.

I'm supposed to be journaling about my feelings, so here goes. I'm angry. I'm frustrated, I'm sad. I'm hurt, I'm scared, I'm terrified, I feel helpless, and sometimes hopeless. I feel empty, numb, and then feel as if I'm feeling everything all at once since I tried repressing things. I'm also happy, excited, joyful, hopeful, encouraged, positive, and optimistic at turns. I like to divide up the challenges in my life into smaller divisions and then tackle those one at a time, so here goes. Things I'm dealing with in the order that they happen to enter my mind: Employment is the big one right now. I really had no idea how traumatizing it was to get fired and be suddenly cut off from people like my boss, other friends, and people like the guy who received the poem from me. I'm really glad I took some time off to feel my feelings and mourn that loss. That was smart of me even though it seemed like the very wrong thing to be doing at the time. I've gotten better at saying no to opportunities that are good, but not good for me at this particular time and that's been a welcome change as well. People really appreciate it when you are up front and honest about you withdrawing from a pool of candidates. I'm surprised how easy it is to build this kind of goodwill.

Sooner or later I will find a job and I feel like this time around I'm more focused on culture and a good fit rather than how much it pays or where it is located. I've answered a ton of questions about what motivates me and that's been interesting as well. For anyone who is job hunting, hang in there. The ZipRecruiter app is nice once you get everything uploaded and have your references posted. I no longer waste my time applying for jobs where I have to go somewhere else and fill out the same information that's on my resume. A friend of mine and I agree that companies that try to make it hard for you to get work are not ones that we want to be at. Sometimes you have to know what you don't want and isn't working before you arrive at what does. I'm not really worried about finding a job, I'm a little nervous about working fulltime, but I've done it before and I'm in a better place mentally and emotionally. It will be an adjustment period so I'm trying to recognize that so I can plan and prepare accordingly. I'm taking a break from the house/apartment hunt. It was fun while it lasted, I know what I want so that's nice. Now all I have to do is figure out where I'm going to live and it probably makes some sense to get a job before I start thinking about moving.

This next part is going to focus on things I've learned about myself and others from dating apps and first dates. I'm a much better catch than I ever realized. It isn't hard to meet new people or get a date. It is hard to find people who I click and connect with that meet my standards, and yes, they are high. Being on these apps takes a lot of time, it's an effort, it feels like work and that's too bad. I do have food allergies, this is something I struggle with because I understand what a pain that must be for others, however, everyone has something, this isn't anything I can control, and I feel as if I'm just as worthy and deserving of love and affection as everyone else. No matter how many times I read that people are looking for long term committed relationships, I think some of these people are just ticking off boxes in their heads. I see a lot of impatience and I'm impatient too. It takes time to really get to know someone on a deeper level. A lot of people want some assurance that they're going to get laid and while I fully understand and appreciate that, they're going to run into the same issues they had previously if they don't deal with them now.

Even though I'm sure there are people who find this frustrating, I refuse to play games. If I feel like I'm not right for someone, I have no problem telling them that. I had two guys in a row who wanted me to send them pictures. The guy I had gone on a date with had been rear ended in a hit and run accident, and a friend of mine had been accused of robbing K-Mart. There are a lot of people who think it's a woman's job to keep them happy without them exerting themselves on their behalf, and I let both of them know that I saw through their 'friendly requests'. The first guy told me that me sending him pictures could prevent an uncomfortable situation in the future, I told him I would save him the trouble and wished him well. He didn't get it and tried telling me that I wasn't being fair to myself since I didn't know what his taste was, blah, blah, blah - I was like, the joke is on you buddy. You're going to be single for a long time if the only thing you can focus on is what a woman's ass looks like in a tight pair of jeans. Bye-bye to him and the gentleman who told me I could send him pictures so he would have them on his phone when we talked. Pro-tip: reaching out to women at night sends the message that you view them as a booty call, and I do not need any part of that.

Probably the biggest and most shocking lesson I learned is that killing my sex drive is easy. All I need to do is start hanging around men who are into themselves and haven't figured out how to treat women well. Never in my life have I gone out with and talked to so many men while feeling so little enthusiasm for any of them. The problem is I met someone who does know how to treat women and talk to them, and now I'm mentally comparing every man I meet and interact with against him. They're all falling short in a big way. I'm not sure Jessica's Dating Adventures are going to last much longer. It's not fun for the most part, very few people are genuine, you start seeing the same things on profiles - family guy looking for fun, outgoing, intelligent woman who loves the outdoors, can stay in, or good for a night on the town. Lots of men describe themselves as sarcastic, I can be, this does not turn me on, a lot of people are jaded and cynical, I won't go as far as to say that I equate sarcasm with bitterness, but perhaps there is a link at times. Another thing that annoys me is how many people describe themselves as easy going, maybe they really are, but I have my doubts.

Generally speaking I swipe left on anyone holding a beer. I have no problem with alcohol, but for some reason as soon as I see a guy holding a beer something inside of me starts shaking my head. I'm sure there is some unresolved issue behind this, but I don't question it. Beer is not anything I want to take away from anyone who enjoys it. Go ahead, enjoy your IPA, craft beers, or DIY creations with a woman who will be into that. Another thing I want that seems to be hard to find is someone who is a good conversationalist. Again, I've been spoiled here, but a lot of online interactions seems stiff, forced, and lack spontaneity. There are times when I feel like he's going through the motions to see what he has to do to get laid, maybe I'm being hard on people, I actually don't have a problem with that either, if that's what you want, go for it. I feel as if these people would be better off just advertising for that up front instead of trying to pretend they're online for any other reason. Women with any sense are going to pick up on their underlying motivation very quickly so I don't see how the veneer of discretion is benefitting them in any way.

Yesterday I was pretty upset after therapy. I see how playing the victim and holding onto things that I need to let go of has held me back. I bought myself a new shower curtain and some new towels. I hadn't planned on a pink and gray scheme, but once I got it home I was happier with it than I had been with what I had in there previously. I spread my new shower curtain over the bedding to let it air dry before hanging it back up again, it could really work as a bedcover and maybe I will go back and pick up another one to use that way. I have to watch my money obviously, but I also like the idea of creating the home I want. I think one of the reasons I haven't done more is because it does feel like temporary housing rather than a place where I can put down roots and grow. I've been going to a lot of coffee shops and places I wouldn't otherwise. While I hate the amount of landfill fodder I'm generating, there is a lot to be said for sitting down to a hot beverage on a cold day and just taking some time to think and reflect. I sent Jill to a coffee shop near where I was getting my hair cut, on a related note, my new stylist is a lovely young lady and if I knew a super amazing single guy who would be interested in her, I would attempt to introduce these people to each other.

She's fairly tall, but she was also wearing heeled boots so I'm sure that helped. She's thin, I'm not sure what her original hair color is, I'm guessing the reddish shade she has currently isn't it. She's a deep person who loves to learn, I think she's attractive, her personality makes her so to me, I wonder what she would look like without makeup on, I think maybe she's insecure about her face based on how she wears her hair and does her face, but I could be wrong about that. In addition to a great cut where she really listened to me and understood what I was asking her to do, I had a very interesting conversation about cosmetology school, men, dating, education in general, and how to recover from a breakup. I didn't get the details about what happened previously, she said she was in a five year relationship with someone which surprised me because I would put her at 23 or so, but I guess she could be older, or she could have been dating the same guy since she was a teenager. She said she was looking for loyalty, to me that's just implied when I meet someone. That tells me she's likely been cheated on and that really sucks because she is an absolute sweetheart.

Something I didn't expect to move me the way that it has is how the students at various schools are rising up against the NRA and the GOP. I've never been a Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio fan and to see some of these fat cat politicians who have taken blood money while offering 'thoughts and prayers' to those who mourn while routinely voting in a manner inconsistent with that ideology is very satisfying even though normally I believe in building up rather than tearing down. Numerous companies have withdrawn support or affiliation and I'm praying (for real) that this momentum is sustainable and continues. I read the article posted by the radiologist who reviewed what happens when bullets of various sizes shot at varying velocities do inside of a victim, and we shouldn't need that to ban any type of assault weapon, but here we are unfortunately. A girlfriend of mine is a responsible gun owner, she has a permit, she grew up not far from the hood and as we saw in this most recent shooting, you can't always rely on law enforcement to keep you safe even when they are armed. I have respect for institutions like government and law enforcement, but there is slack, graft, greed, and people who need to be weeded out of the system as well. As Facebook says, it's complicated.

Just being back at the library is comforting and soothing. Like a pile of blankets when I'm sick or a cool glass of water on a hot summer's day. I've been doing more thinking than writing and that's usually not a good thing. A former NFL player turned attorney that I follow on Twitter had some choice words for the NCAA business that's going down. I haven't followed it too closely, someone else I follow made a comment about the FBI cracking down harder on college athletes than on Congressional members and I thought that was an interesting observation. The time for reform is long past, I love sports, but I really have a problem with the way that athletes are treated, resources are allocated, and coaches are paid. It speaks very poorly of us as a nation that we keep pumping money into bigger and better locker rooms and stadiums for athletes, yet neglect the rest of the campuses in shameful ways. In other news I learned that a cousin of mine is getting divorced, but nobody is supposed to know about it. This just denies him potential support in my view. Eventually it's going to come out anyways, I guess I don't understand why it needs to be on the down low, but whatever.

I thought I would write for days, but I'm kind of sleepy and drained. I need more exercise, I've made progress in other areas of my life, and I'll get back on track again. It's unlike me to stagnate for long and I'm proud of that. Going to go home, get some lunch, and maybe test drive some more vehicles. I need to be brave enough to tell Jill and Jane's dad that I want him to settle his portion of the car accident so I can replace the vehicle I lost with something comparable, or try to help get my daughter a car so she has a ride to and from school when she needs it. As soon as Jane turns 18 I'm going to have a huge party for myself. I'm still in shock and denial about things that happened and the way I was treated for so long. It seems like I should be over by now, but it's still there. If nothing else going on these dating apps has allowed me to show men that I'm my own woman and any games they try to play are not going to work on me. Call when you say you're going to, or have the balls to tell me you're reconsidering things and don't believe we are a good fit for each other. I'm not invested in anyone other than myself. I joined because I was lonely, and dating really hasn't done much to alleviate that so maybe that's not the answer.

Regardless, it's great to be writing again. Would really like to get back to my fiction. Frustrated that the story is just sitting there when I have the time on my hands...



P.S. Please be extra nice to yourself today, and I will too.

Much love,


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