Gratitude – Thank you guests for your comments and support & new blog post subscription through MailChimp is in beta

*UPDATE JUNE 19, 2020* – except for the obviously Spam files, all comments have been approved and are visible on the home page now. Unfortunately, I can’t respond to each one individually so am invoking the Blog Rules. As for many questions about blogging, writing, and compatibility or screen issues, please refer to the links below or read through the FAQ post at the top of the Blog page. You can search for other FAQs too in the search bar.

Next post is on Sunday, June 28, 2020. I hope you enjoy Juneteenth holiday and your weekend.

Dear Guests,

Thank you so much for your kind words, feedback and support. The last post has received over 400 amazing comments, most of which have been addressed to the home page.

I started working my way through all of them in my SPAM filter – because yes all comments go to spam or moderation so I can read them and make sure they follow the blog rules – today after an email notification and was overwhelmed by all your kindness and acceptance.

Most of your comments have not been posted here or replied to yet because I need more than a few minutes at a time on break from work to be as kind and thoughtful as you were to me. That is my task for tomorrow evening.

But to answer a few questions here:

  1. I’ve struggled with a contact form that works and feels safe here, so there currently isn’t one available. However, you can visit Scent Reflections LLC, my other website and use that form to contact me. Just add Untangled Connections or UC in the message so I know how to respond.
  2. Your other option – and this is new aka in beta testing – is to subscribe to the new mailing list via MailChimp popup. I just added this to the site tonight and am not sure if it works. If you do use the pop up, I promise you will only receive blog posts from Untangled Connections. But please bear with me while the kinks get worked out.
    1. Also, if you sign up for the subscriber list, you will get my contact information that way too.
  3. I will not be writing more about current events, but I will write more about discrimination, racism, prejudice, etc. and compassionate, assertive, accepting ways to communicate with individuals or groups while feeling safe.
  4. I will share more about Untangled Connections and why I use that site name. Writing the last 3 posts broke a traumatic amnesia barrier in my mind, so I have access to many more memories that were lost.
  5. Finally, I am happy to discuss writing guest blog posts and link exchanges, but cannot reply to emails from WordPress Comments. WordPress security settings protect both of us (admin and commenter) by disguising email addresses and website data.

To Reiterate: if you want to contact me by email, please either SUBSCRIBE using the pop up window or contact me through Scent Reflections LLC. You can also contact me via Facebook; I post all Untangled Connections and Scent Reflections blog posts there. Twitter will be set up ASAP – which for me means the next free time on my half day at work.

A quick note about media: this blog has always been about the writing first. Photos, graphics, etc. are expensive to create and host here based on this type of WordPress account. If you want to see more graphics and media please use this contribution link or the one in the menu to support upgrades that allow me to create and share more media here.

Thanks for reading and making Untangled Connections such an amazing and incredible community.

Love and Rainbows,

AlterXpressions (TJ)
she/her/hers

ADMIN: Guest Comments – browser issues & racism follow up

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Browser & Loading Issues

Last week, multiple guests commented about some browsing compatibility issues or slow loading issues with the website.

Untangled Connections does not use plug-ins, and both the customer support engineer and I did not encounter loading or compatibility issues using Safari, IE, or Firefox.

To be safe though, I also reduced the number of comments/posts that load at one time to increase loading speed.

If you run into issues, please check your browser for updates or try deleting your cache. That sometimes helps. Also refer to the FAQ sticky post here and information about browser compatibility here.

Racism Follow Up

A few guests asked me if there would be a follow up to my post about racism. I decided not to continue on that topic right now for a lot of reasons.

One, I am not black and don’t want to take away from the importance of that message.

Two, I am an ally for ending racism period. I DO NOT FOLLOW CURRENT EVENTS OR WATCH THE NEWS, POLITICS, ETC so continuing to write about current events and politics here is not useful, supportive or helpful.

Three, I support and promote diversity by writing about many topics associated with discrimination, bullying, and racism here. At the same time, I am not willing to write about something I don’t know or have experienced/researched.

That does a disservice to all of us by spreading misinformation.

What I will do is share a story with you that happened to me 6 years ago. It still affects me now and has been on my mind a lot since people are talking about Pride month and other types of discrimination.

The Story

6 years ago, I was living on the east coast in a relatively safe and clean apartment building near the border of Rhode Island. It was a small city with an old fashioned downtown center with many small or family-owned businesses surrounding the police station and government buildings. I walked a mile from my apartment through the downtown to get to the commuter rail station.

On my walks to and from the apartment, I passed by many restaurants and a grocery store owned by people whose first language wasn’t English. It became a habit to shop locally because the food was excellent and the people were polite. Plus they were closer than the big box grocery stores and restaurants.

We (the store owners/employees and I) became friendly as I became a “regular” customer and always tried to be respectful, if not friendly. The grocery store owners and their family came from a Latino/Spanish speaking background, and not all of them spoke English, but we worked it out over time. I am stating this, not because I have anything against them, but because it’s important to the story. And I don’t know what label to use.

One night, I was shopping on my way home from work and chatting casually with the older man at check out. He looked old enough to be my uncle or grandfather and didn’t speak English, but understood it quite well. The store was mostly quiet and the atmosphere relaxed. The man was careful packing up my groceries, and I appreciated that since I still had almost half a mile to walk before getting home.

As I waited, a young male (between 20 and 30 probably) walked up to us and gestured impatiently. We ignored him since the old man was only half way through the check out. The young man said or did something again, but I didn’t see it since he was standing to my left just inside of my peripheral vision.

The older man continued to ignore him, but I started to feel uncomfortable with the staring (I could feel the young man’s gaze on me).

So I turned towards the young man as I addressed the older man (to my right) and said it’s okay for him to answer the other person’s question – me being polite. Then I stepped back and went back to my ebook. My body language and attitude expressing disinterest in the conversation.

That changed when I heard this man speak in a lisp with a condescending tone of voice as he slowly and loudly asked the older man where to get a toilet plunger in the store because he couldn’t find it on the shelves. I was shocked and upset on behalf of the older man at this young man’s rudeness.

The older man mumbled something in broken English about waiting until he finished with my purchase. Then turned back to checking out the rest of my groceries. Without careful observation (and yes I was observing because my survival instincts kicked in), you wouldn’t know the older man reacted at all. But his eyes and mouth tightened before he looked down and away from both of us.

The younger man kept repeating himself, so I stepped in and spoke up. I apologized for interrupting and repeated what the older man said. The young man looked down at me, called me “honey” in a dismissive tone and told me it’s okay that I interrupted because I couldn’t help myself being what I was.

Then went back to harassing the older man. I spoke up again and asked him if he understood what the older man and I said. If not, I could explain what the older man said again. The younger man told me that I was confused and didn’t understand the problem. So I agreed I might be confused before repeating the whole conversation almost word for word. Then I asked the younger man to explain where and how I was confused.

A short silence. Then the young man stammered something about having to leave because he just remembered an errand and left. The older man looked at me with surprise and respect. I asked him if he was okay, and he smiled and nodded before finishing my order. On my way home, I had a panic attack and flashbacks. Did not sleep that night.

What upset me most?

The young man was white, obviously wealthy or well-to-do, wearing a fashionable outfit that shouted “I am gay and proud”. As a gay person, he’s probably experience some discrimination and/or racism. But he didn’t even consider it was wrong to treat this older man (and me when I stood up to him) with such disrespect.

Conclusion

I’ve seen black people with dark skin discriminate against other black people with lighter skin because they “aren’t black enough”. I’ve seen latinos and latinas discriminate against each other because they come from different Spanish or Portuguese speaking countries, neighborhoods, etc. I’ve had Chinese people step back from me in disgust and fear because I am bald. I’ve seen Chinese people from China discriminate against American-born Chinese and vice versa. Asians against other Asians and so on.

Where I live now, complete strangers (all white of different ages and genders) have gotten up and walked out of restaurants after staring at me with hostility while I bought food and then sat down at an empty table to eat. White salespeople at Nordstrom have glared at me and followed me around while I was shopping. Even gone so far as to ask other white people if I was bothering them while I shopped because we were looking at the same clothes.

A man of mixed race with a Spanish or Mexican accent stopped me on the street one day and asked me “where are you from?” and “What are you doing here” in a hostile tone of voice. When he asked me “what are you?” I stepped around him and walked away. Black people sometimes call me a “banana” because I like to wear beanies, headscarves, and “street style”outfits. What “street” style is I don’t know. I wear what I like and feel comfortable in all the time.

A young girl was polite the first time she saw me with a hat covering my face. The next time, hat off, she refused to look me in the eye or speak to me other than to take my ticket. She was white too. In a dentist waiting room at a large hospital (teaching clinic), three or four white people in the waiting room turned to stare at me as I sat down. Then started talking about me as if I wasn’t there. When that didn’t bother me, a man walked over and spoke at me. I don’t remember what was said because my alters took over, but he and the others left me alone after that.

Finally, if you’ve read past posts, you know about my past experiences with bullying, discrimination and racism. That position hasn’t changed even if the world has. You also know my feelings and thoughts about politics and religion, about why I stay neutral about politics and only share my views about religious and spiritual practice – inclusive and accepting.

So please understand that I will only write about current events and current politics if they are something I can speak about with acceptance, respect, knowledge, and inclusiveness.

Thanks for reading.

ADMIN: Holiday Break; see you next week

Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Pexels.com

Dear Guests,

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend in the US – first official weekend of summer and a holiday to honor/remember the people who died serving in the military. It’s also a 3 day weekend for me so I’m taking my first “break” here since January 2020.

Yup, it’s been that long since I took a break or vacation from blogging here and at Scent Reflections. The long weekend works out nicely, so I’ll see you all next Sunday with the regularly scheduled post.

If you celebrate, happy holiday. If not, I hope you enjoy Sunday in a way that feels right to you.

Thanks for reading.

Admin: R&R weekend

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Hello Guests,

If you celebrate, Happy Easter and all that. I hope you managed to celebrate in your own way even if you can’t gather with loved ones this year.

As for me, April comes with some sad anniversaries and memories around Easter. Between that and having some challenging, yet positive discussions about the past with my parents, my body memories flared up this weekend.

All my sinuses and other parts of my face got swollen and are still somewhat painful right now. I spent the weekend sleeping, drinking herbal remedies (tea and soup) to help with the congestion and swelling, and practicing healing meditation when I wasn’t a sleep.

So I don’t have much to share with you this week. All I ask is that you please follow the rules and regulations in place to reduce chances of the infection spreading to other populations. Be mindful of yourself and practice self care as much as possible.

If you are like me, please take extra pains with self care and meeting your needs. Because you might not meet the typical criteria for being high risk, but you are high risk if your mental/emotional challenges manifest as physical illness that lowers your immune system. That is how I often end up sick or manifesting cold-like or sinus infection or flu symptoms when I don’t have any of those infections.

I promise I am taking care of myself, staying safe, and only going out to pick up deliveries – with washable gloves on because my disposable ones have disappeared. I swear I packed them, honest. But they refuse to be found right now. Maybe some day, they will reappear. Until then, laundry works.

Stay safe and take good care!

Thanks for reading!

ADMIN: How can I support this site/blog? Will you publish more posts about writing?

A couple years ago, many valued guests asked these questions and offered their support to help me keep this site running while I was going through difficult personal times with work and family.

p.s. I added this info to to the FAQ too

How to Support This Blog

I was (and still am) so flattered that the guests here reached out that way and promised to let them know as soon as I found a way they could support this site without breaking the following values that make this blog what it is:

  • Keep this site and blog free of advertisements and other types of intrusive campaigns that could compromise guest safety and anonymity
  • Allow me to maintain creative control and ownership of the content shared here to ensure it is useful, factual, and interesting
  • Keep any type of monetization and payment options separate from this site to protect guest safety and anonymity

If you want to make a monetary contribution to support Untangled Connections, please visit this page at Scent Reflections LLC.

Writing & Blogging Posts + Newsletter

The original plan was to have 2 separate newsletters; one for each website and blog.

But I am only human…

and can barely fit in the time to create new content for both sites, work, send out 1 newsletter, and maintain the rest of my life.

If you want to join the Scent Reflections LLC newsletter, you are welcome to do that. A pop up ad appears within seconds of visiting that site.

Why share that now?

I’m working on some handouts and (maybe) an e-book that consolidates information from posts here and other documents I made for friends and family on the fly to share here and at Scent Reflections LLC.

This March’s exclusive newsletter content (you have to visit Scent Reflections LLC to join) will have a free handout with a list of continuing education and writing resources (includes personal reviews and links to websites) that will eventually become part of a larger resource.

And even though it’s part of the exclusive, bonus material for Scent Reflections LLC, I don’t want to exclude my loyal guests here.

That means: any exclusive content related to Writing & Blogging will also be shared here and available for free whether or not you subscribe to the newsletter.

For the rest of the exclusive, bonus content (including aromatherapy recipes, DIY recipes, affirmation cards, etc), you have to subscribe like everyone else.

Thanks for reading