Book Two:

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Boiled in Oil
by Melanie Anne

Part Two: Broken Promises

Chapter 35

Storm Clouds

January 15, 1993

I'm in a really foul mood right now. Its one of those days at the end of a series of small disappointments and unexpected problems that have been going on for a couple of weeks all come to a head and you can't find anything you care about that doesn't look like its gone bad or is getting worse. Let me complain:

I still have this problem with my eye. It got all red from an infection two weeks ago before Steve, the company president, left for a convention. He had, with his concern, practically forced me to go home and take my contact lenses out. And as much as I appreciated his concern, I HATED being treated like a child. Is this part of being a woman?

Well, I took them out, the eye got a bit better, so I put them back in and it flared up again while he was gone. So, I went to the doctor who prescribed some medication. By this time, I had quintuple vision out of the left eye. I was really worried I had let it go so long that it caused permanent damage. Also, I really hated it that Steve had been right all along about needing to take care of it. Burned me up, I tell you!!! Well, I used the drops and the vision went to four images, then three, and now its down to ordinary double vision in the left eye. Even now, a week after I used the medication, its still double, but it seems like the second image is fading. Maybe... but in the morning its always really bad again. So, it is damaged? Is it permanent? I don't know.

And then there is the problem that the package the medicine came in said that if you used it for more than 10 days you could get cataracts or glaucoma or both. Why didn't the doctor tell me that? Does he really know what he is doing? And why don't I just call up and ask him? Or get an appointment with an eye doctor? Why? Because I have so many things I don't want to deal with that are hanging over my head that I can't bring myself to address any of them. I feel beaten before I start and I therefore have no motivation.

So, Steve has been gone until today. All last week, Chris had me beating my brains out to work out more theory before Steve came back: another deadline!!!! I told him I didn't want anymore deadlines where I had to be creatively inspired BY A CERTAIN TIME. It doesn't work that way!!! Maybe I can DO it, but it takes a HUGE toll out of my emotional peace of mind to the point I end up like I am right now! Well, of course, John, the software programmer, quit while the guys were at the convention, and that meant trouble for me and the program after the nearly two and a half years of effort I've put into it.

Suddenly all the effort to get it done by June for the local convention might have been for naught. But, the guys decided to program it themselves. So, Steve came back today. He decides he and Chris and I should work on Monday, which is a company holiday, but it will be more quiet then and we can get more done. Now, I had a date set with Andy to go to the mountains to the snow and cuddle in the great outdoors. CANCELED!!!!! Canceled for more of this head busting, unsatisfying, unfulfilling, never-ending, anything but the kind of work I REALLY enjoy software project.

Which is bad enough, except it is added to having my three days up in the snow with my family at a friend's cabin canceled for the same stupid project just before Christmas! No fun for the kids - I had to disappoint them, no fun for me, no time together as a family with Mary to keep our relationship one of fun and rewards and positive things. All shot to hell by Steve and Chris.

And then there is Mary. I've been seeing Andy, and now she is getting close to a guy at the bowling league she goes to. So, tonight, of all nights, she is seeing him for the first time after telling me should would like to go out with him. I wish her happiness, I wish her to enjoy what I have with Andy. And I wouldn't feel that bad if she left to live with him. She and I have always been close, we always will be, but a lot of the things I like, she doesn't, so in a sense it would bring me some freedom.

But what if she DOESN'T get asked out? She has been a bitch all week already!!! Part of it is she hates that she is 200 pounds right now (although, honestly, she doesn't look it). Part of it is that I'm going out with Andy. Part is the kids not doing the chores unless slave-driven and supervised. Part is that we spent all our surplus money at Christmas, and now she needs to wait to get her car tuned up and preventative maintenance. Part of it is that she only went out on a few dates before we were married seventeen years ago, none during our marriage, and she's scared of rejection and scared of acceptance also from Ron, her potential lover. She doesn’t' want to be hurt by being not asked out or dropped, but she feels guilty violating the sanctity of our marriage and wonders if the disappointments she may have felt with me will be there with him, meaning its really her. So, tonight, in about an hour when she comes home, there might be more hell to pay in addition to what's bothering me already.

AND (you thought I was finished, didn't you!) After disappointing the kids for the snow with the friend, I couldn't take them up this weekend like I promised because we are out of money, and I can't even take them up to the snow in the local hills because its supposed to continue to snow up there until Monday, and I have no chains, can't afford them, and don't want to break my nails to put them on.

AND I start college on Tuesday, and I'm nervous I'll be discovered as to my past and I don't know how hard the work will be and if I can take the stress if my work as Screenplay keeps up like this.

Also, I wanted to get my hair cut for school, but my books cost MUCH more than I thought - even for used - and it took all of my allowance, so I cut my hair myself, and although I like it better, one side is longer than the other.

PLUS, Keith is supposed to be calling back the people who call my small business that I moved into the house from the office it was in. They leave messages on the answering machine, but I don't have time to call back and don't want to, neither does Mary, and Keith can, but doesn't want to, so we don't and we lose the business.

Then, this morning, Mary wanted me to iron her clothes 'cause she was late, I made breakfast for everyone, Keith needed money for lunch 'cause he didn't have time to make one, Mindi needed money for lunch 'cause she didn't have time to make one, so I had NO money for lunch and was lucky the guys called a business lunch (more stress) so I could have my meal paid for.

The only thing I asked Keith (or anyone) in return, was to bring in the trash cans that were full of water from the rain and had been sitting on the curb since three days ago when the trash was picked up. He forgot.

Sure, he did it when he came home, but that's one more day than I wanted them to be an embarrassing eyesore to the neighbors. And this after I did a one hour video copy job for Keith that he didn't do when he was supposed to (that's where the rest of my morning went).

Add to that, the kids played ball in the back room which I told them never to do in there because I had some very important nick nacks that are rare memories to me, and the ball hit a little ceramic statue that was the oldest thing I have from my childhood, and knocked its head off!!!

And then, Mindi and Keith are all over me to make their dinner!!!

Well, I tell ya! Add to that the lower doses of hormones that I am on now, and the masculinizing emotional effect of not having taken a certain kind of hormone for over a month, and its been exactly one of those kinds of days.

I sure hope tomorrow is better!!!

January 18, 1993 - 5:30 am

Today, a tremendous rainstorm is raging outside. Mindi is home sick, so I’m taking a quite moment to write. Over the weekend, I spent a full twenty-four hours with Andy. In all the time I have know him, this is the first time we have made love in the fully intimate sense.

These experiences - Andy, Mindi being home sick, the rainstorm - are the very things that create the breakthroughs in Mental Relativity that I develop. It is the juxtaposition of overlapping patterns that creates “standing waves” of thought. These are what I read. It is not a linear logic; it is not figuring that this must lead to this must lead to this. Rather it is a series of inspirations that come to me. But, they don’t come to me without work; they don’t come to me without strain and toil of a mental nature.

Men look at that as serendipity. They look at it as something that pops into your mind as a result of all the stuff that’s churning around, and that there’s no explanation for it and no way to control it. There IS a way to control it. I do that every time I am working on the theory.

I don’t just get inspirations - I set my mind up in a pattern of thought that I know. Then, I experientially absorb data, but not without control. I test experiences against the pattern and ask myself, “Is this an experience from which I can glean a template?” If it is, what portion of that experience do I wish to use, and where do I want to overlay it?

It is more like creating Moiré patterns where you take two sets of wavy lines and move them around, one on top of the other, until you finally establish a relationship where something clicks. That’s not arbitrary. You must choose to align the experiences in a certain manner in order to achieve the desired effect. That is completely controlled.

Men see the development of understanding in this manner as a progression of the work, judged by the results. But that’s not how I see it. To me, it is an ever-increasing degree of resolution regarding something I already know.

Today’s simple insight is that men and women will never agree on both what to achieve and how to achieve it. To be unjustified, women must enjoy the path they take. For men, this is not necessary. Men must only expect the goal to be worth attaining.

When men and women work together, men will see that the requirements women impose on the men in the effort to achieve the goal will seem completely arbitrary. They will appear as chaos applied to the linear system. For example, if a woman says, “I need a vase of fresh flowers on my desk every week, and if you give me that I will come up with these math equations you need.” Well, that appears to be an arbitrary choice. Why a vase of flowers? It has nothing to do with the progression of the theory. Well, that’s true, when you are looking at the results, which is where men are concentrating. But when you are looking at the path toward achieving those results - for a woman to create within herself an environment where creativity can thrive, she needs some gratification in the process, because for her, no matter how meaningful the goal turns out to be, it will never outweigh the path experienced in trying to achieve it. So, with a miserable process, a woman can do not better, even with the most meaningful of goals, than to break even.

That is what happened with me when editing the feature film [“Social Suicide”] for Larry. He told me that when I saw the finished product up on the screen it would all be worth it. Well it wasn’t for me. It was for him. For me, I was just relieved it was over, and it didn’t outweigh the misery I experienced getting there. I do get a sense of accomplishment, but it’s never going to do more than break even. Even if it won the Academy Award, that would be true. I feel that it is a “wash” as far as it goes.

The same thing has happened in working on the software, even at this moment, with the guys. I’ve had one vacation canceled and another vacation canceled. I’ve been pressed to the point of psychological stress and emotional depression in order to crank out new theory on demand in order to meet arbitrary deadlines they felt were good markers to indicate they would have their program ready when they wanted it. That sort of thing has put me in a position now where if I don’t stop it soon, the software will never be more than a wash for me, and it’s getting very close right now. That’s why I’ve had to come to the conclusion that I have to trade them “one for one” from now on.

This is the secret for women working in a male society. When they establish a goal for you, if it seems that the path will be a pleasurable one, make that commitment. But the moment it seems that the terms are getting worse or the conditions are more harsh than expected, it’s time to renegotiate.

Now, males see this as going back on a commitment. “Hey, you said you’d do this! I didn’t have any control over the fact that the conditions got rougher.” That is true, you didn’t. But you do have control over making them less rough. Men will never think of this. It will seem completely arbitrary, like you are being a prima donna, if you say, “I want something in exchange for this hard effort.” “Then why didn’t you tell me in the beginning? Why didn’t you tell me at the onset?” Because that’s not the way women’s minds work, you jackass.

The point is, they are not being jackasses from the point of view of other men. And by you calling them a jackass, you are being a bitch from their standpoint. But you are not being a bitch from the standpoint of other women, unless they have been brainwashed by men because you have used their language, their culture, their educational system as the only tools available to train yourself as to what is proper and what is improper. It is not right for women to hold back on this one.

Similarly, when men say this is a necessary speed to achieve in accomplishing a task, that speed is going to appear to be completely arbitrary to women. Remember, this is when men and women have agreed on a goal. That is when they will disagree on method - requirements and speed. Women don’t measure the process linearly. They aren’t looking at how long it takes. Women are looking for a sense of completion. Men are looking at, “How far do I have to go?” So to them, they figure out when they want to be there, and it picks out a speed. Only then, do they figure out if it is something they like doing or not. If they like the process, well then, the longer it takes, the better. But if they expect to obtain elements that will make them even happier when the goal is achieved, then they will go at it as fast as they can, short of turning the effort into a negative one (for them).

That’s why women appear fickle to men: that they change the direction they are going based on achieving a pleasant experience. But men are just as fickle, because they change the requirements which they see as essential along the way. So, they start out telling you how wonderful it will be because they are looking at the end of it, and then the going gets a lot tougher. Rather than using the resources they have to make the conditions better, they use the resources they have to make the process shorter.

Men don’t understand time. They’re afraid of losing it. We don’t understand space. We’re afraid of misusing it. We must, therefore, realize that intrinsically men and women are different species mentally. We don’t see things at all alike. We can converge our views, triangulate on a particular object - a goal, a purpose - but when we do, we will find ourselves at great divergence as to why we are doing it in the first place.

It’s like two flat rulers with a marble in between them. If you press down on one side and bring the ends together, the other side will be at it’s farthest apart. But if you press that other side together, the first side will split apart. That’s the nature of paradox, the nature of the difference between men and women, time and space. You can hold one end together, but the other must be apart. All you can do with paradox is pick where you are going to put it. That’s the nature of being unjustified.

The justified person says, “The paradox is here.” The unjustified person says, “Where do I want to put the paradox?” The nature of problem solving is determining where the paradox should go. “Do I want to change the way I think about something, or change the thing?” That’s problem solving. “Should I ignore current observation because of my beliefs, or should I ignore my beliefs because of current observation?” Ignoring the paradox is justification.

It sounds like something John Kennedy would have said: “Ask not if what you believe should be changed because of what you observe; ask if your observations should be changed because of what you believe.”

An interesting parallel. And in fact, parallel is the one thing we haven’t addressed. You can’t ever bring them both together, but you can split them both completely apart. Something to be explored at a future date.

In trying to develop a new, non-linear logic for women in Mental Relativity, I’m not doing it from the standard female point of view dealing with it emotionally; getting a feeling for it’s meaning. Rather, I’m going from the male point of view, getting an understanding of it through linear logic. I’m using their own tools against them. Male science is not introspective. It questions its results, but never its motivations.

The motivation in male science is a given: “We need to know because knowledge is better than ignorance.” Who says? To women, that is not necessarily true. Most women, however, would believe this because of the training they’ve had by men. They’ve been brainwashed to see it the male way, and hobbled from using their own innate abilities.

The concept of learning linear logic and having no alternative is the mental equivalent of female circumcision. Fortunately, unlike it’s physical counterpart, mental circumcision is reversible.

My function here is to turn male science back to look at its own beginnings, and when it does, it will find itself to be just as arbitrary as it has always perceived female desires to be.

January 25, 1993

Here I am again in a real bitch of a mood. Seems like I just got out of the last one. In between the two I had some real good times and real positive experiences: starting college again, spending time with Andy, getting closer to my family, finishing up the story Theory. But today, I am mad as hell, and I know the mood won't lessen until I state my piece; so here it is.

I hate men. ALL men. And not because of any single act or attitude that weighs heavily on my mind, but because of the sum total of the abuses I have suffered at their hands through the years. No matter that better than half of it was by negligence: the result is the same.

I speak from my feelings, raw and exposed at the moment, but there is logic to support it. Yet the logic is not my purpose here. I just want to rage in a non-self-destructive way.

For days I have asked Chris to delineate what I needed to do on the the software. We had an agreement from months ago that I would never be asked to work on anything other than the software, and if things to do on it ran out, I would not even have to come in. This sounds self-serving in my favor. It is. But the reason for it is that I have struggled to have a creative career in movies, writing, song: whatever areas I wish to express myself. And the software project takes me away from all that. It robs me of time, of inspiration, and of the ability to express myself. This is because I am forbidden to work on non-software things while at work.

So, why the anger? Because saying I could spend less time there when there was nothing to do on the software was supposed to put limits on my prison term. Today, Chris and Steve determined that they could not come up with specific things for me to do, because that depended on how the project developed. But rather than say "take some time off, as a reward (or even just a payback) for all the extra time and late nights and canceled vacations you had to give up", instead they just said to work on whatever MIGHT BE useful until they came up with the occasional specific need.

Now this effectively tries to tie me to project not as a consultant (which apparently they think I am in name only) but as an employee de facto. As a consultant, they can't legally insist, but they are putting emotional pressure on me to be there during appointed hours, whether there is anything to do or not. Of course, they don't see it as a violation of our agreement: "All these things will EVENTUALLY have to be done anyway". True, but WHEN do they really NEED to be done? Certainly not now. In the past, work I have done of this nature has largely been thrown out by Chris and/or Steve: "It's really not what we had in mind". Then why the fuck did you ask me to do it in the first place, assholes!

I have been taken advantage of by so many men, from my dad to my teachers, my scout leaders and clients. Mike, Fred, Larry: each and every one has pushed me for more, More, MORE! They took whatever they could get (being as efficient with their resources as possible). Nevermind that I didn't enjoy it. Nevermind that I suffered with long hours, late hours, low pay, or creative strangulation. No, think of the BIG REWARD; the carrot at the end of the stick - the final payoff!

Well, assholes, where is it? For Mike I killed myself making the anti-drug film Cincinnati Bones for the schools. I'm sure it has kept many children off drugs. They are making lots of money off it at Aims Media. But what about me? I wrote it, directed it, edited it. I lost eight thousand dollars cash making it (because it cost that much more than I was paid). I lost 9 months of time I could have been earning money elsewhere. And I lost so much time with my family; my children, who grew up while I made it.

And what have I gotten back from these men? NOTHING. NOT A DAMNED THING! Then Fred worked me at night until 5 in the morning. And he stopped paying me for two months. And then he paid me only on the condition that I take 2/3 the amount and call it even. And this after he had already weaseled me down to working for ONLY ONE THIRD of my normal rate to begin with!!! All for the promise of financing for my own ideas. This was four years ago. WHERE IS THE DAMNED FINANCING, FRED?!?

And Larry, who made me work for a full year for only ten thousand dollars, half my usual earnings in that period. Work, or be sued for breech of contract. And he made me work at one point twenty-four straight twelve hour days without a day off, forcing me to take my lunches and dinners at the editing console and work through my meals out of the microwave. That Bastard promised me recognition... opportunity... WHERE THE HELL IS IT, LARRY?!? Two years later, the damned film isn't even released, and all my creative accomplishments can't even be seen.

And now Chris and Steve: two guys I have trusted to treat me fairly. No, unlike the others, there is no malice in them. But NEGLIGENCE has the same effect. I am a woman, I need to enjoy what I am doing NOW, NOT LATER! A reward at the end is all well and good, but NEVER EVER makes up for a bad experience getting it. I've told this to Chris who should know better. I've told him that just some flowers on the desk, or some candy in my basket, or the opportunity to do a little creative writing at work, if the muses light, all would go a long way to making the project enjoyable. But he has no idea, no concept of what I am feeling: just hollow approximations of what I mean (the best his male mind can do).

Yes, I know that I am just as difficult for him as he is for me. I am difficult in not being very efficient, and I will never understand what that feels like to a man: I CANNOT. But he is difficult to my mental and emotional health, and he has no concept at all.

I am pissed, ROYALLY PISSED! And though I know in my mind that equity is the only way to survive as two unlike species, together in peace, that we cannot destroy them for they see things we cannot just as we see what they cannot, and we need each other to survive alone or together - though I know all these things in my mind - my heart does not feel it. My heart is beaten and sore. My feelings are raw and exposed. My desires are flaunted and ignored, and all because of men's malice or negligence. No, they will never give to us the life that we need; we must take it for ourselves. We must gather the power to say "No" to their demands, "You won't get what you want without giving me what I want." Such a harsh and abhorrent attitude for a woman to be forced to adopt. But the alternative is much worse.

My commitment to the software project (Chris and Steve) and my commitment to ALL men is hereby dissolved. I will wrest power from them; not just for me, but for my sisters - my sisters who have become so brainwashed with male rhetoric and education and language and religion, that they don't even know who they are as women, but just who men see them to be. They feel the way men think they should feel, they act like they think they should act. And even the secret hidden nature of being a woman that men cannot fathom does not grow from her secret heart, but is fashioned by the space left by men in which to plant it.

This tragedy, this awful, painful tragedy must not continue, for me or for my sisters. And so, as I renounce men and all they stand for, I simultaneously embrace a new order of women. Always in the belief that once we have wrested the power from them, we must use it to set up a balance between us, sharing the resources, giving each other space, even if it holds no meaning to our side. Efficient? No, but just. So with anger and justice I start from this day, renewed in my believe that before we can impose equity, we must have the power for ourselves.

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