Technically, it’s Not Illegal

That’s what the police officer said to me a few weeks ago.

I met a friend for lunch at one of my favorite spots. We had finished our lunch and were getting ready to start our discussion of the Bible Study we were doing when the manager discretely came over and said to us, “Did you know the guy sitting at the table next to you?”  Neither of us did and the manager continued on to say that one of his employees, while delivering food to another table, noticed that person recording on his phone. To which my friend, K says “he was recording our conversation?” and the manager said, “No, he was recording you” (making that statement directly to me.)

Of course, we were full of questions and probably asked the same one over and over again, trying to find out what the heck he could have been filming or even why… going so far as to even ask the manager if he was sure.  Yes, the employee has the same phone and was positive the phone was in the record mode. The manager said that he observed the guy leave, followed him out and then provided me with the license plate number and the model of the car as well as a general description of the guy.

As the conversation went on I got more and more shaky and uncomfortable. K and I wrapped up the conversation with the manager and I headed to the police station to file a report.  After giving the details of the incident, which mind you included the time, place, location, description and plate number of the car, and description of the individual I was told that technically what he did wasn’t illegal.  Wait, what?!?!  Nope, it’s not illegal for someone to electronically violate your sense of “assumed privacy” (my word not theirs) in a public place.  So aside from being mindful of what’s going on around me, and reporting anything suspicious there wasn’t anything they could (or were going to) do.

That restaurant is still one of my favorites and the few people that know what happened that day ask me why I still go back. Honestly, why wouldn’t I? The manager has proven that he’s got my back. I talked to him not too long ago and told him how much I appreciated what he did. He said he was torn that day. He didn’t know if he should have confronted the guy or even tell me not knowing how I might react. I told him I appreciated the fact that he acted as if I could have been his sister/mother/ aunt –getting me the information and talking to the police after I filed the report.

There are moments when having M around would have made me feel safer just because of his presence, but the reality is that M isn’t here anymore.  In the past couple of years men in my life have stepped up to the plate to watch out for me: my father, my brother, my pastor, my friends, and now a stranger who had no idea about my past but thought enough of me as an individual to consider my future.

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Old Habits Die Hard

Its amazing how I still go through the motions of a relationship that doesn’t exist any longer. I opened up a new tube of toothpaste today to discover that I had purchased the gel type. I almost got upset until I remembered that for most of my life up until I met M, I used gel toothpaste. He didn’t like it so we always bought the paste. Was there any reason that we couldn’t each have our own toothpaste in the marriage? No, but it was just something that I adopted from his life.  I also realized that I used to use two big fluffy towels after a shower, one specifically to wrap my hair. M told me that I used too many big towels…so I started using just one towel and a hand towel creatively wrapped and secured to hold my wet hair.

Two years after he’s gone, I’m still following that same routine. I can’t believe I didn’t realize it before but somehow it took the shocking neon blue color of the toothpaste to bring it to light. Thanks Colgate – you’ve brightened my smile and my future.

I See You

I’ve seen lots of comments about eating better, exercising more, and becoming financially stable. All of this seems reasonable as it is the start of a new year. As I look back on the past couple of years, 2015 was my year of acknowledging the craziness of the prior year, 2016 was the year of Z- where I chose not to accept any new obligations, I withdrew from existing obligations, and I embraced what my pastor’s wife taught me, “No thank you is a complete sentence.”

I own the mistakes I’ve made and that I make. Realizing that brings me back to August 2014 after M told me what he did.  At the encouragement of a friend, I started talking to a counselor specializing in affair recovery. What I remember now is that in the conversation, part of the counselor’s advice was that I was too passive and that I needed to take more of a stronger stance. That doing so would show M that I wasn’t a pushover and that M would find that attractive and see that he didn’t want to leave me after all.  I did my best to do what the counselor told me to do, but if I were having that conversation today I would tell him “Bullsh*t – why is it my fault?”

I was labeled and blamed for a lot of things that year, some I assumed on my own…some given by M, and some by others who didn’t know better.  I know what it’s like to feel like you have no place you belong. I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t know who you are anymore. I know what it’s like to feel like somehow it’s all your fault and I know what it’s like to be told that it is.

My goal for 2017 is to figure out how to take my experiences and help others. I’m not sure what that will look like, but I’m willing to see it through. Some days I still feel broken but I know I’m mended, and now I want to help mend others. I’m grateful that during the craziness of infidelity/divorce/suicide that I had friends who saw “me” not just the circumstances that were mine at that time. I’d like to be able to do that for someone who doesn’t have the support system in place like I did/do.  I’d like to show them that there is peace on the other side, that it’s not their fault, and that there are people that can see them for more than the circumstances that surround them. I see you, friend, I see you.