The awkwardness of being a Borderline ACON.

Thought I’d reblog this, as it shows where my head was at almost three years ago, and how I reacted to criticism from “pure” abuse survivors who didn’t believe it was possible to be both an abuse victim and also suffer from something as “evil” as Borderline Personality Disorder (whose symptoms are often mixed up with those of  Complex PTSD and may even be the same thing).

I’m a lot calmer and more centered today, but I was also in therapy at that time and learning a lot about myself, so it was a fruitful time for me, however difficult it could sometimes be.

Comments here are welcome, since the deadline for comments under the original post has expired.

Lucky Otters Haven

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I won’t lie.  It’s incredibly awkward being a blogger who blogs about two things that seem diametrically opposed to many people in the narcissistic abuse community:  being a victim of narcissists, and having a Cluster B disorder (BPD).   To those of you who aren’t familiar with the ACON (adult children of narcissists) blogosphere,  there are a few ACON bloggers (not too many on WordPress, fortunately) who seem to think if you have BPD then you can’t also be an abuse victim and certainly shouldn’t be blogging about it.  Because, you see, if you have BPD then you are one of the soulless abusers.  If you are any kind of “cluster B person” blogging about abuse, then of it follows that you must have an “agenda.”  What that agenda is is never specified though.

I have been accused of many things, none of which are pretty, and few of which are true…

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My little girl is getting married!

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Talk about a whirlwind romance!   She started dating Robert (“Bobby”) in August, but they had been friends for a year or two before they fell in love, so it wasn’t like they were complete strangers.   They met through mutual friends.  There were a few problems at first in their relationship, but they seem to have gotten past and resolved them.

I’ve watched the two of them together, and I can honestly say I’ve never met a man who treats my daughter as well as Bobby does.  He shows no signs of any narcissism, or any personality disorder for that matter, although he has a few neuroses (but don’t we all).    He treats her like a queen but not in the typical wine and dine way of a narcissist.  He doesn’t shower her constantly with material gifts and dinners and flowers, but he’s considerate and empathetic and genuine, and he has taken to me too, and I to him.  I’m looking forward to calling him my son in law.  I think they will be good together and can grow and learn together as a couple.

He’s pretty stable financially, has never been married (he said he never met anyone he loved before), and also he is close to his own family who lives in this area.  At first I was concerned about his age, because he’s going to be 40 this month (he was born in 1979) and my daughter is just 25 (she was born in 1993).   But at her age, 15 years isn’t that huge an age difference, and it happens quite frequently that the bride is a younger than the groom.  She has dated boys her own age and in my opinion, they’ve all seemed a bit immature and self centered.  They certainly didn’t seem ready to support my daughter emotionally or financially (even though she will continue to work and don’t plan to get pregnant for at least a year or so).

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We’re not wealthy people by any means, but that doesn’t mean she can’t have a special day.   They don’t want to wait, so they are going to be married at the Courthouse next Monday (she’s not pregnant).  She ordered her own dress which by the way is absolutely beautiful and so flattering on her.   It’s a knee length long sleeve dress that is casual enough she could wear it for other dressy occasions.   I ordered her a pastel floral headband and some beautiful white ballet flats with a beautiful lace overlay.   She will wear my pearls (that I wore at my wedding) for something old and borrowed; a beaded off white clutch purse,  and a pretty bracelet with pale blue glass beads and rhinestones (for something blue).  This week she’s going to have her hair professionally done: a trim, and soft curls and highlights put in.

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Her dad and I will be there to sponsor them, and this Friday they’re going to the Courthouse to register.   After the little wedding, we’re going out to Carrabba’s for dinner (he dad has declined to join, which I’m relieved about) and then back to my place for a special cake I will have made for them.

Later on, if they want, they can always have another wedding with all the trimmings and a big reception, but I don’t think that’s a priority of theirs.  They just want to be married now!   I don’t blame them.  It will be lovely.

They have actually been engaged since the end of August (he was going to propose to her when we were at Myrtle Beach), but he didn’t have enough to buy the ring at that time, so he proposed on Christmas.   Here is the video I took of that.   She told me later she knew he was proposing, but by her reaction, you’d think she didn’t know a thing.

“Yes, I’ll marry you, stupid!”

Crash test dummy blog for Gutenberg.

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I don’t learn well by following instructions or watching someone else do something.  I’m one of those people who has to actually try a new thing myself before it sinks into my brain.  That’s just the way I roll and it always has been.   That’s not likely to change at my age.

I hate Gutenberg.  I hate the idea of having to use it.  I feel like it’s a terrible editor for actual writers and is going to interfere with the entire writing process, even if I should ever master it.   The writing process is holistic (at least for me it is), and Gutenberg is anything but holistic.   It’s like building a freaking Lego building.  Blocks are fine, even fun — but they’re not friends to writers.

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The Lego block version of the sort of post I might write using Gutenberg “blocks.”  

So I decided to start a dummy blog.  Yes, a crash test dummy blog just to practice Gutenberg and see what I really think of it.   Hey, it can’t hurt.  A dummy blog cost me nothing, and I can practice using the dreaded new editor without totally fucking up my current blog.

You can’t see my dummy blog.  It’s set to private.  It doesn’t even have a proper name.  I called it “My Dummy Blog.”  How creative is that?  I wrote one blog post so far using Gutenberg. The post I wrote is sheer nonsense, word salad really, and you wouldn’t want to read it.   I still hate Gutenberg.  But at least I got sort of an idea about the feel of using the thing.  Do I think I could actually master it?  Yes, eventually.  But I can already tell it’s astronomically unlikely I’ll ever like using it, and as a result, I won’t be motivated to blog.    I’ll keep practicing and see if that ever changes but I doubt it.

If you’re curious about trying Gutenberg but are like me and afraid to try it on your real blog because it might wind up FUBAR,  start a dummy blog like I did, and just play around with it.  If you completely make a mess of things, it won’t matter.

 

Delphine.

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“Terra” by Jenndalyn, Etsy.com

While I was in therapy a couple of years ago,  my therapist asked me to keep a dream diary.    I noticed that I actually seemed to remember more of my dreams while doing this.   I used to write about my dreams often on this blog, but even more often on another blog (Down the Rabbit Hole) I started around that time that focused on my therapy and the things I was discovering about myself and relationships with others.  I took that blog down about a year ago (it still exists, since I didn’t want to delete it, but I set it to private, and then stopped paying for its domain so it’s out there in WordPress Limbo somewhere but no one can see it, not even me unless I decide to revive the domain, which I doubt I’ll do).

Also about a year ago, I stopped going to therapy (I no longer felt that I needed it) and I stopped keeping  the dream diary, which was probably a silly thing to do.   Since then, I haven’t been paying much attention to my dreams and hence, I remember few of them.

But this morning I had one that was quite vivid and actually woke me up.  The dream seemed to have deep meaning and also a message that is important for me to remember, so I wrote the dream down as soon as I woke up.   My most  vivid dreams are always in the early morning, and this was no exception.  I consider this to be a very positive dream, though I’m not sure of its exact meaning for me.

I was cleaning apartments in a two story apartment building.   The apartments were almost identical and they were small.  The apartments at the ends of the hallways were a bit larger and had a different layout from the ones lining the hallways.  It was the end of the day and I was exhausted.  I wanted to go home, but I still had one more apartment to clean, on the second level.  It was one of the end-apartments, so it would be one of the big, rambling ones.  Ugh.  I hoped it would be one without pets or kids, maybe with a single old lady who barely touched anything in her home.   I was so tired!

Wearily, I headed toward the apartment.  Before I even knocked on the door, a woman who appeared to be in her late 30s or early 40s opened the door and ushered me inside.   How did she even know I was there?  She wore a wide smile and bohemian looking clothing.  Her hair was long and wavy, and tied in a messy ponytail with tendrils that curled around her cheeks.  She was a pretty woman, but seemed a bit frazzled.

It wasn’t hard to understand why.  Behind her, down a long messy hallway, I saw 4 or 5 kids, ranging from about age 3 to 12 chasing a large dog around.   Oh great, I thought.   Pets AND kids.  I’d be here forever.   No, no, no.  I wanted to go home.

The woman offered me some iced tea with lemon, and put out a plate of cookies, which I accepted.   Two dirty faced kids came running in and helped themselves, stuffing their faces with cookies.  The dog, some kind of sheepdog/retriever mix, came shambling in behind them, and barked a few times.  One of the kids offered him a cookie and off they went again, running back down the long hallway.

The woman, whose name was Delphine,  projected a bohemian friendliness, warmth and empathy.   I could see she was exactly the type of person who would feel right at home in such a messy, large, disorganized apartment.   The place was so huge and rambling that it seemed more like a house than an apartment.  It was much bigger than the other end- apartments I’d seen earlier, and seemed to have hidden rooms and all kinds of nooks and crannies that seemed utterly impossible in such a space.  It seemed as if it might be separate from this world and therefore not really in that apartment building at all.   The entrance to her home might have been a portal to another dimension.

Delphine showed me around the place, which seemed to ramble on endlessly.  She joyfully told me stories about the rooms and the children and animals who lived in them.  She also  showed me which rooms to clean, but there were only three I’d need to worry about.   I felt that she could sense how exhausted I was, and was trying to help me out by not overloading me with work.  The bedrooms I was to clean belonged to three of her children (I never did find out how many she actually had), but they were pretty well kept, so all I’d really be doing was vacumming the rugs, dusting, and straightening the beds.

The work went fast, so fast I can’t even remember doing it.   But Delphine wouldn’t let me leave.  Or more accurately, she didn’t tell me I couldn’t leave, but she kept showing me incredible, magical things that made it impossible for me to leave.   I noticed Delphine didn’t walk: she floated.  Although I could see her bare feet under her long Indian print hippie dress, she seemed to not really be using them at all.   What was this woman?

We were walking along some kind of half outdoor wooden catwalk to another part of the huge apartment (don’t ask) and growing directly out of the wooden planks was what she called a lotus bloom.  It was in some shade of purple but looked grayish too.  But its color wasn’t what made it so otherworldly and incredible.   I  bent over and looked closely at it.  I saw that the whole thing was moving, almost vibrating, and embedded in its whorl-like petals were other, identical, smaller blooms also vibrating.  Within their petals were even smaller blooms, on into infinity.   Magnificence in fractals.  I couldn’t stop staring, but t Delphine had other things to show me.

On another catwalk hung an intricate bamboo cage and inside the cage was the most incredibly colored bluebird I’d ever seen.   It was alone in the cage but didn’t seem lonely.   The bluebird was  colored blue and bright red (instead of the rusty color normal bluebirds have on their bellies).  The colors were of a brightness that that could be considered neon.   His feathers glowed and shimmered like LED Christmas lights in the middle of the day.

The bird looked directly at me and smiled.  No, it didn’t have teeth or lips, so I can’t explain how it smiled, but it did.   Somehow, I knew the bird knew me from somewhere before, but I couldn’t remember from where or when.  He seemed familiar and I felt good around him.  I couldn’t bear to leave.

I woke up at that point, and sat there for several minutes feeling awestruck.  I was trying to hold onto the memory of the dream before it fragmented and faded away forever , and then decided to scribble it down so I could write about it here later.

Let the little children come to me

I just found this lovely blog.

In a time when migrant children at our southern border are being robbed of their childhood (and even their lives) and children within our own borders are being taught to hate (often in the name of God),  this post’s beautiful and simple message couldn’t be more timely or more important.

Please leave comments on the original post.

About Creation and the Creator

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Today my daughter and I wandered through the woods. After three days of cold and dreary weather we weren’t going to miss 60 degrees and a sunny sky. So we put on our sneakers and headed off to Latta Plantation Nature Preserve to play in the woods and eat marshmallows!

We started at the nature playground walking on logs, slack rope, crawling through rope tunnels, and trying a climbing wall. All of this made difficult by our very wet and muddy shoes, thanks to the 4-inches of rain we’ve received. I spent an hour hovering around my daughter, ready to catch her at a moments notice. My goal: to protect her from a slip or fall, a skinned knee, or worst of all; the dreaded muddy hands!

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After a time we headed down the trail. Again I was a father-hen, constantly keeping my daughter away from muddy puddles, keeping her…

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“Learning to Fly” (Tom Petty)

Tom Petty was one of my favorite musicians.  I loved almost every song he released during his long career.   I owned several of his albums, spanning from the late 1970s to the early 1990s.

I heard “Learning to Fly”  in the car this morning and was overcome with bittersweet nostalgia that stayed with me all day.  1991 (the year this song was released) was a year that had a lot of personal meaning to me, and this was one of my favorite Tom Petty songs.  It’s absolutely surreal to me that 1991 was 27 years ago.   It’s sad and a little scary  how much faster time passes by as we age.

Tom Petty’s premature death in October 2017 was a great shock.   Music like his will never be made again.   But he finally got his wings and learned to fly.

The Narcissism of Capital

Here is an incredibly insightful post I wish I’d written. The author explains how unregulated, uncontrolled capitalism and the societal abuse and cruelty inherent in such a political system (America is such a society) is actually an abusive, predatory relationship taken to the macro level, with the callous, corrupt, and often cruel leaders standing in for narcissistic parents and other abusers. I’ve made this same connection myself in some of my own articles about Trump, authoritarianism, and malignant narcissism/sociopathy, but this article seems to explain it even better than I could.

Before you read the article though, let me point out that I use a less broad brush to paint the politicians the author names as narcissists or sociopaths. For example, while Hillary Clinton and Obama certainly have narcissistic traits (which are probably necessary to be successful in politics or be taken seriously in such a high profile endeavor), I do not believe either of them is a sociopath or a malignant narcissist. If they are narcissists (and they may well be), they are of the more benign type. Obama in particular has shown he possesses at least normal levels of empathy, which I don’t think is faked. In my memory, the only president I can recall who was definitely not a narcissist was Jimmy Carter. Because of that, he wasn’t a very effective president, even though he was an unusually good person.

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silhouette of statue near trump building at daytime Photo by Carlos Herrero on Pexels.com

Introduction

In my analysis of the 1944 film adaptation of Gaslight, I discussed something I called ‘political gaslighting‘: in abusive interpersonal relationships, the abuser fabricates, denies, and distorts the truth to disorient the victim; I argued how the super-rich, as well as the politicians and the media who work for them, also do this lying and disorienting, but to the public. I’d like to expand on those ideas here.

We all know about how emotional abuse can happen in families, school, the workplace, and online; that’s psychological abuse on the ‘micro’ level. Now, let’s discuss it on the ‘macro’ level, how it exists on the geopolitical level, for this is, no doubt, a far greater problem.

Many parallels can be seen in the comparison of narcissistic abuse and class conflict. The fact that Donald Trump is as obvious a narcissist as…

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This may be the best rant about Gutenberg I’ve ever seen.

I wasn’t going to write another post so soon about Gutenberg, but I’ve been fascinated by all the negative comments in the WordPress.org support forums, and came across this, well…masterpiece of a rant.  Even in spite of the typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors, it’s still a brilliantly written rant.  What makes it even better is this person actually created an account at WordPress.org just to publish their rant.  

So here goes.

So bad I actually made an account on wordpress.org to complain

@madethisaccounttoreviewgutenberg

I would prefer using the Gutenberg printing press than this pile of rubbish.

This is so soo soooo bad that I have actually made an account on wordpress.org to publish this review.

What a joke of a thing, pathetic. Blocks? Like for children who can’t think? WordPress is owned by the community, such an evil thing to force people to use this piece of crap.

Why am I frustrated? Because I keep loosing [sic] my articles.

If you want to waste time optimise [sic] something on wordpress, how about upgrading the core frameworks from PHP to javascript. Or focussing on stuff everyone has problems with like making wp faster.

When Tesla set out trying to improve the car, they didn’t review the shape of wheels. They focussed on the engine. You folks are trying to reinvent the way people write. Something that hasn’t changed in… ever. It doesn’t matter how many UXers and designers you get in a room, a triangular wheel will never roll down a road.

Gutenberg editor is the triangular wheel of Internet publishing. What’s worse is that you’ve tainted the Gutenberg name with this junk.

Will Gutenberg kill Wordpress as a writer’s platform?

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Almost every WordPress.com blogger has no doubt seen that irritating little blue blurb that keeps appearing at the bottom of the editing screen:  “A new editor is coming to level up your layout,” followed by a “learn more” offer that you can click on if you really want to learn more.   Over in the editor sidebar (where you find your status, post settings, categories and tags, sharing info, etc.) at the bottom is another distracting box offering you to try out the “new editor.”

Not many people like change, especially older folks like me.   Those of us who write for a living or just for fun who just want a nice big easy space to write in (like we have with the Classic Editor) don’t want to have to worry about “blocks” and dragging and dropping them around to “build a page.”  We just want to write, dammit.

Because essentially, what Gutenberg is, is not an editing platform intended for writers, but a page builder geared more for web designers or people more into building a page than writing text.   I know this because, even though I haven’t tried Gutenberg yet myself (and hope I never will have to),  I have watched many tutorials on Youtube about how it works, and have done  a lot of reading and research on it, including the user reviews over at WordPress.org., where users have already been forced to adopt it — unless they install a “Classic Editor” or “Disable Gutenberg” plugin so they can continue to write their posts the old way.   And, not surprisingly, the “classic editor” plugin is, at the moment, the most popular WordPress.org plugin ever, with over a million downloads already.   That’s a pretty clear message for the WP staff, but they appear to not care.  Like Trump, they’re just going to plow ahead and do things the way they want, and to hell with the people forced to adapt to this unwanted change.

People hate Gutenberg, at least people who want to just write, and that’s most WordPress users.    Since most WordPress users, both at WP.com and WP.org, are writers and bloggers first, and were attracted to WordPress in the first place due to its user friendliness and intuitive writing platform (meaning you can easily figure it out on your own without a user manual or tutorials) that worked almost exactly like the popular Microsoft Word, which almost everyone already knew.  People happily chose WordPress when they were promised, “if you know how to use Word, you will be able to use WordPress.”  And it was true.   The classic WordPress editor is almost ridiculously easy to use and that’s one of the reasons WordPress is still the most popular content management system (CMS) around.

Gutenberg does not give you a nice clean WYSIWYG screen that can be easily toggled to an HTML screen (if you prefer entering your own code or have custom design), with all your editing choices neatly and clearly contained in an easy to read toolbar at the top and your other options in a sidebar well away from your text.     Instead, Gutenberg uses a system of “blocks,” in which every feature of your post must have its own block, even down to individual paragraphs and titles.   That means you cannot see your entire page all at once, and the blocks are too small to see much of your writing at a time.   Few writers can write well if they cannot see their entire post at once, because much of writing involves being able to see the whole thing in its entirety and then cut and paste and move things around, including pictures and captions.  The classic editor allows us to do that easily with one or two clicks, by highlighting text or graphics and then moving it or deleting it or whatever.    The classic editor is intuitive, meaning that you can learn it on your own without any special instructions.

In contrast, Gutenberg wastes your time by forcing you to work within a “block” and while these can also be moved around the page and edited, it takes more clicks and is much more complicated to do so, and involves things like hidden menus, cryptic symbols, and odd toolbars at the top of each block, and hidden icons that only appear if you hover over them within the block.   Some of these icons and toolbars actually block the block itself, so you can’t even see what you have written in the block.  If you are a writer who needs to be able to see the entire post to know how you want to edit it, forget it.   There’s no way to see your entire post in editing format.  To do that, you have to create a draft or preview (and then go back in the editor and edit the blocks, somehow remembering what you saw in the draft or preview, or keeping it in a separate tab).   Also, each time you hit < enter > it creates a new block which you then must delete.  There have been many other complaints about this system that I’m not even including in this post.   You can read the complaints for yourself in the link I have provided below.

Most of the comments I read said Gutenberg is much slower and clunkier than Classic editor, and has turned something that’s a joy (writing a post) into a dreaded and time consuming chore.   It’s complicated and nonintuitive, so it’s difficult to figure it out on your own.

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Huh?

 

WordPress is trying (again) to fix something that isn’t broken.    I understand the system is still in its “beta” version and therefore has bugs which will probably get fixed later.  I also understand the company wants to remain tech savvy and up to date, and evidently, “block” editors like Gutenberg are the wave of the future.   In its desperation to be “relevant,” WordPress wants to throw away something that works so they can be more like Weebly or Wix (platforms which use block editors like Gutenberg).  But since most WP clients are writers, bloggers, or just regular folks trying to share their art, photography, or conduct business through their website, not web designers and page builders,  WordPress is really jumping the shark by forcing its users to adapt to such a drastic change that will require them to climb a very steep learning curve and take time away from actually writing or conducting their business.   I feel ultimately, WordPress users are going to go elsewhere that fits their needs better.

It feels like they are force feeding this change on us.  In fact, it feels almost like a form of internet fascism, with the staff at the WordPress.org review page showing little to no empathy for its users’ complaints and concerns, even blaming them for “resisting” having to learn something new, or belittling them for not liking change.    They are told to suck it up because that’s how it’s going to be, whether they like it or not.   Then they are “reassured” with a formulaic sentence telling them to install the classic plugin (when it’s actually Gutenberg, which is still full of bugs because it’s still in beta format, that should be the optional plugin) if they hate Gutenberg so much.   In the comments that don’t specify exactly what the person hates about Gutenberg, the staffer asks the user what the issue is.  Okay, fair enough.   But in the many other comments that DO specify, often in great detail, what the issues are, the staffers NEVER address the issues, only the user’s attitude and the only “help” given is to tell them to install the classic plugin.

Even if you don’t mind being condescended to and gaslighted by the WP.org staff, the plugin solution is only a temporary one.

Because the ultimate plan is to completely do away with the Classic Editor by 2022.   In three years, like it or not, we will all be forced to use Gutenberg.   There won’t be another option — except using a platform besides WordPress.  (Already, there is something called Classic Press in the works, created by WP defectors, for people who can’t or won’t use Gutenberg — I may be looking into that myself.)   I’ve seen enough of how Gutenberg works and read enough about it to know I will never have a good relationship with it.   If it doesn’t work for most users at WP.org (who tend to be a bit more technically savvy than WP.com users, since their websites and blogs are self hosted), then it’s going to be an absolute nightmare for us WP.com users.   Frankly, the whole idea of it terrifies me.

Here is a screenshot of the rankings of Gutenberg by WP.org users (and keep in mind that many of the five star reviews are actually bad reviews that were accidentally given five stars. I know because I’ve read many of these reviews):

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In spite of the obvious bad reviews of this product,  one WP staff member (I will have to paraphrase since I can no longer find the post), in their usual condescending way, scolded one user who pointed out how many one star reviews there were.  The staff member actually said the review system was invalid and shouldn’t be believed.  Even more unbelievably, the staff member said that most people who loved Gutenberg (obviously, almost everyone) just weren’t writing reviews or ranking the product because happy people don’t write reviews or give stars.  WHAT?

WordPress.org appears to be gaslighting and shifting blame to its own users, and straight up making shit up to make themselves look superior and their own review system look invalid!    That’s crazy!  It makes me wonder if the people running WordPress.org are on the narcissism/Cluster B spectrum (someone else actually mentioned this to me).   I can’t say if they are or not, but blaming the users of a product for disliking a change because it doesn’t work for them and is making their writing experience unpleasant seems profoundly undemocratic and callous.   It seems that WordPress somehow knows it will benefit from forcing this change on people, even if most of those people wind up taking their websites somewhere else.   You gotta wonder who is paying them off.

So far, these changes haven’t been forced on WordPress.com users.  Yet.   But it’s coming.  We are reminded of it every time we open our editing screen.  When it finally is,  I intend to switch to the Classic Editor and keep using it as long as it’s still an option.  As for 2022, I’m not going to worry about that yet.   A lot can happen in three years.

Gutenberg has been compared by many to New Coke, another example of “fixing something that isn’t broken.”  Hopefully WordPress realizes their mistake decides to keep Gutenberg as an optional plugin (for people who actually like playing around with confusing blocks, like page builders and web developers), and Classic Editor as its default, rather than the other way around.    Gutenberg is NOT FOR WRITERS.

Trump is full of rusty nails and swamp gas.

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Trump, unlike other US presidents, has never uttered a word that’s inspiring, brilliant, encouraging, comforting, intelligent, wise, insightful, humorous, compassionate, or even pragmatic. He is a man without value, an empty shell full of rusty nails and swamp gas.