An inspired holding pattern

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I’ve got an obsession right now. I can’t stop thinking about finding a house! In my last post, I explained the situation–that my house closes next Friday, and I haven’t found one to buy yet–and since then nothing has changed. In fact, my anxiety has only ramped up in some ways.
I don’t feel as down or worried as I was, per se. I got some important things taken care of earlier this week so I’m a lot more prepared now for moving out. (I lined up the movers, decided on self-storage instead of a pod container service, and lined up my internet and cable suspensions/closed the accounts.) Just getting those things taken care of helped me feel more in-control again. Even though nothing great has come onto the market yet, at least I am almost ready to take the next sequential step. That’s something.
However, the house thing is on my mind non-stop. Throughout the entire workday I am checking my phone in case the Redfin app has updated with a new listing. Once I’m home I am refreshing the app constantly and checking my email, because sometimes a listing is sent first to my email and then goes live on the app. Plus, there’s a chance my realtor could notify me about something interesting. (Am I insane for still holding out a shred of hope that my dream house’s buyer will fall through and I can be the buyer? Probably! I bet that sale is in the home stretch of the escrow period and will close soon.)
I check it once before going to sleep, and the when I wake up I look at my phone IMMEDIATELY. I also check it a couple times while driving in to work. I can’t seem to stop.
I know it’s just because I am the kind of person that needs a plan. I require stability and things to be as non-chaotic as possible. Not having a home lined up is freakin’ bizarre, to be blunt. It doesn’t feel natural in any way. I didn’t foresee this possibility back when I put my house on the market because at the time, there were several houses I was itching to put offers in on. But then, my house didn’t go under contract right away… and then once it did, things didn’t fall together on the houses I was interested in or even opened escrow on.
I mean, it was always a possibility that I would have some time between moving out of my house and moving into the new one. I was thinking I would need to crash at Mom’s house for no more than a few nights. But this could turn into well over a month before I am in my own place again, at this rate. Every day that goes by when I don’t have an escrow account open on something is another day added on to the time I’ll be homeless. (In AZ, most home sales close between 30-45 days. All of my past closings have taken 30 days.)
In the meantime, I am packing up my place and plotting out which essential items I’ll need to keep out of storage. It’s a bit of a challenge but I’m getting through it, little by little. I do enjoy the process of purging all the extra crap, too. I tossed all kinds of old hair and beauty products that were gathering dust under my sinks, and a lot of expired/stale food found deep in my pantry. Tonight I am tackling my shoes and I plan to be aggressive about finally tossing the worn and little-worn sandals and boots I inexplicably still have stuffed in my closet. Anything mostly-new can go to the thrift store. (I’m having one do a pickup of stuff I’m donating on the same day I am moving out– I’m unloading a big bookcase; a china cabinet my ex-husband put together and I only kept out of functionality, but it really just collects stuff I don’t need, anyway, so it’s going; my beat-up treadmill; and lots of random household things.)
I’m also trying to sell my living room sectional. The thing is HUGE and I bought it specifically to fit in the space it currently occupies. It’s also never really been something I loved… again, it was functional over stylish. Not that there’s anything wrong with functional, but in my past I had this one amazing purple couch I’ve never stopped pining for. I’d love to find one like it again.
One kind of fun thing I’ve been doing throughout this process is collecting ideas. I’ve been savings photos of the features I especially liked about some of these houses I’ve been interested in, and thinking I’ll copy some of these ideas wherever I wind up going. In some cases, it’s paint colors I love, or light fixtures; other times, it’s the landscaping and even furniture/decorations.
Here are some of my favorite ones so far:

I’m admittedly so excited to finally find “my” home. I know I’ll know it when I see it. Each of these houses above gave me that excited, butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling when I looked at the listing and even more so when I visited them in person.
The one above with the cactuses and haphazard landscaping above (and the purple and white bathroom) is still available. I could put an offer on that one any time I want. The reason I’m not is because it’s the house I mentioned in my last post without direct access to a secure yard for the dogs, and the street it’s on isn’t all that nice/safe. But it’s still my number one backup option. The sellers keep dropping the price.
The other four photos are from that dream house I tried to buy (but my offer was rejected). That house remains the gold…no, the PLATINUM standard… any other house has to live up to. Tall order, especially in my price range. But now I know it’s possible and I don’t want to settle for a pile of junk.
Today, this beautiful house came on the market and I would put an offer in immediately if only it were somewhere else. It’s pretty damn far away from my Mom and sister, and would give me a legit hour-each-way commute to and from work every day.
But in these desperate and anxious times, damned if I’m not thinking about it. Here are some pictures of the Swanky MidCentury Beauty:

Lots of great ideas. It’s a lot of fun to daydream and plan. Now I just need a canvas.

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Limbo

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So, at the moment I am not sure where I will be living in 2018. My house sold, and it closes on January 19. I will be moving out on either the 17th or 18th but even that’s up in the air because I’ve yet to line up a moving company… and there’s the thing with knowing what to do with my stuff in the first place.

I can either rent a storage unit, or try one of those POD storage containers. I’m leaning toward the POD for cost purposes, but the nice thing about a regular storage unit is I could go into it at any time if there is something I will need prior to moving into whatever house I wind up buying.

The stress of all of this is making me feel crazy. I didn’t think it would go this way… I was sure I would buy one of the great houses I was seeing back in October, November and December, but one by one they were eliminated from the running. One house is awesome but has no easy access to a yard, something that’s a necessity for my aging pets who are accustomed to quick potty breaks late at night or early in the morning. (The “wee” hours, ha ha.) It’s also in a kind of unsafe neighborhood and I like to walk my dogs every night so I need to feel safe walking around in the dark.

Another house was amazing at first glance, and I fell in love with its quirky charm. But then, I went back to see it a third time with the brother-in-law this time, and he pointed out lots of potential problems with wiring, structural damage and a couple other things that would be more than I feasibly felt comfortable taking on. Not to mention it would need a complete kitchen overhaul, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that, either.

The third house was gorgeous inside. Cozy, updated in all the right ways, beautiful kitchen and huge garage. It needed outside work on the landscaping and a good coat of paint, but otherwise seemed great. I put an offer in, it was accepted, I opened escrow, and then… I found out it was located in a FEMA flood zone. The mortgage company would require me to carry expensive flood insurance in addition to regular home insurance. The cost of flood insurance would add $135 a month to my mortgage payment, putting the house at the very top of my budget range. So I ultimately decided it would be best to cancel the contract and keep looking for something else.

Something else popped up that very same day: a 100% perfect home that was located only a five minute WALK from my Mom’s house, and didn’t need a single update. It was gorgeous, inside and out. Like something out of a magazine. I wasn’t the only person to love it, though… multiple offers were coming in. So, I made an offer above asking price with no concessions that very night and even wrote a meaningful letter to the seller explaining why I hoped they would choose my offer.

Unfortunately, they did not pick me. They went with someone who wouldn’t be depending on the sale of their own home going through–whoever they picked could just buy outright. I was devastated. And I am STILL devastated. I had been hoping-against-hope the buyer would back out for some reason and I could be considered for a backup, but as time goes by that seems less and less likely.

So now, I am obsessively checking my Redfin app for new homes throughout the day (and night) in case the right house comes on the market. Unfortunately the pickings have been depressingly slim.

And each day that goes by is a day closer to when I have to be out of my house. I am packing, slowly, but I need to kick it into high gear this weekend. I am having panic attacks (I think that’s what’s going on–my heart races, I begin crying uncontrollably and can’t function) off and on pretty much every day. I’ve been fortunate to keep it in control at the office, but when I am alone? All bets are off. I lose it, regularly. My poor dogs are stuck comforting me as I sob. And they do help… they give me kisses all over my face and make me smile again. I’m so grateful I still have them.

I feel overwhelmed and as a result, I am sometimes trapped by the inability to act, at all. I should be making more calls to find movers and I should nail down a moving date with one of the movers, but it depends on the storage thing, and THEN…

…The storage thing kind of depends on where I live in the meantime. After all, it’s all fine and good to put my stuff in storage, but where do I go with my four pets? It’s not really clear. For now, I am going to go to my Mom’s house for a few days at first. She is awesome. She’s only got a one bedroom apartment but she’s willing to let me bring all the pets here for the time being and I will sleep on the other side of her bed. It won’t be optimal but it’s the best I can do right off the bat.

I’m also looking into AirBNB rentals or month-to-month apartment leases I can afford that will at least allow me to bring two pets. My Mom is willing to look after the cats if I can’t bring them, or I will bring one cat and one dog and have Mom watch the other cat and my sister will take the other dog.

I wish I knew how long this arrangement will go on. That would help so much with the planning. But until I have an accepted offer on a house and moving toward a closing date, everything is in limbo.

It’s so hard. I really hope so much that any moment now, a new house will pop up and I can go see it and write and offer and get something underway. This uncertainty is really messing with me.

To add insult to injury, I’m still trying to get over what my ex did and work through my heartbreak. But it’s not simple or clear-cut. I hate him so much, but I still CARE, and that’s the problem. I can’t wait until I reach the point where I no longer think about him. I anticipate this will be much easier once I am out of this house and this neighborhood loaded with memories, but for now I still regularly break down in anguish over what happened, that he and Roxy are forever gone from my life and I feel relentless anger that he is so happy and moving on with incredible speed.

Thanks to his wife posting publicly* on social media, when I give in and find myself checking out her/his page, I can see what they’re doing… and they just announced they are buying a house together. So I am pissed about that, inexplicably. Like it makes a difference to my life in any way what THEY are doing… but I think because I am having so much trouble finding a house and they apparently just found one after being married only a month and already have a closing date just bugs the shit out of me. I don’t know, it’s stupid. I’ve got to get willpower back and not look at what they are doing. (*Why would she post publicly unless she wanted people who are not her friends to know what they are doing? I think she is enjoying the idea that their goings-on can bother people like me and maybe her ex. It’s kind of evil.) Anyway, I know better. But I’m weak sometimes and I look when I am particularly depressed. It’s dumb to do that. I’m trying to be better.

I will feel better and stronger, overall, when I have a plan in place. I know that.

So, any time now, universe. Give me the essential plot points to move this story along, please. I’m begging you.

Hard to like

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It’s really not easy for me to like who I am.

This is an ongoing thing for me. Most of my adult life, I’ve felt mediocre about myself. I tolerate myself, but don’t particularly enjoy who I am.

I’m wired a certain way and sometimes I want to rip the wiring out and start all over with some quality materials.

Everyone knows you’re supposed to be happy with who you are; you are supposed to “love yourself” and be happy in your own skin. But for lots of people, that’s a pretty big ask.

I like to think I’m not someone who weighs her own self-worth by what others think of her, but I think I do when it comes to certain relationships. If I think I have disappointed my family, I feel an intense wave of self-loathing that doesn’t just hit and roll back out to sea again– the wave lingers and chokes me for awhile before it eventually creeps away.

I’m kind of like that at work, too. I hate screwing up and worry that my supervisors don’t like me much. I feel like I am expendable most of the time, but that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, really: act like you’re unengaged, and you will be unengaged, and people will start to notice you don’t take pride in yourself or your work. For me, that often means I wind up doing the minimum. I get the work done, per se, but there isn’t much effort in there if I’m being honest with myself. I am not challenged much at my work for long, and feel like I am constantly “not good enough” to be a senior manager or have any real responsibility or say in the company. So of course, I am sure I look bored and seem like I don’t care… which in turn means no one is going to look at me for a promotion. Even though I could handle almost anything, I don’t “go for it.” Lazy? Maybe. But it goes deeper than laziness for me. It’s apathy.

And finally, there’s my romantic relationships. Or lack thereof.

I am depressed by the way I look. I hate almost all of my body — inside mostly, but also out. The only thing I kind of like about myself are my eyes, but I avoid looking in them.

I do that thing in a bathroom where I don’t really look at myself in a mirror if I go in there to wash my hands or something. I just look down, maybe glance up to at my reflection to make sure there I don’t have food on my shirt or my hair isn’t all goofy, but I don’t like to look at myself for longer than a few seconds. (I do look when I am doing my hair or makeup, but I still avoid really looking at myself… if you know what I am talking about.)

I know that I am unattractive to other people. I am invisible, really. I can go weeks without someone noticing me. People wait on me in restaurants or stores, I deal with coworkers and have superficial conversations with people to be nice, but I don’t warrant any special attention — not even a second glance. Men stopped flirting with me or even saying rude shit or catcalling YEARS ago. I feel perfectly safe walking around my neighborhood at night because it feels like no one is going to bother me… and no one ever does.

Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not saying I want to be harassed or assaulted. Of course not. That’s so far off from what I am trying to say it’s almost laughable, but I feel like I need to say it for clarity’s sake.

But there is still a huge part of me that can’t shake this feeling that I’m absolutely ordinary or even unattractive. That nothing puts me apart from anyone else, female or male. I feel genderless. I really do. I don’t feel very feminine even when I put on a dress, nice shoes, makeup and do my hair. I just feel like the usual me, just giving my mortal coil a little more effort with the window dressing, but I feel like I am doing it for myself because no one notices otherwise.

I’ve been in a couple relationships now where my partner didn’t want to be intimate with me. Once, he told told me it was uncomfortable to have sex with me, literally. And I knew I was not his usual ‘type’ anyway; it was no shock when after we broke up, he got together with someone who WAS his type. I couldn’t be angry about it; he likes what he likes, but it just wasn’t what I brought to the table. It is what it is, as they say. Heh.

In this last case, he was totally into me at first and we had lots of intimacy when things were new. But that quickly tapered off in frequency once we lived together a few months. I was ready to accept that this was normal, really, but it WASN’T normal… because he eventually stopped all forms of physical intimacy, not just sex. I’d have to initiate any hand-holding or cuddling on the couch, even… and that would get destroyed as soon as one of our pets came around, because his attention would immediately shift to talking to or petting the cat or dog suddenly on his lap.  I’d kind of grin, and push the rejection thoughts out of my head and focus on being happy anyway. It felt easier to not think too hard about it — just let myself be distracted and be happy with the friendship. Over time, that really was enough to make me feel content and nice in the relationship. I made efforts to not think about the sex thing because it was easier. How stupid. I know.

It’s so crippling to your self-esteem when the person YOU love and are physically attracted to just looks at you like, well, a genderless thing… a “close friend.” The feeling of rejection when you initiate something sexual only to be turned down through an excuse, or a joke, is really shitty. With the last one, he told me he was having issues with his testosterone and it “had nothing to do with me,” but I just didn’t believe it. Because it’s about WANTING to have to sex with someone. The underlying desire, not the actual act. I don’t think he wanted to have sex with me, and it had nothing to do with he “couldn’t.” If he’d wanted to, he would have seen a doctor or tried doing something different; he would have cared enough about me, and us, to make an effort to change or fix things.

But he didn’t do any of that, because he didn’t have the desire to.

He didn’t see me that way.

Maybe, and most likely, I am too fat and dumpy.  Maybe he just looked at me and was turned right the hell off. I know I am not “hot,” but I’m not a totally repulsive dirtbag, either. I see people a lot less attractive than me that are in happy, committed relationships or having sex.

I know I’m self-conscious of my fat and the way it looks when I’m naked. I avoided letting him see me naked after some time went by. I got ready for bed in my walk-in closet, or before he came in the room. He made a comment about how his past exes would sleep naked so I tried it, and he completely ignored me. I’d hoped he would have reached over and just TOUCHED my skin somewhere, anywhere, even just my arm or face, but he didn’t. He just kissed me impassionately goodnight — I might as well have been wearing a tank top and pajama pants like every other night — and then rolled over and went to sleep. I laid there feeling rejected and kind of ridiculous.

This, over time, eroded ALL of my self-confidence about my ability to be feminine or attractive.

All of it. Gone.

I bet it seems pathetic that I can’t be one of those body-positive people who doesn’t need a man to tell her she is gorgeous because she KNOWS she is.

But I don’t know how to think that way. I try. Even though I know I am forcing a thought, and trying to say a lie often enough to believe it, it still doesn’t work. I have been trying to like my body in this way for so long, and after this whole disaster of him leaving me, I gave up out of exhaustion and complete defeat.

I know that most if not all of my issues existed long before any relationship with a guy. So I can’t just blame them for my struggles. Nope. I know better.

It’s my fault, my problem, MY faulty wiring.

And I am the only person who can do anything to fix it.

I read the self-help articles and listen to the positive affirmation talks; I save optimistic memes to my phone to look at if I am out somewhere and freaking out inside. I write things down on paper to “bring substance to the thoughts” and I try to breathe deeply and relax. I force myself to focus on the good things in my life, and I can do that relatively easily… the problem is that I still wind up having to look at myself in the mirror again at the end of the day and BLAM, I am back to my primary challenge: I don’t like me.

I keep hoping for a breakthrough moment.

Something that will stick. Something that will plug my synapses in the correct order and my circuits will finally light up properly.

And I don’t mean medication. Fuck that. I am on two different medications and they take the edge off of things, maybe, but the real, hard work is going to come through figuring out how and why I think the way I do, and finding methods to reprogram myself to be happier. I wish it were easier to go see a psychologist or psychiatrist, but it’s a huge challenge when you can’t take time off of work and doctors only see people during workday hours. Not to mention the co-pays and costs because insurance only covers so much and only certain providers… I have been looking on and off and trying to pinpoint someone I can talk to, but so far I’ve hit dead ends. I hope to discover something after the new year.

I’m not giving up yet. I’m just frustrated as fuck that this is still such a problem for me, and until I fix it, I am probably doomed to repeat past mistakes and settle for less-than-good-for-me in all my relationships, not just the romantic ones.

I will keep on selling myself short until I truly, honestly, and bluntly understand my own worth.

It’s not a “narrative” if it’s truth

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Part 2:

My ex left me without giving our relationship a chance, and then lied to me when I figured out the truth. I am beyond angry at the feeling of betrayal and lack of respect, but mostly I am furious that someone I considered a FRIEND, someone I let into my life and gave my trust to, would treat me like an idiot. It’s hurtful and it disgusts me.

So anyway, I was just getting my mind used to the reality that he was going to leave for Florida and we were over as a couple, and working hard to find the positives in the situation. I was taking his words for truth. I only had the information he gave me.

Until one Sunday afternoon. He was home, just hanging out, and I was going out to take my Mom to lunch. I got in my car and went to the phone screen to call her to let her know I was just leaving and would be there soon.

Except, my phone wasn’t the last phone connected to the car’s Bluetooth. His phone was the last one. And so, when I opened the screen, his recent call records were right there in front of my face.

And he had been calling Andi. A LOT. I scrolled down, because of course I would scroll down, especially to see if he talked to her before October 6 and SURE ENOUGH, he had. I think he talked to her TWICE the day before he broke up with me. Probably getting ammunition and nerve to just get rid of me once and for all.

I turned the car off and went right back in the house and confronted him. He was really only angry at ME, for “snooping” and “invading his privacy.” I was the bad guy here. Apparently. Me, who never once snooped on a single fucking thing the entire time he lived with me. Shit, I never even looked in his clothes drawers. It just didn’t occur to me because I fully trusted him, and I am not someone who goes looking for trouble, I’m really not. And now I was this terrible snooper, looking at his phone record.

Whatever. I nailed him. He was caught and so of course he went on the defensive. He claimed that I knew he was talking to her, because he’d told me. Yes, he did tell me he HAD talked to her… a couple of times. Not twice in single days right before breaking up with me. Not almost every day since. He wasn’t honest. He wasn’t LYING, but he was being very deliberate in his phrasing so he couldn’t be accused of lying. I could see that, and I was so pissed off. Suddenly the guy I loved and thought was a great friend had revealed himself to be MANIPULATIVE.

That said, it did make things a little easier for me to be angry at him and look forward for him to just go. If he was talking to her that much, it was all over for me. Here’s why: I know her. She is also very manipulative and self-centered. And she was JEALOUS and angry that he had moved on and started dating me. It was absolutely transparent because she MADE it transparent: She sent the letter full of vitriol, insults, lies and exaggerations and it was a clear attempt to scare me off. At that moment when I read that letter, I absolutely and unapologetically HATED this person I’d once considered a friend. I mean… who does that? Who interferes with someone’s relationship? It’s not like I stole him away from her. HE came to ME. Hell, I even resisted and scoffed at his attempts to flirt in the beginning because he was always nothing more than “Andi’s boyfriend” and they were both kind of flaky and dramatic. In fact, I was so turned off by their immature behavior while we were doing a show together that I decided I couldn’t tolerate the pathetic drama of local theatre and stopped doing shows for about a decade. They both ALWAYS came off as needy and unable to exist on their own for longer than a few weeks. (The reason I even gave him a chance at all was because he owned up to his past behavior and said he had changed a lot since then and he actually gave me all indications HE HAD. Yeah, I feel like an idiot now, but looking back I remember how I really vetted everything he said and took my time letting him in. I trust my instincts. I think he DID change. For awhile. Not permanently, because that’s impossible.)

The thing is, with that letter she showed a loathsome side of her personality in a H U G E way, and as a result I can never see her any other way. And then, during the course of our relationship, if the topic of her came up with him, it was in passing and never in a positive context. She did a lot of bad things during their long and tumultous relationship. She cheated on him a few times. She had money issues and was accused of (and most likely did) steal from theatre companies and friends. She even started a mean gossip blog to say bad shit about people in the theatre community, and she was *proud* of it! Not a nice person. Clearly.

So, if he was talking to HER, well… by all means, I’m done. Because I can’t compete with that. She knows him better than I do, and knows the precise ways to lure him back into her web. She would certainly know the right things to say to get his attention away from me and back on her. I knew that.

But of course, when I brought any of this up, he scoffed and said no, of course not. NONE of this was about HER. It was about our relationship ending, and he “cherished” the time he and I had together, and wouldn’t have changed anything because of all the great times we had and the lessons learned (I’ll get to the lessons I learned later), and he understood that I was upset, but I was…

CREATING A NARRATIVE.

He’d say things like I was just really emotional and he understood how bad this was hurting me, and that’s why I was grasping at straws. Trying to find a reason for all of this that made sense to me. He insisted that I wasn’t comprehending the fact that Our Relationship Had Plateaued, and that this was also about What He Needed To Do For Himself. In saying this, he was trying to make me think I was seeing shit that wasn’t there. Making me try to doubt my own perceptions, my past experiences with her, and my own reactions and gut feelings. This is NOT a healthy thing to do to someone.

It’s a form of gaslighting. And it’s done by manipulative narcissist people who believe they are always right and are more worthy of happiness than other people might be.

Well, the gaslighting continued. He tried to remain nice and friendly but that was for the sake of his own convenience, not for me. After all, it would be harder to stay there at my house if we were angry and nasty to one another. One day I asked him if he knew where in Florida he and Eric would be moving–like what areas they were looking for apartments in– and he said they were considering places on the WEST coast of Florida, too.

SHE was on the West Coast of Florida. In Sarasota.

So I said, “I thought you were moving out there to be nearby to your Mom. Why would you move three hours away?”

He got PISSED at that. He got super defensive and nasty, and said, “Look, what I do after I leave here on November 2 is MY BUSINESSS. Not yours.”

Another indication that, yeah… he was going out there for Andi. The stuff about his family was mostly bullshit. Uh-huh. How’d I know? Because of his reaction, duh. He might as well said it bluntly at that point, it was so obvious. But he kept up his act, insisting I was making this “about Andi” when it wasn’t.

By the time he was about to leave, I had pretty much accepted he wasn’t going to be honest with me. I wasn’t going to know what he was doing because he didn’t WANT me to know. I believed our friendship as well as our relationship was going to be over. If you can’t just be honest with your good friends, what’s the point? But I was determined to be an adult, and see him off on a positive note. Try to remember those good times we had before all this happened, and say goodbye as mature and rational people. We went to a last dinner together and toasted each other’s “new journeys” and he thanked me for all I had been, and still was, to him. He said, “I do love you. You’re a good person.” I told him he was a good person, too. Hey, you say things enough, you can start to believe it.

Anyway, the next day he left and it was AWFUL. Gut-wrenching. I didn’t talk much about his dog here but his dog Roxy was the BEST. I loved her so much, and my dogs loved her, too. I couldn’t handle saying goodbye to her because I knew, in my heart, I would never see her again. It was so hard. I bet she thought they were just going for a ride and would be home again soon. My dogs looked for her that night and the next morning, Moose got up and looked around the empty rooms and went to the front door, because he missed them. I made the error of saying their names and both dogs’ ears went up and they looked to the door with hopeful faces. It broke my heart again.

A few days later, I had to go to Missouri for a business trip. I was having dinner alone and checked in a beer on the Untappd app, and saw he had checked in a beer recently. I opened his post and saw the beer was consumed in Sarasota. Hmm. Why would he be in Sarasota, if he was going right to his Mom’s place in West Palm Beach?

And then I saw an “Andi W.” had toasted his check-in. I opened her profile, which had only JUST been opened, and she had checked in the same exact beer, too. There it was. The proof they were together. And this was only on Monday, and he’d left my house on Friday.

I texted my sister and she wasn’t surprised. In fact, she said, they had been tagged together in a photo on Facebook. Right as I am reading that text from her, a message came from another friend, asking me “what was the deal with Jason and that blonde?” and a few more came that night. People knew. THEY WERE MAKING THEIR REUNION PUBLIC on FACEBOOK. They clearly didn’t care who knew they were back together. They were happy about it.

It was a gut punch. Even though I had suspected this for weeks, remember he continued to DENY it. He was making me doubt myself. He had been cruel to do that.

I unfriended him immediately because I don’t need to see that shit. I sent him a message letting him know I was unfriending him and I was soooo happy for them, and for her, finally getting what she always wanted: him! Hearts and fuck you, pal. You’re an asshole.

He didn’t respond. A few days later I wrote him a long note explaining how I think things REALLY happened, outlining all the stuff I wrote here, basically. I asked him to finally, please, just be honest with me. Just tell me the truth. What harm could it do at this point, really? We were 100% done, and he was in Florida. It’s not like we were going to run into one another any time soon. Just fucking man up; rip the bandaid all the way off and finally admit the truth. Stop fucking with my head.

He didn’t.

He did take the time to write back and address almost all of my points in the note, but he also carefully phrased shit AGAIN to not give me any real answers about her or where he was living. He was “staying with friends” in Sarasota. Which was hilarious, because not ONCE did he ever talk about ANY friends in Sarasota, other than Andi. The pink phone I saw in the background in the Untappd photo check-in belonged to “his friend Anne.” Who’s this Anne? No idea. He did tell me he had not been to his Mom’s house yet but “hoped to get out there by Thanksgiving.” (Wow, some sense of urgency to get back to your family, there.) And once more, he pushed the fact that I was creating that damn narrative again, wanting this to be About Andi(TM) when it really was not. He insisted a few times in this note that this wasn’t about her. I was having a hard time accepting the truth that We Were Over and so of course I would be trying to build this narrative that has to do with her.

I took a few days to absorb his words and wrote back. At that point, I was like, you know what, maybe it ISN’T about her. Maybe he IS telling me the truth. I began to see why I would create this narrative: Because he had a pattern. He tended to make big moves across country for love. He did it once, after she moved to Sarasota… he soon followed her out there. Then, of course, he moved to Arizona to be with me. And now, he would suddenly need to go to FL again ASAP… it only made sense given his history that it would be for love, again. There was NO WAY IN HELL he was as close to his Mom and brother as he said he was. He never cried about missing them before. He would go weeks without talking to his Mom or brother sometimes. It’s like he forgot I was there to notice that kind of shit for the past two years.

But still, the idiot that I am, I tried to take his words at face value, figuring, HE HAS NO REASON TO LIE NOW. I told him I hoped we could stay in touch somehow, like through Facebook, and I wished him well and told him to give his family and Roxy a hug from me. I told him what I was missing the most was his friendship. All true.

And then, on Thanksgiving…

They made it public on Facebook that they had gotten MARRIED.

I can’t begin to describe the feeling.

It was utter disgust and deep, deep anger. It made me physically nauseous and it still does, a month later. How could he? How could THEY? What the fuck were they thinking?! They had only been back together a couple weeks and rather than just decide to try dating again they dive directly into marriage? Who does that?!?!?!

Unstable, desperate and sad people, that’s who.

People trying to be something they are not.

People who have no respect for the people who gave their time and hearts to them for the previous two years. (Because she apparently fucked over the guy she had been dating, too. It wasn’t just me who was kicked in the gut when the tsunami forces of Jason and Andi, Together Again occurred. Sounds like she had just ended her relationship around the same time he dumped me, and he was apparently as floored by this disgusting elopement as I was.)

People who get married to an ex 18 days after pulling a rental van out of your driveway LOVE THE FUCKING DRAMA OF IT and WANTED TO BE THE CENTER OF GOSSIP ATTENTION AGAIN.

It’s so obvious that she, in particular, loves this shit. She looooooooves the fact that she was momentarily relevant again in a gossip community that had lost interest in her and her shenanigans. I know she loved it, because she had to stoke it. She wrote to me. TWICE. Once to ask me to not post my angry thoughts on posts she was tagged in, and another time to offer a lengthy explanation that I DID NOT ASK FOR, almost to just rub salt in my wound like a fucking bitch. She has lots of public posts and lovey-dovey photos on Facebook of the two of them now, almost like she is hoping everyone (including me and her ex) can see them.

Again. Who does this?!?

Who are these people?

Who the FUCK was I living with for two years?! I never really knew him, obviously. He was playing a role. Trying on a life with someone like me to see if he could handle a life that wasn’t constantly frought with drama, fights, money problems, kids that aren’t his, all of that. Turns out, he didn’t like the fit and just threw me away when he was done.

He took things he learned from being with me and is now presumably applying them to a life with HER. It makes me sick. And angry as hell.

I did not ever, not once, ask to be a part of Jason and Andi’s story. I only wanted my OWN story. I thought my boyfriend was honest, and loved me. I thought he valued me as a partner and friend. I thought my life mattered to him in some way.

And I gave up my own self-imposed single life for HIM. I wasn’t going to open up and let just anyone in. Hell no. I mean, I thought about dating and went on dates here and there but anyone who knew me also knows I wasn’t interested in settling or changing my awesome life unless the guy was totally worth it.

I thought he was. He convinced me he was, he really did.

I believed him for two years. I loved him with all my heart for two years.

And it was all for nothing, it was an utter waste of my time and energy, because he took an enormous shit on everything when he left. The way he handled this was so wrong. So hurtful. It’s like he took some sadistic joy in making me fall apart.

Because he COULD HAVE TOLD ME THE TRUTH AT ANY TIME.

Simple as that.

Yes, I would have been really hurt and angry when I first heard he was thinking about rekindling things with her, but at least I would have the real truth to work with. Not these half-assed, crocodile-tear-filled explanations, and these accusations of creating a narrative to suit my own needs.

The latter is way, way, WAY worse to cope with.

He has no idea.

He did the very worst thing he could have done by fucking with me. By coming into my life at all, at the intense level he did, when he probably knew on some level he was never going to stay. He gave me EVERY indication he was interested in a long term relationship. Shit, at one point we talked about getting married in his Mom’s backyard.

He never should have bothered me. He should have stayed in his tiny little dysfunctional world with her and not involved ANYONE else. Her, too. They are toxic. And the only toxins that can stand them are their own– they do belong together, because if they are together, they are not hurting anyone else.

I can’t help but think the most horrible, dark thoughts about both of them. It’s because I have never been disrespected at this level, EVER. I thought this kind of shit only happened in crappy movies. I’m humiliated and pissed off more than I knew I could be. I wish them unhappiness every single day. I send curses their way. I wish bad things to befall both of them AND their families. (Just not Roxanne… I still like her and wish I had stolen her like I briefly planned to at one point!) I do have faith that one day karma is going to beat the everloving shit out of both of them.

Oh, they’re happy NOW

…Basking in the newlywed glow, the excitement of being back together, probably the ridiculous make-up sex, and loving the anger and confusion they’ve stirred up… they LIVE for being scandalous. They think it’s romantic and makes them seem like these destined lovers. The attention this has caused has made their fucking YEAR.

(They even sent a “Guess What We Did!” card out in the mail to announce their marriage. It’s almost laughable how predictably narcissistic that is for them!)

But things will go back to the way they were before. Back when they were fighting a lot, back when life was a struggle, back when they were burning bridges and not being able to pay rent and arguing about how feelings have changed/you don’t love me like you USED to/you get so angry at me/ why would you cheat on me… ALL of it that I know happened. They are not changed people. They just had time to miss each other. That’ll fade when reality sets in, the adrenaline rush fades, the sex slows down and no one is talking about them anymore.

They THINK they are changed people. She had the audacity to say so in a public “note” about their controversial elopement. (Another not-normal thing to do.) That they learned a lot in their time apart and took some good things from these past relationships that they can now apply to their marriage (puke) together.

Riiiiight. Keep telling yourself that, princess. You’re in your 40s. You really should know by NOW that people do not change. As much as they might want to, they are still who they are hardwired to be. Sure, you can change a habit or learn a new skill, but you really can’t become this amazing person who is suddenly genuine and caring and forgiving and ALL OF THAT. It’s not possible.

But hey, they can have their pathetic little life together. They’re both classless assholes who use people. That truth is obvious to more than just me, I am sure of it. I’ve got confirmation of it. From people who are surprisingly close to the two of them, even.

So, after all of this, what lesson did I get out of all of this?

Surely there is a lesson to be learned. Something I can do differently to not have this happen again…

Not really.

I did all I could, and I was always honest and real. Hell, he even SAID so. Many times in that last month, he told me that there was nothing I did wrong, nothing I could have done differently, that I should be happy because I didn’t mess anything up.

He’s right. I didn’t.

Instead, the only lesson I can think of is a cruel and ugly one: DON’T EVER LET ANYONE ALL THE WAY IN AGAIN. He will only use your open heart for practice for someone else.

DON’T TRUST EVEN THE NICEST GUY. He will probably want to get back with his ex at some point.

JUST WHEN YOU THINK LIFE IS GOOD, SURPRISE: IT’S NOT. Just when you think someone really loves you for you, surprise: he doesn’t.

So, yay for me. I get to feel a whole new level of damage I never asked for. Never needed to learn.

I had to get over an emotionally-abusive ex when I divorced my husband. And that was easier than this. Why? Because the ex-husband was honest and he was who he was–a control freak jerk. Easy to walk away from because what was advertised on the box was what was inside. But Jason played me so well. He made me happy. He didn’t put me down or try to control anything, and I thought we were truly equals. It felt wonderful to FINALLY be respected.

Shows how much I know. I was just disrespected more deeply than I ever thought possible.

And they wonder why I am SO furious and full of intense rage. Fuck you both. Forever. I hope you suffer in ways you couldn’t anticipate–just like I am– because you both deserve it.

 

I’m back, because I need to vent

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Part 1:

Know why I abandoned this blog for so long? I lost my password. I looked everywhere for it, but I believe I threw away the little notebook with random passwords jotted in its pages. Anyway, this morning I’m in the shower and I remembered the very random phrase I made up as the password. Just out of the blue, blam, there it was.
I got to work and tried it out and here I am again.

Yay.

Of course, I am writing mostly for myself because most of my blogging friends have also given up on these blogs. We’re all chatting in real time over on Facebook and Instagram these days. I know some of my blogger friends are still at it, and maybe I’ll take a look again and see if any of you are still up to it. Today’s a perfect day for it, as I have to be at work and almost no one is here and there is no work to do.
***
So, 2017 has been a complete shitshow. First we got Trump and all the batshit crazy people came out of the woodwork. Our country is a bipartisan, bickering mess. My dolphin activism fizzled out because I got wrapped up in personality conflicts and weird fights with egotistical people. Around that time, my depression flared up and convinced me that all of my struggles to educate and change people’s minds was in vain. The issue was too big and too many people were just indifferent. Indifference is the biggest roadblock to trying to change the world. Too many people are complacent in the way things are and don’t care much outside of their own small sphere. I can’t fight that. I am not equipped to fight that. I was losing sleep, gaining weight, feeling worthless and not interested anymore. I stepped away. And to be honest, it has felt better to not be right in the middle of shit, but the side effect is that I feel guilt and shame and like I’m weak. The truth is it’s kind of normal to burn out when you care as deeply as I did. I still care SO much. But I’m more quiet about it and doing things like writing occassional letters to senators and companies asking them to cut ties with anything related to animal exploitation, signing petitions (which I am on the fence about regarding effectiveness) and… I don’t know what else I feel like I could be doing. I’m working on it.

My desire to work on my fiction disappeared. Completely.

I stopped writing my Tarzan retelling sometime in 2016 and never picked it up again. In fact, I even avoided re-reading anything I’d written and walked away from writer groups. I can’t explain what happened, because it’s not like there was an incident or something that made me just stop one day. It was a gradual loss of interest. Until soon, the thought of sitting down to write new scenes in that book, or any of my books, was completely uncomfortable. This is the second worst thing to happen to me this year. This is like an amputation; a major limb of mine is gone, or at least paralyzed. I’ve always been a writer. I’ve always made up stories, and imagined scenes. I used to think of dialogue and plot points while I was driving, while I cleaned the house, while I walked the dogs, even while I was sitting at work or out to dinner. It’s SO WEIRD to never think like that any more. It bothers me so much I avoid thinking about it and change the subject in my mind before I start wanting to scream in frustration and mourning.

So, what was the #1 worst thing to happen this year? My now-ex.

We had a solid relationship for two years. He lived with me, and our home was so nice together. His dog and my pets got along great and we had a nice harmony and energy in the house. We went on road trips, we had a great group of friends, things felt incredibly healthy. He and I didn’t fight. We had disagreements here and there, mostly after drinking a bit too much, or over political and women’s issues (he sways more conservative than I am comfortable with, in retrospect) but we never went to bed angry at one another. I taught him how to end an argument with laughter, something he apparently didn’t do in other relationships.

I thought we were honest with one another, always. I know I was absolutely honest with him at all times. I wanted us to talk a lot. I believed he was honest with me, and was talking about everything just like I was.

We had one big issue, though, that was simmering under the surface: a lack of intimacy.
This is going to veer into TMI territory, but it’s all real and I don’t feel shame in the facts. Shame is where issues come from. I don’t want any more issues.

Make a long story short: I wanted sex and he did not. We stopped having sex altogether at least a year and a half ago, now. He initially told me it was because of possible hormone issues and that this had happened in his last relationship, too. I asked him bluntly if it was me: was it my weight? My hair color? Was it because I was not his ex?
No, no and no, he insisted. It was NOT ME. It was HIM.

But time went on and he never went to talk to anyone about it. Never saw a doctor. When I playfully tried to come on to him, he would deflect my efforts with laughter or changing the subject. I felt rejected and quite unattractive as a result of this, which in turn creates that horrid cycle of low esteem = low attractiveness, and I’m sure I became even LESS attractive to him because I felt dumpy and unwanted. I stopped trying as often to initiate things, but the topic still came up in conversation whenever it felt organic for me to say something. I tried very hard to distill the point that, look, this is important to me, and if I am important to you, you’ll look into this.

What I did, though, was push it aside. I convinced myself I didn’t need sex to be happy, and it was actually true after awhile. It was easy because our FRIENDSHIP and bond was so strong. I loved being with him, and loved the low-key, relaxed nature of our relationship. We had lots and lots of fun together, and we always had one another’s backs. If he did a show, I was supporting him by making sure he got to and from rehearsals every night (he never had his own car), and went to hang out with him and his cast mates after shows even when I was tired and didn’t really want to sit at Zipps Sports Bar and drink lame beer. I asked him about his day and listened to his answer. I wanted to plan a way for us to spend the holidays with his family, or at least make sure we found a way to get him home to Florida to be with his mom and brother for either Christmas or Thanksgiving. It was genuinely important to me that he have a relationship with his family even though he was in AZ. I loved his family.

I had thought he was supportive to me, but in retrospect I see things I didn’t before. When I got sick last spring and needed to go to the emergency room, he acted strange and selfish. He didn’ want to go back with me even though I was scared. He was more concerned that he might get sick than being with me. He got testy with me on the way home because the doctors didn’t find a definitive diagnosis for my pain and he implied I was “milking it” for some kind of attention, and if I had been considerate of him, I would have asked to go to the hospital while it was still his workday so he wouldn’t have wasted his whole free night at the hospital (meanwhile, I was trying to fight having to go to the hospital at all, not trying to be inconsiderate to his free time schedule). It wasn’t the way a true boyfriend should have behaved.

(This is sadly nothing new for me. Another ex of mine barely visited me when I was going through the sepsis infection and then laparatomy surgery 14 years ago because he “hated hospitals” and really wanted to spend time with his friends playing a board game; we ended our engagement a few months after that.)

But anyway, I overlooked these things mostly because our everyday life was so nice. I loved our familiar routines and the things we shared. I loved sampling new beers and getting into brewery culture. For his birthday in August, I orchestrated a trip to Denver so we could visit a number of breweries. We spent that trip driving all over and went to something like 10 breweries.

It was only a month later when something felt different. We had an intense discussion about intimacy one night and he started to say things that made me think he was hiding some truth from me. I suspected it had to do with his ex, Andi. Why? Because if I brought her up–especially this scathing letter she wrote to me back when he and I first began dating– he was evasive. Before this, if I brought that letter up, he would say how much that letter hurt him and he couldn’t believe someone he had loved could be THAT cruel and hurtful. He would talk about what a slob she was, and how hard it was to live with her because they would argue and there were perpetual “hurt feelings” between them, and all this negative stuff.

But all the sudden he wasn’t saying any of THAT. Now he was almost lamenting that “they never had a real chance to be alone together without her kids around” in the years they were together; and if I asked him point-blank if he was attracted to her he CHANGED THE SUBJECT. He would not answer me. In fact, he turned it around on me: “Why is this so important to YOU?” he asked. Because it is, numbnuts. Answer the question.

He did, sorta. He told me “She has a long term boyfriend.” Like that just shut the door on it, definitively.

I had to go to Cleveland for a marketing conference that had me away for three nights. This was also around the time of Hurricane Irma, which was hitting South Florida… which happened to be where SHE lived. He told me he was in contact with “family and FRIENDS” in South Florida because he was so concerned for their safety during Irma. I had to accept that, because I remember how awful it felt when Hurricane Sandy was going on and my loved ones were right in its path.

I now know he was talking to his ex while I was away. A lot. And then continued to talk to her after I got back. They had, according to her (because OMG, she later wrote to me and told me all this shit), some “side conversations” about theatre, old friends, and other stuff and it snowballed from there. I went to NJ for an entire week at the end of September. He stayed home, happily. He was talking to her pretty much the entire time I was away.

Funny thing was, I had a feeling. It was just a gut feeling but I felt like I was losing him, fast. It was largely because I never heard from him much while I was away. Almost no texts or messages, and no phone calls. Just radio silence. He was “busy working on his scripts for Poefest” according to him. Uh-huh. A year earlier he managed to get his Poe scripts memorized in less than a third of the time he was claiming he was using this year.

The day I left NJ to come home was awful. I had to leave at 3am and my sister, BIL and niece were staying for two more nights and I didn’t want to go. And I felt the plain indifference coming from my boyfriend regarding my return in his matter-of-fact texts about how he had to pick me up at the airport that morning. He picked me up, and I was jetlagged and emotional and not 10 minutes once we got home, he started laying some seriously intense shit on me:

He was thinking seriously about leaving. He wanted to go back to Florida. He began to cry and said he realized in seeing my photos and posts about being in NJ how important “home” really is… and he wanted to go home. He missed his mother SO MUCH, he said. She was getting older and he felt guilty not being nearby to help take care of things. He missed his brother, also, SO MUCH. He had been enjoying playing video games with his bro remotely and talking and now he just wanted a close, in-person relationship again.

As for us, him and me, he said he felt like we had not quite “bonded as a couple.” I was in shock about this one, because I felt plenty bonded to him. But he continued, saying in his last two relationships, he and his ex had early “bonding experiences” that cemented their lives together. He felt we were lacking that. I asked him if we could keep talking about this, and see if we could work on things, and he said, “I don’t know.” Hmm. You’d bring this stuff up to me, but NOT be on-board with trying to fix anything? OK…

I felt gutted and so upset. I couldn’t believe it seemed like he actually wanted to end our relationship. I had thought we were moving toward eventually getting married one day. I know his Mom and my Mom wanted that VERY much. I always pushed marriage-thoughts to the side only because we had both been married once before and I was content in taking things slowly. I didn’t want to push him. Now I wonder if I should have pushed… but I only think that once in awhile, these days. You’ll see why, soon.

We kind of went about our lives in an awkward way. I again didn’t want to push the hard conversations, and we seemed to do well when we focused on the happy and positive things, so we fell back into that pattern. Playing with the dogs, watching our shows, talking about the news, having beers and dinner.

But then on Friday, October 6, he took us to dinner at our favorite spot, Papago Brewing Company. As we were settling in to eat our dinners, he said it: “I’m moving back to Florida and ending this relationship. I’m planning to leave around November 2.”

I tried to handle it rationally and let him talk, while inside my heart is pounding and I’m feeling crazy-trapped and out of control of anything regarding “us.” Plus we were in public and I couldn’t just break down crying there.

But it was true. He really was ending it. He had decided, for both of us, that we were finished. He said we had “plateaued” and that “it’s not like we were going to get married. I don’t mean any offense, but I don’t see you as marriage material and that’s mostly because I don’t believe in marriage. My mother has been married four times and marriage doesn’t solve any problems in a relationship. It’s not for everyone.”

In the days that followed, I was lost and flat-out gutted. We talked a lot more, and I pleaded with him for some more time. After all, we had invested two whole years already, so what’s say, two more months? Would it be so unreasonable to go talk to someone, get some counseling? Try something adventurous and new to spark something between us? Anything, everything… I was willing to do it. I just please, please, please needed him to not just decide for BOTH of us that this was unsalvageable.

But, no. He wouldn’t change his mind. In fact, I finally had to ask him to say those words definitively so I could stop trying so hard: “Nothing you say can change my mind.”

Wow. Just, wow. So, it was all over, we had never bonded (news to me), and he had to leave ASAP, no questions asked. I had no say in it, I just had to accept it.

Here’s the thing: I was so good to him, for two years. I took care of him, he took care of me; we were such good friends and partners; my family adored him, my pets adored him, my friends accepted him and liked him. I let him live in my house only paying a portion of the living expenses (he made a lot less money than I did). I let him use my car when he needed to. There are countless other things that were good about our life together, and none of that amounted to shit. Nothing worth fighting for. No second guessing or second chances for me. Not only were we breaking up, he was moving thousands of miles away so it’s not like we could phase out of our close relationship. One day he would be here, and the next: totally gone.

It just didn’t feel fair.

It felt like I was being cheated out of a chance to change anything, the chance to try. If he had just given me that, it would have been so much easier, emotionally, for me. I really sank fast into a deep depression, not feeling “worth” much, not even worth a little more time or effort. Everything we had was just about to be finished, for good. I didn’t want this, in any way, shape or form.

He stayed for an entire month. That’s because he was doing a show that he was in through October 30. I let him stay in my house even though I think, in retrospect, I should have kicked his ass out, knowing what I now know. I feel so angry that I was used and taken advantage of for his own convenience.

All this time, I tried to find out more for my own peace of mind. Like, where was he going to move? Was he going to live at his Mom’s? Yes, he said that he was going to stay with her for a little while, but the plan was to get an apartment with his brother somewhere relatively close to his Mom’s place in West Palm Beach. I asked him a couple times if he had been talking to Andi, because of another damn gut feeling coming from that conversation when he wouldn’t answer about being attracted to her again… and he said they were just casual friends and yes, he had talked to her a couple times but mostly he was talking to her son, who was in the Marines and seemed to need advice and support while getting through basic training. More than anything, he said, he couldn’t wait to be with his family again. Talked about making the Thanksgiving turkey so his Mom wouldn’t have to cook this year. It was ALL about his family, this move. And the urgency was so he could be back there for the holidays this year.

Meanwhile, I looked into selling the house. It was not really MY house; it felt like OUR house because he had moved in with me just 6 months after I bought it, and everything reminded me of happy memories we’d had. Plus, I was sick and tired of the pool. And I would be paying a lot without his contribution to the monthly bills– I could handle it, yeah, but if I could find a way to live cheaper, without a pool, in a new place and making a fresh start of my own, why not? So I put energy into that, in many ways to distract and give myself a plan of action so life would not be happening TO me so much. I needed to get control of my own life again after having him comandeer the wheel of our relationship and drive us off a cliff.

But right when I was beginning to get used to the notion that it was going to be over for good between us, and thinking we might remain friends after he left, things took an ugly, blonde turn.

I’ll continue this in my next post.

Happy Writer is Happy

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Blogging? What’s that?

I can’t believe I never do this anymore. I know why. Because I will write, and before I know it a week or so has gone by and so much has happened, and I think “there’s no way I will be able to cover everything” so I don’t post. Instead I just puke everything out on an ongoing basis every day on Facebook. Because it is easier.

I don’t even blog on my website! And that’s what I should be doing for my writing career. Most of the writers I look up to and even the ones I don’t look up to, but have large followings, post every day and share amazing advice and insights into their work. I just don’t feel into doing it for some reason. I’m way more about absorbing things right now, than finding things to share with others. I’m being selfish, and damned if I don’t care. Selfish is just where I want to be right now. It helps me get things done.

Since my last post, I joined up with a few other local writers to form a novel critique group. We share one chapter at a time of our books with one another, two weeks before we are to meet up again. Then we meet and go over all of our work in person. We’ve been meeting at a Barnes & Noble Starbucks, and we’re usually there for almost two hours. It’s excellent discussion, too. I just love that these women are all where I am regarding writing fiction. We’re all novel-writers (no non-fiction). We’re all devoted to our work. All of us have the same goal: to write excellent books and be published. We support one another, we encourage and help brainstorm to help one another out of challenges that come up when you’re trying to get a scene to work.

Our meeting for January was the best one yet. OK, it was only our 3rd meeting, but still. We added a new member to our group who has turned out to be a most valuable connection for me (more on that in a minute). I’d spent a lot of effort on each of the women’s critiques, writing up detailed notes and doing track-changes on their files. Everything went over well and I was able to help one of the girls “flip a switch” with one of my suggestions and she was so grateful. But my ego was stoked, big time. Why? Well, my book is the one that everyone is going crazy about. I can’t believe it.

Now, all these women are excellent writers. Well…one isn’t as good at it yet, but damn, her heart is in the right place and she is one hell of a reader and energy-cheerleader. Still, they know what they are doing and they are connected. They participate in all kinds of writers’ pitch contests, go to conferences, host blog tours and are on street teams for a handful of debut authors we all know through Twitter, and one of them has even self-published a book already. They have read all of the books. (Well, it feels that way. They bandy around titles and authors so fast my mind spins and I can’t always write down the titles/authors in my notebook fast enough!)

When we get to my work, the compliments astound me and just flatter me. They love the concept, they love my main character, they love the way I’m structuring it, and they sometimes go back and read passages I’ve written out-loud because they enjoyed the descriptive language, the way I have worked in all 5 senses to what my MC experiences, the dialogue, and the fact that my MC has very healthy relationships with her family. (Ever notice how many books have troubled family dynamics, or absent parents, or siblings they hate, etc? There are a LOT. And I, for one, am tired of those.) But most of all, I’ve got them HOOKED. They are dying to see my Tarzan guy.

I just sent off chapter 3 today and I’m psyched because this is the one where we finally get a good look at him. It’s only Olive, my MC, and “the jungle man” in this chapter. Close, intense interaction. I can’t wait for them to read it.

I can’t get over this. That my book is working this well on the first draft. I’m like giddy-jumpy-nauseous-hyperactive excited over it. And I can honestly say I LOVE THIS BOOK. Just love it. I love the world it takes place in, I love the things I get to describe, I love the between-the-lines themes I’m working into the plot, I love thinking of a hot, super sexy guy and I’m burning with the anticipation of the intimate and hot scenes I have coming up very soon.

I’ve never written anything like this one. It’s like my own custom candy store! I’m including so many things I love into this one. I get to write about wild jungle animals; the untamed, not-quite-human-man thing I have a near-fetish over; a girl who is best friends with her sister (something I have experience with and that I cherish); and the early days of the NJ shore boardwalks and carnival/sideshow culture.

And I’m currently doing some heavy behind-the-scenes work to develop an antagonist that’s fully developed and, I hope, will be somewhat liked by the readers. I’ve been inspired by Loki. Yeah. How cool is it that the villain has become more loved than the hero in the Thor movies? Why is that? Well, I’ve given it a lot of thought, I’ve done a lot of reading and…well, OK, I have to admit, a LOT of lusting. Tom Hiddleston is the shit. So talented and so fucking sexy-cute. I can’t believe the first time I saw Thor, my reaction to Loki was just uncomfortable. I didn’t think he was good-looking back then. I didn’t know why I was unsettled by Loki. But once it hit upon a second viewing of Thor, it hit hard. It was because of this scene. Sympathy for the villain. I don’t know that I’ve seen this kind of thing much in movies before, and it’s surprising it happens in a comic book movie. Huh.

My villain is nothing like Loki. Doesn’t have the same kind of backstory, doesn’t look like Tom H. But the model of how Loki was built to become so complex and hard to shrug off as “just evil” has influenced me so much. I want to attempt that model. Make my readers feel weirdly conflicted every time the villain disappoints us again by doing something bad. Just when you think he might be reformed, is giving in to his emotions and allows ‘sentiment’ to come to the surface–blam. Stabs the good guy in the stomach.

The latest villain to make me go, “hold on just a goddamn second here” is Moriarty from Sherlock. Which, by the way, is an excellent show. I knew it would be, b/c the friends who have recommended it to me wouldn’t lead me astray, since we share the same tastes. I only started watching it about a week ago, but I’ve already re-watched a couple of episodes and then went online and read some analyses of the themes and nuances of the characters. Sherlock alone is fascinating. He’s kind of a jerk but the way they’re handling his genius-thing is fascinating. He’s the hero who is somehow, not-quite-sure-how, perilously close to being a villain. I hate when he doesn’t appreciate John. OMG. I love John, too. ANYWAY… I digress.

Moriarty is batshit insane and it’s great. The actor they chose is mesmerizing; that sing-song voice is creepy and when he all of the sudden screams with fury it’s like a firecracker going off 6 inches from your face… And then there is this line:

“I will burn…the heart… out of you.” (I’ve watched this scene many, many times already)

I have held off watching the last episode available on Netflix (season 2, ep. 3) because I know the basics of what will happen and I’m positive I need to give it my full attention and have a notebook ready. Yeah, I’m a nerd. I take notes during things I’m watching sometimes. But I can’t wait to let myself find out more about Moriarty. Who is he, where does he go, where did he come from, why is he the way he is, what does he love, what drives him, what’s the obsession with Sherlock all about (I already know that one, I think: the two of them are almost mirrors of one another, which is a dynamic I am dying to dig into because that’s another one I have never given much thought to before now)… sherlock_and_moriarty_by_jaxparabellum-d4q6ap6

I really can ramble about the things I love, can’t I? 🙂

Suffice to say, my brain is in full character-development mode. Because I love my book and I love my characters. Because having this much fun writing a book should be illegal.

I couldn’t be happier.

Oh. There’s another huge piece of writing-career news. Remember how I mentioned the new girl in the critique group earlier in this post? Well, she and I hit it off that day and hung out and talked for awhile after the meeting. She’s an intern for a publishing company and told me all about it and what it entails. Then she mentions that there is a current opening for a new intern; someone to cover New Adult manuscript submissions. She gave me the name and contact info for the editor at the company, and encouraged me to apply.

I applied a day later, and then the day after that I was “hired.” The editor was excited when she saw my work experience as an editor and contributing-author coordinator. Since I know how to read a ‘disaster first draft’ and revise it and work with the author the whole way, I was a good fit. Even though I’d yet to do any of this with a book, my experience counted. Wow– another excellent revelation. All of my day-job nonsense has not been in vain.

So anyway, I got my first assignment and spent the next 7 days reading it. Unfortunately, it was a manuscript that just didn’t work. I couldn’t get into it; I saw the problems with it within the first 10 pages and knew I wasn’t going to see the things a good book needs in order to engage readers. I soldiered through, and still didn’t finish the whole thing. But when, by page 100, you still can’t tell who the antagonist might be, what the plot really is about, and what’s so damn special about the supposed love interest… I’m confident when I say it’s not publishable.

I have to write up a report about each manuscript I read, discussing as many of the key elements as possible and explaining what is good and what is bad about the book. It is NOT easy to do this. But I’ll tell you: when I finished that report and edited it up, I felt amazing. I felt like I had just learned something really important; that this is something I could really get into. I love having to work hard at something I am legitimately interested in learning. Sadly, it has been so damn long since that’s been the case for me in my adult life.

So, the internship is going great so far. I just started assignment #2 last night. It looks like I might be expected to do a book a week. This is already cutting a little into my usual writing-time, but I’m not that worried yet.

Between the internship, the critique group, networking through Twitter and the other writers I’ve connected with in the past year… it’s all coming together.

I am on the right path.

I’m going to get paid to do things I love. Someday, sooner rather than later. I won’t waste away in a go-nowhere, thankless business magazine job for much longer. My resume is morphing into gold by the minute.

It’s such a satisfying feeling. And it also feels comfortable; like, “I totally GOT THIS, yo.”

Time for bed now. It took me two hours to write this overall. See? This is why I don’t blog! I can’t shut up and I take too damn long!

The tricky landmine of logic and lust

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Well, I have an opportunity to date someone.

It’s this guy I know through a friend. He saw some comment on FB I posted on the mutual friend’s wall and he got in touch with me. He turned out to be really cool. Intelligent, witty and sarcastic, and he likes a lot of the same things I do. He gave me his HBOgo password so I could watch Game of Thrones. We emailed back and forth for a couple of months, but never talked on the phone or met in person until late August when he invited me to go see a stand-up comedian downtown.

I was nervous and almost bailed. I’m confused. On one hand, how fun it could be to have a boyfriend again, right? Especially one who is a lot like me and is easy to get along with? But on the other hand, I am planning to move to NJ. If I start something serious here, now of all times, it could really suck when the time comes to leave. (PS: I haven’t told him about NJ yet.) And finally, I’m still not sold on the idea of a relationship. As nice as romance and sex could be, it does bring certain expectations regarding time and responsibilities to remember important dates and to contact your partner on a regular basis (probably every day, right?). I’m feeling a time-crunch every day as it is. So many things I want to accomplish and spend time doing. Not sure I want to give up any of that time right now.

So, we met in person at last. All signs pointed to, “YAY!” He was really fun to hang out with. We laughed and talked easily like we were old friends. He’s like me with going off on tangents and taking weird humor a little too far; we had a great time together.

I think it will be great to hang out with him some more. We did it again on Friday night when we went to see Tom Green (who was hilarious, by the way). I remember laughing really hard in the parking lot as we walked up to the club because we were trying to do different accents and both of us suck so much at it. “Everything winds up going back to East Indian,” was the conclusion we made about our terrible abilities. During the show, we sat next to one another and shared a plate of pretzels and he brushed against my arm many times.

After we hang out, he sends me nice messages that say “I had a wonderful time with you” and “your eyes are so beautiful. I tried not to stare since I know you’re weird about eye contact and all of that, and I didn’t want to creep you out. But I really like looking at you… ok, now I do sound creepy. I can’t win.” 🙂  It makes me feel nice, and it’s flattering that he enjoys spending time with me and clearly has something of a crush on me, too. I can tell he feels that way when we are together, because of the way he looks at me, the little gestures that are kind of “we are on a date” in that he won’t allow me to pay for anything, and he’s a total gentleman.

HERE’S THE PROBLEM.

I am not physically attracted to him. 😦

And I feel awful for not being attracted to him. I feel so superficial and stupid, because I know it shouldn’t be all about looks and all of that. I do know that.

My secret thought is that, if I do decide to have a boyfriend again, I want to have the whole package. Someone who is fun and caring, but also gets my heart racing in that way.

In the vast majority of my past relationships, I have ‘settled’ for good enough, or what appears to be good enough at the onset. I know I am bad at picking good boyfriends and (gasp) husbands. I also know that I usually always concede the ‘sexual attraction’ thing.

Awful confession: In my last two serious relationships (including my marriage), I tolerated sex. Or, I would start off wanting it and then it would fade away fast. In the first case, Writer Ex didn’t enjoy sex with me after about 6 months or so, anyway. He even told me something inside me hurt him. Later, I found out I have severe endometriosis and my organs were all meshed together by scar tissue, pulling things in the wrong direction, so that could have been what was bothering him (and me! Ouch!) but the psychological effect of someone saying they didn’t want to be full-out intimate, yet they still wanted to cuddle and stuff, messed with me in a big way. I felt repulsive and sadly, not very feminine or confident. Plus, the longer I was with him I was turned off by HIM. He wasn’t a good-looking guy at all (some say he was my all-time homeliest boyfriend) but back when I met him, I was all attracted to his personality and sense of humor and the fact that we both loved writing so much. He became attractive– for awhile, anyway. It all faded. We mutually agreed to end our engagement in an almost-painless conversation that was laced with relief. Weird.

And then X came along. I know now that he was mostly a rebound from Writer Ex. He was not attractive at all to me. In fact, I was flat-out turned off by his shaved head and blue eyes. He reminded me of a skinhead or something. But he was very nice and caring back then. He was so attentive, and so different in his affections and level of attention than Writer Ex ever was. He did amazing things to impress me back then; these romantic gestures and surprises that had me in awe because no one had ever been that nice to me. We had a few shared interests and we did laugh and stuff. He had a decent job, a house, and was very responsible and adult.

I thought I had found The One… and the fact that I didn’t find him sexually attractive was something I decided to overlook. Make the best of it and DON’T BE A SUPERFICIAL JERK. Some things outweigh looks.

And we all know how that mess turned out in the long run. How his super-attentive and responsible side took over and crushed everything in my life. How he was insanely possessive and bossed me around like I was a little kid who didn’t know anything about the world. How he put dozens of restrictions on me, including who I could spend time with and how much time I could “reasonably” spend with those people. It was the ugliest, most nasty relationship I have ever had. It got so close to destroying me. He found my vulnerable psychological spots and he pummeled the shit out of them. Even when I made my case, pleaded and downright begged, in tears, for him to ease up on me, he wouldn’t do it. Leaving him was the most wonderful decision I have ever made.

After those two consecutive debacles, it’s easy to see why I enjoyed living on my own, not dating or even caring one shit about men, for the next 5 years.

Sure, I wonder sometimes what’s wrong with me, why I don’t feel the urge to get out there and try harder to attract male attention. Part of me wants to be in a relationship, of course. I’m only human and I do have some hormones at work. YET, I routinely find myself saying “I can’t be bothered” with “all of that” and I always mean it. I try reaching out and giving the dating/attraction thing a go of it every now and then, but in the end I appreciate the moment of, “Oh, the hell with this, I’m gonna go write” too much to keep trying.

And so, that brings me to my current dilemma.

I feel like I should feel ashamed on my gut reaction, which is to wait for the whole package this time.

At this point in my life, I feel strongly that I deserve the very best match for me that’s possible. I’ve had it with guys who treat me like shit. Yes. But it’s interesting, because at the same time I am also done with guys I am not actually attracted to. Guys who I say are “good enough” and, in the process of trying to Be Adult About All of This and realize that Looks Don’t Matter in the End, I decide to give them a shot.

I’m tired of not feeling magic when I kiss someone. OK, I am a LOT out of practice, at the moment, but I still know all too well that feeling of “well, this is OK” when I kissed past boyfriends/husbands. And I also remember how it felt to kiss the good ones and go, “Holy shit, this is HOT!” Right now I want a spark, damn it. A real, honest to God, two-way attraction. I was lucky enough to get it once or twice in my younger life, and now I want it again.

At the moment, the way I feel about Funny Guy is… I feel like he is excellent guy-friend material.

Ugh.

I’ve had guy friends like this before, and I love them. But the thing with these particular guys is they just don’t seem like potential boyfriends. They seem like buddies. Someone to be crude and stupid with in my joking around. The sex-spark is never once ignited. At least not for me. In fact, it’s almost impossible to see them in “that way.”

So, now I am caught in a tough place. Today, Funny Guy pretty much asked me on a date. He said we should go to the movies together sometime, and in the last email he said, “Let’s make it a date! Yes, I said the d-word.”

And I am like, “OHHHH NOOOO.” Cue sad-face.

I have to reply to him somehow, but all day I have been agonizing over what to say or not say. Three main options here: 1) I thought about just acting like he never said “the d-word” and keep going with my natural reaction, which is to not let it go there. 2) I could try to find a way to word it so he knows where I stand, and do it without hurting his feelings. 3) Or, I could go with it, go on the damn date, and see how it feels. Give him a chance.

Damned if I don’t even want to try the third option. I know. I suck.

Here’s a perfectly good guy on all initial accounts. He and I have a great rapport. He doesn’t date around (he’s also been single for a really long time). He has a decent job, and takes care of his elderly mother. He is humble and kind. All of this is important shit.

And here I am all cringing at the idea of possibly kissing him.

He’s not repulsive. People who see his picture have said, “Oh, he’s cute” or “Oh, he’s not bad.” OK. That’s something.

But as I think of it, it’s almost a subconscious thing that’s guiding me, here. Something deep inside that says “nope” and tells me to keep this one on a friend level. It could be a basic chemical reaction, like you read about with pheromones and compatibility on a genetic level– a sixth sense, in a way. Or it could just be me being afraid of having a boyfriend again, period. Or I just don’t like him in that way, and that’s the end of it. Either way, I feel something telling me it’s OK if I don’t want to kiss this guy, or spend too much time with him.

I’m not sure what to think. Trust my gut, or let my brain step in and be logical about this and give the guy a chance for all the right reasons.

I hate this crap!

 

 

Stop thinking

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I need a true vacation.

I know, I know. Everyone says that. Everyone wants to be somewhere else, everyone wants to be relaxing and having a good time. I know. The thing is that I haven’t had a true vacation in a really long time.

I go back to NJ when I have time and money, but the entire time I am there I’m visiting people, doing things, running around… I’m not taking lazy walks in the woods. In 2011 I had the best trip back there b/c I arranged group get-togethers to see people to be more efficient and it worked out well. I had time to go kayaking at the Manasquan reservoir with K and her sister; we went to Belmar to lounge around on the beach another day. For once, I didn’t try to fit too much in. It was awesome.

But since then, my travels have all been for a purpose. Drove out to LA for teh Writer’s Conference in October; that was nice, but it was a tight schedule the whole time I ws there and I had to deal with the anxiety of pitching to agents. Went back to NJ right after Hurricane Sandy– yeah, that definitely made the trip stressful. The next vacation days I took were when my Dad came here to visit for 10 days, and we all know that was a stressful time. We spent a lot of money, energy and time trying to entertain him and keep him busy. And trips for work definitely do NOT count as vacation. No friggin’ way.

There’s a reason I need some time to run away for awhile. My mind is busting at the seams from all of the thinking I’ve been doing. I just changed my depression/anxiety drug cocktail last month and that was a tough ride only b/c my body was reacting to the chemical shift. At one point, when I was technically on 3 drugs at once for a couple of weeks, I was dizzy and forgetful as hell, and even worse, I was seeing things just out of my line of vision. One day when I hung out with R and T cruising estate sales, I completely saw Hurley out of the corner of my eye twice that day. I knew he obviously wasn’t there, but the fact that my brain was making those images appear so clearly definitely freaked me the hell out.

Now I’m evened-out, for the most part. But brain chemistry aside, outside forces are making my synapses fire overtime and I’m worn out.

Here are the main things I can’t seem to stop thinking about:

1) NO LONGER QUERYING MY BOOK. My longtime friend S read my book “In My Blood” and returned to be a scathing, no-holds-barred review. He sent me a full 20 pages of specific notes! I was overwhelmed, but ultimately relieved and excited to have someone just break it down and tell me what doesn’t work, WHY those things don’t work and some general writing-wisdom notes here and there to help me improve my writing structure, tone, characterizations and descriptions. I can’t tell you how much I think I needed exactly this. I have had a strong feeling that something was off about my book but damned if I could pinpoint the problems myself. I couldn’t tell if I was being overcritical of myself like usual, or if I just couldn’t see anything clearly anymore because I’ve been so close to the story for so many years now. Either way, having someone who had never read any of the previous versions read through this with a critical eye changed everything.

It would take me so long to get into details of what S explained to me, but suffice to say I agree with the majority of his critiques/suggestions. I’ve decided to stop sending my manuscript out to agents, entering it in contests or submitting it to independent publishers. It’s currently off the table.

Meanwhile, I am revising it from the floor up. In short, I’ve created an improved, tighter plot that is easier to explain. I’m taking out the diabetes cure thing. Zachary’s no longer imprisoned on an island, as a lab animal. Now, he is 20 and just ended his 2nd year of college. He wants to be a vet and will be interning at a SeaWorld-like park over the summer. He has a secret skill –he can understand the thoughts of animals. He can’t get them to understand him back. Yet. But one day he figures it out and it changes so much for him. And, in his experiences at the SW hellhole, he sees the whales and dolphins don’t belong there. He meets up with a Paul-like character and begins to become an undercover activist. Things get more dangerous all the time, and he risks exposing not only his secret talent but the secrets of the Coalition, a think-tank his parents are a part of and is responsible for making him what he is. On top of that, he’s fallen in love with a fellow activist and his actions are putting her in danger, too. He’s branded an eco-terrorist by the end of the book. THIS is the story I have been trying to find. THIS is the story I am passionate about and the way I can get my message across now.

I’m excited about it and have written about two dozen pages so far. It’s flowing so easy and so far, it’s a blast putting my Zachary into an entirely new life. He’s really been living a normal life, with a mother and father. Friends. Schools. Texting on a cell phone. Driving a car. Working to rehab injured or sick cetaceans at the facility his parents run.  I am so happy for him. He’s far from a normal guy, but he is living a good life.

2) MY TARZAN BOOK. At the same time I’m revising my first book, I am writing the first draft of this Tarzan steampunk book. It’s taking a lot more research than I first expected, but without the benefit of total immersion in a mountain/ tropical forest terrain in Western Africa, I have to try to learn as much as I can about the fauna, flora, weather and topography of the area as I can, so I can pull from it as the story flows out. Fortunately, it won’t be long until my MCs leave Africa to fly by airship back to the Jersey Shore around the year 1900. Then, things take on a carnival, amusement park atmosphere and a love story blossoms. It’s also a LOT of fun. These two books are being written simultaneously. That’s not something most writing pros encourage, since you need to focus to write your best work. But for now, flipping between the two almost daily is working for me now. I am hoping to get some kind of advice as to which one to dive into as my primary project. Which one’s stronger and more compelling? We’ll have to see. If you’re interested in reading the first few pages of each book and letting me know which one you are most interested in reading what’s next– please let me know. No pressure, though. Seriously.

3) NEW JERSEY. I can’t get into this in depth with details, but a future move to NJ is now officially in the works. The real estate values in AZ are rising quickly and I can now make a decent profit if I sell my house, and it seems like this trend will continue for awhile. I have to time things right– sell before the selling price per sq/ft begin to drop off– so I can pay off my debts and hopefully have a nice chunk of money for a down payment on something in NJ. Yes, I will probably buy again even though owning a house has been a huge struggle out here for me. That’s b/c it’s cheaper to buy AND I have 4 pets. Who’s going to rent to someone with 4 pets? I’m just not sure I can find something reasonable. Also, my family will be moving in with me at first. They’ll help me with the mortgage payments, and yes, the work around the house. Living together while we all get settled and established makes the most sense. Again, timelines are TBD and I don’t want this news getting around just yet. It could be way too early, and it could backfire if work finds out.

The main thing is that I’m obsessed with thinking about all the steps I’ll need to take to sell, move cross country, buy a new home, find a new job…all of it. It’s a lot to take on, but I want to be home so very much. It’s just harder every year that goes by that I am away from my home. My best friends. You only get one chance to live your life, so I want to live the rest of mine on the East coast again.

4) BURN OUT. My job, man. I feel so completely done with it. I can’t get a promotion, nor would I want to, seeing how people are treated here from the top down. I write the same kind of articles all the time, month after month. I’m so sick of the processes and working with the contributing authors. I feel bored and uninspired and mostly distracted as I think of the other 3 things on this list all the damn day, every day. I know there is more to my writing career than this. This go-nowhere, no recognition position can’t be the end of the line. I can do a lot more than this. I know a lot more. I could turn things around, get new web-based initiatives moving… but the truth is, I don’t want to do those things here. I don’t care enough. I am done. Just now–literally just now– I got a review back on an article I worked on and it’s saying my article is terrible and has no relevence to our readers. I swear to god, I am just DONE. I want to walk out so bad right now. I am not kidding. I’m tired. I don’t want to do this shit anymore. I hope I find something a lot more exciting, rewarding and less spinning-my-wheels than this crap job when I move away. So many more writing/editing jobs in the NY/NJ area, anyway.

Wow, not FIVE MINUTES LATER, I got my second review back and it also says my article sucks. That’s two thumbs-down reviews in 5 minutes.

I’m out.

 

 

 

Ms. Passive Aggressive

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No one likes passive aggressive people. They’re assholes. I mean, just say what’s bothering you and be direct about it. Don’t play these silly games that dance around the issue and *hope* your point is noticed by the offending parties.

Well… I’m an asshole. And I’m going to be passive aggressive right now.

First: I’m so disappointed because my boss has decided to buy a purebred Great Dane.

He’d approached me a few weeks back because he and his wife were thinking, yet again, of adopting getting a dog and he wanted my advice. Well, great! I have so many connections to all kinds of local dog rescues and could even help him narrow it down to the right dog with the right personality for his family’s needs. I gave him links to specific dogs and contact information for my favorite rescues.

I should have known something was up, because I didn’t hear a thing about it. Until today. When he says: “I was afraid to tell you about this, but… we’re getting a Great Dane puppy.”

He was afraid to tell me because he knows how incredibly important it is to me that I successfully spread the ADOPT, DON’T BUY message. And he knew I would be pissed at his ultimate decision. He was right.

I’m pissed for several reasons, besides the obvious one of “there’s one shelter dog’s life NOT being saved”… such as:

1) He bought a puppy about 2 years ago from a shady breeder in southern AZ somewhere. His wife decided they had to have an English golden retriever. So they went and got this dog and had no clue what to do to train it. The dog had insane energy and all kinds of health problems. (It had eaten a magnet at the breeder’s house before they even had her, and ended up spending massive amounts of money to have the magnet surgically removed.) At the time, his twin daughters were only 2, and the dog was “too much for them” and then, apparently, one of the twins developed an allergy to the dog. I don’t know what the fuck he was thinking, getting a high-energy, large breed puppy with two little toddlers in the house. It was an ongoing disaster for months, until that convenient dog allergy showed up and they had no choice but to return the dog to the breeder. They gave up on a dog for no good reason at all. A dog they never, ever should have adopted in the first place.

2) Next, they got a Saint Bernard. A Saint Bernard!!! That one lasted for an even shorter time period before it was returned. Again, it was a very young dog and had tons of energy and needed time, attention and TRAINING to get it to be the dog they wanted.

3) Today he told me that he spent a lot of time “exhausting the rescue option” and in the end they just knew they wouldn’t find a dog that was what they wanted, in a rescue. In the Great Dane rescue, the dogs were mostly “4 or 5 years old already, and with the short life spans of Great Danes, we knew we’d only get a couple of good years out of one of those dogs and we’re not ready for that.” Apparently he is of the naive belief that only old dogs die. Look. You get a dog, you’d better be ready for whatever comes your way regarding illnesses and accidents. If you’re “not ready for that”…don’t get a dog.

4) They have two pet rabbits and they also said at rescues they wouldn’t be able to find a dog that would be both good with little kids AND rabbits. Notice I said “wouldn’t be able to” in that sentence up there. This shows that he never really investigated that part of it seriously. He’s lying to me about “exhausting the rescue option.” I hate being lied to. Anyway, who wants to place bets that there will be an incident with the Great Dane puppy and the rabbits within the first 6 months? How about the first 6 weeks?

5) He says he wants a dog he can take on walks, but back when he had the other two dogs, he “hated walking them” because of the work and effort of trying to control them. OH CHRIST, GET ME A DRINK AT THIS POINT!

I look forward to the inevitable failure of this, his latest Worst Decision Ever.

Second: I don’t understand the people who tell me to send them my book because they want to read it, and then they never read it.

I can think of EIGHT friends right now who fall under this category. Eight. All of them friends, not just people I kinda know/strangers. They all said to me, “please let me read your book” and I told them yes.

I also told them to be honest and fuckin’ tell me if you are bored with the story and stop reading.

This is important.

I need to know if my story doesn’t engage people. It’s not a matter of “I’d like to know”… NO. I NEED TO KNOW. So I can fix it.

Some of the people tell me, “Oh, well… I don’t really read that genre, but I’ll give it a try.” This is not the right thing to say to an aspiring author. It’s not that I am upset you don’t read my genre. It’s that you are clearly not the target audience, but you’ll give this a look anyway, probably out of some unspoken obligation. Don’t do that. Just don’t offer to read my book, because it sucks getting excited waiting for feedback that NEVER comes. And I don’t want you doing a pity-read, either. Lame.

Third: Writers who don’t know a thing about my genre, and yet feel they have the right to tell me all the things wrong with my book. Or what they would do differently, to make it sell.

Writer Ex did this to me a couple months ago, and I’m still annoyed by what he said. I wanted him to be brutally honest about my story, and he wasn’t.

He was brutally honest about what he would do with my story idea, if he’d had it.

The first lines of his critique: “Great title. The rest? Not so much.”

Then he went on to explain he never reads YA sci-fi or paranormal so he has no idea what the market is for those books. But if I want people to buy my book, I need to make Zachary some kind of mutant freak with big, flashy superpowers he can’t control. I should write it in the style of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And so on, until I felt like puking.

Again, maybe you shouldn’t offer to critique my query and first few pages if you are unfamiliar with my genre.

At least I know better now. I won’t ask anyone who doesn’t READ this kind of stuff (or write it) take a look at my work.

OK. My passive aggressive rant here is done.

I’m going home now to write my kick-ass new book, play with my dogs and enjoy my fuckin’ weekend!

Changing it up

Standard

I saw my psychiatrist this morning. Told him all about the apathy and lethargy, and the concerns I have with my energy levels being so low and all of that. It was a good talk– a half hour, opposed to the usual 15 minute med check. He decided that we should try something different for about a month or so to see if I feel any better.

I’m going to wean off the Zoloft and start Nefazodone, while keeping the Wellbutrin the same. If it doesn’t help or if I feel any worse, we’ll figure something else out. But for now, he thought it might be time to try a new medication mixture.

Nefazodone is a tough call, though. On one hand, there are a couple of good things about it: it’s slightly sedative, so taking it before bed can help me sleep through the night. It also doesn’t have the weight-issue of Zoloft; with Zoloft, it doesn’t cause weight gain, usually, but it makes it a lot harder to lose weight. Interesting.

The downside to Nefazodone is it’s got a checkered history. It was recalled here when it was sold under the name Serzone, because it’s linked to severe liver damage and the death of several people. My doctor has a dark sense of humor, and said, “There’s a 3 or 4 in a million chance of you dying from this pill.” He didn’t seem too worried, though, the longer we talked about it. Since he’s been my doctor since 2005, I do trust him with this stuff. So I guess we’ll just see what happens. I go back to see him on July 2 to determine if it’s a prescription I should continue.

He also recommended I talk to my ob/gyn about going off the continuous birth control, after I mentioned it was something I’d be considering. I’ve been on it non-stop since April 2003 to treat the endometriosis/ keep it from coming back. I haven’t had any real problems with the endometriosis stuff for years and years, and in the meantime, I have been dosing myself with hormones that trick my body into thinking I’m pregnant. I’ve gained weight on a pretty steady basis every year since I went on it, despite exercising and eating OK in the earlier years of taking it.  (I worked out a lot more often back then, so I can say for sure that weight was coming on even though I was doing everything else right to lose weight; and I started the Zoloft in 2005, so if you think about it, my continual slide to obesity might have been helped along a bit by my medications. HOWEVER, I am not ready to blame the pills for all of it. I think it’s still largely my own doing, and my own genetics, that are to blame for me gaining weight as I age. I could do a lot better with the food and exercise things these days, and I know it.)

The kind of birth control pills I take can also lead to thromboembolism, which are blood clots in your veins. The risks for that get worse after age 35 (yay) and since my Mom had this very condition the year after we moved to Arizona, I’m worried I could inherit it. It can also raise your blood pressure, and I know for a fact that my BP has been getting higher these days. Also, some women on the pill are at greater risk for depression. So, who knows… I might end up being healthier, overall, if I stop taking that pill. It’s worth looking into, anyway.

Am I worried I could get another endometriosis flare-up? Yeah, a little bit. However, I’ll know exactly what it is if and when the symptoms start up, and I’ll know what to do about it. (Probably, go back on the pills and/or get those shots I had after surgery; worst case scenario, I have ablation surgery again.) Also, once I hit menopause I won’t have endometriosis problems anymore, anyway. Not that I am close to menopause, even though my physical health already makes me feel that I am going through it…

So, this will be an interesting 4-6 weeks. Especially if I stop the birth control pill, too. Who knows? I really might be on my way to feeling a LOT better. Mentally, yes, and physically.

Finally, he didn’t think I needed to bother with counseling right now. If medication doesn’t help, then yes, I can consider it, but he firmly believes, based on my history, that my depression is biological in nature. It’s responded well to medication, for the most part. We’ll just have to see how things go with these changes.

Bonus moment: He made me walk in to his other office to see his two beta fish. “C’mon, you have to see these little guys,” he said, almost pushing me forward. “You’ll see they’re not that bad.” And they weren’t. I’m better than I used to be about fish– but I’m also better at hiding my inner screaming. 🙂 Anyway, he’s just as amused by the icthyophobia as most people are, and he’s a professional. That cracks me up.