Sunday, August 19, 2018

Terrible Beast

I feel like Death has been hovering over my shoulder the last several years. I and the people closest to me have been losing loved ones at what feels like a rapid pace to me. 1 of my last 2 living grandparents passed away. My best friend's ex-husband, who was still a good friend of hers in addition to being the father of her three older kids, was tragically taken at a fairly young age. I lost 2 beloved cats to sudden illnesses. Then Blaine died, and I am sitting here wondering what the hell is going on?

I know there are people out there who deal with so much more death, and destruction, and pain... but I can't wrap my head around the point of the so-called God my friend embraced in her last months... I can't wrap my head around the point of this God causing her to suffer as much as she did, and taking her a month before her 39th birthday.

I had some Jehovah's Witnesses come to my door the other day. Their explanation is that Jehovah is currently letting Satan prove that Satan cannot rule the Earth successfully, and that is why there is so much suffering and pain and negativity here.

So was Satan torturing her until she finally broke? Or was God finally merciful, and took her out of her misery?

It bothers me... I grew up in a Christian household, but if I were to describe my belief set now, it would be more along the pagan-leaning-towards-wiccan line. I have crystals and tarot cards and pendulums and candles and the makings of a small but decent altar. But if you were to come into my home, you probably would have no idea. I'm quiet about what I believe, because it is so deeply personal to each individual. I don't have a problem with Christianity in general. I just have a problem with the idea of a supposedly loving God that could allow such suffering to continue for such a long time, and then end it so abruptly.

I have a problem with a God that would take 2 cats who were so loved and cared for by us...

I have a problem with a God that would allow a young man, a father of three kids 12 and under, to be taken in such a terrible way, leaving scars that will never heal...


I once went down a psychological rabbit hole, during which time I believed I was the second coming of Christ. It's hard to recover a Christian mindset once you've had that delusion. It goes hand-in-hand with my persistent belief a little later that God was a schizophrenic alien, and we were the voices in its head.


I can't pin down exactly what I believe in. I just know it's not a singular God that is countered by a devil. But I do know there is this that I embrace wholeheartedly: An it harm none, do what ye will.


Maybe I'm just noticing all of the death more now because I'm creeping closer to 40. Or maybe it's just because it's finally hit me where it hurts - someone who was only 4.5 months older than me, someone who I knew for more than 25 years, someone whom I considered to be one of my best friends, despite all of the squabbles we had over the years.

Grief is a terrible beast.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Puzzle Pieces

The puzzle pieces of our lives can fit in many different ways, and the way in which we fit them together is what forms the picture of us. Sometimes, it takes picking up a piece and turning it over to change the picture we present to the world.



When I was young, I knew I was different. I was thinking about things like the cleanest way to kill myself while my friends were dreaming about which boys would ask them to the school dance. When I realized this difference, it made me feel a little special. Unique. But ultimately, it made me feel alone. Like my puzzle had jagged edges sticking out instead of the nice, clean edges everybody else seemed to have, and so I couldn’t sit nicely beside anybody without poking into them somehow.

After my first suicide attempt, I was put on an antidepressant. I was scattered as to when I took it, frequently forgetting, but when I did take it consistently, oh how did I feel like I could do ANYTHING! I was smiling, making friends, cracking jokes. And thus, they declared my depression CURED!



Did that mean my edges were any cleaner? I still felt pretty jagged.



A few years later, I started hallucinating. I remember the moment I saw my first hallucination. I was sitting in a library/sitting room in a church at a weekend youth group, listening to a story about Hiroshima or something similar, and all of a sudden, the room was filled with a god damn mushroom cloud!!! I was strangely not scared. Just absolutely fascinated that nobody else seemed to be scared, and confused by the lack of sound. It dissipated, disappeared, and it was gone, gone, gone. But over the next 5 years, I would see mushroom clouds everywhere, along with a handful of other images that persisted. That was one piece of my puzzle that I kept a hand over most of the time, only letting my very trusted friends see it.

With my free hand, I was juggling keeping my puzzle pieces in place while knowing that I was still different. I wasn’t CURED! I was more different than ever before. So I turned to sex and alcohol when I could get either or both to mask what I was feeling. Stuff it down. Throw a paper bag over the puzzle for a while, and it won’t matter that it’s scattered to the four winds, and there are no edge pieces, and everything is just plain WRONG.

Inevitably, adulting had to occur. There became children and a husband involved. I tried different medications, and they would work for a while, and then we wouldn’t be able to afford them, so I would have to go off of them. And the longer this went on, the more jagged and misshapen my puzzle became, with pieces sticking off the edges willy-nilly. I was trying so hard to fit in to the life I’d built for myself that I was searching desperately for edge pieces to complete me, and only finding more inside pieces that didn’t fit quite right.



My marriage ended, because of me but not by my hand, and I was devastated. My puzzle fell apart completely, and it was up to me to pick up the pieces and reorganize them to make sense of the mess that was supposed to make up ME, however that needed to occur.



June 2018 was 10 years since the collapse of my marriage, since I began picking up the pieces. I don’t know how it happened – some of these pieces must have broken in the fall – but I have edge pieces now. They don’t form a flat edge like “normal” people do; they go off in their own direction and look more like a spiky flower than a rectangle or square. But I feel more complete than I ever have before. I feel like the pieces of me that I was chasing for so long are finally in place, and I can see the full picture finally. It just took flipping over some pieces and dropping a lot of others to get them into their current shape. I long ago realized that I am one of those people who needs to be on medication for life, and I happily take my pills every day in order to maintain this feeling of completion.

There will always be loose pieces, and the medication will not work forever. I will need to go through med changes. This is something that I’ve opened my mind to and am willing to endure for the end result.

My puzzle has changed form and picture many times throughout my life, and I’m sure it’s not done changing yet. Nobody glue down my puzzle till I’m done changing it!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Paragon of Beauty

The way the string of led lights tied to the headboard illuminated his face made me gasp. This man… he was not classically attractive, but I thought he was pretty darn cute. When he was being serious, he was downright handsome. But what I saw this time… the only word that came to mind to describe him was 'beautiful'.

My world changed on April 19, 2018, and I wasn’t even aware of it for another month. I guess I should start at the beginning, and then get back to my beautiful man.

My best friend, my “wife” of many years, Pam, came to visit shortly after my daughter’s 15th birthday. We would occasionally share a joint when we spent the night at each other’s house, but that night, she couldn’t spend the night, so she left me one as a  4/20 gift.
I smoked ⅔ of the joint on April 20, and enjoyed a nice high. I was a lightweight by even the lightestest of lightweight’s standards at that point, so that ⅔ was plenty. Saturday, the 21st, my daughter had a friend spend the night. Said friend is transgender, and at one point in a conversation, the friend said to my daughter, “So, you still go by ‘she’?”
Alarm bells went off in my head. Three years of post-puberty angst flashed through my head. The therapist she’d been seeing for just over a year… did she know something she wasn’t allowed to tell me?
I hate my boobs.
I fuckin’ hate having periods.
Being genetically female fucking sucks.
I had sympathized with every complaint because I agree fully… but maybe they were more dysphoric statements than bitchy girl comments.
I mulled it over in my head all day Sunday, and while she was at school on Monday. There were some symptoms that had cropped up recently that came to mind, plus she was hiding in her room a lot. I added everything together. I was pretty certain that I no longer had the daughter I had yearned for.

Serra decided not to go to her Pathfinders meeting that night, feeling uncomfortable in churches and with the younger girls that would be attending with them that night. She hid in her room, and I sat at my computer, as we both did so often. Finally, I went up to that level of the house to use the bathroom, but stopped at her door, first.
“Mom, when you’re done, can I get our book?”
We have a journal that we pass between so we can communicate with less immediate pressure.
I paused for a moment before I answered. That was the perfect opening. “Sure, but before I get it for you, I have a question.”
“Okay…”
I inhaled deeply and looked at her. “Are you transgender?”
She wrapped her arms around her reddening face, slammed her head into her pillow, and gave me a thumbs-up.
I nodded, said, “Okay,” and tried not to let on that my heart was cracking down the middle.
We chatted a bit, and he told me his name was Phinn. It felt ludicrous to be asking my own child, at 15 years old, what their name is. But here I was.
“I’m leaving it up to you to tell everybody else. You do it however you feel is best.”
“Okay.”
And so, Phinn chose to change his facebook name from Serra to Phinn, and his gender on facebook from female to male.

A shitstorm fell upon me after that, but we won’t go into that today. What we’re here to talk about today is my beautiful man.

The 23rd was the day everything actually started to change. That was the day I was introduced to my second son and told I no longer had a daughter. The 27th was the end of the beginning. After fielding questions and thinking about everything that had to be done and doing as much research as I could think of where it came to my new son, when I went to bed on the 27th, I smoked the last third of that 4/20 gift and pulled out my little blue computer.

Full disclosure: I am writing this while stoned.

What I did that night, though… I logged onto pof.com and started talking to whoever messaged me. This one guy was really polite, and stuck around more than a handful of messages. He never pushed for pics from or to me. He was just an all-around sweet guy. The next day, I woke up to a good morning message from him. I don’t think a day has gone by since then that I haven’t received a good morning message from him. Dawson, as I was to learn was his name, and I chatted on the pof app for a few hours, until I suggested we switch to texting. We exchanged numbers, and I got to know this sweet guy.
After about a week, we met for the first time. My first thought upon seeing him was that I thought his face looked longer than in his pictures. We had a good first visit, but when it came time for another visit, I chickened out.
I really really liked this guy. A lot. But I was feeling smothered, which made no sense. After a week, I finally figured out what was going on. I’m a meds-for-life kinda gal, and one of my meds got switched at the pharmacy from extended release to suspended release, and for some reason, the suspended release really screwed with my anxiety levels. So I arranged to procure some natural remedies to tide me over until I could get my meds fixed, and met him a second time.
As soon as he walked into my house that morning, my stress melted away. I felt safe. I felt like I was where I needed to be with whom I needed.
That same night, my kids and I went out to Pam’s place for the weekend, and while I was texting Dawson and talking to Pam, Pam and I were almost convinced that Dawson was going to drop the 'L' bomb on me. Pam advised me to drop him like a hot potato if he did. To run. Run far, far away.
Honestly, at that point, I probably would have said it back if he had said it. For the record, he didn’t.
We got together again, and later, after I had gotten home from his place, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I agreed, and the more time that went by, the more I was thinking that I wanted to tell him I loved him.
I was back at his place, and I told him I wanted to tell him something, but… I couldn’t get the words out. I was nearly in tears, I wanted so badly to tell him I loved him. My heart was bursting with love for this man, and I couldn’t get my mouth to open and pop out three little words.
A deep breath. “Iloveyou.” All in one breath. Did he hear me?
He leaned down and said, “I love you, too,” and kissed me.

Every single day, I fall deeper in love with him. Every time I have to say goodbye to him, a piece of my heart rips out and stays with him. I don’t think he realizes quite how tight his grip on me is.

Today was supposed to be a celebratory day. It was my older son’s 17th birthday. He’s not home to celebrate with, but I could have pretended. Instead, I found out that someone I have been friends with for more than ⅔ of my life...is dead. She’s gone. I’ll never see her again. I’ll never hear her voice again. She’ll never assure me that her medical problems are no big deal again.
Rest in peace, Blaine.

Today has been a really hard day. The birthday kid isn’t here. My friend is dead. Phinn spent most of the day holed up in his room (typical teenager). So, I was quite alone most of the day. But still, despite having to work, Dawson still checked on me to make sure I was doing ok.

I think he is a beautiful man. I wish he (and everybody) could see what I see.

Friday, September 29, 2017

NaNo Planning

I've never been much of a planner when it comes to my NaNoWriMo projects. I usually come up with a vague idea sometime in October, and dive in headfirst on November 1st, and somehow, by the end of the 3rd week, I've always hit the 50,000 word goal - once hitting it as early as day 7.

Last night, I started to panic, realizing I had absolutely no ideas floating around in my head for NaNo. Usually by now, I'll have a bunch of different ideas, and can mold them into some sort of semblance of an idea which then turns into a story, which may or may not see the light of day later on. Having this realization, I went hunting for inspiration, and I got it in spades.

This year's NaNo will be (tentatively) titled Marshall Law, and is entering the ever-popular realm of dystopia. This is my first foray into this genre, so I hope I do it justice. If I don't feel I've done it well, you can expect to never hear about it again!

So, that's where things are sitting for me right now. I've got a notebook with notes jotted down and more to come. This one will be plotted and planned to death by the time Halloween ticks over to November. Exciting!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Mayhaps...

Over the past 4 months, a lot has happened, and yet nothing has changed. I'm back to where I started in a lot of ways. It's a struggle some days to do what needs doing, but do it I must.

Part of doing what I must is writing. It's part of me to write. I ignored that part of me for a very long time, and paid a pretty price for that. It's been 6.5 years since I dove back into the world of words, and I don't regret a moment of it. I wish, however, that I could make a little more of it, financially.

So I come to you, now, to let you know about a website called Fiverr. Fiverr is a website where you can buy a service starting at five dollars. I've got a profile up on Fiverr that I would love for you to check out. I am working on figuring out more gigs at the moment, so keep checking back to find out what I've got to offer!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Lessons

255 days.

Or,

8 months, 10 days.

I’ve got to get into the habit of writing blog posts more often. Those numbers are simply how long it’s been since my last post, and it had been more than nine months between posts before that. That’s simply not good enough.

In my last post, I talked about the diploma program I had started in April. Well, there’s 4 classes left before I start my practicum. Things are getting real, yo.

I have enjoyed my time in this program. I’ve gotten to meet some really wonderful people, who I hope will be friends for life, and I’ve learned a lot about a lot of things, but the one thing I’ve learned most about is myself.

1) I’m a terrible taskmaster.


If I don’t get my homework done in a timely manner, I beat myself up mentally until I finally do them. Not in a mean way, but more along the lines of, “Hey, you really need to stop procrastinating.”

“No, really. Get off your butt and get working.”

“Haven’t you done it yet?”

“You know you’re going to be up into the wee hours of the morning if you don’t do it soon.”
Until such time as my mind walks out on me in mutiny until I give in and pull out the books. It doesn’t usually take very long before I submit to the mental heckling, but that inner voice can sure get loud.

2) I’m smarter than I give myself credit for.


This isn’t exactly new news to anyone who knows me. I go into every test and quiz with the idea in the back of my head that I’m going to fail, but somehow, I never do. In fact, I’m still maintaining a decent overall mark on the honours spectrum. My classmates are apt to say, “Well, of course you did well, it’s you,” when they ask how I did on a test or assignment, but I still have that nagging feeling at all times that maybe, just maybe, this will be the time I don’t pass.

3) I can’t study.


I’ve tried. I read chapters from beginning to end the two days preceding a test, and absorb nothing. I highlight. I use flashcards. I quiz myself. None of it sinks in. I arrive at school an hour early, sit down and skim through notes and textbooks for an hour, and I pass the test with flying colours. I don’t understand it, but that’s how it works for me. I do NOT recommend this method for anybody!!

4) I am not the same person I was even as few as three years ago.


Things have changed so much for me in the past three years. I can’t imagine my life any different than it is right now, though. I’m in a good place emotionally and spiritually, and I’m on my way to a new career after being a stay-at-home-mom for 15+ years. I won’t lie: it’s terrifying some days. But those days are the ones I dig in and move forward with even more determination because FEAR has two meanings:

Forget Everything And Run

Or

Face Everything And Recover


I choose to face things head-on and step over those stumbling blocks nimbly instead of letting them trip me up.

Aside from these things I’ve learned about myself, I’ve learned that, well, I’m not alone. There are others out there who “get” me. And that’s one of the best feelings in the world.

Friday, June 17, 2016

New Words

It's been nine long months since I last posted here. So much has happened since then. I started, and completed, an employability skills training program, during which I regained a ton of confidence and self-respect that I hadn't realized I'd been missing. In April, I started a diploma program, my first foray into the world of student loans and post-secondary education. It's going really well, and I'm feeling all kinds of positive about it so far, but the real nitty-gritty doesn't start until the end of June, so we'll see how I feel about it then. Meanwhile, I'm maintaining honours-level marks and am ahead of the game when it comes to progress, so, as they say, it's all good. I'm working on a few different projects right now, with different deadlines for each, some self-imposed and some externally-imposed but not mandatory, which is making things interesting.

Onward!

Words are such powerful things. By stringing them together into sentences, we can change the course of someone's day, often unintentionally. One simple word, said at just the wrong time, can send someone into such a tailspin that they go off half-cocked, and who knows if that one little word was the actual reason for the outburst, or just the catalyst? How do you apologize to someone if it was just the catalyst? Will they accept the apology? Will they recognize where things went awry?

I've been guilty of getting angry over something that was actually completely unrelated to what was really upsetting me. The problem lies in the inability in that moment to find the words to explain that it's not the target that's the problem. The problem exists between my brain and my mouth. Give me a keyboard, and I can expound upon why I'm upset all day long, including the inciting incident, but don't expect me to verbalize it while I'm still steaming mad.

In light of this, I've learned to take breaks, breathers, when I feel my ire rising. When someone else's words are starting to affect me to the point where I know my words will affect them, I try to step away for a few minutes, an hour, however long it takes, and do something more productive. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. When I'm finding that it's still not working after an hour, I figure it's time reassess what caused me to become so upset in the first place. Who was involved? What did they say or do? Why did it affect me so much? How can I change my reaction? If I take a more logical approach to it, I can usually make a better evaluation of the situation than I can when I'm still emotionally charged.

I know my methods won't work for everyone, and maybe not even most people, but I figure that as long as I'm not coming at people with a knee-jerk reaction over something that is, in the grand scheme of things, silly, I'll be a better person in the end.