Of Thieves & Imposters

Teddy Roosevelt said (allegedly) that “Comparison is the thief of joy”. By comparing ourselves to others, we somehow find our own successes or projects lacking. Another term for this same idea is Imposter Syndrome. This is especially true when dealing with something we’re passionate about or the field we’re in or aspire to be in.

Writing has always been one of my outlets. Whether it’s blogging, fanfic, or original works, putting words on paper or on a screen has been therapeutic for me. I’ve had a Twitter account for a decade, but I’m not a very active Tweeter. I’m more of a lurker. Someone I follow tweeted a link to a fanfic. I let my curiosity get the better of me & went to check it out even though I don’t agree with her ships at all (shorthand for relationships). It had thousands of hits, comments, & likes. I felt inadequate before reading a single word. My story hasn’t even cracked 3000 hits. I immediately started telling myself that I had somehow done something wrong. Let’s do a quick comparison – I have never publicly linked the story via any of my social media EXCEPT here for reasons that are rather long & complicated. Her entire Twitter account is dedicated to marketing her work. I could create an entire Twitter account dedicated to marketing this story, but why? I know I write just as well as she does (I actually did read some of it eventually). I’d have to make connections in a fandom that can be extremely volatile at times & I really don’t have time for that. And by time I mean the emotional energy it takes to deal with people getting their panties in a wad over the smallest, strangest things. I’d get frustrated, abandon the account, & be right back to where I am now. Her story has all that attention because she decided that she wanted to whore herself out on Twitter (and wherever else), deal with any potential (likely) drama, & she saw results.

Everyone wants validation. It’s part of being human. We want to have someone else (or a lot of someone elses) tell us that our work is valuable & meaningful. My fic started out life as something very different than it is now. I have one very loyal fan who is constantly chasing me down for updates. Other people have read it, some even felt strongly enough about it to comment. I am not worth what other people think of me (or what I create) & sometimes I forget that.

XOXO!

Current Jam: “Sound of Silence” Disturbed

Twitter & Instagram: retroindiequeen

Archive of Our Own (AO3): TheHuntsmansBoss

Of Juries & Feelings

I got stuck with jury duty last week. I’ve been called several times before, but never selected. What day did I get called, you ask? My emotionally abusive rapist’s birthday. I never got to take him to court. Hell, I didn’t realize what he did to me was even classified as rape until 3 years after our relationship ended. Doesn’t change the fact that he never answered for what he did. During the selection the question was asked have you ever been through a traumatic event. I was literally the first person they called from the entire pool of 200+ people AND #1 in my group. I dutifully raised my hand & instead of opting to speak with the judge privately, I said in open court that I was raped by an ex boyfriend.

They chose me anyway.

I proceeded to waste a day & a half of my life listening to a case that was complete bullshit. These people were trash who took their trashy issues to court instead of sorting them out on their own & not wasting my time. Then another juror couldn’t get it through her thick skull that it doesn’t matter if someone says it’s okay to come by the house when a stay away order (a baby TPO) is in place. It was in force at the time, therefore he was guilty of violating the order. Intent wasn’t at play here. She finally caved, but I was getting ready to beat her ass over it. Allegedly, my name will be out of the pool for at least 2 years. I’m not holding my breath.

This past week dug up a lot of unpleasant feelings. For example, feeling like I was being punished for being honest in front of a group about what happened to me. Last Monday would’ve been my very first boyfriend’s 35th birthday. He died in his sleep shortly after he turned 31. I never found out the exact cause. Valentine’s Day reminded me of how my dad would get my mom a bouquet & my sister & I would each get smaller ones. It wasn’t just about his wife. It was about all his girls. Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. (I guess today since this will be posted after midnight) This is the 2nd birthday she’ll have without my dad. If it’s anything like mine was, it’s going to hurt like a bitch. I don’t know what to do for her. I don’t know if there’s anything I even can do.

I check Twitter & see adulation for other fanfic (read: slash) writers & I feel inadequate. Then I remind myself that I have basically no followers on Twitter, don’t whore myself out on there, & only post my username here on a blog that no one reads. Do I want that kind of attention? Do I need that kind of validation? I guess if I did, then I’d put more effort into it. Ultimately, it’s an escape for me & if other people enjoy it then that’s an added bonus. I don’t need 1500 followers on Twitter & 10,000 hits on my story to be worth something.

I think I had more to say, but my head hurts like a bitch & I have class tomorrow so I’m out.

XOXO!

Current Jam: “Far From Home” Five Finger Death Punch

Twitter & Instagram: retroindiequeen

AO3: TheHuntsmansBoss

Of Birthdays & Gratitude

I know I’ve ranted about this before. I’m 100% certain that I have, but I’m gonna do it again so feel free to skip right on over this entry.

It royally pisses me off when people (women in particular) whine about reaching a particular milestone birthday (usually 30+). Nine times out of 10 they’re complaining about how they’re old or some other nonsense. Listen up, bitches. Be fucking grateful that you got to see 30 or 35 or 40. Some people, for one reason or another, never will. Little Emily was 24 when she died. She never got to see her 30th birthday. My dad was 62. He wasn’t even (technically) eligible for Social Security. Yet here you are whining that you’re old when you’re 35 & life hasn’t come up roses for you. SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP. I’m 34. Am I where I thought I’d be when I was 24? No. I didn’t think I’d be back in school for the second time for a career path that I was 150% sure I wasn’t cut out for. Is my life perfect? Hell no. Did I think my dad would be dead? Absolutely not.

I blame our culture. We put too much emphasis on being young & linear life paths. You’re sexually desirable if you’re 25. You’re successful if you’ve graduated college at 22 & have a career by 23 unless said career requires higher education. I was raised Catholic & spent 13 years in Catholic school. It was drilled into us that you better get married & start popping out babies before you turned 30. I didn’t get married until I was 30. We aren’t planning on having kids anytime soon (though people are starting to get all up our business about that, but that’s another rant for another time). Life is messy. Life is far from perfect. Life isn’t a straight line. If you’re upset that you haven’t reached some arbitrary benchmark by the time you’re 30, then maybe it’s time to reassess your priorities. Think about what YOU want not what a skincare ad or even your religion tells you. Maybe I’m just a rebel, but I’m not going to let someone or something dictate my life when I’m a grownass woman.

TL;DR – Be grateful you made it this far & don’t let society’s arbitrary benchmarks get in your way.

XOXO!

Current Jam: “Danger” BTS

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Of Friends & Don’t Make Me Cut You

I know I’ve probably touched on this before, but I feel like I need to reiterate it.

If you talk shit about the people I love, I will gleefully cut you in the face.

I’m fine with people talking shit about me. Go ahead. Do it to my face. I’m happy to indulge you. The second you cross the line from me to the ones I love is when you’re asking for trouble. I believe I mentioned this in my update post, but the head of the  Medical Imaging insulted the school I went to for my pre-reqs that he knows my husband works at to my face. We were originally discussing another issue & he said something along the lines of “I’d like to think we’re a more rigorous school than GPC”. I played it off, but I was ready to tear his head off. He didn’t just insult me. He insulted my husband & my friends. Don’t. You. Dare.

One of the many things Daddums taught me was loyalty. I’m probably loyal to a fault. Once I care about someone, I’ll do everything in my power to protect them. Sometimes it’s even protecting them from themselves. God help the first person who tries to bully our kids. Both the kid & their parents will be dead before they hit the ground. Love is a powerful thing. Sometimes, in my case, it can bring out the darkness. Things I’m willing to do or say in the name of shielding others. Does that make me a bad person? I dunno. It does make me someone you want on your side in a fight, though.

The moral of my story, dear readers? Hold close the ones you love. Defend them. Support them. Beware of people like me who might be waiting in the wings to defend & support the ones she loves.

XOXO!

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Of Holes & The People Who Fill Them

This is somewhat of a follow up post to the last one.

I found out tonight that one of my best friends is pregnant. She & her husband have been TTC for a while so this is great news. Like bust out the fake champagne & party poppers news. She showed us the first US shot & it actually looked like a fetus & not a blob. I’m thrilled to be Auntie Em for the 8th time. (My first niece is 6. Excuse me while I go take my Geritol). Which brings me to…

She was one of Daddums “core” adopted daughters. He loved all of my friends, but a few of my friends were the Illuminati of his girls. I’ve said it a million times since he died & I’ll probably tell our kids when they’re old enough to understand – the thing that hurt the most about his death was knowing he’d never see our kids. He won’t get to see one of his other daughters’ kids (we’re all rooting for a girl btw). I came home & sobbed. Like battle tested the waterproof mascara sobbed. (It survived. Better Than Sex Waterproof is the way to go for mascara & deep emotional distress). Somehow that process led me to the loss of Little Emily…

For my new readers, I met Little Emily (she was 5’1″ when she got out of bed. I’m 5’9″.) when I was in AA under the mistaken assumption I was an alcoholic & not self medicating PTSD. She was there because she was a heroin addict doing her court appointed meetings. I’ll never know why they sent her to AA & not NA. She was one of my puzzle pieces. We hit it off instantly. Where there was one, the other one wasn’t far. She had her share of trouble while we were friends including getting tossed in jail for 30 days because she violated her rehab terms. She was self medicating bipolar 1. I never blamed her for the choices she made. I never got angry with her. I loved her. I loved her when no one else in her life did. The last time I talked to her (I’d call her when I was stuck in traffic on my way home from work) she told me very clearly “The next time I use, I’ll die.” It was a statement of fact. She committed suicide (by overdosing) on December 8, 2011. She was 24. Her sister called me at work to tell me what happened. I was, of course, a complete mess so my boss sent me home. As I was driving home, I saw a rainbow. There was no reason a rainbow should’ve been in the sky that day. The kicker? It was over where her house was. I’d like to believe it was her telling me that she was okay & I didn’t need to worry about her.

It took 6 years to find a piece to fill the hole she left. I didn’t realize until tonight the magnitude of the hole that she left. Until I realized who she sent me to fill it. She’s not a perfect fit, but she’s damn close. On paper, they’re not even close to the same. As people, they’re both kind, funny, intelligent, loving people who have big hearts & wicked senses of humor. I’ll always miss Emily. One thing my ex never understood was how I would still cry on her birthday (she’d be 32 this year) or her anniversary after the first one. Of course, he was emotionally stunted & probably never loved anyone in his life. You never get over it. You learn to live with the pain.

I have a Daddums sized hole that will probably never get filled. But who knows? Emily’s spot was filled after 6 years. Maybe several people will share his spot. As Mommums said – “Life is long & weird”.

XOXO!

Current Jam: “The Royal We” Silversun Pickups

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Of Puzzles & Pieces

I have a theory.

Much like my father, I have to tell you this story to tell you that story. However I promise it won’t end up at West Point or Netherworld. 😜

There’s something called “Spoon Theory” as it relates to people with depression & / or anxiety. You have a certain number of spoons on a given day & when you’ve used all those spoons, you’re tapped out. Some actions take more spoons than others. Why spoons? Not a damn clue. I’m also too lazy to google it. Anyway…

I have a theory about friendship that’s largely applicable to making friends as an adult. Puzzle pieces. Our social networks are puzzles. We all have people in our lives who make up our puzzle & we’re all missing pieces. In my case, most of my pieces have been in place for years (minimum 15). However, 2018 gave me 2 pieces I didn’t know I was missing. They’re very different people & fit in very different places, but I frequently forget they’ve only been in my life a short time. It’s almost like my brain has altered my memories to add them into a time where I know I didn’t have them. That’s also why eyewitness testimony is extremely unreliable.

I met a lot of new people last year. I met a lot of good people who I liked a lot. They weren’t part of my puzzle. They belong to someone else. That’s okay. Little Emily, who my long standing readers may recall, was a piece I lost. She left a hole that went unfilled for almost 7 years. (The 7th anniversary of her death was last month if you can believe that). Then I found a piece that fit her spot. A spot I never thought could be filled. Obviously no one can fully replace her, but this is a damn good fit. Another was a piece I didn’t know there was a spot for. I love these 2 like I love the ones I’ve had for 25 years. They’re part of my puzzle for better or worse ’til death do us part.

May you find your puzzle pieces dear readers. Your life only gets better as you complete your puzzle.

XOXO!

Current Jam: “Chances” Backstreet Boys (new album drops tomorrow! SQUEE!!!)

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Of Stepping Out on the Ledge & Not Jumping

Y’all were probably expecting the second half of the BSB Drinking Game, right? Well, I decided for my first post in god knows how long, I’d take this blog back to her roots. Mental health & sharing my struggles with it.

Last August, I started at Emory University’s Medical Imaging program (learn how to take x-rays, MRI, CT, etc.) Over the summer, I had a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right about the situation. It wasn’t just nerves or worrying about being at a fancyass Southern Ivy League school. It was something more. I chalked it up to Imposter Syndrome & started the semester. For scale – I wanted to be a doctor since I was maybe 10 or 11. Those plans got derailed in college. I went back to school in 2016 to go to pharmacy school. That plan failed because I couldn’t pass calculus. I’d already eliminated being a nurse because of my CNA training. So Medical Imaging seemed like a good healthcare option for me. This should have been right for me. This should have been my place in the healthcare bubble.

I was miserable almost from Day 1. I lost weight, I wasn’t sleeping, the classes were mind numbingly boring, I didn’t like the teachers, & didn’t get along with 2 of my classmates out of a class of 15. I stuck it out thinking that once I got to the last 2 weeks of the semester where we’d have full on clinical experience, it would get better.

My mental health has never declined so quickly in 24 hours in my life. EVER. That includes after Daddums died. I had a breakthrough seizure 3 days into the first week & that’s when I knew it was time to pull the plug. I had suicidal thoughts on & off all semester, but kept them to myself. When I told Mark that I had to quit the program, I told him the truth. I told him the only reason I didn’t do something stupid was because I didn’t want him or Mommums or my sisters to spend the rest of their lives asking why. Could they have done something? Could they have said something? Could they have stopped me? I wasn’t going to put that burden on them, so I lived. Until I couldn’t live like that anymore. I walked away & never looked back.

Immediately people told me how much happier I looked. I could wear nail polish again. I dyed my hair purple. I already knew that I couldn’t fit into someone else’s mold for long. Having to wear black scrubs with a long sleeve shirt underneath to cover my tattoos, no nail polish, & brown hair suffocated me. I got yelled at for wearing fun socks for chrissakes. I was suffocating. I was dying. I may have lost 10 lbs, but it was in all the wrong ways. They stole my identity & for what? A foolish idea that tattoos & purple hair mean I’m incapable of doing my job? That’s not who I am & not how I choose to live. I’m not one to spread sunshine & rainbows, but I do believe that happiness is found by embracing who you are. If that is brown hair, no tattoos, & black scrubs don’t let me stop you. Don’t let someone else dictate who you are or what you should be. It’ll kill you. Trust me, I know.

Another hurdle I had to jump recently was for this past weekend. Daddums has been gone 18 months. It’s gotten to the point now where the numbness has worn off & the pain is more acute. I spent pretty much all of Saturday & most of Sunday sedated. I had to. Then on Monday I got up & had the emotional energy to do my makeup. That was crazy. I took it easy on myself & my body rewarded me.

You’ll all be happy to hear I’m in a much better place now. I’m taking a class with a professor I adore just for shits & giggles. I’m working one shift a week at a part time job I love with people I love. I’m applying to a Master’s program in Applied Linguistics. I have an appointment to meet with a new therapist next week after going without one for over 2 years. Life isn’t perfect. I still have bad days. My brain chemistry still gets out of whack. I’m not standing on a ledge deciding if it’s worth jumping or if I’ll just end up seriously injuring myself.

XOXO!

Current jam: “Fire” BTS

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