Walking Towards the Sun

 

Like most people, my life has had a lot of ups and downs. Though the first years of the 2010s decade sucked and my life felt totally upside-down, my heart was broken into a million bits, the end of this decade was much happier. I got married. Bought a house. Have been spending more time talking to my daughters and sister. I have wonderful neighbors and am in a cute town. I have a muggle job I like and I started a authors’ salon as well as a book festival, which has connected me with many wonderful women writers. These things have all been blessings. I’ve had downs in there, too. Some health issues. Depression. Anxiety. But overall, these past couple of years have been good.

I do this thing, this thing were if my life is going well I expect something terrible to happen. Even writing that makes me a little superstitious, like I’m asking for trouble. But I’ve worked on getting past those things. One big helper is writing down all the stuff I worry about and much later looking at it to see how many of the awful things came true. Usually not many.

I’ve always had a hard time letting go. But ya know what? I’ve gotten better at it. This quote (the one in the image) by Mary Engelbreit has always spoken to me. Looking back is very important to helping us grow, learning from our mistakes, and seeing where we don’t want to be. What we don’t want to do is keep looking back at hurts and wrongs and feeding energy into them. Giving them energy makes them more alive and it’s harder to get distance on them. In my Red August series Faolan does a lot of looking back and it makes him stunted in his ability to see anything beyond and therefore hope for anything more.

I don’t want to be stunted. I want to grow and learn. Though my growth is going to look a lot different than it would have at the beginning of previous decades, I’m looking ahead. Walking down paths that have light at the end of them whenever I can find them. I’m not talking about being sunny and positive all the time, I’m talking about letting go of hurt, knowing my worth, and not meditating on the negative.

Let’s start off the next decade walking towards the sun.

 

 

Social Media Scale-back & Awkward Moments

Sometimes I just want to dig a little hole in the sand and wiggle in and cover myself. It’s odd how much the opinions of others can affect me sometimes. And I get (and have) a lot of opinions online. Sometimes, when I kind of admire somebody, or respect them, and something awkward happens, I just want to NOPE out of all interactions with the outside world and curl up into a blanket burrito with my cat.

I’ve been saying I wanted to scale back my social media forever. I have in some ways over the past two years, but it’s still way too present in my life. I’ve had recent arguments online in groups that are supposedly like-minded in goals and lifestyle. I left those groups last week. I’ve read most of my news online. And stay in touch with friends that way.

Today I went to check out the wall of a fellow author and newer FB friend who I’d had some nice interactions with, and it appears as though she blocked me, and I have no idea why. At first I was thinking I would write to a mutual friend and ask if they knew why. But when somebody blocks you, they have their reasons and they don’t owe you an explanation, so I came here to write and think about it and figure out a system to move past these things. I do take it on heavily when stuff like this happens, like I did something bad or wrong and tell myself stories about not being a worthy person. But I have to find ways to get past that QUICKLY, because spinning my wheels about why somebody doesn’t like me has already eaten half of my life. I used to think confronting issues and communicating was the best way to handle things like this. Like, if I could know why she blocked me and discuss it there would surely be a misunderstanding in there and we could clear it up and everybody would feel better. But at this point in my life, maybe it’s better to just let people have their view of me (informed or not), and for ME to find a way to just be ok with whatever it is they think. Clearly communication isn’t an option, but even if it was, is that how I should spend my time?

So, in the end I took it as a really good sign that I should scale way back off of online interactions because that is a place things often go sideways. I should instead put my energy into my blog. My websites. My books. My other job. My family. And real in-person time with friends.

I’ve said these things before. And each year they become truer. Will this be the time I have some success?

My friend suggested I take the Facebook app off of my phone. I’m going to try that to see if it helps.

Have you been scaling back your personal time on social media? What has worked for you?

Do you have a way of dealing with these kinds of hurtful and awkward situations?

What kinds of things do you want to do to make your life a little richer in 2020?

 

The Better Part of Valor

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Sometimes you want to talk about things you can’t really talk about.

Sometimes you just want to wall up your heart from the pain of caring about people, or to let slip away the responsibility of having them care about you.

Sometimes you’re part of a small exclusive club of aching hearts and broken spirits.

Instead, you think about love in its many incarnations. What it requires of you, and what it gives. From a single thread, to a fully woven tapestry, you are the weaver and the collector of textiles.

So you keep it to yourself. You hold it dear. You can learn from it.

And you use discretion, because to do otherwise would cheapen the experience.

 

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If you read my last blog entry, where I was still under 6,000 words into writing book three of my Red August seires, good news, I’m much further into it now. Between then and now I’ve had a few adventures. I’ve been outraged by this horrible administration. I’ve done a fair bit of event planning. But mostly I’ve had some health stuff I’ve been working on and it’s giving me the ups and downs that come with hormonal fluctuations. I get a pang, I come here. I suppose that’s why so many of my blog entries are filled up with the darker side of emotion. It’s an outlet.

There are so many feelings I’m having about getting older. Envy. Losing and finding myself. Holy hell, I could go on for-fucking-ever.

There is a pureness to youth that I miss. But there was also this constant sense that everybody else had some book on how to be a grown-up that I didn’t have. Balance.

I just want to find ways to close up the wounds of my past. I want to be better every day. I want to know that I do more good than harm.

I want to fill this page up with things I am not “supposed” to talk about. Of course these are my own restrictions. There are so many damned things I could say, not just about others, but about myself. What I would do differently, if I could. What hurts I would keep because they helped me grow.

Anyway, it’s late. My heart is kind of hurting, but also beautiful. And loved. I’m lucky for that.

Goodnight.

Forget Me Not

Never let somebody make you forget who you are.

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It’s raining in Maryland. Has been for days. It sets a tone.

I’ve been working on “Red Hunter” which is book three in my Red August series. It’s been flowing, but it’s been emotionally exhausting. When I started out writing fairy tales a few years ago, I was going to write short sexy erotic fairy tales. Instead, I’m mired in examining relationships, the way love works, who you’re “supposed” to have sex with, and why people manipulate others. About manipulation, spoiler:  it’s usually to get something they want, even if they don’t consciously realize they are doing it.

One of the things I’ve noticed about the people in my past who have manipulated me is that they all gaslighted me. It really knocks you off of your center when it happens, and usually you don’t see it coming. You think things are going well. You’re getting all this positive feedback and reciprocal joy, and then one day, BAM, you’re being accused of the very things that person was doing. Oh, and nothing is EVER their fault.

I think aside from the rain and the writing, the show The Handmaid’s Tale is making some of these old scars ache. Seeing all of those women climb over each other, use each other, and all of society controlling their most basic rights, it’s jarring. They’ve done a good and terrifying job of it. Feels a little too close to reality right now.

One thing that I do to help me get past this sense of foolishness for believing a person when they say they like me, or trusting somebody who was not trustworthy, is trying to REMEMBER WHO I AM. How can another person MAKE YOU FORGET WHO YOU ARE? I can’t really answer that. But you see it all the time. And these measures are temporary because there is always the chance that something will trigger all those old traumas and make you live them for a little while. At least, in time, the duration is shorter and the pain less severe.

Probably everybody but sociopaths go through this. Even gaslighters have their reasons for gaslighting. The important thing is to NOT forget yourself. Remember who you are. Also, there is always room for growth in all of these things. Even if that means putting up a wall and being less trusting–that’s still learning!

The other thing I noticed about being on the receiving end of gaslighting, is that people who CARE that they’ve upset, or hurt others will make the gaslighting even more effective on them. You question everything you ever did or said with that person and read and re-read your texts and emails and try and find the blame in yourself, because that’s who you are. YOU GIVE A SHIT. They don’t. They have to remain blameless or it unravels all the good stories they tell themselves about who they are. If you see something that you could have said or done differently, remember that. If you know better, do better. We all make mistakes.

On the one hand, I’m not sure writing this story is always good for me. Mostly, it is. It’s not much different than making soul-searching art. But . . . it’s just supposed to be a version of Red Riding Hood. It’s supposed to be a modern day fairy tale. Fairy tales are fun! Right? It’s grown into much more than that for me. It’s a way to examine societal standards. Love language. Age differences vs. maturity differences. Who we are told is “right” for us, and what the shape of a family should be.

I want to approach these topics with intelligence, maybe a little purple prose (it is a paranormal romance after all), and with a lot of heart where the hurt was.

I’m 5400 words in. Let’s see where this ship takes us, shall we?

 

 

Summer Days When You Loved Me

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While waiting at the fast-food restaurant drive-through there was a young couple in the car behind me and this came to mind:

There were summer days, the car windows down and the smell of that old ’71 Bonneville and its aging flecks of fabric and a thousand layers of Armor All, all dancing around in the wind. A bored Saturday at a fast-food restaurant and then the mall to look at and touch things we wouldn’t be able to afford for another ten years. Back in the car a hair-band ballad swayed us and we would both smile.

You said you loved me then. You took it back later. Much later. But sun-drenched summer days don’t lie and no matter what followed, in those moments you were either a liar, or you loved me.

Sweet Desire

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ELO starts singing “Living Thing” and they get to the part about, “… yoooOOO-OO-OOu, and your sweet desiii-III-iiire …” and it made me think of him. I sent a quick love note:

“yooOOOooOOu and your sweet desiiiiIIIIiiire” always makes me think of you thinking of me

you make me feel like my desire is something beautiful

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I can’t count how many times I have been shamed for my desire. Worse crime–I have a body that society doesn’t deem worthy of desire (from either side of the equation).

I was what my parents called a “willful child” and I tend to eventually question the stones I carry, and sometimes throw them right back. Other times I just carry that shit around without even understanding why. Why does it matter if somebody else thinks my desire is too much of a tsunami of want and emotion? I think it all boils down to that thing I always say: we all want to feel like we matter. Or at least not want to feel like what we’re doing is bad or wrong somehow.

It feels really good to hear a fun little pop song and find meaning in it. Though we shouldn’t let others determine our worth, it sure is validating to remember my desire is worth something to somebody. To know that somebody thinks it’s beautiful and I am worthy of it.