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–aging flecks of fabric and a thousand layers of Armor 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 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

******

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.

 

 

She Wanders a Little

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I told my therapist about my inward energy. “I’m in a downward cycle,” I said. “That’s what I call it.” She already knew. I’m normally big and outwards. I was more pensive, and my responses measured.

“Not like when I was younger. Not downward like that.” Or something like that. And what I mean is, I don’t rock in a dark bathroom hurting myself anymore, like I did when I was in my twenties and didn’t understand what all of these …. feelings? … were. Continue reading

Love is Complicated

I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to Beyonce and Jay-Z for opening up their personal marital struggles to the world. So often we look at celebrities and we only see the money and the beauty without the struggles the rest of us seem to face. They are breaking down those barriers by talking about stuff that is, well frankly, freaking embarrassing as hell. Being cheated on. Breaking vows. Giving in to baser desires and hurting your loved ones. This is deep stuff we are all looking at here with the release of Jay-Z’s 4:44. Continue reading

Quiet a Spectacle

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I will hold you, quietly. I can be still long enough to listen to your pain. I’m not good at being still. You know this. You know. I think that’s why my embracing still moments mean so much to you … because you know.

I had an epiphany about myself yesterday. A realization. And it was such a simple answer, I was certain I must have realized it some time in the past. I thought about the times I’d been embraced by somebody, only for them to get close long enough to see my utter humaneness, and then walk away. I thought this meant I was bad at love. Now I realize it’s more about the ideal of me not matching up with the reality of me. And you never did that to me. You always understood. It’s amazing to be truly seen that way.

The essence of it all? You understand why the things that matter to me–matter to me. You also understand that I am an embodiment of celebration. Even my quietness can be a spectacle. I think that comes off like obsession, or possessiveness, to some people. And in all truth, I was possessive in my first marriage. I was jealous in that life I once led. I was a teenager when we met. And that was a difficult twenty years. I grew in that time, particularly starting around my early thirties. I know the difference between excitement and jealousy, between celebration and possession. I know it for myself, even if others don’t. And you know, maybe that’s why I can appreciate the abundant trust I am now the recipient of, because I know how rare it is.

I’m trying to get over that fear of being misunderstood. You really help with that, did you know? Because even though I’ve read that Anaïs Nin quote a million times, it really sunk in yesterday. It isn’t that my love is wrong, it’s that my love is viewed through the filter of others. It’s about the way they experience my love that makes it work, or not work. Its about their past relationships and what they learned.

Maybe at some point I can stop writing and vlogging about being afraid to be misunderstood, and that will be the measure of when I am cured of that concern.

 

Red Archer Available on E-book

We’re waiting on the second set of proofs for the paperback, so that still is not available. The e-book, however, totally is! And it’s on Amazon right now!

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