In Defense of a Memoir

If you’ve meandered over to this page in search of articles about safe sex or about non-latex condoms (which is still my most popular post to-date) over the last few days, and found that the site has been inactive, I apologize. 

I almost never censor myself but in this case, felt that things needed a quick fall cleansing.  That has now been completed. 

Just a few reminders before I return you all to our regularly scheduled programming (and for some of you this is going to be very boring… sorry) –

This blog (if you didn’t already know) is about MY experiences, MY impressions, and MY analyses of the people and events that have come into my life.  It is, also, designed to be a continuation of the books I am diligently writing (sometimes – when I’m not busy living the life I’m documenting), as the content in the books predates the content in the blogs (but marries up eventually when the timelines meet). 

Project TMI is, in essence, a memoir – albeit one that is written, often, in (near) real time as opposed to one that is composed years later when the author is on her last legs and all the supporting characters have gotten dementia or died.

For those of you who are confused about what constitutes a memoir, per Dictionary.com, a memoir is:

“…a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation. Usually memories. An account of one’s personal life and experiences; autobiography.”

Memoirs do not need (and generally don’t contain) historical sources – that would transform them into something else entirely.  (Though, as a trained historian, if I need to cite a source, I can assure you I’ll cite it correctly.) 

Memoirs also do not require input from any individual OTHER than the author of the memoir to create the narrative.  As the definition suggests, the narrative portion of this blog is based on “personal observation.”  Should others choose to add their input, suggestions, feedback, remarks, complaints, defenses, etc., it is up the author, to publish it (or not), as he/she sees fit.  This isn’t a stage for a debate. 

Most authors of this type of content do not include real names or places (unless the places are so large – like a big city – that maintaining a degree of anonymity is not difficult to do).  Hence why I use nicknames for my characters.  Some of them are silly and may be based on hobbies, or generation numbers, or funny words that are relevant to that person, but they are always vague enough that they’d be difficult to identify or to track down by anyone who doesn’t know me personally. 

And even if you know me personally, you know that I almost never use full names.  Even in conversation.  This is both to help me keep track of the character’s moniker, but also to preserve the privacy of the real person behind the moniker.  That’s not to say that I don’t have close (VERY close) friends who know exactly who’s who, but they are few and far between.  True identities die with me (unless you choose to out yourself… then that’s on you).  

Fortunately, the setting for these narratives has been almost exclusively located throughout one or two very large metro areas, making it possible for me to keep some realism in here among the fiction.  So if you went to Tampa, for example, and looked for… I dunno… the Westshore district, or a parking lot in front of a certain Dillards… or The Pub… they’re real places.  You probably won’t find the people at that location anymore (most likely, unless you just got really, really infinitely lucky – and if you ARE that lucky, you’d be better served playing the lottery than trying to find us), but that’s kind of the point.

So while you are reading through my memoirs, perusing my memories, laughing at my antics… know that these are recollections as I remember them.  I fully acknowledge that there are always three sides to every story – mine, theirs, and the truth.  And every writer (even researchers with their quotes and historical evidence) has his or her agenda.  That’s what gives it a purpose… a “why.” 

What’s mine?  Why am I doing this?  The “why” is the same today as what it was when I started this thing eight years ago – to leave something behind so that I can go back later and read through it all.  To remember what my thirties were like.  The good and the bad.  And to that end, when I write these, I try to be as close to that truth as possible though, of course, details are often left out in order to be concise.    And, again, they are my memories.  The way I experienced them.  How I felt.  What I was going through.  It is impossible for me to write it from anyone else’s perspective.  Hence the term “memoir.” And if you’re reading this, well, you’ve chosen to come along for the ride.

And so now that we have it; I’ll return us back to our regular programming – writing whatever the fuck I feel like, when I feel like it. 

Birthday Musings

Yesterday was my birthday.

I usually try to make resolutions on that day… it’s like my own personal New Year and it makes more sense (and makes it more personal) for me to do it now than when everyone else is doing it at the beginning of the year. It’s easy to break those anyway. I guess, really, it’s easy to break them no matter when you make the resolution if you don’t stick to it, but I digress…

This year has been so weird that I can’t even remember what my resolutions were last year. I vaguely remember thinking I needed to get the Ormsby situation under control. I’d just started the new job (the job I’m still in) so getting out of my old job wouldn’t have been on the table. I’m sure I had them, but COVID (and everything else) threw shit so off-center that I don’t know that any of them could have come to fruition anyway.

I mean if you’d told me on my birthday last year that a global pandemic was going to force us all to stay the fuck away from each other and wear masks on our faces, that I’d be single again, that I wouldn’t have gotten the promotion I’ve been promised due to COVID, that I wouldn’t see my family for a year and a half (at least) due to said pandemic, and that I’d have straightened things out with The Professor (and furthermore that I’d taken a trip to Kansas in the middle of a pandemic to SEE said Professor and started all that up again to some degree), and that I’d have become a really talented sniper on Fortnite, I’d have laughed at you.

I know I wouldn’t have believed you. 99% of that sounds absurd, even though I know it’s all true.

Which is why I don’t even know that I CAN make a resolution this year. I mean granted, life is a lot more stable for me right now than it has been during the last 6, which is nice. But I still don’t feel that it’s predictable enough for me to be able to reliably say, “Oh… yes… I think I would like to accomplish THIS and here’s how I’m going to do that,” when I don’t even know when I’ll be able to do something as simple as visit my family again. I mean yeah, I can say I’m going to keep working on my leg (which is pretty much good to go now)… or I can say I’m going to keep writing my novel (which, again, is in progress). But the big stuff? It’s impossible to say.

So I guess, if there’s any resolution at all, it’s to keep doing whatever it is I’ve been doing in the last 3-4 months to get my shit straight. To stop jumping ten chapters ahead in my mind when I am, really, only on chapter two or three and the other chapters haven’t actually been written yet, and take it as it comes. I am nothing if not resilient and, if the last year has taught me anything, anyway, it’s that shit happens and sometimes there’s nothing that I can do to control it. Or even prepare for it.

So… bring it… I guess.

(I have lost track of how many times I’ve started the year with that phrase.)

COVID Flying

I got on a plane last week to fly to Kansas (you can read about that in a prior post).  I was really nervous about it and wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing (safety-wise).  I’ve basically been barricaded in my apartment for the most part since the virus outbreak (aside from a weekend at Disney – which is cleaner than the grocery store), seeing only a handful of people.  It’s been like this since my office shut down back in early Spring and I started working from home.

Certainly, I’ve avoided small confined spaces with strangers like the plague (get it?) since this started, so getting onto this flying tube with a bunch of other random people did make me nervous.  But… I wanted to go.  I needed to see what would happen when I got there. I needed to know what it would FEEL like – this… thing… we’ve been flirting around with, off and on, for the last eighteen years. And when I get it in my head that I want to do something, I do it.  This does not always work out in my favor, granted.  But when I think something is important, I make it a priority – often putting myself at risk.

And anyway, in the middle of a pandemic when literally anything could happen, in a time that found us both unattached for, really, the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like I had the time to waste… or to push it off.  Or at least there wasn’t the certainty that the opportunity would still be there when things became right again.

Still, because I am a planner, a prepper, whatever the hell you want to call it, he and I did take precautions.

I flew on Southwest, because (at least through November 30), they are leaving the middle seats open.  That doesn’t help a ton – because there’s certainly not six feet of distance between the two seats, but it helps some.  And it lowers the volume of people who are on each flight. 

At the time I chose direct flights – I thought if I were going to be exposed to people, it would be better to be exposed to the same group of people for that extended period  of time instead of meandering through random airports on a layover while I waited for another flight.  I am still not sure which is safer – it probably depends on where the layover is, how long it is, etc.  They say that prolonged exposure is more dangerous than short exposure, but they also say that walking through aerosols and touching surfaces isn’t great either – and I’m much more likely to come into contact with both of those things if I’m wandering around several airports than if I’m sitting, facing forward, on a plane.   And anyway, layovers are frustrating at the best of times.

I then decided to get an upgrade on masks.  After doing some research, I went with some masks from Masqd (www.masqd.com) because the reviews talked about how comfortable they are, how well they fit your face, and because many of them accommodate removeable filters.  I don’t know how well the filters work in comparison to masks without filters, but I wanted to make sure I had that option available if I went with it.  So I ordered three of their masks, and a box of their filters.  I’m happy to report that they really ARE as comfortable as they claim, that they really do fit my face (and I have a narrow face), and I could easily breathe through the filter – even if it did certainly increase the weight of the mask slightly.

I found a container of sanitizer wipes and also brought a bottle of hand sanitizer with me on the plane (TSA lets you carry those through now).  The plan was to wipe down everything before I touched it with my bare hands (like the seatbelt). 

The Professor and I talked about whether I should change and/or shower before I let him touch me after getting off the plane but ultimately we decided it wouldn’t be necessary so I didn’t pack a spare change of clothes in my pack (everything was in my checked bag). 

Finally I was ready.  I am happy to report that it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  The airport was empty, for the most part, and there were hand sanitizing stations everywhere.  Seats were blocked off to encourage distancing – and most people did stay the hell away from each other.  One lady decided to sit next to me while I was waiting for my plane, took her mask off, and started speaking loudly… so I just got up and walked to another location (of which there were plenty, since it was so dead in there).

Southwest’s boarding procedures are better, too, as people don’t line up like they used to and they board in groups of ten.  I am sure it helped that I paid for an A-spot upgrade.  I got my pick of seats (a window seat to ensure that I was at least away from people on one side) and didn’t have to pass through crowds of people as I walked to it. 

During the flight, Southwest still does snacks and gives out small cups of water to those that want them during the flight.  I abstained because I didn’t want to remove my mask for any reason.  A lot of people did (and I really felt, during that entire flight, that that was probably the most dangerous time) and afterward put their masks back on – mostly… a few people had to be reminded but no one got bent out of shape about it.  Really, those was two of the more subdued flights I’ve ever been on – and that’s a good thing! 

Like the boarding process, the deboarding process was also very organized.  No one was shoving anyone, everyone let each aisle leave before they started to push forward.  Southwest didn’t really orchestrate that like they did the boarding process, but at least on that flight it wasn’t needed.

All in all, under similar circumstances, I’d fly again if I had to.  I mean I don’t do it every day, I don’t have to travel for work, but I felt pretty safe with the safety measures in place and was confident enough, when I landed, to feel that I was at least at the point of decontamination so that I didn’t have to wear a hazmat suit to say hello properly after I got my feet on the ground. 

Like I said in an earlier post – I don’t know if (though I think it’s likely) or when I’ll go back up there.  I don’t know if (though again, it’s “most likely” – per him) or when he will come here.  I hope that either (or both) happen soon.  But whenever they happen, or if they do, if the pandemic is still in full force (and I mean come on… with all of it exploding again, how could it not be), as long as there’s an airline that has at least some of their protective measures still in place, I won’t feel so iffy about the travel part of it.   

Travel

Last weekend I went to Kansas. I know, it’s not really a “vacation hub” by any stretch of the imagination… but I was invited by (and the trip was funded by) a friend that I hadn’t seen in eighteen years (The Professor to you). I was nervous about flying (it’s really not that bad, but definitely something you still want to be careful with), and nervous that things would be awkward after so many years, but I figured I didn’t have anything to lose, so I went.

Anyway, when I landed, The Professor was waiting for me. And it’s not like the TPA airport, where you have a good 5-10 minutes from the time you land to figure out how you want to greet the person that’s meeting you, as you make your way through the terminal. In Kansas, you have literally seconds… because their terminals and their doors are all right there together still. So I got off the plane, walked through a door, and there he was. I gave an awkward wave, then walked toward him, and we engulfed each other in a hug and then… well… it was like no time had passed at all. Suddenly I was 19 again; we were in each other’s arms, and it was 2002 instead of 2020, and the airport and all the people in it melted away and just didn’t matter. Time, for a few minutes anyway, just… stopped… reversed… stopped again. I don’t know if I can really explain how rare of a feeling that is, and if you’ve never experienced it yourself, it would be hard to bring you to that point of understanding it or feeling it… hovering between two eras, knowing you’re in your own time but your brain is sure that you’re in the past too… just.. suffice it to say, it was one of the most surreal moments of my life. And we remained basically inseparable for the next four days.

I am not going to write down a play-by-play here. It would take too long and you don’t want to read all that anyway. But I will say that I have never, ever, in my entire 37 years, been as spoiled or as well treated as I was that weekend. No one has ever gone out of their way for me the way that he did. I didn’t want to leave.

Not wanting a repeat of the Buttface era, though, I made sure to clarify some things before I left – because in that era, neither of us ever told the other what we wanted, and things went to shit because we were operating on different frequencies. Time was wasted, people got hurt, and there’s just no reason for that now – not that there was then either… but certainly not now. And especially not in COVID times.

Anyway, to summarize, it was decided:

Though nothing is “official” we will see each other again as we can. No one is making any hasty plans to relocate or anything. That would be extreme. And too fast. As he said, “Whatever happens, happens.”

Neither of us are seeing anyone else at the moment. Neither of us are crazy about the other person looking for/seeing someone else either, because we don’t like to share. If that changes, then we’ll communicate it.

I am putting all lingerie shoots on hold – I don’t need the money, he’s not really comfortable with it, and I am adamant that I’m not going to do anything to hurt him or to make him not trust me.

He asked me what I wanted… I said I did not know. But upon consideration, I told him I wanted to rent, as it were, with a later option to purchase if I liked the rental enough. He laughed at that (I can get businesslike sometimes when I’m negotiating this stuff), and agreed. I also told him that while last weekend had been heaven (and it really was heaven… absolutely magical), I need to see what “normal” looks like – to which he also concurred.

Ultimately? I don’t know how this will turn out. I want to see him again, I think he wants to see me again (at any rate, he says he does), but I have been burned like this so, so many times that I’m keeping the walls up. And it’s still so soon after the Ormsby debacle that I have to take it slow. The distance… well… the distance kind of forces us to anyway. Still, this is different… in some ways… than all those other times. It’s been eighteen years. We’ve moved on, danced with other people, been married… divorced… (to other people, obviously) and we still keep coming back here. Albeit this is the first time we’ve danced in person since 2002… but the point remains – after all this time, we’re not going to just disappear from each other’s lives. And “forgetting” each other isn’t likely either. Not for lack of trying, mind you.

So yeah… I don’t know what’s going to happen. I mean is it ever really possible to predict these things? After all, a month ago, I wouldn’t have predicted that I’d be “here.” But I’m watching and waiting… for now. Not hanging my hat on it at all, because I have done this tango often enough to know that it is more likely that I will twist my ankle than come away uninjured. But still hoping that he’s being real with me and that we really WILL see each other again, because now that that seal has been broken, I really don’t want to put a lid back on it.

P.S. – COVID-wise, the airport (at least these two) is very clean… people are distanced. Southwest does the best they can to keep everyone safe. I’d be ok with flying again (obviously). I do have a bit of a sore throat today, but that just as easily could be (and probably is) due to the temperature and weather change as much as it could be the virus.

A Decade in Review

In early 2010 I made the decision that I was tired of/done with living in Louisville (and also sick of the cold weather) and was ready for a change.  At first I thought the smartest option for me was to move to Ohio to be closer to my friends and to the guy I was madly in love with (who didn’t feel the same – but who also didn’t have the decency to tell me that). 

It wasn’t until after a trip to Tampa for Spring Break in 2010 (and the realization that things in Ohio probably weren’t going to go as smoothly as I thought) that I began seriously looking southward as an option for relocation.  The only city where I knew anyone at all was Tampa (even if the only person I knew was my ex-husband who I, conveniently, get along with very well) and, since I am not independently wealthy and because it was in the middle of a recession when finding work was next to near impossible unless you lived in the location, Tampa was where I set my sights.

So I started saving every spare penny in Louisville – I didn’t do much except work and save (and play World of Warcraft), started researching what I could DO there (I decided I’d try to get a teaching certificate), and figuring out how much money I’d need.  By September, I was ready.  I put in two weeks notice at the job I was working at in Kentucky, weathered the storm of dissenters – one, in particular, who asked, “Well… what happens if you don’t like it there but you get stuck?”  (My reply: “I can think of worse places to be stuck.”)  And on October 6, I boarded THE plane that would change my life.

Oh, I won’t lie and say I didn’t have second thoughts when I was sitting in the Birmingham airport on a layover – especially when I ran into a client from the place I’d just stopped working for back in Kentucky.  It was as if Louisville was making one, last, desperate attempt to keep me there. 

But I kept going, I boarded the second plane, and when I finally flew over Tampa at night, saw the city scape and the bridge lights that were accented by the twinkling dots of boats in the water, I got excited.  I’d sat near the front so I could be one of the first people off the plane (which worked), walked to the little train things that take you from the concourse to the common areas of the airport, and called my parents to tell them I’d made it (and to wish my dad a happy birthday – admittedly, leaving Kentucky on his birthday was probably not the best thing I could’ve done). 

I hit the ground running… found a job in a month, then another job a couple of weeks later that was a better fit for me than the job I’d found (and it had benefits too – the first one didn’t).   That was a huge deal, see, because in Louisville – in the interim between my last semester of grad school and the job I’d gotten, it had taken eight months to find anything.  To even get one job offer.  In Florida I found two in a very short period of time. 

Anyway, I started that job on December 1… as a receptionist for a small software company.  I figured it’d be a good holdover until I could take the test for the certification and then get a classroom.  Florida had other plans.  Within a week of working there, their Technical Trainer quit and I was offered her job at a higher pay than what I was getting as the receptionist.  I took it, again figuring it would only be temporary, but discovered that it was something I enjoyed and was good at.  I am not (or at least wasn’t then) very adept at software and computers – but it turned out that my layman knowledge served me well when I started to train other people.  I didn’t use technical terms, I could talk to them as one novice to another.  It worked… and I was very successful.

My coworkers, too, became close friends – and drinking buddies, since we were allowed to drink in the office.  The owners gave us wine and beer, and introduced us to Cake vodka (Three Olives, please, not the rip off other stuff).  We started a WoW guild, spent afternoons and evenings (and weekends) shooting the shit, and I’d never been happier (and sometimes drunker) in my life.  In 2012, a little piece of software that our developers coded got picked up by a much larger company and 11 of us were transferred with that software to the company.  I got the biggest bonus of my life, severance pay, and a 40% salary boost.  And I still got to work with my best friends – who were now, at this point, more like family.

I built a big network for modeling – and did a ton of it here.  My best work came from photographers I found (or who found me) in Tampa.  Work I helped produce here has been award winning, and one of the photos has even been internationally published. 

Dating-wise?  Well… it was entertaining.  Most of that is documented here.  I won’t reiterate it all… you can read it if you’re so inclined.  But let’s just say I never found “Prince Charming” – or if I did he was more of a “Prince Charming/Florida Man” combination, which I guess is expected – I got a lot of stories out of it anyway.

When I left Florida (for a very short time) in 2014, I can only claim that I was out of my mind.  I thought that what I’d built here could be rebuilt somewhere else.  I’m not going to talk about what did (and didn’t) happen there, except to say that no matter how much I tried to uproot it, my heart stayed in Florida.  My success did, too, because I did not find anything anywhere close to as awesome as what I had built in Tampa.  Within two years, I had to come home.  (And this is why I don’t really count the time that I spent in Louisville again as separate from the ten years I’m claiming in this post – home is where your heart is, and my heart was never there.)

So I came back, hoping to get it all back.  To see if the magic could work a second time.  It did.  I didn’t exactly get to go “home” again, but I found a job I liked and got several promotions and raises, got the lead in a play (a two-person play, no less, that dealt with some very complicated subjects) and my photo was in the Tampa Bay Times.  

And when the job I got that brought me home went to shit, I found something even better with the same sense of community I had at the place I worked when I first got here in 2010…  and I’m doing Tech Training again (and a lot of writing – I can actually say I write professionally now). It’s my niche. It combines writing with performance, it’s something I like, and I am really, REALLY good at it. 

And so now, here I sit.  “Stuck” in Florida, thanks to the pandemic (and I still stand by my original statement that there are worse places to be stuck), in an apartment that sits above (I like to say on top of) a tree – so I finally have accomplished my dream of having a treehouse.  Working my pretty sweet job with a promotion on the cusp (whenever HR gets their shit together – also delayed due to the pandemic).  Sitting in my home office, surrounded by my ever-expanding Star Wars toy collection.  Modeling on weekends when I want to, but because I am no longer broke, accepting only the jobs I want (rather than the jobs I have to take).  A master of improvisation, working on novels, ever-honing my writing (and gaming) abilities.  Just generally enjoying life (even though most of life, at least what life looked like back in December and before, doesn’t look the same anymore). 

It’s been a good decade.  Moving here was a risk, but one that has paid off in very high dividends, and I have no regrets (except maybe that I ever left it to begin with – temporarily or not).  I’m happy here.  I’m satisfied with my decision.  And while I may leave sometimes to go visit other people and places, I feel more at home here than I have ever felt anywhere else.

Circa 1978. Best find I’ve gotten at a toy show so far – their joints are still tight and uncracked, and R2 still has his Death Star plans.

The Now is Better

I keep telling myself that I need to post – and I want to post – but the thoughts that are in my head are nowhere near enough to provide me with any kind of clear narrative (and, hence, make it impossible to write about them). 

It probably also does not help that I’ve been surrounded by noise lately.  Neighbors downstairs that made it sound like their apartment was a war zone (they’ve since been evicted)… people screaming at the pool (which I can conveniently (inconveniently?) hear through my door), lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and then during most of this week and part of last, the landscaping service that is trimming trees during the day – making it impossible to do work, let alone anything creative and extracurricular.  Or, really, anything that requires any kind of thinking.

Good thing I can do the webinar delivery part of my job on autopilot. 

So, things are still pretty much the same.  Playing a lot of Fortnite with my friend.  I’m getting better at it. 

Shoots are scheduled, and I’m returning back to the world that makes me “tick” – ever grateful that if this all had to end (and it becomes clearer to me by the day that this really was for the best), at least it ended while I was still young enough to pick it back up again… if not where I left off, at least with enough time that I can keep doing it at least for a while longer. 

I finally got my car fixed – earlier this year a bunch of the dash lights started coming on… the computer had gone haywire and the ABS was no longer working.  It was a pretty expensive fix, and some people might argue that, since it drove and was basically fine, I shouldn’t spend the money on it.  But I love this car.  I have wanted this car for a really long time.  There’s no way I’m getting rid of her… ever… if it ever came down to it, and the engine died, I’d find another engine before I got another car.  So not getting her fixed was not an option.  I had to wait until I could save the money to do it – but my bonus from work came through, and the first stimulus covered some of it too, including what I had in savings already.  Not wanting me to spend all I had, my parents chipped in about half (probably also because my father also really loves my car), and that helped.  Anyway she’s all fixed now… good as new… and we zip around together when I need to run errands.

I guess the biggest news is that plane tickets have been purchased and I’m going on a trip to an undisclosed (because I’m not disclosing it, not because I don’t know where it is) location in two weeks.  I’m a little apprehensive about the flight, I won’t lie, but I’ve done all I can to take all the precautions that I can to keep myself safe – including investing in more expensive masks that contain replaceable filters (NOT the kind reserved for healthcare workers).  I am also slightly apprehensive about getting to the place to visit my friend… it has been a really long time since we last saw each other, though we’ve kept in touch periodically (and pretty consistently since the end of August).  I am sure that it will all be okay, and it’ll probably be like no time has passed at all, but you know how it is… you don’t really know what to expect.

Sometimes I sit here and, for a minute, I miss what was… I guess my brain starts doing that thing where it tries to convince me that what I had is better than what’s happening now.  Thing is, I think my brain also knows better – because if I really look at it, objectively, it wasn’t.  It wasn’t simple… it wasn’t easy… sure I didn’t have to worry about who I was going to do stuff with, but I had to worry about how I was going to pay for all the stuff that was being done.  And I had to worry about being the sole earner, the bill payer (I guess I’m still that – but it’s just my bills), the caregiver and support system, the optimist, etc., etc., etc.  And it was stressful.  I won’t say it was always bad – there were some good times sprinkled in there in some places – but if I’m being really honest, the good times were always followed by longer, unhappier situations that became progressively more extreme and serious.  And it always led to more debt that I will, whether I want to or not, have to pay off.  You can’t call American Express and tell them you shouldn’t have to pay this off because you spent six years supporting someone that you shouldn’t and it didn’t end the way you thought it would. 

And as much as I know that he wants to walk it all back… to put things back to the way they were, the truth is, the way they were was not good for me.  Not when I look at it in hindsight. I was in too deep to recognize that at the time, and I guess when I DID recognize it, I told it to shut up because I wasn’t really thinking of my own wellbeing.  But now that I’ve gotten some distance from it, and I am thinking only OF me, I can see it more clearly… which is, of course, what sometimes happens when you change the perspective.

For someone who didn’t know what to write, I guess I figured it out.  All the same, I’ll leave this here… I have to go get treats for the cats in a few minutes anyway.  It’s a nail trim night.

Que Sera, Sera

I’m still “redesigning” my life – a process I don’t think ever really ends, but that often gets kicked into hyperdrive after a huge, life-shifting change.  I don’t know that I was this intentional about it after other, prior, significant relationships ended in my life. I certainly was not this conscious of it and saw it more as a liability than an opportunity, so I can’t say that any changes that I made were because I created blueprints and followed them to the letter. 

I think the fact that I didn’t do that, that I wasn’t intentional – or maybe that I didn’t know how to be – is (potentially) one of the reasons that things went to shit to the magnitude that they did this time.  I got tired of waiting.  I became impatient.  And I started forcing things to move without thinking of the repercussions. 

Now, granted, I could not possibly have predicted the level to which things went to shit.  And none of the ways in which it went to shit were my fault… the only thing that I can say to explain it all is that I saw the machine, I thought I knew the machine.  I thought I could control the machine because all the times the machine has gone haywire before, I’d been able to fix it (or at least stop it from getting out of control).  A part of me probably knew that I’d get caught in the machine eventually – which is what happened this time – but I couldn’t rationally believe what I irrationally knew. 

Now that there’s been some distance placed between what happened and now, I can see it more clearly (though I suspect it will take years to really see it all the way through) – and I have to ask myself, “Why did I think I could play with the machine at all?  Did I really think I was so skilled, so qualified, that I would not lose a (figurative) limb?”  It’s like playing “chicken” on a two-land highway.  Eventually you’ll get hit by a semi.  I know.  I lost a friend that way once.  You’d think I would have thought about that before I went balls deep into it, but I didn’t.  Or maybe I did and I thought, “Yeah, this won’t happen to me.” 

Folks, I’m here to tell you – it CAN happen to you. 

A friend told me last weekend that sometimes the universe kicks us in the ass a little but saves us from the worst of the consequences, as if it’s saying, “See?  This is what could happen if you don’t fix your shit right now” and to warn us that if we don’t fix our shit right now, we won’t be spared the second time.  I don’t know how I feel about that – but I’m in a place where I am willing to heed that warning.

Anyway, back to my point, knowing what I did – the very blasé way that I ran into one burning building, then another, then another, then another until I decided I was just going to stay in one – means that I really need to take a good look at what makes me want to run into the burning buildings to start with.  It means that whatever the landscape looks like, however much I might want to move “on” to the next phase, sometimes (most times?) it is not really within my ability to control.  I mean I can try – but when I try really hard, I end up running into burning buildings and coming out with third-degree burns. 

So I’m just not… Que sera, sera, no?

Oh sure, there’s plenty that I can control – my career, for example, which (thankfully) was not affected by the drama that started this whole thing (though it absolutely and very easily could have been).  I’ve been shooting a LOT again (and I’m including some of the new stuff at the end of this blog – you can follow me on Instagram @spacegoddessenterprises if you’ve a mind – shameless plug).  Writing a ton.  Playing a lot of video games (I can’t always control those, but it’s nice to know that when there’s a Radroach in your way, it’s within your power to reduce it to a liquified ball of goo). 

But the big stuff?  Stuff that involves more than one person?  Nope.  I’m just going to sit around and watch the world spin for a while. 

One Week

One week out (I promise I am not going to keep writing this week by week, making The End of All Things the catalyst for yet another countdown).

I wish I could say I was feeling better – I guess in some ways I am. There are moments when I feel almost like myself again, and then there are other moments that I still feel completely bereft. This is the grieving process maybe? I don’t know. It’s been a long time since I grieved the end of a relationship quite this much.

At any rate, let me back up. After I received the email I decided to write one of my own – first to tell my side of the story (since he clearly wasn’t going to listen to it), and then, really, just to say goodbye. I didn’t expect him to respond… but he did. And so we emailed for a couple of days. I finally asked if we could talk on the phone and we did… for 3.5 hours. And I saw him this past weekend. He has apologized and said it was all a big mistake, and I believe him. I believe that he feels that way. And there is a part of me that wants to run right back and do this again. But I can’t.

Because there’s a larger part of me that knows that if I did, nothing would change. And, whether I want to admit it or not, things NEED to change. And I need to know that I’m not going to get hurt like this anymore. So I told him that I couldn’t even consider it right now. That I would wait and see. That’s what I’m doing.

In the meantime, I’m doing some self-care. I really sat down and thought about all the things I was doing back in 2014 for me and I picked some of them back up again (like my tarot). I apologized to someone that I had hurt very, very badly back in 2014 … for no reason except that I was too anxious… and I made amends. We are friends again and he’s taught me to play Fortnite (I suck, but not as bad as I thought… and I’m getting better). I may visit him whenever it is safe to travel… which should be fun, since we’ve not seen each other in person in 20 years. Oh and I have a boudoir shoot set up for October – if there’s no one to look out for except me, now, I may as well go back to doing what makes me happy.

I have not put up any new profiles on dating sites though my Facebook page is blowing up with friend requests from people I don’t know and I am trying very hard (in some cases) to stop myself from being the troll I know I can be. I am not seeking anything right now except to surround myself with my friends – something I’m making myself do this time that I didn’t do before is letting myself completely heal before I jump back into something again. I know it won’t make for amusing reading – since half of this blog is about drama that’s been caused by jumping into things too quickly – but it’s really what’s best now. I don’t want to hurt myself any more than I want to hurt someone else.

I am still sad. I expect I will be for a while. But instead of pushing it away, I’m embracing it this time and am making it a part of this reinvention process instead of something I don’t want any part of.

And you know what? I realized today that, back in 2012 – which was the last “real” breakup I had from a relationship that was normal – there was this sense of “magic” that started to swirl around me after I’d made my peace with it, rearranging themselves to spell out a new ending. They’re doing that again. I can feel it sometimes… like I’m on the cusp of something big and new. But this time, instead of trying to force them to land where I want them to, I’m just going to let them spin… let them land where they will, when they will… and in the meantime I’ll enjoy watching them turn.

The End of All Things

I can’t believe I’m writing this. But it’s over.

He dumped me, actually. Over email. I don’t really want to relate the circumstances – both because it’s a really long story, but also because, even for a chick that lives by the rule of TMI, it’s too much.

I am completely lost right now. It’s been six years since we started dating. And while things haven’t been great all the time (obviously), they weren’t terrible either, and I truly don’t know, right now, whether I’m coming or going. You truly can kill a relationship, but you can’t kill love and, whatever has happened, that hasn’t stopped.

I have been pretty deeply depressed for five days now. I’ve lost over five pounds. I don’t sleep much (which isn’t abnormal, but the kind of not sleeping I’m doing right now is pretty abnormal). I can’t really focus on anything (and haven’t been gaming at all which, again, is not like me).

And I guess, despite my “divorced” status, I can’t get through my thick, confused little brain how you go from being ready to take vows of “for better or for worse” one minute to an emailed breakup letter the next day. I mean I know the cause, and it was a BIG cause, and yet I still feel like the argument here was that we were stronger together than we are apart. But I guess he doesn’t feel that way.

Now I have to figure out how to move forward… someday… somehow… during a pandemic, when moving forward doesn’t (and can’t) look the way that it used to. Guess I need to go back to my old entries in here and see how I did it the other times… then try to figure out how to modify those methods to make them plague-friendly.

Lovely.

COVID-19 Chronicles – Kinda Stuck Here

It’s been a year since I went back to Kentucky to visit my family.  A whole year since I last saw my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, my nieces… a year since Sadie sat in a grocery cart while I pushed her recklessly around the store, making race car noises as she giggled madly.  A year since I played tag with a crawling Lydia and watched her pull herself up for the first time.

Sadie is almost too big to fit into the shopping cart now.  She’s writing her own name, and spelling words, and is more like me than I could have ever imagined one of my sister’s kids ever becoming.  And Lydia has been running, now, for ages.  She talks.  She said my name today (well, most of it… it’s four syllables long, and is a big word for a one year old) for the first time ever.

And I’m missing it.  All of it.  FaceTime, I’m starting to realize, is not a replacement for being there.  Not when they’re this little.

Part of this is my fault.  I should have made a point to travel up over Christmas… but I was busy moving (and moving is expensive) and didn’t think I’d have the energy to do both.  That was probably true, but if I’d known a goddamn pandemic was on its way, I probably would have tried to find some energy.  Or moved something around.  Or something.

When I first planned to move here, ten years ago, my old supervisor back in Louisville asked if I was worried I’d get “stuck” here.  I looked at her, smiled, and said, “I can think of worse places to be stuck.”  This is not an untrue statement, but I couldn’t fathom then (and I can’t fathom now, even if I’m living in it) a situation in which I’d be so stuck that there’d be nowhere to go to escape.

Now?  Now I don’t know when I can go back.  I’m thankful that Kentucky’s cases are dropping… that takes a load off my mind, as I sit here in this reckless-ass state where the cases are rising and the hospitals are (apparently) getting close to maxing out their resources.  At least my family is safer than I am.  That’s what matters.

It’s not that I flew home that often, see.  It’s not that I made plans to fly back all the time… flying was/is expensive and while I’m comfortable, I’m not rolling in it.  At least not since UT.  I live freaking far away by design, and because there’s not a market for what I do up there.  Being this far away has never been “easy” (and it’s gotten harder since my nieces were born), but it was made easier by the knowledge that… if I wanted to go back or if I needed to go back, I could just hop on a plane and make it happen.  Now?  Now, even if I got in my VW and drove the whole way with minimal stops I wouldn’t feel right about it.  I couldn’t be SURE that I wasn’t bringing the virus with me, and as our caseload here climbs higher and higher, the chances of that happening if I tried to make the trip, however I did it, are more likely every day.  I won’t put my family at risk.

Someone asked me today what I would have done differently if, six months before the pandemic started, I’d known it was coming.  My answer: I’d go see my family.

Because when I saw this coming, I had planned for the food shortage (not so much the toilet paper shortage, but somehow I worked that out and shouldn’t have to buy any for months).  I’ve been training for “quarantine-style introversion” most of my life.  I’d already switched jobs, which (unknowingly) set me up so that I could work from home and further limit my exposure later.  I’m good at doing what I have to do, on the ground level, to survive.  I’m good at planning ahead so that I don’t go without.  When it comes to this, though… visiting… I’ve been completely reactionary.  All I can do is hoard my vacation time so that when I can visit, I can stay long enough to try to make up for the time I’ve lost.  I mean you can’t really make up time… it doesn’t work like that… but I can try anyway.

My parents have a second, smaller house that they bought to be closer to the grandkids.  They didn’t have a TV there the last time I visited, only a CD Player and they liked to play old WWII music.  The last song that I remember hearing before I left to get to the airport, a year ago this week, was this one… and it was so appropriate (though none of us realized how appropriate at the time).