Tag Archives: Relationships

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 Ormsby 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.  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 Ormsby’s 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 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.

Lord Ormsby and The End of All Things

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

Lord Ormsby and I broke up. 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.

All That Debt

Let’s talk a little bit about debt.

Debt sucks.  It feels a whole lot like being in prison, except there are no bars and you are completely (mostly) in control of how much you are in for and how long it takes you to dig yourself out of it.  I mean there are limitations to that statement – emergencies can send you spiraling thousands into the hole with no other choice.  And if you don’t make a lot of money it can take a freaking long-ass time to dig yourself back out of it.  And then there are student loans which no one really wants, but everyone seems to have to have.

Anyway, I have a lot of it.  Debt, that is.  Student loans and revolving debt.

I had it (some) when I lived here before.  Student loans, mostly, though I’d had some credit card debt early on that I’d gotten paid off.

Toward the end of my Florida Tenure Part I, I started racking up more… life-saving missions, moving expenses, etc.  I did a lot of things the wrong way.  What I SHOULD have done, in hindsight (which is always 20/20) is waited until I had a job offer in Kentucky before I packed up my entire life and moved back up  north.  That probably would have been good in two ways: First, I’d imagine I’d have come to my senses once winter came and they were sitting in the snow and I was down here in the warmth. Second, if I did decide I was really that insane, I’d have had sustainable income to have gotten a place of my own, and not have racked up so much debt by paying basic living expenses on high-interest credit cards.

Buuut… sometimes I am not smart.  It’s rare, but it happens.  And I went anyway.  I ended up freezing that winter and it took eight months to get a job.  I did not have to pay rent for much of that, but I did still have expenses to pay (cell phone, car insurance, food, winter clothes, etc.).  Further, I did not think that it would take eight months to find something.  I did not take into consideration that Louisville doesn’t have the market that Tampa has for someone who does what I used to do.  And Louisville is cliquish… you have to know the right people to get hired to do meaningful work for the most part… I had the skills and the resume, but I did not have the connections.  Or the family background.

So I was screwed… in many ways.

But I digress… coulda, woulda, shoulda doesn’t get you anywhere.  Moving on…

At this point, it is what it is.

When I decided to move back to Florida, I did so for a couple of reasons: I hate cold weather. The job market is better for me.  I simply make more.

Both of those benefits have largely panned out.  I make more.  Way more.  And it’s been warmer here than it’s been in Kentucky, though lately it’s been very frigid (for Florida), and it snowed in the northern part, so some might argue that I didn’t go far enough south.

That said, there’s still all this debt.  And it’s frustrating.  Because while I bring in massively more than I used to when I lived here before, I see less of it because it all (at least for now) goes into paying off the banks.  And I get kind of anxious… not because I think I’m going to lose my job, but knowing that if I did, I’m really on the precipice of being completely and totally screwed because the monthly payments I’m bound to make are way more than I’d afford on an “average” salary.  Things are tenuous.

Now, on the up-side, I have a roommate.  A fiancé (he gets pissed if I call him a roommate, but when it comes to rent-sharing, that’s what he is).  He pays half the rent.  I take what he gives me and I roll it into my debt.

I’ve started doing promos again – because they pay well, I can take them when I have time to take them, and I can roll that money into the debt too.  Tax refund money will also be put there.  I mean, in reality, paying this off shouldn’t take longer than a couple of years to accomplish, if I work steadily at it.

It’s a great plan… it really is… and it works (when he’s able to afford it – moving to Florida did not do for him (financially) what it did for me).  But it’s still going to take a very long time.

I’m trying to be patient with myself, and to not beat myself up too much over the past.  The choices were what they were.  I’m sure I would have done things differently if I’d known how things would end up, but the point is, I didn’t.

And we can’t know, can we?  Not really… we take a path, we walk down the path, sometimes it’s the wrong path, but at that point (unless we’re really lucky) there’s no turning around and choosing a different path.  And even if we do, we still have the baggage from the wrong path that we started on.

I believe in the Law of Attraction.  It works for me.  It has for many, many years, and it’s how I’ve gotten much of what I have.  I have to believe that, like everything else, this will all work out as well.  Somehow.  I’ll pay this off, I’ll have the things I want (a house, a new car… nothing extravagant… just something to get me out of apartment living, and my Beetle), and I’ll be able to stop working so damn hard.

A New Beginning to an Old Story

A little over five years ago I started this blog with the intention of documenting what it was like to be in my thirties, single, dating, and shooting for what I felt, at the time, was not all that unreasonable: a decent job with decent pay (check), a relationship that had the potential to go somewhere with a partner that was both present and supportive (check – only to uncheck and re-check several times once I figured out that said partner wasn’t what he advertised himself to be… or he became a maniac… in some cases both… anyway), and the means to start a family (that box never got checked off… not even a little bit).

I wanted to chronicle all of that in the most up front, unapologetic, and unadulterated way possible.  And for a really long time, that’s exactly what I did.  Successes and failures became, at least for a time, nothing but ridiculousness to laugh at.  It’s like when you fall on your face so many times that you eventually have to decide whether to admit defeat or just laugh at it and keep going.  Defeat wasn’t (and still isn’t) an option for me, so I chose the latter.

Things shifted, though, like they do, and plans changed, and while I managed to stay pretty regular with Project TMI, I eventually met someone that I was willing to sacrifice all of that unadulterated-ness and honesty for.  I did the one thing that I said I would never, ever do and I gave so much of myself away that now, five years later, I’m reading back through these posts and realizing that I’m definitely not the person I used to be back then, and I sure as hell don’t know this person that I’ve become, and I kind of think that maybe I need to get re-acquainted with that girl I used to be because she was a pretty kickass chick who had her shit together.

I’m not saying that I didn’t get what I asked for… I did… I mean I got that relationship I wanted (the one that has potential to go somewhere – I’m still engaged, after all), but I think I’ve paid a heavy price for it.  And while I am still fortunate enough to look like I’m in my twenties (Botboy used to say I was “pickled”), I have seen and done and been through so much that I feel like I’ve lived a thousand years only to come back to the place I started (home… Florida), with a better job, but at the same time $30k more in debt than I was when I got on that crazy train to begin with so I’m not really able to save any of it.

They say that life is a trade-off.  I’d wager that that’s true.  They also say that you always want what you can’t have.  That’s definitely true, but “can’t” isn’t a word that is a part of my vocabulary all that often.  I always get what I want… until I don’t want it anymore… then I identify something else, pursue that, get sick of it, lather, rinse, repeat.

So I’m doing two things here – I’m revamping the blog.  I’d like to give it a total makeover, and I plan to do that, but right now I’m too busy to write the code and too broke to pay someone else to do it better than I ever could, so it’s going to have to stay the way it is.  But it’s getting a Facebook page and I’m going to put an index on that so I can at least surf through the entries I want to read when I want to read them (I’m going to post the link here, too, once I get that page a little more founded).

But I’m also writing books… books that start WAAAAY back in the good ole’ days of 1997, where all of this began.  There’ll be three of those, plus two “companions” that’ll travel alongside the online content that is up here.  And it’s not really because I’m arrogant enough to think anyone is really all that interested in my little story, but it’s more or less because I really just need to get it “out there.” Out of me.  Somewhere else.  Maybe if I can ever sit down and read it I can look at it more objectively than I can when it’s boiling around inside me.

I’m doing all of this while I work a full time job (with lots of overtime) and do side-gigs (runway, promos, fashion shoots).  So the process is slow.  I’ll probably be forty by the time I publish the first one (though I doubt it).  But the posts are going to get more frequent here, at least.  I have to get some of it out, somewhere… and because I’m kind of an exhibitionist and can definitely be somewhat of a narcissist (most models and actors are, and don’t let anyone tell you differently), I’m putting it up for the world to see because…well…why the hell not.

These days, we can always use a little more honesty in the world.

Traits of a Narcissist

  1. Narcissists are (usually) male.   Over half of the narcissists in the world own a penis.  Which kinda explains a lot, no? (sorry boys)
  2. Narcissists are charming. At least at first.  When you meet them, they really seem like they have it all together.  And they’ll make you feel important.    Like you’re the only person in the room.  They always have the best stories.  They’ll make you laugh.
  3. But they also are (usually) looking out for themselves. If they want to be with you, it’s because they want something from you (most of the time).  Money, status, a connection, sex, sympathy… something that they can get from you that makes them feel good… that reinforces their self image and ego (usually) or something that they think you’ll give them that others simply won’t (as-in… they’ve run out of friends to have a pity party with, and you haven’t been to one of those yet, so you’re the new pity-party-person… yay).
  4. Speaking of that, their external self image (at least the one you can see) is huge. Their ego is even larger.  They live with the mentality of entitlement, of invincibility, and of the belief that everyone looks up to them.
  5. Image. Is. Everything. It doesn’t matter what’s going on on the inside (we’ll talk about what lies underneath soon).  What matters, to the Narcissist, is what everyone else sees.  What everyone else thinks.  Photos are important.  Looks are important.  Using said looks to get attention (whether physical attractiveness or other physical features) is super important.  Basically, anything that can bring in more attention, more compliments, is GOOD.  Therefore:
    1. You’ll never see a bad picture of them.   Those are relegated to the depths of the realm of “Under The Bed”.  If they survive the digital deletion on the camera phone.  And the good photos you see have undergone some form of editing or filter.  Every. Single. Time.
    2. Social Media is integral. Think about it… it’s the “Platform of Me”.  Narcissists usually have a large number of “friends” (aka Followers).  If there is a max number of Friends that can be had on their list, they’ve maxed it out and there is a goddamn waiting list.  They use it as a platform to get their ideas out there (the way that most of us do, I guess), but they will spend more time socializing on Social Media than they do socializing in real life.  Even in one-on-one situations, Social Media must know where they are, that they are having a good time, and even if they’re not having a good time, it had better fucking look as if they are having a good time because everyone out there needs to be flipping jealous of the good time they are not having.  It’s the name of the game.
    3. They buy shit. A lot of shit.  They need to look good.  They need to smell good.  They need to keep up with the Joneses.  Money is no object… even when they run out of money, it is no object.  Bankruptcy is totally a thing.  But it’s ok.  Because they’ll look good while being bankrupt.  Well… until the bank comes to take their shit, but that’s totally the bank’s fault.
  6. Name Dropping is totally a thing. The first time you meet them, they’ll start that shit.  It’s supposed to impress you.  What might have been a two second interaction suddenly turns into a thirty-minute life-changing experience that really HAS to be shared.  This goes back to that image thing.  Really it all goes back to that image thing.  But I wanted to make it it’s own thing, because it’s such an important part of who they are.
  7. They’re entitled.   In their world, shit should be given to them, no questions asked.  If shit is not given to them, then they will drop you like a bad habit, complain to their Facebook minions about what a bitch you are, and find a way to get it from someone else.  Getting “it” – whatever “it” is – does not involve doing any of the work themselves.  Nope.  Mooching is the order of the day whenever possible.  Dates will consist of inviting you to dinner, then telling you that you have to pay for it (after it’s already been ordered).  They expect you to wait, too, until they’re ready for you.  Your own timeframe doesn’t matter.  What you need doesn’t matter.  It’s not about you.  It’s about them.  It’s always been about them.
  8. They break all the rules. I mean it makes sense when you think about it… because to a narcissist, who doesn’t really care about anyone else, who doesn’t think that anyone else is important, rules are something that were invented for everyone else to follow.  To a narcissist, rules don’t apply.
  9. Boundaries don’t exist. Your money is their money.  Your food in the fridge is their food in the fridge (and they’ll fucking take it without asking). Aretha Franklin would be PISSED because there is no R-E-S-P-E-C-T here.  They’ll keep pushing… and pushing… and if you keep giving?  Then it’s working.  Because they’re training you for the next time they want something.  Or the next time you’re kept waiting (it’ll be longer).  It’s a cruel fucking kind of conditioning and abuse.  And the worst part is that you won’t know you’re in it until you’re there, you have an oh shit moment, and you’re in too deep to easily dig yourself out.
  10. It’s NEVER THEIR FAULT.   They will have sob stories the likes of which you have never heard.  They’ll tell you about all of the people they’ve gone out with and how horrible all their breakups are.  They’ll be particularly distressed about a couple.  Likewise, their worklife will be just as screwed up – they’ll have lost a lot of jobs for reasons that had nothing to do with them.  People won’t get along with them, but it will (in their opinion) be because of something the other person did.  If arguments are started, it is NEVER because the Narcissist said something out of line.  He or she was merely reacting to something someone else said in a “hyperbolic fashion.”
  11. For that reason, they prefer to be in leadership positions. This isn’t because they necessarily make good leaders (they think they do).  But because:
    1. It provides more job security.  Because they get fired a lot.
    2. They can’t stand for someone to tell them what to do.
    3. In reality, due to the virtues that accompany the narcissism, their employees are often very disgruntled and unhappy.  There’s a high turnover rate (which, of course, is never the Narcissist’s fault because “Underling Number One” was a bad employee anyway and screwed up too many things on the job.).
  1. If they let you see who they really are (which doesn’t happen often), they’re pretty messed up inside. Self esteem is really low (narcissists compensate for low self esteem).  They pretty much hate themselves.  They need thousands of people to tell them how wonderful they are because they don’t “actually” believe in their own self worth.  Pointing out their faults (on the rare occasion that they are actually lucid enough to see them) serves no purpose except to cause them to “Double Down” on the originating Narcissistic behavior.  It is rare that a narcissist seeks help because doing that forces the narcissist to realize that he or she, in fact, DOES have a problem – something that, by nature, the narcissist isn’t able to do.

The Picture Frame

I got married to Mr. Ex nine years ago.  And on our first (and only) anniversary, in 2007, my parents gave us a 16×20 print of one of our wedding pictures.  It came in a very expensive frame that was, truth be told, worth more than the print itself.  I hung it on one of the walls in our house.

The same year, I won tickets to meet JK Rowling in New York City at Carnegie Hall.  We made a vacation out of it and stayed in New York for about a week.  I bought a lot of souvenirs over that week, one of which was a large print that I got from a street vendor.

The marriage itself was bad.  Mr. Ex was abusive, I was unhappy, and probably never should have married the guy to begin with.  The reasons why I did make for a very long story and I’m not going to go into that here (that’s a topic for another post).  But I bring it up only because when I moved out, I took the wedding print, and its frame, with me.  Not because I wanted to keep the print, mind you, but because the frame was worth a lot of money and I figured Mr. Ex would just destroy it.  I also took the New York print with me, but kept it in storage since I didn’t know for certain where or how I wanted to hang it.

Since the divorce in 2008, I have changed residences six times.  With each move, I have taken that frame (and both the wedding and the New York print) with me in to each home or storage unit I have rented.  I didn’t even think to separate the wedding print from the frame until just before my second to last relocation attempt.  Mostly because the print and frame stayed well out of sight, but also because I wasn’t sure that I knew how.  But, when I was preparing to move from Florida to Kentucky, I finally managed to separate the two so that they could be transported separately.  My original thought was to trash the print and keep the frame, but then thought that I might be better off to spray paint the print (so that I didn’t have to look at it) and use it as backing for something new that I’d purchase to put in the old frame.

Now, almost eight years since my divorce, I have moved into a house with someone else.  Last night, while Lord Ormsby went to our old apartment and prepared it for turnover to the former landlord, I stayed in the house and continued with the unpacking process.  As I was moving things around, I came across that New York print again and had a brainstorm… what if that print would go in the frame?  Surely I had tried that before… to no avail… right?

But I couldn’t remember, one way or another.  So I decided to try it again.

So, carefully, delicately, I added the print to the frame and secured it.  Then I flipped it over.  It was like the print was made for the frame… the scheme is nearly perfect.  In fact, the frame looks better with this print in there than it ever did with the wedding photo.

When Ormsby came home, I showed it to him and I told him I was either very stupid (for carrying both of those things around for seven years and never realizing that they went together) or brilliant for finally figuring it out.  Ormsby compared it, instead, to what happened between us: that after years of not realizing it, we finally got together, and we just… well… work.  Somehow that analogy is very appropriate… because he’s right.  The pieces were there ten years ago, and then seven years ago (after my divorce) and we didn’t see it…(okay maybe not quite “there” in the same sense of this frame and the print…it’s not like we talked for all of that time, and I certainly didn’t pack him up and move him to six different locations before I finally slept with him).  But for whatever it’s worth, we’re here, and together, now… and we work.  Just the way they we believe we were supposed to all along.

And in both situations, ultimately, the point of this isn’t whether I was stupid for not seeing it or brilliant for finally thinking of it… the point is that, regardless of how long it took, I eventually did get there.

print.jpg

A New Home

Well, after weeks of looking (and looking… and looking… and looking…) we finally found a house.  We put a deposit down on it and move in two weeks.

I am excited about this for several reasons, not least of which is the realization that I will be able to get all of my stuff (furniture, antiques, books, etc.) out of storage and have them accessible for me again.  But the place is also obscenely close to work and I’ll be able to get home every afternoon before it gets dark out, no matter what the season will be.

This whole moving into a new place together thing, though, is also really quite terrifying.

You see, I have only ever done this one other time in my life… and it ended in an abusive marriage followed by a rather surprisingly civil divorce. The other attempts at this have failed before they ever even got off the ground.  But this time, with the deposit paid, rooms selected, new furniture purchased, lease signed, there is absolutely no chance that it will fall through. I still cannot help but be terrified, paranoid, that this may not go as well as I hope that it will.

Of course, I also tell myself (when I feel this way) that I am being foolish, because the Ormsby situation is nothing like what any of the other situations have been.  I have what is, essentially, the healthiest relationship I have ever had.  We have been sharing a ridiculously small one bedroom apartment ever since I moved back up here, and aside from one or two spats here and there, we have done very well.  I tell myself, too, that the ability to spread out will make the situation improve beyond what it is already.  And it’s pretty good already.

Still, we are moving in two weeks, the holidays are almost here, and it feels like we have a million things to do.  On top of work and the move, there are finals to contend with.  I guess it feels like we have a million things to do because there ARE a million things to do.

Once finals are over, though, and once the move is finished, I’ll have a room to myself again – where I can read and write in perfect silence and solitude, where I can read my Tarot cards and burn my candles and incense again (a practice I have not done in over a year… and I miss it terribly).  I’m going to set up the guest bedroom so that it looks like the bedroom I had in Tampa… both to give my cat something familiar in her old age, and also to give myself something familiar to look at on the days when I get homesick.  But we’ll have so much more than that – a working fireplace.  A bigger kitchen (bigger than any other kitchen I’ve had since my divorce).  A deck for cookouts in the summer.  Possibly a porch swing on the front porch.  And plans… so many plans for the future that I cannot help but feel optimistic for the first time in a long time.

I can see nothing but hard work in my immediate future, but that’s expected when you move.  Once it is complete, though, life will get significantly easier.  And less frustrating.  And I can’t wait.