The Intoxication of Accomplishment

Shame on me. I went two weeks without posting a damn thing on here. I was doing so good too! I’m sorry. BUT! I’ll tell you why I haven’t been posting. I finally accomplished one of my goals for the year.

I GOT MY OWN CAR. (The picture featured was taken off the internet. It’s not my ACTUAL car. Seriously, snow in southern California? HA!)

*GASSSSPPPP* I KNOW!! My own car! My very first one that I don’t have to share! Well, It’s a truck. A 1997 Toyota 4Runner, which is almost exactly what I wanted. I know a car would have been more economical but I didn’t know which way my life was going to go when I started looking. I figured a truck or a compact SUV covered a lot of bases. House. Commuter. Ghetto Limousine. Mover. Sanctuary. Freedom. Not the best on gas so it won’t be a state travel vehicle unless I win the lottery but really, that’s the only down side.

Even more of a shocker…I found it on CRAIGSLIST.

*Pauses for reaction then squeals happily* I KNOWWWWWWWW!!

Craigslist is a cesspool of trolls and scammers so I knew I had to tread with caution. I found a few trucks I liked and I kept my eye on them while I waited for my tax return to come in. I warred with myself over the prudence of getting another vehicle. Yes it was convenient for errands. I was usually stuck cramming them either on the weekend or after work at 10 pm because during the day, I had no transportation. (Thank gawd for Winco, which stays open 24/7). Besides that, I knew the truck would give me peace of mind in case of emergencies like someone got sick or a friend needed a ride.

But then there was the downside of having to pay for two of everything now with two vehicles. Two registrations. Two insurance policies. Two tanks of gas a week. Two mechanics bills. Plus I had never used so much of our tax return on one thing before. I bought the truck for $3000. That could have been money for braces and replacement teeth and savings for my girls’ college funds! It felt wasteful to spend so much on something just for me and I went back and forth a lot over the last two weeks.

More than any of that though was the pure shining thought of “I ACCOMPLISHED MY GOAL.”

My plans nearly always fall through. Bad planning or no motivation or whatever. But after I blew up my life last May, everything shrank down to one single goal: get a car. That was it. Survive somehow and get a car. And I did it. All on my own!

I found a listing for a red Toyota 4runner on craigslist and saw that it was close to me, only two towns over. It immediately stuck out to me because there was a whole paragraph about the car rather than just the specs and a price. The seller sounded friendly and honest and so, with sweaty palms, I texted him. Normally on craigslist when you text, you don’t get a reply back for about a day/week so when half an hour later I heard my phone beep with an unfamiliar text, I was shocked.

We made a plan to meet up that Saturday so I could check things out. I was so nervous I brought a small army with me. My husband and kids as well as my Uncle Steve (a mechanic all his life) and my cousin/bestie Rebecca (also a mechanic). I wanted to know that logic and careful inspection matched my gut instinct; that this was a good deal. I had a GOOD feeling about this truck and about the guy.

Also, it was raining, which I see as a purification and a blessing.

When we pulled up, I was taken aback when the guy came to meet us. He was a dead ringer for Alec Baldwin. I shit you not. Piercing blue eyes and everything. AND! He’d know my Uncle Gary (ANOTHER mechanic who owns his own garage) for 20 years!!! Everything was Kismet about this meeting. I felt immediately at ease. The guy was forthcoming with information and my Uncle went over the car with a fine tooth comb. The right front blinker was out. Eh. Easy fix. There were little cosmetic problems like the paint was peeling and some bondo had been applied at some point over a bump that was now coming off.

I didn’t care about cosmetic. I preferred older roughed up cars because it’s less of a heart break when (not if) I bang into something and dent it or scratch it. Gives it character! Yeah!

More and more as I stood and looked at it, I knew it was going to be mine. Despite my husband’s urging to get a car with better fuel economy and everyone’s insistence that I didn’t need a truck (they don’t KNOW that), this was my truck. MINE. It was the culmination of years of being trapped at home, of walking from the grocery store with two gallons of milk, of not being able to go on fun trips because I didn’t have my own transportation.

And it was the ONE THING I had planned on; my singular focus.

I still marvel at my truck every time I walk out to get in it. I’m paranoid about every sound it makes and I pay careful attention to the gas gauge and the mileage. I’ve vowed to take better care of it than my previous cars (the ones my HUSBAND drove 90% of the time). I will learn about car maintenance and put fluids in regularly and detail it every month. I’m going to get new window decals for it to personalize it and get a first aid kit and rags and a funnel and a jack.

I’m going to take a trip one of these weekends to some place I’ve never been, just to say I did it, on my own, in my new truck.

My old man Truck. I’m calling him Marty Baldwin. Most cars are girls I suppose (dunno why) but I have yet to find a reliable male to service me. Hopefully this one pans out.

 

 

 

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11 Years: Adult Merit badge earned– “Marriage”

Today is my 11 year wedding anniversary.

I’ve been married to 1 man for over a decade. That’s one-third of my life.

1 year ago I realized that things were falling apart in my marriage. It didn’t start one year ago. I just realized it then.

10 years ago, I went against my instinct and got married to a man-boy too immature to deal with what a marriage really was. (Not that I was SO much more mature or anything.)

Strange that I can barely remember much from the last decade. I get bits and pieces when I think back. Most of it is frustration because humans are programmed to respond to and remember the bad more than the good. I know there were many good times in my marriage. But given my current state of mind, I’m not inclined to want to remember them either.

They (you know, the proverbial THEY) say that humans will experience at least three great loves in their life times.

  1. The first great love is the love you think you should have. Your fairy tale love, the one you read about in romance books. The one your parents tell you about. The one you hope might give you the white picket fence dream. Usually it’s to someone you’ve known in school or your early career path. And yet, there’s something deep down that tells you…maybe not? But you ignore it because you’re getting your heart’s desire! It’s the love of the inexperienced and lonely.
  2.  The second great love is destructive, toxic. It is drama filled, border-line addictive. Not necessarily violent or soap opera worthy but it is a relationship that is not healthy for you. Could be an online relationship or a secret affair. A girl/boyfriend gone wrong but you can’t seem to get enough of them, no matter how many times they’ve hurt you. The drama excites you and you get a thrill off it. You crave them. *Insert “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga here*
  3. The third great love comes at you like a stray cat. It comes up to you, all innocent and cute and you pet it until it goes away. The it comes again and maybe you feed it a little. Then you let it in your house and suddenly, it’s there on your lap purring and you’re okay with that. Natural as breathing. What the hell just happened? It is a love that comes from someone unexpected; someone you maybe weren’t even looking for. And yet, they seem to fit you as if they’d always been there. They get you like no one else ever has. The give you space and yet appreciate your flaws and admire your experience. They make you laugh, enhance you as a person and you find that you want to do the same for them. They are like the sun coming out after a terrible storm. (Wow. Maybe the third love really IS an animal.)

I’ve experienced all three of these and I have learned a lot about myself and relationships from them. I’m glad for these experiences because it’s made me a better mom and person, someone wiser. I can look at both sides of love now and give honest opinions about it. Not that they’ll be listened to because everyone has to experience their own life. But I have them.

I don’t think I’ll give any advice right now because I fear it’ll be slightly skewed. This was more of an affirmation that I’ve Been There and Done That and I Know My Shit. Because I survived 11 years with one man.

The next step on this journey is to identify what’s wrong with me and fix myself so that if I ever do decide to get into a serious relationship again, I won’t bring the same problems with me.

I do have one silver lining: I can use all this in my stories. Yep. There ya go.

Don’t be Dull Jack! Be a Game Changer!

Change is never, ever, ever, EVER easy.

In my limited experience I’d say it’s the hardest thing a human has to do, whether it’s willingly or not. We are creatures of habit; sheep, in a way. We like being comfortable and having things at the tips of our fingers. We work and strive for these things all our lives, ruining our bodies and grinding down our spirits to make sure we, and future generations, have ample enough to be happy.

Go to school to get a job.

Go to the job to get the moneys.

Go to the store to spend the moneys.

Save moneys if you can.

……………

Okay good. So I’ve discovered the purpose of life. To be sheep! Beeeeeh!! Beh!

Weeeeelllllll what if you don’t want to be sheep? Yes being able to provide for yourself and your family is an amazing thing and you should feel proud you stuck with it. A lot of people don’t, choosing selfishness over responsibility. BUT. Where are you in all this? I asked myself that a lot over the last decade. It wasn’t until recently that I was able to really pursue it though. I finally had enough of being a sheep. So this is a rough draft of the process I used to help plan my course of action.

The first step is recognizing you don’t ONLY want to be a sheep.

The second and immediate step to take after that is to STOP the guilt from getting the better of you.

You deserve to be a person in the midst of your survival. You may not be able to be the multi-million dollar karate master movie star of your dreams but you can certainly say, collect memorabilia or take lessons at a dojo. Simple, small pleasures that make you feel different from the monkey pressing the same red button everyday for eight hours. And remember, DON’T let yourself feel guilty! All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. You earned this!

Step three is, after you start to feel a bit better about yourself, to identify the thing you want to change the most. Write down only ONE THING, usually the first thing that comes to mind. Do you want to lose weight and be healthier? Do you want to stop being such a judgmental person? Do you want to get a better job that requires more schooling?

Step four is to make a list of things you can do to possibly help change that goal. Break it down. Buy less fast food. Pay people more compliments. Start looking at online schooling. Start eating whole grain bread. Give money to a homeless person. Ask a banker about school loans.

Now I want you to take that list and find the simplest, easiest possible thing you wrote down. Circle it in your favorite color marker. That’s your starting point. Go out and buy your bread. Tell your cashier at the check out line how pretty her make up is that day. Look up classes at your local college. Also, make yourself a list of little rewards alongside your circle that you can pick from when you succeed. Don’t want to be a dull Jack right? We’re working to step AWAY from this mentality!

Some goals may need to be sustained through a monthly cycle. Psychologists say it takes at least six weeks to break a habit so if you’re going for something like a healthier life style or a personality change, you’ll need to make a small goal you can reach for that as well. Mine was “weekly but for two whole months” that way the amount of time was sectioned into smaller bite-sized chunks. Now if I happened to fall off the wagon, it was only one day of one week. Easy to get back on!

(Also, give yourself some slack if shit happens, like the flu or you lose your job or you’re having marital trouble. A person can only take on so much. Just don’t make it an excuse not to try to get back to it. Be your own self-moderator!)

Step five: make a simple chart or calendar to keep track of your daily successes/slip ups. It can be different colored dots on a every day calendar or brightly colored stickers on a special monthly calendar you bought especially for this change. Give yourself a pat on the back and a small reward for reaching your goal.

Step six: after you’ve completed your new mini goal, add another small thing from your list on top of it. Buy whole grain bread AND 2% milk. Pay compliments AND show one act of kindness every week. Register for enrollment at the local college AND make an appointment to see a school counselor.

Change, in order for it to become natural and permanent, needs to be SLOW. It’s frustrating as hell, I know. It will never go fast enough for us because humans like having comfort and ease at their fingertips. We’re the Instant Gratification Species. You need to not lose sight of Why you’re doing the change in the first place though. There was something fundamentally off about you (so you think) that you didn’t like so you’re trying to change it. Long term sustainability is the goal here, which is why most diets and fads don’t work.

For sheep, it’s hard to sprint for long distances. That’s exhausting on many levels! However–

–that’s Step seven. DON’T lose sight of your WHY.

“The greatest injustice a human can do to himself is to walk down a path he chose, forget why he is walking it but continue to walk it anyway.” ~

(I think that’s a Paulo Coelho quote. I read it somewhere recently and I’m sure I got the wording wrong but I can’t find the exact quote anywhere. Paulo has a LOOOOOOOOT of quotes X_X)

So there it is. My game changing plan. I wrote this because I was going to relate it back to writing somehow but I realized I didn’t need to. It already had.

This method of action for me is the reason why I’ve been writing so much. It’s one of my mini goals, to write a blog entry a day; a result that I’m proud to say is from the seven step program I figured out–ON MY OWN!! No self-help book needed! And if you knew my scatter-brain with any sort of intimacy, you’d be applauding right now. Seriously, it’s like a hummingbird in spring flitting from flower to flower. Frenetic and brightly colored Chaos.

Share what you think/feel. Comment box is wiiiiiiide open for your use 🙂 Thank y’all!

*cough hack wheeze* Repeat.

So.

I think I have the flu. I don’t know officially if I do because I haven’t been to the doctor yet. I’ve been too sick to move very far from the bed until yesterday. I’ve been telling the universe it can’t kill me yet so I don’t think I have the Death Cold that’s going around. I’m still mobile, obviously. I went to work last night. That’s something.

But I still FEEL like it’s a Death cold. The pain in my lower back from all the coughing and the vice that’s squeezing my head and making my ears rings is annoying. The rawness on my nose and upper lip from all the blowing chafes me, literally. Not being able to taste or smell is REALLY obnoxious. Gawd I love food. But you know what the worst thing to me about all this is?

I haven’t been able to write.

Yep. I was on such a good roll!! I had a whole month where I had a post every day and I was really getting into the rhythm.

-Get up at 6 am, start a blog entry while getting the kids ready for school.

-Put older daughter on the bus and continue writing. Get tea.

-Walk younger daughter to school at 7:40 and come home. Write until 12. Eat lunch.

-Continue writing if the mood suits me or do chores/binge watch #Girlboss on Netflix or take a nap.

Then BAM!! Sickness abounds. I lost almost a whole week. So I’ve been trying to think of the lesson in this. The first thing that comes to me is I’m a bad mom for making my kids go to school with this crap, cuz they’re the ones that gave it to me. It’s MISERABLE. My bathroom looks like a pharmacy and I keep getting random remedies people swear works for them.

-Vicks on the bottom of your feet (proven true)

-Cayenne in your socks to fight fever (Um…no?)

-Garlic/ onions on the bottom of your feet (not brave enough to try)

-Onions quarters in every corner of your room (Haven’t tried)

-Sleep (proven true)

-Medicine Bombs from Starbucks (YES YES YES! DO IT!!)

So far It’s been Dayquil, Vicks, and three aspirin every 6 hours that does it for me. I’m surprised I haven’t OD’d on sick meds to be honest. ANYTHING to get rid of this crap. But maybe the lesson is….everyone needs a break?

Hell, I dunno. I tried my Norco at one point in desperation and had some funky/cool dreams that could be short stories eventually. Yay silver linings!

At one point I was just laying down for bed and I get a panicked call from my sister who is hysterically crying so I was instantly out of bed and in my shoes, flying out the door with my keys to the rescue. Just took my Nyquil and my Norco. Probably shouldn’t mix those. And probably shouldn’t say out loud that I drove her home at midnight. But! There was no one on the road and I went 20 miles and hour. Ha. And we got to hang out, which was cool.

So maybe the lesson is I can do anything when I’m sick? Because…I’m cool that way? Or maybe the lesson isn’t for me. Maybe me being sick is a lesson for someone else, like my kids. Maybe they’ll appreciate me being around more. Or my husband, who realizes how hard a life or work+house stuff is without me.

I dunno. Mainly I was writing to break the cycle of silence, to update y’all on my absence and put something out there.

There’s a lesson in everything. Just this once though, can someone tell me what it is, having this Death Cold, so I can go back to sleep with a clear conscience?

Kay, thanks, bye. ^_^

“As the world falls down…”

I feel a little like the junk lady from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.

You know, the one who lives in the junk yard and carries all of her most prized possessions on her back? The main character, Sarah, falls into Junk land after realizing the beautiful ball she’d been dancing in was really a cage and there were more important things she needed to do. Once the dream bubble was popped, the Junk lady started piling on thing after thing onto a confused Sarah, trying to make her forget her purpose.

That, right there, is where I am now. Freshly fallen from dream land and straight into the jarring reality that my cage couldn’t contain me anymore. I feel the need to grab up my most comforting things to armor myself in the harsh world. I make a blanket fort and stay perfectly still so the monsters won’t find me. Childhood toys, favorite books, art supplies, movies, clothes and jackets and make up…all weight distracting me from the main issue, which is…

WHAT DO I REALLY WANT?

One by one I have to slough off the non-essentials and pare down my life to what is only the most important basics. I have to decide what that is, firstly. Once I do this, I’ll be able to move lightly and freely in any direction I desire.

Theoretically.

It’s a lot harder than you’d think to pick a thing among all the other things and say, “That. I want that and I’m going to run the gauntlet trying to get it.”

But when can we have it? And what is it supposed to be?

Life has demands you must meet first and then maybe your God has some demands too as well as your boss and family and friends. When is there time left over for you? How, in the midst of all the junk and chaos, are you supposed to figure it out?

…………………

Do you want to know a secret I discovered?

Probably not so secret actually but something I’ve figured out in my study of life.

Adults are really just tall children who have to fake they know what they’re doing for the littler children. But because we’re taught to “be adult” through various levels of schooling and getting a job, we’re supposed to suddenly be all-knowing and responsible while still maintaining some childhood magic so we don’t become too serious.

Add in the fact that a lot of people have to deal with catastrophic situations we’re in no way prepared for like, birth, death, divorce, natural disasters, illness, marriage, and war and we still have to hold our heads up high like a bawss.

Seriously?

No wonder people medicate themselves against this kind of crap.

So what do you do when the world falls down around you? When your delicate cage shatters and you’re standing bare as a newborn babe in the middle of your life? I’ll tell you what you don’t do first because it’ll be the first things you desire. Anything to take away this hungry and glaring monstrosity called Life. I know this because it’s something I did (and continually do) when my world fell down.

DON’T pile on the junk. Whether it be shopping sprees (my biggest vice), food binges, travel (aka running away), sexual affairs, drugs/alcohol, excessive volunteering (also something I’m guilty of), work out mania, over time at work or anything else with potentially harmful repercussions. You’ll get shopper’s remorse, hang overs, even more lost, an STI, a pulled muscle, no sleep and burn out. I mean, worst case scenario, of course. It could be these types of things help you a little to find a direction. It didn’t really work for me but kudos to you if you got something out of it.

What I found worked for me is…..I haven’t found it yet.

Yeah, I know. Anti-climactic. Sorry. I’m not one of those wise, all-knowing adult persons. But I think I’m a special case, you see, because my mind is like a flock of brightly colored humming birds buzzing from flower to flower and never retaining anything for more than a few days before burning it up and repeating the process. A paint splatter Rain Man. Short term memory loss? I’ve never been diagnosed with it but it certainly feels that way. I come up with a plan and it’s promptly forgotten when I see another pretty flower.

So what do I do in the mean time? Here’s a suggestion that I believe to be a step in the right direction. A step away from the junk pile on your back toward something real.

Pick ONE thing to do every day. Nothing big. Something you can do while you watch TV, like stretch your muscles. Or at work on your break, write for 5 minutes about stuff you love to do or want to do or stuff bothering you. Get it all out in a rush. Or pick something you don’t do every day, like brush your teeth for instance, and make it a mini goal. Put it in your personal planner and give yourself a sticker when you complete that goal. (Kids love stickers after all!)

In this new world of uncertainty, you need to create an anchor for yourself that comes from YOU, not from THINGS and it has to be something you WIN at. A small victory you can celebrate with yourself. If it’s midnight and you realize you’ve forgotten to do your mini goal, make sure you can do it right there before you go to bed. Really, it can be that small!

Do you want to know what I do? What my small victory is? I pick three or for positive affirmations for the day and I repeat them in my head every chance I remember them. I AM WORTHY. I AM BEAUTIFUL. I AM GRATEFUL. I AM LOVED. I AM CREATIVE. I AM INTELLIGENT. I CAN DO THIS. I AM A WRITER.

Not “could be”. I AM. I CAN. I’ll even say it in the mirror to myself while going through my morning routine if I don’t quite believe it’s true that day.

Fake it till you make it, right?

It’s working too, you know. Out of this mini goal came an idea that I can’t believe I didn’t have earlier. It’s an expansion of my affirmations, my hopes, goals and flaws. Yes, even flaws (so I can work on them steadily).

I’m going to make myself a Jessica Bible. Or as it’s commonly known, a Bullet Journal. In it will go my affirmations, on the front page, so I will see them every day, first thing. The next thing I feel needs to be in it, second page, is my Dream to become a Published Author. And I’m going to list the whys below it so when my motivation starts to fizzle out, I can re-read it again and again. It’s easy to give up on big dreams like that because responsibility and practicality beat it out of you. But I believe these dreams and desires stay with you even after you believe you’ve given up.

Don’t be satisfied with giving up.

Also going into it are achievable goals that I can put stickers next to when they’re complete like finding another job, getting my own car, learning Archery, calling my family more, trying a new recipe every month, blogging for a week/month/quarter year/half-year etc.

Cuz stickers, right?

I don’t know what else is going to go in the Jessica Bible but it will be filled with things that are important to me that I need to remind myself ARE important. And like any Bible, I’ll read it every day until the words are rote for me.

This is my plan to walk across the remainders of my safety bubble. Mom always said I was weird for being able to walk, read and chew gum at the same time without running into anything. Having my nose in a book is one of my favorite things, after all. I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

A real life letter to a Fictional man

Gaelyn was my very first fully formed creation and has been with me for half my life. He is the bar to which all other male characters are held. Every now and then, I talk to him as if he’s real, like right now. (I’m perfectly sober.)

A different take on how the last two weeks of my life have been rather than word vomiting it all out in a boring blog entry.

My Dearest Gaelyn, 

How are you doing?  It’s been awhile since I’ve written. Sorry for that. I’m sure you’ve probably noticed and silently berated me from your office. But you know me after all. You know I can get distracted. And I’m writing now! 

I was going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year actually. It was a tentative thing at first because i wasn’t sure I could juggle work and writing with domestic life. I was going to flesh out a new story idea, to which I only had the beginning conceptualized. I was hoping inspiration would come while I pantsed the rest of the story. My main goal was to just write a little every day; try to make it a habit again. 

I ended up writing only 300 words in the first week. 

Why? Well I can tell you with absolute certainty it wasn’t because of procrastination. Nope, not this time! 

“Remember, remember the 5th of November.”

I had to have emergency sublingual surgery for an abscess blocking my airway. I was in the ER twice in two days and in the hospital recovering for three days. I had a drain tube in my neck for a week and couldn’t open my jaw wider than a straw would allow. 

Yep. I was proud how calm I stayed throughout the whole thing. I even signed the trach consent form without even a shudder of unease. 

I was lucky they didn’t have to trach me. It was the first thing I asked when the nurses were waking me up after the surgery. They got the breathing tube down my throat, thank gawd. And I was out cold for the whole thing. I had a brief worry that I would be one of those people where I was awake during the operation. But no! I took three deep breaths from an oxygen mask and suddenly I was out cold for about three hours. 

I can’t help but think that if you were here you’d be asking me all sorts of medical questions I couldn’t possible answer. I love your curiosity though. Honestly it was pretty gross, having puss and blood leaking out of a tube and dribbling onto my neck. It smelled vile when they changed the dressing. The smell alone would stop me dead on the Pre-Med track. I don’t know why you want to do this kind of work. Bleck! 

I think I’ll have scars from the tape rape too. What a sensitive place to repeatedly rip super sticky tape off of! Guh >_< Of course I’ll have a real scar and a knob of scar tissue that hopefully won’t end up being a problem later. 

I lost 7 pounds in the hospital too. Apparently having a clear liquid diet for four days does that kind of thing. So there’s a bonus there too. Only another 35 to go. 

You know what was strange about my recovery? I had four different people come into my room and not a one of them brought me a book or a notepad to write in. I watched TV the whole time. 

Blasphemy right?! No music, no books, no words. Not even a coloring book! I would never say it out loud but it kind of annoyed me that my family couldn’t even do this small thing for me. I mean, I’m lucky they were even able to make it over to see, considering how busy everybody is. But yeah. No books. I did watch both Thor movies and Ant Man, which was better than I thought it would be. I got to be a girl and watch some wedding shows (to which I rolled my eyes and felt infinitely wiser than the blushing brides, having been married ten years and been jaded by it). 

And then finally I was home. Weak as hell, in pain, but in my own comfortable home surrounded by words and music and fresh air. My cat wouldn’t come near me until I showered. I didn’t blame her. I reeked of blood and death. 

It’s amazing how indoor plumbing and a hot shower can revive a person’s spirit, isn’t it?

Then life returned to normal. I had to walk my kids to school with a bandage taped to my neck hiding my disgusting tube. I had to make dinner for the husband who worked all day. I had to do laundry because nobody but me knows how to do it apparently. I got frustrated by how weak I was, having to lay down after only half an hour of chores. Everything I tried to eat or drink tasted like a salt lick so I suffered with jell-o and Popsicles for a few more days and had to have my antibiotics broken in half because my neck was still swollen. 

I almost wished I was back in the hospital to be honest.

Having all that time to think while resting though had me turning back to my novels. It made me realize that I haven’t listened to my ipod in weeks. I haven’t written in my blog in a month or more and it made me realize I haven’t thought about YOU in a long while. My Gaelyn, the man who launched a thousand ideas for me. 

I really missed you. 

I know I was supposed to be focusing on my new NaNo book and I did! I got a rough outline in. I even bounced some ideas off the husband. But I didn’t listen to the Faustus playlist. It’s angsty and serious and intense. After my week, I really didn’t want to listen to Seether and Theory of a Deadman and Shine Down. I needed something gentler. I listened to something familiar and comforting. I listened to yours. 

Ahhh Gaelyn, you’ve waited so patiently for me to write your story. It’s been written for years in my head but as it is, it’s crap. You deserve better than what I’ve settled on for you. You’re such a pivotal part in the series after all and you’re my favorite. I always come back to you. 

I don’t know why, after 16 years, I still haven’t written down your story. Maybe because it grows with me and changes and I like it that way. I like putting my experiences into you and Merry and Bryce; to make you more in-depth characters. You deserve my best, even if no one else ever sees your story. I want it to be right. 

So have some more patience with me, okay? I have some things I need to work through but I won’t give up on you. Not after two decades or seven or ten. You are the one that stays because you never forget your first. I have to make you proud Gaelyn. 

I will make you proud one day. 

You’re never far from my thoughts, my friend. I’m still here. 

Ever grateful,

     Jessica

A taste of the real world: Chew and Swallow

I am not my own boss anymore.

That’s probably the suckiest thing about working retail again. I can’t decide my pace or what projects to work on. There’s always pressure to go faster and do better if I want to keep the job. I have 6 bosses. But I can’t complain. I have to keep my mouth shut and not say what I honestly feel about where I work and the people I work with. There’s no secrecy. Bitching about co-workers and bosses to other co workers and bosses will eventually make it down the grape-vine. The bitchee will find out.

First lesson: Co-workers are not friends. They WILL nark on you. (Also, I am secretly a sour puss bitch.Who knew?)

Cuz this is the real world folks, where I am just a functioning body and corporate doesn’t care. Neither do your bosses. Get the f*&king work DONE.

How I’m turning that into a POSITIVE: Learning to deal with different types of personalities makes me stop and observe people more. Some people can take sass with a grain of salt and some get concern, even offended.

Next suckiest thing is the communication misinformation that runs rampant with major chain stores. Communication is KEY in retail. GOOD* communication. Everyone has to be more or less on the same page and any disagreements about it should be handled immediately, in a calm and professional manner. (Rather than my typical “This is complete SHIT” blurted-out honesty.) My family has spoiled me by not correcting my sardonic sass. They love me regardless. Corporate, not so much.

Second lesson: Not everyone can understand or appreciate my humor so ZIP IT.

How I’m turning that into a POSITIVE: Being silent and listening will make me more approachable and less likely to be noticed by the higher ups. It also reminds me to be patient and humble, something I think has slowly been slipping from my personality of late.

Next suckiest thing is how SLOOWWWWWWWWW I am at my job!! It’s embarrassing! I haven’t worked in ten years and it shows. I’m more blind now than I was as a teenager (I actually require glasses for my job) and my brain doesn’t work quite as fast. Hard core reality check right there. I’m getting OLD. Some of the managers are sympathetic of this fact, which I appreciate. Others are not. They attempt to give me tips and tricks to increase my speed and…yeah no. It just doesn’t compute. I say “okay” and continue doing things my way. But that makes me “uncoachable” apparently.

So I get dinged and sent to the principle’s office.

My entire attitude about it (which they’ve been able to clearly see) is “Let me do my F&*KING job and leave me alone!” All these interruptions and conversations break my concentration and I lose my rhythm. But I can’t say that. When they talk to me about how off-putting I am when it comes to advice and teaching moments, I have to be a broken record and a dancing monkey. Which makes me raise my hackles. Do NOT tell me how to do the job I’m already doing!

Well…

Third lesson: Constructive criticism is a thing. It’s not nit-picking. They do really want to help (in most cases).

How I’m turning it into a POSITIVE: I hate people telling me how to do my job. HATE IT. HOWEVER, I will learn to bite my tongue and put suggestions to use in case they really are helpful. I really don’t know everything and I must be adaptable to change.

Overall, I see this as training for being a published writer. I’m not going to be to everybody’s taste and I need to find a way to accept that with grace. Hey that rhymes! How sublime!

(See? It really does always come back around to writing ;D )

I WILL become my own boss some day and write exclusively. And I WILL combat criticism with professionalism. Every experience is a lesson. Only YOU can decide what to take from it.

Good luck with life y’all.