A Dozen of this and that

Today, it’s been 12 years since I started blogging on WordPress.

Oh, sure, I had my blog on another platform for a while prior to switching over here, but, I can neither remember the platform name, nor the length of time I was there, because I’ve been here so long.

And… My whole life has been completely upended multiple times in those 12 years.

It tends to happen.

See, when I started all this, it was a way for me to “scream into the darkness”, as I used to say, but… I had a hard time actually doing that, for a long time.

I started off with my original reason for blogging, which was that I’d needed a safe place to put all of my feelings, questions about life, the universe, & everything.

I had a blood relation take offense to something I’d written, on my own space, for my own reasons. It wasn’t aimed at that person, had nothing to do with that person, but they still had decided that I was a horrible person, & raked me over the coals for, what to me, was a simple, philosophical question I had, & was looking for answers to.

So, I started an anonymous blog to do my soul-searching.

And, after my initial posts, I fell into writing about normal, everyday, mundane things. Humorous, usually. But not the real, raw, self-intospection I needed.

Until, my past & present started to bleed into one another.

My introspection started uncovering things I’d “conveniently” forgotten. More like buried deep within my own psyche.

It led me to reasons why I’d lived as I had, self-destructive behaviors and all.

I started to get a handle on my own flaws, foibles, failings and faults.

I also started to see the good things.

It took me a while to allow nyself to truly be vulnerable here, but I was encouraged by friends I’d met while blogging, & led with my chin.

And, the tone of the blog changed, to become a journey of self-discovery, mentally, emotionally, and more.

I’ve posted some flash fiction here, too, because that is also a part of who I am.

Or was. I haven’t posted any fiction in a loooong time now. Life has led me down a long, dusty path, & there hasn’t been any fiction for a while that was yelling to get out.

I’ve been too busy, just hanging on.

I want to start blogging again, though. I do miss it, sometimes. There are a lot of things I still want to explore, explain, & examine.

But, I can feel the tone changing again.

Don’t ask me how it will end up, because in all honesty, I’m not sure where it’s going yet.

Maybe I should just hop the train, and settle in for the ride.

Another dozen years couldn’t hurt… Right?

I’m not Angry, I’m just…

I am not ok.

I haven’t been, for a while.

And that’s ok.

Circular logic, I guess, but there you go.

Something happened in my family in July, & I’m not ok about it.

And honestly, I feel as though it’s been a long time coming, this fracture, but I kept holding back the floodwaters by putting my back to it, & ignoring it.

I heard something the other day, that has been rolling around in my mind ever since.

Constantly examining your feelings & trying to logically define them, keeps you from feeling them; which prevents you from healing them.

I know that I need to get all of these things that are surging forth in my brain out there… But I have no one right now that I can actually tell these things to.

My kids don’t need that burden, and I don’t want them “in the middle”, which is where they’d end up if I told them how bad things feel for me right now.

My Beloved Nephew has enough chaos going on in his world, that he sure as hell doesn’t need mine; even in periphery.

That’s it.

That’s the list of trusted ears & shoulders.

So, like always, refusing to burden others with my problems, I try to work through shit on my own.

Did you know that hyper-independence is a trauma response?

Executive Dysfunction has me sitting & zoning out, when I have a list of things I need myself to accomplish.

My depression is so thick right now, I’m having a hard time not just curling up in the fetal position, & sleeping through the day.

I know I desperately need help with my house (which I’m trying to get ready to sell), but I refuse to ask for help. Any help would either come with judgment, or conditions, or both – and I can’t and won’t deal with either of those. Anyone even offering, gets pushed off with a “it’s fine, I’ve got this”.

Winter is coming.

I wanted to be out of here before that, and I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen now.

And again, I’m disappointing people, because of my mental state.

It’s times like this that scare.

Because the way out is so far above me, and I don’t have a ladder.

It’s very dark here.

I Am

I am that which lies between

The instant before the stone hits the water’s surface, knowing it will shatter the peaceful pond

That final exhalation of breath when life ceases

The moment of pure clarity before waking, disappearing in the fog of consciousness

and the desperation of waking in terror from nightmares, gasping for breath

I am the tingling smell of ozone, right before the lightning strikes


And the instant and all-consuming blindness that happens after the strike, leaving you in the void of darkness, groping for the nearest safety


I am the rope, dangling just out of reach, fibers brushing just your fingertips, and swinging away


the foothold inches from where you cling, toes stretched and straining to touch


I am that which is forever sought,


Always dreaded


Ever unattainable


I am that which lies at the heart of desire


And at the bottom of fear


I am.

Conscious

I don’t want to sleep.

The depression & anxiety have gotten worse, & my brain keeps trying convince me that I’ll “not wake up”, if I fall asleep.

I have to force myself most nights to lay down, put on a eye mask (so I can’t look around), & pass into unconsciousness.

And then, there are the nightmares

I

Just

Need

Sleep

Time to go

I’ve been a bit salty for the last few days.

(In reality, I’ve been dealing with a deep cycle of depression, which makes me more easily irritated…my bullshitometer is redlined)

I’ve known for a while that there’s some resentment in my office over the allergy restrictions I have. People can’t openly eat some of the things they like at their desks, nor can they wear their favorite perfumey stuff.

I get it.

I’m the wet blanket on their fireworks.

I don’t go to many of the company parties for a couple of reasons.

1. I’m an introvert who is uncomfortable in crowds. I don’t really enjoy the large get-togethers, & end up exhausted after even a few minutes.

2. I hate going to functions alone. This goes back to my introversion. If I have someone with me, I have a buffer.

3. Allergy restrictions. I never know what’s being served, & whether I’ll have a reaction. Better to stay away & avoid the pain.

I overheard a coworker talking about my allergies this morning, specifically saying my name in relation to the subject at hand.

But, this post isn’t about my allergies, really.

And, when coworkers have surgeries, grandbabies, deaths in the family, or other major life events, there is usually a card, gift basket, or something else gathered by the staff, to commemorate or commiserate the event.

None of the major events I’ve been through have been represented this way. 2 family members dying within weeks of each other, a major surgery, my best friend dying, 3 grand baby births… All ignored.

(Don’t get me twisted, I don’t begrudge anyone else what they’ve received)

And, to me, it’s not about the stuff.

It’s about the lack of consideration.

The coworkers don’t see me.

And, yes, some of this is probably because I don’t participate in the reindeer games.

I do, though, always sign the cards, & donate to the gifts.

I participate from the sidelines, & normally offer my assistance, if wanted, in person & quietly.

I know I’m appreciated by the company as an employee, but I’m not seen as a person, with valid feelings.

At least, this is what I’ve been shown.

But, all of this is to say…

I understand now.

It’s time for me to go.

If I’m neither seen, nor considered,

It’s time to leave & find a place where I am appreciated.

They’ll never even notice I’m not there.

Keyboard Warrio…. Nah, Whatever.

I can’t decide whether I love or hate social media.

Yeah, it helps me keep in touch with friends & family I don’t get to see much, if ever. And I get it, if I don’t like something about it, maybe I should just get off that platform, right?

Well, it really doesn’t matter which platform you use anymore, there are trolls everywhere.

Shit, Twitter is one of the worst, IMO. It was trolls that put me so far off that platform, I simply abandoned my Twitter account, & walked away without deleting it. *cue dusty wind blowing & tumbleweed rolling across screen*

Instagram is the pressed-plastic, Barbie Dream House version of people’s “lives”. It can be amusing, & I find some great memes there, but I’ve never taken anything there as real. It’s all window dressing, never mind the pins & tape behind the curtain.

TikTok has changed something for me, though. Some days it’s good, & it makes me feel great about myself & the world, and some days, I have to put my phone face down on silent & walk away.

Goddess, don’t even get me started on Facebook. 🤐

My point is, I used to be one of those so-called “keyboard warriors”, out there till the wee hours of the morning defending the downtrodden, and burying the bullies.

Or, so I thought.

But, I finally came to realize, that – Even if you feed trolls garbage…

You’re still feeding them.

You know?

I get it, it’s REALLY difficult to walk away when you see this bottom-feeding behavior on a subject, site, or person’s post that you care about. And it’s SOOOO easy to let your itchy trigger fingers wander over the keyboard & give them a good smack-down. Or what you THINK is a smack-down, anyway, because honestly? They’re probably sitting with their phone in their hand, or in front of their keyboard, giggling to themselves over ALLLL the ATTENTION and validation they’re receiving.

Because it IS validating, in their minds anyway. It proves their existence, & their “nobody gets me, the world’s against me, so I have the right to stand here & yell louder than everyone else”.

They enjoy being polarizing, & watching as people around them start spinning in circles, popping off at them, while they’re safely munching popcorn behind their screen.

And, it’s absolutely infuriating to others, when the trolls refuse to back down, or inflame situations higher.

But – in cases where it’s just trolling? And not actual internet terrorism? And, by terrorism, I’m talking bullying, harassing, doxxing, stalking, etc… ( and yes, all genders are guilty of this)

If it’s just some Incel wanting to start a virtual fisticuffs for funsies?

Shunning works.

Blocking works. I’ve blocked so many strangers on social media, because I’ve seen them being trolls to other people. I’m just glad that so far, there’s no numerical limit to how many people I can block, or I’d have hit that wall on Facebook years ago.

Blocking these people doesn’t just keep me from responding to their infantilism, it means I don’t have to see it, & they can’t see my stuff, either, at least on FB and TikTok.

Hmm, (hot take) this is just another method of using the INFJ door slam…

Humorous rebuttals can sometimes work, too, if you can figure out a way to totally confuse the troll, & get them off balance.

I had one make a not-nice comment on one of my tiktoks, once, smarting off about something that was totally irrelevant to the video, was supposed to be personally hurtful, & posted in such a way as to make them look like the victim of bullying if I responded defensively.

Instead, I snarked back with an overly-sweet, totally sarcastic, comment, that was impossible to twist without watching me rolling my eyes while typing.

I got an apology *shrug*, & an “I’m sorry, I had a bad day”. Not a valid excuse to be an asshole to a stranger minding their own business, so I responded again with

“Yup, I was amused, honestly.”

Nothing pisses trolls off like having others being mildly amused at their antics, instead of being offended.

Anywho, I try my best, these days. When I see someone being a jackhole for no apparent reason, I practice aggressive passivity.

I clench my fists (and usually my teeth too), I take deep, slow breaths, & I do one of 3 things.

1. Scroll on, because it’s not worth the hassle to engage.

2. Block/Shun, because the person is a jackhole, sexist, racist, homophobe, tinfoil fanatic, whatever, & I don’t need that kind of stress in my already stressful life.

3. Snipe back with so much sugar and tart they lose their teeth. (I got really good at using words to insult people without them realizing it when I was young)

I’m not out here, trying to change people’s minds about how they handle trollish behavior, I’m telling you my way.

But, if I could add one request?

Please don’t feed the trolls, because they end up making everyone else feel sick when they grow from it.

Dichotomy

I spent a lot of time thinking about this, yesterday, on my drive to & from my folks’ house.

I am a tangle of contradictions.

Most people know one side only, as I keep its opposite pretty well hidden from view.

And nearly all the people who know me IRL, know the jokester, who mixes in with the caring, nurturing part of me. (If I care about you, I care enough to joke with you/about you)

Something I don’t say often, though, is that – once I love someone, it’s forever. No matter how much this can hurt ME in the end. And I’m not just talking about being in love with someone, I’m also talking about Chosen Family love. And there’s a few of those out there.

Beloved Nephew is first & foremost of the Chosen. He is now, and has been for years, my best friend. There could never be anything intimate between us, because we’re family to each other, but he knows me better than anyone else alive.

And he’s seen both sides of my personality.

There are also kids, well, they’re not kids anymore, because they’re godsbedamned grownups now, (yes, I’m feeling the age, here). Kids my children brought home with them, who needed an adult at the time to tell them that they were going to be ok. That they were enough, that they could do this thing called life. I don’t get to see them, or talk to them anymore, because they’ve moved on & past needing me, but I still consider them Chosen Family.

And yes, it stings a little sometimes when I think that, once I wasn’t needed to prop them up, I was forgotten. But that’s what happens. And I don’t want anyone to feel any kind of obligation to me because I was kind to them. That’s selfish. I’m just glad they’ve grown, and hopefully gotten themselves to a good place.

And, yes, there are people whom I’ve been involved with in the past, exes. Who doesn’t have those?

And yes, some of them I love.

Still.

To this day.

NOT to say that I’d go back to them, because most I wouldn’t. There was a reason behind the split, and it was needed. I’m healthier, emotionally, mentally, without them in my life.

There’s a couple that I would, but it probably wouldn’t be good for me, so I keep my damn mouth shut. Go me. (sarcastic eye roll)

BUT.

Not one of them can say they’ve truly seen my other side.

The dark coldness that I keep for only myself.

Y’all have no idea.

There is a detachment that happens when my switch gets flipped. And I can honestly say I, myself, have only seen it truly come out a couple of times. Always in the most dire of situations, and ALWAYS as a protective measure, either for myself, or for a loved one.

Example – cutting my male sibling out of my life.

I’m not going to retell the story, just know that I did it to protect myself from further emotional harm.

The point here, is, that I was able to do it. With no guilt, no remorse, and no second thoughts.

And no one has ever, nor will they ever, talk me out of it. Familial guilt gets nothing.

Talk of blood, of dna, gets nowhere.

After all, his blood, his dna didn’t stop him from hurting me in the first place, now, did it?

Anywho, before I get completely derailed off onto a rant, this is only one example.

But it’s an effective one.

The level of darkness to which I can descend, should I deem it necessary to the situation, is one which most would never seek, and I’m sure, they would never suspect me of reaching it.

But a part of me lives there.

And only the Nephew has seen it, or heard it in my voice.

Probably because he recognizes a kindred spirit when he meets one.

But, I digress.

My tangled dichotomy is pretty balanced, ironically enough.

Because as deep as my darkness goes, that is how far my love extends. And vice versa.

Scary thought, hunh?

Spicy

I am so damned irritated today, I need duct tape to keep from saying something I might regret later.

Actually, let’s face it, there would be NO regrets.

Feelin a bit spicy today.

A Learning Thing

I – am sick. And, this fact has unpacked a whole lot of thoughts & emotions in myself, as well as the people around me.

Now, to preface this, I don’t yet know if I have covid19 or not. So, let me start at -the “beginning”.

For a few days, I’ve had various body aches & a runny nose. I wrote them off, because

1. I have hayfever, so spring allergies usually start around this time of year. Stuffy, runny nose, is norm for me, along with sneezing & scratchy eyes.

2. My shoulders have, for some reason, been popping in and out of place when I move my arms a certain way, or raise them above my head. As such, the muscles in front of the joint -fucking hurt.

3. I have rheumatoid arthritis, so achy joints, especially with the barometer bouncing in spring, as it does here, is totally normal.

See how easy it is to dismiss things when you’ve gotten used to pain?

Anyway, yesterday I woke up with a sore, scratchy throat. Again, I dismissed it, as, if I sleep in a cold room, my throat hurts the next morning. Guaranteed.

I had a headache, but that, too, is normal. I brushed all these things off & went to work.

Midmorning, I started feeling feverish. My stuffy head got a lot worse, and I started feeling the various aches & pains more. Fevers seem to bring every little owie forward, magnifying them. Doesn’t it suck how that works?

I knew I had to leave work.

I don’t want anyone else to get sick because of me, no matter what it is I have. And especially now, with the way things are…

So, I told my supervisor that I wasn’t feeling well, & was going to go home to take my temp. Who knows, maybe it was low-grade, & I’d feel better after some fresh air?

Yeah, not.

Anyway, I had to call in after I did that, because I did have a fever, & knew I couldn’t go back. I wouldn’t expose anyone further. I felt hella guilty, tho, as there were reasons I was supposed to be in the office next week.

Instead, I worked on setting up my laptop as a wfh station, & got my TV to act as a 2nd monitor. (Cool as shit, let me tell you. HDMI cable & a couple clicks, et voila! )

Then, I called my parents. I felt bad, bc my dad’s birthday is next week, I have a present for him, & with everything, I can’t get it to him. But, I digress.

My mom chewed me out for not having called my dr. already, so I could get tested. I knew she would, that was part of why I called her.

Nothing like a nurse mom to kick your ass about taking care of yourself, am I right?

So, I called, got shuffled to their covid response team, & told when & where I could go to be tested. It was a drive-up in the parking lot deal, & I didn’t even get out of my car.

If I hadn’t felt like warmed up roadkill, it might have been morbidly funny.

The test is not fun. They stab your brain through your sinuses with swabs, giant-ass Qtips, & make your eyes water & your sinuses burn.

The well-covered (rightly so) nurse told me I should get a call within 48-72 hours with the results.

Here’s praying it’s bronchitis. That I can take antibiotics for, & I’ve had it many times, so I know what I’m dealing with.

So, where’s the learning moment, you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you.

I am the ultimate introvert.

I go to work, the grocery store, the gas station, & home. That’s it.

I don’t go out to eat, I don’t go to the bars, I don’t attend church (obvi, being Pagan), I don’t do sporting events, & in general, hate large crowds.

People don’t stop by my house very regularly, & it’s usually just me and the cats.

I also wash my hands multiple times a day, always have, & wash them the same way I was trained to as a CNA many years ago. Universal Precautions for the win.

So, IF I do have covid, where did I get it from?

This is the moment things started opening up for me.

The store? Sure, I could’ve caught it there. I’m generally pretty careful about touching stuff in the store, I’ve been wearing my gloves thru the store, & washing as soon as I get home, but, it’s still possible.

Work? Well, we’ve been really careful there about cleaning, not touching door handles, no customers allowed inside the building, etc. But, sure, someone else could be an asymptomatic carrier.

Gas station? I usually pay & fill at the pump, using my card, & wearing gloves, because I don’t want the smell of gasoline on my hands. So, unlikely.

At home? Well, can’t get it from the cats, so, I think I’m good there.

The thing is, you don’t know what’s in the air around you, especially when you go to public places. And being cleanly & careful will only get you so far.

Sometimes, you get sick anyway.

And, frankly, the stigma of now being someone who’s sick, possibly with the corona virus, is difficult.

If I do have it, then I didn’t know that until late Friday morning. As soon as I felt off, I left for others’ safety, & saw to getting tested & setting up my self quarantine.

Which means, yes, I could have been carrying this in my system for days, incubating. But, I am NOT to blame for this. I did NOT ask for or seek this out. I’ve been as careful as I could be, practiced social distancing, the whole 9 yards, and I still got sick anyway.

Now, think about what you’ve been doing to avoid this? Do you think it’s enough? Could you do more? Is any of it enough?

That last question I’m still stuck on.

But, right now, I need a nap.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Follow the 6 foot rule. Stay home if you can. And, if you have faith – any kind, I’m not judgy – Pray.

Hope you all stay healthy. ❤