Thursday, January 12, 2017

I am a huge animal lover, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has read any of my Life with Pets* one-act plays. I mean, come on, at one point, I lived with nine cats and a dog, so if I didn't love them, that would have been the most miserable time in my life. Instead, it was awesome. I had six kittens running for me when I got home from work, a bouncing bulldog, and three adult cats who had various levels of excitement at my presence. There was also a flea-ridden, smelly pit bull that would frequently escape her chains and come visit me because I'd give her the affection she sorely missed. Before that, I kind of adopted a sweet ginger cat that hung around my rented house, and before that, I saved an abused kitten from a guy who never really wanted a cat, anyway. My parents raised me around dogs, and I took riding lessons and fell in love with a horse who was too big for my small frame. I couldn't imagine my life without them.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

To See the Future, You Have to Deal with the Past That Scares You

Planet Earth is slowing down
Overseas, underground
Wherever you look around
Lord, take me by the hand
Lead me through these desert sands
To the shores of a promised land

Well, it is now officially 2017. I am truly looking forward to the next 365 days, even if - as I said on Facebook - I know there's a lot of fear going around due to the new presidency, among other things. There is very little that I can do for the world as a whole, but as The The says, "If you can't change the world, change yourself."

Three actually introduced me to that song, so hearing it now brings a lot of bittersweet emotions to the surface, but for me, that's what makes it so important. I can't listen to it without remembering where I've gone since I first heard it. We had been married for a few months at that point, and things were still in that honeymoon phase; it was inspirational then because it meant so much to him, because he said it represented how he viewed the world. But now, I've taken it and made it my own mantra. Well, my main one is still, "Do what you're here to do and don't be an asshole," but it's my second mantra.

You make me start
When you look into my heart
And see me for who I really am

As I said in my last post, we are getting divorced this year. That is putting a lot of the past six years into perspective. The de-evolution of my personality, my goals, my loves, is coming into sharp focus, and I realize how far I've deviated from what I'm here to do. I have a much clearer view on who and what I am: I'm a writer, an artist, an optimist, a pacifist, a pansexual, a free spirit. But I am also damaged. I used to think it was irreparable, but as time has passed, I've realized that, while my scars will never go away, they'll just be reminders. I may still doubt myself and others, but I won't let them discourage me.

I didn't care if the sun didn't shine
And the rain didn't fall from the sky
I just cared about myself
From this world to the next
And from the next back to this
By our actions, we are bound
We're running out of love
Running out of hate
Running out of space
For the human race
Planet Earth is slowing down

Part of living with a narcissist is that you become kind of narcissistic yourself, especially when you are separated from others. My experience was coupled with verbal and emotional abuse, so the narcissism is a form of protection. I would say and do things that would keep myself free from being yelled at or accused of nefarious deeds like having emotions or opinions or desires that make the other person feel bad. I spent a lot of time questioning my motives for nearly every aspect of wanting to be alive, which is a very weird place to be. It wasn't until Three had his mental breakdown in October 2015 that I finally started to realize things.

It took a while. It's like having blinders taken off; you know they're gone, but you've spent so much time with them on that it's difficult having that expanded vision. So I didn't get the idea to leave the situation until several months later in February 2016. I remembered it was a Thursday, and Three and I had just had a major explosive fight. We're talking him slamming the front door hard and storming down the road with no destination and me sobbing, curled up in a ball on the floor. When he came back, he apologized, like he always did, and we began to actually talk. However, his defenses came up again, and he uttered the words that, to this day, still ring in my ears: "Every time we've ever taken your lead, you've ruined my life."

My first reaction was to begin crying and defend myself. He began yelling again, and suddenly, something snapped. No. We had never taken my lead throughout my entire marriage. He had made decisions, and I had just followed him, like a dutiful wife. The last move we'd just made - from Louisville, where I'd begun to build a life, to Columbia, where I knew no one and had no job prospects - was one that I'd had no part in choosing. He came home from work one day and said, "Hey, we're moving to South Carolina."

So I laid it out for him: I had given him a blank slate when he revealed to me that he had been lying to me about everything for five years, and he was required to give me the same. I had made mistakes in our marriage, and I was done apologizing for them time and time again, only to have them thrown back in my face months, even years, later. I was also done paying for the way his previous partners had treated him; I wasn't Julie or Elizabeth, or even his father, so he needed to stop treating me like I was. He agreed that I did deserve at least that much, and I thought that we were on the right path.

The next day, however, he came home from work, a look on his face that made me wonder if he'd been thinking and wanted to yell at me more. I was prepared for another verbal fisticuffs, only I wasn't afraid any longer. But instead, I saw tears in his eyes, and he told me he couldn't give me the slate I needed. It wasn't that he didn't want to; it's just that his brain was wired so he wouldn't be able to, that the past would always be at the front of his memory. I told him then that I was leaving, and the next day at work, I called my district manager and asked for a transfer to Louisville.

I'm in love with the planet that I'm standing on
I can't stop
I can't stop thinking of
All the people I've ever loved
All the people I have lost
All the people I'll never know
All the feeling I've never shown

My DM let me know the following week that the transfer was in the works, and by the end of March, it was approved. Three spent a lot of his time alone, occasionally throwing shade my way, and honestly, we were looking at it as a trial separation. Divorce wasn't even my vocabulary at the time, although the truth is, I knew we were headed in that direction. Hindsight really is 20/20. I bought a car - Athena, the 2012 Chevy Cruze - and packed it full of whatever I could carry on April 27th. My friends came down with me a few months later to pick up more, and that was the last time I saw Three in person. For months, I missed him, cried myself to sleep, and didn't allow myself to accurately look at our relationship, even if all I could remember was the bad.

Eventually, I knew I wanted a divorce*, which sent me into meltdown mode, but I didn't want to look inside. It was too frightening, painful. You can only blame someone else for so long.

The world's too big
And life's too short
To be alone
To be alone

I started dating again once I'd decided that it was over. It was way too soon, and honestly, I wish I hadn't. There wasn't any way that I was ready. I had so much baggage and so many phobias and too little understanding of where they came from that all that could really come of it was hurt. But I hated being alone. I craved someone who understood me and what I went through, someone that would let me cry on their shoulder and tell me I was still worthy of love.

Ultimately, this is what led me to therapy. It's a long story, one that I may or may not tell here**, but suffice to say, I sabotaged a fledgling relationship because I felt like he was behaving like Three. He wasn't - not really - but my brain wasn't listening to anything other than former patterns. And if that doesn't sound like something you read above, you're not paying attention. I hurt my friend badly because I couldn't leave the past behind; I was making him pay for the way Three had treated me.

I texted my friend that I didn't want to be alive any longer. I called my sister and mother, bawling uncontrollably, looking for some type of solace from the deep pain that was living in my veins, and the next day, I called the suicide hotline while I was at work. I even considered checking myself into some mental hospital. Despite me living in a town where I had a great group of friends, I felt completely alone like I did when Three suffered his mental break. Maybe it's because it was my actions that had caused my own fall? Or maybe because I realized how far I'd let Three's manipulation go? Maybe I felt like I wasn't worthy of the love I sought? I still can't really explain it.

My mother drove up from Nashville to stay with me for a few days, for which I am eternally grateful, and I started to feel emotions other than total despair again. I actually laughed a few times, especially when Mom purposefully pissed me off so I'd show some emotion. My sister and friends checked on me daily, and I realized that, despite what my mind was telling me, I was cherished.

That is what started my healing process.

If you can't change the world, change yourself.
If you can't change the world, change yourself. 

I started therapy shortly afterward, and I cannot express how much that has helped. Just having someone to talk to is such an amazing thing, but when it comes in a package that doesn't judge you and doesn't let you be too hard on yourself? It's perfect. I still have a very long way to go before I'm well, and like I said above, there are scars that aren't going to fade. I've accepted that to some degree, but that just means I have more to work on. And that's a very exciting prospect.

And if you can't change yourself, change your world.

Lyrics to "Lonely Planet" by The The

* I am still very upset about what caused me to come to this conclusion, and that will definitely be the subject of a future post.
** This is probably going to be a storyline for my web series. What? Writing is how I process things.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Well ...

So, obviously I have not been keeping up with this blog. A lot has gone on over the past year, and I can't say that the majority of it has been good. Then again, this has been a year that has seen the deaths of some of my heroes, the latest being the irreplaceable Carrie Fisher, and the election of a sociopathic Cheeto to our highest office, so maybe my life during 2016 is just a microcosmic representation of the greater shitstorm.

Now, my plan is to take up production again here - catch up on my challenges, write about my experiences over the past twelve months, start my new blog (more on that later), etc. - but first? Updates!

First, I'm going back to school this spring. It's just the prerequisites, though, which isn't necessarily exciting, but hey, I'm fucking thrilled. Well, not necessarily about the statistics class I have to take, but the other stuff - anatomy and physiology, developmental psychology, microbiology - is what I'm really looking forward to taking. Then, in May 2018? I will be starting nursing school.

Second, for those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, Three and I are getting divorced. It's been a long road that started well over a year ago but only truly began when I came back up to Louisville. I'll delve into it more deeply next year (NEXT YEAR OMG), but it does lead me into my third point.

I'm currently writing a screenplay for the first episode of a web series that is loosely based (at least factually - emotionally, it's spot on) on my life after I left my husband in April. I've been very blessed with the people I've met in the last eight or so months I've been in Louisville, and I actually have an infrastructure here that will actually enable me to get this for-real accomplished. It's bizarre, like I was meant to go through what I did and meet the people I have so I could do this. I even have a friend (hi, Mel!) who is going to help me market it around town. So again, be sure to check on my Facebook for updates about that. It'll have its own Facebook page (currently, it's not visible because it literally has nothing on it) and eventually its own website.

Fourth, I probably won't be doing any more Life with Pets, which kind of pains me. Zola is living with my parents permanently, and only Mushroom and Ramses are left. Even though that merely mentioning it vaguely causes me to feel a pit of sadness in my stomach, I know I'll have to write a post about it soon.

Well, that's it for now. I probably won't be putting anything on here other than back-posts until after the first of the year. So Happy New Year to everyone, and let's kick 2016 on its ass!

Friday, July 29, 2016

31 Day Sailor Moon Challenge

Via Chiksolo's Nerd Cave
I usually reserve my anime challenges for February, since anime series tend to be one "season" long, as opposed to many series, both animated and live action, made in the U.S., but Sailor Moon is just a bit different. It's more of a collection of sagas than anything else, usually with no ties - other than the characters and the basic plot of "Usagi is the reincarnated Queen Serenity and must defend Earth from all sorts of baddies" - to the other arcs. I could be wrong, but I don't recall that they even mention previous stories, unlike series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica. As I go through and watch the entire thing again, I may amend that statement, but I'm pretty sure it's accurate.

But here's what is coming at you next month!

Day 1: How I Was Introduced to Sailor Moon
Day 2: Favorite Inner Senshi
Day 3: Favorite Outer Senshi
Day 4: Favorite Companion Cat
Day 4: Least Favorite Senshi
Day 5: Favorite Villain
Day 6: Least Favorite Villain
Day 7: Favorite Secondary Character
Day 8: Least Favorite Secondary Character
Day 9: Favorite "Season"
Day 10: Least Favorite "Season"
Day 11: Favorite Sailor Moon Episode
Day 12: Favorite Sailor Moon R Episode
Day 13: Favorite Sailor Moon S Episode
Day 14: Favorite Sailor Moon Super S Episode
Day 15: Favorite Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Episode
Day 16: Favorite Sailor Moon Movie
Day 17: Favorite Episode
Day 18: Least Favorite Episode
Day 19: Dub or Sub?
Day 20: Favorite Opening Theme
Day 21: Favorite Senshi Attack
Day 22: Anime vs. Manga
Day 23: Original vs. Reboot Anime
Day 24: Best Friendship
Day 25: Best Canon Couple
Day 26: Best Manga Art
Day 27: Best Fan Art
Day 28: Something I Wish Happened That Didn't
Day 29: Something That Didn't Happen I Wish Did
Day 30: How Sailor Moon Inspires Me
Day 31: What I Would Like to See Next

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

31 Day Xena: Warrior Princess Challenge, Day 24: Favorite Gabrielle Outfit

More outfits! Except this time, it's definitely a tie for my favorite Gabrielle outfit. Xena changed costumes pretty regularly, but Gabby transitioned a lot more than her pal, especially during that first season.

Monday, May 23, 2016

31 Day Xena: Warrior Princess Challenge, Day 23: Favorite Xena Outfit

You know, I am kind of glad I planned my challenge this way so many months ago, because I could really use a bit of a breather right now. So yay for picture answers to challenges!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

31 Day Xena: Warrior Princess Challenge, Day 10: Favorite Episode

I cannot tell you how many times I have watched my favorite episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. Seriously. And I'm not even going to hide it behind the break. "Hooves and Harlots" from Season One is amazing. You've got Amazons, a dude with a swirly beard (think even weirder than Wes Bentley's manscaped facial hair in The Hunger Games), war profiteering, centaurs, horse poop (I'm not kidding), and fights to the death. And Gabrielle is only kind of annoying!
Can you help me find this image's owner?
There is nothing about this episode that I do not love. Well, except for Lucy Lawless' makeup. They were going to natural, but that lipstick just looked terrible on her.

Ahem. Moving on.

Friday, May 6, 2016

31 Day Xena: Warrior Princess Challenge, Day 6: Favorite Season Three Episode

Okay, so Season Three's entire storyline almost put it in my least favorite season, because ugh, magical demon pregnancy and drama between Xena and Gabrielle and ... I really could go on, because parts of it were really bad. And to be honest, my favorite Season Three episode has a lot of the parts that were awful, including some uncharacteristically bad acting from Lucy Lawless, but once you get past the opening - which I'll admit was one of the worst things I've ever seen - it gets incredible.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

31 Day Xena: Warrior Princess Challenge, Day 5: Favorite Season Two Episode

Via Wikipedia
Oh, Salmoneus, you are equal parts one of the best and worst aspects of the Kiwi productions of Greek non-history. Every time you pop up, I am both delighted and annoyed because, to be honest, the character is borderline racist but also amusing, so ... toss up here, really. But then again, he appears in so many of my favorite episodes of both Xena and Hercules that I am almost ready to forgive him for existing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

31 Day Xena: Warrior Princess Challenge, Day 4: Favorite Season One Episode

Happy May the Fourth, my lovelies!

Today brings me to the portion of the challenge in which I annoy you with my favorite episodes! The reasons why they are so close to my heart vary - they're fun, emotional, well-done, etc. - but don't necessarily have to be the best (although they sometimes are perfect examples of what makes the show great). So without further ado, here's my pick for the first season.

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