Monthly Archives: December 2011

Notice for the Holidays

I will be going out of town to visit my family later today, which means I’ll probably be on here seldom for the next two weeks. I may pop in for a brief bit, but I may not. After the holidays, I’ll be back more regularly. If I haven’t already, I’ll respond to all comments then.

To my readers: Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Or, if you prefer, Happy Holidays!

Or any other applicable variation. 🙂

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Me a Domestic Goddess? Never.

No one can ever accuse me of having domestic skills.

I try to cook, always intend to cook, but I stick with the microwave food. My step-family tells me that I’m going to have to know how since “wives” are supposed to cook. Eff that. My husband can cook if he wants some food. He knows what he’s getting into if he marries me. After this reply, they usually look at me as if I’m some sort of otherworldly creature. You would make your husband cook? But you’re the woman!

No one’s ever been interested in me, so it’s not like I’m going to marry anyway. When I contemplate cooking, it’s mostly for dietary purposes, not so I can be a good “wife” and “mother” some day.

But more to the point, I’m a twenty-five year-old woman, and I still can’t even properly wrap a Christmas gift. I go for the bags. I’m frustrated. No matter how much I try, I can’t get this stupid wrapping skill down.

Last year, I wrapped presents for the first time in my life. I thought I would try again this year. I read directions on the Internet, watched videos, and still I’ve wasted all of my wrapping paper in my failed attempts. It doesn’t help that the wrapping paper tears easily. Perhaps that’s because it’s from the Dollar Tree.

I’ve got two presents wrapped, the bare minimum, and they look janky. Not that the ones I “successfully” wrapped last year looked any better.

The part I have difficulty with is when you bring the corners together on the sides. I watched that part of the video numerous times, even stopping it so I could do everything when it was mentioned in the video. And it still turned out wrong. I finally got it done in a haphazard fashion. It’s possible that I find the task hard because I have poor spatial skills, but that’s a subject for another day.

Maybe this was the wrong time to try to wrap a gift. I’ve been terribly absent-minded for the last few hours. I wrote a check and then almost signed the back. I accidentally forgot to turn on the right street while I was going home.

But I’m out of wrapping paper, and I don’t want to go to the store merely for that. Can I just get my step-mom to wrap the children’s toys? They’re for her grandchildren anyway. If I had to buy for only adults, I wouldn’t even have to bother with the wrapping. Though the ones I did wrap are for adults. Mostly because I have to disguise those presents before I go visit my parents and siblings, since they live there and all.

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My Devastating Christmas

When I was four, one of my most exciting Christmases turned into one of my most heartbreaking ones.

On Christmas Eve, my family visited some relatives in a small town about an hour away. When we got back home, it was pretty late. But when we went inside, we found the most wonderful surprise.

Santa had been there while we’d been gone! My brother and I jumped up and down in excitement and repeatedly shouted, “Santa was here!” in jubilation.

He must’ve come a little early in the night, as it still wasn’t even midnight. It made sense for Santa to have come. After all, didn’t Santa show up when he knew no one would discover his presence?

There were gifts galore. Delighted, we unwrapped all of them. There were loads of toys, but the present that I remember most is one of two children’s red chairs. We took those outside onto the balcony and sat there for a bit. I thought about how this was the most perfect Christmas ever.

After we went back inside, we joined my mom at the kitchen table. Breathless with glee, I couldn’t help but share my joy. “I can’t wait for Santa to come next year!” I exclaimed. I didn’t say that because I wanted more gifts. I said that because the thought of Santa himself dropping by filled me with enthusiasm.

My mother replied, “Santa’s not real.”

Why would she tell me such an egregious lie? I retorted, “Then how’d all those presents get there?” Because obviously Santa must’ve brought them; they hadn’t been there when we’d left, and they were there when we returned.

“Do you remember when your dad went inside for a minute because he forgot to do something?”

A nagging sliver of horror entered my mind. “Yes.”

“He went to get the presents out and put them under the tree. It wasn’t Santa; it was your dad.”

This . . . actually made sense. I was crushed. Tears started to my eyes. I resented my mother for ruining my happiness.

Of course, as the years went by, I didn’t tell any of my peers that I knew Santa wasn’t real. I didn’t want to break their hearts, too. When they talked about Santa coming, I would feel jealous because I couldn’t muster up the same anticipation.

Later, I asked my mother why she’d told me Santa wasn’t real at the very height of my excitement about Santa. She explained that she didn’t want me to be “disappointed” when I discovered by myself that he wasn’t real. When she’d found out Santa wasn’t real, she’d been angry that her parents had lied to her. Well, okay. But I’d been bitter about my disillusionment. Was that any better?

My brother, who was two at the time, did not feel the same despair as I had. Probably because he was younger. Maybe the wondrousness of Santa hadn’t sunk in just yet.

Looking back on it, I guess you could say my reaction wasn’t logical. But I was four! And I’d been so happy about Santa having come, so I was devastated to be told it wasn’t true.

If you want to protect your child from disappointment, surely there’s a better time to tell them that Santa doesn’t exist?

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Maybe I Just Need to Let It Float Around in My Head?

I had an appointment with the therapist this morning. I feel like it was a productive session. I brought up quite a few concerns, both new and old ones.

I find that, lately, I have trouble articulating my thoughts, both in writing and speaking. Not unusual for the latter to happen, but the former is unusual. So bear with me as I try to explain things.

The first issue I mentioned was dissociation, which seems to be happening to me frequently lately. But only in small spurts. As I described what it felt like, I experienced an intense spell of dissociation, oddly enough. I’m not sure if the therapist noticed or not. I don’t think so. Was I dissociating so that I could use the moment as a reference while explicating dissociation? I’m not sure. For some reason, if that’s so, that would be amusing to me. At the time, that’s not what it felt like. It was more like my consciousness was lying dormant somewhere because it wasn’t in the mood to participate. I’m not sure if that explains it accurately or not. As my therapist said, our language doesn’t have sufficient tools to express these concepts. (The inadequacy of language was something I also learned a great deal about in English academia, ha. Oftentimes, I feel like psychology and English are not that different from each other. Hence, why I contemplated majoring in either of them. Plus, psychological sources, such as Freud, are used in some schools of literary analysis.)

The next issue was a recurring theme throughout the session. I feel like my time with the therapist is beneficial, but I don’t know how to translate what I’m realizing during the sessions into ideas that directly impact me. I’ll say more about this matter in a minute.

I also explained my adventures with the woman whose car I hit. (See the beginning of this post for a more detailed description of those encounters.) I mentioned that I thought I was too naive for my own good. Even my friend, who I perceive as naive, told me that my behavior was naive. This naivete bothered me a lot. My therapist’s response was that it didn’t sound like I was naive but, rather, that my constant fear of others disliking me motivated my decisions. I’ve become programmed so that my first instincts are to try not to hurt people’s feelings and to attempt to avoid their displeasure. In the car situation, I was aware that my decisions were unwise, so I wasn’t being naive. And I realized that she was right. For some reason, this made me feel much better about the incident. I’m not easy to take advantage of because I’m naive, but because of my insecurities. This is something I already knew, so it doesn’t worry me as much, for I am currently trying to tackle those issues.

During the session, my therapist said that, ultimately, it is up to me to decide what I think about myself. I could go on believing what I always have, which has made me insecure. Or I can reach for the other more logical point of view. I’m not inherently despicable. In her opinion, I’m quite intelligent and charming. (Charming?)

And rationally, I understand that I’m not intrinsically detestable. But it won’t sink into my beliefs.

Perhaps I just need to let the matter percolate in my brain for an indeterminate amount of time? When I don’t understand something, usually nothing I do will make me understand it. Instead, at some weird time, the concept suddenly clicks. After that, it’s forever a part of my knowledge and the way I approach things.

Maybe I should just sit around and wait? Let it digest? Have patience and believe that it’s floating around somewhere in my mind, interacting with it?

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Let the Music Wash Over Me

As I added to my novel last night, I decided to listen to to some BRMC. First was this song:

Quite lovely. I pressed the replay button over and over again. It fit in perfectly with the scene I was writing. A young man had returned to his mother and was recounting the horrors of hypocrisy he’d witnessed. His will to live had been sapped, and he felt ashamed of his former disdain for his mother. (This part was actually written from the mother’s point of view, so I was depicting her compassion for her son. The previous scene had focused on his feelings.)

The song inspired me, and it set the mood.

Then I clicked a link to another BRMC song. Surprisingly, I’d never heard it before, though I’ve listened to a good bit of their music. This song began to play:

Just, love. I’m in love with it.

Both of these songs . . . I know it’s a cliche, but words can’t describe how much they resonate with me. They speak to my soul.

I could be content to lie here all day as these songs spellbind me again and again.

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Humbug!

Why do I have to be such an effing naive person? I’ve heard further interactions with the lady whose car I bumped into (see here). I’ve finally reported the incident to the insurance. Basically,  everyone I’ve told about the issue lectures me and explains that the woman is trying to extort me. Obviously, I’m not stupid, and I see that possibility. Still, I don’t see what benefit she gets out of an “arrangement” where I pay her a small sum every week (which is what she proposed). How is that even enough money to do anything with?

I’ve discovered that I prefer to put my life in danger over being rude to someone or hurting their feelings. How is this sensible? Why am I so insecure that every stranger’s opinion of me matters more to me than my own safety?

How can I be such a stupid person?

I feel like I’m messing everything up I touch. My absent-mindedness has led me to overlook crucial details at work. My incompetence is shining through. I get confused easily, which makes everyone think I’m an idiot.

It seems I can’t do anything right. 😦

A logical part of me knows that’s not true. Some good things actually happened to me yesterday, things that would seem to indicate that I’m good at my job. But then there’s so much more that I screw up.

After work, I went to Wal-Mart to buy a couple of items. During the drive, I felt as if I was going to burst into tears. I feel so alone. Guarded. I have to guard myself and my heart all of the time because no one wants it. All people want to do is have fun, and if you’re no fun, you’re nothing to them. I can’t say I blame them. But I have to hide my issues all of the time so people won’t think I can’t do my job. I have to hide them to keep myself from being vulnerable. I have to hide them to prevent everyone from seeing what I fraud I am, how underneath I’m a mass of insecurities and inabilities.

As I walked around Wal-Mart, I heard Christmas music blaring throughout the store. My first thought was, Please God no. With a groan. I hate most Christmas music. It’s too cutesy and corny and just . . . ahh!

But then something happened. The music actually made me tear up. As I strolled by happy families, my eyes grew wetter. At one point, I had to stand in an unobtrusive corner and pretend to be intensely studying the discounted baked goods so that no one would notice.

I thought, Why can’t I feel the warmth of someone loving me without judging me?

I thought, Why do I have to be incredibly unlikeable? For it seems that most people have a lukewarm liking for me at best. When people get to know the real me, they reject me. Only a handful of instances contradict this–the one friend I have and my family. But even they are judgmental, and none of them are warm individuals.

I’m not either. Truth to tell, I’m never comfortable with expressing my emotions unless I’m alone. I’d be the last person to inspire warmth, for I am frost.

People have even accused me of having no emotions whatsoever.

Strange thing, that. I’m told that I’m either emotionless or too emotional. There’s no in-between.

All I want to do is curl up into a ball, turn some music up loud, and let the music wash over me.

Humbug. Christmas music, I hate you.

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Titles: A Story’s Weaving

I have been thinking lately about how I decide to title my stories. Sometimes, it takes a while for me to find the right title. I might come up with a tentative one, but it just doesn’t feel right. I let it stand until when and if I find a better one.

As you may or may not know, I participated in NaNoWriMo in November. The story I ultimately chose to work on is a fantasy novel, which is not usually my forte. It stems from an idea that I originally had in high school. (Funny thing, that. It seems that all of the novel ideas I can get invested in are ones from high school . . . most of my original ideas these days are short stories.) I didn’t have a title. In fact, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what a suitable title would be.

Then it hit me one day. The title. (I won’t mention it here just in case someone I know in real life should stumble upon this.)

At first, I was skeptical. It didn’t seem to fit with the story. There was one incident near the beginning that sort of related to it, but that was it. Still, I didn’t have a better idea, so I slapped it onto the story as a tentative title.

As I continued writing, the title began to feel right. It fit perfectly. I would have random ideas that related to the title. I’d scurry to include them, excited to see how the disparate parts were uniting into a cohesive whole.

I am nowhere near finished with this novel, not by any means. If I continue at this pace, it could even potentially develop into a series. Quite a daunting prospect, especially since I don’t normally write fantasy in the first place. But these characters . . . I like them. Some I like much more than I anticipated. Some I don’t like as much as I anticipated I would (but of course, I am still fond of them). When I compare them with characters in other books, I don’t know how they stack up. They might seem too perfect to be real, but perhaps that’s just me because I infuse them with traits I admire. They’ve got oodles of flaws, and I can definitely feel the differences between their voices. I’m worried that my style might not display that difference, though, since I tend to structure my sentences the same way regardless. But that’s something to tackle further down the road.

Usually, I like to write literary pieces. I don’t think people see fantasy as a literary genre, and I’m afraid that’ll doom my story. It won’t appeal to literary or fantasy people. Ultimately, I like to think that it tackles serious themes yet is also fun.

At this point, I don’t know where the story’s going. There’s the backbone of the plot, but beyond that, I’m lost. Some events are developing in a manner that conflicts with other plans I’d had.

But I’m enjoying this journey. It takes dedication and patience, yes. I love when I have exciting spur-of-the-moment ideas and develop them. I love seeing how unrelated bits unify. I love how parts reference each other, coming together to symbolize an idea or indicate a theme. Especially when it’s unplanned. When it just flows out of me, and I wonder, where did that come from?

I frequently find it hard to begin when I sit down to write. I might dither for an hour before I can force myself to do it. But once I become immersed in it, there’s nothing quite like it.

When I write, I feel a connection that I cannot describe. I can only experience it, and recognize that experience when it comes.

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