Sunday, December 22, 2019

Weekly Update: Pneumonia

Ugh. You may have noticed that I haven't updated in a couple of weeks. That's because I managed to get pneumonia. It's been two weeks and while the doctor assures me that I'm getting better, it sure doesn't much feel like it. Okay, I no longer have a crazy fever but I am still coughing until I throw up sometimes. The cough is dry and deep. I feel like a braying donkey or something...something not

Other than that, I've been struggling a bit with believing in myself. For ages, I've wanted to be a writer, but now that the chance is here, I feel as if I suck at it and nobody would ever read anything that I wrote. Due to being sick, I've had zero imagination as my body focuses on the act of breathing. Feeling blank scares me and part of me wants to just give up on this dream. What if nobody ever reads my stories? I gave a dozen beta readers my book of children's stories about a month ago and not a single person has read them. That's insanely disheartening. What if it sucks? What if what I thought was good is really, really bad? Ugh. I'm at the point where I want the feedback, but I don't want the feedback. I guess all I can do is wait and see if anyone reads the book. It's not like it's ready to go to print. I still need 4-5 pieces of art for inside of it and I've only sent the artist reference photos for 2 of those pieces. On top of that, I still need to come up with a cover.

Then, there's the last book of The Tether Saga. I sent it to Nick weeks ago. He said he read it, that it was a good base, and that he had a ton of notes for it. In essence, I'm hearing that I have to rewrite the entire thing. At first, I was excited about getting notes back, but as my health continues to suck and he continues to not send me the notes, my self doubt is sky high. What if I failed at that too?

Argh. Pneumonia is not good for self-esteem. It's left me too isolated but too sick to pull myself up out of this funk. Maybe once I'm feeling better and the holidays are over, I'll try to come up with enough money to take a night away at a hotel where I can take a long, hot shower and then sit and focus on what I really want/need for my own health and well being. Not like resolutions, but some self-awareness. I know me. I know what works and what doesn't work. I just have to decide what's worth working for and what needs to be put behind me. I can't imagine not writing which is weird because I seem completely incapable of writing right now. Maybe I just need all the notes from Nick and from the beta readers. Maybe they won't say you suck and maybe if they do, it will be constructive  and I can improve.

For now though, I'm going to try to get better. The coughing leaves me exhausted and I feel like I nap way more than any human being should, but it is what it is. Bonus is that my youngest is due to walk through the door any time now and that will lift my spirits. It's been pretty dang lonely sitting here all by myself while everyone is so busy with the holidays. It's good for me that he's going to be here for a few days. He's going to help me finish getting ready for Christmas and has suggested we do a bit of gaming. Yeah, it's good to not be all alone....

Monday, December 2, 2019

Weekly Update: It's Better Now

As I write this, I'm struggling with a headache, but I'm in decent spirits. Last week, some grand folks made sure that I had some food for Thanksgiving and the day or so after. Roger came over on Friday and I took him to go shopping for his siblings. Time with my boys is always sure to boost my mood.

Other than that, not much has changed. Money is still crazy tight and I have about $20 to get me to the 19th for groceries. It's rough but I'm hanging in there. I'm more concerned with how I'm going to feed the boys if they come over than I am about how to feed myself. I guess I should look up some instapot recipes that are inexpensive but filling. Teenage boys can eat a lot!

The other big concern is that Dylan has never been in the house and Roger would also like to have Molly come over for Christmas. While the house is better, it's still not outside people ready. I only have two weeks until the boys are off for holiday break from school so I don't have a lot of time to dilly dally. I've started doing little things here and there as I can, but I'm concerned I won't have the house ready in time. All I can do is try though...and hope my energy levels keep up. Since I'm exhausted at 5:30pm, it's questionable but I'm going to try. It's all I can do.

For those who have asked how you can help me this holiday season, the best way would be funds to buy groceries and maybe some gifts for the kids for Christmas. My paypal is ...Please don't feel as if you need to though. I'm a survivor and this isn't going to be what breaks me.

Until next week!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Weekly Update: Holiday Blahs

That little egg may be on the slightly dramatic side for this post. After all, I'm not sitting around all the time in tears, just now and then. Right now? No tears, just tired.

I did realize the other day though that the holiday blahs have set in early for me this year. With no money to even buy food, let alone anything else, I've become overwhelmed. Overwhelmed leads to anxiety which leads to depression which leads to a not so very holly jolly me.

On top of that, I won't be seeing my boys over Thanksgiving and I don't know if I'll even see them over their winter break except for maybe a day. Roger has hopes of doing some work at his dad's office which means him staying over there. Ben will be working. This leaves this mom all alone and that's bringing me down as well.

I'm not sure how to shake this overwhelmed feeling. Maybe if I could, I could continue to dig out the house or at least something productive. It needs a lot of work though if you break it down, it's not so bad. I was thinking about cleaning in my room today, but there's a good chance I'd just climb back into bed. I haven't been sleeping all that well which just adds to the muckity muck.

I'm also questioning if I ought to continue writing here. I started a weekly post because I thought it might help me and others, but I'm seeing that there aren't many others reading. I think if there's at least one person reading, one person who might feel a little less alone, I'll keep going though. It does help me to brain purge. Some things are better out of the brain than floating around endlessly inside.

Well, I guess that was a short questioning session, eh? I like when that happens. I hate feeling wishy washy, like I can't make a decision. It's nice when I can be decisive and then move on to something else.

What's that something else? Well, that's a darned good question. How about we end this post with 3 positives? It's good to focus on the good now and then.

1. I'm only 1800 words from finishing NaNoWriMo and most of those words came from projects that will be published.

2. I'm alive. I may be scary levels of broke and unsure how I'm going to feed myself, let alone kids if they come over, but I'm alive.

3. The boys are all doing well. Ben has a cold, but otherwise, they're all doing well and being successful in their areas.

And that's all for this week, guys. If I let myself, I'd write for ages and ages but nobody wants to read all of that! As always, take care of yourselves and each other.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Weekly Update: Tired

Holy crow, y'all. I'm tired. That's the only way to describe how I feel right now. It's the kind of tired that affects everything. I'm hyper aware of what's happening around me. I'm super duper emotional. It sucks. Oh my god, it sucks so much.

I'm actually at a NaNo write in right now, writing this. I know, it's not a novel, but it's words and words count. I needed to do this today because tomorrow I'm picking up the oldest and taking him to pretty much finish up his holiday shopping. Yeah, I know. He's like done. It's crazy. As for me, I don't even know if we'll have a Christmas at my house this year. I've had zero projects come in and that means zero income. Zero income equals zero spending money for presents.

I know that it's really about time together and all of that, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to have things for my kids. They're still teenagers, not grown ups. I don't know yet what I'll do. I keep hoping that something will come through. I'm not giving up all hope.

Did I mention I'm tired? heh...Yep, that just popped into my head again. I am worn the heck out. I'm now on day 26 of a heavy period. How heavy? A week ago I bought a package of pads that advertised it was a 3.5 month supply. I'm stopping by the store tonight to buy more. Yeah...that heavy. Gross, huh? Super gross. I love being a girl, but right now, I don't love having a uterus that's acting cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

That's another side effect of all of this. I have a constant desire to eat. That's not helpful when you need to lose weight, DHS has cut you back to $16 in grocery money each month, and you have a kid coming over that you need to feed. Yep. Yippee!

The odd thing? Even with all of this going on, I'm in good spirits for the most part. Sure, I have moments where I break down crying, but if you look at my mood journal, you'd see mostly average days. Average is good. I like average.

Somehow we'll get through this rough patch. I always do. I have zero idea how this time, but hey, that's okay...that's life, right?

Now, back to proofing my children's anthology! I'm still waiting for Nick to send me the notes to Nevermore so I'm not sure what the timeline is for that. I had kind of hoped by the end of the year, but that's looking very unlikely. If I can manage to track him down, that's something else to talk to him about. Somehow I'm suspecting it's not his top priority project. Ahh well...the life of a writer is so glamorous, eh?

Time to focus on what I can focus on and keep going.
Love you all!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Weekly Update: Looking Forward

Looking Forward

Isn't it funny how a simple change of perspective can change something so dramatically? A week ago (well, a week ago yesterday), I sent Nick the draft of Nevermore. Ever since then I've worked at looking forward...the next project, the project after that...and not dwelling on what he was doing with the book. Yesterday, he sent me a message saying that he was halfway through and be warned, there would be notes. That icy clutch of anxiety hit me and I had to remind myself to breathe. Then, I started thinking about it.

Why was I so anxious? The book wasn't utter garbage, I knew that much. Nick loves me (as close friends do) and wasn't going to be cruel. Maybe I was looking at this the wrong way. Perhaps instead of paranoid, I needed to be excited. I know that's a huge flip, but let me explain. I could be excited because I wrote that book all by myself. It's mine and I accomplished that. I could be excited because whatever notes he leaves, I can take or leave...but more importantly, I can use them to improve the book. I don't have an official editor, but I need to look at Nick like I do my doctor...she's there to help me, not tear me down. We're a team. Nick and I are a team and a dang good one. Why be afraid of that?

Once I made that decision, I calmed back down and was able to focus on working on other things that needed doing. I'm still not caught up after a weekend of mostly being gone (NaNo Thursday, writing and concert Friday, NaNo write in Saturday, Grand Rapids Comic Con and NaNo write in Sunday), but I'm making good progress. There's always things to do though! Laundry, for example. Sheesh! At least the moving about keeps me warm during this snow/cold snap that we're having.

Let's see...other than that...I suppose things are good. I've still not had any new work come in and I'm concerned since the holidays are coming up. I don't want to cancel Christmas for my three kids. That would be a huge disappointment to all of us. Hopefully something shifts my way. I'm always hopeful.

The house has been at a bit of a standstill but I'm hoping to have more energy to tackle that soon. It's tough when my body is at day 21 of its period. I'm still cramping and feeling just run down. I can only do what I can while my body pitches a fit.

I think that's it! Nothing much has changed in the past week. I'm still fighting my way through NaNo, trying to be a good mom, and just looking forward...

Monday, November 4, 2019

Weekly Update: NaNo!

I can't believe that it's November again. A year ago, I was shivering in my car waiting for Roger to get out of sax lessons. Today I was talking to him about college and how he has a concert on Friday. (Note to self: Don't forget to get your ticket!) A lot has changed over the past year. I've changed over the past year.

NaNo has not changed over the past year. It's still 50,000 words in 30 days. What's changed for me is my focus. A week ago, my focu was to finish Nevermore, the novel that I started writing nearly two years ago. Yesterday, on day 3 of NaNo, I finished it. That's right. After nearly 2 years, I finished writing my very first novel. That's pretty huge, right?

It was a moment of excitement and the sadness as I realized that I couldn't share that with the man. It was the first thing that I wanted to do. I messaged him, but he was too busy to open messages and so, in the end, I posted it to Instagram and shared it to Facebook. Some people on Facebook liked the post which made me feel good, but really what I wanted was a celebration. I wanted people to comment acknowledging how big of a deal this was to me. Nobody really did, but maybe they don't realize just how huge this is.

But, I did it. The girl who they said would never be anything or do anything wrote a novel all by herself and damn it, I'm proud of that. I'm going to say it again... I wrote a book and damn it, I'm proud of that. I did it. Me.

Now that it's done and off to be double checked before revisions, I'm going to be working on writing some children's stories. I used to love telling the boys stories at bedtime and who knows, maybe someday they'll read these stories to my grandkids. No time soon though! We'll let others read them first.

For now though, it's time to flip the laundry and take some deep breaths because life can be overwhelming sometimes.

PS Two weeks of a period is two weeks too about overwhelming!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Weekly Update: Keep on Keeping On

Image courtesy of
So, where are things this week? I honestly don't know. The house hasn't deteriorated which I'm counting as a victory. I started a new job with Arledge Comics which doesn't pay on a regular basis, but it's a new challenge and new income stream. So, I'd say that's good too.

Still, I'm weighed down with financial concerns. I still have a $150 vet bill to pay off, need $700 for a new stove/oven, and about $750 to do the next round of repairs on the car. On top of that, we're rolling into the holidays and I want to be able to do something for the boys. After all, they're poor college kids and I know that they need things.

Life is about worries though, isn't it? I'm trying not to let it drag me down. I'm going into one of my favorite months of the year... NaNoWriMo...I mean, November. My calendar is full with write ins. Heck, I'm even running one for one week. This means social time which I'm badly in need of. It means progressing Nevermore and I know that the first draft will finally be complete after nearly two years of working on it. The end is in sight and I can't wait to share the book with all of the wonderful people who read the first two and who put their faith in me to write the final book in the series.

So, how I am? I'm an anxious little ball of fun who is just trying to keep on keeping on. That's all one can do. I'm trying to keep getting things done and to keep a cheery disposition as much as possible. Having something to look forward to, even though I know it will exhaust me, does help. November holds NaNo, watching Roger perform in another concert, and possibly more time with Ben. I doubt that I'll see Dylan. He seems more attached to Peter and that side of his "parents". So be it.

I feel as if this entire post is disjointed, but maybe that's just me. I'm going to leave it for now by wishing y'all an incredible week. You deserve it.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Weekly Update: Depression

It's been a rough week and I'm not going to pretend otherwise. That would be lying to all of you and lying to myself and that's just not healthy.

Let's see...where to start...I guess with the car. I think I mentioned that I was having car trouble and about $600 short on getting it repaired. Well, I managed to come up with $250 and someone loaned me the other $350 so I went and got the brakes/rotors/calipers all taken care of. Unfortunately, the mechanic came out with more bad news in that the other wheel bearing is now making noise. That's another $450. I don't have it. Not a single penny of it. My editing sale brought in nothing, nor did my stick figure art sale. I did sell about $20 worth of books but that went towards the last repair. I'm trying to remain calm but it's hard.

Speaking of money, it turns out that my oldest makes too much money for us to really remain on food assistance. Due to his income (none of which is really a part of this household), they've cut me back to $16/mo. I have no idea what to do about that. Since he's splitting time between here and his father's, perhaps it'd be better to drop him as part of the household. I really don't know. I just know that nobody can live off of $16/mo in food and my income doesn't allow for me to cover groceries quite yet. That's a dream of mine...a goal...

So, as you can probably tell, money has me beyond stressed out. I don't know what I'm going to do. There's also a lot of little financial things that are trying to be the straws that break the camels back. On top of the financial stuff, I had to miss two major events that I had planned on attending due to the car and other finances. It was incredibly hard on me to see my friends and other people I know having a jolly grand time at them, knowing that I should have been there too. It's so hard being poor.

I'd like to say that I have some brilliant plan as to how I'm going to fix all of this, but all I can do is try to keep moving forward the best that I can. I'm waiting now for a client to pay me in hopes that he does so before my insurance company tries to pull funds. It should be okay, but it's a scary waiting game.

I keep thinking that the book sale was supposed to help pay to get my dryer repaired and a new stove/oven (I've been without one since March) and here I am trying to figure out car repairs. It doesn't take much to start a stress spiral it seems. I honestly have considered a GoFundMe, but I don't know if anyone would pitch in. I keep hearing that everyone is in the same boat. God, I sure hope not. It's a rather terrible leaky little thing and my bucket has holes. I'd not wish this on anyone else.

Like I said, all I can do is keep trying to move forward the best that I can. I know that not many people read this blog, but I'm going to post the links to my sale and to my book sale here, just in case someone may be interested...

Editing Sale
Book Sale

Have a great week, everyone and take care of yourselves and each other.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Weekly Update: Stress

image courtesy of

Whew! This week has been nonstop stress. One of the biggest stressors for me is if something goes wrong with my car and sure enough, not one thing, not two things, but three things went wrong with it! First, I took it in to have a wheel bearing checked. Yep, it needs replaced. Then, it was a headlight. Yep, some dongle thing needed replacing.  Oh, and by the way, the front brake pads, rotors, and calipers need replacing. Thanks to all of the amazing clients who have sent work my way recently, I had the funds for the first two. The third? The one that's $600? Nope. Thanks again to those clients, I've raised $250. That leaves me $350 short and it's had me in a stress spiral for the past couple of days. It's hard to focus on getting things done. If I don't have a car, I'm trapped where I live. There is no public transportation in the middle of nowhere.

Other than that, things are okay. We're just about ready to have someone come in to check on the furnace and water heater. I've been busting my butt. We've hauled 9 trash bags to goodwill and I have another 4 ready to go. I've lost track of the numbers of bags of trash we've hauled out along with broken fans and things like that. I'm proud of that.

I'm also proud of my youngest who performed in his first college Jazz concert the other night. He had an amazing solo and I'm so glad that I took the chance of driving over. It was worth every worry along the way.

This week is all about trying to find the funds for the car, working more on the house, and wrapping up a couple of client projects. If any of you are looking for a proofreader, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Weekly Update: Befuddled Brain

Normally I would spend ages looking for just the right graphic to go with this post, but today, I honestly just don't feel like it. Maybe I'm tired or maybe I'm in a little bit of a slump. Maybe I noticed that almost nobody reads these posts. It could be one or all. I just know that I can't write a brilliant post today and I'm disappointed in myself for that. The truth is though that I'm having a tough time remember what all I'm even supposed to do today.

It's been a good couple of weeks so this is probably pretty much par for the course. I could also have some bonus hormones happening. Clearly I'm not a medical! Anyway, I'm going to do a quick weekly update and then get back to work....because I do know that there's work waiting on me.

This past week has been good. There was a lot of frustration and some anxiety as my car started having issues (yes, again...) and all three of my children kept changing the plans for the weekend. In the end, we sorted it out and I think everyone had a good weekend. I'm a bit concerned for Rog because he's talking about having intermittent hearing loss in his one ear and I'm hoping he isn't falling behind in any of his classes.

The house is coming along. I'd put the bedroom at about 60%. I've cleared out both closets now and started putting some stuff away in them. I have another four bags for Goodwill. That will put us at 13 bags donated. I can't believe how much stuff we've been hauling out of this house. I'm pretty sure we could double that before we're done. On top of that, I have realized that I need to downsize my book collection so I think I'm going to have a sale on Facebook, both on my personal page and my fan page. I'm thinking $1 a book with possible discounts on bulk purchases. Cookbooks will be priced slightly higher.  It's going to be a slow sale simply because I'm going to start adding things to a folder and add as I find more. I'm also going to throw DVDs into there too. I really could use the money to buy a new stove/oven. So, it's a double bonus if people buy them. Fingers crossed!

For now though, I think I'm going to make some lunch, stretch a bit, and then get a story proofread for a client. Have I mentioned how much I love my job? Because I honest to goodness love my job.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Pause the Music

Credit to Nick Gibson for today's title inspiration.
I have a lot of thoughts in my head and would you believe that they're all good and I'm smiling? Weird, huh? I'm not complaining though.

I saw my doctor on Friday and I'm happy to report that we're both doing well. She had a workout accident a while back but is healing nicely. Me? My blood pressure tracking pleased her and seeing me happy and thriving put a huge smile on her face.

I don't think I realized that I'd stopped thriving, but was merely surviving. Heck, just surviving was a nice feeling. Actually thriving (thank you god for those who created this medication that I'm on now) has me over the moon and insanely productive. My sleep schedule has shifted to more match that of those around me. I'm asleep by 11 and up by 6:30-7:30 am. I'm getting up, getting dressed, eating, and knocking out project after project. It's spectacular.

I don't know if I wrote last week about being back in my bedroom, but that's been a wonderful change too. After a week or so of that, I'm finally adjusting to sleeping in there. The cats have laid claim to their sleeping spots and none of us are crunched up, unless they choose to be (Mac likes to sleep up against my legs). My room isn't completely dehoarded, but I would say that it's at least halfway there and I'm thinking that maybe within a week, it will be totally done. Then, I need to convince the youngest to come home from college for a few hours to help me get the dresser inside and upstairs to my room. I can't move it by myself and my doctor told me to not even try.

Normally, all of these changes would freak me out, but instead, I'm celebrating them and I'm celebrating me for getting them done. Thanks to my editing work, I've been able to make some payments on outstanding bills and I'm hoping that by the end of the year, those will be taken care of which will put me in a better financial place for the upcoming year.

I've found myself stopping more...Pausing the music in my enjoy other things. I'm slowly reading more. I'm playing games. I'm taking pictures of raindrops on spider webs. I'm doing more of the things that I love that slipped by the wayside. Mostly? I'm enjoying being me. It's pretty awesome.

That's it for this week. I'm off to Life With Katie to write my weekly writing prompt post. If you like recipes, reviews, writing, please pop over and check it out. I have a giveaway starting there tomorrow.

Until next week....take care of yourselves, my little chickadees!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Dipping and Birthdays

Okay, it isn't my birthday. Not until tomorrow. However, it's really affecting me today. You see, I guess at some point, I stopped feeling loved or cared about and my birthday was a solid reflection of that. After my divorce, nobody paid any attention to it really. Well, that's not true. I had one friend who did. I guess I started seeing my birthday as some kind of indicator of whether or not I deserved to remain on this planet.  I can't believe I'm writing about this. I don't think I've ever fully told anyone why my birthday matters so much to me...

Anyway, some years were bad...for my 30th, I was raped by someone I trusted. For my 35th, someone threw a birthday party for me that nobody showed up to. Others were pretty year, I got three or four cards and half a dozen presents. That was a really good year. I felt so loved. This year? Well, my birthday is tomorrow and there have been no cards or gifts that have arrived.

In years past, this would have been an issue for me starting a week to two weeks before my birthday. I'd have been checking the mail box every day, even checking my Amazon wish list to see if anything had been bought. This year, I made it to two days ago for the mail box and today for the depression. That's progress, but it's still hard. Part of me screams...I just want to be loved. Why can't you show me that you care? A card would cost as little as $1.50 to buy and send, aren't I worth your time? Blah.

Social media hurts in these situations. People post about their birthdays...the dinners, the cakes, the cards, the presents...and it hurts. People also post to my wall and feel like that's enough. It's nice, especially if we aren't close, but it's not the same as knowing that someone took the time to make a real effort. Ugh. I just flipped to Facebook to answer a message and what do I see? Someone's birthday with dinner out, balloons, cake, and presents. See? That's just what I mean. I'm happy for the person, but it's like a stab in the heart to me.

I know, deep down, that I shouldn't take one day and use it as a determining factor of my worth. I know that I shouldn't, but still, there's that piece of me...that really mean voice...that tells me that nobody loves me, they love what I can do for them, for how I can make them feel, but that they don't love me. I hate that voice. She's a bitch. She's just plain mean.

So, today, I'm sad. I'm next to in tears sad and it's not really anybody's fault. It's this whole birthday thing. I wish I could hate birthdays but I don't. I love them. I love celebrating the days that my favorite people joined the world on this planet. Somehow, I even love mine. That makes zero sense, but it's true. Maybe it's the part of me that's happy to be alive. I'm not really sure. I'm not really sure that this post makes any amount of sense, but here it is...Love to all who are struggling...

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Life Update

This needs to be my reminder to myself this week. Kat Scratch Press editing has taken off to the point where I have four separate projects on my desk. I'm always so worried about letting people down that I'll work myself to exhaustion trying to make sure that they're happy. Part of the reason that I've moved these posts to Sundays is to make sure that my Monday are open for me to just sit and work if need be. Fingers crossed that I can hold myself in check this coming week.

As for everything else, things are going pretty well. When Ben was here last week, we cleaned the kitchen, sorted through his clothes, and then created a 3" wide (give or take, I suck at estimating distance) path from my bedroom door to my bed. Then, since I could now access my dresser, I purged that and all of the clothes that have been stacking up on my bed. In the end, I donated three bags of clothes to Goodwill and I'm nowhere near done with that room yet! It's crazy, but the big news is...I can now sleep in my bed for the first time in five years! That's a victory right there. The bed is made up with clean sheets and I've spent the past three nights sleeping up there. I'm not sleeping 100% yet but I'm adjusting to having an entire bed to sleep in. I guess you can say that I kicked that having the tv on habit because there isn't a tv in the bedroom. I still have the light on, but that'll go at some point. I'm just not quite ready.

Ben is coming back over this evening for a couple of days and I suspect we'll be tackling the living room in between bouts of me working on client work. I'm so looking forward to the point where this house is a place where I wouldn't mind my son's girlfriend coming into instead of waiting in the car while he runs in to get something. I'm really hopeful that by the time colleges let out for Christmas break, the house will be good enough for all of the kids to be here. That would mean a lot to me.

In other news, I finally received a blood pressure cuff and I've been using it for the past couple of days. My results so far? 123/78, 133/87, and 131/80. So, two of those were a little high but still below the mild hypertension range which is good. If it continues this way for the remainder of the thirty days, I don't think we'll need to adjust my medication. Perhaps if I lose some weight, that will help bring it back down.

I haven't been able to start the walking or the pool time yet. I've been so busy with everything else that I just haven't had the energy. I know that it's something that I need to do, but I just haven't gotten there yet.

I'm feeling a little stressed but overall, I think I'm handling things okay. I just have to keep going and making changes when I can. The bed thing is a huge one and I'm looking forward to clearing more of that room out so I can get more things put where they belong. One day and one step at a time. Ever Onward.

Sunday, September 8, 2019


Two weeks in a row, who would have thought? This is going to be a short post because it's been a very busy day and, this entire week is going to be crazy. My oldest is visiting until Wednesday night and we have plans to attempt some serious deep cleaning around here. Of course, my plan to have no editing work for this week completely bombed. I have 4 more files for a friend of mine and each file takes me at least a couple of hours. I just seem incredibly slow at it. I'm hoping that he'll be patient and give me a few more days to get them done. I'll message him first thing in the morning and see what kind of timeline he can work with.

Other than that, things are going fairly well. I still don't have a blood pressure monitor, but someone from my past popped up and said he'd like to give me the money to buy one. Since we haven't spoken in about 25 years or more, I have my hesitations but if he comes through, that would be amazing.

I'm still really tired which concerns me. I don't know what's causing it. I did okay today though, but it's the first day that I have. I'm hoping though that it means I've turned a corner with that. It's so hard to balance life when you're spending half of it asleep or feeling out of it with exhaustion.

Balance is obviously a concern. My little editing business seems to be taking off which is incredibly exciting, but I need to figure out how to balance client work with house work and writing. I don't want to stop writing and right now the only writing that I'm doing is a weekly prompt over on Life With Katie that I've managed to do two weeks in a row. Hopefully I can start to find that balance so that I can do all of the things that I need to. Yep, I need to write. It's part of who I am...

For now though, it's nearing midnight and I need to take my medicine and see about getting ready for bed. Tomorrow is talking with my client, working on one of his files, and then Ben and I are going to try to get the kitchen cleaned up. A tidy space helps me keep a tidy mind. Thank goodness for awesome kids who are willing to help out.

Monday, September 2, 2019

What? A Weekly Update?!?

It's only been a week and I'm back! Can you believe it? I almost can't except that I've been working on setting up a new Monday schedule which includes writing a post here and writing one over on Life With Katie.

So, how are things? Let me tell you. I'm still struggling with being really tired during the day. I wake up around 7:30 and stay awake until maybe 9 am and then I fall back to sleep until 10:30 or later. It's far from ideal. I'm hoping that it's still the medication and not a blood pressure issue.

Speaking of blood pressure issues, I still don't have a cuff for me to monitor things at home. Why, you ask? Because insurance sucks. The first place I went doesn't take my insurance. The second place does, but the insurance requires submission of my appointment notes showing medical necessity. Then, once the place submits those, it can take 2-3 weeks for them to approve (or not) it so I can get one. It's really frustrating and a little bit scary. I've looked on Amazon and for $50, I could have a really high rated one and not have to go through this, but every penny that comes in, goes right back out to one bill or another. You would think that they'd find preventative care worthy of investing in. I don't think I'm at serious risk for a heart attack or anything, but if I were to have one, the medical expenses would be a lot higher than the cost of an at home blood pressure cuff.

Let's see, other than that, it's really all about adjusting to not having the kids here. Roger and Dylan seem to be settling in well at college. I saw them on Friday and Dylan was chatting quite a bit about a girl that he's met. Maybe he'll have a girlfriend soon. Roger is busy with classes and rehearsing. It makes me smile to see him taking things so seriously. His roommate is talking about starting a D&D group for Friday nights and he's interested. I may need to dig out my dice for him soon.

My editing business is trickling along with makes me smile. I made enough in August to keep DHS off my back for another month. Right now, September is looking promising, thank god. Even with the new medication, I panic at the thought of having to work outside of the house. So, I keep pushing with my little business. It's something that I truly love doing and it's flexible so if I need to go do something else, I can go do it. I think I need that flexibility.

I guess that's it for now! Life is all about adjustments right now. Tonight I start in with making sure I'm in bed by midnight. I've also slept with the tv on and the light on for years now so I'm going to start working on turning down the tv a little bit each night. Baby steps, right? Now...I'm going to baby step over to the other site and work on a Wordsmith Wednesday post!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Health Update

Isn't that post-it super cute? I made it all by myself...Okay, well, with the help of a generator. As usual, it's been a while so I wanted to post an update, especially since I went and had my annual physical on Friday. Look at me almost being on top of things!

So, here we go...everything, for the most part, is okay. My weight is down 15 pounds from last year (now at 300 even), so that's good. I still want/need to keep working that direction. I spoke to her about my crippling anxiety at the idea of having to work outside of the house to keep my food stamps. She's given me an additional medication to try out to see if it helps. I need to go back at the end of September to see if it's helping. The other big issue is my blood pressure. She wants me to monitor it twice a day for a month to see if we need to tweak medication for there. Right now, I'm waiting for a prescription to be sent to the the right place for me to pick up the monitoring equipment. I'm a little nervous about that, but considering the panic attacks and big life changes happening around here, I can't really be surprised that my blood pressure is high. Still, better to monitor it and get ahead of it than not. They also want me to change back to a birth control shot because it doesn't have estrogen in it and with my age, they don't want to risk the higher chances of blood clots that can come with added estrogen.

Let's see...what's happening other than that?  On Saturday, we moved the boys into Michigan State for their first year of college. I managed to hold it together and not cry, but my mom heart is struggling. I keep wanting to message them to make sure that they're okay, but so far I've resisted. They know how to reach me if they need me. I figure I'll make it maybe to the end of the week, but I'll limit myself to asking them how their first weeks went.

As for me, there's been a pick up in my editing business which is exciting. I'm hoping to continue to see that forward momentum. If I can bring in $600 a month from that, I can stop worrying about having to work outside of the house. Fingers crossed! Very soon I'm going to try to see about getting to the pool. I've been waiting for school to start there so that they can hopefully get themselves sorted into a regular schedule before I jump in. I'm nervous about that too (hello, blood pressure!) but hopefully it's something that I can do. I really think that it will help with my knee joint problems. I just have to find the ...what's the word...strength to pull myself up and out of the house to do it. That's going to be the hard part...well that and not letting nerves get in the way once I'm there.

Fingers crossed, lots of deep breathes, and here we go?

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Am I going crazy?

No cute graphic. Just me. Raw. Crying. Wondering if I'm losing my mind.

Last night, I sent a message to "the man" after I saw a picture that he'd posted on Instagram. His response was, "huh?" and then nothing because he'd fallen asleep. This morning I asked him why he'd deleted the picture and he told me that there had never been a picture. Except I saw it. I swear I saw it. I can describe it. He was in bed, shirtless, with his glasses on. He was holding the book that he was reading, but it was closed and you could read the cover. It was similar to the one that's still on his Instagram from the night before. He swears there was never a picture.

So, that means one of two things...either I completely hallucinated it or he's fucking with me to make me feel as if I'm going crazy. I can't imagine a single reason that he would do the second thing. We were just together last week and we're good, we're solid. Which really never existed. He thinks I'm overthinking the entire thing and that it was just a blip. Who the hell blips like that? Only crazy people.

Yesterday was a normal day. I worked in the morning and then cleaned some stuff out of the car. I went and picked up all 3 boys and we went to Kalamazoo. We dropped off Roger's sax for repairs, stopped by the comic shop so I could get a friend's latest issue, dropped Roger off at his lesson and then the other two and I went and had pie. After, we got gas, picked up Roger, and drove back, stopping to do a couple of errands. It was decided that everyone would go swimming at Roger's girlfriend's parents house so I left the younger two to get ready and Ben and I drove to my place so I could get my swimsuit. While here, I grabbed the mail which included stupid shit from DHS requiring me to jump through more hoops. I tried not to think about it much, but not knowing if you're going to be able to eat next week weighs on you.

We went, we swam, we had pizza, and I drove Ben back to his dad's because the other two were going to hang out longer. I used the bathroom there, changed clothes, and headed home. That's when everything went...weird...

I remember thinking about the DHS notice and thinking that I'd probably have to get some sort of job outside of the house and that's all I least for a some point, I "came to" and felt completely disoriented. I kept thinking it feels like I'm driving back to Hastings instead of to my house. I couldn't tell you where I was and it freaked me out. It was before I got to Woodland. I know that because I kind of remember going through Woodland and stopping at the stop sign at the bottom of the road there. I remember rolling up the passenger side window and thinking that I have to focus, I have to focus...

I don't remember the rest of the drive. I remember pulling up to my driveway and counting the number of cars that were next door...7...and then pulling into the driveway.  I remember looking at my phone, which has become habit, and seeing that he'd posted a picture and looking at it and then sending him the message. It's all kind of fuzzy...I came in the house and sat down on the couch. I remember changing from my jeans to my leggings without standing up from the couch. I watched Big Brother from the dvr but I don't really remember much about it. Then, I went to sleep...

I'm scared. I have to work 20 hours a week/$600 a month to retain any kind of food stamps but just thinking about it sends me into a panic. I could get some sort of doctor's note, but I don't know that they'd write me one and I don't want to sound crazy. I don't want to be crazy. I'm completely not functional ever since he told me that there never was a second photo. I've tried to work but I can't stop thinking about it, I can't stop freaking out. I just want to curl up, hide, disappear, something. I don't know. I just know that I'm scared...what if I'm going crazy?

Sunday, July 21, 2019

I Need a Plan

If you've been here a while, you know I've been struggling for the past couple of months. My best friend broke my heart and unfortunately, his way of dealing with it is by not dealing with it. The man loves his avoidance and in the past, I've given in and let him off the hook when he's hurt me. I can't do that this time. I've come to respect myself too much, even if it's been two months and I'm still crying.

But, that's not what this post is really about. This post is about me. It's about the me that is struggling and the me that I want to be. It's about the me who has spent just over 24 hours in a hotel and gave herself permission to not do jack. Yep, that's right. for the past 24 hours, I haven't done a single productive thing and if I'm honest, it feels pretty wonderful.

Forever, or so it seems, I've felt guilty if I allowed myself downtime or time just for me. I only watch movies/tv with my kids or if I'm sick. Well, let me rephrase that. I only only watch them in those ways. Usually I'm doing something else at the same time. If I'm allowing myself to play a game, I'm also working through something in my head or making notes on something else I need to do.

For whatever reason, yesterday something clicked and I said, "You know what? You don't have to work. You were sent to this hotel to get away from the heat that was making you sick and yes, to do some writing, but how good will your writing be if you're completely burned out?" So, I've binged watched the latest series of Queer Eye, I've taken a nap, I've spent some much needed online time with "the man".  I've gone swimming...and that last one is kind of important.

I'm not one who has ever loved my body. In other posts, I've probably mentioned how I don't feel pretty or sexy. I feel fat and frumpy and pretty yuck. I need to lose about 100 pounds before I can have breast reduction surgery but it's really hard to lose weight when all of your major appliances have failed and you're struggling with depression. It's tough to cook/eat healthy and dragging yourself out of the house when the heat is a perfect excuse is hard.

Today though, I told myself to stop making excuses and to take advantage of the fact that there's a pool literally across the hallway from my room. I knew there weren't any kids in it because I would have heard them if there were. So, I got on my swimsuit, grabbed my towel and snuck over. Then, I spent 30 minutes or so doing slow laps. I don't do fast laps these days and since I fell getting into the pool (wet hand + damp hand rail + weak knee = oops!) I was trying not to push too hard. At the end of those 30 minutes, I'd done a lot of thinking and my arms were tired, but that good tired. The tired that I used to love when I swam regularly.

What did I decide? Well....a few things....

1. I need to get the house in order. I know that when I walk back into it, the depression is lurking there waiting for me as well as every thought of being a failure. Somehow, I have to push past that to start making changes. It seems minor, but I'm going to try to spend one hour each day working on the house...15 minutes in the living room and 45 minutes (broken into 15 minute chunks) in a different room each week.  I'll also take advantage of when/if the boys come over to get some of the bigger tasks taken care of.

2. I need to get me in order. I love the pool. I love swimming. It's an exercise that my doctor actually recommended. I'm not quite sure how to make this one happen, but I need to try. The community center in Hastings has a pool and I believe that they have open swim times and possibly even lap times. I've not looked into it because of my own self-consciousness...what will people think about this big, fat person in a pool? What if my slow laps hold up other people? Well, what if I never try and end up not able to get up off my couch? Priorities, right?

Anyway, I know they have a pool but there will be challenges. First, it's 30 minutes away (like near everything else) and I'd have to get some sort of membership and those aren't cheap. I don't know quite how I'll make it happen, but I'd really like to.

3. I need to get my business in order. I love what I do and I'm good at it. Somehow I have to get my name in front of people. I was thinking of running an introductory price special with a discounted price for new clients as well as those who recommend them. I'd also like to have business cards made up. I'm supposed to be going to a big comic convention in October and I think it might help to have a double sided card made side having Geek-o-Rama on it and the other side having my editing/proofreading on it.

4. I need to get my finances in order.  They're not really out of order in the way that I have no idea what they are. I totally know what they are. They're non-existent. I need to start bringing money in so I can afford to do things like go to the pool, to pay off the fridge, to buy a new stove and microwave...and a thousand other things like paint for the living room. Life costs money and I don't have money. For the first time since my last failed attempt at getting a job, I'm considering applying for a job at the "local" gas station once the boys are safely installed at college. It scares me spitless, but I have to do something.

I publicly stated a goal of $600 a month in income this past week and I believe I can do it. I just don't know how fast I can do it.

The other option is believing all those people who keep telling me that it's okay to ask for help and set up some sort of funding type thing to help me get back into a position where I'm on safer ground and can take on more myself.  Honestly though, I have a really tough time believing that people would put in towards it. I remember how hard it was to get people to pledge when we had a gofundme to help send my youngest on a science research trip...and we had reward tiers. I have a KoFi set up now and in all the time that I've had it, only 2 people have used it.

I honestly believe that people don't understand what it's like to have a mental health issue that does its damndest every day to try to keep you from living. They see me...have heard me talk about the struggles of being poor ...and they're just plain tired of it and believe I should have sorted all of this out by now. I admit that I could be wrong and nobody thinks that at all, but it is what I think.

5. I need to get the people in my life in order.  That sounds harsh, but if being mostly away from social media for a couple of days has taught me anything, it's that it stresses me out far more than I had realized. I was on for 5 minutes earlier, just scrolling, and could feel the tension climbing back into my neck and shoulders. This means that I need to start culling people from my list. There are those there who give absolutely nothing of value to my life, but that stress me out whenever I read their posts. They need to go. It's not wait, it is personal. It's personal to my health and well-being and that's really what I need to be focused on. Quality over quantity and all that.

So...those are my swimming thoughts...Now I have to figure out how to make all of that happen. One step at a time.

Update: A membership to the community center to use just the pool is $20/mo or $200/year.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Depression is Sneaky

It's been a month since I wrote here and I suppose that's a good thing and a bad thing. After Laura's funeral, I was thrown for a while but then life caught up with me and I had to just keep going. My youngest had final high school concerts and then honors night and then graduation. I kept waiting for the tears to come but instead, I felt almost numb. Please don't misunderstand. I am insanely proud of him and I know he's going to great things, but I'm finding it hard to feel those emotions right now.

I don't think I realized just how down I'd gotten until today. All of the usual signs were there, but because the depression wasn't this intense feeling, I hadn't recognized them. I'm guessing I can thank my medication for that which is good...I mean, it means it's doing something, right?

June seems to be kicking my ass though. Instead of the excitement over the kid graduating and life changes, I feel stuck. I feel trapped in a never ending loop of what ifs. What if my food stamps get cut back again and I can't afford to eat? What if I never finish this book? What if I do and Nick hates it? What if I can't ever get it together enough to get this house clean? What if no more jobs come in and I can't afford to do anything? What if...What if....What if...

Depression sucks, y'all. I know that I'm a super intelligent person and yet I feel stupid. I feel like a failure, like someone who will never, ever succeed at anything in life. I know that I have a lot of setbacks now, but when I'm depressed, those don't feel like setbacks, they feel like huge walls or quicksand, things that I can't get past.

Right now, I'm part of an incredibly great Kickstarter and I so badly want to have the excitement and the enthusiasm for this project so that I can help encourage people to help us fund it. Instead, I find myself not wanting to even be online because online means people and people means pretending I'm not stuck in the bottom of a well. They say fake it til ya make it, but depression is exhausting on its own and faking enthusiasm and happiness just makes it all the more tiring.

I don't know, y'all. I don't want to be like this. Who would? I want to enjoy writing, enjoy storytelling, enjoy my bullet journal again. I want to tell the world how amazing Awakenings Act 3 is without feeling like crying. Because it truly is an amazing project. Nick is an incredible storyteller and Veronica is an amazing artist. Their work deserves to be seen. I don't want to sleep 12 hours a day. I don't want to be this person right now and just typing this paragraph has made me want to go back to sleep. I hate that.

For now though, this is where I'm at...and I'm glad some of you read because feeling totally alone would just make it worse.

Monday, May 13, 2019

On Death and Dying

On Death and Dying
Image from:
I would love to say that this past week outshone the week before that what with cars breaking down and black licorice taffy, but sadly, that isn't the case. The reality is that it's been such a rollercoaster that a part of me is screaming, "Please just let me off. I can't do this anymore."

I don't tell you that to scare you, but to be real with myself and with anyone who reads this. It's been a really rough week...and as the mechanic told me last Monday, "But, honey, it's only Monday."

Let's backtrack just a little bit. I want to tell you about my friend, Laura. Just over a week ago, I got a call from one of the few people on this planet that I trust with my everything. It sounds a bit odd to say that since before this call, I hadn't heard his voice in probably five years, but it's true. Anyway, it wasn't a happy call...he called to tell me that Laura had died. In that moment, I think I went numb and into some sort of denial. It wasn't possible. She was 53. She was this amazing, incredible woman who was loved by so many. Writing this now, almost two weeks later, the tears are finally there and I can't stop them.

Going to her funeral was only reliant on one thing..if the friend mentioned above would let me stay at his place. Once that was set, I move heaven and earth to get there. Of course, my car broke down on the way and there was a bit of drama trying to get it fixed/get a rental car, but I got there. The funeral, as far as funerals go, was lovely. The room was packed and I couldn't help but look around and wonder if anyone would come to mine if I died. Compared to this woman, I've done nothing with my life. What would they have to talk about in my death?

I came back home just two days ...not even two days really...after getting there. I left with mixed feelings: sadness over Laura, fear that it'd be another six years until I was back "home" again, a desire to prove myself to the world, and a need to see my children. Since then, I've pushed and pushed trying to be even a quarter of the woman she was. I've taken the youngest to rehearsal, attended his senior breakfast, took both boys for one last immunization, had lunch with an author friend who amazes me constantly with his skills and talents, worked on projects for you all see where this is heading?

At no point have I taken a moment to mourn or grieve or even breathe. Tonight though, I can't stop the tears. I can't stop the sobs that wrack my body. It's good that I'm alone because if I were with someone else, I'd try hard to be strong for them. I'd shove it all down. I wouldn't be able to say what I'm about to put here...

I feel guilty for being alive. The world needs Lauras. They need those amazing hearts matched with strength and determination. The outpouring of love and the number of people in that room showed that. I live in fear that when I die I will die forgotten. There will be nobody to even put together a funeral, let alone people who will travel from all over to share their stories of me or to help comfort those who grieve.

I want this post to have a happy ending. After all, that's what I do, right? I write these posts about my struggles but I always end them with some little ray of hope, some thought that keeps me going. Tonight, I don't have one of those. All I can think is...why me? Why am I still here but she isn't? The world needs Lauras.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Life is Fragile and Absurd

Life is Fragile and Absurd
As usual, I've been meaning to write this post for a week, but things kept happening and I kept trying to process them but none of it ever made it here. This post is one big wrap up, I think, but we'll see where it goes.

Let's start with last week...

On Wednesday, I did the usual thing of taking the kid 90 minutes to his lesson and then jazz orchestra rehearsal. On the drive there, we didn't notice anything out of the ordinary, but on the way back was a different story. The car was vibrating loudly from the back and of course, not being mechanics, we had no idea why, but we agreed it was probably bad. Once I dropped Roger off, it started making a series of new sounds so I decided to take it to our "shady" mechanic the next morning. Thursday dawned bright and early and I headed in once I realized that the power was now out at the house for an undetermined amount of time. Except, I didn't get very far. Three miles from home, the car jerked and started making a very loud ka-thump ka-thump noise. I figured this was probably bad so I pulled over. I got out, saw that I still had four tires and all and got back in the car. I started it again and pulled away going maybe ten miles an hour...the ka-thump was so loud that I didn't go even a block before I pulled right back over. A friend called the shop where the owner said he hadn't had a mechanic since January. January?!? What?!? After a small meltdown, we agreed that I should have the car towed to the town I had to go to for Jazz Fest. Did I mention that it was day 1 of Jazz Fest and my youngest would be performing with 2 of his bands for the last time that day? Yeah... Anyway, we managed to find a shop who said they'd look at it, I got to ride in a super high tow truck for 20 miles, got the car dropped off and headed down to Jazz Fest. Did I mention that the shop was now going to "try to get an estimate done" that day. Oy! On the way down to the venue, I stopped at the General Store, thinking they sell General Store type items. Nope. Wrong. They sell...fru fru crafty stuff. Not cell phone chargers which I now knew I was going to need. Scratch that. They did try to sell me a car charger. I'm sure you can imagine my expression at this offer. No car, folks. They did offer me a taffy from their bowl on the counter and after getting to the venue, I eagerly unwrapped it. After all, something good had to happen, right? Wrong. I bit down...into black licorice flavored taffy! Then I tried to wash away the flavor with strawberry lemonade! Ugh! Yep. No winning there. Fast forward to the end of the day and I get word that my car did make it to get an estimate, but wouldn't be done before noon the next day. No worries, I could book a hotel room, right? Nope. Wrong. There are only two hotels and both were booked. My choices? Sleep on a bench in the park or call the ex-husband to see if I could sleep in my oldest kid's room since he was away to school. After much dramatic sighing (by him), he agreed and I spent the evening hanging out with my youngest.

The rest of the weekend wasn't too bad. I got my car back, got to listen to some great jazz, took some pictures of the youngest and his beautiful girlfriend before prom, and then spent Sunday recovering. There was drama, but other than one small breakdown, I weathered it. I'm kind of proud of myself for that.

This week hasn't been too terrible. I've managed to complete one major project and get a lot crossed off on my to do list. My youngest is off in Anaheim at the national competition for Business Professionals of America and I got to pick my oldest up from school yesterday and I'm spending some time hanging out with him. I miss the time I used to have with my boys, but I'm proud of the young men that they've become.

There was one real tragedy from this week though and it's one that I'm still trying to process. On Tuesday, one of my closest friends asked me if I had time for a call. I don't remember the last time we actually spoke on the phone because he's in Canada so it's an expensive call and our schedules don't often match up. I said absolutely because I miss him tons. Unfortunately, it wasn't a happy call. He called to tell me that a mutual friend had died. Part of me is still in shock. Like he said, she was our age and had been taking care of her health. It's terrifying.

So, it's been very much a mixed week and a near constant roller coaster of emotions. I'm a bit tired, but I'm pushing through. I'll be doing a whirlwind trip to Canada to attend her funeral...god, I don't know if there are enough Kleenex on the planet right now...and then back home to try to survive the last few weeks of my youngest's high school career. Final band concert, senior breakfast, awards night, commencement and then his open house. I'm not ready. I'm not even going to pretend that I am.

But, like always, I will keep trying to push forward the best ways that I know how....

And also, as always, take care of yourselves and each other. There is no greater gift on this planet than love.

Monday, April 22, 2019


For a couple of weeks now, I've been feeling called to write this post, but I kept putting it off because I was afraid. I was afraid not only what people would think, but also of what it may do to my own mental health. After a week away and time spent with "the man", I had a bit of a revelation as I was driving that had me in tears, but tears that were washing away the last ugly remains of a terrible thing. Tears that left me thankful for the man I have in my life now who helps give me the strength to be brave and to be bold, to tell my story, to stop hiding, and to show the world my amazing. What's to come is my story...and it isn't fun and it isn't pretty and if things like physical abuse and rape are going to harm you, please stop reading. Please put your own health first. What's next is raw, but it's me...

I don't think that I've ever really talked about this. I'm 99% sure that I've never written about this. Up until this point, I couldn't handle the reliving of what happened to me, but the time has come and I'm thankful for those who have helped in my healing. Please forgive me if this is a rough start because how do you tell the world that you were raped and it left you damaged for years? I guess just like that.

I was raped and this is my story.

About three months before my 30th birthday, my marriage was officially over. I have given ten years to it and lost myself in the process. In the year or so before it happened, I had discovered internet radio and became a dj and even a station manager. I loved it. I felt as if I'd found a community where nobody knew and I could just be fun and happy, even if it was pretend a lot of the time. Not long after my divorce, I met a man named Larry through internet radio. Yes, that's his real name. There is no one innocent here to protect.

We became close and through him, I started dj'ing at a BDSM radio station. It was tied to a popular club and the people all seemed really great. Like I said before, I'd lost myself in my marriage and during this time, I was lost and when Larry showed an interest in becoming a dom to me (if you need more information about BDSM, please don't hesitate to ask/educate yourself), it sounded perfect. He could help guide me as I made my way through a very confusing time of my life. He was willing to help me make decisions, no matter how big or how small. People seemed to like him and after months of talking to him, I felt safe and like he was someone I could trust.

After a lot of talking, we decided that I would fly to where he was and spend my 30th birthday with him. For some reason, I always knew 30 would be a tough age to turn and with what felt like my failure lying all around me, I was thrilled to be spending that weekend with someone who could distract me and that I could have some fun with.

When all flights out of Chicago got cancelled due to a tornado, I should have taken it as a sign and gone home. I didn't though because he kept encouraging me not to give up and that if I ended up at another airport, he would come and get me. So, I hung in there and ended up landing at another much larger airport and sure enough, he was right there to greet me. By the time we got back to his place, I was ready to fall asleep, but he had other ideas. He wanted to give me birthday spankings. The idea amused me and I was curious about the physical side of BDSM, so I went along with it. Except, he didn't spank me. He took a wooden paddle to my bare ass and hit me hard with it 32 times. Then, 10 more because I'd corrected him on my age.

Then, he proceeded to turn me facing the wall and started touching me. I was okay with this at first. After all, I had known we would probably have sex if I went there. Except, he wasn't touching me to turn me on. He was touching me to turn himself on. Then, with no warning, he anally raped me. I'm not going to go into the details. We all know what anal sex is and we all know what rape is. Combine the two and that's what I experienced. Then, he pulled me close, told me how much he cared about me and went to sleep.

I laid there until exhaustion took over. The next morning, I was confused. He was acting as if nothing bad had happened. I knew I hadn't imagined it. I had been to the bathroom to see the black and blue welts covering my backside and to clean up the blood that would happen every time I went to the bathroom for the next week. Emotionally though, I was lost. Was this normal? Was this how these type of relationships were? He did everything he could to reassure me that nothing bad had happened.

That night, I went into the bedroom first and was reading on the bed wearing my pajamas. He came in and removed them from me, reminding me that he had told me that his rule was no clothing in bed, none at all. He then proceeded to hit me with the paddle again, right where he had the night before. This time though, when he forced me down onto my stomach, I went non-responsive. I completely disassociated from what was happening. I was in the air looking down as this man did what he wanted to my body. When he didn't get the reaction he wanted from me, he pushed me over to the side of the bed, turned away from me and went to sleep. The next morning I actually apologized.

I would love to say that I never saw him again, but it would be a lie. I flew out there again the following month. This time, he not only raped me again, but also starved me the entire weekend. I didn't go back again. Not long after that, I was approached by the manager of the radio station to ask if he'd ever mistreated me because others were coming forward and accusing him of rape, of keeping them hostage until he was done with them, and other things. One girl, he would wait until she took medication that put her to sleep and then rape her while she was out of it. No charges were ever pressed against him by any of us.

Why? I don't know. For me, it took me a long time to come to terms with what he had done to me, how he'd used me, taken advantage of me, and then took away the one thing that I had felt I had control over in my life. For the others? Perhaps there was a fear of having to tell officials about the lifestyle and the belief that they wouldn't be believed.

I don't think I've spoken to this man in about 11 years. Not long after the second event, he got married to one of the women that he'd been screwing around with. From everything I saw posted, she enjoyed being treated how he had treated others. As for me, I had friends who flat out forbid me from having contact with this man. It's taken me twelve years, but that's my story. Writing it all out has left me feeling sick, but I know that this is the final step in closing that door forever.

It's taken me a very long time to feel as if I could freely trust anyone with my body again, but I've found that. I have been blessed to have found partners who have treated me with the love and respect that I deserve. I now have an incredible man who without knowing has helped heal some of the worst of it and has helped me to be braver and bolder than I thought I'd ever be able to be again.

I know there are people that mock the #MeToo movement and who have said some horrible things about the women who have spoken up. That hurts me because I'm one of those women, especially once I post this. Remember...all of us deserve love. All of us deserve respect. We may not always agree, but we're all human and deserve to be treated with decency. Treat each other with kindness and compassion. The stories are real. The people are real and sometimes the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Not this time, but sometimes.

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