Monday, August 31, 2020

Weekly Update: Out of the Blue

Well, here we are, Monday again. It's been a rocky sort of week. Not terrible, just a bit rocky. Let's just start typing and see what we come up with, shall we?

Hmm...I don't know where to start...Let's see...

Ben's physical therapy is going well. He only has two more sessions left. In fact, he sees his nurse or whatever she is today to update her and see what the next steps are. His physical therapist doesn't think he needs muscle relaxers which is good. I'm a bit concerned because his arm has seemed to be really tight a couple of times. Physical therapy is so expensive though. His dad's insurance didn't cover $700 of his initial bill. If medicaid doesn't pick up some of that, it's all out of his bank account because I can't help and his stepmom won't let his dad. If we add occupational therapy onto that, that's another bill for the poor kid.

Roger is doing good. He's at his dad's. He doesn't want to spend regular time here which is really hard on me. He said to me this past week that it's gross here and he always feels as if he has to clean. That's a blow. It's not great here, but I didn't think it was gross. I've been trying to do things to improve the place, but I'm not moving fast enough and some of it is what do I tell the owners is the problem first...I don't want to tell them both big things at the same time. I feel like I've failed them. I know that it's not all my fault, but it is my brain that's the problem. I can't ignore that.

On the work front things are slowing down. That worries me, but there's nothing I can really do about it. I have one novel on my desk that I'm working on. I am supposed to have a couple of comics coming my way in September and possibly another novel, so I'll be okay.

DHS sucks. They were supposed to call me on Friday between 830 and 1030, but they never did. I tried calling but there were 47 people ahead of me and only an hour until they closed. I should try to call them again today but I don't have the time so it will have to wait until tomorrow. It's so frustrating that I gave them the information that they requested and they rejected it and now I have to go through all of this.

Let's throw some good news into the mix before I get into what's really weighing on me this morning...

Yesterday, we (Ben and I) picked up two tiny black kittens from someone that I know. Their mother had been hit by a car and this couple rescued the litter from the barn and bottle raised them. To say that they're spoiled is an understatement. These guys have been on high end food and cuddled and coddled to no end. My boys aren't 100% sure why I brought new babies into their house but nobody has massively freaked out. I had them in their carrier, on the couch, last night where everyone could smell each other. Then they spent last night in the bathroom, where they still are. I need to work and that allows them to still all smell each other and get used to each other. It also allows the babies to stretch their legs and explore a bit. When I went in there this morning to use the bathroom, they were curled up together on my jeans that I'd left in there. As soon as I sat down on the toilet, Mina (the female) came running over, climbed up on my lap, then my chest for snuggles. Then she spent a few minutes walking laps around my chest and shoulders, purring the whole time. She is 100% a lover. Apollo, her brother, came over for some attention too but was more interested in exploring the bathtub than me. I think given a bit of time for adjustment, they'll do well here. I've already left a message for my vet to take them in for a well check since they've not been to one yet.

Now...This part is going to be long so if you want to scroll, I'll put a tl;dr at the bottom.

I had a friend. A best friend. We were close and had known each other for about 10 years. After he ended his relationship with his girlfriend, we became lovers of sorts. I say of sorts because we live a good 5 hours apart and due to life stuff, we almost never saw each other. In fact, from the first time we were together that way to the second (and last) time, there was six years in between. While I was at his place the first time things happened, I told him that it would be really hard for me when he got another girlfriend because that'd end things between us. He told me that it wouldn't, that whoever he was with would have to accept me too.  Now, this may sound weird to some of you, but both him and I had led "alternative" lifestyles for ages so it wasn't weird to us.

Six years go by...six long as years where I don't get to see him. It sucked. I'll just leave it at that. One night, out of the blue, he asks if he can call me. I was excited, right until he called me and told me he was calling because a friend of ours had died. I was stunned. My instinct was that I needed to be there, but I was afraid to ask him if I could come. I did though and he told me, of course. The trip there was car broke down, I had to get a rental, I had a hard time getting my data to work internationally...chaos. Somehow though, when I got there and he hugged me, it all seemed worth it. I was in my safe space. He's always been my safe space...someone I could be around and just be me. I didn't have to put on an act or pretend. On the way there, I had let him know I'd be late due to all the car nonsense and I had said something about doing something that might be bad for me when I was there...He thought I meant smoke marijuana (he uses it medicinally) but I meant sleeping with him again. I knew that if I did, it'd be even harder on me to go and not know when I might see him again.

That night, I didn't know where I was sleeping. I had asked if I could borrow his couch when I had initially asked if I could stay with him. I didn't know his feelings on things...but somehow, that night, I ended up in his bed. It was probably as simple as him asking if I was coming to bed. Once we got there, I could tell that he was as nervous as I was...we both wanted it, but there were a lot of years and emotion in between. Things happened. I'll leave it at that.

A couple of days later, I had to get back so I packed things up and headed home. This time, though, I was sure I'd see him again soon, probably in a few months. I was wrong, so very, very wrong. About 4 months later, he posted on Facebook that he was in a relationship. My heart broke because I just knew that it meant I was out. I tried to talk to him and he said he'd wanted to talk to me...wanted to, but hadn't. I won't lie. I pretty much lost it. Losing him meant losing one of the few places in this world that I felt safe, where I felt protected. There were other things going on and I was off my medication. It was ugly. I probably begged him not to do this to me.

What I do remember is coming home one night and sitting in my car. I couldn't stop crying. It was all too much. I'd lost my lover, my best friend, my safe space...I recorded a voice message for him that basically said I planned on killing myself and this was my goodbye message for him. The next morning, I updated my "if I die" file and then poured all of my medication into a wooden bowl that he had made. I had read if you take enough of the medication with alcohol, it would kill you. I had a bottle of sangria left over from New Years. Only my silly little cat (who I miss desperately) stopped me from doing it. Every time I reached for the bowl, she stood in between me and it and demanded I pet her. As for him? He never responded.

That was it for me...this man who supposedly loved me would let me die. Avoiding the conflict was more important than saving me. Months went by. The day after my birthday I sent him a text...he never misses my birthday...saying he'd forgotten. He said he had, he was sorry, but that he needed to find a new place to live fast. I knew what was coming maybe before he did. He was going to move in with her. They were going to start their happily ever after. I'd already muted him on social media and I kept it that way. Every post was like a stab in the back, but after a while, I got tired of crying and decided to move on with my life. He'd made his decision. It was to not have me in his life anymore.

Fast forward a last night...he sent me a text saying that he was in the hospital but wanted to voice chat with me if I'd talk to him. I still love him, god help me, but the trust that we had is no longer there. He blew that up. Still, I texted with him a bit...about what he was doing in the hospital, about how I got kittens...easy things. I did ask him if he was high on pain meds and that's why he thought reaching out to me was a good idea. When he initially text me, he said he was now in a position to first thought was, "Were you being held against your will for the past year?"

Today I asked him why he reached out to me. He said he'd rather voice chat about it. He did say that he's sorry and he owes me a lot of sorries. Well, that's true but it doesn't help me from crying as I relive all of that. It doesn't change that even after something like 15 months that I don't feel 100% betrayed. I moved on, but my heart never truly did. I'm scared. Do I want to risk being hurt again? Am I strong enough? I don't know...I know that if I told him that I can't, he'd respect that. What I don't know if is I want to tell him no...

TL;DR: Former friend/lover bailed on me for 15 months and has made a reappearance in my life.

Edited to add: I let him call. He apologized for..well...everything. He was sincere. If knowing him for as long as I have means anything, I know when he's being sincere. Is everything 100% between us? Probably not. It's going to take some time to rebuild that trust to where it was before. It turns out that he got himself into a bad situation with this woman and like we've all done at some point, didn't see the red flags for what they were until it was too late. He's moved out now and will be rebuilding for a bit. I wish I could see him face to face because I think it'd bring healing to both of us, but since I'm not allowed in his country, that's not going to happen. This will be a one day at a time rebuilding of a friendship, but I think it'll be okay and that's the part that matters.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Weekly Update: Monday again?

It seems like we just had a Monday and here we are back with another one. I'm super sleepy and super sneezy today. I'm sure that the two aren't connected but if they are, I'm going to go take a nap.

Man, I wish I had a great segue with speaking of naps... but I don't. I do have a Roger here though which is nice. I really wish he were staying longer than just until tomorrow. It hurts knowing that he's not going back to campus but doesn't really want to stay here either. He says it's because the dryer doesn't work and the shower is always cold. I can't argue that. It's true. I'm hoping to get a repairman out for the dryer once I finish this next project. As for the shower, something keeps tripping the circuit that the water heater is on. That's something that the owner will have to deal with which means that I need to keep dealing with the house so I can make that happen.

I guess that leads to the past week. I struggled some with being removed from Indie Volt. They didn't even talk to me about it, they just didn't send me the link to join the show. I wasn't surprised, but I was hurt. The owner and I have supposedly been friends for years. Four days before I made the post about working with anyone affiliated with a hate group, we drove two hours to his kid's birthday party and hung out all day. Now, he's making digs about me on his show and/or letting others do the same thing. One of his hosts unfriended me on social media, the other tried to take a few swings at me on my own post. It's disheartening to realize that people you thought were good people aren't really good people at all. The whole thing made me really sad.

There were other bits of a creative team that I worked with telling the publisher that my lack of communication was part of the reason they were pulling their book from being published by them. I gave these guys every possible way to reach me, including my phone number. They never used it. I really don't like being thrown under the bus like that.

Speaking of sad...(yeah, I had to use that.) I sold my flute yesterday. I hadn't made a really solid effort to do so because part of me felt guilty. My grandmother bought it for me when I was in high school and even though it wasn't something I enjoyed playing (open hole) and it had no real monetary value (low-end instrument), she had bought it for me. Then, I remembered what it was like clearing out her house when she got sick. I don't want that for my kids. There's no reason to hold onto things that you don't love. She wouldn't feel bad that I sold it to a young woman who was insanely excited to receive it. I have to say that her excitement did make me smile. She was so grateful that I was selling it to her.

I wish all people were as awesome as she was. I've been trying to get rid of three totes full of craft items for months. There has to be close to $500 worth of items between the three totes. I listed them all three totes for $30...then $20...nothing. I listed them for free and I've had at least ten people ask about them. One went so far as to ask if I'd deliver them to her for free. That was a big solid no. First of all, I doubt they'd all fit inside my car. Secondly, at least offer $5 for gas...

Anyway, someone is supposed to pick those up in about ninety minutes. Hopefully she shows up. It's going to hurt to let them go that way, but at least I'll be reclaiming a chunk of my front porch. I keep reminding myself that space has value as does the peace that I feel looking at something tidy and not all junked up. My front porch totally feels all junked up right now. So does my house so I'm going to be trying to work on that at least a little bit each day.

Man, I am terrible at transitioning topics today but I'm just going to pretend that since they're all about me, that's okay. I've been neglecting me...or maybe disrespecting me is a better phrase for a bit. The other night, I cracked open a brand new notebook and I wrote a list of 10 things that are important and that I need to be focusing on. Oddly enough, jackassy people didn't make that list. Things like taking the time to read or build Lego (self-care), spending time with my boys (family), and working on my own career did. Building myself an emotionally healthy atmosphere also made the list. It's a good list and one that I can go back to when things feel like they're spiraling. I can go back and say...what's really important? and then focus on that.

For now though, I need to go log a new project and get some work in on the current one. Keep being amazing, my friends, and taking care of yourselves.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Weekly Update: God What a Week

God, what a week. Monday was okay, I guess...Well, no, it wasn't. On Monday, we realized that we didn't think Mittens was eating. We couldn't be 100% sure though. On Tuesday, when I couldn't coax her to eat wet food or tuna, I knew we had a problem and I called the vet. They were booked, but the vet herself called me back around 7pm that night. She offered to leave out antibiotics or I could bring her in the following morning. My gut said to take her in, so I did. I haven't really told anyone what happened and I know this is going to make me cry, but ...

When we got there, the assistant directed me to take her and wait under the gazebo. They don't allow humans inside the practice right now. A few minutes later, the vet came out and took her back to take her temperature. Just a few minutes passed before she came out and told me that Mittens had lost over half her body weight since they'd seen her just two years before. I knew she'd lost weight, but she's always been so dainty that I didn't realize it was that bad. She told me we could do blood tests, iv fluids, but there was only one or two things that she may recover from and she'd have to be treated for the rest of her life. I asked if we gave her fluids (she was severely dehydrated), how long before we'd know if they were helping. The vet told me that if I was planning on putting her to sleep if they didn't work, she'd rather I just do it then instead of having Mittens last day being poked and prodded. I knew then that there was no heart shattered when I told the vet that that's what we should do. She went in, gave her the shot, and then brought her back to me in her carrier. We sat there under the gazebo, the wind blowing softly, and her head bumping my hand for loves right until she passed. The vet came out and wrapped her in a baby blanket before taking her away. I went to my car and tried not to sob while it took both assistants to figure out how to bring me the flea meds that I needed for the other cats. Then, I went to Dairy Queen, got a cherry slush and cried my way back home.

That afternoon or maybe it was Thursday, a friend approached me about what had happened on a webshow that I'm often part of (or was..I suspect that's very over). He didn't know how to handle it and was super sweet about not wanting to bother me with it, but as we're both in the same line of work, it affected me too. My brain was mush from grief but I felt as if I had to make a stand. I posted a long post to Facebook that basically boiled down to "If you're an asshole, I won't work with you." I never called out anyone, said anything about the webshow or any of its hosts. It really wasn't about them. It was about me. It was about my career. It was about standing up for what's right. Hate groups, no matter the direction of the hate, aren't right. If you know me, you know hate isn't even in my vocabulary. It's an alien concept to me. I can't understand why anyone would hate anyone just because they're different.

I wish it had ended there. It didn't. People commented, mostly in support. One or two seemed thinly veiled but I let them go. I got private messages. One was from the guy who runs the network the webshow is on. He asked who had pushed me to write what I wrote. I told him it didn't matter, that I'd said what I'd said and I'd stand by it. I did tell him that there was some concern with one of their hosts. He defended the host. His choice. At this point, I was already unable to focus, half unable to form sentences due to the loss of Mittens and the ugliness that was rearing its head. I was leaning heavily on a couple of friends who were seeing what was happening.

I announced that I was slowly going to bring back Geek-o-Rama, a site that I've ran for over 8 years and got a not even slightly veiled slap out at me. It hurt. I won't lie. I had people who I considered friends turn on me. Why? Because I said I wouldn't work with assholes. If you don't know, there are a lot of assholes in the comics community. Some belong to a group called Comicsgate. I won't get into their details, but they're a hate group. Some who belong...well, it makes no sense, but they're like lambs to the slaughter or something.

Anyway, it was too much for me. I was crying constantly. I was angry. I was exhausted. Then, Friday night, just when I was praying it was all over and I was going to go to bed, a bat started swooping around my living room. I opened the door to let it out and two of my cats ran out. It was midnight. I couldn't find them in the dark. Hell, I was on my front porch in a tank top and underwear trying to get them back in. I finally did go put pants on. After 90 minutes, I managed to get both cats inside and locked up in the bathroom. I said fuck it to the bat and went to bed, shutting the 3rd cat with me in my bedroom. A few hours later, I woke up to find one of the bathroom cats laying on me. My door appeared to be shut. I honestly thought I had snapped, that I had lost my mind. I kept looking at him, looking at the door, trying not to freak out...and after a few minutes got up, realized my door was not latched, went downstairs to go to the bathroom and discovered the other two sitting on the table. Somehow they'd managed to open the bathroom door and then my bedroom door.

Yesterday, I woke up with a splitting headache and spent most of the day curled up in bed, sleeping. There was some more crap, but honestly, at this point, I don't even remember because it was three solid days of ugly. Ugly people...I kept thinking of Caliban and how he used to talk about how people would throw shit at you. Today, I still slept quite a bit but I'm happy to say that the headache is gone. I did have a run in with stupid though. Nick Gibson unblocked me so that he could refund me the $15 that I spent on his Kickstarter (see previous post about trouble in the industry). When I told him that I didn't accept money through Facebook, he told me too bad and that now me and my cronies could stop harassing him. The word cronies was quite the hit when I posted the screenshot. People wanted to know how they could become a crony. So much so that it's spawned a Facebook group for fans of me. I couldn't help but laugh at that one. While there are some serious assholes in the industry, there are just as many amazing people.

Now, I'm days behind because of all of this..and I probably still need a good and proper cry. I forgot to mention that DHS determined that I make too much money to get less than $200/mo in food stamps. I made $7600 in 9 months. It's insane and one more level of stress to deal with, but since they only work 9am-3pm, it'll have to be dealt with another day.

Right now, I need a good cuddle in the man's arms and a chance to unwind...since the first won't be coming for god knows how long, I'll just have to put in another movie and try to relax...

Monday, August 10, 2020

Weekly Update: Soooo Sleepy...

I think that I forgot that socializing takes energy. On Saturday, Roger and I drove two hours to attend the birthday party of the son of some friends of mine. We were there for hours, socializing and hanging out. Yesterday, I took two naps. Today I just want to either go pick up our kittens (more on that in a bit) or nap. I don't want to work. I don't want to be productive. I just want to lay here.

Now...kittens...Some may know that about 19 months ago, I had to have my cat, Byron, put to sleep. That boy was my best friend. I've not really gotten over him being gone. We have four other cats, one of which I got after he passed. I've not had any real desire to get more. After all, doesn't five cats make you a crazy cat lady? Then, someone I know posted about how they had a mama barn cat that had gotten hit by a car, leaving five black kittens behind. They brought them into their house and were taking care of them until they were ready to find homes. I felt my heart getting all soft and mushy. I have a weakness for kittens. I have a bigger weakness for black kittens. Byron was all black and the best cat I've ever had. I decided that I wanted one of these kittens. I didn't tell anyone for a couple of weeks. I thought maybe I could talk myself out of it. I couldn't. So, I told my youngest. He seemed okay with it. I told a close friend who said he thought it was a good idea. Even my oldest just kind of sighed. Then, I thought maybe I should get two...they're already bonded and I'm not sure if my older cats will want to play, etc with little ones. Roger agreed so long as certain things were done around the house before I went to get them.

I'm not going to lie. I paid him and his brother to get those things done. Well, I paid Ben and he helped. I've paid Roger and he's mostly watching YouTube videos on my tv. He needs to get up and get stuff done. I heard from the guy with the kittens today and it sounds like they're ready to go, but his wife's dad is dying so he's not pushing her on rehoming them. I get that. I wish he'd just tell her that he has someone coming to pick out a couple of them and then I could go get them. As it is, they took in two abandoned kittens last week. That's a minimum of seven kittens in their house. I don't know if they have other pets. Seven kittens is a lot of chaos.

Anyway, that's the kitten thing. As for me...I'm super tired, super want to take a nap, and am feeling a bit down but nothing like I was. I hope that's a good sign that things are looking up. I guess only time will tell...

Monday, August 3, 2020

Weekly Update: Reclaiming Me

This will have to be a short post, I'm afraid. I have to leave soon to go do something that's just for me. I have an appointment this afternoon to get my hair cut. I never cut my hair. I leave it long because "the man" likes it and I mostly don't care. It's been long most of my life. After today's appointment, it won't be. I'm having at least 6-8 inches taken off. When I get depressed, I stop brushing it. There's some natural curl to it so it starts to knot. This time, it'd been months since I brushed it out. It took me an estimated 4-6 hours to brush out all of the knots and snarls. I ask myself why I'm writing this where others can see it...I guess because this is my reality.

It's been no secret that I've been struggling for a while now and I'v decided that if I can't properly care for long hair, I shouldn't be having it. It's not a punishment, more of a self-care item. Not brushing it becomes something very stressful for me. If I cut it shorter, it will be easier to maintainer. Besides, hair grows. It'll get longer again.

After that, I have to go grocery shopping. I haven't done that in a couple of weeks and I have nothing more than a box of cereal to really eat. Time to fix that.

After that, maybe I'll come back and post more here. I'd like to, but we'll see where the day takes me.

I'm back! I did it. I walked into the salon and told the woman to have her way with my hair and oh boy, did she! I think she had to have cut 8-10 inches off of it. I'm kind of in love with the new cut though and it's going to be so much easier to maintain. When I shake my head, I feel my hair moving, not acting as an anchor. I don't know if I'll keep it short, but for now, it's fantastic.

If you look close, you can see a comparison of where she'd cut and what was still hanging down in front long.

This is just some of the hair that ended up on the floor when we were all done. I snapped this quick so I didn't get multiple angles or all of the area.

The finished product! Like I said, I kinda love it. I don't know what it will be like without the product in it but I do know that it will be a lot easier to maintain and that I'm also kinda proud of me for just going and doing it. I was nervous, but I knew this would be something good for me and I did it.

Right. Enough about my hair, even if it makes me smile. As you may notice, by the fact I'm actually smiling, things are better today. I have enough work to keep me busy for most of this month and enough money to pay my car tags. Usually when that bill shows up, I panic right up until the last minute. They're not due for about 6 weeks, but once I'm done writing this post, I'm going to pay them. That feels really good.

Let's see...what else is happening? I'm adopting a couple of kittens either this coming weekend or next. I'm not totally sure. I'm waiting for their foster dad to give me a date. He rescued them from his barn when their mum was hit by a car. There are a total of 5 of them but they're planning on keeping two or three of them. Roger says I have to have most of the downstairs cleaned before we go get them so I guess that will be my motivation. I've decided if one of them is male that I'm naming him Aziraphale to keep up with my literary cat namings. If it's female, I have no idea and I have no idea for a second name. I'll come up with something though. I mean it would be weird to not name it...just call it noname cat... Then again, the No Names are my favorite monster in Nick's comics...I don't think the kids would go for it though.

Life feels okay today. I'm slowly digging myself out of the hole that I created for myself and I'm hoping that I can continue to do so without another major backslide. Oh! I forgot to say that I also ordered and picked up my prescriptions today so I can make sure to get back on track with those. Woot! It's another babystep, but an important one.

For now though, I'm going to get some work done while I'm feeling productive. Take care of yourselves and each other, okay?

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