Tag: thesis

One

One

12-21 June 2017

Flying solo.  It’s not the first time, but it’s official. There’s more on that later.  However, the moment arrived on June 11, at 3:30pm when I turned in my very last assignment, turned off my computer, closed the blinds, packed up a dog and a human to spend time away on vacation (I still get separation anxiety when I board Duke).

Or, as I call it, the “escape I’ve been wanting since January.”  I was on a mission, a one week tour, and on a self-care program.  I was celebrating three milestones in life, focusing more on my birthday and graduation.  I was concerned about surviving the last three weeks of school.  I was simply trying to move forward one day at a time.  It was the hardest part of my life, but I am thankful I had the trials and tribulations because it gave me a focus.  This is something I’ve spoken of many times.

One.  It was just me.  “How many in your party?”  One.  “How many?” Just one.  Single riders inquire here.  So I did.  “Tell me about single riders.  I’m one.”  A few male cast members fought over who was going to give me a pass as a single rider on the Indiana Jones ride; the third one-upped them and gave me a pass that was even better, and more like a Fastpass.  It was my birthday, after all! They asked about my novel, that I am now calling the most anticipated read of the year.

I spent the best three days of my life at Disneyland, and completed a bucket list: physically spending my birthday at both parks in CA and FL.  I was at Walt Disney World five years ago.  Crazy how time flies!

I did my normal 14 hour marathon. I got the photo I’ve always wanted: an empty Main Street at night.  I ate a little, treated myself to a manicure/pedicure, a nice steak birthday dinner, and discovered the kids menu around the parks was better suited for my appetite.  I lost more weight.  I watched the fireworks on my birthday.  I spent time hanging out in Mickey’s house.  Sitting on the couch, at his desk, shaking my head at the kitchen, and his gardening tool house (still not for me).  It was great…and I forgot to get selfies!!!  Mickey applauded me, and Pluto gave me wet kisses.  LOL.  I want to thank the Green Army Men who taught the crowd how to clap.  I was on the bench finishing two beers before heading back over to Disneyland.  I was drinking when the Sergeant told a guest, “There isn’t any noise when your hands are open, ZZ Top action figure!”  and almost spewed the drink out. He spoke to “ZZ Top action figure” several times during their performance.  I am not afraid or ashamed to laugh out loud, and that’s exactly what I did.

I enjoyed my drinks. I found another new hangout place in California Adventure, in conjunction with the Karl Strauss beer truck.  I had a stalker. I met some new friends, and spent the remainder of my last night in the parks with them.  We met another person who was doing a one-day marathon and wanted to get in a few more rides before he had to leave.  One became three, then four for a while.  AND, there was football talk; three NFC East rivals/fans present: NY Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys.  (The season can’t come soon enough!)

I had the best time with me, myself, and I.  I was told if anyone could pull off Disney alone, that it would be me.  And I did it.  I did it all.  I would do it again. In fact, I’m itching to go back.  Disneyland is a short flight west.  I am also looking at a 2018 Walt Disney World vacation, before I say goodbye to New Mexico.

I have stories.  Then again, as a writer, don’t we always?  I spent time with my in-laws and helped a very special young woman celebrate her first major milestone graduating from high school.  I am proud of her.  She’s seizing an opportunity to pursue her dreams.  We’ll be friends for a long time, and I’m still proud to call her my niece.

If I can replicate a Carthay Manhattan (there’s still something missing), then I can do something with these lemons that are still waiting to be pulverized into the perfect drink.

I miss my patio days.  I miss writing from sun-up to sun-down.  I miss the days waking up late (because sleep still eludes me), not having to go into work because I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I couldn’t perform efficiently.  Several of my family and friends might be relieved to know the drinking has slowed down, and I’m rebuilding my bar.

There are new chapters ahead, but I can’t get to them yet until I finish writing the last ones to wrap up this journey.  I have learned a few more things about myself during the week away.

And for my thesis?  Well, I have approximately 50,000 more words to write to complete the novel, and I’m still writing.  Now, I call it work and make it a priority to write every day.  I have some back stories to insert, and a few clarifications to make.  It is an epic story, and a crossover where women’s fiction meets speculative fiction.  There is female empowerment.  There are moments of paranormal activity.

Stories, journeys, lemons, individualism, an empowered woman; a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a niece, a friend, a new friend; a stranger, a peer, a colleague, a former student…a writer.  I’m not going anywhere, and, as I mentioned, there are a few more chapters remaining here.  More importantly, there is nothing wrong with being alone.  There is a difference between being alone and being lonely.  I am far from the latter.  I encourage you to embrace being alone sometime!

Stay hydrated and cool!

Featured image: Stunning New Mexico sunset.  Below: Walt and Mickey.
Photos by Karen M. Hellinger.  2017

File Jun 21, 11 44 56 AM

 

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Crashing

Crashing

9 June 2017

It’s another month of spending time on the patio, writing, reading, listening, learning, growing, and finishing school.  This is week ten!!!  Two long days away.  It’s short because today is Friday and Sunday is the end of this journey.  It’s long because I am working on my thesis defense, and other components of my second final project for my English class, and revising my research paper for my 20th Century American Literature class.  The good news is the bulk of the writing is done, and I can focus on revisions.

The fence that divides my yard from my neighbors has been in disrepair again.  It’s been propped up for several weeks now.  Nothing says vulnerability as much as a fence that’s on the ground, leaving a wide-open gap exposed.  The rabbits loved it, as Duke and I would discover them eating the grass on the lawn in the mornings and evenings.  However, I felt unsettled.  Add this to the wide range of feelings and emotions that hits me at any given moment of any given day; it’s not pleasant.  But, I am no longer responsible for something major like this.

Thursday was a chaotic day.  I felt like I walked into a storm, feeling the power of the waves crashing against me.  Because of a growing strength (on many levels), I felt the force bump me, knock me around, and try to throw me off my feet.  It didn’t last anything more than a minute before I realized what was really happening.  I walked up to and through the waves, walking past the sound of them whipping and whirling, making contact and impacting rocks and the shore.  The shock factor that followed was watching me walk away. And I didn’t look back as the door closed behind me.

The next storm that soon followed was more like a shipwreck.  I braced myself.  I observed the storm, taunting me to with a destructive force, chiding, searching for any loose items that could easily be manipulated and pulled away by the brute force of wind and water. I survived, with the boat intact, but slightly battered and bruised.

A third storm of waves was released later in the evening.  I stumbled. I phoned a friend, discussing the storm, as I was in the moment, and we talked for hours.  It is nice to have friends to turn to at all hours of the day, but I still spend the worst parts of the night piecing together moments of my life alone. I still attempt to wrap my head around the train wreck that hit me at full speed not so long ago.  The short duration, and the lightning speed of actions to immediately follow, makes it nearly impossible.  But, I think I found a book that might help me understand more.  We’ll see.

Sleep still eludes me.  The adrenaline continues to pump through every crevice of my body.  The big crash is coming, but, as my friend and I agreed knowing who I am, it will occur in smaller waves, not being as dramatic…which will be rather refreshing.  But it is coming.

My revised thesis was turned in this past Sunday.  It was complete, as far as the assignment dictated.  But, to begin querying an agent or editor it still needs approximately 50,000 more words.  This means the story is not over yet!  A few edits were made, including changing the name of Nick to Adam.  It seemed to suit the character better.  He was fleshed out a little more, enough to satisfy the final thesis.  What I discovered was his back story that will be written as part of the 50k words to turn it into a complete work of fiction.  I will admit there was one moment when I thought about the 138 page thesis, pitching it as-is.  It is a great product of how hard I’ve worked for 15 months, and writing it in less than 7 months. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby as a short novel, and the book is brilliant!  I had a rock star moment thinking mine could be just as brilliant, but the reality is if I pitched it today, it would be too short.  It still needs more.  I know exactly what I have to do, and will not waste any time writing to reach “The End.”

I am battered, beaten, torn down a little, vulnerable, uneasy, exposed, uncomfortable.  However, I am freakishly strong, independent, learning how to walk through the forces of water after walking through fire, empowered, and finding the right tools to deal with the extremely bruised psyche.  The fence is temporarily repaired, and even single boards have been reattached, so I feel safe once again. I  am focused on finishing the last remaining days of my education strong.  The final chapters of this journey are almost written to its own completion.  The bushel of lemons is on my counter again as I try to make the ultimate lemonade.  “YOU CAN DO THIS” remains on my computer monitor as I force my way through the storm that’s not quite over yet.

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Empowerment

Empowerment

2 June 2017

It’s evening here. I have put on a sweater, and sitting outside (no fire) writing this.  The patio has become my favorite writing place.  Duke sits close by wondering what I’m doing outside, while watching for the ever-elusive bunny to invade our lawn again.  The bunny was just mere steps away from the front door yesterday morning and tonight when I finally got home.  His reaction to bunnies is that of the dogs in “The Life of Pets” as they are easily distracted when they see a squirrel.  Hilarious movie.

Several thoughts flit around my head, along with a gazillion topics to create new blog threads.   I remind myself to stay focused.

I was originally going to write about being fragile.  I had a small issue at the concession stand at the movie theatre.  I only wanted to grab a small snack and the smallest Diet Coke (no ice) they could give me, and watch the movie.  Emotions ran high, but I maintained my cool as I was humiliated in front of lines of people. What I was asking for was something simple.  What I got was disrespect as a customer.  I took my money back.  I was late for the previews (I love previews!) and found a seat.  Tears streamed down my face, and I was surrounded by strangers, unable to escape.  I pulled my sunglasses down as I silently cried. Sometimes some of the easiest things will ignite a fire of emotions for a woman in the middle of a divorce.  Especially for a woman who has been through hell and back, having an affair flaunted in front of her for six months, and I think it goes all the way back to Lausanne, Switzerland, before Thanksgiving now.  I resumed normal viewing, without my sunglasses, when I composed myself. Towards the end of the movie, I heard women around my crying, but my tears had run dry…for a bit.  (I swear, Kleenex and Puffs should have had me as their spokeswoman this year!)

I saw “Wonder Woman” today-opening day.  When I wrote my post about her, and superheroes, a few weeks ago I honestly didn’t know there was a movie!  I have been so out of the loop: I don’t know what’s going on in the world; I don’t know what’s going on in the state; I barely know what my friends and family are up to.  I have been in a shell, perhaps to protect myself, but to also keep my focus on me and my studies.  I have spent too many days these past two weeks hiding in the dark.  This morning was no exception.  I didn’t open the blinds, but they’re not room darkening, so Duke had some light; just not as much as I would like.  Poor little guy.

Wonder Woman.  Ever since I was very young I’ve identified with her.  Now I know why.  The cinematic rendering, along with the actress playing a very strong female role, demonstrated traits that I possess.  I question my strength.  Where did it come from?  How did I become so resilient?  Diana, Princess of Themyscira, was born with a power. I have used her bracers to deflect gaslighting.  I have used her shield to protect against waves of blame, agendas, words that were spoken to pierce through the skin.  I have been fighting a battle that some women could never begin. I am the voice that many wish they had. I continue to fight battles nobody sees, or realizes what I am going through. So many battles fought alone, and could only be done alone.  So many battles I dare not speak of.  So many battles and I’ve had to choose which ones to fight.

In the movie, Diana’s mother tells her, “the world of men don’t deserve you.”  This particular line resonated with me. It still runs through my head.  I know why.  I think I’ll keep it there for a while.

I knew Wonder Woman as Lynda Carter, and I watched the tv show.  Gal Gadot is only the second WW I’ve known, as I didn’t know there were others.  I’m looking forward to seeing her in “Justice League” and, hopefully, a sequel to her own movie.  I even bought the soundtrack, something I generally don’t do, and have it playing as I type.

This movie was an inspiration to women of all ages.  The special effects were really neat, but, as a writer and a fan of the character, I was looking beyond.  What she discovers in the end is what I’ve lost.  However, the resilience to keep pushing forward, to never give up, and do what you must are strong character traits that is part of my character make-up.

I don’t know how I’ve survived, or gotten this far, or how I even got here, but my therapist, attorney, friends and family tell me it’s because of a very powerful strength I possess.  I identify with Wonder Woman.  I know somewhere, out there, there is at least one other person who identifies with her, too, or wants/hopes to be as strong as I am.  Just as little Diana watched her aunt, and all the other Amazons, in training, aspiring to their level, I know there’s a certain niece out there who is astounded by all that I do, and aspiring to her own level.  If Wonder Woman was such/is a role model for me, I can be that same role model for my niece.  I can push beyond the disloyalty that is not a marriage, say “NO MORE” by taking a stand and voice for someone who has a hard time trying to find her (or his) own voice.

Those damn lemons are still waiting to be mixed; the boundaries keep growing bigger and longer.  All of my previous posts seem to be coming together, intertwined, as I look at finalizing week 9.  Thesis revisions.  Empowerment is also a theme in the novel I am writing.

I left the theatre feeling empowered.  Something I needed.  What I discovered, once I reached my vehicle after the movie, is for another thread…

 

(Featured image: https://www.123rf.com/profile_lightwise’>lightwise.

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Memorial Day: On the Patio Because of Our Military

Memorial Day: On the Patio Because of Our Military

29 May 2017

Today is Memorial Day.  My family and friends have served in the military.  Some have been lost in combat.  For all those lost, we continue to remember their service to our country on this day.  We adorn their graves to help remember and honor.  We decorate our loved ones graves because plants and flowers begin to grow (and survive, as it stands in my NY hometown).

And THANK YOU to those who continue to serve.

During my travels, I see military personnel in airports a lot.  If they’re not pre-occupied, I will step out of the way, trail off from my path for a moment, to thank them for their service. I don’t do this for me, and I have arrived late at my gate when I stop for a few seconds, but the plane is still loading; I do not care.  I do this because they deserve recognition.  They deserve a standing ovation.  It’s respectful, and an act of good citizenship.  I appreciate what they’re doing for our country.

Because of them, we feel safe flying around the globe, driving across state borders, going to concerts, football games, and more.

Because of them, I can sit on my patio in the mornings with a mimosa.  I can sit on my patio in the afternoons with a glass of bourbon, strong-add ice; write, study, and feel safe in my home and backyard. I can sit on my patio in the evening with a steak- overcooked- potatoes not grilled up correctly, but, yet, I have my glass of wine…as I continue to write: this blog, tweet, revise my thesis, finish reading a novel, compile my poetry book, and have the freedom to take Duke for a walk any time I want.

THANK YOU AGAIN!

********************************************************************************

I feel it’s important to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. I feel it’s equally important to take one minute out of our lives (again, we have our freedom) to thank those who continue to serve. As a civilian, I may not understand what they go through, especially when called for duty, but to stand up and volunteer to keep the U.S. safe and protected is a massive burden to carry…while being an honor.

Which leads into a different type of discussion because my literature class this term has been focused on 20th Century American Literature.  It was not what I expected.  We have been examining how literature, from poetry to fiction, has changed since WWI.  Add in WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Beats Generation, and (now) Post 9/11.  That’s a ton of information to consume and filter…especially as I am waging my own personal war; some of this shit gets too heavy for me.  And I do not mean shit in a disrespectful way.  We just finished The Yellow Birds, a novel by Kevin Powers, about the Iraqi war.  Since I just finished a short paper on the unreliable narrator, I won’t go into my soapbox.  What I can say, however, is the books chosen for the course, and the contents contained within, brings forth a new perspective on literature and its evolution over wars and movements.  I was hoping for discussions about Gatsby; perhaps a tie-in from Victorian literature, but that was not the case.  Instead, I battened down the hatches (here goes the clichés), braced myself, and rode the torrential waves and storms that came at me for the past 8 weeks.

Yeah.  This is week 9.  This is the official thesis revision week. Something happened at 12:15am, the turned into paper writing a 2am, and giving up by 2:30am (I think).

I began Memorial Day with an 8am hour-long conference/Skype call, but it was okay because it was with new and old friends.  Any friends that enter my life these days are warmly welcomed.  We had a good discussion, and ended with laughter.  Although, I am curious to know how intimidated a male colleague, from another country, with zero understanding about American football felt as two women drove their own narrative about the game, fantasy football, the players we like, the teams we follow, and plans to attend an NFL game together…

Shall I put that into perspective for you again?

Females conversing about all aspects of the NFL.  Male from another country with zero knowledge-asking for a short version about the purpose of the game, etc. (perhaps something less than the Cliff Notes version).  Females talking about their favorite teams.  Male caught in between two females being enthusiastic about the NFL.  Male just shakes his head.

😊 This may be a long 5 months for him as we continue discussions leading up to a conference, and I begin to take over conversations at our committee meetings specifically involving football.  Yep, just counting the days until the NFL season returns!

I have spent many, many mornings on the patio.  Drinking coffee and writing in the morning.  Writing in the afternoons.  Reading mid-afternoons.  Drinking wine and writing in the evenings.  Reading/writing into the late evenings.  Simply enjoying the crap out of a home that consumed my inheritance.

I have returned to work, but it is now short-lived.  I will be taking a leave of absence again (my friend calls it a sabbatical! hah), through June.  However, because I am still waiting for the perfect lemonade cocktail to be whipped up, I am looking at longer.  For the first time in my life, I am only focused on taking care of myself; re-discovering who I am, who has been hiding behind glass walls, and who wants to break out. I may not necessarily have to decide on a set career at this point in my life, because I want to be the next mega-author, but I need a job that will help pay the bills, cover insurance, ensure extra biscuits, treats, and pay annual medical bills for Duke, and…make me happy.

This is my time, my year, my focus to get myself back into rebuilding a new system, and I dare anyone who wants to try to stop me!

We are free because our military protects us, keeps us safe.  The next time you see someone in a uniform, take a few seconds out of your schedule, even as you are rushing to your next gate, to stop and thank them.  Treat them to a cup of coffee if they’re behind you in the drive-thru of a coffee shop.  A random act of kindness goes a long way, and we can sure use a lot of kindness these days.  Lastly, keep remembering those who died sacrificing themselves for us to live in a world we have today.

Duke thanks our military, too!

Riding the Rails

Riding the Rails

27 May 2017

I love roller coasters.  I’ve always loved roller coasters.  There’s something to be said about the unknown, especially as a first-time rider.  Whether the ride is on wood or steel, the adrenaline rush of being whipped, zipped, cork-screwed, and turned upside down and around is thrilling.  It begins with the anticipation, standing in line, watching the carts working with and defying gravity.  You are getting closer to the front of the line.  Do you ask to sit in front, to be the first witness at that 90-degree plunge, or do you ask to sit in the back, when you are the last to see what unfolds in front of you as you are slightly lifted from your seat?  Or do you stay within the middle?

A few summers ago, I was at Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio.  Their claim to fame is being the roller coaster capital of the world.  Rollers coasters are the only rides in this park, so if you’re not a fan, it’s not worth the trip.  It was an overcast, turned rainy day.  I was standing in line for the Millenium Force.  I was under shelter for a bit, but as I got closer to the front of the line, it started to rain hard.  I watched the cars ascend the track at a vertical pace.  You are not harnessed in; you have a lap bar.  I was seriously doubting whether I wanted to get on this ride.  A vertical ascension with just a lap bar?  Um…not sure.  I have never doubted a ride, but at this moment I was voicing my doubts, recognizing a fear.  Still, I wanted to know what was beyond that ascension.  Where was the drop?  What was going to feed into the adrenaline rush?

I was drenched and cold.  It was my turn.  I stepped into the car, and pulled the lap bar down as far as it could go. It locked me in.  I pushed up on the bar several times, assuring me I wasn’t going anywhere, but the fear remained.  The ride began, and I went up, followed by going straight down.  Then began the adventure of careening through tunnels, around corners, back up (a progressive incline) and down, at well over 90 miles an hour.  The rush was back, and the ride was over in a matter of minutes.  I walked off…completely dry.  I was all smiles, reflecting on what a great ride it was, but my day at the park was also ending.  The line was long; there wasn’t an opportunity to ride it again.

I am looking at the last three Saturdays and Sundays, the last two Monday-Fridays, of my education.  It’s crazy that I’m nearly done!  I don’t think there has been a single moment in my life when I haven’t felt the waves of emotions that I have been hit with this term, this year, this past week and a half.

I began my ride of anticipation, seeking an adrenaline rush to end with smiles a week ago Wednesday.  The ride wasn’t what I envisioned it would be.  It felt more like the small coaster ride in Toon Town at Disneyland; there is a single moment you’re at the top and can see the Sierra Nevadas before they disappear the moment the coaster drops.  I got to see out, but was reigned back in.  This has been my ride for a week.

The next ride I’ve experienced mimics a combination of Space Mountain and the Millenium Force, beginning last Thursday.  From a brief moment of life, I sped into the darkness, unable to see anything but the stars and black “sky” in a vast abyss.  As I exited, I realized I had to finish the last 5,000 words of my thesis/novel.  I spent the entire weekend and Monday in darkness.  I shut out the world, closing in on the dark hours.  By Tuesday, I was preparing for the next ride, and struggling to get 500 words in.  I was around strangers on Wednesday, and felt a need to be with friends instead.  I was on my second day back at the gym, and still walking with Duke every night.  The gym erased the darkness and drowning feeling; I had some clarity.  I wrote Wednesday night, but it wasn’t enough.

I got up early Thursday to write some more before I returned to work (first day since the beginning of May).  649 words.  By 9:10am, waiting for my number to be called at the local motor vehicle office, I was anticipating a fear once again: I was not going to finish the story, and get it turned in before midnight.  Especially not with other matters I was dealing with all week, and knowing I had one other assignment due that same night.

I don’t remember what happened (perhaps I simply blocked out life), but I was back to writing at noon.  I took a couple small breaks in the afternoon to wrote some more.  I left work before 5:00, tossed a turkey burger patty in the microwave, added a heaping helping of spinach and shredded carrots to my plate, grabbed a small glass of Chardonnay, and sat at my computer to write.  I wrote for two and a half solid hours.  By 7:25pm, I had 5,040 words, and was on the Millienium Force after the first initial drop.  I took a moment to celebrate with smiles and tears; add in laughter as I looked at Duke and said, “I can’t believe I did it!”  He celebrated with me, wagging his tail, allowing me to give him a big hug.  The first draft of my novel was complete and submitted. I grabbed a special bottle of wine, and visited with some friends for a few hours after.  It was the perfect ending to my week. And…I got to know a little more about Red Nose Day, and told I need to watch “Love Actually.”  (It’s on my list, ladies!!  You’re always welcome over for movie night.)

The ride, and writing, is not over yet!  I’m on a new coaster, a new segment for the next 8 days, working on revisions: from the very beginning to the very end.  This isn’t the coaster ride I have been waiting for, but it’s new as I try to finish up.  There will be new waves of emotions, but I hear my cheering squad, from all over the globe, behind me.  This will be a book many are excited to read.  I am simply excited that I can say I have begun to revise my first draft…after I offer two peer critiques on their final 5k words, and provide two more critiques on our literature research papers.  Still, I’m revising!

If you’re curious about the Millenium Force, check out the coaster video Cedar Point has on their website.  If you’re a coaster fan-this should be on your bucket list.

Have a great weekend!

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Struggles

Struggles

20 May 2017

I am struggling.  I am okay in saying that I am struggling.  I am okay in reaching out to ask for help because I am struggling.  I am still extremely upset about events the other day, even though I try to remind myself of the positives.  One being freedom.

I need time.  Time to finish school.  Time to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. Time to get used to some realities.  Time to distance myself.  Time to heal, but that is a larger part of time.  Time to be myself in my current, comfortable environment.

I took some time off from work to re-focus on myself.  That time is drawing to a near, and I realize it was not enough.  I have the capability to take more time off, and I will more than likely do so through July 1.  My list of tasks seems insurmountable.

Time off has allowed me to invest in the take care of me program.  Have I succeeded?  Not sure, and I am trying to figure out how to measure that success because there are some days where I measure success by simply getting out of bed, showering, dressing,and leaving the house.  Little moments of success.  There are other days where I am only breathing.  That’s it.  Anxiety is high.  My focus is shot to hell.  My thoughts are so random and heavy, I cannot exercise enough to get rid of them.

I also freed up my schedule a little to allow for more social time.  It was really nice hanging out with friends the other night.  It felt good to laugh, and not speak about this ridiculous mess; I am not a victim.  I don’t want to be out talking about a Wasband and the pending divorce.  This does not help me.  I can talk about it through my writing: my thesis, the next novel, my current poetry book, and some supportive ears who help me through.  Until I finish my education, it’s hard for me to make plans, so trying to squeeze in a few hours a week of socializing should be good.  Right?  I’m here for the long haul, so something’s got to give.

I am not being the straight A student I’ve strived so hard to be.  This pains me.  I was soo close, and this term I have been derailed at every turn.  My education, this degree in particular, is extremely important to me.  It was the first of many declarations I had to make.  I am late on assignments.  I am not giving my 100%.  I am so hard on myself.  Recently, I was told by a relative (able to relate) that I am doing great, and I am strong.

#hellingerstrong.  The women in my family possess a hidden strength that many are not aware of.  It’s also another reason why we have said the OP has not only messed with the wrong woman, but the wrong person who is the strongest in the family (as I have been told by many).  Perhaps other women in my shoes may have fallen completely apart.  There are definitely days where I feel like I’m coming unraveled.  Then there are other days when I need to be the voice for those women who cannot seem to break free.  I stood up almost right away to say, “You can’t do this to me.  This is unacceptable. I don’t deserve this.”  I respect myself too much to be kept/controlled in a relationship abandoned for what?  A thrill?  An adventure?  Getting something out of his system?  A mid-life crisis?  A harlot who sees dollar signs?  Something he’s been wanting, but could never communicate?  He didn’t try, or try to be patient as I finished school.  I was not going to allow the OP to keep me hostage for six months to figure out if the affair was going anywhere. I was not going to wait to see if the process would begin-it was becoming very obvious actions were not going to be taken, so I took matters into my own hands.

There was never a point in my life where I felt like there was nothing left.  There was never a point in these events where I felt like I hit rock bottom.  I was floating above the bottom, praying for a breathing apparatus to avoid being completely drowned.  In some ways, I am still being held under water.  Soon enough I am going to make one final push to burst out of the water using my Wonder Woman/superhero strength.

Natalie is struggling.  She’s getting frustrated because she has to keep reliving certain events to change the course of her situation.  She struggles because one individual still holds her captive.  She is drowning because there doesn’t seem to be a way to reach the surface;

Week 7 is pretty intense.  There are only 3 weeks remaining, and my novel needs to be wrapped up.  This was not the week to wrap it up.  I pray for warm weather Monday and Tuesday to allow me to be out on the patio, in the sun, with the music playing from the back room; with coffee, a few glasses of bourbon (for those emotion-heavy writing days), or some wine, but reserve beer for the weekend.  Does Natalie come out of her coma?  I guess my readers will be curious to find out.  I already have one person with a reader’s copy.  I am ready for the final segment to be finished so that I can put in (most likely) 30 hours of revisions; I spent 22 hours last term!  Significant time.  Significant revisions.  Although this time, I have to revise EVERYTHING.  <insert a whoa here because I’m feeling it, too>.  This why it’s called ENG 559-Thesis Completion.

I am still listening to my “Welcome to Hell” playlist.  I am still searching for music to add to my next playlist.  I want my friends to know there is more to my life than divorce, but the reality is the only thing I have right now is finishing school; still my saving grace.  I struggle with a life I once had. Some things have changed and I will never be a part of again.  I cannot be a wife in a relationship that was abandoned, yet I’m still expected to be waiting by the door/phone to answer down to the nanosecond.  I am waiting for apologies I’ll never receive.  I am waiting for something final to hit my email inbox.  I am waiting; I am in limbo.  I wonder if it’s possible to sleep through exhaustion because, like clockwork, my mind woke me up at 3am with the next adventure that I did not want to know about. I feel like I’m still connected to a Wasband and things I suspect come to me in other ways.  The last attachment I have is a name. These are my struggles, and they are real. Perhaps they came to surface because this was a super-emotional week for me that ended in complete exhaustion (all levels).  Or maybe it’s due to an end to several things over the next couple of weeks.  These are chapters coming to an end.  There’s a life coming to a close.  I am looking at two final chapters of my life.  I need to rise above.  I need to stare at my sticky note on my desktop monitor that still reads, “YOU CAN DO THIS.”

 

you got this

 

 

Damage and Control

Damage and Control

17 May 2017

 

storm-damage-597217_640

Today I dressed up to attend a wedding and funeral.  There was no celebration in a (re)birth.  In a classic black and white outfit, wearing nice jewelry; tresses lightly curled (using a brush and hairdryer), free flowing with my white streak standing out against the sun-kissed blonde.  I donned some comfy sandals, with my pedicured toes peeking out.  SNHU colors, the graduation cap prominently showing on my big toe.  I felt good, and I looked good─tan, rocking my outfit, showing my 45 pound-lighter frame. Bold green eyes.

I was ready to face the day.  Focused, I went in not to seek revenge, but to demand responsibility and what is right.  Responsibility for me (the taking care of myself plan), and making someone accountable for their actions. The funny thing with a narcissist is that they believe everything they’re doing is the right thing.  They don’t care about the damage, pain and scars they’ve caused.

Instead, I walked into a battlefield.

There are such things as compromises.  What I saw was another attempt to maintain control over me.  Another take, take, take scenario.  Another narrative where my inheritance benefits someone who took all my money, never let me have any money ($160 cash/month, that’s it), and felt insecure if I had a few hundred dollars.  Someone who lied and took away an agreement, a vacation (three), and so much more.

I am the disposable one.  I am the one who gets an expiration date.  I am the one being forced and chased away.  I am the one everyone wants to keep, but nobody’s fighting for me.  There are some battles one person cannot fight alone.  I may be strong, but I somehow got knocked back again.  My “little rock” is a bit concerned about me and watches me from the lawn tonight as I sit outside, with a glass of bourbon trying to make sense of what played out in the field today.

I am on this battlefield alone.  I am not one to give up.  I am a fighter.  I am the one who stood up at the beginning, shouting out to the world that I was not going to be controlled, manipulated, dragged through the muddy trenches, disrespected, and undeserving of everything someone wanted to put me through.  Did put me through.  Continues to put me through.

Somehow, I have to pound out the last 5,000 words of my thesis, and do some major revisions this week/early next week.  I cancelled my wine tasting trip to California because life is too much to handle and my school work is insurmountable.

Natalie has to learn from trial and error.  Nick is cocky, believes he’s untouchable, thinks everything should be his way; he leaves Natalie to take care of everything, including leaving her to a train wreck that runs through their home.  He thinks he’s God’s gift to the world as he tries to juggle an engagement and an affair.  My readers do not like him.  Hell, I don’t even like him!  There is no justice served to him; only pain and regret.  Seems like life mimics all that is happening, but nobody admonishes his behavior.

I wonder if I have some special powers (Wonder Woman post coming soon!) because I sense things before they happen.  Or maybe it’s just women’s intuition.  I know my gut instinct is pretty darn strong and rarely steers me in the opposite direction.

Guns were fired.  The battle began.  Bullets grazed the skin, the mind, the heart.  Scars began to form.  An anger fueling the battle was more subdued than it should have been, but wouldn’t have done any good.  The opposing party seemed impermeable.  Take, take, take.  The OP wanted me to pay, pay, pay.  For what?  For an affair that I was not involved with?  For all the money spent from the community?  Because it was the “right thing to do”?  This is still unacceptable behavior.  I need to be the voice of abuse.  I need to be vocal about being disrespected, and how I respect myself too much to let disrespect continue.

I sustained a bullet wound that is too painful to speak about.  The wound is going to produce yet another scar to the many appearing in a short amount of time.  It’s so unfair that I get zero in return.  That an inheritance can be taken away so fast and never returned─more broken promises.  The OP made it very easy to return to a life recently left, at a future date, and being able to move back in, as I am driven out and away.  I will not waste another ounce of energy or time on something that I was told was mine “until sold.”  Sold, my ass.  It’s being taken back.

I have to muddle through the negative to reach the positive.  Nobody walked away unscathed.  Nobody was happy with the outcome.  Battlefield injuries were sustained; the magnitude of those are amplified by OP actions.  I’m sure the OP thinks there was another successful win.  I approached the battlefield thinking there wasn’t going to be a winner and loser.  I was right, but the approach is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

How does a wrong get righted?  How is punishment avoided?  Live in New Mexico and you will learn all about this bullshit.

I am not done on the battlefield. I have retreated to the tent to think of the next tactic.  I will not give up.  I will approach the front line with the intention to be feared.  Again, not revenge, but a super strength to say enough is enough.  I sense the violent crimson rage running through my veins.  I will harness that energy to make bolder statements.  Somehow, I am going to rise above this whole fucking mess.

Pictured below: Duke looks concerned, don’t you think…

Duke