Restarts

image

Wishful thinking on an overcast day

I’m not awake yet.

I have a “Morning Rituals” playlist on in Spotify. It’s surprisingly easy listening but with deep enough lyrics to keep me from dozing off.

I’ve severed a few ties since my last little photo diary thing. I’ve also had to deal with the abrupt increase in a medication. I’ve been so tired and rather panicky, I’ll admit, that simple reading commitments have gotten shoved onto the back burner.

It’s like… even when it’s someone you don’t need, someone who has repeatedly hurt you, you can form a bit of an addiction… and that takes time to recover from. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t look at the date that I broke it off—and he went immediately into denial—with a hit of sickness in my stomach.

…granted, I could still punch him.

Today’s the day I start reclaiming the little things. I raided the petty cash by an amount enough to get my hair professionally done as soon as I get a chance… I’ve seen a folding table that would perfectly replace a piece of the apartment I’ve been forced to live without… and I’ve been trying to get my sleep back on track.

The last couple years were a strange, dreamlike haze, the kind that you doubt the reality of but for a very long time have no solid reason to try to break apart—at least, until the one thing that is completely wrong happens and you have no choice, watching the pieces flutter downward.

… it’s probably better that I’m awake now.

Advertisements

TOO close.

I wake abruptly, realizing that it is full daylight outside.

“…aw, fuck.”

I roll out of bed and walk across the apartment—the new arrangement of furniture means that the phone is about three yards away from the bed, and impossible to roll over and simply slap into silence.

It’s 7:55 AM.

“Aw, fuck.”

I have seven minutes to get dressed. The closest clothes are streets and I throw those on. The uniform goes into my purse as does my phone, my cans (not those cans—headphones), and my iPod duo.

I’m ready in a minute and forty-five.

I’m half out the door when a niggling little sense goes, “Check your keychain.” I do that.

My bus pass clip is AWOL.

“…Aw, shit.”

I start to ransack my apartment, undoing yesterday’s work immediately.

My alarm goes off. It’s three minutes until nine.

One more scour.

Another scouring when I don’t see it.

I panic. I call work. “Please let it be slow.”

The phone opens on the first ring. “Good morning—”

At first I think it is a voice mail. I freeze. Then I remember I need to be SPEAKING and ask what the deal was with my last lateness and pretty much beg for it to be slow, as if our deskman can make that happen.

…I luck out. It’s slow. In fact they were just about to text me.

I almost fall over in relief.


After this scare, I’m going to be putting myself in a rather rigid sleep schedule on days where I work. I don’t want to lose my job, and so I will now be putting myself to bed BEFORE 0130 on workdays—no exceptions. Phone goes off, statuses go DND, and I put my damn self the fuck to sleep. I’m not having this happen again.

If you need me I’ll be searching for my godsdamned KEYS. And probably eating toast. My nervous stomach has decided to kick itself into gear this morning.

Chrysanth WebStory What’s your WebStory today?

On Finding the Meaning of Thanksgiving.

For some of you out there, you are getting ready to celebrate a holiday known as Thanksgiving. A uniquely American holiday, it commemorates the teamwork and camaraderie that allowed the pilgrims (does anyone else think it’s more appropriate to call them ‘expatriates?’ Because ‘pilgrim’ is too religious for my blood…) to survive the harsh conditions they found in the New World. Working together with native Americans, these people learned how to use what they found here and not only survive, but thrive.

(That whole ‘oops we totally brought a bunch of foreign germs and you’re all going to get really sick, so sorry’ thing shall remain un-expounded upon.)

However, at the same time, I can’t help feeling a little bit conflicted about the whole damn thing.


It’s always felt a little weird for me to celebrate Thanksgiving. Tracing my ancestors as far back as we were able to in the year 1999, I learned of the first (black) member of the family. A slave woman from coastal Africa, she escaped with some slick tricks—step one, make herself useful on trips. Step two, make herself useful on a trip heading to the free North. And step three, BOUNCE. Bingbangboomfreedom!

Tracing my mother’s side of the lineage was more difficult. I learned her mother’s name, but never had the chance to meet Ms. Maria Argupitha Garcia Martinez (Unchanged for unfindability!) For the record, if anyone knows this generously nomenclatured woman, please dish. I’ve googled, bing’d, dogpile’d and even Alibaba’d her name and found nothing.) And as difficult as Grandmother was to find, Grandfather was even more so. See, he went by one name, and kept to himself near the border (no fence, no problem).

I never had the chance to meet either of them. But I’ll never forget what my mother and my uncle Saul* told me: Grandfather was a medicine man. A real live (oh, shush. You know how I mean) shaman. My uncle, on telling me this, then gave me a box of unset rough turquoise. I would later ask my father if my uncle was being facetious—and as it would turn out, he was not. But he was loath to talk about that side of the family, and it would be all I could find out: the records stop fairly quickly in the whole legibility department.

*Name changed at request!


.Here’s where I start feeling a little weird about it: neither ancestral side of my family came over in that quest for freedom from the Anglican Church. One side had been here long before, and the other side came long after, against her will. One side had no real reason to celebrate, and the other—well, being dragged from her homeland and then bought and sold like a horse really has no merits to celebrate.

It wasn’t for a while that I began to think of it a little bit differently. After finding out that I was a little blue preemie that very nearly kicked her mother off this mortal coil, I started feeling kind of lucky. Blessed, even.


This year, a whole lot of bad happened. I got out of a destructive relationship. (Not entirely willingly. Stockholm Syndrome, what what) I got deep into a barrel. Climbed out of said barrel when the taste of alcohol became more unpleasant than the flashbacks and voices I was trying to shut up. Had a huge mental break when the flashbacks got stronger, and was sent to the loony bin when I admitted I wasn’t sure if I was going to be waking up the next morning. Formally diagnosed with PTSD that had been allowed to slowly fester over the last three years. Went on more meds than anyone I’ve met.

It wasn’t easy.

So very often, I caught myself saying, “Fuck this. I’m gone,” but the little part of my mind that was sane still went, “Really? You haven’t done anything you thought you would. You’d be ditching friends—and all because you hurt? Suck it up, you selfish little bitch” and I didn’t go through with it. Whenever I was about to do something profoundly stupid, they’d stop me. I stuck it out because they stuck their necks out to help me.

And I’ve yet to thank them all properly.

So here it is.

I am thankful for all of you for not letting me quit this life.
I am thankful for the motivation you all give me.
I am thankful for the people who would forcibly stop me when I started to do something stupid.
I am thankful that I am still alive to have people to thank for keeping me that way.

And now that I know it’s going to be just fine, I sign off and say:
Itadakimasu. (Thank you for the food.)

Chrysanth WebStory What’s your WebStory today?

Mental Spring (well technically autumn) Cleaning.

I’ve been fighting a wicked case of messed-up-moods lately. Between the PTSD and the PMS, I am PO’D in the biggest way possible. It was hard to care about anything.

The other day this came to a head in what apparently counts as a flashback (even if I didn’t have any intrusive thoughts of THAT particular nature). To make sure that I’d never have to deal with what brought it on again, I single-handedly moved EVERY PIECE OF FURNITURE in my apartment. I took things down.

I re-hung curtains.
…well, curtain. I have ONE curtain to my name and I’ve hung it in front of the pantry. Looks much better than the sheet I’d had safety-pinned up there.

I moved the cedar chest—three times, actually—before figuring “Bugger it, I’ll move something else.”

So I picked up the bookshelf (you read that right—I picked up the entire shelf) and carried it to the other side of the apartment. Bing bang boom popcorn—new corner space.

I reassembled the little coffee table that I’d lost room for and moved it into the corner, creating a little workspace that I could use as an ‘office area.’ Sure, there’s a TV on one side of it, but it is at such an angle that watching from where I sit is impossible—well, maybe not impossible, but it’s headache inducing.

Then I moved a chest of drawers out of the pantry (neat trick, seeing as getting it IN there in the first place was difficult) and put it in the ‘closet.’ The cedar chest went in front of that.

Almost as soon as I’d placed the last piece of furniture where it needed to go, I felt better. The place looks bigger, and less cluttered. I can think without those strange thoughts popping in and wreaking havoc upon my poor brains.

I’m going to see if I can get more word count done now. Maybe I’ll be able to come up with something.

Cholesterol?!

That incredulous assertion is what I’m dealing with right now.

You see Theo, one of those medicines that I’m taking has had the unfortunate side effect of attaching a rocket-fueled supersonic jet with a tether onto my cholesterol numbers. My good cholesterol is…well, calling it ‘lousy’ would be a compliment. My LDL is quite high!

But the problem is you DON’T want LDL to be high! CRAP.

I was at work preparing for another trip to the doctor when my Twitter alert tone goes off—Chuck Wendig (If you don’t already know who he is I demand you slide your way over HERE for edification. Warning: Chuck doesn’t know the meaning of the word “worksafe,” which I love) has retweeted a video.

 

This video. And I almost forgot: this isn’t worksafe, either.

 

One thing for certain, I realized that I’m definitely not an isolated case—even if the conditions under which my high cholesterol developed are fairly uncommon (Pill side effects! WHOO!) and that I should SUCK IT UP and just do what I’m supposed to do.

Part of my absence is because, indirectly, of the Cholesterol Conundrum. I’ve had to alter my eating patterns drastically—

You know what? Let’s not sugarcoat it. I am officially on a diet. (Incidentally if it WAS sugarcoated I wouldn’t be allowed to eat it.) It’s involved a slow reversion to the way I ate in high school: organic damn-near-everything, the kind of buttery spread where it helps maintain cholesterol levels when they hit ‘decent,’ non-fat, non-lactose cheese type product to go on top of my sandwiches, little 100-calorie whole grain multigrain bread thingies. If I’m lucky, I can find the workout tapes I had on DVD format. If not, well, there are other sources to find that material.

I won’t lie: even though at first bite I realized how much I missed my Boca burgers and Chik’n sandwiches, my body’s giving me one hell of a time during the transition. I’ve been tired and listless a lot—partly due to last week’s killer migraine, and partly because I’m coming up on a solid week with severely-diminished fat intake. In order to help me watch my cholesterol, I installed a food diary app so I could track everything that goes into my gullet.

…I was surprised at how much I can eat in a sitting now that I have to hold myself accountable for every single morsel. I mean, I’m easily eating half of what I was now that I have to record it all. It’s weird. Finding out that I CAN survive on half my usual amount of food…makes me realize how much I’ve been binge eating recently. Bad day? Bag of fries. Good day? Bag of fries and a pizza. (Not a slice. A whole pizza.) Got insulted by a co-worker? PWN her by ‘forgetting’ to include her in the mass text about fresh linens being available and then ask if her phone’s set to block until she remembers that, much like insulting your healer in an instance, insulting your laundry lady will leave you in BAD SHAPE.

 

Something tells me that this month of dieting will be one hell of a misadventure.

…on the upside, I’ll get to learn more about cooking.

Attack Plans on Editing.

“25 Ways To Unfuck Your Story:”  Perhaps one of the best-timed essays over on terribleminds since I started reading the blog in September of last year, I’d spent the majority of February wondering how I’d take the thing apart and make it sing.

…here I go again with the mixed metaphors.  Oh well.  Bugger it.

The first draft of Genesis—the actual first draft of Genesis—was pretty thoroughly fucked.  That was why I took a hammer to it, busted it up, and harvested only the parts that worked.  The rest didn’t see the light of day until yesterday, and that was just to do a side-by-side comparison.  Bits and pieces of it made sense—but that was exactly the problem.  Bits and pieces of it made sense, but only when you took them as bits and pieces, disassociating them from the whole.  That’s fine in short stories, but in something that was planned to be a novel-length undertaking, that just won’t do.  Nope.

After that was put together again, the story could progress.  Of course, being a first draft, there are serious problems that I didn’t bother immediately to fix…

Please don’t look at me like that.  This makes perfect sense.

Why this makes sense:

Suppose you have a draft coming up.  You’re editing as you go, and putting things together bit by bit as you go.  Suddenly, once you’ve finished, you realize a change that you made somewhere around page—oh, let’s say 53—totally conflicts with the information you’ve provided on page 82.  In the spirit of bringing together things as fast as possible, you’ve managed to create a big, yawning plot hole.  Once you notice it, you patch it up and soldier on—except that by page 134, you notice that the facts established originally on page 53 work better than the solder-job that you’ve done to mesh it with the hole on 82.

The lesson’s simple enough, but took me this long to learn:

Finish, then edit.  Don’t edit as you go.  (That’s how my first first draft wound up a total mess and I had to brick it.)

Otherwise, as Mr. Fox would put it, you wind up with a real clustercuss.  Especially if you’ve spent the entire time in the document that you started with, which leads to the second Lesson Learned™:

Backup everything.  Seriously, once you finish, backup your drafts.  If you’re as paranoid as I am, then backup your backups.  Which connects to Lesson Learned™ number three:

TRACK ALL OF THE CHANGES.  Yet another lesson learned from terribleminds.  Honestly, I’ve learned more practical writing tricks there than I did in school.

Now, it’s time to backup my backup and get started.