(definition further explained in this post if you still aren't satisfied)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

From Behind The Castle Walls

It's a defense reaction.

My defense reactions get in the way a lot.  With the way my life is now, I finally have people worthy of the deepest friendship I can offer - this well of caring that I have ready to pour out to someone I get close to - but I'm still not used to it.  I'm used to being with people I have to protect myself from, and this causes me to have certain reaction formations that come up hard and fast around me at a sign of trouble.

I have a deep-seated assumption that everyone is going to be like all the people I've known before.  Of course, it makes sense; if literally everyone I've known has been a certain way, I would think everyone everywhere is.  The problem arises when I can't get at these assumptions.  Having them used in the wrong situation is one thing, but what's even worse is that they trigger without me being ready for it.  These assumptions are buried so deep in me that I can't just pull them out and examine them the way I examine all my other thoughts and reactions.  I often don't even realize they're happening.

Assuming that people default to ignoring me in conversations caused painful discourse before.  Assuming that they will hurt me doesn't keep me from getting close all the time, but it does throw up barriers when I get hurt that cause me to withdraw in a big way, in order to think and recover.  And I've learned that sometimes people don't take this well.  They might not see the "time to think" part as much as the "withdraw" part, and it might make them think that I don't care enough, or that I can't be close to them just because I need distance at a crucial time.  That time is crucial for both me personally and for the relationship, and how can I accommodate both simultaneously?

It's not fair to put good people in the same mold as the people from my past, and I know this.  It's just that learning to fix it is hard because the thought patterns are buried so deep.  I guess I've been hoping that time and trust will change it, which is a very good solution except when you have someone who wants things to be black and white, someone who wants to know right now that you're dedicated to being their friend.

Do I know how to be a real friend yet?

Is it too much to ask if someone wants me to be fully dedicated to a friendship right now?  I don't really think so.  That sounds like a normal desire to me.  I'm just not normal and healthy enough to fit into it yet, maybe.

I can be a really good friend, but I can't promise that I'll act without these defense reactions for probably a long time.

Does that mean that this is all my fault?

Well, my past has created this reaction formation in me.  So its presence isn't really my fault; I needed it in order to survive and protect myself.

But the fact that I still react in the ways I do can't be removed from my own responsibility for my actions. At what point do I accept all the blame and say that the way I act is solely my choice?

Is there any blame to be put on people who push me to become better?  It's not the other person's fault if I withdraw because I'm hurt, but it is pretty much their fault if they choose to hurt me.  Does that have any place in this discussion?  When we're talking about my reaction, how much does the stimulus matter?

We could say that the blame is spread out between the people who hurt me enough to make my defenses necessary, and me for continuing to act like I'll always need them, and anyone who causes them to come back because that person has hurt me too.  I don't think we can say that it's no one's fault, because if nothing else, the people that caused the defenses don't deserve absolution.

If I'm unable to fix this very quickly, does it become more my fault over time?


These are very difficult questions.  I'm just trying to fix myself.

Monday, June 20, 2011


They claim to always be there for me, and to try to help me with my self-confidence.  So it sucked pretty hard when they called me out on things, both in the same night.  I'm over it today, but it was a devastating experience for a few hours.  And they don't even know how much of an impact it had on me.

I've been trying to shut up this voice in my head, the one that says, you aren't worth anything, stop fooling yourself, people have no reason to care about you or prioritize you in any way.  It came back full force last night in response to what I was being told, and I wasn't sure if I could stop it this time.

I had been asking for help with a problem.   I hadn't realized that they were still discussing something they had already started working on; I had thought they were finished with that topic, so when I chimed in and got no response, well, I reacted based on what I've learned to usually be true.  I'm so used to being ignored in conversations that at first it didn't occur to me that maybe they had heard me and chosen to put off responding for a little while.

Then, after I went quiet because I was sad and confused about their behavior, he said "don't worry, we're not ignoring you, we're just dealing with this first".  Hmm.  I had been so used to the ignoring that I had assumed they were doing it.  How safe is it to put those assumptions away?  What if I need them again?  I might need my old reaction formations at some point and if I put them away now, I'll be stranded.  I need to remember how to deal with this kind of treatment so that whenever it happens again, I'll be able to handle it without getting too upset.  This is what my mind tells me, even if I see small flaws in that logic.

"You just have to realize that we were working on this first."  Well, that makes sense.  But then I don't know what happened; I guess for some reason I saw something wrong with that, or I got confused somehow, even though I knew it was a simple and non-confrontational truth.  I don't always understand my own mind, but for some reason this time it wouldn't let me keep quiet.  About my doubts, I guess.

"You've told me that I'm important, that my thoughts have value, but this doesn't line up with that," I said at some point in the conversation.  Stupid.  Like I said, my mind doesn't seem to feel any pressure about having to make sense.

That's when it rained down hard.  "Realize that you aren't the only thing going on in our lives.  You are important, but just because you have problems doesn't mean that yours are more important than everyone else's, or that we're going to drop ours to help you.  You need to have enough sensitivity and caring about others to let them deal with their own things and not try to make it all about you."  That isn't word-for-word, but by memory it's pretty close.

And every sentence, every new point was like...it was like standing facing an onslaught, and these nails were coming at me, at my torso and chest and face and they were being driven in and making me wince with every new things that was said.  I shy away from the image of what my face must have looked like while I was listening.  In that moment I became a wounded cowering thing, just waiting for it all to be over so I could crawl away and nurse my wounds as well as I could, waiting and wishing so hard for it to stop.  Wishing I was stronger than this.

Then it was over, it was blessedly silent and I was struggling to breathe.  And there was that voice in my head, the one there to beat me down at every chance; it had started screaming the moment his comments had given it some power to stand behind.  He's right, you know.  You're not worth it, you KNOW better, you should have known not to bring up your problems like that.  If you had any sort of caring for these people, you would have left them alone to find their own happiness and enjoy each other's company without you screwing it up.  Now he's mad at you and he should be.  You're worthless.

Ugh, being attacked in my own head, how do I make it stop?  All the reassurances I get now usually help, but last night they were temporarily torn down, leaving me defenseless in the face of that raw negative energy, eating away at the core of me.

And then someone else, wanting to know what's wrong, calling me until I answered.  I thought "maybe this will make things better, maybe he can help me feel a little better and we can talk through things a bit or something".  But that conversation?  Had him telling me how angry I made him, how much he hates it when I say bad things about myself, how stupid and beneath me it is.  Saying I'm really better than this, that it made him sick and he never wanted me to tell him these things again.

This was costing me so much.  I was on the edge, two seconds away from hanging up the phone, desperate for silence because reaching out was just getting my hand slapped over and over.  But I know him, and I knew that if I were to hang up on him, he would write me off and most likely never speak to me again, just say "I am done with this forever".  When it gets to serious subjects, he can have a bit of a temper if he thinks he isn't being taken seriously, and even though I was having the opposite problem of that, he would have interpreted that way and I would have lost that friendship permanently.  He doesn't know it, but those tendrils of wanting his friendship were the only thing, that absolute last thing keeping me from leaving the conversation and just trying to recover without him taking stabs at me that he probably didn't even realize were hitting so hard.

Try to breathe, just keep trying to breathe.  I didn't know how to handle this anymore except to endure it.  His words still coming through the receiver to my ear, to my brain and then I was crying, and he never even knew that I cried.  I'm not allowed to tell him how I feel about this.  I'm not allowed to say it when I'm dealing with that negative inner voice because he hates it so much, and me having problems dealing with it makes me weak, and it's something he says that I am above, when really it's only something I should be above.

After that I was able to continue in a different conversation, to steer it away when he was finally done ranting after several minutes and talk about something a little more neutral, getting a piece of my sanity back.  Then when I was mid-sentence he suddenly had to go, said he would talk to me later, and left the story I was telling unfinished and hanging in the air above my head where he had cut it away from himself with the last hanging-up click of the phone.

All I'm saying is, I was feeling a little overwhelmed.

And I know, at least I'm almost positive that they thought they were helping, that this is the kind of tough love that is going to be beneficial to me once I get over being upset and realize that they were right.  And although they are usually the best thing possible for me, usually know exactly what to do to help me in my personal growth, this time they were actually wrong.  I know what tough love looks like, and it has been used to help me before.  I can recognize it while it's being used on me almost every time, I can see the truth in things.  But what was being said to me last night only powerfully awoke that voice, and hurt me in a very deep way that neither of them know.

So I come here to write it, to give it words.  It's something that I feel compelled to do and it helps me.  No need for a reason.

It's something I'm glad I can do.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hear Me Rawr

I feel wrong every time I like something pink and admit it.  I feel squirmy inside when I find something I like that has ruffles.  I look at something "girly" and my eyebrows furrow, my nose scrunches up, my lips tighten.

When I like something or do something I term "girly", it's work not to feel disgust with myself.  Some of these things are worse than others.  Showering with several bath products to make me soft everywhere is feminine in a good way, but having a kit with clippers and a nail file is...gross, because it's such a girl thing.  I don't know if these are things that someone else would be able to predict even if they've known me for a while, but in my mind, they all have their place in the hierarchy, and seemingly random things are tolerable or even good while others are barely even forgivable.

I know why this is.  I can't - and have never been able to - identify with or understand really girly girls.  Needless to say, ditsy women are completely beyond my scope of comprehension, and I just try to learn how to function with them when I need to.  The mindset is something I can't really wrap my head around; I can't practically imagine being in that head-space and making decisions from there.

Wrapped up with all this non-understanding is my dislike.  Too many bad experiences with females.  I've been hurt by too many women and girls doing things that are associated only as things that females do, and I've seen way too much from them.  The gossiping, trying to be cute and failing, slutty attitudes, and mind games?  Those are only a few things off the top of my head that I've had to deal with and they drive me insane.  Women sicken me entirely too often.

Cut back to my own issues.  Even aside from the social repercussions in a more globalized sense (a.k.a. my interactions with other females), I have this internal conflict.  For an extremely long time, I've had this clenching retreating reaction to liking girly things or acting in certain feminine ways.

Like I said, my mind can be startlingly specific as to whether I quickly accept something or not.  Long hair is great; high heels are subject to intense suspicion.  Shaving your legs is wonderfully feminine; wearing fake nails is gag worthy.  It would be hard for even me to predict if I were to be on the outside of my own mind.  But despite the disparities, there's a huge variety of the things that get a bad reaction out of me.

The issue gets tough because as a woman, I have certain naturally girlish tendencies.  To add to the torture, I see many things, often online, that I find myself liking and immediately mentally punishing myself for because they fall under the "girly" category.

And that's where I am now.

It's a process, although admittedly a much shorter one than most of the ways I'm growing right now.  Mentally, I'm gradually adjusting to the idea that I can do or like girly things and it's still okay, I'm still likable, that it might even be cute or appealing in some way.  This bad reaction in me still rears its head like a particularly bitter dinosaur on a regular basis, but I'm dealing with it better and seeing it just a little less often than I used to.

It's all part of what these incredible people are helping me with: the slow progression of negating the vicious self-talk and learning how to not hate myself anymore, to start having some measure of self-confidence and self-esteem where I have always been lacking them and letting them become more downtrodden with every bad person that has come into my life and left their mark on it.  I run into situations with girliness now and often remind myself that just because I am a woman with feminine tendencies, it doesn't have to mean that I'm channeling the girliness in the type of girls that I despise.  There is a disconnect between that horrible misuse of femininity and me that I'm beginning to actually see.

And to me, that's definite progress.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What's The Difference Between A High-Risk Customer And A Victim?

Scenario: An obese woman pays more for health insurance than her slimmer neighbor because the insurance company deems her a "higher-risk" customer.  

Most people can get behind the basic idea of this, right?  Scientific studies have proven that being overweight makes a person more susceptible to a variety of health problems, blah de blah blah.  If the company has to put out more money on behalf of someone because they're going to be at the hospital more often and will go through more expensive procedures than other people, it makes sense, right?

Except that you can't guarantee that this person will ever go to the hospital for such a condition.  In which case, she's just paying more because she's heavier.

Same deal with someone who smokes or becomes an alcoholic.  Statistics prove they're more likely to cost a lot of money in medical bills, but the individual circumstance could vary with anything from liver and lung cancer to a doctor-free remainder of a lifetime.

Then let's consider the same scenario but in a slightly different context: what if a person suffers from a preexisting condition?  Say that instead of smoking, you have a history of heart disease in your family.  It wasn't your choice, but it makes you a higher risk anyway.  Then you're paying more money for something that's completely out of your control.

Out of all of these ideas, there's one thought that remains prevalent in my mind.  One question has bothered me for years and makes me wonder when consumers are going to start going on the offensive:

At what point does risk-assessment become discrimination?

I have no doubt that eventually this topic should come up.  One day we'll see someone taking an insurance company to court for charging them rates they can't afford based on a situation that they can't control.  I'm sure it's already happened somewhere that I haven't heard of, and maybe they got a settlement or the whole situation dissipated while being ignored by the media, or (the more likely scenario) the customer simply couldn't afford a lawyer and soon faded into quiet poverty.  And yet, despite the unfairness of many of the things they do, insurance companies can point at the math and get out of any conflict.

Statistics prove that a certain type of person will cost more to take care of.  But individual situations?  They can never be predicted.

Saying that a man should pay more for car insurance is essentially saying that you assume he's going to wreck just because he's a man.  Jacking up rates for a woman with a heart defect is making her situation just as unfair as discriminating against someone with a handicap.  

And employers bound under discrimination laws?  They could easily prove with statistics that an older employee is a higher risk because they have more injuries in the workplace, or that a female shouldn't take a hard-labor job because she would present a higher risk to them if her statistically weaker muscles were to give out.  And yet we don't allow them to refuse hiring a person based on age or sex.

Insurance companies aren't held to the same standards as employers are.  Where should we draw the line?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Cost of Morals

"I'm gonna break your face!"

This is probably what my younger self would say to me if she saw me now.

When I was younger, I never thought that I'd put up with injustice.  To "let bygones be bygones" is one thing, but it's another to let people do things that are blatantly immoral or illegal (or both) to you.  Through the eyes of a child, when everything in the world looks more black and white than in shades of grey, there's no reason to allow things like this to happen.

But then...the bills need paying, the professors need a good impression of you, and the landlord needs to be kept happy.  You find yourself sucking up to people or doing more work for less pay or letting it slide when a superior insults you, because you know that it will cost you something that you need to continue your lifestyle if you don't, like that good impression or this month's rent.  As an adult, you begin to feel that letting your morals slide is "just part of how the world works".

Is that really how it has to be?  Does a person have to lose everything if they operate based on their principles?

There are supposed to be laws set up to protect the underdogs, like the employees in an employer-employee relationship, but they often "cost" a person even more than the above-mentioned sacrifices.  Lawyer's fees?  A lost job (and in this economy)?  The continued battle for a court date that the employer can afford to put off, but you can't?  It's easier for a person to let these things slide or fight it at their own meager level of influence, even if doing so could still costs them decreased pay or losing their job.  The justice system, although it seems well-meaning, simply isn't a practical option for lower or middle-class citizens (which includes the majority of people).  Even laws meant to prevent unfair practices aren't carefully enforced, which means they rely on this "I'm telling on you" system of lawsuits that most people can't afford.

And without the justice system as an option, the average person is left with one choice: to give up their personal sense of justice, or to pay some high price for keeping it.

If the younger me had known the price that morals come with, she would definitely think twice before making that choice.  I'm still not sure which she would choose.

Monday, March 28, 2011

To Be, Or Not To Be (Walked All Over)?

To be nice, or to be strong?
People instinctively view that as the choice they're forced to make.  I've been there before, and I've seen others who view it the same way.  I've caught myself thinking (and heard other people saying) that:

"I'd love to be a nice person, but if I'm going to be walked all over for it, I'd rather be tough and not have as many people like me."

But do we really have to pick only one of those options?  Do we have to come across as douchebags and jerks in order to keep people from taking advantage of our generosity?  I don't think so.  A person can be very kind to their friends only (for instance, because I trust mine not to take advantage, I will do things for them even before they ask).  It's a different story, though, when it comes to coworkers or strangers.  I've learned through countless of my own experiences that I can't afford to give strangers or mere acquaintances that much leeway because they so often abuse it.

Do I come across as a jerk?  Hmm...probably, at times.  But I think that some people do make judgments between "being a jerk" and "looking out for yourself".  And for those who don't?  If I'm not close enough to trust them, I'm not close enough to care how they view me, and that's pretty much all there is to say.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Walks Are Good For You

1) You have time to listen to music on the mp3 player of your choice, whether it's your favorite band or you're listening to someone new!

2) Your heart rate gets up and your body's moving, which almost always feels good.

3) Good exercise.

4) You have time to think about things and let your mind wander.  For me, it can be a fantastic source of inspiration as well.

5) Getting out of the house can be cathartic (if you're as messy as I am)!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


A.   Age: (in college)
B.    Bed size: Unknown!
C.   Chore you hate: Washing dishes.  (It makes my hands dry, and plus, doing it at work makes me sick of it.)
D.   Dogs: It completely depends on the breed!  And the friendliness, and the level of training.
E.   Essential start to your day: Breakfast.  I pretty much always wake up ravenous.
F.  Favorite color: Crap, this one's hard.  I like black, blue and purple a lot.  And green.
G.  Gold or silver: Silver, always!  I strongly dislike gold.
H.  Height: Approximately 5'7"
I.   Instruments you play: Piano and flute.
J.   Job title: Delivery Driver.
K.  Kids: None.
L.  Live: In the U.S.
M. Mom’s name: None-ya business!
N.  Nicknames: None are official, because they come on an individual basis.  My two main nicknames are each used by only one person!
O.  Overnight hospital stays: I don't remember, but I'm sure it's happened.
P.  Pet peeve: Bad drivers that make stupid decisions.

Q.  Quote from a movie: "You know how when you touch a boob, and it feels like a bag of sand...?" (bonus points if you tell me what movie that's from in the comments!)
R.  Righty or Lefty: I'm right-handed.
S.   Siblings: One brother, one sister.
T.   Time you wake up: 8:00ish on school days, any variety of times on other days like days off or work days.
U.   Underwear: A variety! ;)
V.    Vegetables you dislike: Most of them, really.  But I like potatoes. :)
W.   What makes you run late: Trying to take a few extra minutes at the end of my time to get ready.
X.    X-rays you’ve had: Multiples of my leg, etc.
Y.    Yummy food you make: Eggs/omelets.
Z.     Zoo animal favorite: Oooh, this one's a toughie...although zebras rank high!  And so do elephants.  It's been forever since I've been to the zoo...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Return Of The...Me

I've been such a naughty blogger lately!

Or, really, I haven't been a blogger at all.  It's just that I had this huge dose of "something" hit me.  It was a mix of "why am I writing this blog?" and "what do I really have to offer?" and "I don't really have any good blogging ideas right now, anyway".

But now I'm back.

It's not so much that I got answers to any of those questions (because I didn't), but the reading of various blogs I follow and a tiny bit of re-reading my own posts reminds me of the fun of it all.

What it comes down to is this:

Screw it.  I blog because I CAN.

So there.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In The Gamer Universe Pt. 2

       Eventually, Keesa had finished eating the small fruit. Tero waited anxiously. He listened carefully for any shift in the overlaying music, hoping to discern Keesa's destiny and, ultimately, his own.
       There were no changes.
       Tero didn't like the way Keesa's expression betrayed her pain. The next few minutes, or hours, or however long it was, felt like an eternity.
       The only perceptible change in time was in Keesa's demeanor, because after a while, Tero had to admit that it looked like she was – very slowly – deteriorating. When her breath began to catch in her throat, his mind gave in to despair. Not only was she going to die, but she would be doing it slowly, for him to watch in agony.
       This was the way things had always gone here. You either won or lost. Emotional grey areas didn't really exist.
       The game was going to make him suffer, and why? So that he would grow and develop as a character, at the expense of his team's deaths? He couldn't stand to see this bright shining life be eradicated just for that. To him, it would never be worth it.
       A tear ran down Keesa's face as her breathing began to make strained noises.
       Then he knew what he had to do.
       Tero looked down at his pouch and took out all of his potions. When those were gone, he unstrapped his three most simple and intuitive weapons and his complete collection of ammunition for them, and placed them all next to the pile of potions. Lastly, he began removing his items. He put down rings, a wristband, and two necklaces for Keesa's use, and kept only a single ring and belt for himself. Then he let himself look at her face again.
        It almost broke him.
       “I have to do this,” he whispered to her. “It's the only way you'll have a chance.”
       He feared to embrace her because of her injuries, so he closed his eyes and touched her shoulder tenderly instead by way of a goodbye.
       Then he stood and turned his back to her. He knew himself, and in order to do this, Tero wouldn't be able to look at her again.
       He walked away into the darkness, slow but determined, prepared to take on the world alone.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In The Gamer Universe

Today, I experimented with some creative writing by finding a prompt online.  It had a list of random words to use either in a story or as inspiration, and I chose this list:

level, unconscious, topical, vegetarian, eventually, twice, hip, like, cast, and shift

What I came up with makes for a pretty interesting read, I think.  Even thought it's only a first draft (DISCLAIMER: only a first draft), I like what I have here and thought I would post it for your reading enjoyment.

       Tero ducked a blast aimed at his head, and it hit the protoplasmic wall behind him with a concussive boom.
       The boss he and his partner were battling was ox-like in strength and had a tough, scaly hide that was difficult to pierce, but thankfully, Tero and Keesa had the agility advantage. As much as the brute was defended like a tank, he also moved like one.
       The tricky part was that his aim was disconcertingly accurate if you weren't moving fast enough.
       Keesa, the smaller and paler of the two, looked every bit her part of spellcaster as she darted around the small arena. Ribbons on her outfit trailed behind her as she ran, and ribbons of light did the same as she dodged the powerhouse's blows. White energy charged the air between her hand as she built up a spell.
       Tero took aim with a powerful explosives launcher and fired on the creature to buy his partner some time. Although he felt bulky with the equipment he was carrying, the sophisticated and powerful firearms strapped to his limbs paired with his knowledge and skill made him a force to be reckoned with as a weapons specialist.
       Tero tried not to wish for their former “tank” powerhouse, who had been a physically unstoppable and a valuable member of their team. He had been killed back at level twelve. It was just the two of them now. Tero told himself that they could make it on their own.
       That philosophy worked well until Keesa got hit.
       Tero took his shot the moment he saw it, but just as his blast of ammo made its way to the monster, it caught Keesa in an inferno while she was standing still for a moment too long, building up her power. Tero fired again with his slower, more powerful blaster when he had weakened the boss, but he finished it a few seconds too late. By the time he ran to Keesa, he feared that the worst had already occurred.
       Tero ran to her motionless form, feeling a sob catch in his throat. When he saw that she was breathing, he thought he might be rendered unconscious from relief. He had already lost one of his team members, and if that happened twice, he didn't think he'd be able to finish the game.
       “Keesa!” he cried out. “Are you okay?” It was often impossible for characters to tell if other characters were injured just from appearance, and he was hoping for a pleasant surprise, like the classic bulletproof vest in a crime show after the cop had been shot. Of course, in this universe, the equivalent would be something like a fireproof potion, but he hoped for the best simply because he'd found her alive. Traditionally, Tero knew that this was a very good sign, because it meant that the action would shoot to video, and there was always a chance for redemption in those moments.
       He gazed down at Keesa, this girl who his future was all wrapped up in. Without her, he would be left to face all the terrors of this world alone.
       Her eyes had been clenched tight from the pain, but she opened them now and stared up at him in terror.
       His heart sank. He knew what that meant. There was no potion, no special resistance, no extra life. She wasn't saved.
       Would he be able to do anything about it?
       Tero checked the pouch at his hip in vain, knowing that the potions he kept there did not include one for health. He had run out of those two rooms ago. He cast his gaze desperately around the bio-chamber, hoping to see anything that might have appeared after the heat of battle to help him save her. And there, many paces away, was a tree.
       He was scared to leave Keesa, but if she had survived this long, he didn't think she would leave him when he had stepped away. The way these videos worked, she would either be saved by his efforts or die in his arms.
       The way the tree almost seemed to glimmer in his sight, Tero knew that it had to be a useful object. He could just see a fruit poking out from behind the leaves. This meant more hope, because he knew that Keesa's character was a vegetarian that believed in the value of life in all beasts. The game was providing an item compatible with her character.
       Tero jumped with no success. It took him equipping the Double Jump ability before he could reach what he hoped to be a healing fruit.
       Tero obtained fruit, the screen read.
       He reached Keesa again and ripped off a piece of the fruit for her to eat.
       “What is it?” she asked in a quiet voice that alarmed Tero as she let him feed it to her.
       “It's some topical fruit I found on a glimmering tree,” he told her gently. He knew that she would like that. She's always had an affinity for pretty things.
       She smiled weakly as he fed her.

The rest of the story will be in tomorrow's post at 8:30 am.  Come back then for the conclusion!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Product of Silence: Combustible Friendship

This month's Product of Silence prompt is to "write a letter that you never intend to send".

Dear Marcie,

You gave me a first taste of betrayal.  It's funny now to remember your involvement in my life and the value I once placed on our friendship, because when you demolished all of that you did it so thoroughly.  The pain that once choked my mind is now so distant because of the way that experience repeated itself with new people, making me seasoned in these situations.

I guess that what you are to me now isn't so much a traitor or a liar as just an introduction to the concepts.

You had no way of knowing at the time how hard a chronically shy and insecure girl would take it when you stabbed her in the back, but honestly, I don't think you even gave a thought to the fact that other people had feelings because it was so long ago and at that age everyone is decisively selfish.  Then again, I know more than my fair share of people who never grew out of that, and I can't help imagining that you're one of them.

You certainly held your impact for me when we were friends; enough to leave a lasting impression.  I can still remember both of your names with no effort, which I can't say for anyone else that left my life when you did.  And I can still remember the way your freckles covered every inch of your skin, as if one separate part of you was trying to envelop the original.  You probably don't remember that I ever existed for you because out of the two of us, I was the one looking across whatever connecting lines we'd sown.

I know you were more to me than I was to you, because you had options.  I, on the other hand, was so shy that I had found myself unable to talk to anyone else.  They already had their choice of friends, and there was no room for me there.  That meant that when you talked to me, I felt my world open up in a drastic way.  There was finally some sort of communication between me and the world outside of my head, some rope thrown to me from the darkness that I could just see my end of.  I grabbed hold of it with fervor, desperate to experience what seemed so normal for everyone else I had ever seen.  Before you, I had been spending my days in nothing but loneliness, and to this day that is the one emotion that could make me feel insane with despair because it comes with a lifetime of bad memories.

When you told others how you really felt about our "friendship", I was absolutely crushed.  That one rope, that single hope, had been yanked away right before my eyes.  That was many years before I began developing my inner strength, so at the time, there was almost none to rely on.

I still don't know how I floundered through that darkness after you left.  When you were gone I didn't know if anyone would ever throw a rope to me again, and it was years before someone finally did.  I've had other so-called "friends" do the same malicious things since you, and the story only changes in the smaller details and the fact that I was quickly becoming better equipped to handle it by the time they came along.

That journey must have started with you, putting me in a situation where I would either learn to adapt or be destined never to recover.  The flavors of treachery and disillusionment soon become familiar, but with the power of your destructive friendship, I suppose I never forgot my first taste.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Why Is My Relationship Failing? Where Has The Romance Gone?"

I know I've been rather absent in the blogging universe lately, but I can explain...

  • I got Sims 2 and its expansions on my computer again, and of course that meant playing the game virtually non-stop for at least five days.
  • I've been practicing on my Rock Band skills yet again.  And it's finally paying off!  I managed to finally pass Less Talk More Rokk by Freezepop today.  Eat that!
  • I managed to finally fix my schedule at school.  I had do so much crap just to get to this point, so I'm relieved that my classes are finally set.
  • Various other complications were sorted through.
Although honestly, you can blame The Sims for a majority of it.

And now, in order to make this more of a real-ish sort of post, here's a thought:

Romantic relationships only differ from friendships in three main ways:  the type of feeling associated with the person, the presence or absence of a sexual aspect, and the pressure we put on the relationship.

The pressure we put on romance is one of the main reasons that those relationships are so likely to fail.

Of course, there's also the "type of feeling" - which leaves a person falling for someone who isn't interested in the same way - but aside from those instances (which almost all of us have experienced and managed to get over), the type of pressure we put on romantic relationships lead to their failure most of the time.

If you're a woman who's friends with a man, you put no pressure on him to spend an inordinate amount of time with you.  If he's spending time with other friends or wants time to himself, it's no big deal, right?  

Of course, if you were in a relationship with him, (for most people) that would be right out the window.

And what about influence?  A girlfriend may find herself tempted to try to change her boyfriend in a way that friends never would, whether she's trying to change his clothing style, his manners, his habits, or any of a number of other things.  This type of thing almost invariably leads to problems that could be avoided if the nature of the relationship was different.

I know there have to be other factors under the same principle, but for your commenting fun, I think I'll leave those to you...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thoughts On These Old Stand-Bys

One of the world's most ridiculous statements:
 "There are tons of people who would love to have your problem."

Just think about that for a second.

For one thing, it trivializing the problems of the person it's being said to.  For another, who would enjoy a problem of any kind?  It's an obviously stupid sentiment.

Here's a counter-quote:
"If every person in the world put their problems in a pile, most would take their own back."
A person might think they'd prefer someone else's issues, but they would end up learning that no one's problems are fun.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ripped Me To Shreds

Try reading some (or all) of these stories:

101 Short Stories that Will Leave You Smiling, Crying and Thinking

It only take a few seconds to read each one.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Not Everything Cooperates

I just finished watching the full anime series of Ouran High School Host Club a couple of days ago, and if you happen to be looking for a comedy, this one's a win!  There's 26 episodes of hilarity, cross-dressing, fake twincest, and ulterior motives.  It's available on Hulu (which does have limited commercials.  You can also get this series on sites without commercials, but my computer had problems with them for some reason).

While watching this series, I was reminded of how much of a cold-hearted sadist I am.  In fiction, especially anime and manga, I just love it when the main characters are weepy and miserable and upset over a misunderstanding with their love interest or a hidden fear or something.

Aww, she's sad.  AND I LOVE IT.

Does that count as something wrong with me, or a very basic character flaw?

Eh, I'd rather think of it as a fascinating counterpoint to my more accommodating real-life personality.

That's only one of the things I've been up to.  (Besides having nightmares, which is still happening every night, for the record.)  I also tried to install Flock on my computer.  Nifty sidebar with updates from everything you're subscribed to on the internet, plus lightning-fast page uploads?  I was all "count me in!".

My computer, on the other hand, was more in the mood for a volleyball spike, Gibbs-worthy smack-down.  I said "Look, here's this awesome thing that helps you run fast and give me streaming updates!"  It said:

In the end, Steve had it working fine on both of his computers from the first try, while I have yet to determine why it won't always even bother to upload the sidebar on mine, much less deliver the lightning-fast page uploads that I've seen in action on Steve's computers.  My computer is, indeed, the stubborn and jealous type.

To add to all that fun, I've also been playing Diablo II and the occasional bouts of Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep.

Here's a hint: don't choose Sorceress as your first Diablo II character unless you enjoy dying.  Often.  Because obviously, that couldn't have had anything to do with my personal playing ability whatsoever.

And as far as Birth By Sleep goes, I am currently stuck on Vanitas, who has been the hardest boss for me so far.  On the plus side, I've looked to the internet for help, and am now hopeful that I can take him on with a little more success.  This is exactly what usually I try not to do, since figuring out how to defeat bosses on my own is really my only "gamer rule" (which, of course, I break whenever I come upon a boss that's simply too hard).  What can I say?  Vanitas made me do it.

I hate that guy.

Host Club photo is property of Funimation Entertainment

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's In A Date?

What if we switched up some holidays?

Halloween for Valentine's Day
Instead of giving me chocolate or a stuffed animal, Steve might try to scare the crap out of me for Valentine's Day.  He could t.p. my house, ask me for candy, and carve a scary realistic heart into a pumpkin.  The phrase  "Be Still, My Heart" would be found on merchandise everywhere.

This concept, however, I'm sure would stay the same.
Easter for Mother's Day
Imagine that instead of getting her flowers or a cute little "thank you" card, you had your mother look all over your back yard for eggs...and then you egged her with them on her special day!  (The eggs came from the "bunny", of course.) 

Thanksgiving for New Year's
Forget the alcohol, because people would forgo it for turkey.  Or, one better, they make the turkey by basting it in alcohol!  (I'm not sure what basting is, but it sounds like turkey soaked in bourbon or something, so let's just pretend that's what it is.)  Those blasting whistles would be filled with gravy, which would shoot out in a celebratory stream toward whoever's the closest victim.

Watch out, guys.  Those things are about twenty thousand times less innocent than they seem.

Mardi Gras for Earth Day
All that guilt you feel for not taking care of the Earth for the rest of the year?  Screw that!  Shake your money-maker until you've successfully knocked down all the recycling bins in your area so that you won't have to look at them anymore.  Buy beads you don't need, little masks you'll never wear again, and trample all that wasted material in the streets when you're done.  The world is your trash can...but only for one day.

St. Patrick's for Groundhog Day
In February, everyone in the world would converge to a place with precipitation, wait for a rainbow to appear, journey to the end of it, and watch the leprechaun to see if he had a shadow.

Labor Day for Christmas
Instead of exchanging gifts, everyone would do absolutely nothing.

all photos found through use of Google Image Search and linked appropriately

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wealth, Romance, Violence, and Dead Bodies

2011 is here, and this is what I've decided to do with it.  It doesn't sound very specific, but when I decide what to do, I'll let you know.  This will probably consist of many nice little things, and you're welcome to join the party!

A big part of all this will be some "finding of myself".  I feel that I have a lot of room for expansion, in a sense.  I have to have more interests than I think I do.  Surely I can do more personal little projects than I have in the past.  And maybe I can figure out what haircut I want and what my clothing style actually is.  (current hairstyle: "growing it out", and current clothing style: "lazy", usually t-shirts)

I'll start with editing my NaNo novel, which I purposefully put off until January in order to get some distance and be able to spot flaws easier.  When I get some good excerpts, I might post a few on here for your fiction reading enjoyment.

On a completely different note, because heck, my mind just jumps around sometimes...

I've been having lots of dreams and nightmares lately.  I know it's because I'm giving myself more time to sleep while I'm on break from school, and I like it in a way, because it's always interesting to see what my mind throws at me.  But it also sucks when I have the nightmares, which come pretty often.  Sometimes, I can see how they reflect my real-life anxieties, but often, they're just upsetting.

This morning, I dreamed that I was driving a truck and two of the tires went off the side of a bridge.  I was hanging there in that dangling vehicle, looking at the ground below and wondering desperately if I would survive the fall and what type of injuries I would sustain from it.  I was certain that I wasn't going to get off of that bridge without falling.  I knew that the people I was calling to for help were too far away and probably wouldn't get to me in time.

Imagine something like this.

Or maybe this.
I wonder why our minds decide to torture us with nightmares.  It can't be some sort of warning, because I'm sure I'm not a psychic.  The only cards I play with have diamonds, hearts, clubs, and spades on them, and those don't stand for wealth, romance, violence and dead bodies.

Why does my brain want to scare me?  Why does it bully me into desperation and fear?

When I think hard enough, I begin to wonder if this particular dream was reflecting some real fears of mine after all.  Maybe, instead of focusing on the truck and the accident, I should consider the people there who were too far away to help me.  I have a guess as to what that means, and it has to do with my independence.  Not the reality of failure, but the fear of it.

I shouldn't be so afraid of falling.  Everyone does it at some point, after all.  And as all the platitudes say, the important part is retaining the ability to get back up from it.

An article I read once on dream interpretation ending by saying that the most reliably accurate way to interpret dreams was for the dreamer to do the interpreting.  If you are the one looking into your own dreams for meaning, you're most likely to find your answers there, because you can take into account all of your personal experiences and feelings that may be factors in the meaning.

Try a little dream interpretation of your own today, and if you don't already have a blog post in mind, feel free to take this as your idea.  If you leave a comment with a link to your dream post, I'll link up in this post so that other readers can get their fill of dream interpretation and/or new blogs to read!

Of course, there may not be anyone that wants to take me up on this offer.  Oh well.  That just means I will be unique today, and this will be the only place you can get your fill of my lovely ideas. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Magic, Creativity, Elves, Stars and A Present For You

There's something elvish in me.

I don't have the pointy ears.  Or the willowy figure.  (Both of which are sad realizations.)  It's not even got anything to do with bright eyes.  All I know is that under the right conditions, that feeling comes out again.

When I'm outside, under the stars - and sometimes, the moon too - that's when it happens.  If the air feels right, like that exciting feeling that comes with autumn and a promising breeze, I feel it well up.  I don't know where it came from, but when that feeling returns, it's infectious and familiar and welcome to me.  And it makes me think of elves.  (Not the Santa's workshop kind, but the regal Lord of the Rings kind.)

It's inspiration.  It is ideas: a bright mind sparking quickly and flawlessly and creatively.  (Even if I come up with something I don't use, it can't be wrong, because it leads me to new and better things.)  All of this feels like magic, and pure excitement.  It's that feeling of fantasy that I haven't been able to duplicate by any other means than this since I was a kid.

Does this ever happen to you?  It's like something's in the air, making you pumped and excited and inspired for seemingly no reason.  It makes you want to stay there forever.  To capture every thought like a bright little firefly in a jar where it's free to grow and fly and yet you can still examine it and learn from it before letting it go to shine in other places too.

And if this does happen to you, under what conditions does it occur?  Do landscapes inspire you?  Frightening situations?  Touching, sentimental moments?  All it takes for me is that particular feeling in the air, that autumn coolness and a sight of the stars.  The promise of rain can also do the trick, or at least enhance the experience.

What gives you that fantasy feeling?  Bring in the new year by connecting with your inspirational moments!

And, if I have enough responses, I could share a list of the things you find the most inspiring in my next post to give you some new ideas.

Just think of it as your new year's present.  Which I am officially inventing as of now.  You can pretty much attach presents to any holiday, right?