love notes into the ether

If you’re an email subscriber, you may have received an email for learning to breathe / projection, which was written and to be published in April 2016 but it didn’t get posted for some reason so it got posted now. I cannot turn off publishing to email on a per post basis so if you sometimes get a deluge of emails from me, it means I’m going through and publishing old posts.


A couple of weeks ago I launched Excessively Diverting1, an all Jane Austen all the time (with the occasional Brontë) blog with the main reason as I am taking front end web development classes, I needed a project and durr, Jane Austen. There is so much news on our Jane, I am spoilt for blog posts and that is not including the long list of ideas I could write about. The blog is the little blog that could and if you’re a fan of our Jane, please do give the blog a read as it would be much appreciated.


It is a sunny Sunday afternoon and I’m finding myself at loose ends today. While I woke up late, I was able to finish the bulk of my chores shortly after noon and I’ve been looking for something to do since then which is hilarious, in its own way, as I’ve got plenty to do such as finish reading the chapters due this week for Mansfield Park or working on homework for the aforementioned front end web dev classes. Yet, I do not find myself attracted to these things right now and it should be noted I’ve been getting tired of my laptop as of late. Everything I must do or have to do stems from working online and oh gods, why? I’ve been online 22 years and it never fails to amaze me how the internet works but I get so tired of it from the news, the gossip, and the work I just want to move to a tiny island and be surrounded books such as this:

(If you’re not familiar with this episode of The Twilight Zone, Burgess Meredith plays a nebbish bank teller who survives a nuclear fall out as he was reading in the vault of his bank when the bomb hits. Realising he is alone, he contemplates suicide before noticing the public library is now all his. Then he steps on his glasses. So I want this but sans the glasses breaking.)
So I take short breaks and do a lot of self-care and while sometimes it doesn’t seem to be enough, it does satiate my need for some offline time.
(And yet, YET!, I find myself here writing this post on, you guessed it, my laptop.)


We went home to Grand Rapids for the holidays and I had a lovely lady date day with several of my closest friends. As I love all of them equally, I cannot play favorites but this one is one of my favorites and she asked why wasn’t I writing a book on being mentally ill, specifically bipolar, since it would help so many people such as how it helped her to understand from the live in your face blog of a mentally ill person.
Truth be told, this is something I’ve been thinking about for some time but haven’t verbalized and it is something I’m still on the fence about. Since my nervous breakdown in October 2015, I am finding myself more reluctant to write about my experiences because of the shame so attached to those who are mentally ill (yet I have no problem banging on about it on Twitter, which is beyond public, so there is that). I could not bear, at the darkest time of my adult life, letting those wounds get picked on and over even by those who were doing it out of love. It is so exhausting these days just being that writing about it gives me a headache and a very desperate need to curl up with a good book, hot tea, and a pug by my side with TEH close by.
But oh! My dear, dear readers – I find myself in self-flagellated mode on this topic because wouldn’t now be the perfect time to write while emotions are high and the feelings are low and yet I look at this website on occasion with some disdain. Jesus, how time has changed in 20 years since this little website became a reality where then I would bare my breasts with nipples hard and prominent with a giving no fucks attitude and now I gave you a brief glimpse of my cleavage and demurely mention how lovely you look.


When TEH and I were buying Throbbing Manor in the winter of 2010, the seller was being a fuck twat and jerking us around. TEH and I were living in long stay hotel, our things in storage, and we were very desperate to move into the house. One day while at the hotel, something got in my eye and instead of a cool, “Oh, I must get this thing out of my eye” like some rational person, I went from “OH MY GOD, SOMETHING IS IN MY EYE” to “I AM DYING OF EYE CANCER” and no amount of consoling from TEH soothed my anxiety beast. It took a Klonopin to calm me down and lull me to sleep before I found myself the following day feeling fresh as a dewed daisy and not the least bit anxious.
We laugh about this episode now but it is used as the barometer of my feelings for that particular day. There’s been more times of late where I have scurried into the kitchen to grab my Klonopin because my anxiety was so high and no amount of meditation / breathing / yoga / self-care was bringing me down. I will yell “EYE CANCER!” in a high voice so TEH knows why I scuttling to the kitchen naked but for a towel wrap around my wet hair.


EYE CANCER used to happen every three or four months but now it’s moving to a near weekly basis. Frustration for a lack of money, job, possible loss of insurance (Thanks, Trump!),  mental health in peril some days, and the lack of snow in Louisville (truly) is taking its toll. Feeling frustrated is normal for these are normal things to feel frustrated about but my fucking brain — fucking gods my brain! — takes it to a whole new level and there are days I am so frustrated with my brain rather than my situation I want to get ECT to make it all go away. TEH and my therapists are against this method, I am, ha ha ha, still too high functioning to even consider such a thing and, well, my meds are rather working at the moment, so, why the need?


Before we started dating (or whatever the fuck you want to call what we were doing), TheBassist was hospitalized for deep depression and is in year two or three of recovery yet he still often finds himself exhausted by daily life to such a degree he still needs naps in the afternoon. I thought this was ridiculous — if you can play gigs at bars on the weekends, you can get a damned job.
Ha. Ha. Ha. The jokes on me! I now find myself in the same position where if I do more than one thing a day, even seeing my therapist counts, I need to take a break from the world. Being mentally ill is not only expensive but it is exhausting.


Imagine this:
You have a job and you work in the office. You have your morning rituals and commute times; you interact with your coworkers; you have meetings and lunches with other people; you come home and do your evening meal and delights; you go to bed and you start the process all over the next day. On the weekend you may sleep in and take some personal time. You get recharged and tackle the Monday just like you have every other Monday.
For me, and people like me, we can get up and do our morning rituals. But going out into the world and having to be “on” takes such a large amount of emotional and mental strength we simply do not have so we break down in some fashion. It may be we’re late to work. It may be we take a sick day. It may be we job hop looking for a job we can work without giving too much notice to our mental health. We may cancel evenings with friends or even self-plans like heading to the movies because it’s too much.
Everything is too much. It is overwhelming and there have been times in the last year I thought I was on the spectrum because even certain noises made me jittery (exhaust fans from the kitchen and bathroom). I cannot breathe when I’m overwhelmed in these situations so I need to check out so I can get breath back into my body.
This does not negate the normal exhaustion one feels when one is working 40+ hours a week, has a family, has a home, or whatever it is people my age have — because that is normal. Working takes the piss out of most humans as does daily life but what I want you to imagine is take that weekend feeling of exhaustion, jack it up by 100 and have it compound over the course of the week.
That is what the mentally ill often go through on a daily basis on top of their crazy.


I find myself nearing 2000 words on something I didn’t think I could sum up 500 so maybe this is the sign I need to start planning that book. From the varied research I have done over the last year, it is rare to find an adult fiction book of someone who is mentally ill and NOT depressive as it is to find a non-fiction book from someone in the first person of their own accounts of being bipolar.
Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

1. Careful readers will remember I ran an Etsy shop of the same name a few years back in which I shuttered (temporarily) when I was working full time. I do have plans of the store re-opening, I just don’t know exactly when.

Want to be the first in the know when a new entry posts?
Subscribe to the mailing list, Bloglovin’, or
follow via RSS. Want Lisa goodness but less
frequently? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator.
Want to start at the beginning?
Buy my book, The Lisa Chronicles: Vol 1: 1998

melancholy of the forgotten things

The last few months has been a study in the discovery of self as I’m having a lot of deep thoughts™ on a near daily basis. Nearly every single winner of those races tend to steer me towards my (ir)relevancy and (lack of) mark in the world. There is a toss-up if I am thinking such things because it is winter and depressing as hell outside or that my 45th birthday is in six months.
Maybe it’s both.
It is depressing, as a feeling not as a state. I do not feel as if I’m going to harm myself, do some damage to others or any of that sort but I am feeling a bit helpless and confused, and questioning where I’m going. Even during and shortly after the case came to a conclusion, I felt as if I was on a very clear path. Now that path is muddled and I’m at a loss of what to do and where to go.
To be sure my physical self is fine: I have a place to live (living with TEH where the south meets the midwest), food in my belly, my bills are taken care of, for now, thanks to unemployment. I do not want for material things and I am extremely grateful for what I have. I’ve taken to donating time / money when I can, even if it’s only a few dollars. I want to pay forward all the help I was given and while these gestures may seem small, it’s something.


I have been able to procure a talking therapist last month and we’re meeting on a near weekly basis. I have not worked with a talking therapist in over six months and it is such a relief to word vomit everything from my head with no fear of judgment and repercussion. Like many, I have a wonderful support network of people who will listen but they are not a neutral party to this conversation.
My talking therapist keeps drilling, tho I have a hard time believing, the importance of self-care and self-soothing. It’s not that unusual, really, to have these thoughts and they are not owned by those with short-circuited brains like mine. They are just thoughts, we need to accept them and let them go. We don’t have to act on them or be fearful of them. The talking therapist posited what kind of society are we if taking time out for ourselves makes us selfish bitches? Being able to take care of one’s self does a world of wonder for our lives.
We do not have to do all the things.
We need to remember to put ourselves first– a concept I rationally understand but have a literal difficulty in implementing.
Yesterday I found myself in a state over something I couldn’t control but was desperately attempting to. I took to my meditation app and I could not concentrate for fuck all. It was a struggle to keep focused on my zen buddha nature as my mind kept wandering over to that particularly riddled state and other things that were not important enough to give as much currency as I was giving them. Too fast for my liking, the 15 minutes are over and Andy from the app is back soothing me with his subtle British accent.
I do not feel better. I am now frustrated because I could not complete the simple task of sitting still for 15 minutes and being present.


An example of a daily frustration: I worked in the state of New York when I was living on the east coast this summer and since I worked long enough to garner unemployment, this is who is feeding me each week. The conditions tho are bit long and can get tiresome of what I need to report every week in my job search. I have to, and I do, track everything from job searching and profesh website1 updates to interviews and rejections. I have to work on job searching three days a week. Many of you may remember when I was heavily job hunting for librarian gigs I was searching every fucking day.
My medicating therapist spoke on the influx number of jobs coming to the area. Sure, if you’re into light industrial and retail. Several websites put my earning power at $93K. I have never earned that much, and while I’m glad for their hopefulness, it gets a bit irritating that the jobs they send pay in the $15/hr range. If that. Most jobs are paying in the $8-10/hr range.
I’m going to be a pretentious, over privileged asshole. I worked hard for my degrees. I made $ButWillMoreThanLikelyNeverSeeInThisArea so I have settled for $ReasonableAmount – which is significantly less than $ButWillMoreThanLikelyNeverSeeInThisArea. I’m finding a lot of jobs that require at least a college degree paying $10K less than my $ReasonableAmount.
I would gladly settle for a retail job at my favorite stores but the pay there starts at $9/hr. I calculated working 40 hours a week, which would be impossible, the gross would be $30 less a week than what unemployment brings. If I work a day, I will not make close to what that day would bring me on unemployment. Retail jobs are out. Tutoring jobs, which pay between $18-22/hr, would be ideal but I would have to hustle to find work and those gigs are not guaranteed source of income. Tutoring jobs are out. I’ve been rejected from positions I’ve interviewed for, with a $10K a year less salary than my $ReasonableAmount, for being overly educated. My resume is in front of your face. What on earth would have changed from submission to the interview?
I have removed degrees, modified what I did at jobs, cut my resume from six pages (academic) to two (standard). I have resumes for different fields. I have placed a variety of my resumes on eight job boards, including a state and city sponsored ones. I call staffing agencies and specialty recruiters. I have emailed recruiters that I have worked with in the past. It is not as if I’m not looking for a gig, but I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable given my education, employment history, and skillset, asking for $ReasonableAmount is not, in fact, unreasonable.
And for the love of all that is holy, do not take this as an invention to email me your suggestions on how to find a job. My interview rate per number of job applications (1 in 5) is better than the norm (1 in 10), so obviously I have that down pat — it’s a matter of actually getting someone to hire me.


What was the point of that angrily worded section? To give you an idea of a daily frustration. Instead of stepping back, coloring or knitting or working on something else to self-soothe/self-care, I stew. Fuck the man and all that has and will potentially happen because I’m getting nowhere.


My talking therapist is an optimist. The right thing will happen at the right time, she says. She believes it too. She tells me I’ve got options. I’m starting an extensive front end web development program in January. If I get off my arse, I can start selling my writing. There are other things I can throw in the fire. I am not, by any means, out of ways to improve my standings but it just might take a bit longer. Take a bit of work.
Work hurts.
I have to remember, as my talking therapist keeps telling me, things, no matter how much I want them to, will not change overnight. Every small fucking step I’ve done this year, even if it feels like I’m spinning my wheels, is an improvement over before. I need to think of 2016 as a year of growth rather than a year of nothing. Because I did do work. I did make some ground.
But the work hurts. It is painful and maddening and slow.
Talking therapist said that’s okay, it will hurt. By being here, acknowledging on being present, you’re slowly changing something. It’s new and unknown. That is okay.
That is okay.
1. I’m consolidating my librarian website (lisa.rabey.net) with my writing one (lisarabey.com). Choose your own adventure, motherfuckers.

fearless

1906fish
[I’ve started posting weekly over at my newsletter with bits, bobs, and summaries and while it seems I’m neglecting this site, I don’t plan to. Think of the newsletter as Fanciful Delights on steroids.  View the archives to get a feel and come join!]
What does it mean to be fearless?
This is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately and I frame it as, “What would 24 year old Lisa think of 44 year old Lisa?” Would she approve, shake her head, be curious or angry at some of my choices? Would she be proud of me or disappointed? With the information guiding her, would she make different choices to shape another version of me?
I suppose it’s odd to become obsessed (because that is what it is) about a conversation that could never take place. (And if I know anything about time travel, you cannot cross meet yourself in the past for the sake of disrupting that particular reality.) But here I am, feverishly thinking about it and wonder what the fuck have I done with my life, how can I fix/change it, and how can I put my past into real rest while keening for the approval of 24 year old me.
These are questions no one, despite what they tell you, has perfect answers to. To be successful, to really be close to successful, the choices have to be close to nonexistent. Small choices and decisions that will shape the world as you want it but it will be slow and not the insta-quick sold by snake charmers.
Let’s get back to 24 year old Lisa. In the year she was about to turn 25, she met a boy on on the internet and within a few months of meeting him, packed up her bags and with less than 500 dollars in her pocket, took the airplane ticket he offered her and moved to the Bay Area without knowing a soul. They lived in an illegal apartment slash walk out basement where the landlord was a dominatrix who lived with her submissive on the main floor. The illegal apartment had two rooms, a toilet, and a kitchen sink. Showers were to be taken in the main living area as well as where we kept the food.
It shant be no surprise to anyone Lisa and her fellow broke up a few months later when he told her at a conference in Las Vegas (flight and hotel paid for by his company) he had met someone else and was going to move in with her. As luck would have it, when Lisa got back to the Bay Area, the submissive moved out (or was kicked out, I could never really remember that particular detail) and Lisa moved into his bedroom in the main house. Eventually she got a job, moved on with her life, and well, we know where that path took her.
What does it mean to be fearless?
Today we would call Lisa at 24 stupid, reckless, irresponsible, and a risk taker. I would call her gutsy and fearless. She saw a chance to get out of town she was growing to hate to an area that might prove to be wonderful. She knew she would land a job somewhere, eventually, and pay her own way. She navigated Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley like a pro. But while these things were slowly coming together, she lived off of generosity of friends as well as by luck.
I would repeat a similiar scenario several years later when I left a relationship with a man who was to be my future husband for a possible job and another boy across the other side of the country. The relationship, and the job, didn’t last but three years. Then I moved on my own to be with myself across the country again to finish college and get a life I saw myself living and bore no resemblance to the one I just left behind.
This is a pattern driving most of my life: taking chances on the unknown in the hopes that the result would give me what I want. Necessary knowledge of possible events, of future choices, or something secure (housing, job) never came into question. I knew I would have housing, a job, and things that I needed. Not necessarily what I wanted but always what I needed.
What does it mean to be fearless?
Twenty four year old Lisa was beset with sometimes crippling anxiety but its form was different than Lisa at 44. Then it was physical and now it’s mental. I thought nothing of hopping in my car and driving miles and miles for something when now if I’m doing anything longer than 100 miles, I need to get my car looked over even though my car is in excellent shape. Then I was on the go, on the move, and now I’m a homebody who comforts in telly and knitting because I get weary of social events. While it was rare for me to ever be home any night of the week, now it’s rare for me to not be home any night of the week. I clubbed until 2AM and worked at 6. Now I’m, mostly, in bed before 10PM – 11PM and up between 7AM – 8AM. Then I made a lot of rash and what would be considered risky decisions. Now I cross-examine anything that could remotely go outside my closed life.
Lisa at 24 was an adventurer at heart and while me at 44 still has that same desires, my adventuring has taken on other forms.
The argument could be made my bipolar, life choices, and decisions is what configured who I am today and I would tend to agree with you, but there remains an element that is missing and I believe that element is fearlessness. Even with all of that being said, the move to the east coast for a job that may or may not work out (hint: it didn’t) was an inspiration (as someone said to me) because I was willing to take that chance. Those close to me, seeing the red signs I was refusing to see, saw it was irresponsible and too risky. I was fearless but with a penalty and is it any wonder being fearless in the future seems like a very bad idea. If it’s not guaranteed, then what’s the point?
I speak with 24 year old Lisa a lot these days and while she shakes her head at some of my antics, we both agree there are no regrets. Bad choices and decisions, sure, but no regrets. We discuss the good things that came into my life based on those risky decisions. Not all but definitely some. We’re pretty proud of our achievements because we’re now not two divided persons of past and future but a whole being with memories of current and past and the soon to come.
So I ask you again, what does it mean to be fearless?
And the answer is simple: Living with no regrets.

[Cross posted to Medium]

eucatastrope

Dear Internet,
When I write pieces like this, this, that, this, or that all in the manner of two weeks, people get nervous.
They think I’m in crisis.
They think I’m having a(nother) nervous breakdown.
I find I have to keep reiterating that I’m fine, I’m not in crisis, I’m not going to harm myself.
Because I’m not. I’m a vengeful fucker.
Think of it this way: Writing those things is, yes, massive navel gazing, and to some extent, attention seeking1, but I like to think of writing as a big ugly cry.
fassbender-cry
Then I feel better.
What is comforting, besides people caring to make sure I’m okay, is those who come to me privately and tell me they have gone or are going through some of the exact same things. It, perhaps you make think this is odd, feels good to remember these feelings are a shared human experience.
(You are not alone.)


I’ve put together a fairly intricate plan to kick my ass in moving forward on healing. I’ll have a post coming up with the exact breakdown, but here is a summary:

  • I use my Bullet Journal to create my todo lists for the day
  • I use my carding system (explained later) to
    • Track DBT stuff (skill, techniques, pithy statements)
    • Accomplishments
    • Gratitude lists
  • I write (or try to) in my paper journal every day (steady since October!)
  • I exercise 3-5x a week (steady since November!)
  • Meditate (207 days and counting!)
  • Therapy every week
  • I go to my office

So that last part — starting this week I have a co-working place in downtown L-ville. TheExHusband and my therapist agreed it would be a good idea if I had somewhere to go outside of the condo. I researched places where I could work (bookstores, coffeeshops, the library) and it turned out to be far cheaper to use the co-working space than other locations. For $60 a month, I get free snacks/drinks, wifi, ample parking space, business address, mailbox, and locker to name a few perks. Today was my first day and my time went by fast. I loved it.
(I’ve promised myself to not stay on the computer past 5PM at home or at the office but as I cannot access the blog to write here when I’m at work so I’m bending the rules tonight.)
There is only so much one can do in exploring the city, running errands, wandering around, and walking the dog when one has no cash. I’m utterly dependent on TheExHusband and I’m mindful of what I am borrowing2, refrain from asking anything outside of necessities.
What is my job? Oh, loads of stuff.

  • Apply for jobs It takes me 1-2 hours per application (on a good day). I’ve applied for 13 jobs in the last 10 days and that’s 30ish hours of my time already sucked away before anything else
  • Look for jobs Another time suck
  • Work on DBT/RSL I need to be doing this daily — I started out strong and withered. This needs to be part of my everyday routine
  • Treehouse/Linux projects Amping up my back and front end developer skills
  • Writing Blog, Short stories. Non-fiction. Researching magazines and such to send stuff in. Everything encompassing this section
  • Other shit I’m probably forgetting

This is a lot of stuff. It feels at times almost overwhelming so. It became pretty clear I needed an away space when working from home wasn’t doing me any favors. If I didn’t wanna do work I just didn’t. If I wanted to not shower and lay about in jimjams, I did. Add in a roommate who works from home and you two end up not working beacuse you’re busy bugging the other and a dog who needs TO LET YOU KNOW THEY ARE THERE, well, you can see how I was starting to slack on getting work done.
Why am I doing this?

  • Have a place to go to on a daily basis I have to get up, get dressed, do hair and make-up, and go somewhere that is not the general living area in the condo
  • Feel like I’m contributing to society I’m creating content, participating in daily interactions with people, providing air pollution to the environment with my car
  • Socialization As I am taught in Thursday’s obedience class, the reason why most dogs bark is due to lack of socialization and getting acclimated to the world at large. I am slowly getting feral if I don’t head out of the big wide world.

That and this is my job.


I’ve written so fucking extensively on ThePlan, even I am tired of the redundancy. But this time around – it’s different.
(You’ve said that before.)
I know. I acknowledge that. I put an arbitrary time frame on something that is not arbitrary. You cannot plan out when your mental/physical health is going to suddenly be awesome sauce. Big mistake number one.
Big mistake number two is where I loaded myself up to fail. I put together a lot of stuff into the rotation and got overwhelmed. This time around I started out small and I’m adding new stuff as it goes.
Don’t believe me?
Look at the schedule at the beginning(ish) of this post. Three things have been in rotation for at least three months (exercising, writing daily, and meditating). I haven’t fallen off the wagon on exercising. Some weeks I may have only gotten one day in, but I did something and I haven’t given up even when I had shitty weeks. I have written nearly 200 pages in my paper journal since October 25thish. I have not skipped a day in mediation.
At times I may not feel as I’m moving forward but when looking at my accomplishments, no matter how small they may be, they are still accomplishments.
Don’t forget: the best apology is changed behaviour.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2015, 2015,  2014, 2001


1. As I’ve said before, borderlines need to be the center of your world. TheExHusband hypothesizes my need to put myself out there on the interwebs is to get that kind of attention. I’m not going to argue that there may be some validity to that argument, but my rebuttal is I don’t have a large readership. I have, maybe, 500 or so readers via RSS and email. I maybe get 100 hits a day. I’m not exactly chasing down gawker.com here. There is also the fact I don’t do large scale campaigns to garner hits. When a post is published, it posts to my Facebook page, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+ accounts. Once. The only exception is Twitter where I’ll set up an auto-tweet with the post info six hours later. There are a couple of other places a link to the site is advertised (my social media info, my email signature) but that’s it. So yes he’s right but only in theory, not context.
2. The number I’ve borrowed is — quite large. TEH doesn’t see it as borrowing but I do. I am beyond thankful for his help but I cannot live with knowing I have not paid it forward, or him, in return.

adventitious

(TW: rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment)
Dear Internet,
I know! Two daily entries right next to each other. What in the fuck is the world coming to?
This morning on Facebook I said:

In the “2AM Bad Decision Hour” a few nights ago, I enabled my OKCupid account which consists of a few questions and a pic. That’s it. No lengthy intros, outros, what have you. In less than an hour, my profile had been liked over 20 times and I had 5 generic “hey baby” messages in my account. I immediately disabled the account and look forward to ten glorious months of being date-less. So while Hume is on point with inductive reasoning, I can say with the utmost sincerity and respect he’s never been on a dating site where without a shadow of a doubt there will be some twat who thinks sending dick pics is a good introduction idea.

Alright then.
I’ve come to some reasons, with personal introspection natch, why my romantic relationships tend to have my lover dump me rather than the other way around. In fact, of all the adulting relationships I’ve had since I was 19, I’ve only dumped one person — every one else dumped me (and came back with the “You’re the love of my life!” routine). This is not to say I went out with everyone who was interested in me or I was throwing myself into promiscuous behaviour at every chance I got (which goes against the typical hyper sexuality of the bipolar) but I did shoot down those I wasn’t in the mood for and typically cut the dumpers out of my life pretty quick. (Which is why they always come back, right? People typically want what they can’t have. Then I want them to want them just as bad and the cycle repeats itself.)
Between not having a father figure or any positive male role model in my life (my father left when I was 5 months old), traumatic experiences with sex (I’ve been date raped at least twice, attempted gang rape once, and of course the ongoing sexual harassment), I see nearly every man as a threat to my personhood. And I see nearly every man as a thing and not a person — my mother’s mantra was, “Don’t let a man run your life.” Which is WHY when I lose control in the relationship, which pushes the person to dump me (usually), I cut them hard out of my life. Because not all men ™.
My Connecticut therapist noted my sexual behaviour is to be the one in control (I fuck like a stereotyped man — I always make the first moves in relationships or I always initiate sex in those relationships). By being in control, I can direct where it’s going and how it will work without having the conscious effort of someone else being in control or letting them see my vulnerability (which explains why I always need to be the dominate one — which unsurprisingly frightens some of my past lovers. On the flip side, I crave to be dominated by a man and have rarely met one who can dominate me. I have a strong will.).
As long as I can be the best fuck they’ve ever had, they won’t leave. Right? (And my assertive and aggressiveness is why I hear over and over again through the ages I WAS their best fuck. Yay me?)
Literally the moment she said this, a huge weight came off my shoulders and I could enjoy sex without treating it as a means to and end and be my assertive self without the weight of the bullshit. (Women can’t like sex, be aggressive, or want to get fucked 10 ways to Sunday so to like sex was a BAD THING, amirite?)
When I was 15 or 16, my mother pushed me to ask my father as to why he, allegedly, sexually abused me. As one might assume, he was incredulous. For most of my adult life I’ve carried around this thought there was “something” happened but exactly what was never clear. Either something did not happen and my mother merely planted the seed or something did happen with someone and I’ll never know who.
One night, a few years ago, a revelation hit me. Why would my mother push me to ask my father about this particular topic? And if he HAD sexually molested me, and she knew what was going on, why was she continuing to send me to see him every summer? What kind of mother does that to their child? (And if you ever wondered why I’ve divorced my mother four or five years ago, this was the topping on the proverbial cake. )
There’s a lot under the hood in regards to my romantic and sexual life. A lot coming to the surface after years of not discussing it and ignoring it. Thus if I want to have a healthy relationship in the future, discussing it NOW in this place will allow me to forgive what has happened, forgive myself, and finally move the fuck on with my life.
(As an aside: I have no memory of my childhood up until the age of 13. Seriously. I have bits and pieces of “things” like learning how to ride a bike or kissing Jeff what’s his name against a tree when we were 7 but other than that? Not a goddamned thing. This contributes why I loathe people with normalesque families and my desperation to have one of my own verses shunning all blood familia.)
Another behaviour I’m aware of is the tattooing and remaining fat keeps (supposedly) potential suitors at bay as societal norms dictate a fat, tattooed woman cannot find love or sex. A weeding technique for potential future lovers is if your perceived notion of me is I’m a “prison bitch” with all 17 of my tattoos, then I don’t want to date you and I can block you out of my life. If you can see beyond the fat and think I’m beautiful, then you’re someone I want to be with. Being fat and tattooed keeps me safe or so I’ve trained myself to believe. (But obviously it hasn’t or else I wouldn’t be confessing all of this to you.)
This is the antecedent to my reality: I’m called beautiful/pretty/attractive or whatever by scores of different people on a regular basis. Despite the fat, I’m told I have an awesome bod and men want to fuck me, also on a regular basis. THIS is where my arrogance (and also conflicting) behaviour comes in: If I can get dick (as Amy Schumer so succinctly states), then I’m not a typical “fat girl” (yes, I’m fat shaming myself here and others — but it is to make a point), and I can have anyone I want (which tends to also be true). And I’ve been told over and over again my arrogance (or confidence) is what is most attractive about me: If you don’t want me, then fuck you and the horse you rode in on. Someone else will come along who will take your place (as long as I can fuck them into a happy relationship and they never leave says my internal monologue. Joke’s on you Lisa!).
This is cemented with commentary made my ex-lovers and street harassment:

  • “If you lose weight, you could model.”
  • “You’re really pretty – for a fat girl.”
  • “You don’t want to date me? Fuck you fat ugly bitch.”
  • “You should smile more, you’d be a lot prettier.”
  • “Nice rack/body/legs/shoulders (?!?).”
  • “You’re too pretty to wear makeup.”
  • “You don’t wear enough makeup.”

And so on. (See why I have a complicated relationship with my image?)
There is the exterior dialogue (I know why I behave this way), interior dialogue (I hate myself and no one will ever love me), and the reality (I can get dick anytime I want and 95% of the time always come back. They leave again but they always keep coming back). It’s conflicting because all of it is true.
The self-awareness of all of this, something I’m frequently told from therapists and TheExHusband alike, is rare. When you’re judged for what you are (or who people think you are or how you think people see you), bullied, and what have you — you spend a lot of time analyzing why you do the things you do. You look for the patterns. You muse on the whats / hows / and whys. You see how other people handle their own relationships and you model the good stuff (as you see it) into your own. In short, you psycho-analyze yourself into submission because it is ALL YOUR FAULT, you are the only person you have who can tell you the brutal and honest truth (with commentary from the peanut gallery to confirm or dismiss your findings as either quantitative or qualitative or neither. Or both.)
I stumble as I am human, something I keep reiterating for a very long time as I didn’t believe I was. I also think others think this about themselves as well. It bookends my loathing for the term “stable” as no one is ever REALLY stable. We have our stable moments that could last for months or years, but we all fall at one point or another – often more often than we care to.
This is where the forgiveness comes in: This is not a woe is me type of confession, it’s to clarify and map out those patterns that keep repeating themselves so I can break them. An ongoing theme for the last few years here at EPbaB is to break those patterns so future endeavors can begin, maintain, and end in a healthy way. There are things I cannot control (rape, harassment, my mother) and things I can control (how I react, how I present myself to future lovers, how I treat myself). The goal here is stop trying to control the things I cannot or ever will control.
Once I can work past those barriers that seem to plague me, take responsibility for my own actions (that I can control), is when the healing begins.

xoxo,
Lisa
P.S. I forgot to mention my half-year birthday the other day (December 12), so it’s with a small reminder my birthday is in 181 days.

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2013, 2012, 1999, 1998

giving birth to the world

Dear Internet,
When I gave birth to my first self-published book, The Lisa Chronicles: Vol 1: 1998, in January, I experienced a divine feeling, for that is the only way I can describe it, when I hit “publish.” Here was something many years in the making in which I was able to clean up, organize, and present as my baby.I knew it wasn’t going to be a big seller as the singular goal was to give it life.
Sales have not been spectacular but I want more of that feeling. I want to give birth to writing things and even for just a little while, feel like I am queen of the world.


I want to say the last year has been one for self discovery and I want to believe I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. I want to believe all of this is worth it, all the pain, the smearing of my reputation and name, the rejection from several communities has been worth it. I swore to anyone who would listen that I had to sleep with me at night and as long as my conscious is clear, that’s all that mattered.
But at what price does “doing the right thing” come?
I keep talking about my exhaustion levels. I keep mentioning how this lifestyle I’ve jumbled together from bits and pieces is tiring. I harp on how this is effecting me. Underneath it all, all I feel is I must do something with this life of mine. I must take what has happened and create some kind of purpose or meaning. If this doesn’t happen, I feel, then I beat myself up over and over and over again for being a failure. A loser.


I stare at my screen, that taunting cursor winking at me. A million and a half ideas and nothing is coming forward from my brain to my mouth to my hand. My sketch book is a mockery. I cannot get it out of my head if I cannot make a living at doing this, wha then will I do?  This thing, this writing, chasing that dream that so many have gone before me and so many of them magnificently failing. When editors tell me they love my voice and my writing, I am convinced they tell everyone the exact same thing. How is my voice unique and how can it make matter?
What if everything I’ve been telling myself is a lie? What if this is all there is?
xoxo,
Lisa
P.S. Don’t want near daily emails or can’t make it here everyday but want to keep up with what’s going in my world? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator, a monthly-ish newsletter roundup of what’s happening. Bonus! Comes with GIFs!

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2013

periscope

Dear Internet,
Remember, memory is a selective bastard.
I was an isolated child whose only comfort, and education, were books.
Last night I dreamt I was riding a bike near my childhood home with a few friends, whose names I’ve long forgotten. We came upon the house where my brother and I grew up and saw it was being completely rehabbed. We stopped to talk to a man who was trimming the bushes and I explained my family had owned the house for nearly 30 years and could we see it? The flamboyant man said, “Obviously not.” with no other explanation. We peeked through the windows where remarkable transformations were taking place inside.
I was in awe.
The house was a farmhouse, built in the 1860s, with two additions. The garage was a freestanding barn with a hayloft. The dream owners had completely overhauled every nook and corner so that nothing of what we had remembered as children was still there.
As we biked away, I noticed one of my boots were tearing (dreams are good reminders of things you need to pick up if you have forgotten. In this case: boots) and thoughts spun around to when I was living in that house and how I used to entertain myself.
(This next part is not a dream.)
These thoughts spun back to other times I was alone, which seemed like always.  There is me sitting on the back steps watching the stars shoot by, hoping to be an astronaut one day or there is me playing basketball with myself. There is me eating rainbow pops with my grandpop while we listened to the Tigers on the AM radio. During the summer months, I would drag every item I could onto the L-shaped porch and create my own home, only to have to drag it all back inside as the sun went down. I would take a lunch and bike down to the library, grab some books, and then bike over to the secluded areas near the river to eat and read.
I don’t recall anyone asking where I was for all the times I was gone or why I kept dragging my things outside. There is me and almost never an us.
There is no existence of pictures of me with some other child and rarely with my brother or cousins. True fact.
Recently, two unconnected people said I was deeply isolated and desperately lonely, except I don’t see myself that way. It’s similar to when people discuss Father’s Day or grand family vacations or something else not in my world. I rarely knew my father, I’ve never been on a grand family vacation, and most of these synapses people form with their experiences were never in the cards for me. So I cannot see myself as being desperately lonely or deeply isolated because I cannot relate to these things others do. But when these connections are outside the realm of normalcy for them, it’s hard to understand someone who doesn’t discern your same faiths.
For all of my isolation growing up, my socialization and behavior came from books. This is how others interacted with others, so this is how I must interact with people. These traits are bad, because bad things eventually happen to them on page 237, so I must not do these things. This is how romantic relationships work, so I must wait for someone who exudes these traits before I can take them seriously (and YES, I was accused of reading too many romance novels because I wanted every man to be Mr. Darcy). This is how friends treat friends, daughters to mothers and brothers, lover to lover. Every. Idealization. Of. Social. Interaction came from books. Despite my large family, there was no one person around long enough to shower me with what would form my psyche. There was nothing and then, there is everything.
Being freed from societal expectations can be considered a gift. It gives me the perspective of outsider in on day to day interactions. It allows me to be seen and definitely not heard, and it allows me to interpret right from wrong on a cleaner basis because I have no influence (because we all know bad things happen in Act 2 or page 237).  My moral compass is perhaps a little straighter and a bit more rigid than most.
It also allows me to travel without borders, without constraints, and without worry.
But it’s cyclic, for every experience shared alone, there is no one person waiting for me to come home, just like in my youth. There is no one person who is necessarily worried about me (i.e. there are those who love me, I know, but it’s not one specific person at home, knitting and wearing slippers in front of a fire, waiting for me).
Books taught me everything and with them, came unrealistic expectations and desires and this is one thing I’m very glad to have.
I’ve written of these things before; perhaps not as lucid but it has been said and will probably be said again. In order to grow, and to explore, we must challenge our boundaries and I’ll keep pushing until I feel that I am complete with that knowledge. But am I desperately lonely and largely isolated? Maybe. But if for all of this, I enjoy being me, why expect me to be anything else for that would alter the things you like about me? Would I be happier if I was part of a large social interactions, for I will not lie, there are times I long for such groups. And  if  I could change, be it my own happiness does mean it would preclude me from having large social interactions, why attempt to change the recipe?
As I was writing this, I was wondering if perhaps this growing up being socialized by books was perhaps the reason why my own books were stalling. Books gloss over everything in its pages and it’s difficult to write what you really do not know. I know what I would do but that would, perhaps, make for tepid reading.
Remember, memory is a selective bastard.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 1999

Things I Think About When At The Airport

Dear Internet,
Here is a list of things I think about when I’m at the airport (which seems to be a lot lately), in no particular order:
♥ “Can you walk any slower?”
♥ “Wow, that’s a lot of people heading to Beijing!”
♥ “Ooooh. They have my Icelandic water.”
♥ “For the love of the gods, can you at least bathe once in awhile?”
♥ “The walk side of the people mover is not for you to stand on and chit chat with your friends!”
♥ “If your son doesn’t stop pulling the paper towels out of the holder and leaving a trail a mile deep across the bathroom, I will personally smack him.”
♥ “Incredibly, I don’t think 12 people are riding in first class on a plane that only has six first class seats.”
♥ “I wonder why my purse keeps riding my shirt up my back?”
♥ “I’ve been walking around with toilet paper on my shoe and no one told me?”
♥ “They want HOW MUCH for a pair of ear buds?”
♥ “I cannot believe I just paid $6 for a small bag of trail mix.”
♥ “May the gods forgive me for buying a lemonade at Chick-fi-La.”
♥ “Why does the TSA keep rooting through my bag?”
♥ “Oh no, you just did not bring your huge ass roller bag and tried to claim it as a carry on. Oh, you did. :(”
♥ *sneezing fit* “Fuck you very much lady with too much perfume on.”
♥ “At least one person is going to find me attractive.”
♥ “Statistically, there are psychopaths and sociopaths (functioning or otherwise) floating around this airport. *looks side to side*”
♥ Upon seeing an obvious couple, “I wonder, on average, how many times they have sex?”
♥ *thinks about various sexual positions said couple gets into. giggles.*
♥ *wonders how many people are falling in love at that very moment.*
♥ *wonders how many people are breaking up.”
♥ *wonders how her cats are doing in Neko Atsume; sims in Sim Freeplay, and animals in Animal Crossing or any game she is currently playing.*
♥ “Why in the gods name is my connector in another terminal!”
♥ “I wonder if anyone will notice if I escape to Paris?”
♥ “Would it have killed you to say, ‘Excuse me.’ when bumping into my shoulder as you slither down the aisle?”
♥ “Man, I rock at solitaire.”
♥ “I need to wax my eyebrows and my ‘stache.”
♥ “Damn! Forgot my traveling lemon!”
♥ *Gets choked up, every time, when going through Arrivals as she is sure it’s just like Love Actually.*
And that’s just the beginning. Happy travels.
xoxo,
Lisa
P.S. And c’mon now, I know you’ve thought about at least half of these at one time or another.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2013

never be lost

Dear Internet,

Never Be Lost
I wanted to make sure I could always find my way home.

The unforeseen future was approximately 23 days. Despite my rational breakdown on leaving, I missed this place. This place is something I have created, maintained, and nurtured. Cutting myself at the quick, now on reflection, seems a bit hasty.
Being hasty has been my go-to for nearly a year and definitely not something I want to keep on repeating. Because really, look at where it’s gotten me. Plus, leaving behind nearly 1200 posts? What was I thinking?
(As the trolling has slowed down to a damned near drop here and there, I’ve reinstated the contact form. Comments will remain off, forever and ever. Amen.)
Time is running out on this rabbitry of a life, for I will finally settle in one place after moving around every other month for the last year. Sure, I’ve momentarily got my own digs in Grand Rapids, but I’m never there more than a few days. Sometimes if I’m full of time, a week.
I’m thrilled and terrified about this next adventure but I am mostly upset with myself re: ThePlan. Both my fault and circumstantial, I have been struggling with maintaining some kind of status quo on my daily routines and failing. This is no fault to my hosts who’ve been the closest to me during all of this time, more like my own pure laziness.
Which leads me to something else I’ve been musing.
Even though I’ve been ensorceled with a cadre of people who love me during this nervous breakdown of a time, I do spend a lot of time in my head.
It’s nice here and we have cookies.
A pattern that keeps emerging in my thoughts regards that my platonic relationships are cyclic. Sure, I’ve got some long standing list of people I’ve known for ages but in the day to day routine of it all? In one location? Almost none. I see bits and pieces of my former lives on Facebook — they have moved on while perhaps I have not. I get it, I do. Where I go, drama eventually follows and truthfully, if I’d look out to my life from the outside in, I wouldn’t want to hang with me either.
Some of those people are toxic or perhaps we just grew away from the other, but in this beige time that is beginning, having a local support system would be grand. That has been, almost singularly, what I fight for and if I’m honest, also against. It’s tragic and textbook: terrible childhood, seeks to embiggen social life or hide from the world. I’ve been running so long that it is perhaps time, yes, I’ve said this before and will say it again until I get it right, to stop running and enjoy what I have. Being stripped of everything in the last year, from the dog to my job to my hearth and home, has drilled in that my previous life was not so bad and now I have a chance to rebuild it all over again for what I crave doesn’t exist outside of my own head and it’s time to stop fighting.
xoxo,
Lisa
P.S. Boulder Prep is using this site as part of their resources for a module on online autobiography. Hi!

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014

x-posted to Medium

momentarily on pause

Dear Internet,
If you’re on east coast, like I am, you’re probably cornered by the ice and snow. Everything around me is closed, so my hosts and I are hanging out around a table, all of us on our individual laptops doing “stuff.”
Because my schedule is out of order, including my sleeping and eating habits, I’ve put the daily journals on hold. Common sense does dictate this would be a perfect time to actually chronicle my day to day adventures, but I’m just not feeling up to it.
I changed my schedule to come home later in the week because after the week I’ve been having, the idea of being alone frightens me. I think it’s because of all the hugs I would be missing out; someone to pet me when I’m feeling down.
Someone to love me when I am sad.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013