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Pardon me while I geek out.

Last entry was about fantasy vs. reality, which is funny since I've been living in a fantasy world for a couple of weeks now. Only it's not relationship fantasy...ACTUAL fantasy. My man had been talking about Skyrim for awhile, so I got it for him for Christmas. Being a D&D and Everquest fan (I do so miss playing) I wanted to watch him play so I could see exactly what all the fuss was about. Well, it looked like so much fun that I ran out and bought myself a copy. It's been arrows in the knee, sweet rolls, and curved swords ever since. I'm absolutely addicted, which is bad because I so didn't need another time sink. But alas, I am Dragonborn, I have a duty to Skyrim. Heh.

So I admitted to my shrink the other day how my nights are now spent slaying dragons, brewing potions, and exploring dungeons. Unless my man is over, then we take turns. :-) She told me that with all the stress in my life right now and with how much I take care of other people, this new addiction is not only understandable, but helpful. So there!

Yes, I should be writing. I know this. And I will get back to it. I will. I just need some time to unwind in a world where I can blast motherfuckers with magic flames. It's actually brought my stress level down a bit, which was necessary. So, I'll see you on the other side of Skyrim once I take care of this pesky dragon problem. Until then, divine smile upon you, my friends.

~Meg

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Fantasy vs. Reality

There seems to be a running theme going on with my loved ones and, well, not-so-loved-ones. It's this constant need for people to project fantasy into their relationships because they just can't face reality. For example, you (this is the royal you, as I have no desire to put others' personal problems on display) have a relationship with someone. Maybe it's not a "boyfriend/girlfriend" thing, but it's more than a friendship. You feel close to this person. He (or she, but I don't feel like typing that over and over and over, so it's he from here on out) is there for you. You share your secrets. You find common interests that bring you closer together. You have common "enemies" (for lack of a better word). You think the world of this person and defend him to anyone who may feel differently about him. You're willing to put friendships and family relationships on the line because you *know* they're all wrong and don't understand you or your relationship.

But then something changes. You catch this person in a lie. He's been unfaithful and disrespectful. When you call him on it he lies some more. He twists things around and around so that you end up defending yourself. Then you start to wonder if maybe you're crazy. Maybe it is all your fault. Maybe you are the one in the wrong. And then you see more lies and you put your foot down. No more! But he cries and yells and begs. He tells you he will change. That you are his reason for wanting to be better. Never mind that he's still lying about things. Never mind that every word he says is another manipulation. You know what he's doing. You're not a stupid person. But then the fantasy kicks in.

"This time things will be different."
"He means what he's saying."
"Honestly, if I hadn't done X, Y, and Z, none of this would have happened anyway. So it's not entirely his fault."
"Things were so good between us once before, we can get that back."
"I know the real him. He's a good person. He loves me. This stage won't last."
"He did so much for me, I owe him another chance."
"We can just be friends for awhile. Why should I give up the friendship just because I know a relationship won't work?"

You want SO MUCH to believe this person. You can't just turn your feelings off. So even though you've been hurt, lied to, disrespected, cheated on, made to feel crazy, blamed, etc., you still care for this person. So how can you still care for this person and NOT be with him? Or at least be his friend? The thought of cutting this person out of your life scares the hell out of you. You can't imagine life without him. And so you stick with your fantasy. You believe what you want to believe in order to justify staying by this person's side. And then weeks or months or however long later you wonder why you're in this position again. And the cycle starts over.

But you can stop this. It takes work. It takes courage. It takes strength. You have to be able to accept that this person you love is NOT the person you want/wish him to be. He is who he is. That's not to say people can't change. They absolutely can and I've seen it. But people need room to change. They need distance. And if you're completely honest with yourself, you can see the signs for yourself whether or not they are serious about changing. For example, if they are still lying and refusing to take responsibility for their actions or they're still doing the same exact things that they have always done. If they aren't willing to make sacrifices or start giving you ultimatums. If they insist you be with them while they're making these changes or if they refuse to respect your decision for wanting space while they work on themselves. You know when someone is serious about changing their behaviors. Pretending they are when they're not is just another part of the fantasy.

So, accept that without distance, you will never break out of the cycle. You can't be friends. Not up front, anyhow. And you can't be afraid to live your life without him, because most times people like this don't want to change, don't know how, or just aren't willing to put in the effort. So you may be saying goodbye forever. And this hurts. It sucks. But you have to take care of YOU.

My old shrink has a saying (which I'm sure is some famous saying I don't know who to attribute to). If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. My new shrink has a saying too, though it's more clinical. Past behaviors are indicators of future behaviors. If you don't take steps to throw a monkey wrench into the "business as usual" cycle of a destructive/abusive relationship, you will always be hurting.

So, SNAP OUT OF IT! Put your foot down! Accept the hurt of letting this person go so you can start to heal and live your life the way YOU want. Take time to get to know yourself. Learn to live life without this person.

And believe me, I know how hard this is. I have been there. Again and again and again I've been there. But I learned something very important. I can't be with someone I "need" to be with. That never works out. It always ends in heartache and disappointment. I can only be with someone I "want" to be with. Does this mean if my partner left me I'd be happy as a clam? Of course not. I would mourn the loss. But I know that I'd be okay. I know that I can be happy by myself. I know that there are other people out there that could also make me happy. I don't "need" to be with him. I'm with him because I "want" to be with him. For the first time in my life. When you get there, the feeling is so liberating. I can fully appreciate him for who he is, good and bad. (Because let's face it, no one is perfect.) There is no fear of loss on my shoulders. There is no fantasy. Because living in reality is so much better.

It took a long time to get to this point. I spent time alone, learning who I am and what I want. I dated on my terms. And now here I am. My relationship isn't perfect. That's impossible. But I'm happy. My partner and I deal with issues as they come up and settle them. There is no drama. It's just two adults trying to better our own lives while contributing to each other's. Maybe that sounds unromantic and boring, but hell, I've had enough "excitement" to last me a lifetime. I'll take happy, stable, and adult, thank you.

My example was an amalgam of issues I've either experienced first hand or have seen from the sidelines. Not every situation follows that formula, but the point remains the same. Fantasy doesn't become reality just because you want it to. Just because you love someone with all your heart doesn't mean he/she is good for you. Faith, belief, hope, wishes...none of that has a place in a relationship (or in anything in life, really, but that's another topic for another day). People live in fantasy worlds to make their reality more tolerable. But if you just LIVE in reality, accept the bumps and bruises along the way, there really is no need for the fantasy. Keep it to your books and movies. Because in the long run, living a fantasy only makes reality worse. It draws out the inevitable. And the inevitable always comes.

Anyway, sorry to get all preachy. But I am seeing way too many people that need a dose of reality. If I can even reach one of them, it'll be worth it.

~Meg

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Acceptance

I've only been in therapy for about 6 weeks now. Of course I've done the therapy thing before, but it's been years. Anyway, I'm happy to say that this time around I feel like I'm truly making progress. Maybe because it's the first time I am honestly working on myself and not just looking for an excuse for my behavior. Last night's session brought so much to the surface. I can't believe that we covered so much in just 50 minutes. And though I have a lot of work to do, I'm on the path to get it done.

So today I'm thinking a lot about acceptance. Accepting the bad shit that has happened to me over the years. Accepting the bad shit I've done over the years. Accepting that some people will never change while others will, and not always for the better. I am accepting responsibility for my actions and behaviors, regardless of who or how they were taught to me. I got a rough start. I learned defense mechanisms that are more harmful than helpful. I coped the best I could as a kid and carried it with me into adulthood. None of that is my fault. But none of it is an excuse to carry on in such a way that is detrimental to myself and those I care about. I'm a big girl now. I know what I don't like about myself. And it's on no one but me to change it. So I accept that I need to change and that it will take time and effort. The path will be difficult, filled with tears, and frightening at times. But the end will be that much more spectacular when I get there, because I will have made it through. I will have stuck to it.

The other side of this acceptance is letting go. All the things that have happened to me, everything that I was taught, the only way to change myself is to let all of it go. As angry and hurt and scared as these incidents and people made me, it's over now. I can't hang onto it.

Anger. That right there is the emotion I hold on to the most. And I direct it all at myself, no matter who or what the cause. I have to let it go. The thought terrifies me. But I so want to see who I am without the rage that I carry with me. I want to know who I can be. I think she's probably a really sweet and fun-loving person. I think she'll be positive and happy and warm. I've seen bits and pieces of her throughout my life. I like her.

But knowing what I have to do is the easy part. Now the work begins...

~Meg

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Back to Reality

Happy 2012 LJers! Hope everyone enjoyed ringing in the new year. My sweetness and I had a mellow celebration with the kiddos. I made a ton of junk food and we watched movies. Kids were both out by 11:30, so then we had some adult time to continue our Sons of Anarchy marathon. (We finished, by the way. All 4 seasons in a little over a week. Yes, we're crazy. And yes, we're hooked!) We did toast midnight with two shots of tequila (the only alcohol I had, if you can believe it). It was peaceful. I was happy. Two very good feelings to start off the new year with.

My office was closed on Monday and I took Tuesday off, so today is my first day back at the grind. And what a busy day it's turning out to be. Better than boredom, at least the time is ticking by. My long weekend (started with Friday, office was closed) was full and exhausting, but fun for the most part. I did get some writing in, the book is coming along nicely. I was hit with some inspiration that will help to move the plot along. I love when plot holes resolve themselves. Sometimes it just hits me, usually when I'm trying to fall asleep.

But with the end of my time off came some disappointing news. It has nothing to do with me, at least not directly, but it involves a dear friend and someone I used to call a dear friend. I'm not going to go into details, since it's no one's business, but I would like to make a couple of statements.

People often talk about improving their lives. Hell, that's all I've been talking about lately. Different people have different issues, but a step often taken is the culling of friends. Everyone knows at least one person they could live without. That person who does nothing to enrich our lives and only serves to cause problems. Some of us have more than one. These could be people we've known forever, people we used to trust with our lives. People change. Things happen. Eventually we must move on. And I'm all for that. I've cut more than one person out of my life and I'm happy to say that in every case, my life improved. But I think that also has to do with the fact that I own my shit.

I am not perfect. I have hurt people in the past, usually unintentionally, but yes, sometimes I knew what I was doing. I like to think that in each case, though, the person on the other end of my intentional infliction had it coming. I'm sure that's all a matter of perspective. Sometimes I had to hurt people in order to take care of myself, and in those cases, as necessary as it was, it pained me as well. Still does. But I've always been honest with myself and the people I love.

I say all of this because there are some people who cut off friends and associates for the wrong reasons. These people have to be honest with themselves before they can point fingers at others. Some people want to believe so fully in someone or someones that they love that they end up alienating those who have always been there for them, those that truly love them. Naivety is to blame in some cases. Sometimes folks are blind just because it makes things easier. In the end, though, these people all end up the same. Alone. Or surrounded by people who only care about them as long as it benefits their interests. You can cry all you want about cutting off those who are poisonous, but before you do so, perhaps you should take a look at your own venom. Take off the blindfold you wear so willingly and look around. Why are you where you are right now? Certainly not the fault of those you turned your back on.

I'm not sure why I'm spouting all of this right now. I know the people who need to hear this either won't, or are so consumed by pride and fear that they will reject it anyway. I guess I just feel bad. I feel bad for all involved. So much hurt caused for nothing. It's a damn shame. Decades of friendship blown away in the breeze on the whim of people whose agendas are selfish.

At least I can say that everything I've done, everything I've said, has always been with the best intentions. I've always looked out for my friends. And I always stand up for what's right. I'm loyal to a fault, which is probably why I feel so shitty about this situation. My loyalties were pulled in so many different directions that my only option was to do what was right. But when what's right goes against what "friends" want, you end up being rejected. And that's ok. Because I can hold my head high. And I know who my true friends are. They may not always agree with what I say and do, but they're there for me regardless. And if ever they should have a problem with me, they come to me with it. They talk to me about it. We figure it out together. We don't rely on what others say to make our decisions. So yeah, losing friends we were once so close to may hurt, but when you lose them in this way, at least they've saved you the trouble of having to cull them yourself. Everyone shows their true colors eventually.

~Meg

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A Public Service Announcement

On November 5th, 2011 it had been 2 years since I quit smoking. In that time, I'll admit to having a few smokes, but it was mostly during that first year. As of today, I hadn't had one since early September.

I told you about how I watched a boatload of Sons of Anarchy over Christmas weekend. Everyone smokes in that damn show. For whatever reason, the urges started again. I ignored them until today. I bummed a smoke off a coworker. I am not proud.

What I am, is sick. After having just one, I am now dizzy and sick to my stomach. I can remember back when I first started smoking, 21 years ago, this is how they made me feel. I couldn't imagine how anyone could get addicted to them. But I kept smoking because my friends smoked (yeah, yeah, peer pressure) and eventually they didn't make me sick anymore. And I found them to be quite delicious and comforting.

I guess enough time has passed for my body to once again reject the poison. This is the warning it's giving me. And I am humbled. I suppose I needed the reminder. Doesn't matter how much I know I used to enjoy them, doesn't matter how delicious they look when other people smoke them, I can safely say I do not like cigarettes anymore. Ugh.

Now I will continue to pay the price for my lapse in judgment, probably a good hour or so. I plan on another SoA marathon this weekend, starting tomorrow (the office is closed, yay!). Only this time I don't think the constant smoking will look all that appealing.

Lesson learned.

That is all.

~Meg

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Another Christmas Done

Was a rough one this year, friends. Was a rough one. Between finances and family drama, most of my Christmas wasn't very merry. But, there was some good. So I'm hanging on to that. The kids liked their gifts. I got some nice things. I got to spend a lot of time with my sweetness. No one lost an eye. See? Positives.

My sweetness and I did watch a lot of Sons of Anarchy, though. Our friends have been raving about this show for awhile, and we spent some time with them on Christmas Eve (the highlight of my weekend) and they convinced us to give it a shot. A shot we gave it, and at this point we have 4 episodes of the second season left. We haven't zoomed through a show like this since Dexter! Of course we have a lot more catching up to do. The show is pretty great, but also extremely intense. It pushes some of my buttons. And it's very dense. So it made for a surreal weekend. I had weird dreams last night, too. So I'm feeling a little out of sorts, but I'm not all that concerned. I think I just need some chill time. Got my Nook Color now, so I think I'll do more reading and writing than tv watching this week.

Anyhoo, another short week (I have Friday off and was off yesterday), so that's a plus. And New Years brings a close to this horrific year and the promise of better things in 2012. I haven't been this happy to see a year end in a long time.

Hope everyone had a happy holiday! And if I don't post again until next year, have a happy and safe New Year!

~Meg

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As I previously mentioned, the past few years have been a bumpy ride, with the past year being the bumpiest, and the past month being pure turbulence. Ok, maybe I didn't quite put it that way before, but I'm pretty sure you all get the picture. One of the things I've been working on is trying to keep a more positive attitude. Something that can be difficult to do when battling some negative issues. So, today I decided to give this whole "bright side" thing a try.

The day started out as any other. The weather made it a little bit harder to get out of bed, but out of bed I got. Instead of jumping to, "ugghhhh, have to go to work" I made a mental note of all the things that needed to get done today since tomorrow afternoon would start a 4 1/2 day weekend for me. That made me smile. As did the text from my sweetness. It was simple and beautiful and the perfect way to start my morning.

Then I tackled a couple of personal errands and found some small but good news in doing so. I'll take any kind of good news these days. Thus, my day was off to a positive start. So throughout today I have been making a little list of all the good stuff that is going on. Tonight I get to spend time with my sweetness, and watch the season finale of American Horror Story. My boss bought me a delicious lunch just because she felt like it, so I am now full and content. Oh, and a little ego boost, I do think I look adorable today in the outfit I threw together this morning. Woooo! And perhaps the best news of all? My writing project is really taking off. I'm not quite halfway through, but the nagging pieces that have been jumbled around in my brain for so long are falling into place, and I am pleased with where they are landing. Feels so good to be excited about a project again. And then, there's Christmas.

The holiday season is supposed to be joyous. At least that's what all the commercials seem to point out. But for a lot of people it's a stressful and sad time. I've always had a bit of the "seasonal affective disorder" but it tends to be worse these days because of my lack of funds. I'm the type of person who really enjoys giving. The receiving is nice, but I actually don't need it at all. Making people happy makes me happy. When I can't afford to buy everyone I care about nice things, it makes me anxious and depressed. But this year I'm simply going to accept that I do not have the resources for that kind of Christmas. However, I do have the resources to tell each and every person I'm close to how much I love them and how special they are to me. I know that's enough for them. So it'll have to be enough for me right now.

So for my friends out in LJ and Cyberland who are also suffering from seasonal sadness, you're not alone. But we can feel some joy through this season. Take comfort in your family and friends. Take the time to tell them all how much you love them. Spend as much time as you can with them. They will get you through. And when you're alone and thinking about all that you've lost, all that you want, and all that has gone wrong, take a moment to remember the good, no matter how little. Make a list. Put everything on it that you're grateful for. Keep it handy. We all need reminders of the good things. And we all have plenty of good in our lives.

Have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday, everyone. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your friendship. And thank you for all that you do to improve the lives of those around you.

~Meg

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I Swear, I Really AM Back

I strayed. I changed. I grew. I failed. I succeeded. I hurt. I smiled. I cried.

Things are so different than when I first started this thing. Then I was full of renewed hope and so many dreams. I had goals that I just knew I'd succeed at. Things were going to finally start going my way. Everything's coming up roses.

That didn't happen. Inevitably, life throws you curve balls. It seemed these curves became steeper and more perilous with every year. But I've come through them all. That changes a person.

At this point, it isn't that life is getting any more difficult, it's pretty much always been an uphill climb for me. Something that I got myself into through no real fault of anyone else. I made bad decisions, trusted the wrong people, and stubbornly stuck to my guns in some situations where I should have let go. I made this life for myself. I'm not about to throw blame around. But I digress. My point is, life continues to be hard, but it *feels* worse and worse with every curve. It's because I'm letting it all get to me. I'm tired. I miss those dreams. I've lost my motivation and enthusiasm because those dreams all seem to be hopeless now. When you give up on your goals and dreams, you feel the bad more and the good less. That is my problem these days. And it's put me in a vicious cycle.

So just when I felt that I was at my darkest. Just when I was about to throw my hands up and succumb to the bad place in my head, that tiny, stubborn, voice way in the back of my brain yelped out, "WAIT!" And it was enough to clear my mind for a few precious moments. I asked for help. I'm seeing a therapist again. That's step one. I'm forcing myself into a daily writing habit. That's step two. And then, step three. I'm turning off my emotions and looking at the issues I'm facing in a cold, logical manner. Life doesn't suck. Life, at this moment, has myriad problems that need solving. My job is to solve them, not to wallow in them. Problems don't get solved when you're curled up in bed.

Am I always successful at this? Of course not. That's where the therapy and family/friend support system come in. But I'm giving it my all. I'm fighting. And though I can't quite see those old dreams yet, I know they're still there waiting for me. I just have to put in the effort to see them. I have a lot of garbage to clean up. All I can do is pick up that broom and have at it.

I'm telling you all this for two reasons. For me, there is no therapy like writing therapy. That means writing fiction, writing my private thoughts down in my hard copy journal at home, and writing my public thoughts here in cyberspace. Each of these outlets is crucial to cleaning up the garbage that has accumulated around my feet the last 3 years or so. Garbage I put there. Garbage I have to get rid of myself. Second, I have always been a very social person. I feel like I lost a lot of that. Putting myself out here again, reading the thoughts of friends and peers and getting comments from friends and peers on my thoughts, all of that is also a part of this process. My aim is to get back on my feet, get back to that place where life may not have been easy, but it was at least full of potential.

I may not be able to post every day, but it will be often. And I want to thank you all in advance for playing a role in pulling the old me out of this negative mess that I've become.

~Meg

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Weehaw!

So, yesterday's site troubles seem to be cleared up today. This is the LJ I remember. *deep breath* Ahhhhhhh.

That being said, I don't have the time to devote to a real post today, so this little snippet will have to do. But, I'm on vacation all next week, so I should have plenty of posting and catch-up time. I'm not going anywhere, just need some downtime where I don't have to think about work. At least not the work that provides a paycheck.

I'm almost halfway done with a novel I'm writing for pre-teens/teens. Figure I might as well jump on that Twilight train while it's still chugging. Only my book has nary a vampire. And, I'd like to think, is better written. But time shall tell. Need to finish my first draft before I can start to ponder where to place it. I'm hoping my vacation next week will afford me the time to rip through it, or at least most of the way through it. So maybe I won't have as much time to post after all. heh

~Meg

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WTF has happened to you, LiveJournal?

It's been more than a year since I last posted. I'm not sure what exactly triggered my desire to come poking back around, but here I am. I have been very active over on FaceBook, so I just figured to hell with LJ. But because of a few busybody drama llamas I had to make my FB private and "unfriend" most of the horror writing community. So where do I go now if I want to spout off where anyone can hear? I guess I go back to LJ.

But when I get here I see that the place, well, sucks. Maybe it's a coincidence that I check back in on a day they're having site issues? But it seems to me I can't get anywhere without it either timing out or taking forever...or bringing up a blank white screen. I read through the last few posts I made, tried clicking on the comments to read them and up came a blank screen. Tried viewing the pics I posted from KillerCon...white screen. Tried clicking on the link up top to see recent posts by friends...white screen. And hell, logging in only took about 10 minutes. So, WTF, LJ? Why are you such a piece of shit now?

I'd ask for comments to let me know if this is just an off day or what, but I doubt I'll be able to read them. And now I'm thoroughly annoyed because I no longer feel like blogging about what I came here to blog about. Time to look into another blogging site, I suppose.

Anyway, as an aside, I'm still not smoking. :-)

~Meg

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