Sunday, September 27, 2020

Autumn and Shame


Autumn. Oh God. It's here. Slowly, slowly the leaves are turning. I haven't done any decorating. I just haven't felt like digging out the boxes. And I spend so much time just trying to keep the house in order with three little boys. Why add more clutter to the mess?

What is Autumn? Am I in the autumn of my life yet? Sometimes I pass by a mirror and just for a second, I think, "Whoa! Who is that old mom?" I watch as the lines etched into my face ever-deepen and the freckles on my arms and hands no longer fade in winter. Breasts and chins slowly give into gravity and we won't even discuss what six children can do to a body. And yet, I feel just like the quiet girl rushing through her schoolwork so she can get lost in a book and dream of the wonderful life which waits just out of reach.

This fiction reading is killing me. I feel more like myself than I have in years, and yet, the gnawing ache grows as I realize life will never be that way. I feel like I am grasping at something that doesn't exist. Part of me wants to believe so badly. I can have adventures! I can fall deeply into a never-ending love! I can be high lady of the fairies and sit at tables making important decisions! It takes me back to being in high school and so desperately desiring to go back in time. One New Year's Eve, I dressed Craig and I up (my mom had gone out), and I sat waiting, halfway believing that if I truly, truly believed, we would go back in time. Of course, we didn't, and I wonder at my grasp on reality a bit, but I think it is just the INFPishness. I wonder what I was searching for? Some imagined life where I fit in and find romance and adventure? On a group I was on, there was a some meme of INFP's leaving reality to daydream. I was initially offended, I am not a stupid person, but at the same time, had to acknowledge that I was only reading the meme because I had snuck off to lie in bed and dream about a fictional character. That's my kind of funny.  I suppose that is why I usually stick to nonfiction. Nonfiction can be inspiring and push you to get up and make changes, but as long as you don't drift too far into abundance theory, you aren't likely to be left holding a handful of nothing as your dreams dissipate in the wind.

I guess that is why people get into role playing games. There is this undercurrent that we should be having adventures! We should be physically fighting the bad guys or using our brains in extraordinary ways. And bonus points if romance is wrapped up in it, too (does that exist?-I need that). 

I find I am writing these posts, sharing excitedly, and then with low readership and no likes, slinking in ashamedly and deleting or unpublishing. I get so excited to share these thoughts, and then I realize noone cares. I don't mean that in a pitiful, poor me way. I just mean it in a why would anyone care about my ordinary thoughts? Why must I put it out there and have it ignored? Isn't it better just to keep it in, if it isn't important enough to elicit a response. People respond to pain and sorrow. Karl said it is because I usually put a positive twist on my pain, but...I wish my other moods were worth sharing, too. I don't want to have to tear my heart in my hands to get attention. And the shame builds, and the years pass, and the shame at being decidedly average grows and grows and grows. And I think of Brene Brown and I think, Hey, that's okay. I am in the arena. I am putting it out there. So many people, just lie and hide, and are never truly known. " But at what point are you being brave and sharing something of value, and what point does it become like...forcing guests to eat beets or something, because you think it would be good for them? What if all I am putting out there is a plateful of beets. And I am over here grinning like a fool, thinking I am offering something special, something meaningful?

We went out for the first time since March yesterday. We ate out on a patio and enjoyed the perfect air. I drank in  the sparkling night lights in the sky, but the lack of a crowd was difficult. I know it is safer without a crowd. But I wanted to drink wine until the moon spun around the sky and drink in all the beautiful people and come home and carry those good feelings into the early morning. But it was so quiet, and I had beer, which just makes me numb (I didn't want wine-stained teeth-and I don't like sweet white wine much), and I came home and ate too many salt and pepper chips (when I really wanted salt and vinegar, but was trying to be nice). And unsatisfied, I dragged my bloated beer bubble filled self to the sofa to relish being alone if nothing else. And awoke to my book and the deep fear that Rhysand, whom I dearly love now, is going to die. And frustration, that I had no adventure, no inner circle, no political plans, just housework, and a book of dreams. 

Twenty-six years ago, I placed Tierney in a swing and danced to August and Everything After, dreaming of being taken away by someone, in a Maryland apartment alone, so alone, with a wall full of glass as the maples changed magnificently outside the window. The sun has gone down now, and I sit here unaccomplished. Degrees which aren't my calling, no story in me to tell, no skill set to tell it with. And I grapple with the absolute ordinariness of being me and living this life. How does one crave adventure and intentionally  tie oneself with children? How does one reconcile being so very desperately ordinary with the need to see a life well-lived? 

I guess I am still working on that.

Friday, September 25, 2020

A Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah Maas...Part 2

" Oh whilst thou leave me so unsatisfied?"

I closed book 2 of my series today. First of all...women fantasy/romance writers. That's where it is at. There was no being aware of how her nipples rubbed in the fabric crap as she walked across the room. I mean? Who does that?

I love the way women write women. I think maybe women clean men up a bit too much when they write them, but a book by a woman for women-I guess that's okay for me. 

So anyway, in book one you fall in love with Tamlin and he's okay. Not far into book two you are like, F&*% Tamlin and his misogynistic crap (sorry about the language..its the books). I want an amazingly powerful guy who also sees my power. Who is patient and healing and sexy and smart, and wants you to become all that you are and, goshed danged if this isn't just fiction. To me it was the difference between Thor and Loki. I'll give Thor my heart, but naughty, tricky Loki, I'd give my soul. 

And on top of it, you close the book, ready to don your fighting leathers, wield your fighting knives, save your people, and damned if you look in the mirror and you aren't a graying, overweight grandma, who has never used a weapon in her life and has an inside job moving papers and talking. Like, what?

Real life will never be the same. 

And I spilled coffee on the school library book.

Book 3 next.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A Court of Mist and Fury By Sarah J. Maas


This post contains affiliate links.

On to book two! I am only seven chapters into this book so what will happen is all up in the air. 


So Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court, and Feyre are getting married. Perfect ending, right? Except...
Tamlim's being an ass. He won't let Feyre off the grounds and she is slowly being pushed into the role of lovely Lady of the manor (she has some powers now). There is this bitch priestess who is Tamlin's childhood friend, and Feyre likes her, but I don't. That wench is up to something, I feel it. And the author kindly mentions the "mating bond" hasn't descended upon the two yet. Not good.

Anyway, Feyre hasnt heard from Rhysand, whom I forgot to mentioned she has pledged to spend one week out of the month with for the rest of time, since he helped her out in the last book. She hates him. 

Then wedding day. Feyre, who hates dresses, of course (because all modern heroines eschew feminine clothing, right?) is as fluffed up and curled as a wedding cake. She's walking down the aisle and balks, inwardly screaming for help. Who shows up? Rhysand. Rhysand shows up at her WEDDING and says he wants his week now. And TAMLIN LETS HIM TAKE HER. Weakass beast, if you ask me. He doesn't fight for her. Something is wrong, here. I mean, yeah their sex scenes are fine (although not quite to After standards), but you  know... gotta have more than that. Something is off. 
Anyway, currently she is with Rhysand at his Starry night court or something. I really like him. I don't know that he "likes" her. He definitely respects her and her abilities. The question is-what is he doing with her? Does he want to use her to get back at Tamlin? Does he want to use her in the unfolding war? Is he just cool and wants her to discover her powers? He says it's the second by the way. Honestly, they are starting to get to know each other so well, toe curling sex is going to be IMPOSSIBLE. But this is hinting that she may be so strong, a man (albeit a powerful, magical high lordly man) isn't going to be enough for long anyway.

I hope I am strong enough for this journey. We shall see!

By the way, I am the world's worst book reviewer. But I have to write it so I don't bore everyone to tears in real life.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This post contains affiliate links.

I checked out A Court of Thorns and Roses based on a recommendations from someone in one of my After series groups when I was in the throes of heartbreak from that book series ending.
Note: This will contain spoilers.
Note 2: I know I made another site for book reviews, but...I don't know. I woke up Sunday feeling foolish over the Whole New Blog because a) there's Goodreads and b) noone cares.

So I put it on the back burner for now and am just going to post what I want here. 

Anyway, this book. Starts out fairly typical. Spunky, hardworking girl, Feyre has to go into the wilds to care for her family. Ends up killing a fairy and gets abducted by some beastly fairy creature and and taken back to his homeland. He has a big manor house. Powerful and wealthy. We fall in love. Girls, you are going to fall in love. He is tender and nervous, strong, and just the right amount of captivating, powerful brute. When he gives you an order you will tingle down to your toes even as your righteous feministic self recoils. He's great. But things happen (by the way, this is quite Beauty and the Beasty). It all goes to Hell. The underlying trouble that has been brewing breaks free. 
And then the story twists a bit. Everyone is captured by the bad lady who wants Tamlin (beastly guy) as her own. Feyre goes to the dark place to save him. She has to face horrible troubles. Help comes from others. It looks bad. 

Here's what the killer was. While Tamlin sat at the bad lady's side in court, unmoving, he witnesses Feyre going through all this crap and just sits there. It was explained that it was the only way to survival, but as the story is based on his strength and protection, he just comes across as pretty...weak. He starts to fade in my eyes. In a way, I felt this love had to fade some. First, they were already IN love but there are several more books. That new love feeling is THE BEST (I mean, I am not sure I have ever felt it, but in my imagination it's the best),  how could they possible sustain that. And two, as I was falling, falling, I knew this strong woman couldn't just end with happily every after and rainbows, sunsets, chubby babies, and doilies. Because we all know, as dazzingly romantic as the fairy tale ending in, eventually, sleepless nights with kids, farting in front of each other and him peeing on the damned toilet seat and throwing cigarette butts on your lawn ends the glow (oops too personal-I know I do some gross and annoying things, too. Just not going to talk about it). It isn't sustainable. So...even I dreaded the shift, I knew it was coming. At first, I was concerned it was just me, but gradually I realized the writer is just THAT skilled and subtle. I love it.

So there is this other guy Rhysand. And I think I really like him. But I am afraid this won't be a romance. This will become about her being more than that. I am working on the second book. See next post.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Sometimes "thier" is correct

 I am an imperfect soul. I am so imperfect I could spend hours cringing over what meager memories I have stored of my failings. 

One thing which has made my life much more difficult is a desire for honesty and bluntness in my view on the world. Women aren't supposed to be blunt. Women are expected to sweeten and sugarcoat and heal. Slowly, slowly I have been learning this lesson-at least to the extent I can stand.

Last week, someone was proofreading sentences with some students. One of the words that needed fixed was changing the form of "there" to the form which referred to people. They wondered aloud whether they were correct, but then nodded decisively and said, "Yes, it's t-h-i-e-r." 

And I looked up and wondered---what should I do?  Could I bear an inaccuracy to stand? I thought of the sped teachers who I had been working with as a substitute para when they  taught math (incorrectly). One I let it go, the other I corrected. The one who was corrected was not impressed with me. I thought of the para in my classroom leading the kids through a similar exercise and his mortification when I corrected him (and he is SO MUCH more knowledgeable than I will ever be).  It isn't like I don't make mistakes and misspellings even though I technically know better. And I thought of the kids and quickly decided. 

I let t-h-i-e-r stand. I could weave it into a lesson later. 

And today, the relief I felt at sparing someone a moment of embarrassment, despite how much I hate to let an inaccuracy stand, came full circle, and I thanked God for that brief, humane choice I made.

Sunday, September 13, 2020


 It's funny how the spirit soars, the animal body stands erect, and good moods prevail...only to slowly deflate as the weeks wear on. Last week, I was on top of the world, I loved everyone, and felt confident in all that I did. This week, though, I have felt myself falling slowly. Just a downward float back into the land of insecurity.

I chose A Mighty Queen under the impression that I would be writing articles of success and inspiration. That is what the people want. People want a sure-footed leader with straight answers. To be such a person requires such self-denial however. Self-denial which smothers the soul over time. Plus, I used to always sing, "Gonna be a Mighty Queen," because I have no desire to be a king. I like girlyness.

I knew I was falling when I found myself chuckling angrily when someone snubbed me as I said Hello. Now, I know there are a hundred reasons why someone wouldn't return a greeting, but my ego was hurt, and I jumped into self-protection. Ten years ago I would have been disappointed in myself for my lack of control and letting the situation get to me and being mean. Five years ago, I would have been disappointed but understanding and forgiving of myself. Now I am understanding, but I also hold myself to a higher standard. I should have just let my embarrassment in the minute wash away and move on past. 

There are times I look about me and I see how mean people can be. How self-righteous and angry and gossiping and hurtful. I find myself standing there wondering why I ever thought they were cool or admirable or hoped to be friends with them. They are no better than me. They might play the game better, but inside their hearts are just as tainted as everyone else's. It's so disappointing when the facade of idealism wears away and you see people for the selfish, broken souls they are. I guess we all are. 

I feel so fragile today. Every word and expression, every phrase and action is sifted through searching for the needle. And sometimes the sharp needle can always be found. 

And the work piles up around me and I don't want to do it. I want to escape, but I have no escape. I am slowly untwisting my heart strings from my novel having fallen "deeply" in love with a fictional character and fictional life, and am waiting quietly for the surging emotions bubbling over to calm and slowly drain away. I did this to myself, and damn, if it wasn't fun, but returning to homeostasis is a must, I suppose.

And at least another week of falling awaits me, and I think that someday, in a few years time, perhaps this rise and fall won't rule my life anymore, and somehow that saddens me. Who will I be then without the ebb and flow of powerful hormones coursing through my body. Not to mention how rapidly my face will fall. I think about it. I have reached the age that it doesn't matter anymore. The imagined weight loss and tummy tuck and breast enlargement and nose reduction, all the lovely things I was going to do to be just a wee bit cuter are really irrelevant at this point. Nobody cares. And I stand here, shaking in my raw soul, aware of my meager accomplishments, aware of my transparent weaknesses, embarrassed by my failings, and just..wait.. For the clock to turn around again, for the sunlight to burst through once more. It will come. And I will tell you joyful stories of strength and peace.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Help! I have fallen


And I don't want to get up!

Listen. I get it. I am old. I am a granny for goodness sake. I am also keenly aware of being completely ridiculous!

I am embarrassed, but also an emotional exhibitionist, so I am compelled to share this absolutely perfect link (well, that's how I feel-my husband would argue I don't show my feelings-I feel transparent, however).

Any kindred spirits here?

Whose your book lover?


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Rambling Thoughts on Life in the Moment

 I woke up too early, but we went to bed relatively early-ten or so. The house is a mess. This is on me. I was a baby yesterday and overindulged and lay about like an emotional weakling. Well, those words are too strong, but I did overindulge in food and wine and awoke at 3 a.m. with the sense that I needed to get my act together.

Yesterday was stressful. I feel like I made things more difficult for others, and that brought guilt and just an overall feeling of being a screw-up. Then I had 3 punch glasses of sweet wine and way too much chocolate and ended up with a terrible stomachache. But when I awoke-I realized a few things. 1) The work issue was really just too much stress adding together. My heart and mind were in the right place. What does bother me about it is my need for emotional reassurance that it was all okay. Maybe I need to just hush a bit and rest in the ambiguity of uncertainty sometimes. I keep thinking of those little cliches and sayings from Little House on the Prairie, "Least said, soonest mended," being the one that comes to mind, but I found myself repeatedly seeking reassurance. But then, as I think about it, I think-maybe that is okay. Maybe it's okay to talk about things that are worrying me, and other people can suck it up a little. What's wrong with just talking about things to figure out where I stand on them? Maybe I need that feedback to get to the heart and figure out what I think about it. 

2) I also woke up with the clarity that I need to curtail my wine drinking. I love the wine, and I am A-OK with a glass in the evening. But the past week or so, it sometimes crept up to to 2 or 3 glasses and that's not okay. It's not physically healthy, and it's not good for my head. I think part of it is due to reading about the heavy drinking in the book series I have become obsessed with.

If you need an escape and to read about others drama (because let's face it, real life can be dull), these books are great.

Note: This is an Amazon Affiliate Link.

Essentially, the story has four books with a 5th book, which is sort of a compilation of thoughts by the guy in the book. Reading it, calms my jets (did I seriously just write that) regarding his horrific behavior in the first book, but I suspect, I'll never be satisfied completely. You know, the ache-where reality just cannot quite touch fantasy-though you can see glimpses through the fog, and the slightest scent of crackling fires and smoke drifts over to taunt you with the false promise of perfection waiting. And the crickets sing their slowing songs-where did the Cicadas go- as autumn spins back to us again. I should probably close the back door.

I love that the book dealt with the issues. The couple struggled through his substance abuse, cracking apart for ages. The time lost was heartbreakingly slow and a strong sense of sadness fell upon me as I finished the fourth book. But it was good. 

I read an argument that it still wasn't realistic. And maybe it wasn't. Maybe most people aren't able to overcome their serious problems and face down their demons and arise out of the ashes. But man, that NF in me has to believe in something. When I was a child I had a recurring dream where the devil's son, would keep following me, talking to me, and I, while terrified, would continue to talk to him, persuading him towards kindness. I wanted to make him want to be a better man. Am I just seeped in victim mentality? The truth is, we put up with things, far more than we thought we could or should, because-where is the line? How understanding should we be when someone crosses the line? If we stomp our foot enough, they'll retreat back over the line and then what? Do we dispose of them and move on, alone, or do we forgive, losing a bit ourselves and our dignity and our trust along the way. I don't know which is right. Nothing is ever clear, cut, and dried.

Here is the page I read that suggests Hardin Scott, our male love interest from the book, cannot and will not change: MBTI fanatic. Definite spoilers. I think what really caught my attention is the writer's assertion that we as readers, Trauma bond to Hardin along with Tessa. That thought has captivated me, as it's a delicious romance, but also terrible. I just want him to love her so badly, I continued reading after learning of his betrayals. When I first started reading I was appalled at the writing and the present tense and just the overall simpleness. But somehow, the genius starts to emerge. This may never be Pulitzer winning material, but writing that grabs, entertains, and won't let go, is something. It speaks to something in us. Some yearning for new first kisses and completion in the eyes of another, and escape from a dreary every day. 

So, this is where I am now. Still hanging onto the fringes of a fictional romance, reasserting the need to make better choices of consumption, and wishing I had a friend to talk to about the things I need to talk out to understand. My coworkers don't want to hear that stuff. And I find myself excited. It's virtual day for all, which I have to say, I love! I wish we could implement this every single Wednesday. There is always so much work to do, and just relaxing at home while working is such a bright spot. I think we might have to go in for a real-life meeting this afternoon, and that's not ideal, but still, this should always happen at the secondary level;). 
Why can't we do this? Come on, powerful people! Make it happen!