If Solitude Be Mine, I Shall Embrace It

Once more I sit in front of this keyboard thinking deep thoughts when I should be thinking about how to get our heros out of the Dominican Republic safely.  Except that I’ve only had one train of thought this week and it has come from a realization- an epiphany you could say.

For many years, my friends, family, loved ones, and nosy strangers have all asked me what kind of man I’m looking for.  I’m not going to touch on the assumption that I’m looking for a man in this day and age, but I do in fact, prefer gentlemen.  Each time that question comes up, I have drawn a blank.  What the hell am I looking for?  Who am I waiting for?  There is never a very satisfactory answer that I can give.  I mumble some crap about how I really don’t have a type, because I honestly have no idea.  Until now.

I have realized what it is that I’m waiting for and I now understand why I won’t settle for just anyone.

I need a warrior to fight beside me in the darkness.  Sorry Disney, but a Prince simply won’t due- I’d probably break him anyway.  I need someone strong enough to fight my battles with me (no for me) and to let me fight their battles with them.  As much as I do appreciate the chivalric code, I simply can’t see how I could fit into that mold.  I’m not a damsel in distress, I’m not meek, so there are simply very few conceivable reasons I’d need saving from the dragon, but damned if I wouldn’t really want some back-up.

The most successful relationships I’ve had the privilege of witnessing are based upon this theory, I’ve realized.  Is this what love is meant to be?  The feelings that are supposed to be associated with it I’m still hazy on, but that sense of having someone fighting the battles with you is a necessity for me, I think.  The Warrior has seen the evil and will turn to face it.

I cannot feel like I’m being 100% open with a man if I’m too concerned that I will be dragging him down into the darkness with me.  Too many people have told me, “Love changes you,”  and this has never sat quite right with me.  Yes, you would hopefully adapt to bringing another person into your life, to integrating every aspect at some point, but I’m still a firm believer that you cannot go into a relationship with the belief that you will change the things that you do not like about someone.

You cannot change a person- they must change themselves.

As this is a pretty recent revelation, I can’t say for sure if I would do this in any given situation, but I do feel that if I could find a Warrior- broken, imperfect, and willing to fight beside me- that I would be absolutely enamored.

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Waxing Poetic From the Dark Side of the Moon

I’ve been having an interesting conversation that started with a new friend whom we shall name Flyboy for his much appreciated service to our country.

What do you do when you feel like every choice you make is doomed to twist itself into the opposite of what you are intending?  It seems like this would be a pretty easy question to answer- Make different choices, right?

It has occurred to me, and Mrs. Batty reminded me of this today, that growth is a very, very, very, very, very…. (you get the point) slow process.  I have known that I am attracted to unavailable men for most of my adult life and that is a pattern that I can’t seem to break, no matter how hard I think that I’m trying.  That’s easy- choose different men!

The problem becomes that it’s not my choice in men that I need to fix, it’s me.  It’s about what I feel that I deserve and I’m sure that subconsciously I’ve determined it’s safer to be alone and self-sabotage is the way to go!

Flyboy seems to be just coming to this understanding and I can 100% sympathize with how crappy that feels.  I wish I could explain to him without seeming like a pompous ass-hat that the simple answer is the hardest path to walk down because it is long and rocky.  Or, who knows, maybe I’m just full of shit and projecting my own thoughts about my personal journey onto someone that I feel has been following a similar path.  Either way, I think that I can truly understand his darkness and it does make me sad to know he’s still got a long way to go and it’s a pretty lonely journey.

So, Mrs. Batty- ever the optimist- did point out that, “Being open enough to the possibility that you can get hurt [by another person] and that it would be OK is a big step.”  And she is right.  The statement that she was responding to is my new found belief that I will probably end up being single and living alone (with my 3 cats) for a good part of the remainder of my life, but that I’ve come to terms with this fact and it would also be OK if that were to be my future.

I guess this realization is what people mean by being comfortable with yourself before you can be comfortable with another person.  I’m open to suggestions, but online dating is not a route that I am contemplating.  I’m done chasing men who attract me to them because as we have already established, I have an uncanny radar for entirely unavailable men.

My game plan for the next little while is to let the cosmos throw their best and their worst at me and it will either hurt or it won’t, but I promise myself to not push aside my better judgement.  Not listening to my intuition is how I’ve gotten into all of the previous messes that I call a relationship history.

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“I have too many flaws to be perfect, but I have too many blessings to be ungrateful”

(Quote taken from ziglar.com)

I’m still here.  I won’t apologize for my absence this time because, well, I just won’t.  It’s been another hectic few months and too many ups and a lot of downs that it does not good to muse on.  In the past week, though, a fantastic milestone has been reach and Battysgirls and I are officially at the 300 page mark in the book.  The better part of that is the fact that they are 300 USABLE pages!!!

We are finally at a point where I can see an end to Book 1 and it’s an end we are both excited about, at least I think both of us are ;-)  So, in honor of the apex of this hill being within sight, (no surprise here) I’m going to post a playlist that makes me feel the hell that we’ve put each of these characters through so far followed by a few songs that hint at their endings.

Breanna:

Amelia:

James:

Anka:

Shawn:

Celeste:

Tony:

Rory:

John:

Iris and Daniel:

Declan:

“Time May Change Me, But I Can’t Trace Time”

I searched the word changes on Bing and Google in an attempt to ignore my inability to figure out the next part of a scene that I’m writing and the top 4 hits (using 4 because Google only had that many) were amusing to me.

Bing: Definition, Parental Control, Hair Salon, and Black Sabbath

Google: Definition, Global Activism, One Direction, and Oil Changes

The 5th hit on Bing was more what I was thinking about when I chose that word- David Bowie.  I know that I’ve spent many hours of contemplation on this subject, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately and who better to illustrate this than Ziggy Stardust himself/herself/itself?

There are frequent posts on Facebook with sayings like, “If you’re not willing to change, don’t expect your life to either” or “Change is inevitable, progress is optional”.  Ok, so that second one is just one that I know, but the rest are too long to put into a post.  It’s a lost of positive affirmations about moving forward and how to inspire yourself and others.  This may say more about the people that I know than the world, though I can’t say that’s a bad thing.  I feel good thinking that I associate (even if it’s only electronically) with people who are trying to better themselves some way.

Initially I did some really deep thinking on this when I lost my job in DC and had to figure out what my next step would be.  That was in no way fun, it was ego crushing, and I don’t care what anyone says- it was not liberating.  I spent months in a funk trying to convince myself that I wasn’t a failure with the support of some incredible women.  Sorry men, I just couldn’t find an incredibly supportive guy to lean on- nothing personal ;-)  Long story short- it sucked.

Out of this personal turmoil came “the idea”.  I needed to escape the reality of suckiness and determined that the one thing I can do that I have never felt like a complete failure at is write.  The novel has been a work in progress since then and has morphed and twisted into something that, even as a first draft, Mrs. Batty and I should be extremely proud of.  This past December, around my birthday also known as when I start to feel like I’ve accomplished nothing in my life every year, I became determine to finish book 1 of this story (yes, it’s morphed to a multi-book story) by December of this year.  I’ll be turning 35 and just feel as though I need to push myself to shit or get off the pot with something.  If it isn’t going to be finishing this book, then it needs to be focusing on my other career.

Back to the changes.  All of these positive affirmations and saying are actually quite nice to see, but they are really reminding me of all of the personal changes that I know that I need to make and have been putting off.  I work too much still and ignore my personal life.  I have terrible taste in men and find the single most unavailable ones to convince myself that I should take a shot at (utterly masochistic of me) in some sort of sick self-fulfilling prophecy.  My list of real life friends is slowly shrinking and I’ve not tended to finding ways to meet new people, so isolation is an issue and I still can’t figure out if it’s intentional or inadvertent.

But- I can’t help thinking that this is just temporary.  I knew what I was taking on when I set my heart to writing a novel, while working a minimum of 50 hours a week.  Both jobs are creatively draining and I also find myself doing the internal pep talk of “just do it!  stop procrastinating and just do it!” much more than I used to.

I recently sent a copy of the unfinished manuscript to someone that I’ve formed a wonderful work relationship with and she’s absolutely salivating for the finished work.  This is encouraging and now I need to figure out what changes I have to make in order to keep the forward momentum going.  My resolve is still there.  Come hell or high water- this book will be ready to send out by the end of the year, it’s just that the path to this is not so clear in my mind.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes about change:

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– Mahatma Ghandi

When The Dream is More Exciting Than the Reality

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I daydream, constantly, and I suspect that I daydream as a way of controlling the world around me.  Just a few moments ago, I was fantasizing about a conversation that I will most likely never be in the position to have with a guy that I know.  It was a very well thought out explanation about why we could never “see” each other socially and, well, let’s be real- it’s me so there will be no point in time that I would be having that conversation.  My favorite tactic is to ignore the desire until it is gone thereby NOT creating any conflict.

I’ve explored this rabbit hole before and find that it aids one of the few things that I like about my writing- the character interactions.  This actually has become a problem because I am so focused on the interactions that the necessary descriptive elements are short changed.  In real life, I’ve wondered if I have ever “remembered” having a conversation with someone that had only taken place in my head and, to date, I haven’t proven this suspicion to be warranted- I have an unfortunately long and accurate memory.  But I digress-

Relationships- If one is habitually living a relationship in their head as a way of sussing out the potential issues, is there ever any hope for becoming that person who is able to just live in the moment?  I suspect that it goes back to the control issue and trying to anticipate problems before they happen.  Now, this has served me well professionally, even if it has torpedoed many moment where I’d thought that I could be a part of a healthy relationship.  It’s a useful skill!  It’s a perpetual kill-joy because you end up becoming the “responsible” friend.

In my internal conversations with a man that I’m in a healthy relationship with, I imagine that we are boring.  You’d think that I would be picturing exotic vacations to Bali or action packed treks through the mountains while being chased by an angry group of Russian Mobsters, but no.  I picture a Sunday morning where we are sitting at a kitchen table, drinking coffee and reading our respective newspapers and magazines, while the cats play in the other room.  The traditional picture of domestic bliss that we are apparently supposed to achieve as adults according to Lifetime Movies and Television.  Now, really?  I can imagine a small segment of the population living this life, but more likely they are either awake and on the couch watching TV or running around doing the countless tasks and errands that equal real life.

I know that I’m rambling now and I’m OK with that.  I’ve never promised that this blog would contain earth shattering or life altering publications- just the spewing of my head.  That being said, is it naive of me to be making efforts to put myself “out there” more because I’ve realized that my internal life has become much too comfortable?  There’s a reason why I’ve been fine living in my head for quite a while and it really has to do with an incredibly weakened ability to deal with any more upheaval and, let’s be honest, opening yourself up to reality will only lead to upheaval and change.  It’s that change that leads to fear.  Alternately, it’s also a fear of stagnation for me.

What if I do end up finding someone that I’d like to keep around for longer than a few months- what then?  Do we get into a comfortable routine, do we have a “date night”, does it mean the end of being able to say- I will go wherever the world takes me?  Or, does it mean that you have company for the journey?  This is one of those questions that I won’t be able to answer with any authority until I allow myself to experience it I think.

Have We Met Before?

A light breeze turned the pages of her notebook as she gazed into the distance, lost in the jumble of images floating through her head.  It had been months since she was able to make the trip to her favorite cafe with her notebook, pen, and imagination, but that most crucial imaginative element seemed to be eluding her at the moment.  The only things that she could think about were reports and emails and all of the many tasks that she could be doing to get ahead in the office and a silent, sickening feeling was settling in the pit of her stomach.

With a resigned sigh, she gently tossed the pen onto the notebook and leaned back in the chair to take a sip of her coffee.  The cafe wasn’t the most hip place to be; strictly corporate, truth be told.  The people watching was descent, however, and it didn’t require an incredible drive on her part.  That being said, it was not uncommon for her to be the only 30 something in the place.  Setting her coffee back onto the table, she picked the pen back up and continued her aimless gazing at the blank page on the table.

The door chimed and she looked up from her contemplation to see a man coming through the door, a warm smile on his face as he called out a greeting to the other young man behind the counter.  It was like watching a scene out of a John Hughes movie, with the super popular guy walking into the room in slow motion.  Before she even realized that she’d been staring, he had already caught her eyes.  The heat crept up her face very quickly and she’d never been more thankful that her foundation was extremely good at covering up the red of her embarrassment.  A sly smile lifted one corner of his mouth and with a wink, the man made his way toward the back of the cafe where a small group of people were waiting for him.  Once his back was turned, she let her head fall to her notebook and let out the breath that she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.

What the hell was wrong with her?!  He wasn’t exactly smoking-hot-male-model material, but she hadn’t been able to look away.  There’d been a moment of recognition and she couldn’t place his face.  Try as she might to get back to her writing, the woman found herself glancing toward the group and the man who was conveniently facing her.  Did she recognize him from the cafe?  He obviously seemed to know the staff well, but was he a regular?

She looked back over toward the group once more and again, he caught her eyes and the two of them just stared.  He knew that she was watching him and she knew that she was busted.  Frozen for what felt like an hour, she looked back down to her notebook and began to write.  Still no story ideas flowing so her composition was a grocery list.  After that the woman didn’t dare look over at him again.  She didn’t particularly feel like having them ask her to leave for making the customers uncomfortable.  Once the grocery list was completed, a fresh cup of coffee was in order.  She got up from her table and made her way to the counter.  As the guy behind the counter handed her the full mug, she steeled her nerves and blurted out her question.

“So, who is the guy that came in earlier- a friend of yours or just a regular?”  Her delivery was sufficiently neutral, but the man still gave her that knowing look that all people have when you mine them for information about anyone of the opposite sex.

“He’s a regular.  That whole groupp, they come in every weekend for a few hours, why do you ask?”

“No reason, he just looked familiar.” she replied and returned to her table.

When she settled back in to the seat disappointment hit square in the chest as she realized that the boisterous group of people had all left along with her chance of working up the nerve to go and talk to him.  The little angry voice in her head began it’s chastising for being a scardie cat and letting yet another moment get away.  This was the point at which she reminded her inner voice that there was a reason that she was in her thirties and single to which the voice responded that she shouldn’t forget that she also had three cats and would be getting a rocking chair and shot gun for her birthday.

There were no stories flowing from her mind, pen, or any other useful instrument at all, so she sat there with her cooling coffee, doodling eyes in the margins of the notebook.  She’d been so absorbed in her own inner monologue that the approaching figure made her jump when he got to the table.  He hadn’t left after all.

“Hi.” She said and immediately began choking on her coffee.

“Hi.” he replied, “you ok?”  She still couldn’t speak so she gave him a weak thumbs up. “Sorry to bother you, but I kind of noticed you staring at us back there and this may sound stupid, but, have we met before?”

“I’m not sure, but you look really familiar.  I’m sorry to have stared, it’s not a habit, promise.” she said.

“You can stare all you’d like,” he replied with the same half smile he’d given her earlier, “May I sit?”

Her heart was now beating faster and she was sure that her inability to respond was clearly plastered all over her face, “Sure.” she managed to croak out.

“Don’t worry, it’s just a cup of coffee.”  he said, sitting across from her and somehow those words untied the nervous knot in the pit of her stomach and she finally smiled back at him.