50 Shades of Pain

I’m an award winning ranter. I mean I should get a freakin’ medal for all the venting I have done in my life; and I’m not talking bronze status. I always go for the gold! It’s no surprise, since I’m a verbal processor that I can be a bit long winded too. Ask any of my personal priests and they will tell you that my confessionals can go on for days. Once I get on my soapbox, sit back and relax cause it’s about to go down.

Really, I have the kindest friends who constantly sit through this till I’m tired of the sound of my own voice. The conversation usually ends with a line like, “So, anyway… I’m gonna shut up now because I’m annoying myself.” I don’t know how they haven’t stuck hot pokers in their ears or stuffed a sock in my mouth.

My latest victim was my older sister, Tanya. I spent a good hour on the phone with her ranting about my ex and the suck factor of the aftermath of our failed relationship. Most days, I want nothing to do with my ex. He too closely resembles the “good cop, bad cop” from the Lego Movie, without the redemption. One day he just flipped a switch and my whole world went into a tizzy. The worst of it is that it hasn’t found it’s balance again. I’m still sifting through the debris from the tornado that was our short relationship.

After we broke up I felt like I couldn’t trust people or myself. How had I made such an error in judgment? How did I not see this coming? How can someone be so two-faced? Trust flew out the window like a flock of doves and I was left with deep pain, confusion, anger, etc… Eventually, the pain subsided. Thank God, because there were days I didn’t think I was going to make it through. Days were I was sure I was gonna cave in on myself. Truth be told, I had never felt heartache like that in my whole life. Finally coming out of the other end was more than a relief, it was salvation to my burnt out emotions.

However, every now and then the scar aches; and all this sh$t gets stirred up that I don’t know what to do with. I already know all the well intentioned advice. You’ll heal. Things wont always be like this. You wont always feel like this. All of which means nothing in those moments. All that really matters is the raw emotion coursing through your veins. The need to scream, to fight, to curse, to be angry over the injustice you feel in your heart. That you were wronged and yet you are the one still dealing, still feeling. That he doesn’t deserve to be missed by you, but he is. That he isn’t worth the upheaval he caused, the energy you exert just trying to feel like your old self. The one without the bitterness and cynicism. That you have to live in the unknown, thinking he’s doing just fine and your still struggling, without an apology or explanation. Without feeling defended or avenged. Without finding the better thing. With nothing. You get nothing; and for all the lessons you learned and the personal growth you went through, it still doesn’t feel worth the pain you endured.

It’s this kind of thing that makes you realize that life sometimes sucks; and that there are cases where there is no rhyme or reason to it. It just is what it is, end of story. Six months later and very little has changed. You would give anything to return to the blissful ignorance of days past. You would do anything to trade in your “wisdom” for the naive hope you used to hold on to. I have been so angry I couldn’t think straight. So distraught I physically ached. So changed I don’t recognize who I’ve become; and all I can think is that it’s this a&$hole’s fault.

The one saving grace I have, is also the thing I fume over most. None of what I just said was present when we broke up. I still felt so much love and kindness toward him. So much compassion that I was able to be the bigger person. I said my peace with class and sophistication. As grateful as I am that I didn’t degrade myself or stoop to an ugly level, I’m also pissed because it’s more than he deserved. Now I want to tell him like it is, I want to inflict physical harm, whatever it takes to wake him up. It’s that need for him to understand what he did to you; and maybe in some weird way you think that if he did, it might fix you.

The conclusion is that life goes on and you go on with it. Maybe there isn’t some higher purpose to what you’ve just gone through. Maybe nothing ever gets resolved and you’ll remain hanging there for all your days. Some things don’t get closure. Some things just are. It’s harder when things are this way. It makes it more difficult to heal, to feel like it wasn’t all for nothing. It makes it harder to move on and open up again because we, humans, are great at hurting each other and not so great at loving each other. That is what’s real. The end.

Congratulations, you all have just become another one of my priests! And you got the mild version.

Advertisements

Book Review: The Maze Runner

Hello Little Darlings,

It’s Book Review Day!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

image

First and foremost, this has to be one of my favorite YA series thus far. Thomas is definitely going in my book boyfriend list, along with Four from Divergent, Perry from Under the Never Sky and Frederick Wentworth from Persuasion. I also have side pieces, like Daemon Black from the Lux Series; but I digress. If you are looking for a series that has bends, twists and turns, this is for you. It’s challenging, frustrating and exhilarating. Just when you think nothing more could possibly happen or rather, these poor characters couldn’t handle anything more, James Dashner hits you with a one-two punch to the feels and it leaves you wanting to throw the book across the room, even if it is sacrilege. To put it plainly, I had an author crush by the end of this series.

Never have I encountered a book that is so frustratingly mysterious. You only know as much as the main character, which is practically nothing. You, as the reader, have to walk through the discoveries and revelations as they come to the characters. Never giving you enough to make accurate predictions of future events. Instead, only giving you just enough to stay invested. It’s like a single drop of water in the desert every hour. I couldn’t tell you how many times I said, “What is going on?” while reading this first book in the series. So many questions swirling around in your mind; and for every one question that actually gets answered, ten more spring up in it’s place. It’s like Hercules and Lernaean Hydra, “Would you quit it with the head slicing thing.” Let the reader understand. Your only consolation is that what little information you do receive is clear and solid, allowing you to begin slowly putting the puzzle pieces together. Imagine, as annoying as it is to have half the puzzle missing, think of how excited you get when you’re finally able to form something distinguishable, like an eye or a nose.

Thomas is a wonderfully complex character, that doesn’t quite fit in the mold of “good guy”. He has his dark past, that is slowly brought to the light as he and others begin to recall memories. Thomas’ saving grace is that you don’t get to know him in his past, only in his present. Who he is in the present is different and there inlays the internal wrestle. The struggle that defines him throughout the series. Will he reconcile his past? which Thomas will he identify with at the end of things? Will others be able to overlook his past sins and forgive? All valid questions and not all of which are answered in the first book.

The secondary character and Thomas’ “love interest”, Teresa, is just like him. However, her response to her dark past is very different. She wants to justify and believe in the intentions and the greater good, where as Thomas sees no possible justification and only wishes to change it, redeem it. Will this cause a rift between them? Such varying ideals from the beginning. Even so, there is a very special connection that these two share. One that is not easily broken. It’s tied to his past and plays a significant part in his future. No matter the outcome of this pairing, Teresa is essential to Thomas’ character development.

Other characters that play significant roles in their own right: Alby, Gally Minho, Newt and Chuck. Alby and Newt serve as the leaders, the voices of reason, the givers of order in this new world that Thomas wakes up in. They are the lawmakers, as well as the enforcers. To Thomas, they are his guides and only source of information. He builds a particular attachment to Newt, who is the good cop to Alby’s bad cop. I wouldn’t categorize Alby has an antagonist, though his approach can be rough, I think it’s more misunderstood than ill-intentioned.

The obvious antagonist of this story is Gally. One of the other Gladers, who has it out for Thomas the moment he arrives. It’s hard to completely villainize Gally because his reasons for disliking Thomas are completely justified. Not only has seen glimpses into Thomas’ dark past; but as soon as Thomas shows up in the Glade everything goes to hell and Gally knows he’s the reason why. The issue with Gally is that he doesn’t have all the facts, something that doesn’t particularly weigh heavy on him in dealing with his dislike of Thomas. All he knows is what he sees and his own distrust. Putting myself in his position, it makes sense how he comes to certain conclusions; and at the end of the day his desire is to protect those around him from the harm he believes Thomas is inflicting on them.

At the end of the day, the true villains are WCKD. All their efforts to convinces these characters otherwise fail miserably. WCKD, though truly believing in their cause, have a warped sense of morality that is solely based on their own sense of self-preservation, though they try to advertise it as being for the “greater good”. Their main issues are the same as most massive organizations in novels such as these. They have a purpose and they refuse to fail. Succeeding at any cost, they lose their humanity along the way and it is the job of those that they oppress in the process to expose them and/or stop them.

Finally that leaves Minho and Chuck, Thomas’ closest and truest friends. Chuck becomes the little brother you never wanted. Comical as it was reading about Thomas’ annoyance with this pestering boy who stayed glued to him, it was more gratifying to see the attachment he forms to Chuck as the story progresses. Chuck is only second to Teresa and Thomas is determined to see him safe, taking it on as his own responsibility and duty. Minho is his kindred spirit and the only one, aside from Newt, he trusts fully throughout the series. Their friendship is my favorite to see develop and it’s the one you are rooting to endure till the end.

There is action, adventure, mystery, solid relationship building, fantastic world building; but most importantly… one hell of a story. If you want something that is going to suck you in and keep you on the edge of your seat. A roller coaster ride from beginning to end, than this is the book for you; and of course, it leaves you in true YA fashion of trilogies, with a horrible cliffhanger. So, strap on the seat belt and get ready, cause it’s gonna a bumpy ride.

Here is the link for The Maze Runner of Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6186357-the-maze-runner?from_search=true

First Time Drunk

I’m a control freak most of the time. I’m not a type A control freak. I value and encourage spontaneity. Really, the things I want to control are the things I can’t: love, life, opportunities, etc… In these areas I like to know where I’m going and what I’m doing. I think it’s a defense mechanism to be honest. If I know how things will result, than I can avoid pain. Pain my greatest teacher, pain my greatest enemy. Obviously, this never works, pain in life is inevitable and a lot of the times unavoidable. Over the years, I have learned to let go little by little, but there are many layers to this onion and I’m always surprised to discover how much being in control plays into the many different areas of my life. So, it makes sense why being drunk is not for me.

Last night was my 28th birthday. I decided that I was going to let loose and have fun. I went to an art festival, had dinner, saw a comedy show and then finished the night with drinks at a jazz lounge. Now, usually when I go out I limit myself to one drink. I didn’t even have my first full drink until I was 27. Why you ask? I don’t really care for the taste of most alcohol and the first time I actually finished a drink was because I finally found one I did like. That opened the door, but only a crack. I really had no desire to push the envelope or try and discover my limit by leaping twenty steps over it. Nothing about getting drunk appealed to me. The losing control, getting sick, making an ass of yourself, the day after, etc…

I’ve heard all the arguments for getting wasted and there all idiotic. People don’t want to admit it’s escapism because that’s weakness, so they make other claims. “It relaxes me”- Newsflash, you were relaxed five drinks ago, so if relaxation was your only reasoning, then why you didn’t stop? “It’s fun!”- This one is my favorite because of the aforementioned negative affects of drinking. What is so fun about that? Not to mention, that if you need alcohol to have fun, than you must be really boring. I know this because I experienced getting drunk last night and it’s like having an outer body episode. So, in order for you to have “fun” you have to practically remove yourself from yourself? Right.

This is my one and only drunk story. First off, I’m naive. I was so sure I was fine, stable even. The problem is I had never even been around a drunk person before, so I had no frame of reference for when enough was enough. I only had movies for my guide, and in movies it takes 30 shots before someone got wasted, not 2, which is how many I had. 2 shots and 1 drink and I was unsteadily walking to the bathroom, laughing one minute and crying the next. Let’s not even get into the unusual affection I was showing some of my friends, petting them, grabbing their faces and telling them I loved them. I had no control over my body and no control over my emotions and I did not like that.

Here is the thing, you don’t know when you’ve had enough until you’ve had too much. My friends warned me, in the moment, that it was going to hit me all at once. There was no previous knowledge of this; and I had felt nothing up until that point. Then suddenly I’m resting my head on my friend’s shoulder, because I felt like a bobble doll, saying, and I quote, “My head is heavy.”

The after affects of being drunk, when you never have, are awful. Guilt, headache, dehydration, guilt, identity crisis, etc… Guilt. All in all, it’s not for me. I’m the booknerd, the knitter, the Golden Girls watcher, not the Girls Gone Wild candidate. So, one drink is my limit. End of Story.

Confessions of an Ex-Romantic

Love is a tricky subject. It seems our opinions of love morph with every tide of change of in our own lives. One minute we are hopelessly optimistic, that when we least expect it Mr. or Mrs. Right is going to come waltzing into our lives. Of course it would be right at the time when we’ve gotten everything “figured out” and have finally tapped into the true essence of who we are and what we’re all about. Self-love is attractive after all. The next minute however, you can’t even look at an attractive potential, who keeps glancing in your direction because cynical thoughts overrun your mind, pulling at the last remaining thread of optimism you have left. Thoughts like,Yeah, they look, but they wont do anything further or It wont last, so why bother? I seem to be on that end of the swinging pendulum these days.

My best friend is in town for my birthday and has confidently informed me that I have been in this place before. Making my declaration of love scorned and swearing off relationships, period. This times feels different though. Maybe it’s because I am still picking up the pieces from my last relationship that obviously shattered me and robbed me of my naive hopeless romantic side. I used to be the type that believed that against all odds and in the face of impossibility love would prevail. Even in my discouraged rants when I was lonely and craving love and affection, I always held on tight to this, even when it really was just grasping at air. What’s the difference now? The difference is my inner dialogue, the first thought that pops into my mind is one of pessimism and doubt; and I feel shaken to the core because of it. Like I’m having some kind of outer body experience and some dark and evil twin has taken over. I just don’t feel myself, if you know what I mean. How do I get back?

Time heals all wounds, right? I can attest to that, but the scar left over is permanent. What if the wound heals wrong, leaving you with a nasty, twisted looking scar that still aches every now and then? How do you get rid of that scar?

My best friend feels pretty confident that I can get back on track and be who I once was, but I feel changed; and not temporarily. I think she knows that. I think she knows that I wont ever be who I was. Heartbreak changes you; but I do think she believes that I can change for the better. Take the wisdom I gained from my experience and move on, move forward with a more mature perspective, but learn to hope again. That just maybe, my first thought when it comes to attraction and love wont be so self-defeating. It’s hard to picture, to fathom that as a real possibility. Even as I write this post I feel my heart ache for the blissful ignorance of my past, but what is done is done. I know this because I can also feel the resistance to going back.

Maybe I just need more time. Maybe I need a Men in Black memory eraser or a time machine. Either way, something has to give. I can’t be in limbo forever, so either I heal and move on or I sink deeper. I know theoretically what is right? but I am realistically torn between fear and belief. There are places in me, still hurting, wanting to self-protect; but there is also a part of me scared of this new person I’ve become and wanting to be my old self again. I would love to say that the motivation for wanting to return to my happy loved up days is because I genuinely wanted a relationship and true love, yatta yatta; but I literally don’t have the desire. It’s like something in my brain goes to immediately cock block me when I see a cute guy from taking it any further than noticing his looks. It’s because I want to have hope to hope again, whatever that means. What can I say? I’m all tied up. Here’s to hoping the web unravels and fast!

3 “Dates” from Hell

I have said in a previous entry that I have never been on a full blown adult date before. A date without all the pressure of knowing whether or not this person and I will be walking down the aisle in the foreseeable future. I have literally had a guy tell me on the first “date” that he had a three date rule. This isn’t a commitment-phobe kind of thing that prevents a seemingly normal human being from exploring their romantic options with a female counterpart. This is a, “If I don’t think I can marry you by the third day, I’m ditching you” kind of thing. I know, I should have gone running for the hills when I heard this, but I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt that (1) he didn’t mean it as severely as it sounded and (2) he surely wasn’t going to stick like glue to this rule as things unfolded between us. The short of it was… I was wrong.

That being said, just because I haven’t been on a normal date, doesn’t mean I haven’t been on pathetic excuses of or sad attempts at… Yeah, I can’t call them dates, because they were more like disasters, train wrecks, fails of epic proportions. One person in particular comes to mind. One person who still gives comic relief to many of my close friends when I recount the tragedy that was our courtship. He was literally a character right out of a novel; and what was even more hilarious about it, is that he had absolutely no self-awareness. His awkward, at times painful antics where lost on him. He was blissfully unaware of his own cringe worthy behavior. How is this possible? I shutter to this day when I think of some of things he’s said and done.

Here are the three dates from Hell:

Date 1
We had been set up through a mutual friend, who was coaxing him to pursue me after making a rather obvious comment about wanting to date a dark Hispanic girl. The reason this is obvious is because I live in the Midwest and it seems I am breed of my own here. He invited me to lunch, to which I said yes. I had been crushing on him from a distance for quite some time, but he was a mystery to me. I was about to find out that some mysteries needed to remain unsolved.

He came to my job and had a menu in his hand from a small restaurant across the street. Random that he felt the need to bring the menu to me, as if I wouldn’t see it when we got there, but no biggie. I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t a bit disappointed that he didn’t take me out of the five mile radius of my workplace and I quickly realized why. He didn’t have a plan. He came with no clue where we were going, so he just saw the place and figured, “why not?” For all he knew they could’ve serve fried cat livers, but he wasn’t going to sweat the details. When we got there we found a small table in the back and sat down. The place was the size of shack and could only fit two tables in their dining area, so we were real up close and personal with our neighbors. Not the most ideal place for intimate conversations. He spent the next hour of my lunch talking and asking questions. He was a bit chattier than I expected, but it was still an equatable back and forth. When we were done, he picked up the check and walked me back to my job. Now, at the time I was in a predominantly male work situation, so they thought it would be funny to blast BoysIIMen from inside the shop. Eventually we went inside, so I could give him a tour. I worked for a boutique guitar pedal company that a lot of people wanted to check out, but was closed to the public, so I had the in. From the front of the shop to the back, where they were building a studio, he had taken off his outer shirt, “Superman Style” as he referred to it. So, after he left there was much speculation about what happened in the back room to cause his shirt to magically come off his body. I had no explanation other than what he said, which was that he was hot. Was he trying to make a move? Why would he think that was a good idea on the first date? or at my job for that matter? And Dear Jesus, if that was his attempt at a move… What? Why?

Interlude
We made plans to go out again on a group date to a movie. Before then we found ourselves at the same event, so we talked… or rather, he talked. I don’t remember most of what was said, but I do remember one thing because it was bizarre and panic-inducing. He mentioned how much he loved dressing up for Halloween, he loved dressing up period. Mind you, he was 25 years old at the time. He started to tell me about what he wanted to dress up as that year and suddenly a spark of excitement caught in his voice as he started including me in his plans. First off, Halloween was months away. Secondly, we were not in a relationship. We hadn’t even had our second date. Lastly, was he on crack?! He wanted me to dress up as Gwen Stacy, so he could be Spiderman. Have you seen me? I am not white; and there is no way in hell a blonde wig would look good on me. Not to mention, Gwen Stacy doesn’t really have a distinguishing look to her for a costume, which I mentioned. To which he replied that I could just wear a short skirt and thigh high stockings, like she did in the first movie. Excuse me? Conversation over.

Second Date
I mentioned to him that I genuinely wasn’t feeling well that day, to which he glazed over with an “Aww… that sucks” comment and kept talking about how excited he was to see this new Bourne movie. He dropped a bomb on me in that conversation as well, telling me he was going to dress up as Jason Bourne for the movie. What does that mean? I didn’t worry too much about it because I figured it meant jeans, a T-shirt and maybe a leather jacket, possibly a big orange knit sweater. All things that weren’t causes for alarm. I ended up medicating myself, so I could get through the night. I had begged my roommate, at the time, to go with me. Assuring her it would be a good time. When we showed up I was immediately mortified. He had invited his friend and his friend’s girlfriend and conveniently forgot to tell me. Does he know the definition of a group date? Apparently not, because that was not what this was. This was a double date; and my single female friend was the fifth wheel. I was horrified for her and must have apologized a million times in the first few minutes, but she took it like a champ and plowed through.

The second reason I was mortified was because I quickly became acquainted with my date’s definition of “dressing up like Jason Bourne”. A pair of cargo shorts, that were as longs as capris and cut him off mid calf, which made his already short stature look dwarfed. A cut off, muscle shirt that you play basketball in and sharpie pen. The sharpie pen he used to right Bourne on one arm, in huge block letters, and Legacy on the other. Shoot me now! My roommate and I exchanged looks and I knew we would be talking about this later; but it doesn’t end there folks.

We get to the movie and he orders nachos with tons of Jalapeños on it. The perfect food for close whispering in a movie theater. The best part of it was when he spilled the juice from the Jalapeños all over his crotch during the beginning of the movie. The smell wafting up and smacking me in the face periodically throughout the film. Then there was the excessive, not-so-subtle adjusting he did to himself the whole night. It was as if he suffered from uncontrollable ball sweat or he didn’t bathe. After the movie was over and we were walking back to the parking garage he decided to slide down a hand railing on his stomach and then lift his entire body off of the escalator, checking out his arms as they flexed under the weight. Teenagers walking around us were embarrassed for this grown ass man acting like this. I could not wait for the night to be over.

Third and Final Date
I reluctantly agreed to going out one more time with this guy. I really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but his extreme extrovertedness was seriously clashing with my introvert. He was constantly bouncing off the walls. It was nothing like I had ever seen; and I couldn’t get a word in edge wise. On the off chance that he took a breath and would allow me to speak, he would almost immediately interrupt whatever I was saying to tell me something that I had just reminded him of. But he didn’t just tell me, he would show me. He would get up wherever we were at and act it out for me, as if I wouldn’t get it without the visuals.

I tried to do some preemptive damage control on this date, telling him that I was in a calm and contemplative mood. In other words, calm the hell down and just be normal. He said he understood, but as the night went on I would have to strongly disagree with that statement. We went to get some ice cream. Now, I told him that we were just two people getting to know each other and though I appreciated him paying for me on these dates, it wasn’t something I expected. With that, I also said that if he wanted to go out and he wanted to go dutch, to let me know ahead of time. This is to avoid that whole awkward and unnecessary moment when the check comes and no one reaches for it. Well, we got to the register and the girl asked if we were together. I looked at him and he was in la-la land, but he didn’t protest, so I said yes. Then she gave me the total and I looked at him again and he didn’t even flinch. No movement at all to reach for his wallet, so I pulled out my card and paid. O HELL NO!!! this trifling man did not just trick me into paying for his ice cream when he asked me out.

During our conversation, or rather his monologue, he mentioned he hadn’t eaten at all that day and how the ice cream had stirred his hunger. A grown man, who couldn’t pack his own lunch, so he wouldn’t starve to death, was whining to me about being hungry. What was I going to do? I had driven cause his car was broken down. Apparently, I was going to be his mother and offer to take him to get himself food. Well the b*&tch had money for Chipotle, but not for ice cream.

Now I had grown weary of his constant adjusting and touching. It was really a bit much and there was very little attempt on his part to disguise it, but the pinnacle of grossness came when we were walking toward the ordering counter and he had the nerve to not only adjust himself, but lift up his leg and shake himself out. I was standing behind him and I could have died. I wanted to run out the door and leave his nasty ass there, but I couldn’t. He ordered his food and we decided to take it to go because I could not spend another second on this date. As he was getting his soft drink I finally had an opportunity to speak. As I was talking he began slowly and steadily moving his cup toward my face. To the point where I had to lean back while still trying to finish my sentence. Finally I stopped and said, “What’s going on here?” to which he replied, “I’m asking if you want some?”. Stick a fork in him, he’s done.

Finally, I go to drop him off at his house, only to find out he left his key in the house. Surprise, surprise!! Thankfully, he knew where his roommate was, so I went to drop him off there instead. On the way he gets a phone call. Apparently, he had left his broke down vehicle at a university parking lot for 2 WEEKS!! Even though he had AAA and could’ve easily had it towed, for free mind you. Campus security called to inform him that they were going to tow it. Guess who he asked to take him to his car so that he could wait for AAA? Now, I had some boundaries that I established from the beginning and one of them was that I wasn’t going to sit in a car with him till the wee hours of the night getting into deep conversations, because I have tendencies and it’s not a good idea. So far, he had respected that rule. Twenty minutes go by and AAA hadn’t showed up. I was ready to cut my ears off because he had rambled on the entire time, even busting out his modeling pictures from when he was eighteen, that he just so happened to carry in his glove compartment. Finally, I couldn’t take anymore and I asked him how long AAA said they would be before they got there. He hadn’t even called them!!! I didn’t want to leave him there because it was night time, at an empty parking lot in a shady neighborhood, but he had just worked on my last available nerve. I let him make the call and then waved goodbye to the nightmare that was that whole relationship.

Two words. Never. Again

Diary of a Recovering Addict

The life of a recovering addict is one that requires strategy, healthy patterns and a great deal of understanding. I’ve been sober for three years now, and though I am not quite prepared to let the blogosphere know what my addiction issue is/was, I do want to shed some light on the life of a recovering addict.

First of all, I do not believe in the whole “Once an addict, always an addict” frame of my mind. I think it’s defeatist and pointless. If that is what you confess over yourself than you are setting yourself up for failure. From the exterior is seems like a fallback for acting out in your addiction. “Well, once an addict, always an addict, so I should expect to mess up.” I’m not saying that you wont stumble or deal with some serious temptation, but I know what it’s like to be bogged down with the mentality that I will never be free from my addiction, or that everyday wont be an all out war, where I am barely holding onto my sobriety for dear life; and that is the wrong way to think of things. So, I am a recovering addict. My former addiction will always be there. It will always be an option, but I do not have to be a slave to it, even in recovery.

What finally broke the power of the addiction for me? Educating myself. First, understanding that addiction is real and not something you can just “get over”. It’s a process, like healing from an illness. I needed to understand why I was doing what I was doing and what was going on in my brain. For example, the behavior of your addiction always has a point of origin and/or a reason. Once you figure those out and deal with them, it gives you strength in your recovery. You decide that you aren’t gonna let that one event and the accompanying emotions dictate the rest of your life. In this situation, knowledge is power. When you’re no longer in ignorance you begin to understand yourself to a greater degree and your chances of overcoming increase. Also, did you know that your brain creates little pathways in your brain (short-cuts) to certain behaviors? It’s like when you’re going to the store and you accidentally get off at the exit to your job. You weren’t thinking, it was just automatic. Like you’re on autopilot, that’s what happens with your addiction. Your brain creates a pathway to your addiction when certain triggers go off. Triggers like: anger, fatigue, hunger, loneliness, etc… Those tend to be the universal ones, but there are many more. Once you discover this, the next step is to create new pathways to healthy behaviors for those specific triggers. For example, when I am lonely I will read a book and get lost in the story or knit and watch a movie. When I am angry I will play an instrument to get out the negative energy or breath and count to ten.

Some things that you have to watch out for as a recovering addict is forming new addictions in the process of recovery. We all usually have secondary addictions and those tend to flare up when we stop acting out in our primary addiction. The key is to not be discouraged. Understand that most people deal with this and move on. Tackle one beast at a time. If your secondary addiction isn’t self-destructive and/or harmful to others, than take it on slowly, while still keeping focus on your existing recovery. For me it was financial. When I was recovering I noticed that I would buy things to make myself feel better when I wasn’t acting out. Seemingly harmful and it never got out of control to where I couldn’t pay my bills, but it still wasn’t good. Not to mention, it could have easily gotten to a dangerous level if I let it; but I nipped it in the butt by creating a budget for myself and getting some accountability with it.

Hardships that I have to face on a daily basis are numerous. I have to refrain from certain things that other people don’t think twice about. Than there is the inevitable and uncomfortable conversation that comes from explaining why. You have to be cautious and to those who don’t understand it’s irritating and unnecessary. Screw them, they aren’t you and they don’t have to clean up the mess when you do act out. If you do this, it means excluding yourself from things and people; but it also means a healthier life.

Accountability was always difficult for me. I didn’t have a sponsor when I was going through the 12-step program. Not by choice, my group didn’t have anyone available and by the time we realized there were other resources I was more than half way through it. I did have an accountability partner, but that was tricky as well. I was always sober longer and holding them up most of the time. I had to find an additional person, one who didn’t struggle with my same addiction to balance things out. This other person didn’t always understand, but they certainly held the line for me and I was appreciative of that. The important thing is that I didn’t give up, because when it’s two a.m. and your former addiction flares up to a raging wildfire, you need someone you can call on the spot to talk you off the ledge.

Lastly, encouragement. Not everyone knows your business or understands the huge struggle you face on a daily basis, so you have to be your biggest cheerleader and motivator. You really have to do this for yourself, it wont last otherwise. Your the only person you’re with all the time; so if you do it for you there will never be a moment of absence that can give way to weakness. The biggest thing to remember is that you CAN DO IT!!!! It happens everyday. There is light, not just at the end of the tunnel, but through it. You will have more good days than bad; and one day it will just be something that sits distantly in the back of your mind, that you’re always aware of but doesn’t rule your entire life. Some food for thought, Bon Appetit My Little Darlings.

Book Review: Into the Still Blue

Hello Little Darlings,

It’s that time again! Book Review Day!!

“Into the Still Blue” by Veronica Rossi

image

Let me start off by saying that I am already in the middle of a new series, so hopefully I will be able to recall most of what I wanted to stay about this final installment in the “Under the Never Sky” series.

Some questions for all my fellow booknerds! I had to put the current series that I am reading down for a minute. I look at the book, next to my bed, and I can’t bring myself to pick it up and read the last forty-fifty pages. It’s at the point when everything is about to hit the fan, and it’s then that you realize that you are overly invested in what happens in the lives of these characters. I have anxiety over what book three and four are going to bring. Does this happen to any of you? If so, what do you do to keep moving forward? Books are such a huge part of my life, they serve as a momentary escape from the hardship of the real world. So, when my own life is in an emotional swirl and the book starts getting intense I just can’t handle all the bad.

Anyway, rant over. Back to the review. Finally! a third book that doesn’t overwhelm it’s reader with information that should have been better dispersed throughout the series. Case in point, “Allegiant” and I have heard it said of “Mockingjay” in the “Hunger Game” series, but I haven’t personally read it. This is a grave mistake for an author. They are trying to tie up all the loose ends and plot twists they presented in the previous books, which is necessary, but depending on how many mysteries you left unresolved you could end up sending your reader into a knowledge overload. Not to mention, due to the fact that there is so much to explain the character journey ends up taking a back seat, which is what the reader wants most. This is NOT the case with “Into the Still Blue”.

Are two main characters are finally back together; and by together I mean they are within a hundred feet of each other. I try to be spoiler free in my reviews, or at least give fair warning. As a reader, I expected that they would endure the last leg of their journey together. Again, it comes back to what I stated in the review for the first novel. There is a unified goal here amongst everyone: the good, the bad and the ugly. Everything has been leading up to this point; and like any great story that’s when the hardest obstacles present themselves, the greatest moments of character triumphs and tragedies and the most gut-wrenching, anxiety inducing scenes take place.

This final installment presents an interesting perspective on the eternal battle between good vs. evil. This is where the book breaks off from fiction and acts more like real life. Not everything is so black and white. The antagonists are multi-dimensional, battling between the many desires/needs tugging at them from all sides: self-preservation, love, justice, truth, etc… In the end, each felt that what they were doing was right and for the good of all. It’s the approach that is the issue, not the goal. Those moments that separate the hero from the villain, in that the hero would have made the sacrafice or found a different way. The villain plows through, so severely jacking up their moral compass along the way that by the end they don’t know what’s north and what’s south. Still, you understand them in moments where the author allows them to be vulnerable, which makes for an interesting dynamic. You still hate them, can’t trust them but there is an inkling of a desire to see them make a turn around. You think just maybe they can be saved. This story has one of those. One that from the first book you wanted to be shot in the face and then the layers are peeled back and you see things in them that have you questioning. It also has a villain that you are convinced needs to die for the collective good. Absolutely no way around it. The kind that literally imposes on everyone’s rights and freedoms. Yeah, there is no salvation for them, only the sweet satisfaction of their impending doom.

For all those booknerds that are like me. Know that there will be a point in this novel when you feel like you can’t go on. Your world is shattered and you are seconds away from throwing the book across the room, even if that is sacrilege. Press through, I promise, as your loyal reviewer, that it will be worth it.

In the end, justice prevails; but in a way that still leaves you aching. Massive sacrifices had to be made, many lives were lost and no one is the same by the end of it, for better or for worse. You feel the absences of the characters you loved and lost, as well as the sigh of relief for those who remain. You are aware that there is a long journey ahead of them and by no means is everything wrapped up nicely with a bow. Struggles will come, opportunities to overcome/prevail and some much needed healing. That’s the mark of a good book though isn’t it? That the characters go on living even after the words have stopped; and you know them well enough to be able to conjur up a glimpse of what the future may look like for them. This series ends as it should’ve, though I seriously could have gone for an epilogue; and after my moment of panic that it was over, I felt satisfied and these words may or may not have passed through my lips.

BEST. SERIES. EVER!!!

Here is the link to the book on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14288998-into-the-still-blue?from_search=true

The Death of Mr. Wrong and John Doe Revealed

Last night I was at a crossroads. I knew, with stunning accuracy might I add, that as soon as I posted the entry I would receive a phone call from my best friend, who would then proceed to tell me, in the most loving way, that I was being a complete moron. There was no doubt in me that it was because she is actually a good friend. One that keeps you accountable and holds you to the standards you hold yourself to. Not to mention it’s what I would have done if the shoe was on the other foot.

Truth be told, I agreed with her. I was achingly aware that I was making unwise decisions for my friendship and my heart. That’s what we do though, isn’t it? We make the decision we want, even when we know it’s bad, and then we fool ourselves into thinking their wont be consequences. Friends will administer the proper dosage of well intentioned advice, and we smile and nod genuinely taking it all in, hoping to God that when the time came we would listen to the angel on our shoulder and not the devil. We would listen to reason and sound council. Then… then the moment comes and it’s a hit or miss. It’s like shooting in the dark. Depending on how your feeling that moment it can go either way. When it comes to the opposite sex, however, it usually goes one way and one way only. The wrong way. Heart’s still in a tizzy and though the small voice is screaming on the inside to “do the right thing”, it’s barely a whisper above the raging storm of desire bubbling inside.

It all came down to this simple truth, that put this decision under the heading of “Soon to be Regret”. If there was even an ounce of possibility that either one of us could lose our minds and do something that crossed the line, something we couldn’t take back, than obvious wisdom is to step away and refrain. Did I think that was going to happen? not likely, but the chance of it was gnawing at me like a starving animal. I’m not talking about sex here. If you have read my blog it all you know I am virgin and proud, so that’s not I am referring to. Here is the other half of this truth. In all likeliness I would have gone out with my friend, had a great time and that would have been the end of it. Nothing scandalous or noteworthy, but it would have definitely had repercussions. If there is even an iota of attraction there, you would be fooling yourself to think that it wouldn’t end up blossoming into something more. As much as we kid ourselves into thinking we can handle it. That we are grown up and can just simply overcome, our track records show otherwise; at least mine does. I mean the definition of insanity is doing the same behavior over and over and expecting a different outcome. It’s what I’ve been doing, practically my whole life. So, you justify and reason yourself into thinking it’s okay, and what happens?  The bitch blows up in your face. Then you usually wind up with the hurt feelings, the wounds to nurse and the crap to work through. The other person in your heartbreak scenerio walks away seemingly scott-free. I knew this would be my fate if I went through with this.

So, there I was, not five minutes after I published the post and my phone rings. As soon as I pick it up laughter fills my ear. What the?!?! Has she lost her mind? Nope, she just thinks I have. Especially because we had just had an hour long conversation about why it was not a good idea and by the end of it we both felt somewhat safe about the outcome of all of this being in my favor. Again, barely audible whisper and raging storm. She spends the next hour laying things out, searching her own soul and all that jazz. I was slowly coming around; but what did it for me, what made me see the light, was scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing at the top of my page that he had just checked into a restaurant with his girlfriend at that very moment. I kid you not, it was like a fog had lifted to reveal a freight train coming right at me. What the hell was I thinking? This was never gonna play out the way I saw it in my head. Never! It was suddenly very clear what I had to do.

It took some courage building, but after getting off the phone and stuffing my face with a delicious Smash burger I texted him and told him it wasn’t going to happen. I half truthed it and told him I wasn’t comfortable going on a “friend date” when he had a girlfriend. I felt it would have been counterproductive to dive into the deeper things behind it, like “I want to have your children,” just kidding guys. I said that purely for shock factor. He responded a few minutes later telling me that it was fine. He was trying to be there for a friend and then asked if I still wanted to be set up with John Doe, who I found out has a name… Jeff. Jeff is still a mystery to me and I decided to keep it that way. Makes life more interesting. What didn’t help me in this dialogue was the tack on comment of, “I like our conversations!” Well, me too, but now there over.

In conclusion, I am still in a swirl. My head is still in a funny place, as it has been for the last couple of months and I am actively staying away from the coffee shop he works at because (A) I am embarrassed and (B) I need time. Time to heal, time to get down from the insanity cloud I have been floating on for the last couple of months. Truth be told, I don’t really know when the ride will be over. Soon, I hope. Till then Mr. Wrong had to die or at least go into deep hidding. But never fear my Little Darlings, I will still have my birthday adventure. It will consist of my best friend, whom I haven’t seen in over a year, coming to visit; and will involve book nerdom, tattoos, hysterical laughing, birthday cigars and just good, clean fun! So, don’t weep for me. A single tear will do nicely.

John Doe and Mr. Wrong

So, the saga of John Doe continues… or does it? If you’re wondering who John Doe is you might want to back track on this blog to the entry entitled “28 and Never Been on a Date”, it will explain everything. Here is the update for all you curious readers. As soon as my head lifted off the pillow the next morning and what I had done popped into my head, like I was recovering from a drunken stupor, the first words to enter my thoughts were, “O, no!”. The thing of it was that I didn’t have the luxury of blaming intoxication for my poor decision making skills. Nope, this was done entirely sober, though I will say I did have a “mind-altering” substance coursing through my veins called feelings. The idiotic, girly kind that can throw every ounce of wisdom you have out the window in a matter of seconds. Currently, I am still under the influence;  and I will tell you why.

The next time I saw my friend I asked him if he had contacted John Doe and told him about me and he said he had. I had every intention of recinding my request, but when I heard that I figured it would be too much drama to have to go through the trouble of taking it back once it was already out there. I did vocalize my hesitation, to which he responded with reassurance and positivity, even telling me John Doe got all nervous and blushy when the blind date was mentioned. How endearing right? Well, it did nothing for me but cause the feeling of dread to rise higher and higher in my chest. Suddenly visions of two complete strangers sitting across from each other at a dinner table painfully trying to fill the awkward silence began dancing like sugar plums through my head. Is this what I really wanted for my birthday adventure?

Let’s face it, the great fantasy of spontaneity and flying sparks that I had imagined was just that, a fantasy. Reality was overwhelmingly disappointing in comparison; and with my track record it would guarantee to be a disastrous evening. I love myself, but I am not the girl that “gets the guy”. I am not the girl that guys fall in love with. I am the girl that guys think about momentarily and quickly forget. Guys have definitely liked me and maybe one or two fancied being in love with me, but it was far from a fairy tale. No sparks, no undeniable gravitational pull, no madness.

So, remember when I said I suddenly was having visions of my friend taking me out on this date instead? Well, he casually brought up the idea of him taking my out if his friend didn’t. Granted, I feel like this was more out of pity and obligation than anything else, but I immediately jumped at the possibility. The idea of being with someone I knew wouldn’t be awkward or hard to talk to was more than appealing. Not to mention I would still be getting my birthday adventure. Noticing my not so subtle preference, we both settled on it. This is an example of being “under the influence”. My friend is not a good choice for be to be going out with for the reasons previously mentioned in my older post. I can just see my best friend rolling her disapproving eyes as she’s reading this. Now she’s rolling them because of what I just said. The point is, I did it, I said yes. So, we are going out on this “friend date” and I’m suddenly feeling like a teenager.

I’m trying to decide what I think and feel. The uncertainty is making me feel like a kid with raging hormones and not a lot of sense. I am master at justifying things and reasoning things I want into being acceptable. “He’s my friend, nothing is going to happen.” Right? Then the other side of my brain hears the voice of my best friend saying, “All it takes is one second of weakness to make a huge mistake that you can’t take back”. So, what’s really in question is my self-control. If at the root I really am who I think I am, who I claim to be. His is a friendship I don’t want to give up and I know most of this is coming from simply being at a vulnerable place in my life. Unfortunately, times like this make me more emotional than rational. So, this may be the time to batten down the hatches and wade out the storm in safety. We haven’t made any definite plans and I am actively staying away (juvenile, I know). That doesn’t mean he wont contact me to set everything up. It also doesn’t mean that I wont do it. Sorry, Little Darlings, the jury is still out on this one? But, I will definitely keep you posted.

Liebster Award Nomination

 image

I have never heard of the ‘Liebster Award’, but I am honored that Catherine’sBlog thought my blog worthy of a nomination. The purpose of this award is to welcome and encourage “new bloggers” (with under 200 followers) to the blogging world, the Liebster Award is nominated by bloggers to award other bloggers.

To accept, all you have to do is:

1) Link and thank the person who nominated you.
2) Answer the 11 questions your nominator gives you
3) Tag 11 bloggers who have 200 or less followers
4) Ask the 11 bloggers 11 questions, and let them know you nominated them!

So, here are the questions I’ve been asked, as well as the answers and my nominations!

What is your favorite TV show?

My favorite t.v. show is the Golden Girls. Yes, I am 80 years old. My sister and I are completely obsessed. Between the two of us we have the entire series. Whenever I visit her, we know, every night is Golden Girls night. We even have memorabilia and can quote lines at the drop of a hat. In fact, it’s become part of our daily conversations.

What is your favorite book?

My favorite classic novel is Persuasion by Jane Austen. I am definitely a die-hard Janeite. I also love the YA genre, and thus far my favorite series is tied between the Maze Runner Series and Under the Never Sky Series.

What is your favorite film?

It’s hard for me to answer this question because there so many genres of film, so let me give you top four.

(1) Singing in the Rain

(2) Persuasion- 2008 BBC version

(3) When Harry Met Sally

(4) Twister

4. If you could meet anyone, either living, fictional or from history, who would you meet?

I would want to meet Jane Austen. I would love to just have tea and chat. Figure out what made her tick, why she never married, especially after writing such beautiful stories of love and hope. I would want the chance to separate what people have speculated about her life and what is fact.

5. What’s your favorite number? (Yes, everyone has a favourite number, don’t they?)

7, because it’s the number of perfection. It’s an odd number and I like the option of putting a line through it to differeniate it form a 1.

6. If you could marry any fictional character, who would it be?

I would marry Captain Wentworth from Persuasion. Perry from Under the Never Sky is a close second. I love the idea of someone holding a torch for you for so long, even after rejection and in the face of adversity. I love that despite his initial stubbornness, he gives in so fully to his love. Most importantly, I loved his view of Anne, like none could compare to her. That is how everyone woman wants to be seen in the eyes of the man they love.

7. Whose fictional death have you never been able to get over?

Tris, in Divergent. It still hurts to this day. I spent three days after Allegiant in a black hole of anguish. I still don’t understand and remain hesitant in acknowledging that her death was justifiable.

8. If you could travel anywhere (where money is no limitation) where would you go?

I would go to Italy. Really, I would go all over Europe, but Italy is a must. The architecture, the natural beauty, the vineyards, the food, the language, the passion, the history, etc… What’s not to love.

9. If you had to spend £1 million, what would you spend it on?

I couldn’t even begin to tell you. I think I would be incredibly intimidated at first and then I would be mindful not to be an idiot and spend it frivolously, ending up with nothing or worse in debt.

10. What is your ultimate favourite song?

Missing You by Tina Turner, she’s my mom’s favorite singer

11. If you could reinvent yourself, what would be the three most important features you would choose?

I really like who I am and when push comes to shove I really wouldn’t change anything, but for the sake of the question I will say:

(1) My teeth, I have an overbite

(2) My skin texture or health. I get occasional acne.

(3) My hair texture, I would get rid of the frizz.

There you have it! I hope the answers were even remotely enjoyable to read. I am an infant blogger, so I don’t even have three other bloggers I know of or follow; so I am only nominating one. Sorry if that pisses any off. If you have ideas for nominations please let me know.

Miss Dreamy Marie

TAG YOUR IT!

1. If your house was on fire, what is the one item you would take with you?

2. If you could travel through time, past or future, what time would you take a pit stop in?

3. Who is the one fictional character you would want to go on a date with?

4. What is one issue of injustice you struggle with?

5. If you died tomorrow, what would your top 3 regrets be?

6. If there were no such thing as consequences, what is one thing you would want to do? (Keep it fairly PG-13)

7. What is one thing you would want to change about the world? (It could be an event that happened in the past that set off a chain reaction of events)

8. What is your favorite form of entertainment? i.e. music, movies, etc…

9. What animal best expresses your personality?

10. If you could be anything in this life, what would that be?

11. If you had one more sentence to utter before leaving this world, what would it be?