Starting the New Job with a Bang. Of Deployed Airbags. 

I don’t like writing about work. However, it’s impacted my ability to write as much as I want, so why not write about the thing getting in my way of writing.

The call center I worked at closed. I didn’t even update my social media to reflect when I started and stopped working there because of how temporary it felt. For two years I felt every day like it could be my last, that somehow I would accidentally mess up and would be “promoted to customer”. I didn’t want to have to answer questions when I updated my status to no longer working there, so I never put that I started.

Part of me celebrated the change. I knew there should be something better available but I didn’t have the motivation to search until it was inevitable that I would need to. Fortunately I found something that might contribute to my longterm goals, at the pay I asked for, and with phenomenal benefits, an opportunity to move up or around, and with a sense of permanence.

Things were looking better and better for the family. We could afford and now needed a second vehicle and bought one at an amazing deal. It was an old, gold Buick, with oversized rims that rubbed the shroud at the turns, an upgraded radio, and a second battery installed under the back seats. On top of getting a new-to-us car, I got new-to-me clothing for work attire and brand new beautiful sneakers shaped like ballet slippers that are a cloud to walk on.

The first day brought with it a cold front, and with it chilling rain. Bailey had the radio on, and I turned on the GPS on my phone for her and worked on filing my nails so I wouldn’t feel the need to during training.

I get paranoid in a car. It’s not enough to be a phobia, but I will make sure that I’m fully aware of the fact that I am in a metal and glass box going at a rate that is faster than I regularly fall or propel myself, moving in between other fast moving metal and glass boxes that are all piloted by mortals. When this thought crosses my mind, I say a quick prayer less formal than “Jesus take the wheel” and put it out of mind. I made such a prayer under my breath when my wariness dreamed up some catastrophe as it occasionally does and went back to filing my nails. And then I felt that familiar drift, when the direction of inertia shifts ever so slightly. That familiar feeling I had driving a Hummer through the mud, ever so mindful of the barbed wires and their distance to the paint on the vehicle waxing and waning. In my flash back I miraculously never scraped the fencing.  In this moment I thought to myself ‘it can happen and it also can not happen. Anything is possible in this moment where you have no control.’ And the cement barrier approached the hood and met it and my phone flew to my right off my lap and I saw a commercial asking how will you call for help when you’re in an accident and the air bags deployed and my wife screamed and just as suddenly we stopped.

“You’re okay,” I convinced Bailey. I don’t remember needing to remind her to move to the shoulder, though I remained ever so mindful that we were now perpendicular to the flow of traffic on a busy street on a bridge. Once she had us pulled over she gave into sobbing. I reminded her once more that she was okay. I was reluctant to call 911 and chose instead to call Edward first. I’m sure that if there was blood my priorities would change, but I felt like everything was on pause and that I could take my time. I had him on speaker.

“Hello.”

“How do you turn the f***ing radio off.” Bailey was still crying in the background.

“What? What’s going on?”

“We got in an accident.”

Pause.

“Are you serious?”

“Yes.” Pause. “I call 911, right?” I didn’t trust my competency too much because of the adrenaline.

“Yes call 911. Where are you? I’m going to get you.” I told him our location and he reminded me to call work to tell them I would be late.

“Bailey, I’m going to call 911 and they’re going to ask us where we are. I’m not that good with directions, so I’m going to need your help. They’re usually not that nice to me.” I put my phone on speaker and reassuringly held her hand. After I reminded Bailey that she was okay I asked if she was injured. After the call disconnected she complained her head hurt.

“When they ask if you’re okay, that’s the time to say something like that.” I joked with her about starting my new job with a bang, and chuckled when the emergency vehicles came up the access road just ahead of us and kept going.
Edward reached us before them. I had a flashback to a news special I saw about a police officer that repeatedly had his car crashed into when it was parked on the shoulder. He came up to Bailey’s side and she opened the door, nudging him towards traffic. “Open the window.” She closed the door and opened the window. “Charlotte, they have a hundred percent attendance policy. I’m going to take you right now.” I looked again at my door and found that we were parked against the shoulder, and I instead climbed over the car seats to escape out the back.

During the training for my new position, if things became too quiet I saw the cement barrier meet the hood. I still rattled from the adrenaline. Bailey didn’t find my nail file when she emptied out the car, and the two short nails on my left hand brought me back to the moment of impact over and over. I texted on my breaks and learned that the car we had for 10 days was totalled. After work I was informed that the total insurance coverage would pay for the car at retail value. I also had it confirmed that Bailey was okay, and there were no other cars involved in the accident at all.

“Can we get a Prius next?” I fantasized about the look on my mother’s face when she saw I had my dream car.

Edward responded, “We really need a minivan to transport the kids. But after that.”

Coffee for Two .03

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I would like to speculate on dreams with you over coffee. I realized that the things that take place in our mind aren’t all that universal. For instance, I discovered that it’s not common for a woman to regularly dream that she’s male. I’ve also learned from others that it’s not universal for people to hear a “voice” when they’re reading text, or when they’re thinking to themselves. I would ask you why you think conversations like this don’t come up, because I personally find it fascinating and will see if the kinds of dreams you describe tell me about who you are as a person. Edward would point out how masculine I sometimes am, and I wasn’t sure that I believed him until I spoke to my female friends about my dreams and they responded that they’d never dreamt of being a man and asked me about my genitalia in my dream. (To answer, I don’t think about my genitals enough in real life for it to come up in my dreams, usually.)

One time I was a father with kids and my wife was threatening to leave me, but usually I’m head over heels and trying to win a woman’s favor, I’m an emperor, or I’m a paladin. These kinds of dreams make me feel powerful the next day, and I like meditating on them. I realize that it’s probably not common to dream you’re a divinely charged warrior, so I wondered what you dream about.

A Letter for You

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Dear Readers,

I don’t know what to say, and I’ve struggled with this for a few months. That quiet that I’ve referred to that comes before a storm, it’s lasted an awfully long time. Still, there’s a shift in pressure, a momentum building. If you were to ask me how the case is going, I wouldn’t know how to answer, because just like the last time I posted there hasn’t been any big enough changes to mention.

I’ve tried to distract myself with Pokémon Go, but I think it’s finally bored me. Last Saturday I went on a walk to a Pokémon gym up the street, but after 20 minutes there I only knocked down the prestige a few levels. I evolved all the Pokémon I had saved up for a while, and after finishing my task I didn’t have anything else to look forward to. On the way back someone driving made a turn too fast and almost hit me. I remember that in an instant I realized I could have been hit, assumed the driver must not actually see, and threw up my hands to be noticed, still running out of the street. The scream was utterly involuntary.

I don’t think I handle adrenaline as well as other people. My only qualm with hunting is that once I pull the trigger, I shake for hours from the adrenaline. I don’t know if this is at all linked to the migraine that I had later, preceded by an “aura”. Some migraine sufferers are familiar with a combination of weird sensations that occur as a symptom of a migraine before it starts, but this was the first time I’d experienced it myself. I could see, but I couldn’t read. If I focused, I could tell that there was something moving in my peripheral, but at the same time it didn’t register. After 20 minutes of puzzling over my vision, I felt pins and needles from halfway down my left forearm down to my fingertips, and nothing but pins and needles. My knowledge of auras before then came from what I’d read when researching a treatment for the chronic headaches I used to have, but I knew my supervisor had more experiences in this matter than I and described it to her. She confirmed it, and the migraine that came confirmed it, too.

That may be the most eventful thing that’s happened for some time. Aside from that, I bought an ebook, and read it. I don’t have the energy right now to tell you how much happier I’ve been since having a book to read that I liked. I read it twice. I’m content as a cat.

That’s another thing: energy. My job position is being eliminated (the desk job, not the charity job). At first I was excited that I was being forced to look for better opportunities. Now I’m burdened by the thought of it, and Pokémon isn’t distracting enough, and I finished my book twice.

What a dull post I’ve composed. But now you know why I haven’t written and how things have been. Maybe this weekend I’ll sing a different tune for you. Thank you, Readers, for sticking with me.

(Note: Why did I use so many commas this time?)

Time Traveler

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What would you do if you went back x number of years? Someone asked me and I asked the specifics. Did I time travel, or was I in my younger body? Did I have my memories and experiences from current me? Specifically, I considered what it would be like, having my current memories and experiences trapped in me during my freshman year in high school. I hated high school, especially now that I’ve lived ‘real life’. “I would chew my mother out,” I finally answered.

“Really?”

“Yeah. And I would enroll in more extracurricular. I felt like she didn’t let me enroll in extracurricular.” He was surprised, especially with my bitterness towards that chapter in my life. He somehow had drawn the conclusion prior to our conversation that I was popular and social in school. “No, I was the outcast of the outcasts.”

I understand myself now well enough to have been a counselor for young me. I would have been able to point out why I was looking so desperately for validation from my peers, and that I do behave differently from them due to the isolation I went through. I would point out that the reason why I was not drawn to boys my age was because they lacked the ambition and leadership skills that are not commonly found, especially in boys, but that there were people out there that would love me for me. In fact, if I went back in time as my friend suggested, I would spend those years waiting and preparing to come back to where I am now. I would make sure to be at the college cafeteria during the first week of school where Alice and Edward would see me and invite me to sit at their table for the first time.

I even considered the relationship with my ex and how it affected my relationship I’m in now. I wouldn’t date him. I wouldn’t be content to be with anyone knowing my “soul mates” were out there and I would meet them again. What I would do is I would surprise my ex by telling him things that others didn’t know, and tell him that he was important and needed to not give up. I wonder what that would have done to him, to not have wanted anything from him and still validate him as a person. To kill time (I’m waiting years for true love) I would have probably made friends with him still, and taught him what a non-sexual significant other is, and then hang out with him and tell him the future. I think the mistake I made with the first go was that I thought that if I loved him enough he would love me back, and in a weird way it eventually kind of worked, but it wasn’t organic so it was disastrous.

I would have studied the bible more, and burned my Tarot cards sooner. I would have worked on my relationship with my mother and sister. “I know I’m not like the person I was yesterday, but today I want to be my true self, and that’s what I’m going to do, whether you can appreciate it or not,” might be the first conversation I had with them. From then on, I wouldn’t be feeble, and I would try to allow myself to argue back. I would have defended my writing time, making the argument that this could be a sign that I’m a young prodigy and my mother wouldn’t want to get in the way of that. I wouldn’t let myself be afraid anymore. I would have been a completely different person by the time I put that into practice.

I think I was still going to my father’s place every other weekend per court order, and to be honest, I would have allowed myself to go one more time. I’ve struggled now with my memory, and I think by reliving one visit to his place, I would have enough fuel for my novel to flush out my character confidently. And then I’d draw the line and say more bluntly that I was not going to be around my father anymore and that he made me uncomfortable and crossed boundaries. I think I could have prevented him from molesting my sister, and he also would not have gone to jail years later. That makes me feel strange, that the abuse my sister went through has resulted finally in my ability to go anywhere in the city without looking over my shoulder for a few years.

I would have gone up to Bailey when I saw her in the hallways, and I would have kissed her and told her I would marry her someday, before walking nonchalantly to class. She would have appreciated it, too, even before knowing. Hell, she would love me more now if I had.

I asked her this evening what she would do if she could take her current experiences and go back to her first year in high school. I’m glad I asked, though her take would have been almost opposite mine. “I would tell everyone I was bi and polyamorous, and get the shock factor out of the way then so it wouldn’t surprise them with my relationship now. They will see it coming.” And she would have made sure to have fun. Because we went to high school together at the same time, but weren’t close, it was an interesting and enriching conversation. I got to learn more about her now by hearing about the old her and her motivations, and some of my memories returned to me. I also have a greater appreciation for who I’ve grown into.

Lessons by a Rose

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The six weeks that I went by myself through Europe is when I transitioned into adulthood. Never before had I gone so long away from my family, and I realized the impact it had on my ability to see myself as a real person. No one else spoke on my behalf but me for once, and I was fascinated by myself for having adult conversations. I was impressed with myself for doing so in French no less, but just as much if not more so in Germany with P. She knew me when I was a child, so it was more empowering to me to speak without my mother present. I realize at this moment that what I was experiencing was a degree of inhibition for the first time.

One of our conversations turned to literature, stemming from a quote she made that went over my head. She was astonished the “The Little Prince” wasn’t a mandatory read in the states, it was such a classic! And she told me it was available in French, German, and English on Amazon and continued to speak highly of it.

Shortly after I returned home to the States, an unexpected package arrived for me. P had sent me a copy of “The Little Prince”, and I sat down that moment to read the slender book. It’s a sentimental story about the integrity of being a child, which made it ironic for me to fall in love with it at the turn of adulthood.

Now a mother myself, I look back on my childhood to see the ways it influences the way I raise my children. Oddly I don’t remember a lot of it anymore, as a result of trying to leave it behind me and build myself back up. I consider regretting it now that I’m a writer, since many argue that one of the intentions of writing pertains to emotion and experiences and I’ve deliberately buried mine deep. I wrestle with this when working on my novel I first conceived over a decade ago to relieve the stress from being abused. In my research I came to the conclusion that Anakin (my father) is a narcissist, so I’m something they call an Adult Child Of Narcissist(s). One of the most dangerous aspects of this kind of abuse is that it is interpreted as normal by the victim and the abuser, but is hidden from the outsider.

I intended to work on my story more before Alice asked me to look after the babies. I had Ginger, Gaston, and Guinevere gathered in the same room and wondered how to use my time besides getting things done. Guinevere pointed at my laptop and asked, “movie?” I figured it was adequate research to watch something from Netflix. Bailey informed me that “The Little Prince” is available, remembering that I had the book and tried reading it to her one time. I was eager to see what they did with this classic.

I used to not be sentimental. I don’t know if I was emotional from my research or if the sentiment of the story seized me, but I had tears in my eyes through the entire movie. I meditated on it each time we paused it (life happens when you have kids) and came to be more and more enlightened. For starters, the heroine’s mother shows narcissistic tendencies: lives vicariously through the child, controlling the child’s schedule, giving the child value based off of his/her accomplishments, isolating the child. Secondly, the comparison of children and adults is made often, and frequently in conjunction with the phrase, “growing up is not the problem. Forgetting is.” Initially it’s clear that they are referencing the innocence of childhood before the corruption of the world- don’t forget, stay true to the “inner child”. And then it clicked for me- forgetting in general can be a problem. After all, that was the obstacle in accomplishing my goal of writing this story with truth and purpose was to communicate the trauma of what I went through while still giving myself a happy ending I dreamt up in my youth.

My past includes my experiences, even the bad ones, and I think I have accepted that. In my present I can give my children the childhood they deserve, and I can protect the future by reaching those living my past now.

P is the one I came out to by email and said she would respond when she had more time, but I have yet to hear from her. As she hasn’t disrespected me, I feel no ill toward her, and am still eager to hear  back.

Desert

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The sky is grey. It glows. The color is from dust and humidity capturing the light of the sun and scattering it. There is a glare to everything, and it seems to be monochrome. The air feels like an oven door was left open. But it’s humid, too. Some say that it feels like the inside of an armpit.

It can be 10 o’clock at night and the temperature may still be in the high eighties (Fahrenheit). The humidity here traps the heat, even overnight, not like in a real desert. When the sun is long gone, the clouds are purple, except for the ones closer to downtown, where they are orange.

I used to walk to school every day: throughout elementary, two years of middle school, and throughout high school. I recognize the change in season, and when the humidity/temperature combo is most like what one would find on Halloween or Easter. I am familiar with the buzzing of cicadas that I imagine would be intimidating to a tourist, and the grackles here hang out in impressive numbers to rival the film “Crows”. There’s a lot of things that I take for granted here because I was not designed to thrive in temperatures outside of the 50-70 range, much less over 100 degrees.

Just before the papers were served to us, the family was planning on moving to Ohio. Edward raved to me about what I called “real clouds” in Ohio, and about the farmland, how good the crops were, how pleasant the temperatures and the weather. He compared it to Oregon, which I was familiar with. During the jury trial, the petitioners made it a point to emphasize that I wanted to move. I don’t know if they were trying to point out to the bench that I was disloyal to this town, or something to that effect. They told the judge that there was a risk that we would take the Girls and run out of town with them. He scoffed.

This ineffective lawsuit has anchored us, however, and I’ve been forced to grow roots here. Fortunately, I have been able to make friends outside of the connections I previously had through my mother. There is a community that plays tabletop games, and this community has been as accepting of our odd family as the LGBTQ community. The businesses and our charity will be able to synergize. I’ve also befriended people from the “Poly” community, and people who knit and crochet. I’ve befriended writers. I finally have a careful selection of people that I am comfortable with and can be myself around.

The answer to many of my prayers has come in one response. How ridiculous it feels to say that it’s Pokémon. But here is my motivation to actually spend my hour of free time before my shift working on my physique. Here is the instant gratification and sense of accomplishment that checks depression. Here is a shared interest between Bailey and me, to help us understand each other and bond. Here is a sense of community like what my charity worked to instill in the world. I read through my Facebook feed and see people reaching out to others to help, sharing suggestions on how to make the world less dark and fulfill the roles of noble characters we grew to respect and admire.

I got started on it when my husband showed me the app he’d downloaded on the third day of it being out. “They even have certain types of Pokémon spawn in certain places. They decided we live in a desert.” There are five biomes in this state, and I happen to live in the desert.

I step out now into the desert and try to imagine that someday, when I will be able to travel for leisure, I will meet someone who envies me for my desert Pokémon, and I will show off to them the number of kilometers that I’ve walked in this fiendish heat. By the way, why does it measure distance by kilometers but describes Flareon’s body temperature as 1650 degrees Fahrenheit? Other things that I have to show for my ‘gaming’ is the return of my abs, which I’ve been missing since before my pregnancy two years ago, and my tan I’ve been without since I first acquired it in 2012. Playing this game has helped me to come to terms with being here. I can learn about the neat things that are around me, and learn about the layout of the landmarks I visit most and others in proximity. I can walk outside and not appear to be as suspicious as I would have before my peers decided they had to go outside and catch ‘em all. I have a reason to talk to a majority of my colleagues that I had no reason to talk to before. I might even be willing to claim this place as my hometown.

Update Overdue, 2

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I’ve missed you so, dear reader!

I suppose I’ve been going through an unhealthy bout where I felt that I had nothing good enough to say. Only one thing has changed since I last wrote, and that is the commencement of the Girls’ visit home. It upsets me that they have to ‘visit’ home, and so I delayed putting it into words. I wonder if my behavior is cowardly, since I refuse to dwell on things that upset me, but it seems somewhat healthy as I can’t change them. I don’t know what I would do if I let myself actually react to what’s going on, so like in a dream I just roll with it. I don’t know if I’m communicating this clearly now, but I’ve actually been trying to really capture it in words for a few years.

I’m reminded by their visit that I’m not the parent I wish I could be, but I have seen improvement in myself. I credit that to having the opportunity to spend one on one time with Guinevere and help her grow. She’s taught me a lot about children in general, as only children can do.

Another thing that has changed is that I’ve actually considered talking to my mother again. Genuinely considered it. Almost sent a text in the middle of the night, except I was too tired to remember where I left my phone and too groggy to look for it, which told me it was a bad idea to make any communications with anyone with my mentality that fuzzy.

When day came, I went on a walk and considered how I would start communications again. I’ve wondered how I would address my sister, also. She hasn’t said much to me, before or after the trial, except a sappy poem. (Though having a baby has made me more emotional, it has not made me more sentimental.) Thinking about it, I drew a blank.

And of course when I think of my mother, I think of how she trusted Chris so much to confide in him about her suspicions of my relationship, and how he advised her to inform my father (who’s in jail after that event), and how he showed up to the trial. Though he didn’t testify, the attorney referenced things that I’d discussed with Chris and the times that I went out with him with the intention of maintaining a friendship with him. The things done or said with him were used as ammunition to drive my family apart.

So while I pondered this on my walk, I wondered if I should take advantage of being listened to while I had her attention and explaining to my mother where she went wrong and all the ways I’d been betrayed by her and Chris, to justify my mistrust in her that she may not be able to earn back, to explain to her how she was wrong and became the evil she wanted to protect me from. I imagined telling her that I forgave her for making me feel so inept when I was growing up, and the problems that it had caused me in my relationship and how I struggle as a parent because of it.

It angered me so much to think on this, I said to myself, “screw it. I’m clearly not ready yet.”

According to Corinthians 13:5, Love “does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” I still need to work on forgiving my mother before I try to talk to her, and before I can talk to her, I need to create boundaries. It should be easy for her to understand that I don’t want to be judged when I talk to her, as that is what her mother did on visits and why she stopped talking to her. To avoid her falling into that habit again, I refuse to discuss my finances or my possessions. I want to be able to talk about my family, but based off of where we left off, I don’t know how to reach that place. It was Ed’s idea that I create boundaries for when I reestablish communications with her (he supports me talking to her again, though he says himself that he understands why I wouldn’t want to). Bailey doesn’t understand my reluctance. “You just talk to her,” she advised. As bitter as I became just thinking about it, I feel like that is a careless way to start.

Dear reader, if you have any advice for me on this matter, I will honestly consider it. In the meantime, I am working on healing and cherishing the time that my Girls are here. Regularly we have no idea what we’re doing for holidays until the very last minute, in which case we do something spontaneous and memorable, so those are my ‘plans’ for the day. Happy holiday!