Sunday, May 28, 2017

There's a Certain Slant of Light

Image result for light

My first semester of college, I took a course titled "Women In Literature". In hindsight, I was expecting a some kind of angry, militant feminist sharing the undervalued works of women long dead served with a side of "fight the patriarchy" and garnished with just a sprinkle of misandry. I was wrong. My Professor came in and the first words out of her mouth were an invitation to leave for anyone who took the course wanting that instead of a course studying the works of women in Literature. One girl left. Over the next semester, I would learn about literature written by women in a way I never had before. It isn't that they weren't acknowledged, but if my memory serves me well the ratio of female authors to male on the public school English curriculum, especially in the Midwest, is hardly equal. My professor astounded me and I learned a lot from her. Poetry has always been a mystery to me until that course. At some point, I came to believe that poetry was all metaphors and allusions. I read things with the ever present feeling that it was about something more, but I wasn't smart enough to understand the imagery or never knew enough about the author to know what was being alluded to. Then we read Emily Dickinson. There's a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons – That oppresses, like the Heft Of Cathedral Tunes – Heavenly Hurt, it gives us – We can find no scar, But internal difference – Where the Meanings, are – None may teach it – Any – 'Tis the seal Despair – An imperial affliction Sent us of the Air – When it comes, the Landscape listens – Shadows – hold their breath – When it goes, 'tis like the Distance On the look of Death – We read it outloud. Then she asked us what we thought the poem was about. The answers ranged from "her father" to "death". She let the class give their answers before saying... "It's about a slant of light". I read and reread it, for all of the things the poem talks about later it is really about a slant of light. That course shifted how I look at poetry and my comprehension of it. The first line of that poem has stayed with me throughout the years. I think about that certain slant of light when something I had not been able to see or notice under normal conditions is illuminated. Sometimes it seems you can know someone for years, and one day the planets align and a certain slant of light highlights something in their character. It is in these moments that the perception you have of who that person is shifts. Sometimes people shine in the light. Other times, the revelation changes your perception and shifts a person right off of the pedestal you had placed them on. Sometimes the shift is indiscernible until you catch yourself looking for signs or red flags that what you saw in the light was always there, just perhaps well camouflaged. Sometimes, that certain slant of light changes things and it is hard to pretend you didn't see something and go back to a time when you didn't see it.





Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Feats & Fails


There's something about the Friday before a three-day weekend! Let's talk about the Feats and Fails from the week!


FAILS:

- I forgot to mail an RSVP to a family wedding.  Oops.

- Last week, I shared that I haven't folded laundry in two weeks.  Make it three.

- I had a little bit of anxiety when my boyfriend, Nerdycakes, left to attend a training seminar this week.  I had planned on doing so many things while he was gone.  I ended up sleeping, eating in bed and leaving dishes everywhere.

- I'm not supposed to be spending money right now.  I'm saving to have spending money for Convergence 2017.  I bought two things I absolutely do not need: magenta hair dye and lipstick.

- I discovered that someone gave out the password to one of my streaming accounts. I'm livid about it, but instead of throwing a proper fit I opted to make a passive aggressive post about it.


FEATS:

+ I might not have folded the laundry, but I washed two loads.  That totally counts for something.

+ I might have had anxiety when Nerdycakes left for his convention.  The positive thing that came out of it was that I was able to write about it. Read it here: Please, Don't Leave Me

+ We had one of the busiest sales months in the history of the business at work (outside of holiday sales months). After landing four very large orders this month, I'm totally giving myself credit (I work with a team, I just like to give myself kudos sometimes). 

+ I found a new comic I'm into!  I also updated my About Me section AND I added a new page to the blog called What I'm Reading.

+ After years of not dyeing my hair and trying to grow it out, I've decided to dye it magenta and cut it all off.  The dye has been ordered.  The appointment has been made. It's just about doing it and going at this point.  I also decided I'm going to wear blue lipstick.  This is who I want to be right now and I feel good about it.

+ I still have insurance!  Simply put, there was a mix-up regarding my insurance and I received a letter saying I didn't have coverage.  A week later, I got a bill for my premiums.  Confused yet?   Me too.  I called and it turns out... I still have insurance.  For now anyway. Yay me!

+ I was approved as an affiliate for another website that I really love (hint: see advert below). I'll be writing a post soon about my decision to feature ads.  But right now, I'm just excited.

+ I'm writing again. I haven't been blogging at all and it feels good to be back.  I've posted this week.  I'm looking forward to writing another Sunday Confession (this week's topic is Shift).  I'm feeling really good about doing the things I love again.

What I'm Reading - May 26th, 2017

What I'm currently reading:


Four months after the explosion at the Garden, a place where young women known as the Butterflies were kept captive, FBI agents Brandon Eddison, Victor Hanoverian, and Mercedes Ramirez are still entrenched in the aftermath, helping survivors in the process of adjusting to life on the outside. With winter coming to an end, the Butterflies have longer, warmer days of healing ahead. But for the agents, the impending thaw means one gruesome thing: a chilling guarantee that somewhere in the country, another young woman will turn up dead in a church with her throat slit and her body surrounded by flowers.

Priya Sravasti’s sister fell victim to the killer years ago. Now she and her mother move every few months, hoping for a new beginning. But when she ends up in the madman’s crosshairs, the hunt takes on new urgency. Only with Priya’s help can the killer be found—but will her desperate hope for closure compel her to put her very life on the line?

Dot Hutchison appears to have done it again.  I loved the first book of the Trilogy, The Butterfly Garden. Well-written, unpredictable and it kept me on my toes.  One of the best books I've read in years.  I'm very exciting to read this next part of the Trilogy.  I'm less than 200 pages into Roses and it looks promising!  This is the first book:

 

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…


What I read last:

Collects Ms. Marvel (2014) #1-5, All-New Marvel Now! Point One (Ms. Marvel story).

Marvel Comics presents the all-new Ms. Marvel, the groundbreaking heroine that has become an international sensation! Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City - until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the all-new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! As Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to handle? Kamala has no idea either. But she's comin' for you, New York!


I got this volume free with the purchase of the latest volume of Saga.  I enjoyed it.  I love that the heroine is a Muslim Teen from New York. I'm very excited to read the following volumes. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Please, Don't Leave Me

Thirteen months.

That is how long Nerdycakes and I have been dating. We met for the first time at a funeral. He asked me to dinner a few months later. He prefers to think of our first date as when we met instead of an introduction and small talk over funeral sandwiches and church-lady potatoes. I love the idea of meeting over cheesy potato bake made by old Norwegian women; it is Midwestern "meet cute" at it's finest. What I love even more is the surprised look people give me when they ask where I met him and I tell them, "at a funeral".

We had been dating a little over a month when I lost a family member to suicide. He was with me the night I got the message. He took the phone when I squawked out his name. He replied to the message. He stayed with me that night, and the next night. He went with me to the funeral and didn't judge me when I spent the following work day in my pajamas with his laptop, writing and crying.

We went to see KISS in concert the week before his birthday.  He wanted a chocolate cherry bundt cake for his birthday. I had never made a bundt cake before, but that is what he wanted and that is what he got.

He went with when we took my sister's kids to Trick-Or-Treat this year. They were a year and a half old. They went almost a full mile. He carried a baby for almost half of it.

My family caught the flu the week before Thanksgiving. Everyone was feeling up to eating and spending time together so we still had family dinner on Thursday. That Saturday, he got the flu and lived on my sofa bed for three days.


I finally watched all the Star Wars movies and in December we went to see Rogue One on opening night in the theater.

He bought me the most delicious cake for my birthday. I got sick the next week. March ended up being the most humbling month of illness I have ever had in my entire life. I would tell you about it, but I am still not ready to talk about what happened.

These are some of the highs and the lows from the last thirteen months. It has not been perfect, but it has been pretty damn good. So good, in fact, that I did not realize what has been missing from our relationship until this weekend.

I woke up at two a.m. on Sunday morning with a migraine. I took ibuprofen, drank a glass of water and went back to bed. I woke up again and struggled to write my Sunday Confession before taking more pills, this time I turned to prescriptions. We went out for breakfast and did some light shopping. Then we headed home for a quiet afternoon. It was a relaxing Sunday at home until I started walking around the house in circles because I felt like I was forgetting something.

Nerdycakes had a few days of work training he needed to leave town for so he was leaving that evening to head home and pack for his drive the next day. I have known about this trip for weeks, months even. We bought him extra shirts to take with. We ordered extra power cords and travel cases for some of his devices. He is self-sufficient and does not need my help. I didn't do anything except tell him what color shirt I liked and ordered stuff online for him. The nagging feeling like I was forgetting something persisted, so I named everything we bought and he wanted to take with him out loud. I did this while pacing the house. I do not know if it was the medicine I had taken, the caffeine I had been sipping or a combination of both, but before I knew it I was teary.

Thirteen months.

Nerdycakes has seen me struggle with my anxiety. He notices that it takes me three hours to leave the house to come stay at his place for the weekend sometimes, he shrugs and asks me to tell him when I am leaving. He is patient with me when I ask him to pull over in the middle of our night drive through the country so I can call my sister and make sure everyone is OK. He notices when I hesitate. I think he gets it, but I never bring it up and we don't talk about it.

When I know he's taking the convertible out for a night drive, I check my phone every fifteen minutes to make sure the volume up. I worry when when he's sick, because we all need someone to bring us stuff and do things for us when we don't feel good and make sure we're OK. Sometimes I worry, but it is actual worry not unfounded anxiety and imagined fears. I don't start to panic and envision the horrific things that could have happened to him when he is running late. I never have dreams that something awful happened to him or that I am at his funeral. I don't call him in the middle of the night to check on him because I had a "bad feeling". I don't cry and beg him to stay because something of unknown origin is bothering me.

That is what our relationship has been missing for thirteen months!

It was so nice not having that anxiety in at least one area of my life that I did not even realize it was missing. I am left feeling ashamed and angry. I'm ashamed that I did not realize or appreciate how anxiety free my life has been and ashamed that it came back. I am ashamed because there were tears and I am angry because I could not hide them. I am angry that I caused him to worry because I seemed upset enough for him to suggest that I go to my mom's for a bit.

At the end of the day, I was able to talk him into some extra snuggles before he left which is exactly what I needed. Once he was out the door, the readjustment to the silence that falls over the house when I am alone was swift and I was fine. I immediately remembered how much I enjoy my own company and proceeded to lay spread eagle on the bed and eat ice cream while watching reality TV.

I'm left wondering though, what do I do if this happens again? Can I learn to apply the lack of anxiety to other areas of my life?  What do you do to deal with your anxiety?


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Front and Center

If there is anything that yoga has taught me (in spite of not going for months) it is that anyone who is paying attention to me isn't paying attention to their own practice and working on improving themselves; If I'm more concerned about others then I am not spending time working on my own issues, and I'm the one who loses out.  I have a terrible problem with concerning myself with other's issues to avoid working on my own.  I'm self-aware enough to know this.

It is all too easy to ignore the changes and developments you need to be making within your own core to build someone up and be supportive towards someone else when they want work on their center.  It means you don't have to place yourself front and center under your own introspection to figure out what needs fixing.

Except I've reached a point where there are certain things I can't tolerate about myself anymore.

I am reaching a point where I am unable to be a supportive role in the one woman show that is my life.  How does one act in a supportive role in a one woman show?  I'm not sure, but I feel as though I've been doing it.  I don't feel like I've been the LEAD ACTRESS in my own damn movie lately.

I haven't been making myself the center of my own universe and I've been letting things that are crucial to that balance fall to the wayside.  It's time I find balance again.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Feats & Fails

We've come to the end of the week.  I don't know about you but it has been a little bit of a long one.  So let's talk about the Feats and Fails from the week!

FAILS:

-  There are people in my life who are struggling with things in their lives right now. I try really hard to be supportive in ways both physical and by just trying to "be there" when people need to vent or want my perspective. That being said, it can be really hurtful when people reject your kindness. It is hurtful when people abuse or are ungrateful for your generosity. It can be draining when you're dealing with people who have emotional issues. I have a lot of people in my life that I love and care about and want to support, but I'm overwhelmed.  I need people to tell me what they need from me or how I can help them and be reasonable about it. I don't have the energy to play guessing games, chase people down so they can tell me how I can help them, or deal with people who are upset because I'm not meeting needs that were not communicated to me. 

-  I haven't folded laundry in weeks.  A fact my boyfriend pointed out to me like twice in the past two days (Thanks Hun!).

-  On Wednesday, my boyfriend was helping me install one of the window air conditioners (HUGE FAIL.  I miss my Central Air but the landlord refuses to have it repaired) and a bookshelf holding cookbooks and all of my craft supplies came crashing down less than two feet from where I was standing!  I'm ok.  I only lost some beads so far.  But the mess has been a bit much to deal with.

-  I had a fight with Amazon.  They're not shipping things with 2nd Day Air the way they are supposed to (I'm a prime member) and they messed up my orders this week.  

-  My damn demon cat keeps clawing the carpet.  I've pretty much reached the point where I have to pay for damages. 

- THE BIGGEST FAIL OF THIS WEEK:  I work for a small business.  A few months ago, we were contacted about producing a product as a prop for a popular streaming show.  In the episode where the product is featured, they refer to it as being made by a competitor.  I'm so angry.  We were super proud to have been able to create a product for the show and we wont get any kind of recognition or attention for it which would have been nice because we're a small business.


FEATS:

+  My boyfriend texted me this morning to tell me he did dishes.  He's also installed the window air conditioner, and fixed the bathroom drain this week.  We're going to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with my mom tonight.

+  I finally finished my bean bag for my camera!  I have been trying to learn macro photography. I was having a hard time with the idea of setting my new camera on the ground when I take photos so I made a Star Wars bean bag!  I love it. Super excited to use it!

Image may contain: camera


+  I tried a great new foot product this week. 

+  As some of you may have realized... the website is starting to feature a little more advertising.  I'm really proud of it.  All of the advertisements and affiliate links featured on the site are for products and websites that I personally use and enjoy.  In the past, I've featured reviews for products and services that I enjoyed, but I was not receiving anything in return for giving these companies what equates to free advertising.  As an affiliate, I'm able to share things that I love AND receive a small commission.  I'm not selling things on the site.  I'm not becoming a salesperson. I'm NOT getting paid for everything on the site and I'm still going to be doing honest, unbiased reviews.  I will always disclose what products I have purchased and what has been provided for me.  But I'm very excited to be able to offset some of the costs of the blog by advertising.  How it works: if you purchase any item from one of these online retailers by clicking to their site through an advertisement or affiliate link I feature on my site, the cost will be the same to you but I will receive a small commission.  It's that simple. Your purchase helps support this site and is very much appreciated!

This is a FEAT this week because I get very excited every time I am able to become an affiliate for a company I really like.  

+  I'm writing again.  I haven't been blogging at all and it feels good to be back.  I tried a new link-up this week that went well.  You can find it here: http://www.morethancheeseandbeer.com/2017/05/hey-its-ok.html

+  I'm bringing back Sunday Confessions this week.  It's been too long and it's time.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hey, it's Ok...

 http://www.airingmylaundry.com/2017/05/hey-its-okay_15.html

Cruisin' around the Interwebs (and by that I mean I was hiding from my real life on Twitter) and came across Airing My Laundry with a link-up opportunity to make a list of things you're ok about.

It is my first time, but I'm excited!

Hey, it's OK that....
  • I need a minute to focus on what is OK right now because I'm having a real shit week (and it is only Wednesday).  Focusing on what is at least going OK sometimes puts the not-OK stuff in perspective for me and I'm choosing to believe that this popped up in my feed because I need it.
  • it's been awhile since I took a long hiatus from my weekly link-up Sunday Confessions. I felt guilty about it for awhile, but I'm finally ready to bring it back this week.  It's time to stop feeling guilty for needing a break.
  • Goodreads is telling me I'm FIVE books behind on my challenge to read 100 books this year.  It's been beautiful outside and I've been working on my photography, fishing, and enjoying the weather. I've started reading comics AND I'm including the volumes as books I've read.  I just finished Volume 6 of Saga by Brian Vaughan.  Between Saga volumes, I'm also working my way through the Harmony Black Series by Craig Schaefer.
  • there is no longer leftover pie in the refrigerator because I ate it for dinner last night... while watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
  • I totally bought myself a pair of new earrings today.
  • my boyfriend is driving back to town after leaving my place yesterday morning.  Long-distance (even when it's only an hour and forty minutes) relationships can be challenging, I'm lucky and grateful to have someone who can and wants to make the drive.
     
  • when he gets here, we're totally having pizza for dinner. Again. 

 That's it.  My first "Hey, It's Ok".  Thanks for stopping by and reading.  You can join with everyone linking up here: http://www.airingmylaundry.com/2017/05/hey-its-okay_15.html