Reflections of a Life Wasted

wasted

I’m coming up on my 39th birthday here in…umm…

*Cue awkward silence as I count on my fingers and mumble under my breath, “Let’s see. Multiply by 5, subtract 96, carry the one and…*

5 days.

Now, there’s no big fuss made over a 39th birthday. It isn’t even a milestone event in one’s life. Next year, however, the big 4-0 will hop up and bite me in the backside like a snake that’s been hiding in the tall, overgrown grass of my life. I look toward this event with trepidation.

I guess the approach of what society has deemed to be the “over-the-hill” mark, rendering my last official year of youth as methodically ticking away, has caused me to really start reflecting back on my life. Replaying the mistakes that I’ve made. Weeding through the “what ifs”. Gritting my teeth against the “could-have-done-betters”.

I’m a dweller. I try not to be, and the Christian crowd will tell me that I shouldn’t be, but I’m just so very human. I think that mulling things over again and again and reworking them in my mind is probably in my blood. I can agree, though, that without God in my life now, I would have completely reverted back into my head and might otherwise be found drooling in a corner somewhere rocking and mumbling to myself. Clinging to faith and hope keeps me upright.

I didn’t always, though.

Fresh out of high school, I viewed the world as my playground and had very little determination to seize any kind of future for myself. I entered one scholarship contest to an art school that I was mildly interested in, but when I showed up with portfolio in hand, I took a look around at the other 300 applicants and their work, and was instantly discouraged. I packed up and left that day thinking much less of myself than I had when I woke up that morning. Afraid and unsure of my abilities from that point forward, the portfolio found its way into the back of my closet, thus closing the doors on any further attempts to try to be somebody and make a career stem from my talents. I never looked back again.

Instead I gave in to the calling of my social life, got a little apartment above a house lived in by the woman renting the place, and held killer parties. I figured maybe the parties were getting out of hand when people were vomiting out the windows onto her car below. She was understanding enough, though, and gave me the opportunity to stay as long as I toned it down.  Soon after, the roommate moved out, the boyfriend moved in, and I did behave; as much as a young single girl shacked up with her boyfriend possibly could, and for a while, at least.

I traded one boyfriend in for another when that one enlisted in the military. He was a good guy, but I was wild, free, and simply didn’t want to wait for him.  So out went the old, and in came the new. With the new, I fell instantly head over heels. Or so I thought. Reflecting on it now, I had no concept of what love really was back then.

Then the bad break-up happened and I ran from my hurt. I packed up my apartment, quit my job, stuffed anything that wouldn’t fit in my car into my parents’ basement, and took off to a place 8 hours north of home to escape seeing him. I had met some people there the summer before, and my grandpa had a cabin there that I broke into once I arrived. It was quickly discovered that I was staying there, though, and I was tossed out on my bad decision making backside.

After a month of living in my car because I had no other place to go, and a job that quickly went south because I either didn’t show up for my 12 hour shifts or came in hung over, I threw in the towel, pawned my entire CD collection for gas money, and went home.

I got my old job back. The boyfriend and I got back together. I became pregnant at 21, and we got married to the urgings of family members to “do the right thing.”

Well, the right thing essentially turned out to be the wrong thing.

At the ripe old age of 23 I was a divorcée that was looking for love in all the wrong places to try and ease my pain. I traveled in all the wrong circles and spent nights with forgettable men. Some of them so forgettable, in fact, that I couldn’t even be bothered to learn their names to begin with.

I had become your average barfly because I just couldn’t bear to sit home alone with my thoughts, wallowing in my self-pity, so I had sought out ways to drown them. Cheap alcohol and the attentions of the opposite sex became my crutch.

Until a long island iced tea bought for me by a dark haired stranger, and a one night stand, turned into ‘a regular thing’.

Age 26 then saw me stuck in a loveless relationship with an alcoholic compliments of my bar hopping habit, (and that long island) that thought nothing of disappearing on a drinking binge for an entire weekend, while I sat home wondering where he was with a 4 year old and another baby on the way. Well, what did I expect from a guy that I picked up in a bar?

I also had 2 abortions under my belt by this time. I wasn’t a Christian then, and in my panicked worldly ways and unwillingness to change, I did then what is now the unthinkable to me. Those uncaring and heartless murders have slowly gnawed away at me like a flesh eating disease for all of the years since. Anytime that word is even mentioned around me, it becomes a knife stabbing at my heart all over again.

So, age 27 found me deeply wounded by my own choices, with 2 different children by 2 different fathers, desperately trying to find a way out of the nightmare relationship that I was in. I tried the direct “get out” approach to no avail. He used the fact that I now had his child as an excuse to drag out the misery for both of us.

Once again I sought ways to drown my sorrows, this time settling on church and video games. I found God to the tune of the alcoholic’s snide, ridiculing comments, and I also found a virtual reality world where, for a while every night, I didn’t have to be me. I could forget how low my life had sunk.

It was through those online games that I finally found my current husband and rescuing hero, and how I coincidently was able to finally end the relationship I was in. He didn’t stick around long once I was finally able to profess my love for another. He then decided to deny our son out of his anger toward me. My husband has since stepped into the role as daddy, though, so my son’s biological father denying him hasn’t really affected him much. Yet.

My husband is one of the few things that I’ve done right in my life.

At 28 I married him on a cold January day to the joyous melody of everyone telling us that we were wrong. “It’s too soon. You barely even know each other,” they would say. The courtship started with his first pixelated words to me across my computer screen in September, ( ‘happy birthday’, coincidentally) and spanned over 4 months of nightly phone calls, webcam chats, and 2 visits in person. By the beginning of December, I was shopping for a wedding dress. Maybe we didn’t know each other completely yet, but we had the rest of our lives to get to that point. We knew it was right, and that’s all that mattered.

That marriage brought with it 3 young step-children. I admittedly haven’t always been the nicest person as far as they’ve been concerned. I couldn’t really pinpoint why, though. Likely petty jealousy over the attentions of my husband. I saw him as this treasure that I wanted to keep all to myself, and I didn’t realize for the first half of our marriage that I couldn’t. His youngest is very needy, too, when it comes to her father, so I’ve had to really struggle to work through my sharing issues.

I’ve tried to mend my relationships with them, with some success. They essentially tolerate me now, and the youngest one is even loving toward me, though she’ll argue with me ceaselessly over anything that I ask her to do. I think sometimes that it’s her way of showing animosity toward me brought about by past hurts, but then I realize that it just comes with the territory when you have teenagers.

Regardless, though, my husband was a package deal and it took me awhile to figure that out.

At age 35, I almost lost him. We were so heavy into our online gaming addiction that we had fallen away from church, and each other. In our emotional separation due to distraction, I regrettably strayed. He gave me a choice to leave or stay. I stayed, and it took hard work on both of our parts to make our marriage fully functional again. Counseling. Church. New friends that were good for us. Turning away from our addiction and turning to God.

I’ve made so many mistakes in my lifetime thus far. Lord knows I have. They weigh on me like chains draped across my shoulders at times.

Sometimes I think to myself, “You never went far. You never made a name for yourself. You really have nothing to show for your life but a barrage of bad choices. That’s your legacy.

Then I look at my daughter, who’s about to turn 17, and my son who’s about to turn 12, and it seems like only yesterday, but in another dimension entirely, that I spent 19 and 22 hours respectively in sweating, screeching labor to bring them into this world…

And now my daughter will sit and talk to me and confide in me like I’m her friend…

And my son will hug my waist and hang there like a boy-sized belt…

And my husband will wraps his arms around me and kiss my forehead…

And my step daughter will call me beautiful…

And I’m assured that they all love me in spite of me…

And I feel safe from not only the world, but my own tendencies toward destructive behavior…

And I’m reminded that I’ve made it this far…

And I know I did something right in the midst of my messes…

And everything is okay…

So that brings us to the here and now. Time isn’t stopping, and it certainly isn’t slowing down. I am older and I am wiser, but my life will likely never be mistake free. I’ll keep on making them, but they’ve at least been getting noticeably smaller over the years.

I’ll wish me a happy birthday this year, and my biggest gift will be the knowledge that I’m a survivor.

Of myself.

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Opinions Are Like…

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In today’s world, with all of the different social media and just plain social platforms available, there’s all of these wonderful opportunities for the people that we know and love (some by default because they’re family) to annoy us.

I have one. You have one. That friend, relative, acquaintance, person that we exchange pleasantries with in a hallway or share a crowded elevator with on a daily basis, that feels the need to chime in on every single subject. Their voice simply must be heard, and they view every word that comes from your mouth or keyboard as their own personal debate forum.

I, in fact, know several of those people. The ones that you silently wish came with a mute button or that you’d like to block from interacting with you at all about 95% of the time, but can’t for whatever reason.

Or maybe you ARE one of those people. Society’s Know-it-alls.

Well, folks, you know what they say about opinions.

It just so happens that I have a few points to make on the subject. An opinion on opinions. Friendly advice for those people that couldn’t keep a thought to themselves even if they had their lips stapled shut and their hands tied behind their backs. They would still find a way to add their 5 cents to everyone else’s statement , because 2 cents is just never enough.

Point #1: Did I ask?

So, Heywood U. Hush posted this statement as his Facebook status:

Boy, it sure was a hot one today.”

Anita B. Heard then chimes in with something along the lines of:

“Well, hot is actually no longer the politically correct term to use while discussing thermogenic atmospheric climate conditions. Due to a 3.4 percent increase in global warming temperatures over the past 2.4 years, scientific studies that pertain to planetary heating increases have found that…”

Whoa. Slow your roll there, Einstein. No one asked for you to deliver an entire dissertation on heat waves. Seriously.

I stopped reading that reply after the first 4 words. There wasn’t even a question mark at the end of the original status, so what made you think that such a simple little statement was even open to some lengthy opinion in the first place?

That’s one of those statuses that you simply like, or if you’re absolutely bursting at the seams with your non-stop need to interject, make it something short, sweet, and to the point:

“I agree. My sweat was sweating today,” or, “I disagree. I found it to be quite pleasant.”

Then leave it at that.

Now, had the original poster actually wanted a lengthy opinion that opened the floor to some major debate on global warming and political correctness, they might have written something more along the lines of:

Boy, it sure is a hot one today. What do you all think?”

Instead, you added your opinion where it wasn’t even needed or asked for.

There’s a time and place to give in to your incessant need for debate, learn it.

Point #2: Gauge Intellect.

Heywood U. Hush: “Boy it sure was a hot one today.”

Anita B. Heard: “Actually, as stated in the popular publication, “Theories of Relativity in Direct Relation To Recalescent Climate Conditions”, the heat index connected with a substantial zephyric density of the atmospheric stimulation within the tidal pull caused by the oceanic pressures created by a solar anomaly is simply just a matter of human perception pertaining to the overall ventillatory limitations created when the planetary temperatures rise above and or exceed those within certain levels of anthropomorphic comfort.”

What.

Is there a translator somewhere that I can download for junk like this?

A reply like this may be perfectly acceptable amid the group of uptight brainiacs that you meet with for coffee every other Tuesday, but you just lost everyone else.

When you deliver a response like that to a person that functions on about the level of “I can haz words” you’re just making yourself look like an idiot, rather than impressing them with what you are so certain is your superior intellect.

It’s great that you have an I.Q of one million, but by all means, feel free to dumb down your frequent little impromptu lessons for those of us that don’t care to waste our precious time trying to decipher what you just said.

Point #3: Don’t be That Guy.

Heywood U. Hush: “Boy it sure was a hot one today.”

I. M. Happy: “It sure was, but summer is just the best. I love to spend time at the beach and in the pool, don’t you?”

Heywood U. Hush: “I’m still on the fence about beach trips. Last time I was there, I think a seagull took off with my beach towel! LOL!”

Anita B. Heard: “Actually, due to the disproportionate size of a seagull’s beak in relation to the overall mass of the rest of its body, it is theoretically impossible for a seagull to carry anything larger than a small fish or item weighing more than 25 grams.”

Well thank you, Professor Killjoy. You just went and ruined a perfectly good conversation that 2 other people were enjoying because you just couldn’t refrain from adding your 2 literal cents.

Learn when not to jump in, or at the very least, learn when someone is simply trying to make a joke and doesn’t require the use of your automatic humor correct.

Life can be fun, Opinionheads. Learn to have some.

The bottom line here is this: Your opinion isn’t always wanted, nor does it always matter, especially when you’re constantly forcing it upon everyone that dares to make a statement in your presence. Take a step back and see the big picture. Do you tend to shoot down more conversations than a band of plaid-clad mountaineers at a quail hunt?

If you’ve been feeling socially isolated, there may be good reason for everyone’s withdrawal from your opinionated presence.

Kenny Roger’s once said, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to speak, and know when to shut up.”

Okay, well maybe he didn’t use those exact words, but you get the point.

Until next time, readers…

Stay Unopinionated.

Oh Stop. On Second Thought…Don’t.

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So it happened again today.

This award winning thing is practically an epidemic. We keep passing it around in certain circles like a bad case of measles.

I’m flattered, though…and so shocked that I was nominated for not one but 2…count them…2 shiny virtual honors today that I almost choked on my cherry limeade.

I’m going to try to roll both acceptance speeches into one here, because well…I’m lazy. So lazy, in fact, that my pet rock has more ambition than I do. He’s way cuter, too. Now if I could just housebreak him…

Anyway, from my newfound penning pal Alienora over at alienorajt, I received this snazzy new ego booster:

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And from my long lost sist…blogger type person that I just met but find to be pretty awesome, Margaret over at Along Life’s Road, I received… a brand new car! Or not. Dare to dream. This little pride promoter isn’t bad, though. I’ll take it!:

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Many thanks for the awards, ladies! I didn’t realize that I was paying you enough to read my ramblings and promote them, too!(Your checks are in the mail, by the way.)

So as far as acceptance speeches go, I guess I should start out by thanking the little people: smurfs, fairies, gnomes, Lilliputians…though I really don’t know what they ever have to do with anyone’s success. Why does everyone thank them again?

I’d also like to thank everyone that keeps liking and following my mindless musings, thus making my ego so big that it can no longer fit through my front door. I have to blog on the lawn in a tent now. Thanks guys.

I’d also like to thank that really big bug that lives in my shower. He’s been a huge help in getting me to this point in my virtual success. I couldn’t have done it without him.

Now then, let’s get down to business.

For this Liebster thingy, the rules are as follows:

You must link back the person that nominated you.
You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award with under 200 followers.
You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees.

The other award doesn’t seem to come with a set of guidelines to follow other than nominating 10 people that you feel are deserving of the honor.

So, I’m just going to kill 2 birds with one stone, here, (again with the lazy. Look it up in the dictionary, my picture is there) and pick 10 bloggers out of the infinite number that I follow to give both awards to. It’s going to be tough. There will be tears. Mostly mine because I can’t just nominate them all, but still…I may have to just put all of you in a boxing ring and make a death match out of this. Last 10 standing get chosen!

I won’t, though. I’m a nice enough nutcase that I can think stuff like that with no follow through.

Anyway, here goes:

Cue Miley Cyrus…no, wait, she’s off somewhere making an idiot of herself…cue Chris Evans to center stage with the envelope of award nominees. After getting down on one knee and publically proposing marriage to my best friend, which she joyfully accepts (she’ll appreciate this, trust me), and after a lengthy kiss in front of millions of viewers, (sorry, ladies!) Chris rips open the envelope, turns to the camera and in a deep sultry voice says,

“And the nominees are:”

1. Artsy Susie. She’s my bestie, and blogger extraordinaire.

2. Freak of Fandom. A take on life through a fangirl’s eyes.

3. It’s a Wonderful F’N Life. She weaves amazing stories with pictures.

4. katzrambles. All kinds of fun rambles.

5. beautify inside and out. A fabulous new blogger. Let’s show her some love!

6. Oldest daughter & Redheaded Sister. A little of everything and a wonderful read!

7. I Left My DNA There. Passionate about travel? Let’s bring this site some followers!

8. Quarter Life Lauren. She’ll make you chuckle AND make you think.

9. Let There be Peace on Earth. Peace, poems, and passion.

10. Walk the Self-Talk. Well written short stories and positive thinking!

A big round of clap for these amazing writers!

Okay now, for these 10 questions. Ya’ll are gluttons for punishment, aren’t ya? Alright, you asked for it:

1. What was your first memory?

Choking on a gumball at the Laundromat. My mom and the attendant lady each took a leg, turned me upside down, and proceeded to beat me senseless until it came out. Heimlich who?

2. What is your favorite color?

Green. Not that terrible florescent junk that goth people put in their hair, though. I Like a deep, sexy forest green. A lime green isn’t bad when paired with purple, either.

3. What kind of music do you like best?

The kind with words. Hey, I’m easy.

4. What musical instrument/s do you play?

A finely tuned, cherry red, black and gold accented, autographed by the great Gene Simmons of Kiss, Fender Electric…nothing. I play nothing. Unless a fork counts as an instrument. I took clarinet for like 2 weeks in 8th grade but dropped out because practice started too early in the morning and I wanted to sleep in. Hey, I never said my laziness was a new development.

5. What is your all-time favorite film?

Frequency. The idea of being able to get in touch with one’s dad in the past is intriguing to me. If I could do that, I’d say something along the lines of. “By the way, don’t use your toothbrush. The dog had bad breath.”

6. Who is your favorite fairy tale character?

The Swedish Chef. Okay, maybe Muppets weren’t fairy tales, but still…you can’t deny his awesomeness!

7. Who do you love most in the world?

Okay, I gotta get serious for just a sec and say that God always comes first. After that, it’s a tossup between my hubby and myself. Let’s go with him, he’s cuter and cooks better.  

8. Read or watch television?

TV, of course. What is this “read” business you speak of? Never heard of it.

9. What is the very best thing about you?

I have this funky brown stripe that goes down my thumbnail. It’s actually embedded in it. I don’t know where it comes from or why it’s there, but it’s pretty cool and my kids are fascinated by it.

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10. What made you become a blogger?

This goes back to the bug in my shower. He threatened me. Said he would move all 1,586,970,584 members of his family into my house if I didn’t do it.

Well then. Without further ado, my questions for the nominees are as follows:

1. If you were the last person on earth, which food would you wish to have an endless supply of?

2. Which of the following celebrities would you like to grab hold of, shake, and scream, “You’re ruining your life!” at?
a)Lindsay Lohan  b)Amanda Bynes  c)Miley Cyrus  d)All of the above

3. How many licks DOES it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

4. If you could be any animal, which would it be and why?

5. Will Ferrell, or Will Smith?

6. Do public restrooms creep you out?

7. What’s the first thing you’d do if you had a million dollars?

8. French toast, French fries, or French bread?

9. You’re running late for an appointment and you come upon a turtle that’s trying to make its way across a busy street. Do you:
a) Pull over, run out into the street when it’s clear, snatch up the turtle and bring him safely across;
b) Keep on truckin’ along. You’re not one to be late…for anything;
c) Decide that he’d make a great stew and toss him in the trunk of your car.

10. You rub your hands against your starbucks cup to warm them, and a genie pops out. She declares that you’ve been granted 3 wishes, and that your macchiato is a little bland today. What do you wish for?

 There you have it, folks. Now please excuse me while I go squirt acid into my eyes because I just witnessed another Miley VMA video.

Ta ta!

The Story So Far…

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Hopefully by now you’ve had the chance to read the previous story:

When A Good Internship Goes Bad

Or, if you’ve found that you just weren’t up to the task of taking in all those crazy details, allow me to summarize:

In a nutshell, I wrote some articles for a bridal beauty magazine…a magazine that proceeded to fall apart shortly after the articles were written. There was a huge blow up between the Editor in Chief/Founder and the Art Director. To make a long story short, the Art Director bought the magazine out from underneath the Editor in Chief because, for whatever reason, she had not fulfilled the registration and licensing requirements that go along with starting up a new business. The Editor in Chief was hot. She accused not only the Art Director of Stealing, but also anyone from the original magazine team that decided to remain with the Art Director and work for her.

Anyway, it was a bad situation. I think that they’re still embroiled in a bitter battle even now, months after the fact. No one is even working under the original magazine anymore, either. After all of the bad blood between the two, neither one of them wanted anything further to do with it. They parted ways and began separate magazine ventures, and so on and so forth.

Both parties involved had asked me to come and work for them. I stepped away from the whole mess and don’t work for either magazine. The drama just wasn’t worth it.

So, needless to say, my articles were never used.

I had told the EIC of the original magazine that she could still use my articles for her newest venture. She never said that she would or wouldn’t, and after a bunch of accusations and whatnot aimed in my direction, she  removed me from her Facebook contacts and did not speak to me again.  Pretty good indicator that my articles would not, in fact, be used.

So, I tried to give them over to my best friend to use. My best friend that now works for…the art director. Or, as far as the EIC is concerned, “the opposition.”

I just didn’t want to see my articles sit and rot. I put a lot of time and effort into writing them. As soon as the EIC saw one of my articles go up on the opposition’s website, however, she contacted me for the first time in months, hurling more accusations at me and rekindling the flames of drama fire that I assumed had died out. I then asked my friend to just take the article down.  Back to square one. My articles were sitting and rotting once again.

Then I got to thinking. They are my articles. I wrote them…and I do have my own blog that I write for almost daily. So why don’t I just share my articles myself? No muss no fuss.

So I set up a little side blog…kind of a tributary off the main river, to do just that. The reason being is that I kind of thought ‘My OCD Diaries’ would be a strange place to find articles written for a bridal magazine and blog. I’d rather keep to the basics here and save this site for my random ramblings and musings.

At any rate, you can now find my articles here:

The Little Articles That Could (But Didn’t)

There aren’t many of them, and I will not be writing more. What you see is what you get, so I hope that you enjoy them!

Gamer/Blogger/Artist

Daily Prompt: On the Edge

We all have things as need to do to keep an even keel — blogging, exercising, reading, cooking. What’s yours?

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There are 3 activities that keep me grounded and help take the focus off of my OCD. I sometimes get so immersed in these things that I’ll spend hours involved in them, and will even forget to do routine things, like have lunch or dinner. However, I figure skipping a meal is a pretty fair exchange for an activity that keeps me from giving in to, or even thinking about ritualistic behaviors.

First of all, I have a seemingly endless imagination and love to indulge in a good online role playing game from time to time. I’ve found that lately though, since I’ve discovered the thrill of writing and spend an infinite amount of time on my blog, my hours spent gaming have greatly dwindled. Truth be told, I haven’t logged into the game I like to play in weeks. I still love it, however, and consider myself to be somewhat of a “gaming geek.”

I used to be big into World of Warcraft, but woke up to reality one day to realize that the game had taken over my life, even more so than my OCD. I couldn’t even go places without limiting my time away from home because I “had to be back to raid.” I had all but sold my soul to a high end raiding guild. I had to have the best gear for my character, the most raid points to obtain that gear, all of the top achievements, etc. It wasn’t just an outlet for me at that point, it had become an addiction. I had to put down the staff, and back away from the mage. I haven’t been back since.

My current gaming drug of choice is Forsaken World. It’s free, there are no raids, and I can play at my leisure. I have to admit that I did spend a few dollars to obtain the most amazing mount EVER, though. I just had to have her. Her name is Princess, and she’s a pink Alpaca, with a tiara, and bows, and bells, and I adore her. She’s just a whole load of awesome.

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Anyway, writing happens to be the second activity that keeps my mind and hands busy so that my OCD won’t. I never really knew that I could write until I did a short stint as Media Director and contributing writer for a friend’s bridal magazine. Everyone loved my articles, and I was instantly hooked on the art of writing from that point on. I was a little devastated when the job fell through, simply because I enjoyed the writing aspect of it so much. I started to pour my creative juices into this blog, though, so now my inner author is satiated once again.

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Last but not least, I’m also a creator. An “Arteest”. I love to make something out of seemingly nothing; words on a blank page, a picture brought to life on paper, a fresh coat of paint completely changing the appearance of something that wasn’t very vibrant or noticeable before. Any new way that I can create, shape, mold, or change an object into something that it wasn’t before pleases me immensely.

I weeded through my portfolio files for a sampling of my artwork to share with you. I selected a project that’s one of my personal favorites.

In the city I live in, football is HUGE. We have Florida Gator fans, Jacksonville Jaguar fans, NCAA college team fans, you name it; the crowd here loves it. So, I was commissioned by a local football buff to turn a black panther coffee table into a Jaguar table, in honor of the Jacksonville Jaguars. There’s a sheet of thick, rounded glass that fits over the top of this sculpted base to create a flat surface. It’s a cool little table, really. I’m sorry that I don’t have a beginning picture of the panther that it was, since I hadn’t really thought to take one before I dove right into the project. Here, however, is the work in progress, and the finished product. Enjoy!

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