Bits and Pieces of Thoughts While I Think on my Next Bit o’Fiction

First things first, or at least things that excite me – My English teach really liked my video game essay. There are a few teensy things I need to clean up, mainly a few awkward word choices and left over “on”s and things from my massive number of edits. Once I’ve done that, she wants me to enter it into an essay contest that happens at the school every year. The winner gets $50 and entrants get to put their name out there for teachers to get to know. When it comes to more subjective classes like English, psych, etc. I feel it’s important to have your name associated with the idea that you are a good writer before you enter a teacher’s classroom. Perception means so much and teachers are more willing to gloss over errors if they already “know” you can write, as humans are wont to do. Even my current teacher did something like that for my 2nd essay when I had two really bad cut/copy/paste-based errors. She didn’t take off points for those like what I would have expected her to because she knew that they were editing fails, not writing fails, if that makes any sense.

I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m going to use as my topic for my next argument essay, but haven’t really had anything stick out to me. Well, I’ve got two things, but I can’t decide if I really can argue either of them effectively because I am just a wee bit passionate about them.
The first is equal marriage rights. I’d end arguing for a case that would include marriage licenses being granted to two or more people above the legal age of consent who are willingly entering into the civil contract regardless of gender, sex, procreation status etc. Most people have an issue once the “more” part is added in, and to be fair, with the way current laws are written that affect civil marriage law contracts it would get really convoluted and tricksy. Especially things like inheritance and social security benefits and whatnot. Especially if the primary bread winner/head of house passes or decides to divorce one or more of the other parties. What happens to the rest of the contracts? Are they will that primary person or binding amongst all parties? Oy, such a headache and the primary argument against such marriages.
The second is abstinence only versus full disclosure sex ed. I (luckily) grew up in county that taught full disclosure sex ed by default and started in fifth grade. Yes, parents always had to sign permission slips to say “sure, teach my kid about sex” or “find them something else to do cause I want to be the one to educate them about sex” or not educate them as the case would likely be. I think I only saw maybe three kids not have permission to be educated in sex ed from fifth through twelfth grade. That’s pretty awesome in my opinion, especially considering that it was a requirement for every year of school up to high school and then was taught in bio and two or three other classes that were required for graduation.
Anywho, the point is that I feel pretty strongly about these topics, but think I could maybe argue either one of them. My teacher did give me the okay to write my essays on more divisive topics should I choose to because I could “handle” them maturely. On the other hand, this next essay is going to be sent out to the rest of the English dept. and I’m not sure that I want to write about anything so politically charged, no matter how well written, and be known as the student that is too opinionated/liberal/socialist/controversial at the end of my first semester of school.

On a completely unrelated note, I’m excited about the weather here. We’re supposed to get a pretty decent amount of snow between tonight and tomorrow night and I have nowhere to go and no one to meet until Wednesday morning, which means I get to just enjoy the snowfall. Huzzah! Pretty weather will be nice.

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Reflections on some not so awesome memories

Video

I have had this song come up several times on Pandora lately. I initially really liked it because it’s got a lovely piano playing in a predominantly minor key and the singer’s voice matches the tone of the song so well. I like the bridge transitions, especially the way she transitions from the bridge to the chorus by using what I’ve always thought of as chunky, melancholy chords. It’s one of those songs that kind of makes me want to cry, but that’s because the song is intended to elicit such emotions. That was all I paid attention to the first half-dozen or so times I heard it.

Then I listened to the lyrics. I was in the shower, my thinking place, and just sort of stopped to actually hear the story Ms. Grey painted with her words. It was sort of like getting punched in the gut. Or maybe the throat.

I’m sure I’ve referenced it a few times here, though nothing overt or glaringly obvious. My ex was something of an ass to the Nth degree. If it weren’t for the fact that he was in the Army and it’s a big no-no to get an Axis II diagnosis a psychiatrist would have diagnosed him with Narcissistic Personality Disorder with Antisocial (personality disorder) Traits. In case you don’t actually want to read the wiki articles about those two disorders, just know that they both are pretty much what they sound like they are. He was charming, suave and subtly manipulative the first 6-12 months that I knew him. Then he not-so-slowly transformed into something of a clearly manipulative, emotionally and mentally abusive, controlling, delusional, lazy-ass, *insert your favorite descriptor for a waste of space here* moocher that I had the pleasure of having to deal with outside of work. Except he was really great at sleight of hand maneuvers so that I and anyone casually interacting with either of us wouldn’t realize something was going on or that it whatever they noticed was my fault, my failing. He even managed to convince me that all our problems, his problems really, were my fault. He couldn’t keep a job because we lived too far away from all the places he could work. He lied to me because I wasn’t strong enough to deal with or know the truth. It was my fault that he turned to one of his exes for support, talked shit about me and was making promises to leave me and go off with her as soon as I was “strong” enough to not kill myself over him. The list goes on and on and on.

How does it relate to the song? Well, note that he started out only subtly off. Then he turned into the sort of person that I never thought I would attach myself to. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I didn’t actually deserve to be happy. I really was the cause of so much misery and heartache. The fights were all my fault. The things that went wrong were my fault. I just wasn’t enough. I failed again and again when I tried to make anything better. I was never good enough. I never knew what I was talking about, even when I did. I deserved all the bad things that happened, all the lies, all the half-truths and misdirection. It was what I knew, what I expected and it was, as so often happens, normal, comfortable in that horrifying sort of way. I wasn’t happy, but I knew the routine, I knew how it would end, change was scary. I accepted everything because, well, what other choice did I have? (I know the answer now, but not then.)

Except that I (finally) got space and time away from him. I lived half-way around the world from him and discovered that I could actually be happy. It took over a year, but I gathered my courage and told him I was no longer going to be his thing to manipulate. I left him. And I suppose that is where my story differs from the one told in this song. She doesn’t leave at the end. At least not yet. I escaped. I found a life that I am happy with. I found people who love and support me and whom I love and support.

Sadly, that doesn’t keep me from going back to those memories. I still have times when I revert to behaviors I learned while in that relationship. I suppose I’m still a work in progress. Aren’t we all? We’ve each got our own demons, some are just more obvious than others. I just wish they couldn’t haunt us after we have exorcised them from our lives. Their shades can be just as painful and scary as the demons themselves were.

Right. Well, something more pleasant to come in the near future. Probably something about Anomalycon or the zombie apocalypse or something.

All growed up. Or not

I still don’t really feel like a grown up. I’ve basically come to the conclusion that I probably won’t actually ever feel like an adult. Maybe if I ever have kids, but I get the feeling that I would just be going “holy crap! I’m an adult! When did this happen? How do I make this stop? Why in the world did anyone let me have a kid?!” and so on and so forth. It’s ironic given that I have a job that is serious and a “real grown up job” and have since I was 20. Even being married, divorced and married again hasn’t made me feel like a grown up. If that doesn’t make one feel grown up then I don’t know if anything will.

Extra, Extra: Chikining Out

I didn’t write this, but a good friend of mine did. She’s an amazing woman who is married to another amazing woman and has the sweetest wee little baby girl. It’s disturbing and disheartening to know that not only is she and her family having to deal with the 40-something percent of the nation that believe she and her family are second class citizens, but that her own family is part of that 40-something percent, not part of the 2-5 percent that are uncertain as I had been under the impression of.

I know her mother, her father and at least one of her sisters. I knew her mother and father were… uncertain of exactly what to do with their daughter and her girl-friend, now wife. However, I had not realized that the uncertainty was still covering a foundation of intolerance. I have no idea how they are able to honestly go about their interactions with their daughter’s family and not be confronted every single time with having to make a choice between loving their daughter and her family and still harboring a deep belief that how they live is not right. It may no longer be wrong, but it’s not right either.

I go on too much, let her speak for herself.

Extra, Extra: Chikining Out.

On the Question of Children

I have several friends who either have children or are trying to have children. I have friends who don’t have children and will never have children. I have friends who are undecided. I am asked weekly whether my husband and I will have children. All this has led to the question of children and the uncertainty of that future to be forefront in my mind. It has led to worry and wistfulness and pondering and uncertainty.

You see, I don’t know what I think about having a child/children myself. Not anymore at least.

When I was growing up it was always a forgone conclusion. When people grow up and get married, they have kids. It just happens. Hell, I didn’t always imagine the married part, but there was always the option of adoption or being a foster parent or something. I think it was Angels in the Outfield that made the adoption/foster parent option prominent in my thoughts off and on. As I got older and discussed future plans and whatnot with friends in middle and high school it also was “when I have kids” not “if I have kids.” There was the assumption of being a mom.

However, I never really thought much about what that would mean and how it would impact my life. It was always something I would just work through. If it was me and my boyfriend/husband, awesome. If it was just me, alright, I could do that. Even if I didn’t know how it would happen or when or whatnot, I just assumed I was going to have kids, I was going to be a mother.

There of course was fear as well. I was scared that I would handle disappointments and the trouble that kids get into like my father did. My brother and I were actually pretty settled kids. We didn’t cause too much trouble and could be eventually wrangled into doing chores and did well in school and didn’t really have friends that got us into trouble any more than we managed on our own. My brother was a bit more trouble than me, but still in the grand scheme of things, neither of my parents were the recipients of that universal karma that their parents threatened them with. Regardless, my father scared me and I could not imagine doing that to my own kids, but since it was something I had seen and grew up with from a young age I also was aware that I could very easily have learned those patterns and it wouldn’t be easy to avoid them and avoid swinging the completely opposite direction. Even with that there was still a “when” not an “if.”

Then I married Matt, my ex, and I discovered that my language and concept of children changed. I couldn’t really imagine children with him. It wasn’t right. It took me a few years to sort that out. Before then it was always a “maybe” or “someday, but not now” or “we’re not certain.” Which isn’t really surprising in hind-sight. I had trouble figuring out if I could actually see much of a future there anyway, though that also took me a year or two of thinking to determine that it was what I was thinking and why it was a problem.

And now I’m with my husband. I could easily imagine him as a father, a goofy and silly and awesome dad that would make most kids excited when young and *facepalm* but secretly be pleased when older. I like to think that I’d be a similar sort of mom. But he is at best neutral regarding kids though I learned last night that negative with the potential for a neutral opinion. He has never really had an urge or desire to be a father. If his girlfriend/wife wanted children then he would work with that, but his opinion is that they are noisy, are troublesome (not his exact words, but that is my impression) and require a lot of money and he could spend that on toys instead. Though he does agree that the toys kids have are kind of amusing, just not as cool as the type of kids he gets as an adult. He also doesn’t much like the whole first 5 or 6 years as they are not capable of taking care of themselves at all. With most animals, that phase only lasts a few weeks or months and then they’re capable of being self-sustaining. If it would make me happy to have children and that happiness would not be satisfied by a puppy/kitten or some other new pet, then he would be willing to look into the possibility with me. As it is, he is happy with just us and doesn’t see the need for anyone more.

This new information has left me even more uncertain. I can’t say that having children would make me happy. I can imagine that there would be joys, but it would be a different set of joys than what we would experience if it were just us. Again, I never really imagined life without kids, but I also never really actually imagined a life with kids either. I also have to take into consideration that my husband would rather not have children if the decision were left entirely up to him. I would not want to force my decision upon him – if something were to happen to me then he would be left as the primary provider for children that he had not thought about until I more or less forced them upon him. Also, there is the possibility that he would eventually resent them, the time and effort and money and trouble and energy that is required to raise children. He could come to resent me and/or the kids and that would be very troubling for me. And since my thoughts are still “if” about one quarter of the time then that would indicate I’m not certain enough to ask him to go with a decision which he is mostly against.

It’s funny in a way, there are times when I have wished to have kids and become nostalgic for an imagined future/life. I also really enjoy children and hope that with my experience at work and willingness to learn and all that good jazz that I’d do alright raising kids. Not perfect, but at least no more likely to make mistakes than other educated parents. And other times I do not have a desire to raise a child in this world as it is and am aware that in order to raise a child the way I would like to it would require a lot more effort on our part than what I received for certain, and likely more than he received while growing up as well. I guess that’s part of the whole educated thing.

Even with all that fear and uncertainty, if I really let myself think about it, I’m both relieved and disappointed when I do a monthly pregnancy test-yes, I am that paranoid that my birth control is not 100% effective-and the result is negative. There’s still that majority of my thoughts that have reverted to “when” thinking now that I have actually found my husband and feel like it’s something we could make work if we so chose to do so. There are still worries, concerns and a lot of what-ifs that would go with becoming a parent, but they aren’t so scary anymore. Just worries and concerns and what-ifs that always come with new experiences and a different sort of life than what I’ve ever experienced.

But… I still don’t feel like my opinion/decision should override my husband’s. Generally speaking, in a debate if there is no clear “winner” than the negative side, the side arguing for no change, is determined the winner and no changes are made. It’s similar with voting – someone with a neutral opinion would vote for no change and it would count the same as someone who was strongly against a change. There are two of us, if we have opposing opinions then the one arguing for no change or the least amount of change would be the “winner” or however else you could term it. Of course there are exceptions for strong opinions and whatnot, but for huge life changing things like the decision whether to have kids or not… that’s not one where one strong opinion should override the other.

*sigh* There’s really no easy, clear, or simple answer. This is not something that a coin flip, eenie-meenie-miney-mo or rock-paper-scizzors(lizard-spock!) can solve. Maybe just writing all this out will help me to be able to discuss my opinion a little bit better and I can stop freaking him out with really broad and open-ended questions. That’s probably the best I can hope for at this time. Well, that and the lesson not to spring such heavy, open-ended questions on him at dinner with no context… *blushes*

Yeah, it’s been a while

Have you ever stopped doing something and then felt guilty or like you’re going to get in trouble for starting back up on it?

That’s sort of how I feel right now. Actually sort of would be innaccurate in that it is understating my feelings.

I feel like that because I haven’t done any writing in so long. I feel like that because I haven’t done any exercising for the last four weeks. I feel like that because there are some friends that I haven’t contacted in months/years. I even feel like that because of needing to go back to school.

You see, I have all these ideas for things to do, things to write about, things to try or experience, but that guilt and fear stop them from being made into anything more than a few firings of neurons behind my eyes.

Some things I want to share include life-changing things like the fact that I got married last week. And this time around there is no desire to hide that or make less of it than what it is. Just writing about it here has sprouted several thought strands I could follow for this or other posts…

Other things are just plain goofy and fun things I have done recently and what sort of ideas have come from those. Example was Anomoly Con last weekend. Highly amusing steampunk convention with some really gnarly costumes and attire. That was actually the spark that made me decide to get over my fear and worries and jjust try writing again. I’m also debating whether I am willing to try my hand at the crazy hard thing that sewing is for me.

And then there are just those ideas or dreams that I would like to take out of my brain and examine and dissect and put back together or disperse in the wind, whichever is more appropriate.

And last but not least, it would be nice to have a place to vent and rant about various political and social issues that I have been unwilling to post on places like Facebook – to anyone on my FB please note that I post less than a quarter of what I read or hear about.

So… the goal is to look past my fear and just write. Maybe without a goal like posting daily or weekly or whatever I’m less likely to set myself up to fail or whatnot.