The Literary Jersey Girl

Not all Jersey Girls are about hair, nails, and "WTF"

Author: LJG (page 1 of 2)

Some random thoughts, I think…

I don’t promote my blog in any way. I don’t have any advertising, I don’t have business cards with my URL, and I don’t think I talk about it much. Some of my Facebook and Instagram followers have found my website, but I don’t think I have any “organic” followers.

Tonight I gave out my URL to several potential new followers during a group meeting. Funny how it came about. We were discussing things we were proud of ourselves for, and things we’ve promised ourselves. I mentioned that I’ve promised myself to keep up with my writing, my website, and my blog.

Ears and eyes perked up around the room, and I was asked for the URL. I felt my face get hot, and it took most of my willpower not to pull my shirt collar up over my face (which has become my go-to move when I can’t literally “hide”). There was no hiding. There was no way to deflect. These folks genuinely were interested and curious. So, I gave out this site’s address, and wondered just how many people would actually look up the website. A couple people asked what my blog was about, and instead of delving into the details of how and why I started it, I said that it was based on some of my life experiences and things I struggle with.

As I drove home, I realized that the bulk of my writing could be considered negative, or based on negative experiences. If I am trying to grow into a better person, how am I serving my growth and healing by wallowing in the negative experiences of the past? At this point, wouldn’t it serve me better to write about some of the more positive things in my life?

And that’s what this post is about. This is written tonight, 9:30 pm on 11/12/19. This will be published immediately, with little to no editing (spelling and grammar only). Taking a cue from this evening’s meeting, I have an awful lot to be grateful for.

I don’t see them often enough, and they don’t live close enough, but I have a circle of good, true, close friends. I call them my tribe. A core group of folks who are decent people, who I can turn to for advice or a laugh or a chat when needed. Over the past year I ferreted out a couple of bad friends, but it made me appreciate the good ones even more. Some of them are friends from childhood and high school. Some are friends I got to know as an adult. No matter, I am fortunate to have these people in my life.

I have a great job. I don’t make a lot of money, but I can pay my bills. More importantly, I have a true passion for my work and I believe in what I do. I love my job, and I feel very fortunate that I was able to return to school and enter a career I love. Like most lines of work there are negative aspects, but I get to meet and interact with a variety of people. Some of them I even have the privilege of helping.

I look back over some of the things I’ve been through, and DAMN I am a tough chick!! I am resourceful and strong, and no matter what life has thrown at me, I’ve managed to land on my feet. That’s something I’ve tried to keep in the front of my mind over the roller coaster this past year. I am stronger than I think I am, and I’ve handled just about everything the best way I could at the time. Is my life perfect? Depends on how you define perfection, I suppose. I have just enough to work for to keep things challenging, and enough good things to keep me fairly happy most of the time. I’ve created a life on my own that I can be proud of. I make plenty of mistakes-who doesn’t-and I try my best to learn what I can from them.

I have a roof over my head, food in my fridge, decent health, a car to drive, and the use of all five senses. I have books to read, a decent education, and the beach is just a short walk away. I have people who love and care about me, and people to love and care FOR.

Despite the best (??) efforts of bad, negative, and/or toxic people, I am here today. I am alive. I didn’t just survive my past, I surTHRIVED and I continue to do so.

(originally published 9/5/19)

Reading “Life Inside My Mind” edited by Jessica Burkhart. An anthology of 31 writers who share their personal struggles with various mental health issues. And smack in the middle is an essay by Melissa Marr entitled ‘How to Deal With Me…and My PTSD’
Melissa describes her struggles with going into crowds…with being touched by strangers…needing to sit with her back to a wall….nightmares and night terrors…exaggerated startle reflex upon hearing loud noises or raised voices….
And I’m right there with her. Or I was for many years. Way too many years. Melissa talks about the ways she has gotten better; but how she regresses when life gets stressful.

In the midst of my own life stress right now…some of my night terrors have returned. Panic attacks have reared their ugly heads again the last couple weeks (it took me an episode or two to realize what was happening and why I was shaking and crying uncontrollably when I was safe at home-ugh). Touch hasn’t been too much of an issue, thank god. People don’t always react kindly when they touch your arm harmlessly and you flinch and jump. Probably because they don’t understand. One recent day I was highly upset when someone I know well came to see me. They went to hug me and I flinched ever so slightly. I was hoping they didn’t notice…but they did, because they asked if a hug was OK. I felt embarrassed; this is someone who can hug me without asking. This of course set off a whole new set of worries: what if they can’t understand or accept that this may happen from time to time? What if I can’t find a way to overcome everything? What if…what if…what if…

I almost cried in solidarity here at work as I read Melissa’s words. Her reactions and her triggers are so fucking familiar. My god, I really am not alone. I’m not the only one fighting this, struggling along some days, or feeling like I’m wading through mud as I recently told a medical professional.
I’m beginning to accept that I may have had-and still have-PTSD, or the remnants of it. And I wonder if that means anything different for me. No, I have not been formally diagnosed; but medical and mental health professionals have told me in casual settings that it’s very likely. I’m not really willing to be formally diagnosed and have that label in my medical files. I don’t know if a formal diagnosis matters at this point.
What matters to me is that a fellow writer has the same struggles. And has spoken about it. Just like me.
I am not alone.
💜 I am not alone 💜
And neither are you, fellow survivors.

(originally published 10/7/19)

It’s time to get down and dirty again with another peek inside the mind that belongs to everyone’s favorite blogger (that’s me, in case you didn’t know.)
I’ve ripped open my heart, showed you some of the dark recesses of my brain, and shined a light on my not-so-awesome past life. So what’s left? What else can possibly lurk behind this screen and keyboard, as I sit here typing on a mild sunny day?
Fear.
Yes, FEAR.
Some of my loyal followers have called me brave, courageous, even fearless. It’s time to drop the mask. I am not fearless. Not at all.
As the nights get longer and the weather cools, I am more afraid. Of the dark? No, not really. Not technically. Not in the way you might be thinking. It’s the darkness and chill of winter that scares me, not so much the dark itself. Actually, it’s what happens during the dark cold days of winter that frightens me more than winter itself.
As the days shorten and the temperature drops, I feel a change within. No, I am not turning into a werewolf or a vampire, so put your silver bullets and crucifixes away, please. The easiest way to explain, I guess, is a change in my mindset. I’m not sure if it’s a change in body chemistry or hormones, or attitude. I’m not sure if it’s a seasonal disorder. And i don’t know if it’s a combo of the cold and dark coupled with… well, feeling like an outsider during the time of the year most closely associated with spending time with loved ones.
If you’ve delved into my website, you know I am mostly estranged from my family of origin, by my choice. It’s a choice I still wrestle with, usually as the winter holidays rear their heads. It’s difficult to explain this to people I don’t already know. Those who know me, know not to ask. I can usually deflect questions by turning them around and asking the asker about THEIR holiday plans. If that fails, I can usually cry poorhouse and say that traveling to my family of origin is too expensive (it kind of is anymore). Barring that (because there’s always some too-chipper asshole telling me about 99 dollar flights and shit…trust me I have better things to do with 99 bucks…) I can vaguely mention that time off is too difficult to come by (it is, really).
Even though it’s my choice, I think its the combo of all of this that drags me down after Halloween passes. I don’t think people understand just how fucking emotionally tiring it is to be on the defensive all the time; all while trying to slog through the cold and the dark and the yuck that winter is to me.
And what scares me the most as winter approaches (I’m not the only one hearing Ned Stark and Jon Snow in my head intoning, “WINTER IS COMING!” am I??) is how my mind begins to work. The thoughts that creep up on me and all but take over sometimes. It is an almost-constant battle between me and myself, if that makes any sense. The me that has hope, is optimistic, and tries to see the good in things and people. And Dark Me…the one who fucking hates life, who feels worthless and unlovable, lonely and afraid. The one who wants to, sometimes, quite literally, curl up in bed and die.
Last winter was not a good one emotionally or mentally. And at this moment, today, right now…I am afraid of this coming winter.

Playing the Odds, or Where There’s a Will There’s a Way (11/27/18)

(Originally published 11/28/18)

Karma is not always a bitch. Sometimes Karma comes swashbuckling in like a pirate, charms your fears into oblivion, then plunders and pillages at will. Once Karma is done, the Jolly Roger is hoisted and Karma slips away quietly, cruelly, with nary a word or look back.

I contemplated this while sitting across the table from my dear friend T, listening as she talked, tears rolling down her face. 
“What is WRONG with me??” she cried, relaying a recent heartbreak. My own heart ached for her pain. I sat and listened, and handed her tissues from time to time as she told her tale of a summer romance gone sour once fall arrived. 
“I don’t know what came over me,” T said. “I trusted him. I believed all the things he said. I let him behind THE WALL.”

Oh…THE WALL. The wall T put up to shield her heart from further hurt. To keep her from being too vulnerable. This guy had gotten behind THE WALL? Damn… 
I didn’t have the heart to tell T that she jumped into something new too soon. My girl was just out of a relationship with an unaffectionate man who largely ignored her when Mr. Summer Love (SL for short) came along. Maybe SL was a bad guy, maybe he wasn’t. I don’t know him. But the time was wrong for T. She was raw and a little fragile. So of course when SL swooped in with hugs and kisses and intelligent conversation and attention, T was smitten. It certainly didn’t hurt that SL was charming; as well as tall, dark, and handsome, with a killer smile. Like the intelligent gal T is, she told me she held back her feelings. She put them behind THE WALL and kept her cool. And SL pursued her, hard. He complimented her. He called her. Sent texts. Remembered things she mentioned in passing. He did all of the things an attentive boyfriend would do. He even referred to her as ‘significant other,’ called her pet names, and said they were ‘in a relationship.’
“It was thrilling,” she gushed despite her tears. “I never had this happen before. I was sure he was sincere. I could ‘feel’ it, you know? I could see it in his eyes,” I believed her. Or at least I believed that SHE believed that. I’m a skeptic; had it been me, I doubt I’d have fallen for it. But that’s me, and maybe I’m weird. Or impervious to charming, handsome men. Whatever.

T finally opened up to him and confessed that she too was feeling the things he said he was feeling. “He even said he knew the ‘odds’ were against it working. He asked me to promise to remain friends with him no matter what. And so I promised,” T sighed. She decided to play the odds. Maybe any one of us would have if we had been caught off-guard by that smile and the cool logic applied when discussing ‘the odds.’ It was too good to be true.
Then, in the fall, after months of daily calls, sending texts throughout the day, and SL asking to see her every weekend, he abruptly vanished. Stopped calling. Stopped responding to messages. No explanation, nothing. She initially worried about him, because he was going through some personal challenges. But when he didn’t even respond to her request for the return of her belongings, she went from worry to anger and hurt. SL’s final text was a half-ass ‘apology,’ two simple words: “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry for WHAT?!” T wailed to me. “What did I do? What did I say? What did I NOT do or say?” I sat helplessly because I had no answer for her. I didn’t know him. T had friends who did though, and all of them told her what a great guy SL was. Genuine, willing to help anyone, decent, the ubiquitous ‘nice,’ and even awesome were some of the adjectives she said were used to describe him by mutual friends.
“If this nice, awesome guy treats me like a worthless piece of shit whore, then it must be me,” T whispered. “It must be me. I must be a worthless piece of shit whore.” T’s shoulders slumped resignedly, tears streaming from her eyes. I told her that she was no such thing, and at the same time, I imagined I would think the same of myself in her shoes. Ghosting is what the kids call it; I call it a clear sign of disrespect and cowardice. Actions speak louder than words, and these actions erased any kind words SL had ever said to her. It made me angry to see my friend in pain. I didn’t understand how an adult, which is what SL supposedly was, could behave this way. Their mutual friends had no explanation and no real comfort for T, firm in their stance that SL was “an awesome guy,” and that T should ‘keep an open mind’ about the whole thing. 
“And I still don’t have my belongings back,” T continued. “And it’s not so much the stuff, it’s the principle. I have half a mind to show up on SL’s doorstep some random evening and demand he return my things immediately.” My logical mind knew she had a legal right to her belongings, my emotional mind understood her need for closure, but my practical mind saw this would play out with T as a nutjob and SL as the nice guy in the middle of a life crisis while some crazy bitch on his doorstep is hysterically crying about ‘her stuff.’ I took T’s hand and looked her in the eyes. 
“I don’t think you’re going to get closure,” I said gently. “I don’t think you’ll be getting your things back, either. And as to the friendship…well who knows. Only time will tell.” I knew T didn’t want to hear this, but she needed to. I think T will have to find closure within herself, which I told her. I also reminded her this was a Classic Rebound…and now it was over. The Rebound was out of the way and finished. I saw T’s face light up a little as she realized this. Perhaps this is the closure she needed.
“Don’t worry,” T said “I’m not planning on showing up at his house. He’d probably call the cops, considering his experience with his psycho ex.”
“He has a psycho ex?” my eyebrows shot up in surprise. “You may have dodged a bullet, T. He needs to get his shit together after dealing with a psycho. SL probably did you a HUGE favor by ghosting you,” I nodded sagely.

This brings me back to Karma. My hurting friend believed that she had done something, somewhere, some time, to warrant such treatment. To deserve this Karma, so to speak. And her description of Mr. Summer Love, the way he swaggered in, buccaneer-like and handsome, charming her defenses down to nothing and scaling THE WALL-sounded less like the bitch Karma is often described as, and more like a pirate (play along with me here, I’m envisioning a modern-day Errol Flynn, charming and masculine…) This man pirated my friend’s happiness and stole her peace, albeit briefly. But was this an act of Karma? Or was this something else? I suppose it depends on whether you believe in Karma, or whether you think SL is a bad person, or you think T is gullible. 
As for me, I believe it was a case of poor timing, mixed together with two lonely, hurting people. Could T have resisted the charms of SL, maybe not jumped into seeing him every weekend, maybe held on to her reserve a little longer? Could SL have been more up front and not dragged Friendship and Promises (caps intentional, because T keeps promises, and true friendship is dear to her) into the whole thing??
Perhaps. But that’s not what happened. 
If nothing else, SL has become the personification of Karma for T, if Karma were a pirate. Cap’n Karma, if you will. And, T got her rebound out of the way.

Mind you, I only know T’s side of the story. Neither she nor I know SL’s/Cap’n Karma’s side. Heck, I don’t even know Cap’n Karma (has a better ring than SL, don’t you think??), so I can’t begin to guess what he might say. An ‘it’s not you, it’s me,’ perhaps? Which, by the way, is NOT an explanation or reason in itself. It’s a lazy-ass way of getting OUT of an explanation.
Who knows, maybe Cap’n Karma will contact T and explain. In which case I might be able to publish a second part to this tale. But for now… 
I see my friend’s pain, and I’m providing her with the outlet she doesn’t have, that is all. I’m also providing my followers with some food for thought regarding Karma, and how you sometimes need to take a step back and see a painful situation from a new perspective.

The Real Me

The real me has messy, windblown hair and a shiny nose. Sunglasses on my head and a watch on my right wrist. Not the left.

The real me gets up with the sun, naps after lunch, and stays up late. Doesn’t wear shoes when the weather is warm. Has “working” hands and polished toes.

The real me lurks under the professional surface, threatening to break free and expose all…

Breaking the Silence: Prologue (December 1992 – January 1993)


I drive past my alma mater almost every day. It’s a little surreal, seeing how much the campus has changed while remaining the same in so many ways. I feel like I did most of my ‘growing up’ in the place where I completed my bachelor’s degree; so that campus holds a special place in my heart and in my life.
It’s winter break, and the campus is almost empty. There are a few cars in the apartment parking lots; students who live in the on-campus apartments can stay through the break, while those in the dorms cannot. Students that have decided to stay through most of the break either do so because home is too far away, or they have a local job, or there is no other place to go besides campus housing.

Driving past this time of year, during the winter break, I’m reminded of another winter break a lifetime ago…

Once upon a time, there lived a girl in the heart of the Pine Barrens. We’ll call her Cee. She dreamed of working for MTV. Just 21 years old, Cee had her entire life ahead of her. She was a broadcast journalism major, and spent much of her non-class time at the student-run TV station on campus. Cee was determined to have a career in television, and everything she did worked towards that goal. She had completed exactly half of her degree at the end of the fall semester in 1992.

Cee returned to her parents’ home for winter break, as most college students do, with the promise of employment at the family store. If she worked in the store, it would give her dad some much-needed time off and provide her with the remainder of the money she needed for spring classes. Cee therefore declined a guaranteed on-campus job, and returned to her hometown. Arriving home, she was greeted with the information that she was NOT needed at the family store, and she would be without employment for the month. Panicked because she needed tuition money, Cee began scrambling for any available job opportunity. She filled in as a banquet server for holiday parties, she picked up waitressing shifts here and there, and tried to find other short-term employment to get her through until she returned to school and her library job.

It’s important to know that Cee’s relationship with her parents was rocky. Her mother was and still is a functional alcoholic. Her father, for all his good qualities, was and still is an enabler. Cee’s father was known to side with his wife during any conflict, even ignoring the fact that his wife drove drunk with the children in the car. Cee learned early in life that her father would seldom intervene. He spent long hours at work, and usually missed the alcohol-induced abuses that happened at home. Cee’s mother was against her children attending college, and often pointed out that she had done ‘just fine’ without higher education. In a surprising show of defiance, Cee’s father insisted that both his daughters obtain at least a bachelor’s degree.

Cee’s mother grew angrier each time Cee left the house for work during the break. She and her mother were never close, and what was left of that relationship deteriorated while Cee was in college. Cee’s mother went so far as to try and prevent her daughter from working by ‘accidentally’ blocking her car in, or picking fights as she was about to walk out the door. The tension came to a head one evening as Cee returned home from work.
Two other people bore witness to the argument between Cee and her mother that evening: her father and her sister. To this day, they maintain they do not remember the events of that night.
Drunk and angry, Cee’s mother pounced as soon as Cee walked in the door. The crux of the argument was some paperwork Cee’s mother found while going through Cee’s room.
Cee refused to argue with her mother, and even offered to stay elsewhere for the night so issues could be calmly discussed the next day. This was unacceptable, and the mother told her daughter to get out and never come back. Cee appealed to her father with a single plea: “Daddy???”
Her father’s response was to hide further behind his newspaper and utter the oft-repeated phrase Cee had grown to dread: “You know your mother…”
That phrase meant he would not interfere, and would once again not stand up for his children to their mother.

As Cee packed her belongings, she began making calls to try and find a place to stay. School didn’t start for another week, and she could not return to her dorm room until then. No one she spoke to was able to help her. Broke, upset, and her car in iffy condition, Cee made one last call to an acquaintance who had remained on campus over the break. He was the friend of a friend and Cee didn’t know him that well, but she was desperate. He unhesitatingly told her to come down, and he and his roommates would let her stay in their apartment until the dorms opened back up for the spring semester.

As she drove down to campus that night, she was in shock. She knew she and her mother never had the greatest relationship, but she never expected her own mother to kick her out, and her father to stand by and do nothing. She reminded herself she was 21 years old and a legal adult…so really, had she been kicked out? Her brain shifted into overdrive as she wondered how she would pay her tuition. And if she couldn’t pay the full tuition, how many classes could she drop and still maintain the number of credits required to keep her in the dorms for the semester? She thought about the cost of books for her classes, and how she was going to afford those. And her car…it desperately needed repairs, so she had to figure out how to afford that as well. Things were not looking good…but at least she had a place to stay until the dorms opened up for the spring.

Little did she know that her decision to take her acquaintance up on his offer would have repercussions that would echo through her life more than 20 years later…

5/11/19

Feeling pensive tonight. Brooding, in fact. I thought about eating or drinking my feelings, but I’m getting a little old for that nonsense. At the same time, a glass of wine and some cheap Chinese takeout do lend a sort of authenticity to my current mood.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, I’ve written more than once about pain. Not so much physical pain, but mental and emotional pain. Not that I consider my writing to be overly depressed; yet pain is a topic that comes up over and over in my ruminations. Why? We’ve all endured emotional anguish. Some of us have found our way through, some have not.

Feelings were not permitted in my home growing up. You were shamed, punished, or taunted if you showed hurt, sadness, any softness or vulnerability. The only acceptable negative emotion was anger.

I spoke once that pain comes in many varieties. I was speaking of your own pain, caused by something you did directly, or that happened to you directly. What about the pain you feel on behalf of another? That empathic, empty, helpless pain as you watch someone you care about hurt. There’s not a thing you can do to help or assuage their feelings. It’s the helpless part that bothers me the most. Especially if it’s a pain you know, because it is something you went through yourself. The helpless feeling comes because we can’t truly feel another’s feelings. Emotional pain should be scaled, like physical pain. My cat died in my arms; that was like an eight for me. For someone else, it might be a six. Because we can’t gauge or truly experience someone else’s pain, we don’t know what might make them feel better. Or at least I don’t. As good as I am with words (and let’s face it, I *can* turn a phrase…), this is where I am often truly speechless. I don’t know what to say, how to say it, should I hug them, should I leave them alone…what?!?! What is the right thing, the best thing, the most comforting thing I can do? I usually find myself saying I’m sorry they are hurting, and then telling them to call me if they need anything. But that seems so weak. What I want to say is something like, “It pains me to see you hurting. I want to make you feel better but I don’t know how, or if you would want me to.” Something along those lines- like, tell me what you need from me so I can be there. Or if you want to be left alone, tell me and I’ll fuck off for a little while. I want to be a good friend when people I care about are hurting, but I don’t know how. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. And I wonder if my weak offers of condolences and assistance do more harm than good.

I like analogies, and when I come up with a good one, I like to share it. A favorite is that relationships are like a two-person rowboat. I may have a new favorite now, and that is the idea that watching someone you love endure pain that you yourself have experienced is akin to watching them walk on a bed of hot coals. You can’t walk on the coals for them and take on that pain…yet you’ve been there and you know how fucking hot those coals are. And as you see the pain in your loved one’s eyes, and see them wince, you wince along with them because you were walking on those same coals not long ago. However, you’re helpless. You can’t walk on the coals for them. All you can do is walk along beside them on the cooler ground, encouraging them and holding their hand.

Complacency no bueno, 4/2/18

Close examination of yourself is like cleaning out your closet. And I mean a thorough cleaning. Pulling the hidden stuff out of the back, examining it, and trying EVERY. DAMN. THING. on to see if any of it still fits.

A series of recent conversations with an old acquaintance/new friend (yes there is a difference, and that’s another blog for another time) made me realize that I’ve become complacent. Areas in my life where I should not be complacent…and shouldn’t settle. I shouldn’t lose myself again.

It’s been a long time since someone held a mirror up to me AND got me to look into it. And like that thorough closet cleaning, I have to pull everything out and look at it. I have to make sure it still fits with who I am today. Are there things that can be adjusted-like pants that are a little too long and need to be hemmed? Are there things that are so hideous that I have no earthly idea how I ended up with them-like a crazy skirt for a night out that never happened? Those things need to GO. What about things that may have served you in the past, but are no longer relevant-like a shirt purchased for a waitressing job…four jobs ago. Or, things that you hang on to because they have sentimental value, or you’ve had them so long you don’t know how to begin to get rid of them-like your grandmother’s fur hat that doesn’t fit your head. Those things are harder to get rid of. Like certain personality traits or life aspects that no longer serve you…or that don’t match who you want to be…or life circumstances that have become unpleasant or even unbearable. We become used to those things, and have made adjustments in life to accommodate them…like those too-long pants that you roll up instead of getting them hemmed. Or that shirt you will NEVER wear. It’s taking up space in the back of your closet. Same as personality traits or situations that are…well, they aren’t part of who you’ve become, and even though there is discomfort…it’s so damn hard to let those things go.

And, as hard as it is to let these things go-we have to in order to grow and change. The only constant in life is change. Change keeps us from complacency. I think complacency is the killer of passion. And I refuse to live my life without passion.

Triumph? 3/10/18

Go big or go home, the saying goes. In my case, I went home TO go big, in a sense. Let me explain…
One of the worst residuals of my past is an underlying suspicion of anyone who tries to touch me. I used to trust my instincts about people implicitly and completely. If someone didn’t “feel” right to me, they didn’t get close enough to touch me, period. I was open to hugs from people I knew well. Casual touch didn’t freak me out, nor did those accidental touches incurred in a crowd.
Consensual touch is an important form of communication between humans; whether the touch is simple affection or something more intimate. This is especially true in close relationships. Conclusive, reliable studies illustrate the effects of touch, or lack thereof, on children and adults.
Withholding affection and affectionate touch is as much of an abuse tactic as is violence and violent non-consensual touch.
As I recovered from the past, I questioned my instincts about people, and therefore kept a wide personal space. I couldn’t tolerate crowds because someone might accidentally touch me. And for a long time, any touch from someone I didn’t know very well was BAD.
Slowly I’ve learned to trust my instincts again. And as that has happened, I’ve been able to hug friends and even tolerate hugs from well-meaning near strangers. I’ve been able to go into crowds without a paralyzing fear of someone accidentally touching me.
And how does that play into going home to go big? I got a new tattoo last weekend. A good sized one, compared to my others. One that required the artist to be behind my back and in my personal space for a long period of time. And the tattoo I wanted was something meaningful to me. Maybe it’s a little much, but I went back to my hometown, back to my roots to get this tattoo. I sought the best tattoo artist I know, someone I’ve known a good portion of my life. Someone I can trust, not just with this steeped-in-meaning piece of art, but also to be close to me and actually touch me. For me, receiving this tattoo was a sort of intimacy; a big step in healing. The art is a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings. And as the ink heals, the skin is shed, and the beauty of the art revealed; so I hope I too am remade, reborn, and rendered better than before.

The Dream

I used to dream regularly. Many were vivid, and most times I’d remember them to write them down the next day.  After enduring many nightmares, my dreaming mind seemed to have shut down for the most part. I now seldom dream, but when I do, it’s both vivid and memorable.
A dream I had recently appeared innocuous on the surface, but after some thought, I find it unsettling. Or what it implies is disturbing to me. Anyway…
My dream begins as I’m traveling with a group of people to an unknown location. I don’t know any of these people. Through talking to them, I learn we’ve all been selected to help a struggling community. The catch is that we leave our homes, families, everything familiar to us…with no notice. And we aren’t allowed any communication for two years.  It’s insinuated that we are traveling far enough that no one and nothing we know will be around when our two year communication ban is up. Almost as if we are time traveling, or traveling light years away.

Thinking I’m clever (as usual) I pull out a hidden cell phone…only to find it blank. No contacts, social media, pictures…. nothing.
We’ve basically been raptured, because as far as those we left behind know, we’ve vanished without a trace and no explanation.
People around me were wishing they could call someone, let someone know what happened. They lamented the fact that they’d left loved ones behind without so much as a goodbye.
It was only after reflection a day or so later, I realized I was the only one in the dream who had no one to call. No one who would miss my presence. To get a little more ‘out there’ no one who would miss my essence, personality, spirit, soul…whatever. It made me feel empty, and I realized I failed at one of the most important things in life…human relationships.
It is important to know this is how I feel. I’m not laying blame; there’s no one to blame but me. I guess I’m wondering…like why do I feel this way? What is WRONG with me?? And…what’s wrong with me, really? :,( because the common denominator in all my failures is me.

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