Monday, July 25, 2016

Lost My Sense Of Direction

Like a plane flying over a moonlit ocean, I feel I may have lost my way. Over the last four or five months I've become a bit (okay, maybe more than a bit) unhinged. I can't say for sure what caused my undoing. Maybe it's all the new medications I'm taking. Maybe it's the very early stages of menopause. Maybe it could even be that I have hit a sort of mid-life crisis. I feel less than useful most days. I grieve the loss of my hopes and dreams and I just can't lift myself out of the funk that follows me everywhere I go. The person I'm closest to in my life is my beautiful sixteen year old daughter and I fear I will be the cause of her losing out on a life less ordinary. I want to have adventures with her. I want to have my own adventures. I want to send my daughter out into the world to have adventures of her own. 

*Soaring dangerously close to the water*

Why am I so blue? How can I possibly accomplish anything in life now? I'm forty-five, a widow, and my medicine cabinet looks like it belongs to a ninety year old. How did things get this bad? Sometimes I wonder if grief has caused all of the physical ailments I've been dealing with over the last few years. Is it possible that my heart could not handle the strain and so my body decided to take it upon itself to carry the burden? I feel so tired most of the time. 

*Wings tipping - skidding on the surface of the ocean*

It's so lonely here on earth. I want companionship. I want friendships, but at the same time, I just can't deal with people most days. It's not really that I dislike people - they just make me uncomfortable. I can't even explain why being around other human beings makes me a nervous wreck; all I can tell you is that it does. I feel emotionally drained after being in crowds (even small crowds). 

*Radioing ground control for guidance, but no one answers*

I'm trying - I really am. I just can't seem to get my balance back. I don't know what it will take to set me back on course, but I swear, I'm making a desperate effort to get it right. I haven't completely lost my way. I think I just need some time to get my head together. 

*Some turbulence ahead, but the horizon is in sight*

I'll be okay. I'll find my way. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Fear Of Everything

You think we're fine, they're fine. Your friend who went through a traumatic event is fine. It's been weeks, months or even years. They have to be fine, right? They're doing every day things like cooking dinner, taking care of their children and going to work. They have to be fine. The pain fades, doesn't it? The heartache goes away, doesn't it? They're fine. They have to be fine. 

They're not fine. They still worry. They still cry. They still feel afraid of life. They're afraid of everything. Nothing will ever be the same. They go so many nights without sleep or with very little sleep. The future they planned is gone. The life they had is dead. The love they depended on left so suddenly. They're just not fine. They aren't strong. They might be a little brave, because they wear the brave face for you. It's not for themselves that they smile and laugh at silly jokes. They do it for you, so that you think they're fine. 

They worry about today, tomorrow and forever. They know now that life is fleeting and it can be snatched away in a split second. They are afraid of living alone. They are afraid of dying unloved. They distance themselves from people, because now - more than ever - intimate relationships of any kind are scary. They can't bare to love and lose again. 

They feel defeated. All of the fight has been drained from their bodies - like blood from a corpse. They feel dead on the inside and dead on the outside. They feel like they're on another planet, hovering above the world below - invisible, untraceable, unlovable. If God loved them so little that He could take away someone they loved so dearly, how could they possibly be worth loving? 

Life is tasteless, odorless, joyless...just plain LESS. This is what it feels like to lose a spouse. I'm not okay. I'm not fine. I'm not doing well. I'm lost. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Be Fearless Or Go Home


Yep! Can't put it any clearer. When you put yourself out there in today's world where we have the Internet full of so many ways to be seen and be known, someone is always going to hate you relentlessly. I don't really have a thick skin when it comes to certain things. Insult my looks, I can laugh about it. Misread my intentions and you might just have what it takes to make me lose my confidence. Be warned, though, I do have a resiliency that I did not have in my younger days. What might once have taken me weeks to recover from, now only takes a good night's sleep. I think it's all about the security in who I am and what I'm trying to do. 

I have learned over the years that you can't prove yourself by slowing down to argue your point. You run right past the haters and the trouble makers and show YOURSELF you have what it takes. Instead of giving up when someone puts me down, I breathe deep, exhale and give it another go. If I fail miserably, I may push on to something new, but I will always come back to that thing when I am strong enough to try again. 

I've let certain people in my life convince me I need to do things a particular. I should have known that love cheers you on; it does not tell you that you can't or that you're not good enough. I have through many sleepless nights feeling like there was no hope. I have thought that I am a person not worthy of any success - not even worthy of love or human kindness. The truth is, tomorrow I may be fine and next week I may be a complete wreck. I may say "I'm done" only to start up again later. At least I try. At least I can say that I didn't just believe I couldn't.

Ten years ago, I was terrified to even leave my house. It took years for me to begin to trust the darkness. Sunset meant "get home quick, lock the doors and close the curtains". I think we were all that way. Even up to his death, Julian stilled checked the doors ten times a night when he wasn't away from home working. When he was away, I kept heavy furniture in front of our doors to keep out whatever might try to kick the door in. 

I tell my story because I want to share it. Maybe someone needs someone like me to help them up. They certainly don't need someone to press the heel of their shoe in their back to keep them down. I have never asked for anything but human kindness. I would most definitely do the same for my fellow mankind. We should not be kicking each other when we are down. We should want to see one another succeed. We should be fearless. Unafraid to be kind, caring, concerned, loving and understanding. So what if another human being tells you their sad story. 

Does it make you feel bad to feel something for another person? What's the right reaction? I know I feel something deep within in my soul when I see human tragedy on television. Is it wrong to feel that for someone you might have a more personal connection with? It's sad really that comical insults are the norm in social situations, but compassion is not. If I tell you my story, you can feel something for me without having to do something for me. It hurts to hurt alone. It does not mean I want something more than for you to care about me. Tell me your story and I will cry with you, hold you, love you and be there for you when you need me. How sad that we have grown into such a cold world. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Time To Focus

I've always been one of those people who's brain kicks into overdrive the minute my head hits the pillow. I can remember being told that lazy people stay up all night and that just never made sense to me. How can someone who never wants to sleep be lazy? I just couldn't turn my brain off and I still can't. Most nights I struggle to make my brain stop running through the millions of ideas I have. Most it's due to a writing idea more than any of my many other passions. I keep a thick journal next to me in bed so I can quickly jot down ideas that come to mind.

For the past week, my mind has been particularly obsessed with a story idea that I initially had about a year ago. A few nights ago, I flipped my journal open to the pages where I had begun to outline the idea for my story and now my brain won't quit. It's actually the first volume in what I intend to make into a series of novellas. I researched Kindle forums to make sure I could even publish a novella through them - since the idea to do these as shorter novels never occurred to me until last week. 

I have been and always will be a writer and photographer at heart. I love writing and taking candid, unplanned photos more than any other thing in this world. Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of things. Sewing is something I do to relax and I find it fulfilling - most of the time. But when it feels forced, I cannot sew a damn thing. I can spend days trying to finish a sewing (or even a crafting) project and if my heart isn't in it, it just won't happen. 

As soon as I could write, I was writing. I would write little plays for my sister and I to perform while my mother and brother were the audience. I would write poems and stories. When I left home at seventeen, I left a drawer full of notebooks overflowing with my writings. I also loved writing letters, just because it was a chance to write. I think the love of writing is always accompanied by a love of reading. I read all the time as a child. My favorite book as teen was Go Ask Alice. Fiction or not, the book fascinated me and I read it more than a few times in my teen years. I think that book ignited in me a deeper passion for writing. It's too bad I spent most of my life being afraid to try.  

I make no apologies for changing course in my life. I spent a lot of my life bound up by fear and anxiety and now that I am forty-five, I am realizing that fear is a demon I must fight. I can try and if I fail, I will probably set it aside and try again later. I'll push forward until there is no push left in me. 

Now, to my original point - I decided yesterday to take a short hiatus from Facebook so that I can regain my focus in life. Just Facebook, because it is the social media "drug" of choice and is where I waste most of my time every day. Also, Twitter, Instagram, G+ and the like are necessities for my YouTube channel. I set my phone to alert me when I've been two weeks Facebook free and if I can get that far, I may try another two weeks. I still post things to Facebook, but I do not go directly to Facebook and I will not check or answer notifications during my hiatus. 

I need write. More importantly, I need to sleep and if I don't write this story that is swelling in my head, I may never sleep again. Also, I started therapy this week, so there's that, too. 

Yep. Time to focus. 


Monday, May 16, 2016

Her 'Left Behind' Plans For Us

You all know I've been talking a lot lately about my childhood and this is just another installment in that saga. 

I'm sure most of you have heard of the"secret rapture" story that most Christians believe. When my brother, adoptive sister and myself were children, we heard stories (on a daily basis) of the secret rapture. The difference in our story and most others was the fact that our adoptive mother seemed to think she had a secured ticket to Heaven that none of the rest of the people in her life had. She was preparing us for her impending disappearance by telling us where to hide, where the food and other survival supplies were stored in the basement, etc. 

I remember the talk of Mama being taken up in the secret rapture beginning when I was around eleven or twelve years old. She would tell me how I might wake up one morning and find nothing but her dental fillings and her clothes in a heap on the kitchen floor. I was told that when the time came, I should immediately fall to my knees and proclaim my love to God. She told me that Satan's angels would come and take us away and make us deny God or they would begin chopping off our body parts until we did as they asked. 

There was never any talk of the rest of us being "saved" and being a part of the secret rapture along with her royal highness. She was the only one whom God somehow had already shown favor towards and was immune to any earthly sin. 

These talks of the secret rapture and being left behind to be tortured led to my having horrific apocalyptic nightmares, which Mama used to prove her insane theories. She also became involved with any religious nut who came her way. I remember several occasions when these "servants of God" predicted the day and exact hour of the rapture. With these rapture predictions came the terrifying preparations, but not once did Mama speak as if any of her loved ones might be called up with her. We were not without sin as Mama seemed to be, therefor there was no chance in Hell that we would be taken up in the rapture. 

Looking back on that now, I am disgusted and angered by how unholy this woman actually was. How dare she think that she was somehow God's favorite and better than anyone else around her. She was so deep into and obsessed with the secret rapture that there was always some crazy person at the house speaking in tongues, anointing every doorway and telling Mama to burn our music cassettes and anything else they claimed to be "evil". It was terrifying for a child to be constantly surround my this insanity and being told that we could not be saved from what would come after this secret rapture. Mama had already instilled in us that we were sinful and simply not worthy of Heaven - unlike her oh-so-holy-self. 

As a child, I always felt uneasy in Mama and Daddy's house and nearly every other child who has set foot in there has said the same. If there is an evil presence there, she brought it there with her constant incantations, insane so-called religious ceremonies and her own dark heart. Everything she did publicly lead so many to call her "a saint", but what she has done behind closed doors shows just how much of a "sinner" she really is. What an evil soul it takes to think she is more deserving of eternal happiness while her family is deserving only of eternal fire and suffering!

I believe in God, but I have since learned that many of the things I learned about the Bible when I was a child are complete lies. I do remember questioning my adoptive mother on many occasions about things she claimed to be biblical and I was told not to question it, but to believe what she and/or the pastor taught me. 

I could write an entire book on this subject and I might do just that in the near future, but for now I'll end this chapter here. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Propriety?

I know the question will come up - especially since I started my new YouTube channel, AFateSoTwisted Talks. I have, for the most part always been an open person, but a proper one. I knew what I shouldn't talk about in certain circles and I knew what was acceptable and what was not acceptable. Having said that, I will admit propriety didn't always stop me from opening my mouth. It also didn't stop people from whispering behind my back, calling me a liar or even calling me crazy. I'll admit to crazy all day long, but I take strong issue with being called a liar. 

My adoptive mother only once, that I am aware of, denied that her father (my actual paternal grandfather) molested me when I was eleven. What she actually did do was minimize the entire thing by telling anyone and everyone who knew of it..."All he did was touch her" or "He just put his hands where they didn't belong..."  

Let me tell it right here and right now. I want to detail how my grandfather "just touched me" and "only put his hands where they didn't belong". Over the years I only shared the finer details with Julian. I probably could not bring myself to speak this out loud in a YouTube video, but I have recently gone into some detail with a couple of people I am close to. 

The Last Day Of My Childhood

Mama had bought me a pretty green polyester skirt that went to my knees; it had pleats all around and made a big circle when I spun around in it. The skirt came with a white top that had short, puffy sleeves and an elastic neckline. The middle had green that matched the skirt and was embroidered with colorful, abstract designs. It looked like something from Scotland, maybe. I wore it every chance I got and I think I even have a school picture of me wearing the outfit.

That morning, I got up and put on my new skirt and top, long white socks and brown loafers. I don't know why, but I felt so pretty in that outfit. I skipped into the kitchen and helped my grandpa load some boxes onto the back of his pickup. I hopped in the cab and Grandpa drove down the dirt road, headed for the underground house. Grandma stayed behind to load more boxes in the old house. As he drove, grandpa put his hand on my knee. I never really thought much of this, but I do remember he pushed my skirt off of my knee so that his hand touched my bare skin as he squeeze my knee. 

We unloaded the truck and grandpa asked me to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I went into the new kitchen in the underground house and began preparing the sandwich. As I did this, grandpa came and stood next to me. He squeezed my buttocks and I felt a chill run through me. I knew something was happening that shouldn't be happening, but I froze. He rubbed his body against mine. I felt like I wanted to throw up. 

He changed his position so that his back was towards my front and he began touching/rubbing me between my legs. He touched my breasts and then moved his hand and began pulling up my skirt. I was holding the knife with peanut butter on it - I was utterly and completely frozen. I was terrified to move. This was grandpa. He had never even spanked me or yelled at me before. He pulled my skirt all the way up with his hand and began touching me between my legs. 

"Grandpa, please stop." I whispered. 

He continued for another few minutes and then he just walked away, towards the front door. He yelled for me to come on - said something about keeping grandma waiting. My heart sank. I wondered what I had done to make him do this to me. Had he done it to anyone else? Was it because I was garbage? Was it okay? Was he just being playful? Did I misread his touch? I wanted to die. Standing right there in that kitchen, I wanted to die. 

That night, I burned the skirt and top in a fire grandpa had started outside the old house. I was supposed to stay for a full week, I think. It might have been around Thanksgiving or a school holiday. I still can't remember. I called my adoptive mother that night and begged her to come get me, but she refused. She said it was too late and that she would come for me the next day. I barely slept that night and once even rolled over to find my grandpa standing in the bedroom doorway, watching me sleep. "I'm gonna tell grandma." I said to him and he turned and left. 

I adored my grandmother, but I doubt - knowing what I know now - that she would have rescued me. 

So, you see, all he did was touch me, right? 

This is me around age 11. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Challenge Yourself (A Sewing Blog)

When I first started seriously sewing, I thought I would never try making my own patterns. I was sure it was a task I could never master and had no desire to try. What changed was actually that I had an old pattern my adoptive mother gave me. It was a 1970s sundress that Mama had used to make me little outfits when I was around four years old. My youngest daughter was seven when I got that pattern and it was too small for her. 

It took more than two or three tries to upsize that little sundress pattern, but when I got it right I was hooked on making my own patterns. After I learned to make a few dress and pants patterns for Twisty, I set out to make purse patterns. There are still patterns I want to try and make on m own, but haven't tried yet. I'm building up the courage to actually try to create a shirt or dress patterns with real sleeves on it. 

My point is that I was a newbie once myself. I was afraid to try new things, but once I had mastered one challenge, it motivated me to try another. I would not ask my YouTube viewers to try anything I hadn't already tried myself. I get tons of messages everyday asking me where the pattern for this or that it, but, come on people, a sundress pattern with only 3 basic pattern pieces is really NOT that hard to do yourself. One reason I tag most of my videos "sewing for beginners" is because I know a beginner CAN do it!

Everybody seems to want everything done for them, but I came from a "learn to do it yourself" childhood. I'm glad I am self-taught. If it works for me, it works and no one can tell me it's the wrong way. Think of how much more joy you'll get out of your sewing if you can say "I even made the pattern myself". 

The day will come when I might learn to make my patterns into PDFs, but when I do, they won't be free. That's extra work for me and if it takes away from other things I could be doing, I'm going to charge for it. So, why not check out my pattern making videos - which are totally free and only cost you a little of your time. You'll learn something new and you'll be so proud of yourself for it. I know I feel a little bolder every time I accomplish something new.