Grief and Grieving

Grief and Grieving

I’d like to address that my cat of 12 years, Blessing, passed away last month. I’ve wanted to write this post for a couple weeks now. I wanted to but I just… I didn’t feel ready. I’m not sure I feel ready now but I think that not talking about her on here has been a factor in my inability to write posts. I want to be always honest with you and not telling you something this big about my life feels dishonest. It’s felt like I’ve been outright lying even though I really haven’t been.

She was my wonderful, obnoxious, loving, kitty for most of my life. She was extra difficult these last few years but I loved her. I’m going to miss her for a long time, maybe the rest of my life. Probably the rest of my life.IMG_20170423_131233958

Of course I’m sad she’s gone. She was in pain at the end so there is relief. She was also, as I said, extra difficult. So there is some relief in not having to deal with her problems anymore. I didn’t love her less for her issues but I think it’s unrealistic to sugarcoat the good of the deceased and ignore the negative. I know it’s a coping mechanism for many people but it isn’t mine. Even just after a death (person or animal) I want to remember them and talk about them the way they really were, not some idealized version that everyone is making them out to be.

I grieve her. Deeply. I know it’s only been almost a month. I don’t think I’m done grieving her yet. But I’m done bursting into tears at her memory. I can talk about her and now I am writing about her and not getting worked up too much. For me, being able to think and talk about her without tears is me moving my life forward. I’ll ALWAYS remember her lovingly but I do need to live my life.

Despite this blog, and my willingness to share much of my life, tragedy is still very private for me. I will share when I’m ready but initially, well, my circle is very small. I don’t tell many people about bad things that happen. With Blessing’s death I think I told more people than I ever have before and I think a big reason was how long I’d had her. But I think I only told three people she was really sick before her passing. I didn’t post anything on Facebook or anywhere on social media. I didn’t tell any of my coworkers right off. I didn’t even tell my siblings about it (although I think my mom let them know).

There are reasons I don’t share my grief, at least initially. I don’t like reliving it. That’s the biggest one. Everything that reminds me she’s dead forces me to confront that she’s gone. Over and over and over. And I hate that. I don’t want notifications with people’s sympathy because I appreciate the sentiment but I don’t want that sadness brought up again. I cry on my own terms. I grieve on my own time. I don’t want to get texts or calls or messages about this tragedy. I don’t want to dread picking up my phone. I don’t want my heart to start racing when I check Facebook because I don’t know if that notification is going to be a funny meme or a comment on that picture of my dead cat. I also don’t want Facebook to drag up that status in a year or two years or 5 years and remind me of it.

I will remember it. I will decide when to look at pictures. I will decide when to watch cute videos of her. I will decide when I’m ready to share this news. I will decide who to share it with.

I am incapable of speaking when I’m crying. It’s just not a skill I possess. So I HATE trying to share sad news with someone when I am not past the crying-at-every-thought-and-mention phase of grieving. I can’t really share and I end up getting a headache and feeling like garbage. So I really don’t want to cry a lot around people. Not because I’m embarrassed but because it is inconvenient and I can’t express myself the way I want. I’m not bottling up my emotions. I just want them to be let out on my terms, not yours.

I’ve said my goodbyes to my baby. I’m working my way through this. If I don’t share something with you when it happens, please don’t be offended or feel that I don’t count you as a friend/confidant! I’m just working through things in my own way.

I seriously already feel like a weight is being lifted off me for writing this. I appreciate every one of you! Thank you all for being so understanding these last few weeks!

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Blog Struggles

I don’t know what’s been up with these last few weeks. I feel like I have really struggled to post. I skipped a week, had a decent post, a post on the fly, and now this. Part of it is probably that I’m very hard on myself with blog posts. Sure, I can post quickly (as evidenced by this post and last week’s post) but I still try to keep it quality. If I don’t like it, or if I feel like it’s gonna come back to haunt me, then I don’t post it. There was a week at some point where I had written two separate posts but neither of them felt right so I didn’t post at all that week.

Also, I don’t feel like anything has really been happening in my life recently. I’m just… living. So not a lot to write about. Or at least, not anything I think someone would want to read. And there I go being a bit hard on myself. Many ideas I have I almost immediately shoot down because I don’t think they’re worth it or they’re not that interesting. Or maybe I think they’ll sound too whiny. Or maybe they require a bit of research and it’s already Friday and I have to work all day.

This is kind of… I don’t want to call it a non-post because it’s a post. I’m trying to be open and real here. I’m going through a rough writing patch. I want to write about things that matter but I also I want to write about really petty things. So I get caught up in throwing out petty ideas and simultaneously throwing out things-that-matter ideas because they’re mutually exclusive things. Sometimes I feel like my blog should be high and lofty and only about impressively smart things. But I have to be real and I know that that’s not real life.  Real life is petty and lofty and sarcastic and impressive and everything else that could be in between.

I guess I’m still trying to figure it all out (aren’t we all??). I started this blog thinking it would only be about writing and now it’s grown and changed so much just over the course of a year that now I mostly write about my life. I’m still growing as a person and this blog is growing too. Thank you so much for being here with me! I’m not sure I can say enough that I appreciate you, my readers! Thank you for bearing with me as I keep moving with this crazy thing called life!

I really needed this post. I needed to just throw this all out there. Hopefully I will have a ‘real’ post next week! Until then, stay fabulous!

It’s 8:46pm

Time for Corrie to post a blog.

Her room, chaos before her as fingers type, backspace, type.

A stuffed purple rabbit stares at her from the bookshelf.

He leans to the side against a crumpled t-shirt,

his ears flopping forward like the rim of a baseball cap.

She wonders,

again,

why she does this to herself.

Procrastinates

waits too long for the absolutely perfect idea to hit.

It’s just a dry spell, she tells herself.

Of course there will be weeks, if not months, when ideas don’t flow,

when the blank screen is an empty cavern of desolate thought,

when there is no epiphany, no annoyance, no excess, no heartache

to share.

A pile of dirty laundry sits in the corner,

ever present work to be done but never completed,

always slumbering and growing.

Naturally there will be rough patches. 

Naturally there will be flat tires and pit stops.

Her life feels stagnate.

The same things over and over and over.

Tile floor, blue carpet, disheveled blankets on an unmade mattress.

Work, drive, home, bed, wake up, repeat.

The ticka-tack of the keyboard doesn’t stop

even though she doesn’t have anything important to say.

The pile of empty notebooks agrees,

spiral spines casting prison bars over each other.

Writing in verse is a trick she learned in college to get her thoughts flowing.

One thought

after another

in perfect

bite-sized lines.

Something on the dresser shifts,

gravity finally doing its part, pulling and prodding

until the pile of folded shirts finally gives in

and falls to the floor.

Corrie sighs and does not retrieve them.

The sounds of the house quiet

as everyone but the writer prepares for rest,

the tap of the keyboard

speaking with the night.

Shout Out to The Average Person

Shout Out to The Average Person

I was thinking about how I actually managed to pick up knitting again a couple weeks ago and how I’ve done a little painting recently and I’ve been thinking about starting some other crafts as well, maybe some earrings or something. This thought led me to think about how, on average, when I tell someone that I knit or I show them a simple painting or craft I’ve completed, they’re really impressed.

To be clear, I AM NOT VERY GOOD at any one craft. I’m more of a jack of all some trades and master of none maybe like one. My knitting isn’t anything to write home about. I make lots of mistakes. (Maybe the one thing I’ve mastered is how to cover up mistakes in crafts.)

I feel like I can APPEAR good at things because I know my limits and actually don’t push myself too hard past them. For example, when I paint, I don’t even TRY realistic subjects because I know I can’t pull it off. (I also have little to paint realistically) I end up painting very simple things that are more minimalist. It’s easy. Even for someone who doesn’t know a lot about painting, it would be easy.

I’m perfectly okay with that too. I don’t care if I’m ever the greatest at any one thing. Usually when I’m knitting, painting, or crafting I’m making a thing for someone I care about and it’s more important to me that the thing is nice for them. I’m not comparing myself to anyone for my hobbies. It’s just me and my past work. I’m better than I was before and that’s all that matters to me.

My cousin got me into knitting and even though I don’t think she’s been doing it recently, she’s still better than me. She knows more stitches and she’s had more practice than me. I don’t care. If I made her something, she would probably love it even if, of all people, she has the greatest ability to critique my work. Even if she saw all the flaws, she wouldn’t care about them (or at least I hope not!) because I made it with love.

It’s okay to be average or even below average at something. We can’t all be A-list actors or Renaissance Era painters. Most of us will never be that great. I certainly won’t. Even with my writing I don’t expect to be the next J. K. Rowling or anything. I don’t let that get to me. I know I can do some things better than others but really, when I start comparing myself to everyone else, I’m average.

We’re all our own selves and we all have qualities that we bring to the table in a way that no one else can. You shouldn’t get caught up in comparisons. You’re not a failure because you can’t paint as well as that one girl on etsy who makes custom Pop! Figures. I’m not a failure because I’ll never be as good at dry-walling as my dad is (who did it professionally for years). You can be average against the world. Nothing wrong with that.

But be above average to yourself. Look at your past work, your past self, and make it better. I’ve been learning some new stitch patterns for knitting and I’m experimenting with some splatter painting. I’m still moving forward with my own self. You can better yourself and also not constantly compare yourself to others. Look up to that person who’s really good at a thing you want to be really good at. Learn from them. Strive for better and don’t berate yourself for being not as good as someone else.

We all start getting better somewhere. Start here.

Can We All Just Finish Our Own Sentences

Conversation is supposed to be a back and forth between two or more people. One person finishes their sentence, then another person provides their own input. When they finish up what they’re saying, then the other person responds. There should be a clear break between each person. Just like in a novel how you would have paragraph breaks between bits of dialogue, so too in real life you let the other person take a breath to show the end of their thought.

BUT THAT’S NOT HOW PEOPLE REALLY TALK.

IN REAL LIFE PEOPLE CONSTANTLY INTERRUPT AND RARELY LET YOU FINISH ONE SINGLE THOUGHT.

If I had to write down a real life conversation the way they often feel then it would look like this:

interrupting conversation

The longer it goes, the more convoluted it becomes and the first person never actually gets to finish their story. It’s okay to move from topic to topic and sometimes you don’t get to say every little thing you want to say. BUT the more conversations I have with people, even close friends, the more I notice how much we interrupt each other.

There are two kinds of people in conversations when interrupting starts happening:

  1. The okay-I’ll-shut-up person.

This person will immediately, or nearly immediately stop talking when someone interrupts them. They usually feel uncomfortable when more than one person is trying to talk and will defer to the other. This can be in an effort to not offend the other person or it can be to keep the situation from escalating since you never know how someone will react if you call them out on interruptions.

2. The I-am-the-dominant-conversationalist-here-shut-up-you-peasant person.

This person will keep talking if interrupted. It’s usually subtle because the other person is pretty much ALWAYS the shut-up person. This dominant is often the interrupter too because whatever pops into their head is actually much more important than whatever the shut-up person has to say.

These aren’t hard and fast rules. During any one conversation you can switch back and forth between shut-up and dominant. I’ve been both people and you have probably been both people too. AND BOTH PEOPLE ARE ANNOYING IN THEIR OWN SPECIAL WAYS.

Shut-up people are annoying because they’re like a quiet little mouse in conversation who never gets a word in edge-wise and they’re ALWAYS apologizing for existing. There’s nothing wrong with being quiet or letting someone else lead a conversation but STOP APOLOGIZING WHEN YOU’RE NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG. The dominant-conversationalist interrupted you and that isn’t your fault. You can talk over them. (Which, coincidentally, switches your role if the dominant-conversationalist actually shuts up.)

Dominant-conversationalist people are annoying because, well, I’d say you can figure it out. THEY INTERRUPT. CONSTANTLY.

Do me a favor and the next conversation you have, doesn’t matter who you’re talking to, just pay attention to yourself. LISTEN to the other person. Every time this other person speaks, keep your mouth shut. And then keep keeping your mouth shut. Seriously. Just take a conversation to become aware of what role you seem to play. If something pops into your head and you want to say it in the middle of someone else talking then, here’s a novel idea, DON’T. JUST KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT UNTIL IT’S YOUR TURN.

Remember in grade school when you had to raise your hand to give input and sometimes the teacher wouldn’t notice you and they would just move on through the lesson so your once-fantastic comment is now completely irrelevant and you had to slowly put your hand down, accepting that you would never get to share your wonderfully perfect comment, looking around awkwardly at your classmates who saw the whole embarrassing thing and are now offering wry smiles and sympathetic looks? That’s still the feeling when everyone else in the conversation moves on before you get to share your thoughts.

Honestly, that feels like the reason everyone interrupts each other. Because they’re afraid that they might not get to share something at the right moment if they don’t blurt it out as soon as it pops into their head. You know what, GET OVER IT. This isn’t grade school. I’m talking to adults here (I can’t BELIEVE I have to say this to ADULTS). You’re being rude. You’re telling the person being interrupted that YOUR input is more important than whatever they’re saying. You’re making them feel THE EXACT FEELING THAT YOU YOURSELF ARE TRYING TO AVOID.

I have preferred written communication for a long time and my distaste for those who constantly interrupt has definitely influenced that. See, you can’t interrupt this blog post. You can post comments (which I always appreciate!) but you can’t physically stop me to insert your own feelings/thoughts/comments into mine. Love it. It’s so freeing to be able to talk without anyone to stop my story for no other reason than a thing popped into their head.

Basic manners dictate you allow a person to finish what they’re saying. SO DO IT. BE POLITE. Have basic human decency in everyday conversation. It’s not that hard.

Slime Makes Me Irrationally Angry Sometimes

Slime Makes Me Irrationally Angry Sometimes

Working in retail can be interesting. You often have a semi-early look at the-next-big-product or, at the very least, you get to field calls all day about the-next-big-product that your company DID NOT get to your store before it was the-next-big-product.

Last year the toy to get was a Hatchimal and let me tell you, people were ANGRY when we didn’t have them in stock.

hatchimals-penguin-spin-master-hatchimal
Hatchimal

 

Sorry, seething customer who has been to “literally 800 stores today looking for one” that we also don’t have any. It’s the hottest toy of the season, I’m not sure what you expect a week from Christmas. This year the toy to get is (supposed to be) Fingerlings.

Why couldn’t I have thought about these products? These things are cute but that’s, like, literally it. They make some noise and move a bit but really? THAT’S ALL IT TAKES?

Yes, I’m sure plenty of research and development went into these little finger monkey things but the concept is really simple. In fact, the concept isn’t even new. I remember having fur-real friends when I was little. At least those were fluffy! And those were probably not a new concept then either.

fingerling
Fingerling

I guess what frustrates me is that so many fads and crazy-good-selling products are things that ANYONE could’ve come up with. I could’ve come up with the idea for a little plastic monkey that sits on your finger.

*Immediate chorus: “But you didn’t!”*

There we go. That’s what frustrates me. Everyone wants to be the one to tap into the next big thing and I’m really no different. It’s not that I have this insane desire to become wealthy. I really don’t want to be insanely rich (worldly wealth comes with plenty of its own problems). What I want is to pay off my debt and maybe start a cat rescue in this area. That could be fully covered if I came up with a hot selling item. The money would be fleeting but I could certainly use it while it was there.

Life isn’t fair. Money is frustrating. I don’t have time to develop a stupid big-next-thing to sell. I’ll never have the money to do what I want. Blah blah blah. Complain complain.

There are twelve-year-olds making thousands of dollars selling slime on Etsy. Slime is stupid. Well, stupid easy to make. I get why people want it. It’s cool looking, sensory, and

Related image
Slime

all that. But it’s so… stupid. Like, white glue and borax and some glitter (or whatever you make it with, I didn’t look it up) and there you go: slime. Then, if you’re a little well-known online you can write a stupid book about stupid slime recipes and then sell that book and make even more stupid money.

I’m getting really worked up over this. I’m happy for the people who made it into the market and that many are very successful. I’m just salty because I didn’t think of it.

If you write, you’re always looking out for the-next-big-genre (and hoping that it’s one you like to write). It’s really difficult to predict exactly what will take off next. You can analyze the world and shifts that are happening but it’s not a perfect science. It’s not even science really. I’m sure someone out there has thought up some “fool proof” method for it but I haven’t found them yet.

Part of my frustration with the-next-big-thing (WHY did I hyphenate that? It’s getting annoying) is because every time someone makes it, every time an author hits that perfect publishing time, every time a big seller sells out, I’m reminded that someone else has accomplished so much more than me with not necessarily that much more effort. Pride. It’s coming right down to my pride. I take a hit in my ego and it makes me angry. Stupid, I know.

I am probably not alone in this sentiment. I really really do my best to be honestly happy for those who are succeeding (even if the success is largely accidental). I WANT others to be happy and do to well in life. But prideful me wants to hold back and be super-salty-jealous of their success because it’s not mine.

So while I continue to work retail I’ll continue on my ever evolving struggle to be happy for people who make stupid things that sell really well. I’ll try to look to the future. Maybe I’ll catch a lucky break someday. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I’ll just keep working and writing and living and see where God takes me from there.

I’m Not a Cold Person But I Am

Despite what some of my friends think, I do have emotions. I can feel for someone. I can get invested in a movie or book. I can empathize and sympathize.

But I’m realistic. I understand your feelings, I feel your pain, I know how much it hurts. But I also see that you made a poor choice that put you in that position. Just because I feel your pain doesn’t mean I’m going to stop disagreeing with your decisions.

I’m also pretty straightforward with people. If I have something to say I’ll usually say it. I don’t like to dance around issues or people’s feelings too much. I appreciate those who do the same for me. The truth can be harsh and #sorrynotsorry but that’s just part of life. Either own it or be constantly offended by those who don’t sugarcoat everything.

It’s a near constant duality in my mind that I feel strongly empathetic and also not empathetic at all. If someone is hurting I WILL get teary-eyed knowing their pain. I’ll usually hold back the tears but they’re there, pushing at the corners of my eyes. There is SO MUCH pain in the world and it’s absolutely horrific how much people have been through in this life. I can only imagine the level of trauma and heartache. When I do begin to imagine it, I feel deeply hurt by it. My heart is pained. I hope I’m explaining this well, that feeling of sharing in pain even if you haven’t experienced the same situation. It is definitely not the full extent of the pain the person has experienced. Not even close. But empathy can hurt.

Then at the same time that I’m feeling this deep, intense, pain with the other person I also think (depending on the situation) “You really got yourself into that if we’re being honest.” I don’t say that out loud but it’s a thought. Like, I’m very sorry you’ve ended up a single parent because your last two baby-daddies left you high and dry without child support and your current boyfriend is jobless, not looking to work, and asking you to support him. It’s difficult to maintain three jobs and still get your kids where they need to be each day. It’s exhausting and frustrating and unfair that you are alone now. I know you’re doing absolutely everything you can for your children and trying to keep your head above water is rough.

But how in the world haven’t you learned to stop picking losers as partners? Not only did you choose two deadbeats to have kids with (benefit of the doubt, unplanned pregnancies are a thing) but you’re perpetuating your situation with another deadbeat. You’re not helping yourself out at all. And of course anyone who suggests maybe dropping the dead-weight that is your boyfriend you get offended. You say he’s actually great and it doesn’t cost THAT much to support him even though just last week he bought a new $200 gaming system with YOUR hard earned money.

So I feel for you. I know it’s very difficult, psychologically, to get out of toxic relationships. But good heavens you could try! You could significantly improve your life by making a few different choices. So I feel your pain. I really do. Then I feel your poor choices adding to your negative situation and I don’t feel sorry for you.

Is that possibly the difference? I feel empathetic, feel your pain and personal sadness/anger/frustration but I don’t feel sorry for you.

Google defines sorry as “feeling distress, especially through sympathy with someone else’s misfortune.” So it does seem to be different than empathy, which is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

With those definitions in mind, I think that many people feel empathy and sympathy together but they can be felt separately too.

My example is an understandable one. But I can be mean about it too. Maybe too mean. People who are crying about a TV character dying I just… Shut up. It was in the script! They’re not even real! That’s a lack of sympathy. I don’t know if that’s a situation that warrants empathy. But seriously, when someone else is feeling a strong emotion I can feel it and empathize but I often don’t sympathize.

I don’t really know how to end this post. I had some realizations while writing so it’s processed in my mind but not to a normal blog post conclusion.

*End

**Seems a good closing statement

***I guess