oliver

Monday, January 5, 2015

He Was All Mine Again for a Little While

When this holiday break started, I was scared and frustrated. It was going to be the kiddo's first lengthy holiday break from school, which meant that I was going to have to take a break from work and head back into SAHM mode for two weeks.

Did I need that break from work? Absolutely. After tackling a particularly difficult manuscript, I didn't want to read anything that wasn't publisher perfect for a while. However, the fact that I HAD to take a break made me grumbly.

And as for going back into SAHM mode, well, that always scares me.  The kid has done so great, SO great at school. He loves it there. His little three and a half year old brain is soaking up everything academic they throw at him and doing its best to work on communication and social skills. At school they keep him busy, they keep him challenged, they keep him on the path of progress. How in the hell am I supposed to even compare to that? I may not be the furthest thing from a lovely, patient, special ed teacher, but I'm still pretty damn far away.

My feelings at the beginning of the break weren't unfounded or unreasonable, and there were definitely periods of frustration and irritation during this holiday break, but things were nowhere near as bad as I feared they would be, and now I'm actually kind of sad.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Oyster vs. Scribd: Digging a Little Deeper

It's been about a week since I started my free trials of Oyster and Scribd. I've taken to reading a book from one and then reading the next book from the other. (It's my version of trying to be fair.)

So far I've read or re-read Wuthering Heights (Scribd), The Hangman's Daughter (Oyster), The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms (Scribd), and A Reliable Wife (Oyster).  I'm currently reading I Suck at Girls (by Justin Halpern of "Shit My Dad Says" fame) on Scribd, but haven't gotten far enough to decide if it's worth continuing.  I tried a couple of romances on Oyster, but lost interest in both (one almost immediately and the other about halfway through).  

I have to admit, I've read more this past week than I have over the last few months; these services just make it so easy, and there's no guilt over spending a bunch of money on books I may or may not like.  Plus, I'm really not the re-reader I used to be--or maybe I just don't find a lot of books I'd WANT to re-read anymore--so not having books I'll never read again cluttering up my shelf or my Kindle Touch is another perk. (And trust me, those Kindle screens can get pretty cluttered when you've got 500 + titles on them--no matter how much you try to organize them into collections.)

But you're not here to hear how a book subscription service is wonderful in general, right?  You want to know the details and the dirt.  Well, let's get informatively filthy. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Oyster vs. Scribd: First Impressions

I miss going to the library.

I don't miss the people, public-ness, and pressures that are all involved with going to the library.

Enter the book subscription services.

They're most often referred to as "Netflix for books," and that's a fair description.  Right now there are two main players: Oyster Books and Scribd.

I first heard about this sort of service last fall when Oyster was in beta testing.  I got all excited and then saw that Oyster was coming out on iProducts ONLY.  At that point, I didn't own an i-anything, became grumpily despondent about the whole idea, and then vowed to forget about it--and I did.

Yesterday, however, I saw an ad for Oyster . . . AS I WAS BROWSING THE WEB ON MY iPAD AIR THAT I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS.  I immediately went to the site and snooped.  I then started looking for reviews, and in doing so discovered there was a competitor--Scribd.  I went ahead and signed up for the free month-long trial for Oyster yesterday and then today decided to do the same for Scribd so that I could compare the two before deciding which one (if either) was worth a monthly subscription.

I figured, why not share my thoughts with the world?


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Anxiety, Lack of Religion, and Existential Angst: the Three BFFs of Messing Up My World Right Now

I feel like I'm having some sort of anxiety-induced/fueled existential crisis.

I've become a decidedly NOT religious person, which has been quite the process considering I was raised in a religious home and at one point in my twenties had such strong faith (which I truly believed I would have forever), that I had a cross permanently inked on the back of my left shoulder.

Now that cross just seems like a joke and a lie.

It's a joke because it is a glaring example of the ludicrously naive beliefs of my youth.  It is a lie because others who see it probably take it to mean that I am a Christian.  The lie is why I want it removed.  I'm fine with keeping my first tattoo--a cheap little design off the wall plus a phrase in my own handwriting.  I keep it willingly as a testament to my overcoming my fear of needles and also as a "remember, you have to live with your choices" reminder.  And I would gladly keep the cross for the same reasons, if it didn't represent something I am very much NOT.  I feel like I'm misleading people.  I fear someone will see it and inherently trust me, thinking that we have a very crucial (to him or her) life foundation in common.

Wait, how did this turn into talking about my cross tattoo?  Fuck it.  Welcome to my train of thought--if you need things like "direction" and "logical progression," I suggest you jump off now.

Anywho, I don't "have" religion.  And trust me, most of the time I wish I did.  I remember the comfort: everything was all part of a plan--a plan by someone who had my best interests at heart and was always looking out for me.  I remember the company: I was never alone because He was always with me.  I remember the peace: I could let just about anything go because I didn't really have to deal with it; He would deal with it for me OR give me the strength/ability to deal with it.  I mean, I didn't have to rely on myself practically at ALL.

Now?  It's all me.  And my life?  That's all there is.  I love the idea of some sort of afterlife, ANY sort of afterlife mythology--I desperately don't want to believe that one day my brain functions will cease and I'll just be GONE, that there will be nothing of me left but a human shell and whatever people can remember.  Problem is, I just don't believe it.  I can't.  Because I can't believe in any of the other constructs that come along with those afterlives.

If you're happily religious and you feel bad for me, I don't blame you.  Hell, I've BEEN you.  When I was happy and warm and secure in my beliefs, I genuinely felt bad for those who didn't have such a thing.  I knew how much it helped me and how it comforted me, and I thought that everyone deserved to feel that.  I didn't look down on people or think "you're going to hell;" I just thought, "if you only knew what you are missing out on, how happy (or how much happier) you could be."  But to me, faith has always been an intensely personal thing, so I didn't proselytize or try to make anyone a believer.  Even now I don't try to convince someone out of his or her faith, just as I request people not try to convince me to return to the fold.  What you do or do not believe is yours and yours alone.

But honestly?  Having religion just used to make life easier, more bearable.  When I was worried about something I could do nothing about, I actually COULD do something: I could pray.  And then, having actually "done" something about it, I could let the worry go.  I no longer have that outlet; now I have anxiety meds. Yay.

And that's really when I miss religion the most, in situations I have virtually no control over.  Husband going out of town for work?  God, keep him safe.  Someone I care about critically ill?  God, heal her.  Son getting evaluated by experts?  God, let him actually be the child I see on a daily basis and not the little distracted yet intensely focused and super stressed little boy he becomes in brand new, overwhelming places.

That last one is a little telling, isn't it?  The kiddo needs special ed prior to kindergarten, that's a given.  But how much and for how long and to what extent is trickier.  Those things are initially based on an on site (i.e. at the school) play evaluation.  My child is practically fucking FAMOUS for poor evaluations.  Evaluations in which he shows less than half of what he can actually do--my husband likened it to test-taking anxiety: you totally know your shit, but in that particularly stressful situation, those parts of your brain/knowledge necessary to your success just shut down.  THANKS BRAIN, YOU'RE A REAL FUCKING PEACH.

Needless to say, I was not pleased with how the evaluation went and what the evaluators got to see.  Again, is the kid delayed?  Yes.  Does he need services?  Oh yes, most definitely.  Is he some flat-expressioned little boy who never mimics, barely says a word, and can't point to the triangle? NO.

He is a beautiful smiley faced child who loves to sing and talk nonsense and picks out the triangle every. single. fucking. time.  But that's not who they got to see.

Fortunately, we're getting another chance.  They're going to come here, to our home, to watch him during a normal services visit in a place that is familiar and comfortable to him.

Aaaaaand now I'm worrying about it.  What if he's having a bad day?  What if he doesn't do anything differently?  What if they end up thinking it's a big waste of time perpetrated by yet another mother who can't see past her love for her child to realize that he belongs on the spectrum?

I am drowning in "what ifs" that I have virtually no control over.  I mean, I can practice with him and . . . well, that's about it.  I can't make him not be sick.  I can't make him wake up in a good mood that day.  I can't dictate his feelings or his actions.  I can't beg him to let them see who he really is so that they have as much accurate information as possible when deciding which program and which class to place him in.

If I were religious, I could pray.  I could leave it all up to God and be reassured that however it worked out was the way it was meant to.  But I'm not, and I can't.

Instead, I'm here writing a blog so that I can be doing something, anything, other than ruminating on what will or will not happen on Thursday.  I'm also trying to avoid the even bigger thoughts that I fled to my keyboard to avoid.  That if I can't get my anxiety under control, all my life--the ONLY life I will ever have--will be is one big anxiety attack.  I'll have heart attack by the time I'm 45 because I couldn't stop stressing the fuck out over things I CANNOT FUCKING CONTROL.  And then I'll be dead.  I'll have wasted my one opportunity to live on FUCKING ANXIETY.

All I want to do right now is hug my son, cling to him until I feel better (which, by the way, sounds soooooo super healthy; I mean, if I don't have Jesus to make me feel better, why not shift that burden on to my child?).  But he's napping.  Instead, I'm just left here in the kitchen to go insane, shifting between worrying about Thursday and worrying about my lack of an eternity.

NEITHER OF WHICH I CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT.

Did you know that one of the definitions of insanity is "extreme foolishness or irrationality"?  (Fuck that movie trope about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results--that is not in any dictionary I can find, except the dictionary of bullshit definitions.) I mean, that really just about says it all as far as I'm concerned.  When I'm in the middle of anxiety-land, that is EXACTLY how I would describe myself and/or my thoughts.

Oh noes, someday I'm going to die and then there's just going to be nothing!  So?  I'll be dead and nothing.  The beauty of being nothing is that you can't possibly know that you're nothing.  That's where the fear comes in, right?  The thought of being nothing.  Of being just done.  Basically, fear is a problem of the living.  Hey, I could make that a trend, like first-world problems?  #livingproblems.  Don't steal that; it's mine.

Though sometimes it's not the whole "I'm going to die and be nothing" that gets me; it's more the, "I'm going to die and be nothing and THIS is how I'm choosing to live my one life that will culminate in that?"  Yup, I have anxiety about living an anxiety-riddled life.

Ugh.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Was Back on the Crazy Train and Rode it to the Shrink

Sometimes it's difficult to see just how pervasive a mental illness is in your life until you realize you have it.  Things that you used to chalk up to being raised a certain way or being female or just being fucking weird  all of the sudden fit under a new umbrella--anxiety.

Friday, October 25, 2013

What I'm Currently "Working" On

I've started like three different posts, nice, deep posts, but I haven't finished any of them, BECAUSE WHO IN THE HELL WANTS TO READ THAT?

Also, every time I start to work on one of them I get all emotional and upset because they're about pretty tough subjects (for me, not necessarily for anyone else), and then I start crying and my husband comes to see what's going on, and the dog comes to see what's going on, and then--if he's awake--the toddler comes to see what's going on and while the concern very sweet, it's also highly embarrassing and I'd rather not even TRY to write on those when anyone else is in the house and/or awake, but I can't really night-owl it like I want/used to because I have responsibilities and I'm also old and tired, and besides, if I'm going to stay up late it's going to be for working on my fiction and not on my blog, because THAT is a priority . . . and yet here I am writing a post instead of fiction.

Well, fuck-a-doodle-doo, what's a writer to do?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Broken, But in a Very Writerly Way

I think I'm broken.

Well, broken in an additional way.  (Let us not put the current "Ways I'm Broken" list here in print; print is so . . . evidential.)

Apparently this type of broken is pretty normal for writers, so, yay?

Maybe someone should market the hell out of that idea: "You're not a real writer unless you're *insert behavior that admitting to will earn you a 5150*."  Then we can all have asylum cred, and no type of "cred" is more respected than asylum cred.  "Rehab?  How banal.  I just got back from a stint in the loony bin; TOP THAT."

My current type of broken will not fit with the above marketing plan, however, and that's okay because the kid won't raise himself, the dog won't train herself, and they don't let you have a laptop and internet access in those places (the lack of which would probably end up sending me to the behavioral unit or solitary or wherever in the fuck they send you after they've sunk a needle full of Consciousness-B-Gone into your left butt cheek).