Thursday, September 25, 2014

Why I am a Feminist

As I was cruising through Twitter as I do instead of writing like I should be, I found a retweet from Chuck Wendig: HeforShe: Yes, I am a Feminist. His post is amazingly apt and I left a couple comments on his blog, but I thought it important to clean things up a bit and post it on my blog as well.

I just recently declared myself a feminist. Despite being a woman for thirty-six years, I only started calling myself a feminist in the twilight of 2014.

It took listening to other feminists speak for nearly two years via Twitter to convince me that not all feminists were man-hating, non-shaving, militant lesbians who wanted men to be ground under their boot. With feminists saying other feminists were faux-minists, it was the same kind of crap that led me to throw my hands up. Nobody is happy with the advancements made by other feminists, no matter how big or how small. Women are our competition. We tear each other down instead of build each other up. And it's bullshit.

It wasn't until I witnessed a conversation via twitter by the lovely Feminista Jones that I really took a look at why I'd resisted feminism for so many years. Her response to my rather spiteful comment was simply, "Nah." And she followed with a couple of tweets about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Apparently I wasn't the only one who wasn't a feminist because of all the shit other feminists have told us we have to be. And it forced me to  take a look at why I resisted being a feminist.

I was so leery to don the cape of feminism. Like many people, I was taught feminism was “Up with women! Down with men!” I saw many issues affecting men like the pressure to be the breadwinner and the “men don’t cry” rhetoric. My father was my best bud until I hit pre-teen years and then he just… disappeared. Because he didn’t feel, as a man, that he should be involved like he was in his daughter’s life. I watched male friends be beaten in parking lots for being “gay” or “girly”. Sensitive was thrown around like some kind of insult and still is. We have to walk around with these masks of perfection and invulnerability and it’s complete horseshit. I saw women with unshaven bodies and no makeup burning bras and American flags. I watched so called feminists tell men they were worth nothing more than genetic material donation. I saw women tearing down other women in the name of a cause that I now understand they knew NOTHING about. Until this year, feminism was a dirty word and still is in a lot of circles. I threw the baby out with the bath water because of horrible examples of humanity donning the title and ruining what feminism truly is.

I have never understood why women would chastise women for doing what is in their hearts to do. If a woman wants to become a stay at home mom and raise her kids, AWESOME. If that’s what works for her, then that’s what’s best for her and her family. Friends of mine in the workplace were coerced into coming back from maternity leave with the horrible sword of Damocles that they couldn't ever come back like their husbands were going to chain them to the house with a chain a'la Black Snake Moan. There is nothing wrong with being a career woman. If you want to be the breadwinner of the family, that's amazing! If your husband wants to be a stay at home dad? GREAT! I am not cut out for the role of domestic majesty. If I were left at home with my offspring, I might be the kind of mother to chew off their heads. My son's dad? He's a great dad. My son used to make mother's day cards for his dad and make father's day cards for me. Why? Because we didn't fit traditional roles and still don't and really never will.

It is important for men to speak up about being feminists so that other men don’t feel/think/believe/whatever that they’re alone or the only one or the single guy standing with the cheer squad while the football players and the band kids make fun of them. Every man who steps forward and says, “I’m not perfect, but I’m sure as hell trying and, damnit, this shitting on women and making men be some weird machismo stereotype is wrong!” is one more voice saying “No, dudebro. Not cool, man. Not cool.” when someone sells a shirt that says something as incredibly damaging as, “It’s not rape, it’s a snuggle with a struggle”. (Yes, unfortunately, that DID happen.) Men who are likely to assault women are more likely to listen to another man than to any women who dare be heard instead of merely prettily seen.

I've run into the women against women thing more times than I care to count. I get sick of my coworker saying things like, “I make decisions about people and if I don’t like them, they WON’T stay.” It’s like the thought never crossed her mind that diversity is a good thing and maybe SHE needed to open her mind a little. She’s STILL trying to figure me out. I’m a woman who rarely wears makeup, my hair is almost always in a ponytail. I don’t shave every day or sometimes even every week. I wear jeans and tank tops year round. I don’t give a damn about fashion or makeup or television. I don’t like rom coms like she does. Yet I wear Victoria’s Secret and support her in her decision to be a super girly girl who doesn't leave the house without makeup and who shaves every day, sometimes twice a day. We have a right to be who we are. All of us.

We all need to be excellent to each other. (Wow. Just dated myself there…)

Sometimes it feels like cheating to call myself a feminist, even for me as a woman. I don’t face the myriad of issues other women face. But, more importantly and more scary to a lot of people, is hearing a sexist joke and saying, “Not cool.” When you see a woman who is being street harassed, walking up and simply saying, “You okay, sis?” Putting yourself in the line of fire is a scary, scary thing. And anyone who is willing to take up that mantle, anyone willing to say there is an injustice? That’s a good thing. Male, female, transgender, inter-sex, gender fluid... whatever your orientation, whatever your gender... you want equality.

If not me, who? If not now, when? [transcript]

And, since I've talked about some heavy shit (and I love this girl for real): a moment of humor from the lovely Laci Green.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: His by Sunset & Tequila Sunrise

His By Sunrise (Sexy Siesta, #1)His By Sunrise by Talina Perkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

His by Sunrise is the first in the Sexy Siesta series of books. Each story is a stand alone. They are an incredibly quick read.

A promise made to a Marine brother has Blake Mitchell sitting on his hands instead of putting the moves on Isabella Marie despite his feelings for her. She has worked for the family since her brother's death, but Blake's distance makes her think she needs to stay away. But finding her resignation spurs Blake to action. He devises a plan to make her his by Sunrise.

Minus: The story is essentially one long sex scene. It had me puzzling where the author was going to go from when she already had the main characters coming together so soon. The phrase "warm liquid" was overused.

Plus: The story is essentially one long sex scene. :) It's very well written and kept me turning pages. The description pulled me into the story. I'm not a fan of sex scenes, but this one was very well done.

If you're looking for a light read, this is the one for you.

View all my reviews

Tequila Sunset (Sexy Siesta #2)Tequila Sunset by Talina Perkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tequila Sunset is the second in the Sexy Siesta series from Talina Perkins. These stories are stand alone, related only in their format and that they feature a sexy Latina and a military man.

Gabriel Daniels celebrates the wedding of his best friend in the island paradise of Cabos. He has his sights set on his best friend's cousin, Esmeralda Vega. He's had a tryst with her before, but he wants more. Esmeralda, however, is a business owner who is sending her little sister through college. Her business is failing and with both parents gone, Esmeralda is the only support she has left. She calls in a favor from an old friend of her mother's, one Bougainvillea, whom Gabe has had a run in with once before. Bougainvillea is a drug lord who uses extreme means to transport his product. It's up to Gabriel to save Esmeralda from a dangerous predator and win her heart before she disappears from his life forever.

There are a few minuses about this book. Like the first in the series, the phrase "balls deep" and "hot/warm liquid" pulled me out of the story. I found several errors with tense or incorrect words and repetitious phrases. I think a good read-through would help correct these errors. I was a little irritated with the pet talk. "baby" and "precious" out of the lips of the hero got old after awhile.

On the plus side, this is a really nicely written book. It's a quick read and the action pulls you along. It's a little longer than the first in the series and has a little deeper plot development. The chemistry is undeniable between the main characters.

I think with a little clean-up work, this would easily be a four star book.

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 14, 2014

For Writers: Formatting for Submission

When I had my first shiny draft ready for submission to my dream publisher, I cruised over to their website and clicked on their submission page. "These are the submission guidelines for all writers seeking publication."

And the list was extensive.

I perused the list and finally about three quarters of the way down the page, they listed submission guidelines that I thankfully read. They wanted a .doc file and suggested including your contact information not only in your email, but also in the document. They wanted manuscripts formatted in traditional format. If we didn't know what that was, we were told to Google it.

Google I did. I found William Shunn's Manuscript formatting. Not only did he give the information, he did so by writing it in a document so you could actually SEE what he was talking about. Excellent!

I set up a Word document that was correctly formatted and saved it as a template. I use that for each short story I write.

How to format your manuscript: 

  1. In the upper left hand corner:
    1. Your legal name (what they would use to pay you)
    2. Address
    3. phone number
    4. email address
    5. Approximate word count
  2. Your title should be centered and begin half way down the first page.
  3. Your by line is also centered and should be beneath your title. This is where you put your pen name if using one.
  4.  Your story begins two double spaced lines under the by line.
  5. Your story should be double spaced.
  6. Use 12 point Times New Roman, Palatino or Garamond fonts
  7. Single space after a period.
  8. Do not tab indent. Use the .25 indent feature in Word.
  9. Double space
  10. 1.25 margins all around
  11. Include a header or footer with your name, title and page number.
  12. Do not use extra lines between paragraphs.
  13. Left justify the document.
If you would like your own copy of my document, you can download my Formatted Submission Template

Saturday, August 9, 2014

For Writers: Facebook Release Party

When my first book, The Layover, came out in February of 2014, it was a complete shock and surprise. I'd spent endless hours learning better writing techniques and figuring out my personal brand and how to set myself up as a genuine interesting person. I always figured I'd learn marketing when my first book was written and sent out for submission.
I never expect a short story for an anthology to become my first book.

The publisher expected me to market. I had no idea how to market a book. I frantically searched Google and found next to nothing of interest or value. Most sites suggested hiring someone for marketing. I hadn't saved any money for promotion and I didn't want to spend a whole lot of money in the first place. I was overwhelmed. Thankfully my writing buddies H.C. Brown and Bobbi Romans walked me through some of the tricks they use. I had a place to start.

Release Party on Facebook

 Facebook parties are fairly simple if you have enough traffic. The important thing is to create enough buzz before the event so your friends and friend's friends can join in.
  1. Pick a date and time frame. Make sure your friends know when the party is and remind them. If they're anything like me, I'll forget and won't be on. I chose a three to four hour party. That's enough time to post teasers about your book, a little bit about yourself for those who may not know you, and have some fun games.
  2. Get your stuff together. Make sure you have your information ready to go. I dropped them into a word document to cut and paste into the party page. You'll need this information for your press release anyway, so it kills a couple of birds with one stone.
    1. Book cover
    2. Book blurb
    3. Your author blurb as an introduction for who you are and what you do
    4. Social media information such as your twitter feed and website link
    5. Excerpts in various flavors. I picked one kind of vanilla, one that suggests things with a PG13 rating and then one on the hotter side.
    6. Snippets: little bits of your story to hook the reader all on a handy little image. Visuals go a long way.
    7. Book buy links. This is important! If people can't buy the book you're feeding them, the party isn't going to do its job.
    8. Conversation starters! Have questions to ask your audience not only about your book, but about the subject matter within. Engage with them and talk about their favorite books or characters.
  3. Giveaways. Everybody likes to win something. I chose to ask questions based from my books and whomever got the answer first, got something fun. I did a couple of $5 Amazon gift cards and an original art piece done by a good friend of mine. I only asked a few questions and gave fifteen to thirty minutes for responses. You can pick up related items at your favorite store. For my Steampunk story releasing later this year, I am making a handmade item to give away. Let your imagination go!
  4. Author Swag. It can be something simple like a business card from VistaPrint or a handmade Author trading card like the Artist trading cards.
  5. Create your page. Go to facebook and create an event page. You have your date, time and what you're doing this for. Fill in the form and create the page! Then invite people. Tell them to invite people.
  6. Drop teasers. This is the fun part. In the time leading up to the release, drop one-liners. Post teasers. Do a Rafflecopter giveaway and announce the winner during the Facebook party. Let people enter once a day by tweeting about your facebook party.
If you do any blog spot trades or or guest posts anywhere, link to your release party and rafflecopter giveaway.

If you would like to hire someone to help you promote, I recommend:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Silent No More

Trigger warning: street harassment, fat shaming

When I was in my early twenties, I worked on an overnight team at a department store. I arrived to the store early every night to have a cigarette before I clocked in for my shift. I stood at the far end of the building near the employee parking. The building was not well lit in the employee lot. Most employees left during daylight hours or left in large groups.
I had never feared for my safety going to and from my car. I'd never been bothered while I was smoking. I also wore all black, my skin was white as snow and I dyed my hair black #1. Most people in my small town didn't come near me. They were scared of me because of my appearance.

That didn't stop the man who pulled up to the stop sign at the corner of the building and rolled down his window.

"How much?" he called at me. I couldn't have heard him right. There's no way someone would stop their car and say something like that. I scanned the lot. No one else was anywhere around.

"Excuse me?"

"I said 'how much'."

I gaped at the car. I couldn't see the guy's face. He was in some kind of Lincoln or Impala. Pale grey or dirty white. The light reflected off his forehead. He was light complected. That was all I could have told the cops. I turned away, hoping he would just leave if I didn't answer him. I took another long drag off my cigarette.

"Hey! I said 'how much'!"

I roll my eyes. I don't make eye contact. Go the fuck away.

"More than you got, honey." PLEASE let someone walk up and scare this guy off. Someone come out of the fucking building.

"No, seriously. How much?"

"Seriously. More than you got."

"How much for you to come over here and put that cigarette out on my dick?"

For an instant, I considered doing it. I would do it for free just to hurt the mother fucker. I pushed away from the wall. Then common sense kicked in. If I reached in through the passenger side of his car, he could grab my wrist, drag me into his car and drive off with me. No.

"Fuck off." Maybe that would get it through to him. I scanned the parking lot again. Please let someone. ANYONE. Park their car and get out.

One of my coworkers opened the door of his beat up Lancer.

"JASON!" I picked up my arm and waved. The guy swiveled over his shoulder and peeled out when he saw my well over six foot tall coworker with broad shoulders and shaved head. Jason looked at me like I was nuts. I ran across the parking lot to meet him in case the guy came back.

The guy left because another man walked up. Jason told me if he would have realized that's what was happening, he would have gotten out of his car sooner.

I sat and shook for the first half hour I was in the building. I never stood at the far end of the buildings again. I stood at my car for a cigarette. In the parking lot where customers parked. Under a street light. In a small town with 40,000 people that you couldn't swing a bat without hitting someone you knew.

The second instance, I was leaving goth night at one of the area bars. I'd come with a couple of friends and we always left the bar after last call. We avoided a lot of the drunks on the way to our cars. That night, however, the drunks spilled out of the other bars on the strip and shoved one another over the sidewalks. They congregated on the corners and in the alleyways between the brick buildings. I never walked the narrow alleys on the way to my car. I stuck with the main entrances and exits. Streetlights. Wide passages I couldn't be shoved against. Places where a lot of people were.

As I jaunted along with my friends, a gaggle of guys eyed me. I was wearing a skirt slightly shorter than I'd ever worn before. It was a pink and white plaid and black pleated skirt. Tiny little thumb cuffs linked through the belt loops. I hadn't worn fishnets that night. My boots were chafing my calves. This short little blonde shit broke off from the gang and skipped along behind me.

"Hey, so you like that kind of thing, huh?"

I ignore him. He's got to be talking to somebody else. I'm a chubby chick. Nobody hits on chubby chicks.

"Hey, I'm talking to you! So you're into that kind of thing, huh?"

I keep walking, but I'm walking a little faster. My friends are three or four steps ahead of me. My heart beats in my chest. The street fights after the bars close down are notorious. Girls whisper of sexual assaults that happen all the time. There are often police in the area when the bars let out because they know they're going to arrest someone. Unfortunately there weren't any cars in the area we were in, which was probably why the guy was hanging around there with his friends.

"You like that kinky stuff, huh. Whips, chains and lingerie. Don't you WALK AWAY from ME!"

I feel him coming up on me fast. I bolt to my car. I've practiced running in these boots to get away from someone like him. He's drunk and doesn't run as fast as he could. I shoot past my friends and unlock my car.

He's stopped chasing me, instead yelling insults. "Whatever you fat fuck! I was just being nice to you anyway! Dial back on the fucking french fries, fatass!"

I had never been so thankful to be locked in my car. As his friends passed the vehicle, one of them pounded hard enough on my window to make me jump. Another one pulled the passenger door handle. I wasn't stupid. I locked the fucking car behind me. They were laughing as they walked away.

"Did you see her fucking thighs jiggle when she ran? Fucking hippo."

It took me half an hour to start my car. They were sitting on the hood of his car when I pulled away. One of them chucked an empty beer bottle at my back window.

Street harassment happens to many women every day. Catcalling, following, unwanted physical contact, violence and rape. Women have very real cause to fear that a man will harm them, even if they politely decline or ignore the behaviour. I have two instances of street harassment that, to this day, make me feel anxious when I think back on them. I'm not a pretty girl. I'm chubby. I never wear low cut shirts or short skirts. I don't flirt. I wear no makeup. I rarely even talk to people for fear of giving them the wrong ideas. My hair is pulled back in a pony tail. I do everything society tells rape victims they should do to avoid sexual assault.

And when it isn't harassment, it's fat shaming.

I would have cried tears of absolute fucking joy if any ONE of the people walking to their cars would have walked up to my car and asked me if I was okay. I would have been fucking ecstatic if my coworker would have gotten out of his fucking car and asked me if I was okay. I had to go through both instances alone. I rarely talk about it, just like I don't talk about surviving domestic violence or marital rape.

I'm tired of being silent.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

For Writers: Writer's Block

Life of a Writer by Seetheduck on Deviantart
Ah, writer's block! The harbinger of death for writers, poets and authors.

No writer or author in my small sample has escaped the clutches of their best frienemy. You sit in front of a blank document rather it be Word, Open Office or Scrivener and stare at the screen. You want to write. You need to write. Nothing is coming. Not even the repulsive drivel you'll later delete or edit away. Not a single word enters your brain. Every attempt wafts like smoke through the empty chasm of your mind, arid like the Mohave and complete with tumbleweeds.

And those stupid weeds don't give you a damned bit of help, either.

The longer you stymie in the Block, the more locked down your brain becomes. You have to write. But you can't write. But you need to write! But nothing comes out! No ideas. WHAT DO I DO!?

You browse Twitter. You filter through Facebook. You find something to occupy your mind while you sit in front of the computer screen. You get distracted, but you can't wander off and go do something else because you'll never get anything written.

And so it begins and ends. Day after day. Everyone else comes up with something. But you? Nothing. ZipZilchNada.

Things that work for me?

Browse various publisher's calls for submission. I'm not talking just the genre they're looking for, but the short stories they are looking at. Sometimes the prompts they give will spark an idea. Check out Red Moon Press. Their descriptions of what they're looking for can sometimes spark an idea. Can't write short stories? That's fine. Maybe it will give you a book idea. How about Carina Press? Or my personal favorite Jupiter Gardens Press. I've always had good luck with Circlet Press as well. Sometimes the ideas just leap right out of the page and smack you in the face like a tiny dwarf ninja.

Didn't work for ya?

Why not try putting down the keyboard and coffee and picking up a good book to read. Grab an old favorite and read it again. Pick up that book your great aunt Linda has been shoving in your face every holiday dinner since 2006. Peruse book blog sites and see what the reviewers pick as a decent read. Read some good fanfiction. Or other good fanfiction. Or some really terrible fanfiction. Nothing gets me cranked up faster than reading something horrible and thinking "I could do better than this".

Not yet?

Watch a movie.  I have a thing for From Paris with Love, Sin City and Bunraku. All of them give me ideas.

Nope. Okay. Here's the big kicker.

A lot of the time, I'm so busy on social media that I can't write or get ideas. I refresh Twitter every time I see there are new posts available. I read and read and click links and post in the #amwriting tag. I respond to people there. All in all, these are good things. But not while you're writing. While you're focused on everyone else and what they're doing, you're distracting yourself from your work. This is good when you're on overload. But when it comes down to time to write again, close the window. Do it. Stop reading Twitter. Stop browsing Facebook. The great thing about social media is it will be there when you get back to it. It's out there in cyberspace. Put it down, set a timer and write for ten minutes. It helps.
And now that I've just told you to close social media, it can also help. I chat with friends in a chat room. We do power hours. The same can be done on Twitter. Just as long as they aren't distracting you, it can be a big help just having someone else to sit with you and share the burden of block.

Did any of these help you? Do you have something I didn't list? Please put it in the comments. There are times when I can't break the block with the things I do. I could use your suggestion, too.
This is part of the WordPress daily post. To participate:
Photo courtesy of Seetheduck on Deviant

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Deluge on Verbal Abuse

I believe this post needs trigger warnings for domestic violence and verbal abuse.

I was involved in a relationship for three or so years that could be described as classic verbal abuse and probably marital rape. I am always afraid to talk about my experience because I'm afraid it will piss my ex off again and he'll start a smear campaign against me. Every book I ever write will get horrible reviews from he and his friends who will descend upon me like a pack of jackals. Everyone will believe him and what he says about me. All the work I have done to bring myself up and make a good name for myself will be besmirched by half truths and lies. Not only that, he'll start a private message campaign to email bomb me with all the terrible things he can think to say to me. If it's like the last one, he will blame it on his wife or girlfriend, saying she's the one who said it to me.

A friend of mine posted this video to Youtube. I tried to leave them just a simple little note, which is the first paragraph. And then the anxiety takes over and it becomes a deluge. I didn't stop. I let it all roll out. Then I posted it here.

If you are at all triggered by verbal abuse, please do not watch this video. I think that's what happened to me. I thought I could handle it. I couldn't. Too many memories came flooding back.

This doesn't even go into the day in and day out wearing down they do on you. You only get one small piece of the puzzle. You don't get the condescension when you ask a simple question. You don't get the feeling of being stupid and not knowing anything. You don't get the jumping at small things. You don't see what happens to her once everyone goes home. "Why did you do that? Why did you have to change your clothes? What's wrong with the dress I picked out for you? What, am I not good enough for you anymore? Well? What's wrong? Why aren't you answering me? ANSWER ME!"

I know what happens after the camera cuts off. I've been there. I've lived it. And if I could say something to anyone who hasn't been there... the bitch in the kitchen was just ADDING TO THE FIRE. "Get over yourself."

FUCK YOU. YOU DON'T KNOW. You don't LIVE WITH THIS EVERY FUCKING MINUTE OF EVERY FUCKING DAY. But we won't say that, either. Because we can't. Every word of standing up for ourselves against someone else's wishes is DROWNED IN OUR THROATS because we don't want to have to argue our case against our significant other. They'll just turn it around on us. And the worst part? The fucking abuser won't see anything wrong. They're just asserting themselves. They're just making sense of their household. They're just making their lives ordered and sensible and HOW could I NOT SEE THAT? How can I not see how fucking difficult I make their life day in and day out every time they have to talk to me about these things. "No, I don't expect you to read my mind!"

And under the words is the underlying current of "you're so fucking stupid, why would you even fucking think that?" Every. Day. Of. My. LIFE. For three? Four years? And they don't show how it starts, either. How it's just one thing they don't like about you. And so you change it to make their life easier because they would do it for you, right? And then it's just one more thing. And then its anything that you find pleasure or joy in. Why do you do that? You're doing nothing but make a mess everywhere. Or, worse, he throws a fucking tantrum and chucks all your shit in a bag and throws it out on the back porch because it's where he wants to sit. Then only sits there for about five minutes before going back over onto the sofa and turning the channel on what you were watching.

That was the first thing I noticed. He walked in the door and turned off her music that she was listening to because he didn't want to listen to it. She should have no desires that don't reflect his wants, wishes and desires. He is the only important thing. His feelings, his wishes, his wants and desires come first, second and last because at the end of the day, he is the only person who matters.

I see it in her. She wants to scream "I AM A REAL FUCKING PERSON AND I HAVE WANTS AND DESIRES AND SOMETIMES I JUST WANT A PLACE OF MY OWN TO BE AS MESSY AS I WANT WITHOUT YOU COMING IN AND FUCKING WITH IT", but she can't say that. I saw it in her face when he was criticizing her dress. She wanted to wear it because she likes it. Because she wants to look nice. Because it's her anniversary and she wants to look nice. She's not dressing up for his friends. She was probably dressing up for him. And under it, dressing up for her. Ohgod. If she said it, though, he would come down on her with the condescending tone and the little nitpicking about her details and the way it interferes with what HE wants to do.

Why is the house always such a fucking mess? Why is there never food on the table? Why don't you do anything around here? I don't make the mess. I don't have to clean it up. You're the one who always makes all the mess. Why should I have to clean up after other people?
Nevermind I cleaned up after him. And me. And I really didn't make that many messes.
Now every time I leave something on the table, I'm worried someone is going to have a fucking hissy fit. I'm going to get the whole "Why the fuck is this STILL OUT HERE? You should have cleaned it up DAYS ago." I'm worried I'm going to have to dance on eggshells because someone loses their shit because I'm sitting at the computer writing instead of cleaning the house. I'm worried when I go back for something, it won't be there because someone has already "taken care of it" and it's in the trash or boxed up somewhere or who knows what else.

I get sick to my stomach every time someone raises their voice near me. I want to run and hide and cry. I don't want to hear how big of a fucking failure I am at EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE. I don't want to hear how the things in my life that bring me pleasure are an inconvenience to someone else. I don't want to hear that I'm in the way. I don't want to have to bend my will and my being to someone else anymore. But that fear is there and it will NEVER GO AWAY. I will ALWAYS FEAR. I will ALWAYS change myself to fit other people to avoid conflict because I have been molded into this fearful thing. It's why I'm afraid to have emotions. I was being "emotional" and "ridiculous" because I was upset at things he said. He didn't say anything to me. I'm just taking it the wrong way. How can I take what he said to be anything other than just a comment? It wasn't his problem I was crying because he was yelling at me. He wasn't even raising his voice, so how was he yelling at me? "You have to RAISE YOUR VOICE LIKE THIS TO BE YELLING! WAS I YELLING? WAS I? NOW I'M YELLING! YOU DON'T LIKE THAT, DO YOU?!"

And the line that really hurt me the most? I lost a string of jobs, one after the other, most because he gave me a pager. I had to call him every time it went off. If I didn't call, he thought I wasn't at work. Nevermind I couldn't call until I was on break because I was on machines I literally could not stop running until the batch was done. I lost the most recent job because I wasn't good at pushing for water surveys on the phone as a telemarketer. When I told him I lost the job, he said to me: "Maybe if you could keep a job, this wouldn't keep happening!"

They make you so dizzy and crazy you can't think in a straight line anymore because they get mad at you for one thing and then turn around and say "No, you know what, that's cool."
Now wait a fucking minute. You said three months ago that you didn't want me talking to Nikki anymore. Now it's okay that I'm talking to her again? And then a month later he blows his fucking stack because I'm talking to Nikki.

Or it wouldn't be about that thing. He's moved on to something ELSE that his world just CAN'T MOVE ON without ME CHANGING about MYSELF to make him more comfortable.
And the thing is... they make you think that everything about their request is reasonable. They make you think that they're just making you a better person because they love you. They're shaping you to be better. And your friends do that all the time, right? And your friends DO do that all the time. "Get over yourself. What dress did you really want to wear tonight?"

I wanted to wear the dress that wouldn't piss him off. I don't want everyone pissed off at me. He's always pissed off at me all the time. I just want to do whatever won't cause him to talk to me like that anymore. If I can just learn the pattern, I can fall into shadows and just be there in the right place at the right time and he won't have to say mean things to me anymore. And it's not so much what they say as how and when they say it. I don't know if people who haven't lived through it will really grasp what is going on there.

"What dress did you really want to wear tonight?"

And the very subtle thing there? Was that she DID WHAT HER FRIEND TOLD HER TO DO, which is the same as what Fred did.

All we want is to make people happy so they don't yell at us or lose their tempers or slam their fucking fist down on the table in the middle of dinner, making you think you did something wrong and then making you wonder for the rest of the night what you did and how you did it and what punishment you're getting and how long you're going to be lectured.
And you do it all the time. With everything in your life. For the rest of your life. Forever.
You will always question every time someone makes a comment about the things you've done. And you won't fight back. You will change it about yourself to keep away from conflict or confrontation. You will think seething things in your head, but on the surface you'll play it smooth and calm and just learn to avoid the situation in the future. You will anticipate. You will go above and beyond to make sure everyone else around you is always doing what they're supposed to be doing, too, because when the bossman comes down on the entire department, he's really coming down on you for not holding things together.

Or, like my fucking ex did to me... He would get pissed at something. He would snap at me. He would give me the cold shoulder. "No, it's not you." But it clearly WAS ME because the fucking asshole would be passive aggress toward me and to NOBODY ELSE. JUST ME! Just me. Everyone else he was at least civil to. But not me. I bore the brunt of it because it was my fault. Even when it wasn't my fault, it was my fault. He would say it wasn't me, but then secretly it WAS me... or, worse, it wouldn't have started with me, but he took it out on me long enough that he FOUND SOMETHING ABOUT ME TO BLAME ME FOR.

And to this fucking day. If ANYONE raises their voice to me, I shut down. I close up. I get sick to my stomach. I throw up. I cry. I get diarrhea. I don't eat. I get quiet. I get scared. I shake. I have trouble breathing. I do the nervous leg thing. I suck on my gums. I rub the webbing between my fingers. I obsessively clean my teeth with my tongue. I don't want to sit still but I'm afraid to leave whatever place I've settled myself into. I want to go curl up in the bedroom and hide in the closet, but I can't because what if whoever is mad at me wants to go in there? EVEN IF THE PERSON WHO RAISED THEIR VOICE AT ME IS MY FUCKING BOSS WHO DOESN'T EVEN LIVE ANYWHERE NEAR ME. They might want to come into my closet and use it and then I'll be there and I'll be in their way and then they'll get even more mad at me and yell at me more. And if the stress goes on long enough, I start passing out randomly. I lose consciousness cooking dinner. I have to decide what the best course of action is. Should I go home? Should I stay out? What's going to make the least amount of impact? What's going to get me in the least amount of trouble? Where do I go? What do I do? How do I do it? What's the answer here??

I'm like my dog. She's trying so damned desperately to please me and I'm not giving her the signals she understands. I have to stay calm. I have to keep directing her and doing it repetitively until she understands. It's okay. No, I'm not angry, I'm frustrated. I'm frustrated with a situation, not you. And my dog won't understand words. She understands actions.
Now because of this, everyone in my life has to do this with me. I will ask everyone at some point, "Are we still cool? Have I done anything to upset you?" If I have, I will apologize and do whatever I can to make it right. Because in the end, all I want is peace and love and to feel like I've not done anything wrong in my life. Ever.

Because every time something goes wrong, even when it's not my fault, I blame myself for not doing _x_.

i.e My coworker is bitching that me blowing my nose is gross. I should have been more thoughtful and gone outside to blow my nose because, as she loudly decreed from her room where she thought I couldn't hear her, "Close the fucking door. I don't wanna hear that shit". The door WAS closed. But, because I upset someone, I take responsibility and blame. I don't blow my nose around them anymore.

i.e. When two friends and I went out to dinner one night and I made the comment that I tried not to complain too much because I didn't want to be like that, my friend says, "Well, you do complain a lot." Since that time probably a year ago, I have continually made the effort not to complain about anything to that friend. I have made it a point not to complain to anyone, for that matter. Because I don't want to be the person who complains all the time. No one wants to hear my complaints. Nobody likes a person who isn't sunshine and roses all the time. It's exhausting to be "on" all the time.

i.e. Someone on Twitter makes general commentary about people. I find some fault in myself and apologize profusely for being an asshole. Which generally leads to either that person telling me to shut the fuck up or another person telling me that no one was talking about ME in particular. I don't want to hurt anybody. I'm horribly sensitive to people hurting and being hurt. I want to save the entire world from people hurting them because I've BEEN THERE and I don't want anyone to feel like a steaming pile of shit just because someone thinks they aren't whatever they're "supposed" to be.

All thanks to someone shoving a coat hanger in my brain and rooting it around like he did.
It doesn't seem like anything from this video could bring out a reaction so strong in someone like this, does it? That I'm sitting here with my knees going a mile a minute and my throat is tight and I have tears welling up that I can't shed because if I cry, it might piss someone off. My chest hurts. I want to run and cry and hide, but if I do that, someone's going to ask what is wrong and I can't let anyone know something is wrong or what is wrong. I have to lie. Just like I lied for him all the time.

No, everything's fine. We're not fighting. That's just how he is. I'm being too sensitive. I'm being ridiculous.

Suck it up. Suck it in. Get over it. Deal with it. Tell him off! Tell him you won't put up with this anymore! Move on! Find someone who treats you better.

And when I did, we had to talk about it on HIS time. When HE felt like it. For as LONG as he felt like it. And when he was done discussing it, the conversation was over even when I hadn't gotten even five minutes to give my say on something.

After awhile I just agreed with everything he said because it was just easier than fighting over it all the time. You want me to wear the black and white dress? Fine. It's not that big of a deal. You want me to work three jobs to pay the bills and still come home and cook you meals and clean the house? Okay, fine. I'll just dig a little deeper. I'll find a way to do it.
Even now when my current S/O says to me; "We're short on money. I don't know why we can't get ahead. We're going to have to wait on this bill payment." my answer is to find a way to make more money.

Hm. I can pick up a second job. I could find a way to work it around my current work schedule. I'd only have to give up on a little free time. I'd just not write as much even though I'm finally making headway with my stories. I can give up a little sleep if that means we can pay down some bills or something. I can stop eating out. I'll just cook more at home. Sure that will take up more time, but it's all right. I can find a way to do it. I'm resourceful. Maybe I could start selling plasma even though I'm terrified of needles and pass out every time. It will force me to get over my fear. It would be a good thing in the long run. That girl I worked with Erin said it made her tired the day after, but she felt better afterward. It would be good for my health. Maybe I'll stop feeling so tired and shitty all the time, then. Hm. I know I can't get more hours at work without giving up Mondays. Monday is my day to do special things. I could give that up for awhile. It's not a big deal. I don't need to do things for me. Just think how great it will feel to have all that debt paid down and be free from the yolk! Yeah! We'll just dig a little further down. We've got more to give. We can give more. We're not down and out yet.

Until I crash and burn and wind up in the hospital because I've burned my candle too low at both ends.

But the answer has to come from me. It's not right of me to expect anyone else to do anything. Besides, how would I go about saying something to them without pissing them off at me? I don't want to be sick for a week because I had to say something to someone about something. It's really not worth my health to have to be combative. Besides, they work hard all the time. They're tired. They don't feel good. They work just as hard as I do. They have a stressful job. It's okay. I can do this.

Oh. Well, the doctor says it's not lupus and there's no signs of lupus because the ANA test came back negative. I guess that's the end of that. I must just be a hypochondriac. That's all that is. I'm just being irrational. Everyone hurts all the time and has joint pain. How many people come in to the office with the same complaints you're having. You're just looking for an excuse to feel bad. You're looking for an excuse to take it easy. You're looking for a reason to be lazy. Get off your ass more, lazy ass! Your only excuse is you're fat and don't take care of yourself. That's why you hurt. There's no other reason for it.

Is anyone seeing the circular reasoning? Anybody?

We talk ourselves into things because we've never been allowed to feel entitled to anything. Everyone else's wishes are superior to our own. It's not a choice. It's been ingrained. It takes years of psychotherapy to unravel. And even then... it's never really gone. All it takes is one word. One phrase. One snotty attitude out of somebody. And if you speak up, you're the asshole. Because you've been the victim of the asshole, you don't want to BE the asshole.
Are you seeing it? Circular reasoning?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Never Without my Permission

I read twitter when I'm procrastinating. Rather it be writing, re-writing, revisions or edits, I procrastinate on twitter. Most of the time it's full of book promotions and other writers like me procrastinating. But sometimes things cross my feed that set me off.


Sexual assault is still prevalent and completely misunderstood as being an offense. Earlier today I was so pissed off I was in tears because a woman I follow on Twitter was sexually assaulted and then questioned rather or not she really was assaulted because sexual assault has happened to her twice in 48 hours and five times in the last 18 months. Worse, the assault happened at a Pride celebration, a place where queer people of whatever gender and orientation should feel comfortable and accepted.

I have so many issues with this I can't write it all clearly. I vented some of my frustration over twitter before taking some time away from the computer to ramble-rant at my other half about the situation. It is unfathomable to me that any person believes they are entitled to touch another person without their permission. A human being's body does not belong to any other human being and under no circumstance is it acceptable to grab another human being's crotch for any reason.

I was eight years old when I saw the movie Crocodile Dundee. In one scene, Mick is in a bar and is approached by a woman he finds attractive.

Even at eight years old, I knew that was wrong. I learned in Safety Town you don't touch people in areas covered by their bathing suits and that area would most certainly be covered by a bathing suit. I remember telling my parents and they told me it was just a movie. I never thought something like that would happen in real life. Ever.

Now at 35, I realize it does happen and it happens in real life, even at Pride celebrations. And, much to my chagrin, it's not just men. My friend was assaulted by a woman who found it perfectly acceptable to stick her hand on another woman's genitals, unsolicited.

WHO DOES THAT?? Rhetorical question with very real answers. For some reason, people seem to think it is okay to touch a transgender person without their permission in order to identify their sex. Trans* men and women and other gender non-binary persons are not barnyard animals we need to separate from one another. They are not dolls. They don't owe you a feel so you can satisfy your own idiocy.

Would you be okay with someone walking up and grabbing your junk to satisfy their morbid curiousity?

Nearly 50% of transgender and gender non-binary individuals experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Let me restate that. FIFTY PERCENTHALF OF THE TRANSGENDER POPULATION HAVE EXPERIENCED SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THEIR LIFETIME.

My friend questioned rather a person grabbing her crotch was legitimate sexual violence. She asked a police officer she trusted if that would constitute sexual assault. The officer confirmed that grabbing someone by the genitals is sexual assault and persons grabbing someone by the genitals would be charged as a sex offender.

And let's talk a little bit about why many transgender men and women don't go for help. I have enough here I can bullet a list:
  1. There is a prevailing theory that men cannot be raped. Men often do not report rape because of the stigma. They are called "lucky" because they "got some" or a "pussy" because they couldn't fend off a woman or a man.
  2. Police and medical personnel enforce the belief that transgender people are to blame for their assault or they are flat out not believed that the abuse happened in the first place.
  3. Many victim services locations are segregated by sex. Many clinics are not educated or are plain ignorant when it comes to transgender or gender non-binary victims.
  4. Transgender men and women are misidentified not only in media but on a personal and federal level.
  5. Trans* people are often arrested instead of the perpetrator of violence, thus reinforcing their forced feelings of guilt. Transgender people and gender non-binary people are made to feel they deserve the abuse. Often they are told they aren't really their gender or are made to feel they are lying for being trans*.
  6. Transgender people are often sought out for their situation. So called "trans chasers" are often abusive and pressure their victims into rape situations. They are told to consider it a compliment that someone wants to be with them.
  7. Mental health providers often enforce these stereotypes and societal norms and alienate the victim further. They self medicate. They become depressed. They commit suicide.
  8. They are not heard. No one listens. No one gives a fuck. And this bears repeating: because of this, they commit suicide. Half of transgender people commit suicide.
They commit suicide. Gender different people are killing themselves because they are being beaten, raped and killed and no one will listen, support or defend them. They are a minority in a minority. They have been beaten back so far that they are too downtrodden to speak up and speak out. The LGBT community, of which the "T" stands for "transgender", shoves Trans* rights to the back of the list. Yes, gay people are being killed, but the numbers are less than those of transgender individuals.

Friday, June 6, 2014

My Awesome Ideas Book

As I was cleaning out my bin of crap (I have a catch-all three drawer thing in my kitchen where I write), I realized tonight I have a complete stationary problem. I have an entire pencil pouch full of highlighters. Another holds my sharpie markers. I have a third for colored pens and another for drawing pencils and erasers.

In among this I also found a huge amount of sticky notes. I have seventeen different packs of sticky notes in various sizes and colors.

Over the years I've bought a LOT of journals. Some of them have cool sayings. Some of them were made of pressed paper. Others had gilded edges or leather covers. I have kept them and never done anything with them because nothing I can think of to do with them is cool enough and I feel like I would be wasting them. I buy them, I keep them and they sit and collect dust.

That is, until this one:

I picked this up on clearance during a late night run to WalMart. I thought I could fill it with all the story ideas I have running around in different binders. I could put the storyboards I've done into it and have everything all in once place. I brought it home, opened it up and then the inevitable happened.

I froze. I couldn't write anything in it because then it would be ruined and I wouldn't have it forever AND be able to keep all my notes in it. Once it was full, it was full. There was no way to organize thoughts and once it was on the page, it was there. I couldn't move it around or change anything.

Permanent. And unacceptable.

Well, until I could convince myself to write in the pages, I would take the stack of sticky notes I'd been storyboarding on and tuck them safely inside on the first page. I could go back for them later.

And that was when it hit me. I didn't have to write on the pages at all! I could write on STICKY NOTES and TACK THEM TO THE PAGES!

If an idea needed moved, I would move the note. If I got more information about book promotion, I could shift all my ideas down a page. If I screwed something up, I could pull it off the page, throw out the sticky note and write a new one. My journal destroying days were over! No longer would I have to watch a beautiful journal sit on the shelf unused!
It has been really handy. The inside cover has my Scrivener key, my Vent info for guild chat and the password to the WiFi that I am constantly losing. I have information about recent things I need to keep a hand on, like my doctor's info and my sales info for DoTerra. Then there's information about my Flight Rising account, what armor I was working on for my World of Warcraft Warrior (that is probably seriously outdated at this point) and promotion efforts for books. I have useful email addresses like the people I send beta reads to and my crit partners. I have blog entry ideas and submission calls I want to submit for. And then there are the pages shown above.

The image above is what my storyboards look like. I have questions from my editor on a little arrow. I have research about the story on sticky notes. Little plot ideas are tucked in on tiny notes. Big plot points are on the larger notes. Right now they're all spread out. I get an idea, I jot it down, slap it on the page and worry about the rest later. I can spread it out over other pages or I can keep it all on one.

I have at least one page for each story I'm plotting or writing.

Now I can have my journal and use it, too.

Never really gets easier

Story time since it's on my mind and I wanted to share and ask a little extra patience.  May 20th. Mary and I are at a local garden shop...