Losing My Job

In July I lost my job. I decided to go back to school, considering I only had one semester left and considering that I was offered unemployment. It sounded like a good plan until things went incredibly different than the plan.

First, Senioritis started kicking in pretty heavily. Not only did I not want to attend class, I decided no one was going to make me. This has since backfired on me, because college has turned into high school and two of my four professors make attendance mandatory, with penalties to your grade.

Second, I lost my unemployment benefits because I’m in school. Essentially, I told the truth about being in school (which most people don’t do, I’m assuming?) and stopped getting any money. I’m usually not one to “ask for a handout” but in this case, I needed my benefits to continue. My expertise is in administration and that requires that I be available to work Monday to Friday, 8-5. With my school schedule, there was no way I could find a job to support me through my last few months of school.

When I lost my unemployment, I started job searching. I applied for anything and everything I was qualified for, and even jobs I was overqualified for. My plan was to start working, even if that meant I had to quit school mid-semester because of my financial hardships.

I got an interview for a part time position, even though I’d applied for many full time positions. The interview went well, but as it turns out, they hired someone else.

This past week I interviewed at a bookstore. I love books and I love this store, but I’ll be making less than half of what I was making before. It’s not enough to support me.  So, I was frantically searching for a place to live here in the LA area that would be affordable. It turns out all I was able to afford was a small room for rent in a house with 3 other adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs. Plus, my 2 cats. What a nightmare. I came home from looking at that room for rent and broke down crying.

October has been the most depressing month ever.

I honestly felt so depressed about my financial situation that for the first time in years I thought I would rather be dead. Considering that I have a pretty bright future (recent publications and book-writing in progress), the depression was just even shittier.

Week after week I cried and things got worse. My landlords were showing my apartment and I was dreading moving. Then my parents called me and saved the day. It’s not that the economy has been treating them well. They’re in sales and they lost a lot of business over the past few years due to the economy. Somehow, thankfully, they’re able to help me. It’s humbling to be the one who needs help, but it’s just the way it is right now. Our economy is terrible. I can’t wait to be finished with school so I can go back to work full-time. Although I hate administrative work, it’s what pays the bills. And in this economy, I’m grateful to have my bills paid.

Look Who’s Graduating

 

It’s officially happening, kids! It was supposed to happen in 2011 after being one class away, but unfortunately it didn’t come together fully until this year. Regardless, it’s official and I couldn’t be prouder of myself. I’ve enjoyed my time with some kick ass professors along the way and am so happy that I went the Creative Writing route in college. I’ve come out a better writer and communicator and I found my voice. So, if you’re reading this wondering if you should go to college, the answer is YES! If you’re wondering if it’s too late for you to start, the answer is NO! I started at 25 and finished at 32. There’s no shame in working full time (or mothering children, or whatever it is you do with your days) and taking it slow. There’s also no shame in starting late in life. The bottom line is, if it’s something you want to do (college isn’t for everyone), you should do it.

grad announcement-001

Things I Despise

There are things I absolutely can’t stand.

Mayonnaise, liars, and vinegar begin my list. But further down, and perhaps as I get older and more irritable, the list grows to feature things like other people’s unsolicited opinions on a regular basis.

I can’t tell  you when this first started re-appearing as a theme in my life, but it used to happen ALL the time. Then I turned mean. I cussed everyone out all the time. No one really offered their advice or their two dollar bullshit. But my pendulum started swinging back down to normal Lisa again–the one who has always been way too nice (so much so that she’s been walked on more than once). What can I say? I care. I care way too much about people who really don’t give a shit about me and I can’t seem to shake that trait. I even cry at all the dying kitties that flood my Facebook feed daily.

Lately I feel like I can’t have a conversation with anyone without hearing their unsolicited advice. “Quit your job,” “Go back to school,” “Get saved,” “Corporations are evil…you’re working for the Devil,” “I don’t think you’re ready to write this book, just stop writing it,”…the list goes on and on. It’s as if people think I’m completely incapable of handling my own life and navigating through my own decisions. The problem is, I may go to a friend to talk or vent but I rarely complain about how shitty my life is and how I just need everyone’s advice. The other problem is, my life is so “together” right now it’s not even funny so I really don’t need a bunch of opinions.

Here’s what’s really going on:

As a writer, I’m expected to write constantly–by myself and others. It’s nearly impossible to keep up the pace I need to in order to complete a book while I’m working full-time. In the past, this wasn’t always so, but with the position I currently hold it’s just not going to happen. Sure I feel a little guilty about that, but a large part of me feels relieved. A writer writes for herself first and foremost, and she needs to be careful not to be overtaken by popular opinion because that’s one of the beauties of being a creative. YOU get to decided what is art to you and what isn’t. If a writer feels like genre writing is art, then it is. However, she must then divorce herself from the literary world or be scorned forever for her “pedestrian attempt to draft a work of art” or scolded for “becoming a best seller” or making money. Ultimately I’m not sure I’m cut out for a world of criticism. This is why I never Google myself.

That isn’t to say I’m not going to complete my book, but I am going to come home from work and watch TV on weeknights instead of slave away on another draft (for now) or by building another website full of content that takes me hours to create (for free) and minutes to be devoured only to be instantly attacked in the age of instant online criticism. I’m not Superwoman as I have tried to be and all this trying really has me being on the verge of burnout if I’m not careful. I don’t like a lot of the things out there that I read and I’m certainly not going to contribute another piece to the trash pile of books. I’d rather be appreciated posthumously.

I’m also at a crossroads. Having almost finished my degree in creative writing and having surrounded myself by literary types, I find myself wanting some distance from many of them. There’s a powerful message literary writers and professors send to young writers: You SHOULD NOT write for fun or for money. In fact, you shouldn’t do anything for fun and certainly not for money. I’m becoming so fed up with poor/artsy creatives who feel they are more noble than RICH writers because they fit a certain mold. Sure the poor types win awards, but they look down their noses at anyone who makes money on their writing. THAT IS NOT ART, they scream. Damnit, shut the hell  up and let a fucking person live and have fun. Stop stifling my fucking creativity.

Maybe I’m turning Republican again. I don’t know. (That’s a joke–lest I start getting bullied by liberals angry at me for SUGGESTING I’m a turncoat.) Maybe I’m just PMSing. Maybe the person I’m in love with doesn’t love me back. I just don’t want to necessarily participate in any specific group right now. I want friends without expectations to always say the right thing or have the right opinion or to offer them advice. Why do I have to constantly fit into a mold? Why does changing my mind on something or having a different opinion make me feel like I’m bucking everyone’s system? Jesus fucking Christ. Leave me alone people and just take me to coffee.

I know I should be blogging daily, but let’s be honest. If I were to rely on the money I make from blogging to support myself, I would literally be a hobo. Or a hobo’s dog. Or the dog food the hobo’s dog eats. And because I founded my blog on a very snarky persona, which was very fun, it’s hard to keep up with that persona anymore. It’s also really fucking hard to know that people read this and email me on a regular basis all of their bullshit opinions.

For the past three months I have fantasized of deleting my blog, deleting my social media accounts and packing up to head back to 2000 before I gave a fuck about checking-in or sharing articles or debating religion and politics in cyberspace. Back to when I used to  actually meet up with people face-to-face and discuss ideas for extended periods of time or go dancing or drink the night away. Back when people wrote things of quality rather than pushing something out just to get it to post before someone else did. Before HuffPo got destroyed and all news sources lost their credibility in an attempt to be “relevant.” (Yeah, I’m turning Republican–I’m reminiscing about the “good ol’ days.” ha!) It’s so tempting to just leave cyberspace, yet one of the reasons I don’t is because there are still abusive religious youth programs out there torturing kids and I’d like to keep a presence on Google so those who leave know they aren’t alone. And you know, blogging was a really beautiful thing for me for awhile–probably until I met DiGa Vision Production company who wanted to turn my blog and my investigative journalism into a freak show (aka reality TV show). I kind of lost all desire to go public with my life after that and their 20 page contract of signing my life away and my desire has diminished more and more. I didn’t want fame badly enough…I wanted stability in my life. I also am sick of everyone wanting a piece of my life story. And I mean EVERYONE. It’s a tragic story, one that I grapple with making sense of still, and one that I certainly don’t want exploited.

I went to college with a bunch of English majors and writers. Along the way, I’ve met more writers. It seems like every writer has an opinion of what I should do with my life or my book or my career, all the while forcing their ideologies on me, and I don’t like a single one of their opinions. I wish there was a polite way to tell colleagues to shove it–I just haven’t figured that one out yet.

I really don’t want to talk too much shit about people who may read what I write here, but I’ve been very discouraged in the past few months. (I knew I wouldn’t make it through this blog without crying…here comes the water works.) I have worked and worked and worked on a memoir that needs to be published to what feels like no avail. I have written several hundred pages, edited, read other memoirs, talked with other writers. I’ve met with editors who were flakes, or trying to pull the wool over my eyes by trying to charge me way too much money to complete my book proposal. I’ve met with people who just want to serve their own vision via my talent. But I’ve met very few who really truly see what’s going on–that the trauma I’m revisiting by writing this book is really breaking me down (some of you DO understand that and you know who you are. Thank you.).

So for that reason, I’m so relieved that I am forced, via my busy day job, to pause on writing altogether. I’ve worked or thought about my book and blog non-stop for two years. I don’t know if this is good-bye–I certainly didn’t intend to say good-bye to it tonight when sitting down to write this but maybe that’s what I needed to get off my chest. I need to say this so I don’t internalize the pressure I feel from others (but mostly myself).

I really don’t know what I want from a lot of things in life–I don’t know if I want an MFA like I once thought I did. I’m not sure if I want an advanced degree in anything else right now. What I DO know I want from life, and have wanted for a few years, is a permanent residence and a family. It’s simple and it’s the kind of thing that my 20 year old self would have been shocked to hear me say, but it’s true. I’m happy with my current place in life–working toward paying off my college student debt so I can buy a house. I’m sick of spinning my wheels and investing energy in trying to change people’s minds about really horrific religious experiences when the fact is, I just don’t care about changing their minds. I care about helping people who reach out to me for friendship after leaving horrible programs. Those other people can go fuck themselves. I’m not trying to build a platform, or get a TV show or anything else. I’m not giving up, but I’m going to spend some time getting this pressure for perfection and success off my back so I can just LIVE a little bit. It’s hard out there for a pimp.

The Opportunity of a Lifetime: Sex with Three People

That time I was asked to join an open relationship

Here’s the thing you need to know about me: I fall in love easily and I’m online a lot. So, last night one comment got me laughing, a friend request was sent and bam…I’m crushing on this guy we’ll call “D.” Anyway, D is cute…red haired though, so meh. Not much of a beard. Three kids. Lives in Arizona. Okay, I’m getting desperate.

 

I wake up this morning to the sweetest Facebook message:

You had some night. I hope your morning is going well and that you don’t read this anytime soon, because you are sleeping in, peacefully, for hours yet.

 

Jesus Christ, I’m in love, I think. I love to sleep. Anyone who knows me intimately enough knows sleeping is not just my number one priority, but it’s my life. I could nap right now and then sleep through the entire day tomorrow, wake up to pee and get back into my blankets. Schizophrenics sleep a lot. That runs in my family.

 

So I write him back. See above (“online a lot”).

 

The day carries on and he’s my dream man, almost. Not really, but it’s an incredibly boring day at work. I just got rejected from my best friend the night before and a person I liked from the past is struggling physically to remove a really awful drug addiction. My parents are going through a divorce. I’m late on an article. My job is going so well I want to give up writing…almost. I almost landed a book deal. And my fucking awesome friend “T” said she’d write a blurb for my book. And there’s a TV show that kind of is interested.

 

Now you see my need for wine and weed.

 

Back to “D-bag”. He asks me about my writing, my journalism, etc. I already tell him way too much. I’ve probably half spoiled my TV show opportunity. And then you know, I’m an activist and blogger. And he reads my mind:

 

I would love to be a full time activist, I am not a writer, but I have a neglected blog and I’m planing on starting a youtube channel.

 

You’re speaking my language, son! He gives himself away later by saying “What hosting account do you recommend? I’m on blogger.com.” Blogger is not a hosting account. Wow. Sorry, that was a red flag.

 

I then go into my whole “my blog got hacked. My blog is my life” thing. And then I say the virus, it’s destructive and damn…a friend cussed me out. I feel awful. But he saves the day by soothing me:

 

A “friend” cussed you out for something you shouldn’t have been expected to be able to prevent? Not cool.

 

But let me cut to the chase because it gets good. He eventually gets past ALL my barriers emotionally and jumps, nay climbs, over all my walls. I’m shocked. I’m startled. I’m breathing differently. My eyes sparkle. I’ve mentally moved him and his three children over to my area of the country.

 

And then he explains to me that he’s in a relationship with this girl who’s into polyamory and he wants to try it:

 

I have started seeing someone who is trying to introduce me to polyamory. I was reticent at first because of my experiences with Mormonism and the the hideous apologetics around polygamy. I was repulsed by anything that hinted at the misogyny of that mindset. She is patiently bringing me around to some of the more enlightened aspects of it, and her feminist motivations for it. Plus, it’s a lot easier to feel comfortable with it when she’s the one doing all the ‘poly’. I don’t know that I’m ready to explore that, yet but if I do I think it’s going to be something I do very carefully.

 

I’m going to the AHA conference in June and she insists that I have a “conference fling” or that we try bringing someone into our experience. …sigh… I used to be so uninhibited! I’m hoping the right person can help me with that. She is starting to feel uncomfortable with how one-sided this is. I am really enjoying my experience with this person but I feel a little caught up in a whirlwind and i’m just trying to hang on. in the meantime, it’s really, really nice to be with someone that isn’t self-conscious about letting me please her, lots, and lots. It’s like all my pent up ‘giving’ is final able to be indulged and I’m making up for lost time.

 

“…We try bringing someone into our experience…” Share?! Partners?! Sex? Open relationship?

 

My mind starts going to shark infested waters with a bloody carcass getting mangled to shreds. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! In my head I’m screaming bloody murder. That sounds absofuckinglutely terrible. Have I digressed to the ’50’s? Has someone turned me into Ann Romney? What’s wrong with my head?

 

I say, I’ve done the threesome thing. It was fun, but not something I’m into doing again.

 

And of course, I have to be honest:

 

 

I’ve had partners who tried to convince me to do something and you know, sometimes I gave in, but ultimately, they weren’t things I wanted to do, so I wasn’t happy doing them. I was giving but not into it. For example, someone tried to ask me to be his dominatrix last week. Not really my thing…and when I said no, he got super pissed and we’re not friends anymore. I think sex should be really far away from coercion.

I won’t lie…I’m a little bummed that you’re seeing someone because you’re pretty much my type.

So, we like each other. A lot. This goes on for awhile. And it gets heated. I sigh. I bite the bullet and say, Ugh, okay, I’m not going to take this further until you’re single. Sorry, it’s not my thing to try to break people up.

 

But he persists. And draws me in. And then I say it again, No, not ’til you’re single.

 

Then I’m more frank: I’m torn between, “you dirty scum” for messaging me while you’re in a relationship to “oh maybe it would work.”

 

Then the real me spoke up:

 

 

Are you trying to recruit me into a threesome? Is that what this is about?

 

And he said,

as glorious as that sounds, and it is entirely possible that you have just given me fantasy images for a long time to come, no. At this time with as I know about you and me and our dynamic, I want our experience, at least our first few experiences to be just you and me. I want to focus are you exclusively. I want to give you my full and undivided attention.

 

Damn, that’s sexy. Except for the “our first few experiences to be just you and me.” Uhhhh….Wait. What? But he then clarified because he’s psychic and knew I was spitting out my water all over the screen with shock:

 

let me add to that slightly. if it was something YOU wanted, if it was your fantasy (yes I read when you said you didn’t want that again, I’mjust explaining the situation that I would consider). If you picked the third and I still got to focus on you exclusively with somebody else helping to give you the ultimate sexual experience – that is something I would do. But no. I’m not angling for that.

 

 

But I play dumb just so I’m clear: So where does your partner fit into this?

 

Well, he says,

 

depends on what you and her want. Either as an enthusiastic and welcome lparticipant or as an informed, consenting absentee, or a friendly, uninformed former partner.

Or any other idea that appeals to all of us

 

 

 

 

I am not just insulted.

 

I’m pissed off.

 

What a manipulative lying cunt fucker.

 

So you little cunt fuck, here’s what I think:

 

Don’t fucking think that you’re “enlightened” you manipulative son of a bitch. This isn’t enlightenment. It’s disgusting, disrespectful coercive lies. I wouldn’t have had sex with you if you were last dude on the planet. You live in Fucking Arizona.

 

Also, next time you’re picking up on someone for poly-Mormonism, just be honest and up front. Don’t lie. Don’t say what someone wants to say. Get help if you’re a sociopath.

 

And then, if you’re interested (sociopaths aren’t), get to know the person. Be yourself.

 

You know what sucks? The dude has my number. Ugh. Lame. I really need my agent (that I don’t have yet) to take my phone away from me. And my Facebook.