Saturday, January 11, 2014

Gone Straight, Won't Return Soon

This is one of those moments where I have to stop walking, look around and decide if I am where I meant to end up.

Actually, I don’t need to look hard.  I’m not there.

After my last post it’s actually embarrassing to write this, but look where not writing has gotten me.  Oh wait, nobody knows that part.  Well…

Long story short, I got a new job, pregnant, sick, hospitalized, and nearly broke from having to pay for meds and routine doctor visits out of pocket.  This particular new job offers no insurance for your first 90 days.  However, due to my salary, Medicaid offers no insurance, either.

Top that off with my daughter being hours away with her father until Spring, and no friends in my new town at all.  Stress and generally feeling like I suck took all my creative energy, and now Arissa Writes looks like the apocalypse hit.

Oh, you’ve been paying attention?  Hadn’t I mentioned I fell in love in my last post?  Well, that was months ago, wasn’t it…and this is exactly where the end of this recap finds me. 

Love or none, some things one just doesn’t do.  I did two of them anyway.  I left a place I knew and leapt toward someone I didn’t, somewhere I wasn’t familiar.  Actually, three:  I got pregnant, too.  Those kinds of things can’t be done at the same time, or else you end up crying in your car, nauseous, worried about coming home because there’s nothing for you there but aggravation.  Sleeping in your car seems like a better option than anything.  Shame from poor choices keeps you from reaching out to the few people you have saved to your phone.  And sheer exhaustion keeps you from wanting to reach for some stable ground where the two of you can find peace.

And then when other things hit you, like a financial crisis, you’re about as ready to deal with it as a cracked levy before a storm.

 I can’t do anything about the medical bills that had to be incurred to save my life.  Nor will I be angry that my daughter is not here every day for me to kiss good night. 

But I can do something about the no friends and this particular place being in love has brought me.  Or rather, where I allowed it to take me.

So that is where my focus will be.  I’m not the first one to be in this situation, and do regret shaking my head at the women who came before me.  Everyone has a different circumstance that lead them to where they stand right now, and I thought mine made sense.  So did everyone else.  What a way to fit in with the crowd…

Anyway, yeah, I feel a little crazy right now, and like I belong in a straight jacket.  That’s cool, though.  There’s only one direction you can go when wearing one—straight—and that is exactly what I need to do anyway.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Numbers Don't Lie...

So, lately my life has been doing what I call ‘the pancake’ frequently.  Something will come along that will change my course completely.  It’s cool.  I like change.  I reviewed the last 100 days and the things that happened just because I started being open for change, then just moving in faith and doing the damn thing.  It seemed like it took forever as I was going through it, but it really didn't:
  • On Day 1, I had just finished my series Me, Honestly.
  • On Day 19, I started a second job to make ends meet.  Writing became harder, blog expansion plans postponed.
  • By Day 32, I realized I was at a dead-end and needed higher paying work, started looking around town but found nothing.
  • On Day 33, I reunited with an old friend from school, asked about his thoughts on a website partnership.  He mentioned Atlanta’s job market.
  • The shit hit the fan on Day 39 when I realized I couldn’t stay at my current job, nor would I.  Started an active job search right then…in Atlanta.
  • By day 53 I had no prospects, but knew I wasn’t going to be able to work in Atlanta until I was in Atlanta.  So I gave up my apartment.  30 days to pack.
  • Day 60 – still no prospects, but delivered my job resignation anyway.
  • Day 63 – 67 – Got four interviews, web domain secured J
  • Day 78 – Interviewed with company that offered me a job on Day 99, after three rounds.

I really feel like if I’d waited one more day to start acting, I wouldn’t have had a happy ending.
So now, I just want to see what I can do over the next 100 days.  I have a couple goals that are really general, and I figure over the first couple weeks they’ll streamline themselves, just like everything else has so far.
  • Launch the damn site.
  • Get back the muscle I lost working like a donkey.  (That jiggle is neither jam nor jelly, I’m afraid.)

And yeah, I’ll write about it.  It’s what I do.

Oh, and did I mention I fell in love on day 46?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Scar Power vs. the B-word


Ragged, angry, no real color
But clear as day it mars your flesh
Rises and dips atop the sweet pool
Of caramel skin beneath
Your death must have been on the agenda
But your scar happened instead

You submit to greeting each day
Happy, not happy to wake
Forced to fondle that winding snake
Wash, treat, cream and oil
Told it softens, blends, hides
All you’ve done is make it shine

You know too well the pain, the pain
Of random acts of hatred
The proof is written on your chest
And reads “I survived.”
But now you wonder in what world
Does survival look—feel—like a snake in the grass?
© Arissa Freeman, All rights reserved

Ever been called bitter?  Criticized for holding on to something the world thinks you should let go?  I know.  Me, too.  I will probably carry a red torch for certain people for the rest of my life.  But I won't spit at them on the street.  I just won't smile.  What's the harm in that?

And if I choose to cross the street altogether until I'm ready to give them that square look in the eye and nod in passing, that's my business, too.

Like all survivors, I have scars.  When they were newborn wounds, I licked them for a minute, but quickly tried to move on. I wasn't ready to, but I did it anyway, to avoid being called the B-word--bitter.  I did it to be seen as resilient.  Not sorry for myself.  It was a huge mistake.

I should have given myself all the time I needed to heal, to relearn why I am worth full closure.  Sanity, for one thing.  Being human, for another.  And because only time can ease some pain, most of all.

The thing about getting hurt is that eventually, you heal, but not without scars.  They tell a story about us, even ones we don't realize are being told.  It's visible in our demeanor, audible in our tones, undeniable in our actions.  Mine won't make me a wicked witch, but they do have power over how I act going forward.  I ride with that power, though.  There's nothing bitter about being cautious or avoiding people who don't deserve to be a part of my life.  Me protecting myself from further damage is vital.  But for the ones who stick by me, and the ones I am destined to meet later in life, I use memories of my hurts to pour double-love on them.  Does that make sense?  Like, it feels even better to love on others, because I remember how it felt to have hatred slung at me.

The catch is, while I'm doing this, there are people I might come across again who fit snugly into that category of "You Suck."  This is where if I'm still not ready to smile, the whole "You're still mad?" thing comes into play.

Honestly, and especially if they haven't apologized, yes.  I'm probably pissed.  But I'm also an adult. Eventually, I'll stay on the same side of the street.  I'll nod.  But forget the BFF thing.  Not because it's up to me to get over their thoughtlessness.  It's because they chose to be thoughtless.  They lost a friend, I just learned a lesson.

Check me out very closely.  That's actually a joke.  You don't have to squint, because I'll tell you anything that is my business to tell, right up front.   What I don't say, I show, through genuine actions.  I try hard as hell to stick to this method because that is what people deserve when dealing with others.  I give it.  I expect it back.  When I don't get it, it's time to move.

Most people call that real, not real bitter.