listeners

I’ve realized lately that I’ve developed a bit of a magnetism over the last few years. Whenever I need to grow a new leaf, so to speak, someone new comes into my life and offers new perspective on elements of my story that I’d previously overlooked or seen with different eyes. The timing is always perfect, one of those few things that makes me feel divine presence, and I’m so so lucky to get that.

As someone who didn’t really have friends until a couple years ago, it means a lot that I have people in my life who genuinely care about me and want to help me. I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it in a big-picture way, but in little moments…

Moments like today, when my wolf friend accidentally got two different incidents confused and made a hilariously wrong assumption about something I’d done and my heart melted a little because if anyone else had said that I would’ve hit them but I’m getting used to my wolf’s strange sense of humor and it was the best thing that’s happened to me in ages.

Moments like yesterday, when I was with a potential new romantic partner and somehow ended up explaining the complexities and curses of growing up female in the Bubble, again heart-melting because it was so clear my partner had no experience with what I was talking about but he wanted to understand because that world created me.

Moments like a couple days ago when my friend Sam and I had an intense text convo about mothers with boundary issues and for once we were talking about how our families interacted with the outside world (and really, there’s a time and place for trying to impress people but wow do they ever tend to miss it) and it hit me that sometimes having matching scars isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Moments like midnight “guess what I did today!!” messages to Dara and/or Miranda, who are always proud of me even if they do think I’ve gone a little too far.

Moments like telling Liv about flashbacks and being reminded that I’m not alone and that breaking free sucks but rising from ashes is so worth it.

Moments like updating Rhonda on how many hexis I’ve made.

Hell, moments like checking my email and seeing that some of you lovely people have liked and/or commented on one of my posts here. A lot of the time I do feel like I’m yelling into a void, but sometimes the void yells back and it means so, so much to me that y’all occasionally give me attention.

I don’t remember the last time I felt lonely. Weird – that used to be my primary emotional state. I still feel sad a lot, and there are still relationship shapes I want but don’t currently have, but the overall feeling of alone-ness is pretty much gone. I have people now. I have an eclectic bunch of misfits who genuinely care about my existence and continued well-being. That’s new and weird and idk how I’m supposed to feel about it, but… okay. New leaves growing. I can do this.

manifested nightmare

I’ve been realizing lately that I used to be a really shitty person.

Not that I’m doing all that much better now or anything, but at least over the last few years I’ve become aware of my flaws and my tendencies and I am slowly but surely putting leashes on them and teaching them how to sit and shut up. I make no claims about being a Good Human Being, but damn, at least I’m willing to admit I’m human.

Baby!me did not have that ability. Much to her peril. And it’s taken me almost a decade to admit it.

Blame an old friend for this, if you will. Beautiful thing about social media is sometimes people reappear out of nowhere after two years of awkward silence and it’s like the distance never existed at all. This one, he’s special. I’ve blogged about him in the past because he’s slightly more notable as the first love whose lack of interest in me led to me leaving the Bubble and ending up on antidepressants for the first time (wow, boy did a lot for me), but before that… before that, he was the only person who knew me in high school who did not want to fix me, let alone try.

I think I scared him. It’s been eight years since it happened, a third of my life, and I still vividly remember the cold November weekend our paths first crossed. Rarely do I have primal reactions to new people, and negative ones even less so, but I took one look at that boy and I wanted to bring him down. Over the two days and several hallway encounters that followed, I almost hit him several times – and not always by accident either. I’m pretty sure everyone has vague sociopathic tendencies at age sixteen or so, but I was something else entirely and I picked a pretty good victim.

Or so I thought. But in my chaotic brilliance, I’d picked the one Bubble boy in our region who could not only keep up with me but actually chose to. Chose to explain to me, a year and a lifetime later, that sometimes content warnings make life easier. (Not that I listened, but seventeen-year-old me was not good at following instructions.) Chose to reach out to me and treat me like a damn person, something I did not know how to respond to at the time (and still don’t, honestly). Chose to, in sweet Bubble-boy fashion, become the first real friend I managed to keep.

But oh, that doesn’t change how much of a bitch I was.

If it moved, I hated it. I was undiagnosed depressive, not to mention aforementioned sociopath-adjacent tendencies, and I’d been left in a perfect playground. A quick glance at the national news will inform any outsider of how succeptible such communities are to semi-outsider predators, but the young who aren’t eaten frequently grow up to be just as monstrous. I was merely more open and aiming in a slightly different direction than my peers. All of us were a bit feral, I think. I stood out as a lone wolf amidst the shifting pack of our homeschool group, but nobody survived unscathed.

Still, someone saw light in me. Someone my age, someone I never would’ve expected kindness from until it was shown. And that, more than anything else, is probably why I’m still alive.

(I’m gonna message this post to the person in question, for the record. I do follow the “if you write about them and you’re still on speaking terms, make sure they see it” rule. So… this could get awkward and lead to a follow-up post about how I’ve set my life on fire THIS month.)

I still have a lot of reflection to do, but at least I’m admitting it. That’s the first step.

love is…

… “she’s FINE, she’s one of the toughest people I know” followed a minute later by “what do you mean she might’ve spontaneously taken a trip to Australia?!?”

… being very, very thrilled when I do not find any arrest records for the above-mentioned person (who is still not accounted for, but probably off on some wild adventure. or somebody’s kid broke her phone. or both).

… friendships that feel like warm blankets and coming home.

… borderline compulsive worrying that usually ends up being TOTALLY NECESSARY because why oh why do I attract so many people with no self-preservation abilities.

… reminding my people that they mean a lot to me and that I am way easier to deal with when they tell me what’s going on instead of making me wonder. (and that in turn minimizes the above compulsive worrying.)

… making squishy knitted things because if I can’t hug you as often as I want to (or like ever because you’re on the other side of the freaking continent), that’s the next best thing.

… knowing that I’m 23 and I’ve got a really solid list of people I am honored to be friends with and be connected to.

… accepting that all forms of human kindness are beautiful, not just the kind that actually means “I want you”.

do something

I’ve had it up to here with passive-aggressiveness.

As usual with most of my frustrations, there’s a few contributing factors here. There’s the culture of random catfights at my work (for those of you who don’t know me in RL, I work in retail and that’s honestly a whole ‘nother post but sufficient to say, I have some INTERESTING coworkers). There’s the wildlife on Facebook who I can’t unfriend for whatever reason (usually ’cause I want to watch them completely trainwreck in a couple years) who post so, so many political things but don’t have actual SOLUTIONS. There’s similar bullshit on Tumblr, which is why I haven’t even checked my tracked tags on there in like a month because I can’t deal with people. There’s… guh.

Again, my background comes back to bite me. Again, having grown up in a fairly normal family that for whatever reason attempted to blend in with the conservative wildlife comes back and my disillusionment has roots somewhere in my teens.

I guess my frustration with people who have problems but don’t ACT ON THEM started with the pro-life movement. (I’m about to ruffle some feathers here, so if that topic is really important to you, this is your warning to quit reading.) Obviously, as a good Bubble kid, that was something I grew up around. Worse, as a good Bubble kid who was adopted right after birth, that was something I couldn’t escape. When I was younger, my mother was prone to waving the “I adopted three unwanted children” flag every chance she got. (She’s toned it down over the last couple years, but still brings it out for special occasions.) It was her sainthood, and as far as that goes… far be it from me to judge one of someone’s more harmless hangups, but as one of the kids in question it did feel an awful lot like a guilt trip.

But as per usual when dealing with the Bubble, my mother was comparatively tame. On this issue, a little more dramatically than most. Even outsiders know that pro-life is THE issue that defines the Bubble. It’s not an optional belief, like headcoverings or the more obnoxious strain of Calvinism. It’s a REQUIREMENT. But at least in my experience, it was dealt with the same way every other cause was – talk about it until lungs and lips turn blue, throw money at the problem, maybe serve on an organizing committee if you’re REALLY dedicated to the cause, and… that’s it. That’s where it begins and ends.

Now, apply that approach to literally any issue that bothers anyone. That’s generally how it works. For issues of a wide variety. By people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

I just… I can’t.

I can’t.

If something bothers you as much as you claim it does, DO SOMETHING. Time goes a hell of a lot further than money. Don’t just sit there and post shit on FB. DO SOMETHING.

And if you’re not willing to put up the effort to turn your beliefs into actions… maybe you should rethink them. Y’know. Maybe.

mid-case scenario

As of this past Saturday, all my contact with the Bubble going forward will be completely of my own free will. My little sister officially graduated high school the second time (it’s a long story and not mine to tell in detail but mostly features her primal concept of loyalty), my family survived some awkward conversations in a bizarrely small church gym, and it’s over. We’re done.

I know, I know – I myself graduated six years ago, so technically the past six years have been voluntary, but… it’s hard to run when you’ve got younger siblings. Especially when one of said younger siblings is friends with everyone. (Bean, if you’re reading this, I love how outgoing you are but sometimes I wonder how your brain handles it. Maybe with the space I would have if I’d stop obsessing about questionable genre shows??) So while I was out of the heart of the fire, I was still on the edges.

And now I am not. And that’s weird as hell and, like everything else, it’s got me brooding.

I am not the perfect Bubble girl, that much is obvious from my colorful vocabulary and the fact that, at almost 24, there’s no ring on my finger and my uterus has yet to have an occupant. But nor am I what they thought I’d become either. Sure, I’ve got a few more tattoos than would be considered ideal (okay fine I only have four SO FAR), but I don’t have bizarre piercings, my sexual orientation is only a relevant detail of my existence when I feel like hissing about that one girl I had a crush on two autumns back (one of those fabulously no-win crushes no less), I don’t have a criminal record or a child born out of wedlock, and I’m pretty harmless when I remember to take my meds.

So, I’m something else. A grayscale daughter of a black-and-white world. Weird, huh.

I got the chance to talk to an old friend last weekend who I hadn’t had any direct contact with in a year and a half (thank you Facebook chat for reminding me of the last time we’d both been broody enough to deal with each other) and it was the weirdest freaking thing. Six years ago, I thought I was gonna marry that boy. Mind you, I thought a lot of other shit then that also ended up being completely wrong, but… there’s a part of me that’s always gonna have a soft spot for Vulcan. Like most of the people I’ve loved, he sees right through people to their very cores. Even from the other side of the world, having noticed that I’d liked one too many of his vacation photos (which are AWESOME btw and I’m kinda jealous) and deciding to check in on me ’cause why the hell not, he saw through me.

God, I’d probably be miserable right now if he’d liked me back. If we’d been one of those Bubble couples – if you’ve ever dealt with the Bubble, you know the type, the ones that get married after six months of their version of dating ’cause it’d be a mortal sin to make out before marriage. We easily could’ve been. I’m sure there’s an alternate universe where Vulcan would’ve fallen for me because of how many feathers it would’ve ruffled for the golden boy to settle down with the bitchy black sheep. (And now that’s a story idea. Frack.) But we didn’t, and I can finally see how that was a good thing.

In the end, turned out neither of us did Perfect Bubble Young Adult that well. And it feels awesome to know stuff about a whole range of things that are perfect gibberish to someone whose mind used to amaze me (and to an extent still does). It feels awesome to know that that boy’s out there doing his thing, in his own orbit, keeping his head above water and finding happy moments here and there. I’m definitely one of those people who likes to keep an eye on former objects of affection – given that I’ve gone after some Real Winners, it’s almost necessary – but at least I don’t have to worry about Vulcan. Never have, never will.

I mean, my first instinct upon meeting that boy almost eight years ago was that I wanted to punch him. Even considering the Bubble doctrine of Universal Compatibility, there was no way that was gonna end well for me.

I feel like I’m in another transformative phase of my life. I know, I know, I’m in my twenties so like this entire decade is supposed to be transformative, but like… this current moment more so than usual. This summer, just beginning, like it could totally reshape everything I am and believe in.

Idk. I got a tattoo of a moon on my wrist two weeks ago because werewolves are the perfect analogy for everything about me, I’m attempting to plow through the works of CS Lewis in an effort to sort out my spirituality completely separate from my environment of origin (or the megachurches it seems like everyone my age goes to), and today I learned not to wear my super-modest dress when I’m going to a particular location ’cause that is how one gets harassed by drunk homeless people. It’s a weird week and I’m just shutting up and running with it.

embrace the crazy

I had another of those life-changing realizations yesterday.

Well, actually I’ve had a couple this week, but this one was a classic “what happens when Alyssa tries to use TV shows as therapy” moment. And, as always happens with such things, it was exactly what I needed.

I’m not sure if I’ve posted on this blog about my tendency to end up watching things exactly when I need a particular message from them without being aware of that detail until it happens, but… that’s a thing. If I imprint onto a show, fully emotionally connect with it, there’s usually something I need to learn from it. I’ve been sorta tracking this pattern for over three years, and it is a Thing for me.

So, this week. Two shows, because sometimes I don’t listen to stuff the first time and sometimes it’s really reassuring to know I’m not alone.

First, I finally finished watching season 2 of The Magicians. (Disclaimer – if you have any triggers whatsoever, DO NOT WATCH THAT SHOW. It’s a content nightmare if you have any visual triggers of any species!!) I have a weakness for utterly trashy genre shows, and that one hits all my buttons. Not to mention that s2, in my opinion, made the characters more likable. (There were multiple moments when I felt sorry for Margo, who I utterly disliked in s1. It’s that good.) Admittedly I’ll watch just about anything that originally airs on SyFy, but… idk, I could ramble on about how y’all should watch Magicians if you’re strong enough to handle the content level, but that is not the point of this post.

Point is there’s this plotline in the second half of the season, which I am going to be vague about because it involves a show-only character (the show is loosely based on a series of books that I personally found boring as hell), that hit my emotional buttons. And there’s this one scene, about two thirds of the way through the season, that resonated so hard with me. All I can say, because SPOILERS and yes it aired like two months ago but I am a nice person about my underappreciated shows, is it involves one character trying to convince another character that he doesn’t care about her crazy, he loves her and he wants her and screw it, he’ll put up with whatever bullshit she throws at him if it means they can attempt to be together.

As someone who has been told by everyone she’s ever liked that she is too much crazy for them… I legit cried.

And then, a very similar message on a sliiightly similar show.

I’m gonna do a bigger post about my feelings re: American Gods once the season is over. Okay, this being me, there will be SEVERAL posts. For now, what matters is I’ve been a feelings puddle about this damn show since the casting was announced a year ago and the first ep just confirmed that yup, I’m gonna be spending my summer feeling All The Things about a show that’s basically a roadtrip comedy crossed with… guh, I don’t even know how to describe it beyond COMPLETELY INSANE. Seriously. Don’t watch the show if blood’s not your thing, but do go read the book because it’s unlike anything else I have ever encountered.

And again, there’s a theme of loving someone despite their crazy. Or occasionally because of their crazy.

And again, serious spoilers, but the only thing that is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN for the entire book – and is being translated beautifully through the show so far – is that the only significant “couple”, if you will, love each other despite everything. Despite the fact that, y’know, one of them is technically dead for most of the relevant plotline. And made a bad life choice that kicks off the rollercoaster of crazy that her darling gets dragged through. And… SPOILERS, really.

She’s a hot mess (and aware of her status as such, but still a mess). He loves her anyways. It works. And there’s this one scene in the first ep of the show… I do not have words but again, puddle.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple weeks wondering how to change myself so people will like me, and then this week’s TV-watching happened and I got multiple examples of people who are loved and treated well by their partners despite the fact that they’re… well… crazy.

Maybe I don’t need to hide what I am. Maybe I don’t need to put the weird shit on a very short leash. Maybe what I need is to embrace and revel in it.

Because someone out there, there might be someone wonderful who’s gonna fall in love with me anyways.

because clearly i needed another project…

…I’m starting an online boutique of women’s clothing and beauty products because goddamn, I would like to be able to find a site with cute//practical stuff that isn’t twee, pretentious, aimed at my mother’s age bracket, or some combination of those factors. But I have not, and I had a nice think about it last weekend and tapped into my problem-solving nature, and thus Hazel Morning was born.

It’s not quite open yet – am waiting for my first shipment of stuff to get here and then my sister will take some beautiful pics of me in it and then everything will get posted to the site and I’ll officially launch this beauty – but my infrastructure is in place. I bought a domain name, I registered with the IRS, I’ve figured out the Hazel Morning aesthetic, and I’ve started making connections with suppliers. Combine impulsive with resourceful and entrepreneurial and this is what ya get, apparently. I’m gonna keep the self-promotion to a dull roar here ’cause this is supposed to be my writing // personal blog, but oh my goodness I am excited!! There is so much potential for me to explore here and Hazel Morning life+style is going to be a brand new world of… well, I’m not totally sure yet, but hopefully some of you guys will join me in the journey. (Or at least offer sympathy when I rant about some of the weird “quirks” of getting into this business. Oooohboy.)

I have a vision here is all I’m sayin’. Hazel Morning is going to be a boutique for the millenial woman who just wants quiet, who’s done giving a damn what the world thinks of her, who wants to surround herself with soft things and soft people. For clothing, that means neutral // cool colors and functional styles – nothing backless, nothing shoulder-less, nothing unnecessarily revealing. For accessories… we’ll figure that out once my Etsy Wholesale account gets approved, but I’ve got a few hesitant ideas on that front. For beauty and personal care products, that means gentle scents and tasteful packaging and products that work. And for everything else… I’ll figure that out when I need to as well.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming of “I blog because I don’t have the money for therapy and all of my friends are sick of listening to my bullshit”…