I’m going to keep this one short because it’s a very special week for me—no, nothing to do with the election—but I’m getting all dressed up in white on Saturday. Kinda where my focus is at.
So (and since I missed last month’s post) let’s get right into the optional question for the Insecure Writers Support Group:
Albert Camus once said, “the purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?
Ah yes, the age-old question: why do we write?
While I agree more with Flannery, I find writing is a way to keep myself from imploding. I’m not sure how most people don’t become serial killers, but I assume it’s because they found their thing. Their release. The thing they do that makes everything makes sense, or at least, takes off the edge. For me, it’s writing. I’m the master of my universe, and while I’m a slave to my characters, it’s better than being in the real world and slowly dying of inner turmoil. So, I write. Musicians make music and artists—they make art. It’s the same reason people love to bake or sing or play a sport or hobby or whatever they find happiness in. It’s what helps get them through life. Writing helps me, so that’s why I do it. What about you? What’s your thing that keeps the inner serial-killer at bay?
Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.
P.S. I will post pictures as soon as I can. Just know, I’m more eager about them than you are. So we both need to calm down. 🙂
~ Lady Caitlin signing off for the last time as a single lady
I wasn’t sure how I should write this, or if I should write it at all, but after the hundredth time thinking it was better to keep everything bottled up, I figured I might as well confess now. It’s better than carrying around a lifetime of bitterness that will no doubt be flung in Batman’s face. Not his fault, but I can’t blame the dog. That would be unfair.
(For those who don’t know, Batman is my fiancé. No, I’m not marrying a man who thinks he’s Batman or secretly dresses in black latex with a rodent compulsion. None of that. I’m marrying a man who very much wishes he was Batman, and to some people, may be on the wrong side between obsession and fandom. Whatever. He’s not foaming over the Joker or the Penguin or even Hannibal Lector, so I’m not worried.)
Now, when I say confess, I mean honestly confess.
I won’t say this. Not to your face, and not in a text or an email or even on the phone. I won’t say it because I can’t say it, because if I do, you’ll see the part of me I’m trying to hide. The busted-up, gory, pummeled-to-shreds mass currently sitting in my chest that keeps beating through every disappointment. And I get it. Life is full of them. I’ve had plenty, like watching all our friends get married over the last decade and wondering when I’d get my turn. If I’d get my turn. Don’t get me wrong—I’m truly blessed to have had the time with Batman that I have, regardless of our title, but when you want something that doesn’t happen in the first two years, five years, ten years…disappointment inevitably hits. Batman and I have worked through this, and we’re fine now, but to understand how heartbroken I am, you need to know the history:
Batman and I met in the spring of 2007, when we were finishing our junior year at Florida State University. We attended a mutual friend’s birthday party and sat across from each other which ended up being the best thing to happen to him. There was a lot of movie-bashing which turned into flirting, and even after we stood up to leave, and he discovered I’m closer in height to a hobbit, he still asked for my number. (Which he later confessed was almost a deal-breaker. Batman is close to 6’0 and I’m 5’1.)
After proving his affection by attempting to steal a chair (long story), the relationship was established, and only strengthened in the coming months by both of us participating in a heist over a condom shaped piece of art (another long story). Even after being separated by my six-week study abroad program in Amsterdam, we were still completely into each other.
Then we broke up.
Actually, he broke up with me. Batman will say it never happened, but it did, and I know because I moved back in with my mother over it, and no one ever forgets moving back in with their mother. The break up didn’t last long—a couple months—because someone realized he couldn’t live without someone else, and that someone decided it was worth giving the first someone a second chance. (Also, I needed to get out of my mother’s house.)
So, we moved in together. It was a tiny apartment with one bathroom and no laundry machines in the unit. That didn’t matter because it was ours and we could do whatever we wanted. Then we realized having only one bathroom is terrible for me, because he has longer legs, and beats me to the latrine when we both need to use it. Lesson learned. Also, our tiny apartment was on the second floor, which we didn’t take into consideration after learning there’d be communal laundry facilities. Second lesson learned. Batman and I spent five years in our first apartment racing each other to the bathroom and hauling our clothes up and down the stairs every two weeks. But we were happy.
When we outgrew our first place in 2014, we moved into our second—a slightly bigger unit with two bathrooms and laundry machines. We were in heaven. But after a year, an opportunity to move to Jacksonville became available, and with nothing tying us down, we left. Batman and I have been renting the same house since 2015, and the same year, we added the newest addition to our family—our German Shorthair Pointer named Appa (before it was popular to like Avatar. In fact, our vet asked if the name was Latin, to which I replied no, he’s named after a cartoon flying bison, to which I then received a very odd look.)
Fast forward to 2018. This is when I get really honest.
2018 was crappy. Not in every-way, but in the me and Batman way because I’d given a marriage proposal deadline (I actually did it a few times during our relationship, but never held him to it) and this deadline passed as well. I was heartbroken. I was beyond heartbroken, and still not to a point—after 10 years—that I could articulate this without losing him. And I didn’t want to lose Batman. Marriage or not, we were going to be together because he’s the love of my life.
After spending around a decade going to nearly a wedding a year—sometimes two—and celebrating all our friends and family on both sides, 2018 came to the end of pretty much everyone we knew getting married. It was literally only us left. And at that point, I’d convinced myself it wouldn’t happen. Marriage just wasn’t in the cards for me, which hurt because every wedding I went to, I told myself my turn was coming. It was coming. But I still didn’t have a proposal.
2018 had me believing it would not happen. It would not happen. I wouldn’t get the wedding I’d been waiting for, wanting, and…kind of deserving. But I had Batman, and it was fine. Until I couldn’t keep it in any longer. Innocuous comments from friends would have me bursting into tears when a year or two earlier I’d shrug it off, although I’d be hurting secretly on the inside. I couldn’t keep my feelings on what was happening—or what wasn’t happening—in anymore, and finally, I broke down to Batman.
I told him everything. How I felt, how I’d been feeling, and how I knew we were never getting married—but I still loved him. This all came as semi-news to him, because again, I never articulated these feelings. He suspected, but didn’t know the depth of my pain. We talked and talked and our relationship, after ten years, grew even stronger. We decided to look at rings together.
In January 2019, we selected a ring I liked and could afford and bought it same day. I wasn’t sure how the proposal would go since I knew about it, but I was still happy we had a ring. I think once Batman realized how close I was to just not wanting to get married anymore—because I reached that point too, several times—it became his mission to make it happen. He called my dad the same week to ask for permission to propose, and then told me he was going to do it the next day. The next day at work was terrible, and I came home crying even though I knew what was going to happen.
It was nothing like I’d hoped for, or expected. There was no movie moment wonderment because I think we were beyond that point. Maybe our proposal to each other occurred in all our happy moments over the years, when we didn’t realize at the time that we were choosing each other. Maybe a few words and a quick drop to the knee in our bedroom on a Friday night wasn’t our true proposal, but the solidification of the accumulation of years spent loving one another.
It wasn’t the picture-perfect proposal I’d envisioned, and definitely not the story to tell people like several of my friends had (poor Batman had the bar set really high for some of those proposals) but it happened. I’d convinced myself it wouldn’t; I convinced myself Batman and I would be partners and lovers through life, and that’s all. But it happened.
We made our announcement in early 2019, when we were closing in on almost twelve years. Since this was such a long time coming and we wanted to have the best wedding ever, we decided on a long engagement, giving ourselves plenty of time to save the money and plan everything. We decided on a November 2020 wedding. Too excited, and probably because I’d been secretly planning my possibly-never-happening-wedding all along, we sent our save the dates out a year ahead of time. We wanted people to have plenty of notice and plenty of time to plan, because we were throwing one hell of a party, and wanted everyone we loved and who supported us over the years to come.
Then Covid happened.
Like many of us, I was in complete shock. Of course, safety concerns were high, but my heart broke for all the brides who had to cancel or postpone. How could they deal with that? How completely, completely horrible. I told myself how lucky I was to be getting married in November and not March, April, May, or even the summer months. Thank God Batman and I chose a later date in the year, because that meant Covid wouldn’t really affect us. It’d be gone way before then, and we’d still have the wedding we’d been dreaming of/waiting for, and been planning for nearly a year and half.
Around June we realized that wasn’t going to happen. We spent a very shitty day crying and wondering if we should cancel the whole thing. Cancel it. Cancel the thing I thought I’d never get, the thing I’d wanted for years, and that was finally gifted. We couldn’t cancel. Besides all the money we would lose, I couldn’t give up on the idea that after believing for so long that I wouldn’t have my moment, and then believing I would, that it wasn’t going to happen. Again. My mind and my heart just couldn’t take another brutal stab. We were going through with the wedding, Covid or not.
Batman and I made this decision fully aware of the possibility that many people wouldn’t come. We were right. While we did receive some positive responses, we also received more “no’s” then I expected, and from people I didn’t expect them from. People I knew would be there…except they won’t. I understand the gravity of the situation. I do. There is definitely a danger factor, but you could walk outside and get hit by a car. It’s just life. No one knows what’s coming, and you just have to do the best with what you’ve got. That’s what Batman and I are doing.
The last six months have been bittersweet. Expecting it to be the most exciting time, I was faced with heavy conversations from many friends who wouldn’t make it, friends who were there at the beginning of our relationship, and some who joined in the middle, all who watched our love grow. Then, some family reached out to say the same, that they wouldn’t make it either, all due to Covid. Like previous years, my heart was silently breaking. My dream wedding wouldn’t happen, because everyone I love wouldn’t be there. But, I put on a brave face and just kept going. What can you do? You keep moving forward while focusing on the positives. And there are always positives.
This isn’t a sad story; it’s just an honest one. Yes, I’m still heartbroken that of all the years to celebrate our thirteen-year relationship, we picked 2020. Yes, I’m heartbroken that some of my family and several of my closest friends who have been there since the beginning won’t be with me on my special day to celebrate.
But I’m having my day. For so long I believed it wouldn’t; I knew I wouldn’t – but it’s happening. It’s finally happening.
Trent and I are getting married a week from Saturday. We met at twenty-one years old, and now we’re creaky and in our mid-thirties. But we’re here. We’ve made it. Despite everything we’ve been through and all of the heartache over the years, especially the brutal disappointment in the last six months, we finally made it.
To the boy who sat across from me all those years ago –
I love you, baby, and I can’t wait to be your wife.
Because I’ve been talking about the wedding so much (and partly because I need a break from it) but mostly because I forgot to post for IWSG, I’m dedicating this post to my writing—which I’ve been doing a LOT of. It’s the silver lining for getting laid off a month before your wedding 😊
I’m sure I’ll look back in a few years and wonder what the heck I did for those few weeks leading up to the big day. Well, in additional to preparing for it, I wrote. A lot. And I mean, a lot-a lot. I’m also kind of proud of myself because I’m going through this draft with a sterner eye than I usually do. Typically, when I get a first draft down, the majority of the scenes stay in the same place and not *too* much changes. With this draft, I’m putting more on myself, studying the scenes with a skeptical eye and asking how much better I can make it before it even gets to betas—which I’m still not convinced will happen, but, you never know. This is the same title-less nothing-story I started in May, but I really, really am enjoying writing it, and want it to be the best it can.
I still don’t have a title. It’s weird, because that’s usually one of the first things I know, or it’s developed at some point along the first draft. But I still don’t have it. I keep waiting for it to come to me, or to write a sentence and a grouping of words will ring in my head like an alarm. But that still hasn’t happened. At this point, I honestly have no idea what I’m going to call this story if it ever graduates to that level of being readable/publishable. Oh, well. Guess it’s a problem for another day. I only have a few I can deal with at a time, and in regards to writing, it’s actually the writing. Because yes, I’m on the third draft of this thing, but it’s still 2-3 (or more) revisions away from being anywhere near beta-reader polished. And who knows? Maybe a reader will suggest the perfect title.
Just know I’m in the writing cave like a frenzied madwoman developing arthritis. But it’s for the greater good, and hopefully, for an awesome story. Guess we’ll see.
You know the good thing about having a two-year engagement? You have all the time in the world to get everything done. The bad thing? Keeping that mindset up through and within a month before. I keep thinking I have alllllllll the time in the world, and yet, when Batman reminded me that this Saturday will be three weeks until our big day, I think I experienced my first mini heart-attack.
Three weeks and I’m still working on stuff. Like, legit still working on stuff. And I’m unemployed, so, like, I have the time to do it but there’s SO MUCH STUFF TO DO. But who’s panicking right? Psshh. Not me. I’m totally breezy over here with my THREE-WEEK deadline to do all the things I thought I had all the time to do them in.
At least I’m not stupid. Or crazy (in a bad way.) I’m a super pre-planner, and due to my efforts with Batman over the last two years, most of the stuff is done. It’s just the little stuff. The details. The tiny pieces of everything that all has to come together at the end—and here we are. The end of the puzzle, my friends. Or, on the precipice of it.
I blame all my erratic posting on the wedding, but I promise to keep to a better schedule once the celebratory romance mayhem is behind me. Also, even though I’m a private person, I do plan on sharing some pictures from the wedding here on the blog, so there’s proof that I did claim Batman and that I do own a pretty, white dress.
Alright, off to more wedding chores—seriously, it doesn’t stop.
Have a lovely week!
P.S. I am currently in jury duty, so please cross your fingers or eyes or sacrifice those turkeys to the moon—whatever you can do to get me out of this because having to go to trial *three weeks* before my wedding is really something I could do without.
Not the header I was hoping for this week’s post, but there you go. Just another casualty of the bullshit COVID 2020 storm. I thought we took the majority hit wedding-wise, but I wasn’t aware I’d be wounded so near-fatally again—and so close to the big day.
It came as a shock. A SHOCK. I knew the company wasn’t doing well. They told us about it in every meeting, talking about the numbers being down and how we’d all have to pitch in to help out a bit more. Totally reasonable. Totally understandable, especially when I realized monetary concerns was the reason we hadn’t hired a receptionist after the last one left, and why I had a rotating seat at the front desk (just like everyone else in my former department). I knew the company wasn’t making the money it used to, but I was busy every day, and every day I saw sales coming through. Things got a bit stressful towards the end (part of the reason I crashed and burned a few posts back) but I thought things were improving. I’d hoped they were at least. I kept my talking to a minimum, per a complaint put in against me, so I listened to my Pandora, mumbled along to Megan Trainor and Macklemore lyrics, and went along my busy day.
Then Friday I was called into the big office.
They were letting me go. The company was doing even worse than we were told, and I was of the first wave to be cast off from the wounded island. I’ve never been let go from a job. I’ve quit my fair share, but pre-planning always went into it, and I always got to that point when I realized looking for a job was better than my current work environment. Yeah, I was stressed constantly (and lost a bit of weight from anxiety in dealing with it) but I wasn’t prepared to leave. In fact, I mentioned to a friend two days earlier that while I was ‘over’ my job, I was happy I wasn’t one of the millions who had to look for a new one.
And then came the axe.
Part of me is still in shock, because I know how much I did, and how much certain people depended on me, but I guess that doesn’t matter anymore. My work will be divided up and spread out, meaning I was always replaceable, even when I convinced myself that my awesome work ethic would keep me employed there forever. But it’s okay. I’m finding the blessings and silver linings in it. True, not the *ideal* time to be let go from one’s work—less than a month and a half before my wedding—but suddenly, I have a lot more time to work on it, and to write. Of course, I’m looking for a new monetary adventure as well, but I’ll take this bit of a break that I think my mind and body have been needing.
It’s all about the secret blessings and silver linings, and seeing them when they appear. It’s all you can do (and all you should do!)
I received some most-excellent (and way too many) birthday gifts, but Batman wins. I’m sorry. He does. Believe me, I loved all the cards and t-shirts and gift cards, but Batman bought us a tiny parcel of land in Scotland making us technically—legally—a Lord and Lady.
That’s right. You read that correctly. And just in case you’re wondering if this is in any way legit, it totally most likely is:
And besides, it’s being endorsed by a comedian. The same comedian and podcast that has scored me a sexy pair of Shady Rays sun glasses for FREE because Batman used their code to cash in on a sweet BOGO promotion. And now, he’s bought us land in Scotland, giving us official titles. I like this podcast. I like it a lot. (Thank you, Tom Segura @ Your Mom’s House Podcast!)
So, yeah, Batman by far wins the birthday because now we have even more of a reason to visit Scotland. We literally own two square feet of land, and damnit, we’re going to see it one day. But again, a definite shout out to everyone who called and texted and reminded me of how much I’m loved. It feels wonderful to know I’ve survived 35 years knowing so many awesome people.
I’m going to keep this post short because I have thousand things to do, and this blog almost got shoved to the side again. Apparently, the wedding is around 6 weeks away (?!?!?!) and not the “two-three months” I keep thinking it is. So much to be done.
Enjoy your weekend and I hope you all purchase your own plots of lands or hint about it strongly enough to your loved ones or significant others. We could be neighbors 😊
Honestly, I doubted I would see it. Not just because of Covid, but because Batman and I were together so long before getting engaged, that I really wondered if I’d ever get to wear the bridal sash or the tiara with the most blinged-out penises. So, it was nice finally achieving this milestone most of my friends hit in the early part of the last decade. But, it’s cool. We’re all on different journeys.
Since I live near St. Augustine, I had a few close friends join me for dinner at this fabulous restaurant right in the historic district (though the restaurant is fairly new) that perfectly fits our vintage theme. It’s called Prohibition Kitchen, and guess what their hook is? Yup: prohibition-era style everything. From food to drinks to atmosphere, it was the perfect little joint to consume all the old-time yummies while sipping through penis straws and answering a penis-themed questionnaire. Unfortunately (but mostly at my request) there were no strippers. It’s not really my thing, and one or two male reviews was one or two male reviews too many, especially when they come David-Bowie-ing their junk at me. No. Just…no.
After dinner, the ladies and I participated in an escape room, and just like my first time, I was little to no help. But I’m okay with that. The room, like the restaurant, had to fit the theme, so I chose the Lucky Duck Speakeasy. Our objective was to find the clues left in the speakeasy to uncover the murderer and disarm the bomb in 60 minutes! Let me repeat: I was little to no help. I solved ONE puzzle because it was a picture puzzle and I’m not terribly stupid at those. That was it. Everyone else (although shout-out to Shelby and Jen!) were solving things left and right. But did we make it you ask? With THIRTY SECONDS TO SPARE. I must say, I’m friends with some smart, funny women.
And Sunday, my mom and sister threw me the most beautiful shower. I actually wore a white dress that I managed not to spill anything on, and heels that propelled me a little off the ground—and I didn’t fall or trip once! Several of my out-of-state friends were able to zoom in, although they were not privy to the mimosa bar, or the several delicious appetizers and desserts scattered throughout. The whole thing was so magical and enjoyable, and not just because most of it was viewed through a mimosa-lens, but because it just *was*. And because I felt so incredibly showered in love.
I’m sad that the weekend had to end, but I’m overjoyed I was able to have it at all. Nothing is guaranteed, and after so many years of wondering, I can say I finally had my turn—and it was perfect.
I did it again and I’m just going to blame 2020 because—2020. Am I right?
Last week wasn’t awesome for me, which is sad because I was on such a high. And then I crashed and burned, and it was gory and gross, and I’m sure in this fictional world, I smelled really bad. I’m still crawling my way back from that apocalypse, but every once in a while, I get a head-spasm of the bullshit, and I’m torn between being angry/hurt/humiliated, so I spiral into my sad tornado of defeat, throwing on every little thing I can be sad about, because apparently, I just want to bury myself in the bullshit that is 2020.
(I know—this just got dark).
It’s okay. I’ve screamed a lot. And cried. And screamed some more. Appa was very confused. Batman—being ever awesome—came to my side with comfort and chocolate. I’m good now. Or, better than I was (hence me remembering to/being able to write this post.) Win!
Also: remember that “no name” story I started writing….and kept writing…and kept writing? Well I figured out what it is! I can’t say it now because I have this thing with jinxing myself, but BELIEVE ME when I say the light-bulb burst in my brain and I sat in the chair for a minute, sitting back from the screen and thinking, “it all makes sense now…”
Anyway, onto the optional question for the Insecure Writers Support Group:
If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?
I don’t know. But that’s a good one. I don’t want normal people beta reading my stuff now, so someone who’s written something I admire? Woosh… But since we’re back to fictional worlds, I’d say it’s a toss-up. I like writing romance, but also really emotional, really romancy-romance. Yes, we all like the sex (tee-hee!) but I need a couple worth rooting for, and I feel like the following authors gave me “the feels” to a point where I recommend them/their books to others:
If any of these ladies (and I’m totally serious) want to beta read any of my silly words—consider me a hell yes. Hands down. Let’s do this.
I know you said “one author” so I listed Rainbow Rowell at the top, but again, I’m not picky. 😊
Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.
I feel like I’ve been dosed with carpe-diem LSD or something. Not that I know Lucy, or what being in the sky with diamonds feels like, but I imagine it’s exhilarating and intense, which are words I would use to describe my relationship with everything in my life right now: I’m just so thankful for it. I feel like Ebenezer on Christmas morning—post ghosts—when he’s singing and joking and not being a total rat bastard for the first time in his life because he knows he could turn it around and start valuing the day. I like to think my moral/niceness gauge reads a bit better than Ebenezer’s, but it’s that same feeling of ultimate joy. I think what I’m feeling…is gratitude?
The past few months have been fun. We can all agree. And while I took a pay cut for a few months, I never lost my job, and Batman didn’t lose any income at all. And we’ve been healthy the entire time; we’ve been lucky. But some people were impacted so much worse, with both incomes either cut or lost and with children in the mix. It astounds me how blessed we’ve been through this whole thing, and yes, even though I’ve had some dark days grumbling about what I’ve lost, my invisible fairy Godmother keeps smacking my chin up, reminding me of everything I still have—and it’s all the good stuff.
I grumble to myself about all the extra work my job is putting on me—then remember I have a job, unlike so many others battling each other in the staffing agency. (Been there. Done that. No thank you.)
I grumble to myself about all the what-ifs with my wedding to Batman—then remember I’m marrying Batman and the rest is just details. (Except I’ll still be in my dress. That’s a non-negotiable.)
I grumble to myself about missing blog posts and reverting back as an author—then remember I still write every damn day, and that’s all that matters. (dammit, Janet!)
I’ve decided I’m not going to torture myself anymore with all the things I’ve lost. I’m enjoying my life and all the gifts in it. I’m not sure when I came to this conclusion or decided to put it in heavy, full-force motion, but I’ll take it. We’re not promised tomorrow, and we never get this day, this hour, this moment back—so why waste it? I don’t want to anymore. I don’t want to waste one more minute feeling anything but happy, or at least, doing my damn best to.
Hope you’ve caught whatever I have. And no, it’s not the ‘Rona. It’s the Everything-Could-Be-A-Billion-Times-Worse-So-Let’s-Be-Thankful-For-All-The-Blessings-We-Have bug. (It’s the best one to have).
I don’t know what happened the last two weeks. Both Wednesdays popped up right after Friday (they felt) and my mind has been saturated elsewhere. It’s the post-pandemic, pre-election world we live in, and somehow, Batman and I are still pushing forward with our wedding. It definitely sucks, and I’ll write more on that either later or in another post, but as crappy as choosing this year to get married, my heart goes out to all the parents right now.
I’m not sure how ya’ll are doing it. Either sending your kids back or homeschooling or whatever it is you’re doing to keep your shit together—I applaud you. Seriously. I’m not sure I could do it. With the changing schedules and the split days and the kids not really getting to be kids, I’m just—I’m sad. I’m sad for them and sad for the parents who have to be in these situations. It sucks. The whole thing sucks. And I’m just sorry.
I don’t know why or how 2020 went so screwy, but I’m trying to find positives anywhere I can. I ordered something for my dress and it is GOREGOUS and that is what we call a 2020-Win. It’s a rare beast, but it does lurk, and from to time, it’s bound to pop up. Like the other day at Ross when I bought two shirts without trying them on (because, you know, all the dressing rooms are closed) and they fit AMAZINGLY when I got them home. 2020-Win. Probably wouldn’t have noticed before but I’m definitely savoring all the wins I can.
And honestly…that’s not a bad way to live.
What about you? Any 2020-Wins you’ve experienced recently? How’s pandemic, pre-election life treating you?