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.
Stuff’s getting a little crazy out there, huh? I will say I was shocked—SHOCKED—over the whole toilet-paper thing. And not just because of the *immense* amount of insanity concerning people’s usage of it, but because I’d been meaning to stock up for a while, about three weeks before the panic started. I like to have a lot in inventory (for just this reason) and I kept telling Batman we needed to pick up another pack or two, and he’d say we have enough, and I’d agree, but then mention it the following week and the same thing would happen. And wouldn’t you know it—toilet paper is like fucking currency now. Damnit Batman!
I don’t understand what’s happening in the world.
I feel like I’m watching a movie, but also participating in the outtakes, like when I go to the store and find this:
We’ve all seen and shared similar photos and videos because OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING? We are we going crazy and
1) abandoning all common sense
2) being assholes to each other
I totally realize there is a virus out there and it is not a great one (are there any great ones?) but it’s…normal-ish, right? Nobody’s heads are blowing up. People aren’t sprouting balls on their shoulders, or mutating or boiling alive—right?? (Please tell me if the symptoms have updated) Like, if I see someone’s head explode after a sneeze, or if their elbows fall off in a gooey acidy-manner, then hell yes get the hell away from me and everyone stay indoors for the summer. Holy Shit. But no one’s heads are exploding. And, I even get the not wanting to spread it (I really, really do) but what I don’t get is the unnecessary panic. The hysteria over something that hasn’t wiped out a *major* portion of the worldwide population. AND AGAIN—NO HEADS EXPLODING.
I blame the media. I really do. It’s creating unnecessary panic which is making it very difficult for the majority of the country. Everyone is going to hurt from this. Everyone. And for a while. But seriously—why? Why are we going to this extreme to cause this much distress on our country and countrymen.
SHOW ME THE EXPLODING HEADS.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just upset we’re down to three rolls of toilet paper and we could’ve been living like kings. Oh well. Guess I’ll know for the next time this anomaly comes along.
I hope you all are doing well & being safe. I’d remind you to wash your hands but
1) you shouldn’t need reminding
2) you’ve been reminded enough
We’ll see what the world looks like this time next week.
(This post was originally written for last week, but still applies 😊)
My door handle broke off again.
This post was going to be about the lost tin—and we’ll probably swing around to it—but I have to mention the door handle first. Because, seriously? Again, Georgie? I work full time and am heading to visit family this weekend, so I won’t be able to get it fixed until the following weekend at the earliest, and that’s if I’m sufficiently inconvenienced enough to get up early on a Saturday morning to deal with it. We’re talking middle-ish of March or so before I have a working car door handle. Back to climbing in through my passenger-side door and praying to GOD it’s not raining when I leave work.
Batman feels bad. He’s the one who yanked it off this time. Funny thing is, he was being extra gentle because I told him of the *fiasco at the vet, and he was trying to demonstrate how careful I need to be with Georgie (like I don’t know), and then he snatched the thing right off. It’s fine. I’ll be fine. People are being QUARANTINED for possible coronavirus, so I’m cool with a little extra exercise added to my transportation routine. It could always be worse.
It’s something I should’ve been saying for the last two weeks. I don’t know what’s specifically wrong with me other than *potent* impatience, but I have this incredible talent to freak out over nothing. I’d almost be proud, except it turns me into this monster where logic and sanity don’t exist. It’s one of the things I hate most about myself because I feel stupid and foolish after these outburts, especially when I realize I caused the majority of my own stress.
Anyway, long story short: I need to renew my driver’s license. It’s not something I care too much about, except I have to have it renewed by our honeymoon or else I won’t be able to board the plane. So, kind of important. Doing absolutely zero research, I headed to the DMV and waited. After getting turned away for not having the necessary items, I headed straight into my home office to get the tin that held my birth certificate, except it wasn’t where I left it. It wasn’t *anywhere*. After a mini-freak-out, I told Barman and we turned the place upside looking for it. We checked cabinets, drawers, under beds, closet nooks. It is NOWHERE. At this point, I honestly believe the house ate it. That, or we have some asshole gnome who has upped his thieving game from socks. Either way, once I realized I had to order my birth certificate online, I FREAKED OUT. I guess people do this all the time, but I never thought I would because I never thought I would lose it, because how do you lose a tin that holds all your important shit? (along with our expired passports and a creepy bag of old baby teeth). You don’t. Or, at least, I don’t. And I did.
Now that my order is being processed in the next ten to fifteen days, I can go back to the DMV (yay!) and not be shunned for only having my social security card. (I will have all required documents, thank you very much angry lady who dismissed me with disdain. DISDAIN.) Now that things are in motion, I realize how much stress I caused myself because of a few road bumps. It happens and it sucks, but it’s obviously not the end of the world, although it definitely feels like it in the heat of the moment.
Anyway, lesson for the day: it can always be worse. It’s something I will continue to tell myself every day as I manually unlock the passenger door, crawl in to open the driver’s side, and then walk around. And I will SHOUT it on the days when it’s raining. 😊
*Appa doesn’t like the vet. He was boarded there like a billion years ago for only a week, and every time we’ve been, he freaks out. Barking like he’s being beaten, like he’s under major attack. This is when literally only the receptionist is in the room. He does not like the vet. Period. Well, Batman had something in the morning and I was left to take our child to the vet alone. It’s fine, except Appa freaks out (as mentioned above) so one of us usually weighs him quickly and then heads outside while the other stays inside to pay. It’s a pretty good system, and we’ve got it down. But when there’s only one of us…it makes this difficult.
So, after battling him into the vet, trying to communicate with the receptionist about what we needed, keeping him calm enough to sit on the scale and by my side when I paid, and back out of the vet, we headed out to Georgie and that’s when I pulled her door handle right off. During the end his panic attack. Perfect timing.
What’s the best way to spend the weekend besides being a billionaire with a private jet and loads of cash? Give up? Well, you should because there are a lot of acceptable answers and one of them is how I spent this past weekend: family reunion 2019 baby. 😊
Look, when you live in Florida, people have an excuse to come visit you. And when you’re as cool as Batman and me, well, that’s just a bonus.
Welcome to Palm Coast, FL.
Rooming with twelve people can get terrible really quickly, so we collectively made the decision not to kill one another and enjoy the accommodations. (These are all courtesy of Batman).
Nice digs, eh?
Also, there was no itinerary! I LOVED that! We were able to hang with people over here or over there, in the beach or in the pool (ours or one of the TWO community pools) or at the beach. I simply LOVED that! Everything was so easy going and chill and Batman and I had a blast 😊 We’ll be seeing everyone again next year at our wedding (tee-hee!) so there’s just another reason to look forward to it.
What about you? How’d you spend your weekend? Do anything cool? What do you do for family reunions?
You are an AWESOME older sister, and before anything else, today is YOUR day. Happy, happy, HAPPIEST of birthdays, I love you, and I’m sorry I pushed your face into the couch all those times we fought. You did kind of ask for it though.
Second and secondmost: Batman went under the knife last Friday. Sadly no, not to something cool like ninjas or pirates or psychotic rogue Canadians. He had a little outpatient surgery to remove a benign lump that was causing some breathing troubles. Not cool when you want to like, live and breathe normally. But he’s out and about and *technically* has lost more weight for the wedding than I have. I need to step my game up.
Third and thirdmost: Happy IWSG day 😊
I’ve done a lot of writing (and have some writing updates!) but I’m not ready to get into anything yet, so we’ll focus on the optional monthly question:
Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?
Actually kind of tough.
I love my protagonists because they’re funny and cool and smart, so naturally I enjoy writing them…but there is something amazing about writing terribly awful characters. 😊 I guess it’s fun because you get to peek into another kind of mindset, and whereas you strive to do good in reality (I hope?) you can be as twisted and fucked up as you want through the character. So…there is a bit an allure to it.
I don’t know. This one is a toss up for me. I’ll say both.
What about you?
Any birthdays coming up? Or surgery? Who do/would you think you’d prefer to write: hero or villain?
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 meant to write a post yesterday but fell asleep before I could make it to the computer. In my defense, the sheets were freshly washed (mostly—Appa does sleep in the bed so ‘freshly washed’ still means lightly sprinkled with dog hair and particles from outside. I know. Gross.) and I’d only planned on lying down for a few seconds. That multiplied to two hours somehow and then there was laundry and watching The Flash and a holiday cranberry sub and even more sleep.
And here we are.
I try to write my Wednesday posts on Sundays because starting the work week with a healthy dose of self-inflicted anxiety is always fun. By the time Monday comes *cough today cough* I’m freaked out if I haven’t at least started a few sentences. A thought. Something. Thankfully, during a particularly slow moment at work earlier, I lost interest and started to write this instead. My Thanksgiving post 😊
There’s not much to it except – I hope you have a great holiday! I will be spending mine with Batman and the family eating yummy things and consuming several, several glasses of wine (as is tradition in our house). I hope you do the same, but with your own family (it’d be weird if you came to my sister’s house. We’d still welcome you, but it’d be cool if you brought pie).
P.S. – it’s December next week, guys. DECEMBER. Anyone else feeling the anxiety chills of Christmas rapidly approaching?
You know how sometimes you read your stuff and you’re like, God, this is so stupid?
*Smacks head against keyboard*
*gets drink from kitchen*
*puts drink back because hangovers are evil*
*stares at the computer*
*questions life choices*
I’m at this part of the cycle when I can either go forward or stop. Stopping doesn’t seem to do anyone any good so I might as well keep going even though I’m pretty sure the whole thing is crap. I know it isn’t, but parts of it are and I’m focused on them. Also: this is my first contemporary YA romance which means the structure is extremely different than the sci-fi/fantasy I’ve written. Those have tons of action while this piece moves at a slower pace and now I’m questioning it’s boring-level. There are no monsters, evil dictators, spies, or wild centuries-long secrets that come to fruition. It’s just (mostly) two people in a strange situation that find love.
Which is like, every YA story minus the love-triangle and the exciting dystopian/paranormal background. I’m not even sure why I wrote it. I didn’t intend to. I was actually starting to write this really awesome fantasy thing (and will probably still) but I kept switching documents to write this other thing and somehow I’ve got it fully fleshed. I don’t think I was even planning to show it to anybody. But it’s two years later and now I am and I’m at that shit-yourself-stage because it’s so unlike what I’ve written and I’m terrified that it’s stupid/boring/lame/just like everything else out there.
But I’m going to do it, guys. I’m going to look for some BETAs soon and just do it. I could totally not, leave it on the computer and be done with the thing, but where’s the fun in that? As terrifying as this part is in the process, I’ll feel like a real tool if I did all the work up until this point to just stop now. Carpe Diem, right? Life is made for us to do things.