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30 September 2013

easing back into life: some notes

I've been writing more lately. Like, actually writing. In a notebook. With a pen.
Somewhere along the way I had stopped doing that. I had forgotten, or maybe I had never realized, how satisfying it was to write by hand. Or maybe I stopped doing that so much because writing by hand is more likely to cause a flare up of the nerve damage in my right arm. Since I'm right-handed.


The other day I was talking to my mom about the possibility of me getting a disability rating from the VA (for my Depression and the nerve damage in my arm, and some other more minor issues). My advisor, I was telling her, had told me that all my issues could easily qualify me for a 100% rating. That means the VA might decide I rate getting 100% of my active duty pay for the rest of my life. My mom said, "That's great, I guess, but wouldn't that hurt your pride, to be considered disabled?" That stopped me short momentarily. Then I replied, "well, yeah it would, if I weren't disabled." Geez, Mom.


I'm newly single-ish. What the hell does that mean? It means my primary partner and I broke up. Archer & Bones is no longer a romantic relationship. He's still my best friend. It hurts, but it's also exactly the right thing for both of us. I have other people in my life, but my other relationships are not so intense. So I'm single-ish.


I had a revelation today, while I was thinking about being single. That is: I'm always strongest when I'm single. I wrote it in my journal. See? It's right there:
It's not a great picture, so I'll give you a transcription:

{Left page, top to bottom}
"I'm always strongest when I'm single.
Why do I do that?
Why do I weaken myself with men?
[Seriously, I don't do it in my relationships with women.]
How many loves has that cost me?
^maybe it's because I think in those terms
Can I stop thinking of Love as something to be caught and kept tight -
- and think of it instead as something that grows better when there is no pretense?"

{On the left side of the left page, in blue ink}
"I've seen this before, but did not recognize it until now."

{On the right page, top to bottom}
"That weakness is given shape by our culture, but the force came from my Depression, and the legacy of abuse.
This is what I must change next."

Are any of us ever completely ourselves with anyone? Isn't there always something that we hold back? - Thoughts that come but seem uncharitable or poorly timed; it's not always bad to hold things back. But sometimes, over time, holding back might make us seem to be someone we are not.

I always felt on some subtle level that voicing the thoughts that might have appeared to diminish his importance in my life was generally a bad thing which would potentially hurt his feelings and make him think I didn't really care about the relationship. (I'm using "he/him/his" generically here - it's a running theme in my relationships with men throughout my life.) It didn't matter that the thoughts didn't actually mean I didn't care, but the idea that it might be taken that way was enough to silence me. Thus, I appeared weaker, less independent than I was. I even believed it, right up until yesterday.

I don't know exactly where I picked up the idea that I had to appear weaker than I am in order to 'keep' a man. I'm aware of the likely culprits, but I don't feel like doing an in-depth analysis right now. It's enough to know that I've done this, and better to know that now I can work to change it. Phew.


I'm working away at my story, which still doesn't have a title. I'm finally relatively satisfied with the first two chapters, and am planning chapter three. The work is invigorating and addictive. I did a character sketch today. Literally.
Jacqueline Avery

10 September 2013


I probably won't be writing much over the next week or three.
I'm going through a depression ...relapse? episode? whatever you want to call it.
I don't feel like doing much of anything right now, but I am doing the things that need to be done. It's just, when those things are done, there's nothing left in me to write about.

I'll be back soon. I'm just coping with life, and this is how I choose to do it.

07 September 2013

to Eric the Joy-Bringer

This is a difficult post to write.
On Monday morning last week, the morning after my 32nd birthday, my son found our cat's body. His soul had parted his body; I won't say he was gone, because I don't think he left right away, but he was dead. He is dead.

...I've been trying to write this post for the entire almost-two weeks since Eric died. Maybe I'm just not ready. Or maybe I've just been focusing on the wrong parts. Let me tell you a little about Eric.

First of all, I didn't name him. He came with that name, a 6 year old, formerly feral, three-legged kitty boy. He had lost his right hind leg after being hit by a car during his feral days. He was rescued and taken to a vet who tried to save his leg, but during the healing process he developed an infection in that femur. They had to remove his leg. He was still a very lucky kitty.

When he came to live with me, he was pretty scared. He'd been living with a who'd had him - I think - since he had first been rescued. He got along with her other kitties and was perfectly happy where he was. Unfortunately, she had a family situation come up and was worried that he might not be happy with the new living arrangements she was going to have to make. So he got to my house - already unhappy with the car ride - and clearly did not understand where his home had gone and why are there huge slobbering dogs trying lick me?! He spent the first few months in my bedroom, and most of that time under my bed.

During that time, I called him Eric the Wonder Kitty, because he caught a mouse and I was amazed that he could do that, considering his reduced mobility.

He played with that poor dead mouse for hours before eating it,
but when I bought him toy mice, he ignored them. Figures.

It wasn't until we moved into a new house, in a new town, that he really came out of his shell. The new place did two things. One, it had better energy than the old place, which had never been a happy place for any of us. Two, the layout was such that he was kinda forced to socialize a bit more. He blossomed like a spring flower.

He didn't care for the collar idea.

Eric the Explorer,
back from checking out the new back yard.
The dirt has met his rolling approval.

This past spring and summer, I took to calling him Eric the Joy-Bringer, because no matter who you were or how little he knew you, if you on his couch, he would come love on you. And when I was really depressed, he would find me and snuggle my face. He just wanted to be loved. And he was.

Are you awake yet?

I love you.