Unmoored

Hello, friends. Ever since my most recent Three Line Tales response post, I’ve been thinking a lot. About… well, everything. About my future. Specifically, what I thought my future would be like by now. Cute house with a big yard, two kids, married, a good career doing something I love, maybe even a dog. Hell, I at least thought I’d have my license by now. Sadly, that is not the case. None of it is.

Strap in for yet another pity party, folks.

I’ve written a lot in the past about all of the what if questions that plague me on a daily basis, and although I always advise others to not dwell on past mistakes and decisions, I’ve always had a hard time taking my own advice. On pretty much everything. Don’t get me wrong, given the opportunity, I’d never travel back in time to change anything, because the outcome would be completely uncertain. I may never meet my fiance, or have my son. Hell, I could die. Who really knows?

I definitely don’t. The Butterfly Effect and all that.

I wouldn’t change anything, but there are so many things I wish I had done differently. Things I kick myself over every day. I wish I hadn’t taken so many people in my life for granted, specifically, my mom. I wish I had opened up to her more, and tried harder to keep the lines of communication open after I left home. I wish I had focused on school more. I wish I had focused more on myself, and what I needed in my life, instead of trying to please everyone around me. I wish I hadn’t pushed everyone in my life away to pursuit a brand new life with a boy I had never even met in person. I wish I had gone to one of the many universities that I had been accepted to, and not left the country with said boy to go to a school that I never wanted to go to. I wish I had saved more money from the numerous, dead-end jobs, so that I could pay off my debts that I still owe to said school. I wish I had been smarter about life in general.

Mostly, I just wish I had gotten to know myself better. I spent so much time and energy worrying about everything and everyone in my life, and trying to run from my problems, that I lost myself. While other kids around me were branching out, deciding what path they wanted to take in their future to better themselves and start their lives in the real world, I was running around in virtual, fantasy worlds. Sure, I applied to schools, and I got into them. But I had no plan. Even when I thought I had a plan, it was bullshit.

Everything about me was bullshit.

I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what I wanted. And now, I still don’t know who I am. I don’t know my strengths and weaknesses. I still don’t know what I want. I don’t even know how to take the steps to figure out what I want. I don’t know anything.

And now, as a 27 year old woman with no college degree, no real training of any kind, no connections, no money, no friends, and no particular set of skills, I feel lost. Completely and utterly lost. And I am barely keeping it together. Whenever anything feels like it is even remotely close to being within my grasp, it slips away. One step forward, ten steps back. Now, I feel like I am just floating through life, stuck frozen in time, even though I am getting older. I’m getting older at al what feels like an alarming rate, but I stay stuck in one place, watching everyone I know fly past me, collecting more achievements and successes than I could ever even dream of having for myself.

I feel like a failure. Every day. Like I’m nothing.

I hate feeling like this, and I hate that I’ve been feeling like this for as long as I have. I especially hate knowing that it is completely my fault that I’m in this dark place.

I don’t know what to do anymore.

Jan
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Unmoored

Dream Journal 5/19/17 | Apocalyptic… Heroes?

Another zombie apocalypse dream.

I was living in Chicago, and the zombie apocalypse was already in full swing. I was camped out in the top floor of a large, abandoned apartment complex, along with Kyle, our friend, Joe, our son (who was now 5 or 6 years old), and some blonde girl, who was apparently Joe’s girlfriend. Outside, there were still people going on about their lives, but the city was overrun with zombies. Cars, houses, buildings, etc. were all just boarded up and armored, but people were still living.

An armored van pulled up in front of our van, and we all piled in. There were other people in the van, and we all greeted each other. The man driving the van told us that he had found a sporting goods store that was completely abandoned, but still had a bunch of stuff inside, and he proposed that we all go on a shopping spree before we go out on the road. Apparently, we were going on some sort of road trip, out of the city. Another girl in the van argued that we shouldn’t waste time and gas on pointless shopping trips, unless we were going after more weapons and ammo, but the others disagreed with her.

As we drove toward our destination, zombies lined the roads, and turned lazily to follow our van. They didn’t seem to bother us much, since they were moving so slowly. We pulled into a large, empty parking lot in front of an empty strip mall. There was a large sporting goods store, with boarded up windows, and barbed wire across the door. We all climbed out of the van, and walked toward the building, circling around to cover each other against potential attacks. There were zombies in the distance, but they all stayed by the roads, too preoccupied with the other passing cars.

Kyle and Joe pried back a few boards to look inside. There were full racks and bins still inside the store, as if it had never been touched. Excitedly, we broke down the door, rushed in, and started filling our arms and backpacks with merchandise. We were all laughing and cracking jokes, when suddenly, a voice shouted out to us. We turned around to see another group of people standing in the doorway, blocking our exit. We were evenly numbered, but they were armed to the teeth, and scary looking.

A woman stepped forward, telling us she was in charge, and that we were in their territory. Confused, we told her that we didn’t think there were any territories, since there were still a lot of people living in the city, and everyone just goes wherever they please. She explained to us that they control half of the city, and that the barbed wire on the door was their signature, and that we should stay away from any buildings with it.

The driver from our van apologized sarcastically, and told her that we were on our way out. She demanded we leave behind all of the stuff we were taking, and he told her to fuck off. Suddenly, we were all at each other’s throats. Fists flying, gun shots, the sounds of screams, blood splattering around the room. We managed to fight our way through the other group, and made it back to our van in one piece, with minimal injuries.

We sped away from the building, the other group did not follow. We began looking through our loot, as we drove through a particularly rough part of the city. Buildings were burned and crumbling, and dead bodies and zombies were everywhere. There was also a really weird, floating waterfall in the middle of a manmade reservoir, that didn’t really belong. We kept going, mowing down everything in our path with our armored van. Suddenly, there was a blinding light, and our van cale to an immediate stop.

We all gathered in the front of the van to see what was, and standing in front of the van were the people from the other group. They were dressed in neon spandex, masks, and capes, and were all hovering in the air. We got out of the van, leaving all of our weapons behind, and the same leader woman from before demanded that we leave the city and never come back . Joe and his girlfriend started to argue with them, and another spandex-wearing guy from the group shot lasers from his eyes, vaporizing them instantly. We all screamed out, and they all began firing lasers at us.

We scrambled back to the van, and tried to get away, but our van wouldn’t start. I started telling the others that we should negotiate with them, and maybe they would let us leave the city alive…

And then I woke up.

Jan

Three Line Tales: Achievements

tltweek68
My timelines overflow with the accomplishments and achievements of those I know and love.
Another wave of caps and gowns, diplomas, and proud smiles.
My heart twinges with regret and sorrow over my own, personal failures.
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My weekly response for Sonya’s Three Line Tales (Week 68) writing challenge. Photo by Faustin Tuyambaze via Unsplash.

#3LineTales

Take A Walk With Jan #14

Hello, friends! I am one frustrated mama right now! I try not to judge others too much on how they raise their kids (let’s be real, we all judge people at least a little bit when it comes to certain things), but this woman at the park today got UNDER MY SKIN, y’all. Specifically, how she chose NOT to parent her child. I just gave my own toddler a bath, put him to sleep, and grabbed another cup of coffee, so, let me just start from the beginning.

After weeks and weeks of rain, where we’ve barely been able to go outside, let alone play at the park, we were finally able to take a loooong walk and get some good playtime in today. It was 83 degrees, partly sunny, and breezy. Absolutely beautiful. We stocked up on water, slathered on some sunscreen, and headed out.

I was sweating profusely by the time we got to the park, which is less than a quarter mile from our apartment, and had already gone through nearly half my water. Despite putting on my SPF 15 moisturizer, and a little bit of Liam’s SPF 50 sunscreen before we left the house, I could feel the skin on my face and shoulders getting a bit tight.

That got worse later, but onto what REALLY got me burned up.

When we got to the playground, there was only one family there. Well, I assumed they were a family. A young woman, a guy, a little boy a bit younger than Liam, and a baby girl, maybe 10 months old. The two adults were sitting on a bench nearby with the baby, while the little boy ran around the park like a tiny hurricane, as little boys do. As soon as I parked our stroller, the very red, very sweaty, little boy ran up to us, and went straight for Liam’s fruit snacks, which were sitting in his tray. I gently blocked the boy’s hand, and told him that they were not his. I looked up at his mother, but she hadn’t noticed, so I just brushed it off, and the little boy wandered away.

Liam ran around the playground, climbing the stairs, scaling the rock wall, and sliding endlessly down the three slides, all the while, the little boy trailed behind us, following us from place to place. The mom didn’t acknowledge it, and I didn’t care too much, as he wasn’t really bothering us. That is, until I noticed his little face. Aside from being completely sunburned and sweaty, this kid was also covered in snot. Snot all over his nose, his cheeks, and in his mouth. He also had goopy, yellow/green crust all around his eyes. I couldn’t tell if it was nasty allergies, or nasty conjunctivitis, but I didn’t really want him touching us either way.

Is that mean? I don’t care. It was gross.

We walked over to the swing, the little boy trailing behind us, and I began to push my tot. The little boy plopped himself down onto the playground pebbles, right at my feet, and began burying my feet in tiny stones. I moved to the side, but he kept doing it, and I kept kicking the rocks off. He then began alternating between piling rocks on my shoes, throwing rocks at my legs, and stomping on my foot. Twice, I asked him nicely to stop, both times loud enough for the mother to hear, and she didn’t even look up. The third time, I was more stern, and she definitely heard me, but she didn’t even acknowledge the situation.

Not once.

Now, I’m not one to raise my voice at another person’s child, especially a toddler, but the whole situation was frustrating. I can handle a small child pestering me, but several stray rocks had hit Liam, and you just don’t mess with my baby, man. He also kept running in around the swing, almost getting knocked over a handful of times, and I feared for his safety, so we left the swing, and moved over to the roundabout. The little boy followed, of course, but instead of climbing on with Liam, he began chucking more little rocks onto the roundabout. Once again, loud enough for his mother to hear, I told him that throwing rocks was not nice, and that he needed to stop.

Once again, he didn’t, and she ignored me.

Quite frustrated, I picked up Liam, and carried him back to the stroller so that we could both drink some water.

The boy followed.

Liam lifted his cup to his mouth, and the little boy immediately reached for it. I gently blocked his hand, and sternly said, “No.

I looked up at the mother, who was deep in conversation with the man she was with, and still not watching her son, who had now pushed past my hand, and had fully grabbed onto Liam’s cup. Once more, a little louder, I said, “No!
The mother had now looked up, and sat there, watching. She said nothing to her little boy. So, I yanked the cup back from him, and picked up Liam so that he could drink in peace without the little boy pawing at him.

Looking back at the situation, the poor kid was probably thirsty, but it is not my job to make sure he is hydrated. I could see that he had a sippy cup of his own by his mother, but she hadn’t offered it to him once since we got there.

Speaking of the mother, she had finally taken notice of her son’s behavior, and shouted shrilly for him to get away from our stroller. He didn’t listen, and that was that. Nothing else. She just shouted, and gave up, going back to her conversation with this man, who I had now discovered was her ex-boyfriend’s brother, whom she apparently wanted to have a 3rd child with.

Yeah, they were talking loudly enough for me to hear all about their dirty laundry. It was, well, dirty.

I carried Liam away from the boy, and back to the slides. He took a few turns on the slides, then went to dig in the dirt.

Guess who followed.

Yup.

I stood nearby and watched as they played in the dirt and wood chips, when suddenly, the little boy ran up to me, and slapped me on the thigh. I scolded him loudly, a mere three feet from his mother, and all she did was glance up at us. I was now pissed off. I told Liam that we had to go soon, and asked if he wanted to go on the slide one more time. He went up to the top, and the little boy ran off. I watched Liam slide down the slide, and as I walked over to him, I saw the little boy charging toward me out of the corner of my eye.

Then, out of nowhere, he hit me with a fucking stick. Right across my knee. He may have only been a year and a half, but it hurt, man! Not okay!

Once again I scolded him. Loudly. And nothing. NOTHING from his mother.

I was done. Fed up. I was hot and sweaty, this toddler was being a total brat, and his mother was doing NOTHING to police his behavior. I picked up Liam and put him in the stroller, and the boy tried to steal his cup again. I yanked it out of his hands, and heard his mother shout, “HEY!” I don’t know who she was yelling at, me or her son, but I shot her the dirtiest look I could muster.

And she glared right back.

I was done being nice. I was done parenting her tiny, demon spawn for her so she could try to hook up with her ex’s brother, or whatever the hell was happening with these people. So, as I unlocked the tires and began to leave, I said loudly, “Sorry, buddy, we have to go now. Some people can’t control their kids.

Yeah. I said it. And I don’t regret it at all. I wish I had said more!

She kept staring me down as we walked away, and my two year old, in all his beautiful innocence, waved and said, “Bye bye!” to the little boy. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, yes, the little boy did follow us, and made it all the way to the road before his mom yelled for him to come back.

And then we were gone.

I called Kyle on the phone to rant about everything I just typed out, and before I knew it, I was at Dollar General looking for snacks and coloring books. It was uneventful, until it was time to checkout.

Try to wrap your head around this, if you will. Just try.

My total came to $8.35. I handed the cashier $3.75 in cash from Liam’s piggy bank to pay for his coloring books, and told her the rest would go on my card. She stared at the money in her hand, and asked me how much it was. I told her it was $3.75, and I saw the wheels start to turn. You see, Dollar General registers are the worst. There is no way to separate payment types, you just enter the amount left to pay. It’s really not that hard, but it tripped me up a few times back when I worked there, even with a calculator.

I swiped my card when she told me to, waited for it to say it was approved, and then… the cashier handed me a quarter back.

Wait… What?

The following conversation ensued.

Me: Um, wait, why are you giving me change back?
Cashier: Well, it was 8.35, you gave me 3.75.
Me: … Yes?
Cashier: So here’s the change.
Me: But… I shouldn’t be getting change back. I gave you cash to pay for some of it, and put the rest on my card… why are you giving me change?
Cashier: … Oh, well, yeah, I accidentally charged your card 5.00.
Me: Oh. Okay, so you owe me 40 cents then.
Cashier: Wait, what? *looks at receipt* No, see, it was 8.35, you gave me 3.75, and I gave you a quarter back.
Me: … Yes. And now you owe me 15 more cents.
Cashier: *keeps staring at the receipt* I don’t think so.
Me: No, you definitely owe me 15 more cents…
Cashier: Um, okay, if you say so.
Me: ……………………….

The elderly woman standing behind me could not stop laughing.

I was not amused.

Then, Liam and I shared a strawberry crumble ice cream bar, and headed home. I also passed by a group of teenagers who were having an intense debate over whether or not Yoshi pooped out eggs, or spit them out, in the old Mario games. That made me laugh. However, by the time we got home, I was DRENCHED in sweat, pink all over, irritated with everyone on the planet, and beyond thirsty.

I guess that’s it. I’m done. I’m over it now, and I hope that I never see that woman or her bratty kid ever again, but seeing as how I live in a small town, where I see a lot of the same faces, I probably will.

At least Liam had a good time out in the sunshine.

But, I just have to ask: HOW HARD IS IT TO WATCH YOUR KIDS AND TELL THEM NOT TO HIT STRANGERS AND THROW ROCKS AND STEAL OTHER KIDS’ FOOD? SERIOUSLY!

Thanks for reading, friends. Sorry about the length!

Jan

Three Line Tales: Pulse

tltweek67
Warm bodies vibrate against one another, bathed in the brilliance of fluorescent stage lights.
Our hearts pulse as one, guided by the rhythm.
Our voices are lost, drowned in a sea of chaos and harmony.
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My weekly response for Sonya’s Three Line Tales (Week 67) writing challenge. Photo by Paulette Wooten via Unsplash.

#3LineTales

Dream Journal 5/9/17 | Scavengers

[Hello, friends! For those of you who don’t know, my horrible neighbors from across the hall have finally moved out! Our landlord asked us to keep an eye on them, because they owed several months of rent, and they figured they would try to skip out on it. Well, they were right. My neighbors moved out in secret, under the cloak of darkness, during a time they knew I’d be unable to reach the landlord. But I did let them know, and they are officially gone! Finally! It has been several weeks since they moved out, and Kyle and I noticed that they left several pieces of furniture, and other items in the apartment. Our landlord has yet to come by to clean out the place, and I have been anxiously awaiting the day, so that I can get a peek, and maybe a score. I’ve been having dreams about it, you guys. I had another one last night, and it was pretty crazy. Here we go!]

I was standing in the hallway of my building, talking to our maintenance guy, Rocky. He was finally coming to clean out our neighbors apartment, and I asked him nervously if I could take a look inside to see if we wanted anything, since it would all be getting thrown out. He laughed, and told me he was more than happy to let me take a look, because otherwise he was going to have to hire an army of movers. I opened the door to the apartment across the hall, and my jaw dropped. The place was immense. And still fully furnished.

The apartment seemed to stretch on and on, and I could stairs leading both upstairs and down, even though our apartment was only one story. There were couches, chairs, tables, candles and lights, and decorative objects everywhere, making the apartment look more like a cluttered furniture store than an apartment that people lived in. Some pieces were old and damaged, while others seemed to be brand new, and high end.

I ran back into my own apartment to get Kyle, and the two of us began roaming through the vacant apartment. At one point, I turned to see Kyle heading back toward our apartment, arms filled with dining chairs, and a large mirror. I grabbed a large, colorful ottoman, and a few really cool vases filled with decorative branches and fairy lights, and moved them to our place. I let Kyle continue to grab more pieces, and decided to explore the large, mysterious apartment. I found that it had at least 6 bedrooms, as well as some smaller, completely empty rooms, that looked straight out of a horror movie. In the basement, I found a large, above ground pool, completely filled with water, as well as a bunch of tiki torches and an entire patio set, which I left, because we didn’t have room. The setup was really pretty, though.

I also discovered an attic, which was filled with nothing but brand new kids toys, furniture, and clothing. Sandboxes, swings, cars, dolls, kids furniture, bedding, and virtually everything else you can think of. I called Kyle up to the attic, and told him to grab several items, including a cool twin bed frame, some bedding, and a weird caterpillar blanket thing.

Back on the main floor, I made my way to the back of the apartment. All of the rooms I passed seemed to be empty, but I could see a light on in the last room. The walls of the room were glass windows, and I could see a young woman sleeping in the stylish, fully furnished room. I walked in and shook her shoulder, and she awake angrily, immediately demanding that I leave. I explained the situation to her, and told her that everyone was gone, and she told me that they had just been there that morning. I told her no one had come or gone from the apartment in weeks, and she became confused about what day it was. I started grabbing the decorative pillows from off the bed, and she tried to wrestle them from my arms. I told her that none of the stuff belonged to her anymore, and she got angry and stormed out.

I took the pillows, along with a pretty lamp that I found in the hallway, back to my apartment, which was now filled with various furniture and other items. Kyle was in the process of putting a large, wooden dinging table and chairs in our kitchen, and I could see the young woman from before arguing with the maintenance guy outside our window. I started rearranging some of the decorative items in our living room.

I vaguely remember going back and looking through a closet filled with women’s clothing after that.

And then I woke up.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Re: The Sandman’s Q&A #3

Hello, friends! The Sandman is back with yet another fun, little Q&A, and I thought I’d make this a thing, and go for round 3! You know me, I love answering questions that give my brain a little workout. The more random, the better! Feel free to answer the questions yourself and send them his way, or write up your own post and use a pingback!

1) What was your very first alcoholic drink? Did you enjoy it?
I honestly can’t remember when my first drink was. I do remember having time sips of beer when I was much too little to have it (I’m talking still in the single digit age range), but I don’t really count those. I guess I didn’t start actually drinking until I was 14 or so years old, courtesy of my father, who was just a fantastic influence on me (sarcasm). He was in jail for the majority of my life, and that’s around the time he came out for a substantial amount of time, and it was how we bonded, or something. If he wasn’t asking me to get high with him, he was offering to run to the gas station to get me booze. I only ever took him up on the latter. Like I said, real great influence.

4a799ae1-0584-4753-9459-ffd138149f3d_1.a0e951acf9245a2b6d9f28318d9eb62aI also had a boyfriend at the time, and we would stay at my dad’s apartment until really late at night on the weekends, drinking Mike’s Hard Lemonades, which was my absolute favorite, and watching rated R movies. A few times, my dad even offered to let us watch porn, and said he’d leave us alone. Yeah, that offer was too weird to accept, but we did have some pretty epic makeout sessions. My mom would pick me up, and if it wasn’t obvious by my stumbling into the car that I was a bit tipsy, she would smell it on me, and immediately get angry. It was a weird time in my life.

My dad ended up going back to jail shortly after, which was really no surprise, and I didn’t really start drinking again until college, where vodka and Mountain Dew, vodka cranberry, and Amaretto Stone Sour were my drinks of choice. Crucify me if you want, but I’ll also mention that I hate beer. Any beer. Always have. Ugh.

I’ll also mention that I haven’t had a drink in nearly 4 years!

2) Who introduced you to WordPress? Why did you first open an account or get involved?
I feel like I have always had a WordPress account. I have zero idea when my first one was. As far back as I can remember, maybe starting in middle school, I always had to have some sort of online journal/diary to vent my frustrations. I’ve used MySpace, Open Diary/Teen Open Diary, Blogger, and WordPress. That I can remember. I create and delete like a madwoman. I’ve used them for blogging, poetry, short stories, surveys, erotica… you name it. I also had a WordPress site for my podcast, Something Suggestive, up until April 2013. This is the longest running blog I have ever owned, and I’m hoping to keep the momentum going for at least another year. That’s a goal, right?

3) When was the first time you had sex?
Oh, boy. Um. Hmm… I wish I could remember. It’s a complicated question, for so many reasons. Let’s just keep it simple. The first time that I actually count as real sex was when I was 14. I had my first serious boyfriend, who was a year older than me, and our first time was in his bedroom after school one day, when we were supposed to be watching his younger brother. We just sat him in front of the TV, and ran downstairs for a quickie. No awkwardness, no hesitation, no weirdness afterward. It was pretty easy.

4) What has been your worst fashion disaster?
This question implies that I have some sort of fashion expertise. Well, I don’t. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. Always have been, always will be. Sometimes I switch it up with a cute cardigan, or a cold-shoulder shirt, or even a cute dress for family holiday events, but I usually keep it pretty casual.

af933bca87801fea6a095073ed84c5a7With that being said, one thing did come immediately to mind when I read this question… my 6th and 7th grade school pictures. I wish I could show you, but thankfully, I don’t have any physical pictures of that catastrophe. Let’s just say, I wore the exact same baby blue and red fake jersey-style t-shirt for both years on picture day, and completed the look with a horrible haircut, bad smile, and a red, paisley bandana on my head that had NO business being there. Ugh. I wish I had a time machine…

Well, that’s it for now! Thank you for reading, friends!

If you want to see more, or want to check out the questions for yourself, you can check out all of my answers to past Sandman Q&A posts here.

Jan