As the Gays Say, “Thank U, Next.”

I did it. I fucking did it. I passed my Real Estate Appraiser’s License Exam.

For the past three years I have been in an apprenticeship with my boss and taking the online classes required to be an appraiser. Once I completed my 2,000 hours of experience, my courses, and the application the state accepted those and ushered me to the next step, which was to take an exam. (My approval came last June, to give you some idea.) They give you 6 attempts or a year to complete it for a reason. It is fucking tough.

This success was my third attempt. Even now, after passing, I still don’t think I studied enough. Regardless I completed the second to last hurdle. The next is a review of my work completed and after that I should receive a license.

When I got my results I literally almost broke into tears. But the two testing center clerks were right there, and a middle-aged man bawling over a score wouldn’t have been attractive. So instead I jumped up and down, while I clutched that paper with my grainy photo and the word “Passed.” My husband told me after that he wished he had filmed it because he had never seen me so happy. (“You weren’t even that happy when we got married!”)

For so long this has hung around my neck dragging me down. I was beyond stressed because for once in my life I was expected to actually complete something. My boss took me on with the understanding that I would get my license and be one of his residential appraisers. That was/is going to happen. I didn’t want to fail him and betray the trust he had bestowed on me. (Again, another first.)

In the beginning the pressure drove me nuts. I ended up diving headfirst into one of my addictions that pushed my relationship to the brink of collapse. Luckily I survived that and I found ways to numb the burden of responsibility in other things going forward.

The other dark side of this journey was that it kept me from working on my book. In my mind there was a level of tasks that had to be completed before one could begin. Whenever I sat down to work on it I would think to myself “you should be studying for your exam.” My favorite was “this isn’t as important as your license.” The “frivolous” venture of trying to be a published author was always back burner.

Now, I have no other responsibilities other than finishing up my AA and editing my book. I can return to the things that, for me, matter immensely. Not saying that the thing that is my livelihood didn’t matter. It was merely a means to an end.

So, tonight I got to sit down with my chapters and feel the creative freedom to work without guilt or anxiety. It was heaven.

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Oh, insanity.

I am moody as fuck and I cannot place the source as there is so much going on right now. All I want to do is disappear. My logical mind says it’s my depression flaring up but then the other part of myself thinks it’s all due to my weird sleep pattern, the over-abundance of sugary foods (and little to no protein), and my low water intake. All of this has put me off balance.

The other part of me thinks it’s situational. All for the new factors in my life and the absolute stress of having to retake my appraisal exam. I’m emotionally overwhelmed. All at once I want to scream, cry, and laugh. It is in that where I feel broken and insane.

I attribute most of these feelings to the test. This is the third time I will take it. I need a 75 to pass and in my previous attempts I earned a 71 and then a 72. Respectively. I’m very nearly there. My entire career hinges on this. It will provide me with more money and freedom for my boss’s wife where right now she’s limited because I haven’t gotten my license to provide an additional MLS access.

I am also someone who takes pride in my intelligence. I have an inflated ego when it comes to that and when I fail from my lack of knowledge I have an identity crisis. My want is to further separate myself from the situation because I can’t take another blow.

The proactive thing to do would be to study my ass off to avoid further failings. However my self-doubt makes me repeatedly tell myself that I am an idiot who can’t do it. It’s all self sabotage. (Aka I am a mess.)

My moodiness only arose when I set my exam date and paid another additional exam fee ($88). But additional factors came into play…

Today I started studying. At the completion of the exam the participant is given a print-out of their score which is broken down into sub-categories, and I began with my weakest subjects. It felt okay but staring my failure in the face sent me into overdrive and I “ran away” by turning off my phone. That provided some comfort from further interruption and ease from my own psychosis, however it caused panic to my husband (as I didn’t divulge what it was I was doing before I did it.) Now I feel even worse.

All of this could be further soothed if I was taking my anti-depressants, I imagine. Though the fact remains that every time I take them I turn into a zombie. I feel like I’m walking around in a daze and then lack any kind of passion for the things I enjoy. I medicate to basically exist. Yet it is in these erratic moments that I wish I maintained a constant dosage. I don’t want to be insane and in turn drive those around me crazy with my mood swings and irrational behavior. It is here where I sometimes think I should be alone. All I do is cause people stress and that’s not fair to them.

Writing Through the Depression

Writing has always been my outlet, ever since I was a kid. Primarily because I am (what I have been described as) a very cerebral person. Living in my head is a dark and dangerous place and putting it into written words always gives me some sense of peace I could otherwise not find elsewhere. I typically don’t speak my thoughts because they are random and I easily get lost trying to find the right word, especially if I am speaking to someone (I talk a lot to myself). I have discovered that most take what I say as gospel and that is not how my mind works. I’m constantly working things out. Which is why I choose writing more than anything else.

The only problem with my writing is that it gets me into trouble sometimes. I always assume whatever I write on my blogs will be lost to the depths of the internet, but sometimes it finds its way into the hands of others. It’s irritating but the nature of the beast, and more often than not it doesn’t ever get discovered. I find that comical for a few reasons but the number one being I have shared my site with others in the past but no one can be bothered to ever look. Unless of course they’re mentioned in the thing and then all of a sudden it’s a hot commodity. Otherwise no one gives two shits. It’s like inviting a friend to the play you’re in, or the stand-up show you’re doing at the local open mic, or if you’re performing anywhere. People can’t be bothered. In my younger days I would let it bother me, but now I just shrug and realize that’s the gamble no matter what.

Yesterday I was feeling way down. I got to the point that I wanted to isolate from my entire life. I liken it to “running away.” The very thought of just leaving everything behind and hitting the open road crossed my mind but unless I’m carrying cash that isn’t going to happen. Plus, how would my sudden disappearance affect those in my life? It’s always that thought that keeps me grounded.  It’s hard pushing against the current of my depression but I know I have to make an effort or suffer the consequences of severe depression.

Last night I returned to my “finished” novel to restart the process of editing. For once in a great long while I did not get upset. When I found myself spinning my wheels, I told myself to just start back at the beginning and re-read again. It was nice. Then whenever the voice of my inner critic attempted to creep in, I ignored it and thought “I can do this.” Even this morning I told myself (as I doubted my efforts) that I am just out of practice. To get to a better place I have to keep trying. It’s like that lawn mower that’s been sitting in the garage for months. It takes a couple pulls to get it going, and even when you do get it started you have to let it run for a bit to get it to where it’s able to do the job it was designed to do.

For my own sanity I am not going to make any grand pronouncements of finishing my novel by a certain time-frame or even at all. It always ends in misery and self-loathing. Instead what I will do is feel proud that I got to the task and am content with the results.

Midnight Mumblings

Per usual, I am feeling very down. Some might say that it is just seasonal blues. Others might say it is because my life is just a convoluted mess with the utmost chaos. And there are those who would say it’s because I refuse to take my antidepressants. Whichever the reason here I am.

I jest, but I’m certain it’s the middle one. I haven’t been sleeping well lately, work has been slow, my boss asked me if I even wanted to be an appraiser (that was fun), school is coming to an end, and then tonight I had to do IT work for my parents again because they are utterly helpless when it comes to technology.

To top everything off my husband keeps “joking” when he brings up the notion of his boyfriend moving into our, soon to be vacant, spare bedroom. It’s definitely not a joke because the dude (husbands boyfriend, “Derek”) has until the end of the year for his current lease and my spouse is upping the frequency in which he mentions the scenario. (He even suggested we could do it for a month and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work out you can return the side-piece for a full refund.)

Don’t get me wrong. I like Derek, but I don’t know how I would feel with this man, who is also having sex with my husband, living with us. Part of me doesn’t like the idea at all, but then the other part is curious to see how much pressure I can take before I snap. If that even could happen.

When I brought up this story to my therapist she gave the impression it would be a bad idea. I got that when she said “that would be a bad idea. Threes don’t ever work out.”

Don’t think the the husband is bringing it up multiple times a day. That’s not at all whats happening. If anything it’s maybe every other, always under the guise of a “joke” or “humorous banter.” However, I know what he’s doing. I’ve been with this fucker for 15 goddamn years, I know how he operates. Our entire situation now, at one time, was an off-the-cuff obscure hypothetical. Yet here we are.

In actuality, this has weighed very little on my mind. That could be because I am disassociating from the situation and refuse to consider the idea, or it is that I really don’t feel like it’s a real concern. Either way, I thought it would be an interesting topic for one to read. It’s always fun to watch the train wreck.

The Acknowledgement of Shortcomings

I feel like such a failure. My intention was to actually succeed in doing my public NaNoWriMo but, once again, life got in the way. Honestly, November is the worst month for me to take on such a project. My birthday always ends up consuming most of the first weekend of the month and then school begins to ramp up for the end of the semester. This year was no exception. It has been one thing after another, which isn’t a complaint, it’s explanation.

So, if you cared where that story was going I can tell you now, nowhere. I had no road map or plan (as it was obvious by two of the entries.) I will probably pick it up and start again some other time but as it is halfway through the month the likelihood of me continuing where I left off and finishing is REAL low.

One thing I will advise about the process is maintain consistency. Missing one day is okay, but I would not suggest it. Keeping the minimum word count at 1,667 is ideal. Going beyond that can be excruciating for the days when one just does not want to write. Or the ideas are just not coming.

Calm Before the Storm

Today is the day. At one o’clock I will find out whether or not I have cancer. It’s surreal to say the least but I am not as nervous or worried as I thought I would be, but also I have been sitting with this for the past month so all the “feels” have gone through my body.

I will say that I do have this bad habit of disassociating from my true emotions as a way safeguarding myself, because when I do feel things I take them on and wear them like a second skin. That act of burying my feelings is most likely happening. This morning alone I have had four cigarettes and I just want more. I told the boyfriend I wanted to just sit outside and pretend to be a London chimney circa winter 1740. (Now I realize I got my timeline wrong and I wanted 1888 during the industrial revolution. oh well. I think he got what I meant.)

I’m worried but at the same time I know there is nothing that can be done in this moment. What’s happened has already come to pass and I am living in it’s wake. So at this point I just have to ride out the momentum and see where it goes.

I keep reminding myself that this is not a death sentence. If I do in fact have cancer it is the curable kind. More than likely if I were to leave it alone it would spread to the rest of my body and THAT would kill me. My initial intention was to do that, but after some coaxing from both the husband and boyfriend I have chosen to not take that route. Sure, I may possibly lose whatever sex life I have but I’ll be alive. And I’m told that’s what matters.

National Novel Writing Month

This Thursday, November 1st, marks two of my favorite things. The first being my wedding anniversary (5 years) and the second being the start of National Novel Writing Month or what it is colloquially known as NaNoWriMo.

If you haven’t heard of it and are a budding/want-to-be writer, I suggest you check it out. Their website is: www.nanowrimo.org. I went to their site to brush up on how and where it all began, (because I have this vague memory that it was started by a bunch of college students who wanted to finish their manuscripts) but I couldn’t find any sort of mission statement. So, I may have just made that shit up in my head. Who knows. If I did, that isn’t the first time I imagined reading information in regards to the event.

The idea behind it is that every day for the month of November you write a minimum of 1,667 words until the 30th when you reach the ultimate goal of 50,000, which amounts to a novel length work of fiction.

When I first participated I could have SWORN I read somewhere that you just write, you don’t ever go back and revise or re-read what you’d written, and instead charge forward until you’ve accomplished your goal. Once at the finish line you can look back and begin the process of editing. When I participated the following year that whole piece was absent from their website and, just like my fantasy of “how it started,” may have concocted the whole thing in my imagination. Regardless, that piece of advice is what I pass on to those I try to entice into the event. What I discovered is that this is EXACTLY how I like to write. In addition, I don’t like to plan that far in advance (however if that’s your process have at) because I enjoy having the story unfold for me as if I was reading the book. My good friend Matt told me that is the style in which Stephen King writes and I take that as a shining omen for my process.

The first time I participated I wrote my first ever novel and, also, the one I have since attempted to edit. (That was back in 2009, to get some perspective). It sits on my desktop taunting me. It wants to be published, but the thing I hate about writing is editing, and that is all writing is, to be quite frank.

From that first novel I wrote two subsequent sequels in the same NaNoWriMo style. One of them was absolute trash and once I was complete I ended up printing it and shoving it in some dark drawer, never to see the light of day. The one I wrote after that though was fantastic. I guess I just needed to get all the bad ideas out first.

It has been a few years since I did NaNoWriMo. Life has just gotten in the way and each year I set out with the intent to do it but ultimately told myself that I didn’t need the added stress of trying to write 1,667 words a day for an entire month added to my plate. This year is no exception. I’m just as busy (if not more) like before, which made me realize life is constant and I’ll always be “busy” but that isn’t an excuse to forego my art. Going against my better judgment, I have decided to rejoin the fun, but with an added twist. I will publish my work, to my blog, as I trudge along in all of its terrible, raw glory. (I may give each sprint a little run through the Grammarly program, but otherwise it will remain unedited.)

I encourage you to follow along, because it’s interesting to see how things turn out. Full disclosure, it will also be a train wreck, which is also kind of fun to watch.

P.S. I will be saving each entry under the category “Cursed.”