Category Archives: Relationships

FPQ24: Fear of Failure

Fandango provocatively asks…

“Have you ever been so afraid of failing at something that you decided not to try it at all? What’s one thing would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

Yes, many times. But I don’t consider this some sort of character defect ~ I consider it a rational decision.

Let’s take the dating scene. I’ve decided to stop looking for love because I’m afraid of another heartbreak, not to mention how annoying and time-consuming the process is to begin with. This is a logical choice, given my experiences since 2009 when my ex-husband left.

There are other examples throughout my life where I’ve made safe choices over more “interesting” ones because of the fear of failure. But in my mind, I’m making a good decision based on risk analysis. The reason fear of failure even comes up is because the more exciting choices are riskier.

I choose the road that has been taken, along with a GPS phone, extra water, snacks, and a jacket. I’ll leave the wild, overgrown path for an intrepid explorer.

PS: The one thing I would do if I knew I could not fail? Spend all my time and resources writing The Great American Novel.

FPQ23: I Burn Whole Cities

Fandango provocatively asks…

“How do you manage or deal with stress? Is there a specific strategy or approach that you’ve found to be particularly effective?”

My post title comes from the HBO show Game of Thrones where dragons have been known to release stress by destroying cities with fire. I am not a dragon, alas, though I have gotten vicarious pleasure especially during stressful times by reading A Song of Ice and Fire and from watching the show.

In general, I find that losing myself in a fantasy world of a novel or movie for a few hours is a great way to deal with stress. I do prefer movies over series, or series that have finished, because I don’t want to have to wait for the next season (and these days, that can be so unpredictable), which ends up leaving me at the mercy of people yapping online about the show and giving their predictions. Annoying!

Depending on what the stressful even was, I may wish to talk about it privately, with a daughter or a friend. I’m careful what I say to whom these days though, so as not to end up with more stress from the convo itself. I may write about the situation in a diary for my own clarification. I find the act of writing words on a page/screen to be therapeutic.

For immediate relief, deep breaths work. For a 24 hour period, repeating the mantra that “this too shall pass” helps a lot. If I can’t sleep, there’s always the Valium or Benadryl last resort. It’s really bad not to sleep because then I’ll feel even worse the next day, which will increase my stress. Cuddling my kitty and spending time alone at home usually helps me feel better.

Here are some stress management techniques that are supposed to help but do nothing for me:

1. Exercise. I know it’s good for me, but it makes everything hurt more and I end up with a (worse) headache.

2. Taking a vacation. Way out of my budget and I would be completely stressed about the money I spent.

3. Glass of wine. This is a migraine trigger about 50% of the time.

4. Music. This is tricky because a lot of songs pull up sad memories for me. I have to be careful about music. Plus, Gatsby doesn’t like it. Mostly I only listen in the car.

5. Sex. With a man? This was generally the cause of almost all my stress and giving it up has reduced my anxiety to nearly zero.

Dracarys! 🔥🔥🔥

My Social Media Ranked

Although this reminds me of a game of pool, it’s actually a fun prompt from John Holton: rank your social media from most to least favorite.

(I was going to do them all, including ones I never had, by saying something funny. But then I realized my funny things weren’t funny, so now I’m just doing ones I know.)

1. WordPress, best SM site by far. I love to blog, simple as that. Love to write stories and poems and also jabber on about whatever at any length. Love that it’s easy to delete stuff as well, find other bloggers, comment, block commenters, and have a way of tracking comments elsewhere. Love the supportive camaraderie here and the vast variety of interests. Love how easy it is to create a new blog and keep it private, as I did for NaNoWriMo.

2. Blogger. Welp, if I didn’t have WP, I’d use Blogger, as I used to, and it would be fine, though not as fabulous. I’d still get to blog though, which is the main thing. The nice thing about Blogger is it’s connected to my Gmail and other Google products. It never seemed as glitchy as WP, but to be fair, WP has more features.

3. Twitter. I like Twitter for the poets and the poetry prompts. I get inspired there at times to write different sorts of poems from here. I’ll read some news too, but I stay out of the flames. It’s all the same crap I’ve seen forever on the internets. 🔥

4. Yahoo. Talking about the “old” Yahoo now. I deleted my accounts, including my Flickr, after their massive hack. But I have fond memories of the old Yahoo, where you could find new people to chat with in their groups and on their Messenger service. It wasn’t all hookers and spam then. Please excuse the nostalgia moment.

5. YouTube. This is a good free service for music and music vids. I don’t use it to listen to hideously annoying speeches or self-help garbage promo or political ranting. Gahhh! But I use their app several times per week to link to vids for music prompts and such.

6. G+. RIP. It was a good idea that never took off. I tried to participate off and on, but peeps couldn’t tear themselves away from the FB monster. One feature I lurved there was their filtering ability ~ you could easily make some posts and photos private to family or certain friends without others knowing they were excluded. 😢

7. Messenger. More FB nonsense. I have to keep it in order to chat with certain people who don’t like texting. It annoys me hugely, but wheee see Paula compromise. At least it can stay hidden, unlike FB itself, where every time you comment to a friend, one of their idiot friends picks a fight with you. 😡

8. Instagram. For me, IG was a relatively harmless time-suck. I only posted photos of Gatsby, food, sunsets, etc. But it’s connected to FB (see below), and more importantly you’re contributing to the insane consumer body image culture just by being on there. I deleted it with FB in March of 2018.

9. SnapChat. When I was on, it was indeed snappy. Now, I guess it too has been hacked and people are saving photos they should not. But I didn’t send risqué photos; I was using it for fun, not for flirting. I found it stupid and pointless though and deleted it after a couple weeks. 💤

10. DropBox. I found this annoying. Maybe I wasn’t using it right, or maybe you have to pay to unlock the best features. But I didn’t see the point. I can use Google docs or just text/email stuff. Do people chat on here? Not sure why it’s in the “social” pile.

11. WhatsApp. Another FB product, one that allegedly doesn’t compromise your privacy. Lol! Hey, I have a bridge for sale, interested? I used this for a while, meh. It wasn’t as convenient as Messenger, and now I have negative feelings toward it cuz of this one dickhead I was on last with.

12. Facebook. Horrible place that sucks out your soul while stealing all your data. Then they apologize and do more of it. Again and again. So glad I’m out of there permanently. Yes, I miss the handful of nice people I used to interact with, but hello I am right here. They have my email and phone too. It’s their choice to become strangers to me. 😛

Seagull [TLT]

I watched you as you walked away, that cold grey rainy foggy day.

You didn’t even turn and wave, as your footsteps faded from this hollow place.

Then a ray of sun cut through the mist and one seagull came swooping in; underneath her wings the sea began to sparkle brightly once again.

~*~

Three Line Tales 171

Yarn [flash 172]

Sterling Q. Posh IV waited next to the fish tank at the library for his date. Her name was Skye Raine and he didn’t think they were a match, but the dating site had given them a score of 99.9, and Sterling didn’t argue with numbers. Oh, here she was… finally.

“Hi!” Skye said. “Have you been waiting long? Ooh, hello fishies!”

“Twenty-three minutes,” Sterling said. “I like your poncho. It’s quite… colorful.”

“Thanks!” She twirled around so he could see the poncho in its full glory. “I made it myself. Some of the stitches on this were difficult, but I was very tenacious.”

“May I be forthright?” Sterling asked.

“Of course.”

He leaned in close and whispered. “I also enjoy crocheting. And knitting too. In fact, there’s nothing better than an evening in with a bowl of buttered noodles, a detective show on TV, and my basket of yarn. Except of course someone to share those pleasures with.”

Skye clapped her hands with glee. “Me too! This must be fate!”

Song Lyric Sunday: Hurt

I’ve posted “Doll Parts” by Hole before, but it’s such a fave, and so perfect for Jim’s theme this week, that I can’t resist using it again. Written by Courtney M. Love and released in 1994.

I am doll eyes, doll mouth, doll legs
I am doll arms, big veins, dog bait
Yeah, they really want you
They really want you, they really do
Yeah, they really want you
They really want you, and I do too

I want to be the girl with the most cake
I love him so much it just turns to hate
I fake it so real, I am beyond fake
And someday, you will ache like I ache

And someday, you will ache like I ache
And someday, you will ache like I ache
And someday, you will ache like I ache
And someday, you will ache like I ache

I am doll parts, bad skin, doll heart
It stands for knife
For the rest of my life
Yeah, they really want you
They really want you, they really do
Yeah, they really want you
They really want you, but I do too

I want to be the girl with the most cake
He only loves those things 
Because he loves to see them break
I fake it so real, I am beyond fake
And someday, you will ache like I ache

Backstory

Alt title: Why Use One Word When 700 Are Available?

I wrote a prose poem about “who I am” that was really “where I’m from” a long time ago for a prompt, though I’m not sure if we called them prompts then. It might have been on Usenet, which we used to deride as a sewer, before every other form of social media became awful too. (I still think blogs are the best of the bunch.) The poem was short and not that deep, but then I pulled it up again and fleshed it out for another venue.

I’ve been thinking about Rory’s question (“who are you really?”). It’s a pretty easy question for most people to answer superficially. We generally give answers about who we are in relationship to other people. I’m a mom. I’m a wife, or not. I’m a good friend of so & so, a loyal employee of XYZ Company, yada. We’re plotting our position on axes of family and work, then friendships, maybe next our relationship to interests. I’m a fan of such and such sports team, rah! Or I love to garden, knit, read, write, pull the tails off little blind mice. Whatever.

We tell the world who we are in this multi-dimensional GPS system. Locate me here, in this spot: mom, ex-wife, legal secretary, poet, cat lover, Game of Thrones fan. This is me, right here. What if there are other humans occupying that position? I might have to refine it further. But does this actually even answer the question? Does this explain who I am? Do you know me from these factoids? Could you tell someone about the essence of me from my GPS position?

The other week I was playing a board game with some good friends I’ve known for a long time. It was called ImaginiFF. A question came up: “ImaginiFF Paula were a movie. Which movie would she be?” There were 5 random movies and then Doctor Zhivago, which was obviously correct in my mind for a variety of reasons. Everyone chose it, and this surprised me. I wouldn’t have expected them to know. But they did. And this made me unreasonably happy because most of the time I think people don’t even understand me at all, not even people to whom I’m closest. But I don’t think you would get the correct movie from a bunch of disparate facts about me; you’d have to spend years orbiting my weirdness.

Anyway, here is my GPS poem about who I am via where I’m from. I take the long way around.

Backstory

I am from the Big Apple, take a bite, glitter lights, lemon ice, museums, zoos, art and news, Coney Island hot dogs, Jones Beach sandy sweets, sharp shells stab soft carpet feet.

I am from the place where you pull the blinds, someone’s looking, where you smell your neighbor’s curry cooking, he makes you sweet tea with cardamom, next day Jamaican barbecue mon, the Filipinos have one record, sugar sugar aw honey honey, your father brings home Saturday pastries from the German bakery, “schwartzwalder kirschetorte,” it sounds funny, say it again, and the Japanese girl doesn’t know your words but can show you how to fold paper squares into gentle birds.

I am from the thorny Jersey berry bushes, blackpurple bursts against tanned sunfingers, slipping stones in backyard creek, crick, algae slick, willow fronds sweep redwood table pirate ship, hopscotch sidewalks toss a chip, Sunday French toast sausage brunch, leaves turning orangecrunch, rubber masks hiding smiles fake, the quickmelt of perfect crystal snowflakes.

I am from big city and small town, remain unclaimed, cheer for no team, believe in no crown, blood flows only down, I look out to starless airless zerodark, time past seems tissue-thin, walk back in, an afternoon of bubble toys, uncaring joy, turquoise dresses rhinestone sunlight, just once, golden flash, one more pass, because I am from a yard of girls with summerdrip popsicles, before the apple, before the crash.

I am from disconnect and strife, feudglue of life, mashed crookedly together, a puzzle I failed to see until I broke apart, alone, jagged on my own, and now I know why people stay, bicker low and graceless, get physical redangry splashwine in faces, because they can’t bear the abyss, yes, I missed, I get it all now, too late.

~*~

Y is for You [A2Z]

You’ve Got Mail is my favorite romantic comedy. It stars Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, both outstanding, and it’s written and directed by Nora Ephron. I love the build-up of conflicted feelings between Kathleen and Joe, who not only are business rivals but also are with other partners as the story opens. (Both sets of couples break up before K&J get together.) None of that can overcome their growing attraction toward each other though ~ and for quite a while it’s not a physical attraction, which is the best part to me. It’s a combination of an emotional and intellectual connection sustained in writing via chats.

I’m not gonna lie: it’s always been my preference/dream to find this with someone before meeting in person and discovering that it translates to physical chemistry as well. Probably this is why I was so magnetized by the idea of dating sites in the first place. But just like in this movie, most men are deceptive in chats; in real life, though, the ending doesn’t work out so happily ever after.

To me, You’ve Got Mail is simply perfect, the epitome of a romcom. The best of the best. I only wish I could have saved it for last, but there’s one day left…

Expository [SOCS]

Experiences over things” is another one of those irritating expressions that people parrot mindlessly. I used to see it creep onto dating profiles before I exited that whole expanse of pants. 😛

What does it mean? Welp, let me explain. Instead of buying Mom a nice cupcake-scented candle or a cute kitty tee shirt for Mother’s Day, take her to Tahiti. Don’t get Dad a boring tie for Father’s Day either ~ think of the wasteful packaging! Consider doing something more fun like taking him ziplining over the Amazon. Dads love that! Put the expense on his credit card. 😂

People without a lot of money have always been creating experiences. Family dinners, picnics, BBQs, potlucks, game nights, a day at the beach/lake/park, etc. are all part of normal life for everyday folks. It’s only now that the rich have discovered they haven’t been spending enough time with people who matter that they’ve come up with this absurd phrase. 🙄

Also, for anyone who may be related to me: I still expect the candle and tee shirt.

Mother’s Day is May 12. 🌷

W is for When [A2Z]

When Harry Met Sally is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love the characters and the humor. Once again, I think Rob Reiner does an excellent job of directing. I used to list WHMS as my favorite romcom, but now I don’t, even though I still adore the film and rewatch it yearly.

Harry and Sally meet right when they’re graduating college at University of Chicago and share a ride to New York City. They get to know each other a little on this trip, and dislike each other, arguing continuously about the nature of relationships between men and women. Over the next decade, they bump into one another repeatedly in various venues as they attach and detach from other partners.

There’s so much wonderful humor and profound insight about the complexities of relationships here, not to mention fabulous quotes. I treasure the supporting cast as well ~ in fact, when I rewatch the movie now, it’s the instant spark between Marie and Jess that really affects me.

I know the on-again, off-again, passionate drama between Harry and Sally and his crazy run through the streets of Manhattan on NYE is what makes this movie such a beautiful piece of art, but but but…

When Marie (Carrie Fisher, RIP) and Jess hit it off immediately, jump into that taxi, and spend the rest of their lives together without all the BS… that gets to me. I mean, Harry and Sally had to keep sleeping with other people (and in Harry’s case marry one) before they finally figured out hey duhhh we’re right for each other. But Jess and Marie don’t have to hurt each other to love each other.

I like that. Of course I get that the smooth path doesn’t make an interesting movie. But I still like it!