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Abby, a Mistress

I found her.

A person could see her unmistakable long, dark hair from across the grocery store. That’s where I saw her, at least.

My hair- short and blonde. He told me he liked my hair shorter, and when I cut it he told me I had never looked better. That I was even more beautiful that day then I was the day he married me.
There was never a time like the world we lived in when we were newly-weds. Being 7 years ago doesn’t seem like that long ago.
I never dreamed of leaving him, and I definitely never thought it would come to this.
A mistress.
Late nights at work, going to the bar with his friends- he still always had time for me. We had been on many dates as a married couple, several vacations, and countless late nights of talking and swooning. He kissed me goodbye every morning before he went to work, told me he loved me every day, and always made a point to make me feel beautiful and like I am the luckiest girl in the world.
But here I am. In the grocery store that I have been coming to since we moved here 7 years ago. Buying everything that fills our house with holiday aromas and dinner every night. This is where I buy his favorite coffee, no other store in town carries it. I have gone out of my way to come here for him, and today I found her here.
She is beautiful, clearly. He really did pick a good one. And she looks nothing like me, even better for him I’m sure.
I bet she never complains about his dirty clothes laying on the floor, or about how he walks through every room in the house while he’s on the phone, constantly picking things up and moving them around without even realizing it.
I’m sure she is an amazing lover, she probably does more than I ever would for him. “Tough Luck”, I always tell him. She probably has a closet full of lingerie that she wears for my husband, some that he might have paid for, with the money he makes for “our family”, as he calls it.
Should I have done better? Should I have catered to his every want and need and never had an argument? Wear high-heels when I do the dishes? Make myself be his whore every night after his long day at work? I could have ironed all his clothes, picked up all his messes, cleaned for 4 hours every day, wrote him loves stories and day-dreamed about him all day. Did I not do enough, just by loving him and being his home to come to every day?
Oh, please.
I am a human being, just like him. He should have known better, and he should have remembered the love we had for each other every single day.
Not fucking women like her.
I found out about her by accident.
Cleaning the house, no doubt, while he was at work not thinking about me, or her either, I’m sure.
She wrote him a note and he left it in his shorts from 2 weekends ago, when he told me he went to see his old friend from high school that just moved 2 towns away from us. “Sounds fun!” I said. And no, it was not stupid of me to not think he really meant he would be with someone else.
The note said “Think of me tonight while you are with your wife because I will be thinking of you when he comes home. -Abby”. What an amateur, I thought. Did she really think he did his own laundry or cared enough to clean out his pockets at the end of the day? Or did she think he would fold it up and keep it like a trophy of their undefined love? Don’t make me laugh.
I told you, she is nothing like me. I would never dream of sleeping with another man. Even now I can’t imagine, because I remember our wedding and how the basis of our marriage and our love was made that night. I knew then there would never be another man that I could look at the same way as I do him, and I knew that I would never feel the same way about love or how it feels because that night it was truly the best night of my life, where love was redefined.
It was better for him that she doesn’t look like me, but not because she is better or more beautiful, but because it would only make him feel guilty. And honestly, what is the point on cheating on your wife with someone that looks like her?
Abby, however, has no idea what any of that means. I feel sorry for her, truly. Does she think she can find that in my husband since she can’t find it on her own? Please. She has to find a way to stop being so pathetic, and she needs to find that without my husband.
I see her in aisle 9 as I walk by. I stop and stare for a minute, and remember that she is not better than me. Most women might feel that she is, of course, because my husband picked her over me. But actually, he didn’t.

He found her, at a bar I’m sure, and it was fun for one night. And then he thought maybe this was the life he wanted, being her play toy on nights they can both ditch their spouses and be together. Does that sound like a relationship to you, Abby? Pathetic. It sounds pathetic to me.
He didn’t find me at a bar on a drunken night like he did you. We met at a luncheon for a company we both were applying for 8 years ago. We talked all night and he took me on dates for several weeks before we slept together, which I’m sure wasn’t the case with you.
Perhaps it has been fun, running around with a woman who looks like she hit puberty about 5 years ago. Her body is rockin’, I’m sure, and she makes him feel young again, I bet. She looks nothing like me, as I said. What I mean by that is I look better. Funny, isn’t it? He still makes love me right after making love to you. Is that petty sex, you think? Doubtful. The sex with you is fun and meaningless, but my body is where his home is, and its the only place he has ever made real love to a woman.
So, Abby, have fun, you pretty little thing. I could honestly not care less. Anything he’s ever told you about his feelings for you, or feelings he may have for me, they are all a lie. An adult would know that, so surely you could use that explanation.
We’ll fight about it later, I’m sure, at my own timing and with my full control. No, it’s not over. However, I may decide that it should be, later on my own terms.
I’ll get what I want, out of both of you, when the time comes. And I promise you this, I won’t be the one feeling stupid when it’s all over.

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Comfort Zones

I was recently asked, “When was the last time you left your comfort zone?”

The idea of a comfort zone always has confused me. It insinuates that at any regular time of the day, you find people to be comfortable and in a state of rest in what they are encountering at that moment. And that you need to leave this state in order to grow into whatever your hopes and dreams are.

The thing about a comfort zone is that I don’t really think they exist.

We live in an environment that is constantly stressful and that is constantly pushing us past our limits. The zone we live in at any given time is hardly ever comfortable.

When you think of a time that you feel comfortable in your state of mind, what do you think of? Are you comfortable right before you fall asleep? During a meal with good company? During a night alone with a significant other?

I doubt it.

In retrospect, sure, these moments are the finer things in life. When life is supposed to make sense and be content.

But this doesn’t make us comfortable.

We all live in stress. Stress to make more money, stress to be a better friend, daughter, mother. Stress to be healthier and happier. And we stress about a whole lot more when it comes to our success.

When I think of comfort zones, the first thing that comes to mind is exercise.

There are inspirational quotes online, on t-shirts, in books, and public figures who talk about pushing limits, going the extra mile and ultimately, leaving your comfort zone.

I see this notion as more being more than burning extra calories.

When I read an inspirational quote that tells me to push my limits in order to get out of my comfort zone, I laugh.

Dude, I don’t even have a comfort zone, and neither do you.

I think it is important to strive for more, of course, because face it, we can all be better people. But I don’t think we should get down on ourselves when we think we aren’t doing enough because someone came up with the idea that we are suffering because we won’t leave our comfort zones.

If one of you finds a comfort zone, please, don’t leave it- embrace it, because it probably won’t be long until life hits you in the face with the next uncomfortable that that comes along.

This zone we do live in, not a comfortable one but something else, however, isn’t bad.

Humans wouldn’t get anywhere in life if we always do the same thing, and if we think we are always perfect in everything we do.

We aren’t, clearly.

So, in other words, the failures and the insecurities we have about ourselves individually has lead to everything that has ever been created and achieved in the world.

Back to the question I was asked, although I don’t understand the idea of a comfort zone, the last time I felt like I made a step in the right direction of achieving something was last week.

I quit my job.

Whoo…that’s heavy.

Yes, I quit my job and am really pursuing my writing career. And I am so thrilled.

I am broke as hell, yes. Most of us are. But I have made a big step, some would say THE big step towards my dream career, and I am more than determined.

This really ties into my big spill about comfort zones, because it definitely wasn’t a comfortable decision to make. There was nothing easy about it, and there was nothing comfortable about not knowing what the future will bring.

But that’s the beauty in it.

That’s the beauty of the world we live in, we surprise ourselves all the time. And here I am, totally shocked, and totally 100% all in.

Now, this question probably wasn’t expected to have such a loaded answer. But hey, that’s our reality. We spend so much time worrying and wondering when things will be the way we want them, and that scares off a lot of us. I never thought I was going to get out of that job and finally do what I wanted, but here I am. I believe this is what the real expectation should be, not just pushing yourself a little longer to get things done, or staying on the treadmill a little longer just to burn those extra calories I was talking about earlier.

That being said, I challenge you to follow your dream and forget about that stupid quote you heard about your comfort zone. Make a point to be the person you want to be today, not the person you are hoping to be tomorrow.

Instead of asking you the question I was asked, I will reword it.

What will you do tomorrow that brings you closer to your dreams than you were today?

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The 7 Ways to Survive College

Dear Fellow College Students,
We all have struggles. Trust me, figuring out how to get to class on time will not be your only problem. You made it through high school, great. We all thought that was never going to end, but here you are. You made it. The rest of your life has begun and this is just the beginning. Choosing your career is your first milestone for your future, that is why the amount of success you have these next four years is very important. You have so much to learn and so much to live for, believe me, you are still so young, even if you feel so grown up. I am here to tell you how to survive this part of your life, because it is going to be tough, so pay attention.

1) Save Money

The 7 ways to survive college are all equally as important, so there is no particular ranking to this list I am giving you. You have to save money. One weekend you will go out with your friends and spend nearly all the money your parents gave you. Trust me, that dollar amount is never enough. You have no idea how to budget. If they gave you $1,000 a week you still would find a way to spend it. Don’t. You know nothing about money. Think of it like this, the less money you have, the less food you will eat, and a lot of the time you will be starving. Also, this advice will help you even after you graduate. So save your money. Listen to your mom when she says that to you, because she does know what she’s talking about. Speaking of your mother, call her. She misses you about 10 times more than you miss her.

2) Read Everyday

Text books are your best friends these next four (or more) years. There are classes that are extremely easy- be thankful for these. That “A” you see on your transcript at the end of the semester may be the last one you ever see. Now, that is not to say it is impossible to get an “A” in a hard class. You can get an “A”, you really can, but it is going to take a lot of work. Reading your text book is the simplest way to study. Really, you learn a lot just for reading it. There will probably come a time when you think you can skate by doing the bare minimum for a class, trust me, reading your text book IS the bare minimum. So do that, at least. Walk in to every class saying “I need an “A””, and your rest text book because it definitely won’t be a waste of time. Binge-watching 3 seasons on Netflix however is a total waste of time.

3) Go to Study Groups

I know this is tough. It will require you to sacrifice some of you spare time and maybe some sleep, but this is important. Studying as a group helps you see other ways of understanding the same issue at hand. What you’re confused about may be the same thing that others are confused about, and maybe you both don’t see how to ask for help, but when a group of confused students get together with their notes and textbooks, you guys will collectively find the answer and see many different ways to understand it. You need that. College will require you to think in ways that you aren’t used to. You spent very little time in high school using critical thinking tools, and that has left you under-prepared for college. This is a time for learning and you are not alone. Every person in your class is in the same boat as you, even when that boat is sinking. Working together is another simple way to get through this just like reading your textbook. There will be several times that you have to study way harder and do a lot more work than just read your textbook and go to study groups, help yourself now by taking advantage of these two simple ways to learn.

4) Make Lists

It’s easy to forget important things that you need to get done on any given day. It’s even easier to forget to do the important things that you absolutely don’t want to do. Sure, you want to succeed. You want to have a successful future. You want to make straight “A’s” and have a 4.0 GPA. But none of us actually want to do what it takes to get it done-work. Your first year is going to be all boring classes, classes that will mean basically nothing to you. This is tough, so you need to get yourself in a routine that will help you get all of those crappy assignments done. Make lists that show you what needs to be done at any given day of the week. Consult you syllabi, yes, your professors gave you these, and yes, they are important. Schedule the due dates and schedule times to study before hand. You may think you can get everything done in one night, but you can’t, and if you do this you will get behind, and your grades will suffer. Schedule time to relax also because this is tough work, and you’re doing it all on your own, no one can do this for you.

5) Be Selfish

This is one of the most important times in your life. You are going to learn so much about yourself and about life in your college career, so you need to make sure it’s not stripped from you.Keep going. Take out another student loan, take that class over again that you got an “F” in, and definitely don’t let love get in the way of your college degree. When you walk that stage and shake the Dean’s hand, you have achieved it. No body can take that from you, ever. Wait to get married until after that day happens. If your love is true, it can wait, and it will stronger after you have finished. Take the time to do this for yourself and forget about everyone else. Life is full of reasons not to do something this important. Trash those reasons. This is your time to draw-out your future, and it’s just the beginning. Embrace it and keep going. Also, stay in school as long as you possibly can. After that first degree, after you have achieved the ultimate goal, if you get the chance to keep going, definitely go. Go until you physically can’t anymore, until you run out of money, until you have more college hours than there are hours in a month. Education is a gift, receive it util it’s done giving.

6) Make Time for Yourself

This may seem like it falls under the last tip, but this is different. What I mean is, when you’re being selfish for your degree, remember that you’re doing it for you. You are on your own side. It is easy to forget that and it is easy to think you are your own worst enemy. Stop thinking that. Don’t work yourself to death, there are ways of getting what you want without sacrificing everything near and dear to you. Remember what I said earlier, schedule time to relax along with scheduling all the work you have to get done. Also, don’t neglect your health. Go to the gym, there is always time for that. Don’t spend all spring break studying, even if one of your Professors assigns something for you to do. Hang out with your friends, go home to visit your family, take a road trip, you need it. Don’t lose sight of your hobbies either. Sometimes your hobbies are related to your career choice, and they always are related to who you are as person and a professional, and that is absolutely important. Keep going with everything you do in your life because everything is important.

7) Have Fun

It may seem like over-kill by now, but this is your life we are talking about here. Everything you do, everyday adds up to who you are. The good and the bad, the successes and the failures, the fun time and the boring times. Surviving and succeeding in college requires you to give it your all, just like everything in life does. Remember that you are here for a reason, that you have a deep connection with why you are here. Maybe you have a love for animals and a love for helping them, so you are going to school to be a vet. You are going to wake up every morning one day and save many lives of animals, and you are going to have a blast doing it. If you are not sure if that is going to be fun then you need to rethink you major. You have a passion, everyone does. Embrace it, live it and chase it.

Go to school and be that person you dream of being. Don’t stop for anything, and study hard. Work for everything you get and make sure you hold on to it as long as possible. It is absolutely worth your time, so stay as long as possible. Relax because you can do this. Make time for your friends and family, and save every penny you can. This is the advice I can give you to survive this time in your life. Be positive everyday, because I know you can do this, I am rooting for you!

 

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Chapter Excerpt #6, “My Son is Missing”

Extreme Bipolar Mania
The tendency to have mood swings that turn to violence.

My husband sent me here because I kept forgetting what I was doing, to him and myself, and it caused to much pain for him to handle anymore.
I don’t care about his pain.

What he doesn’t know is that i never actually forgot the things I did to him.

Once, in the beginning, I was driving myself and my son to the grocery story a few miles away. I wanted to make a nice dinner for him when he got home from work, back when I still cared about his wants and needs.

I put our son in his carseat in the back, buckled him up and shut the door. When I got myself inside and started the truck, I saw her. She was right outside our house. She looked at our house as if she had stolen it as well as my husband, as if everything in my life is hers instead.

She stood there with her hands clenching her over-priced handbag. It seemed like she was waiting on something, like maybe she thought he was going to come outside to meet her. I thought to myself, “You stupid bitch, he’s at work, only his wife and child are home. It’s the middle of the fucking day”. How stupid of her to make herself so noticeable, although I already knew about her.

As I look at her through my rearview mirror, with my foot on the brake to move the truck in gear, our eyes meet. I realized then that she wasn’t here to see him, she’s here to see me. We stared at each other for several moments and I think she must feel guilty for stealing my husband. But why would she? Do women like her every really feel guilty for destroying a marriage and a family? Well, it isn’t destroyed yet I guess, since he doesn’t know I know. But she does. Women always know.

“Well honey, he’s yours now”, I think to myself. He hasn’t been the man I married in a long time. Her standing there with puppy-dog eyes makes me almost feel sorry for her, but not quite. She looked so pathetic, and disappointed. Well, I’ve been disappointed myself lately.

I continue to put the truck in gear and back out of the driveway, my driveway, with my son, and drive off. I see her walk off past the house from my side mirror, and that’s when I decided it was finally over between us, our marriage is finished. This is where it all began.

Our fights went from me crying all alone, to me tearing things off the walls and throwing them at his face. From me feeling defeated and pathetic to taking action and making him pay for what he did to me- to our family.

This is when he started telling me that I was crazy, that I was making things up and was just paranoid. Well, maybe I am crazy. But I don’t care. He deserved it. I was angry that he did this to us, and I wasn’t going to let him get away with it.

He kept lying to me. Every single day was a lie. He’s been selling pharmaceuticals for 10 years, and never has he been needed to stay late as often as he has the last 10 weeks, and definitely not every Monday Wednesday and Thursday. He thought I was stupid, that it was something I wouldn’t notice. I stay at home all day taking care of our son and waiting for my husband to come home, how could I not notice that he was gone on such a timely schedule? He can accuse me of being irrational, and angry, and paranoid, and even crazy, but it started with him, and that woman, and now they expect me to sit here in the hospital alone while they have my son.

Well, it’s not going to be like this forever, trust me, I’ll be out of here soon, and I will have my son back.

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Planning my Writing

I was recently asked if I am a writer who plans or pants? If I pick up my pencil with a plan for an end or if I start in the middle and end up somewhere I didn’t imagine at the beginning of my seating.

I am a pantser. Generally, I come in with a very tiny idea. It may be just the outcome of my character for that chapter, or a tiny bit of back-story that I want to include in my novel. The development comes during the act of writing. My story isn’t even a part of the way completed just by looking at the plans I have written out.

Almost every time I start to write I first have a blank sheet of paper in front of me and I write down everything I can think of that I might want to say in this portion of my story. I spend a lot of my free time thinking about what I am going to write in the next chapter or in my next short story, and I can usually come up with something small, like a sentence, a word or something bigger like the entire endpoint of the story.

That is the majority of the planning I do, which isn’t very much. I come up with most of what I want to say when I am at my laptop and spitting it out.

While developing this idea I am given, I tend to give a lot of back-story to lead to a complete climax. Even in short stories, I take a step back in time in order to make sense of the present and grow the momentum in that sense. It keeps me on track, I feel like, and it grows the story differently than a linear telling of it would.

The crisis, conflict and resolution of my story are developed by elements such as these. I like to establish momentum by adding little sub-stories, such as background knowledge of a character or some context about the setting of the story at that moment. Momentum and development of a story can be so diverse, but the structure can be pinpointed and defined. Adding emotional context and struggle to get to the climax of the story are just the tip of the iceberg to what a writer can do to tie up, and tie in, the conflict in the story.

My writing isn’t only my job, my passion, my forthcoming, my calling, but my journey. The story is a journey and the writing of it is also a journey. It is easy to forget that almost everything in life is a journey, and that generally our passions and our jobs take up most of our time. Just as life is, the story is ultimately the story of a life and lives that occur in a journey of conflict and confusion, then wisdom and resolution. My life is a journey and that reflects in my writing, as does it does with any writer.

By saying this, I am pointing out there is not much planning to life anyway, and definitely isn’t to such a journey. How can I plan a conflict and crisis, when these things are felt and stirred at the time of being? Same if I am writing it. Feelings aren’t usually planned but can be predicted. When I brainstorm before I write I can maybe outline such an event, but it comes out of me while I write sentence after sentence. Word after word.

Are you a planner or a pantser? Comment below!

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Book Obsession

Why do you like to read? How can you stay up so late and just read? How many books do you actually need? You’re going back to the bookstore? Didn’t you just go the other day? I hate reading, doesn’t it make you tired?

I have been asked these questions hundreds of times, just like any other book reader has. Getting lost in a story that causes you to lose track of time and forget about the world happening around you is purely fun. I often question why not everyone gets that.

My reading obsession started when I was 3 years old. If you had never met me at this time you would be convinced that I could actually read at this age. I would be around the house with a Dr. Suess book in hand and flip through the pages saying every word. But in fact I was not reading. Instead I had actually memorized every word as it had been read to me several times. I had all my cousins beat with these books because as they had been trying to learn to read and would struggle with every word, I could read it with no help.

Fast forward to my elementary and tween years, I read all Hank The Cowdog books AND The Hardy Boys. By the time I got to high school I had read all of the Series of Unfortunate Events books as well. I would often be walking from class or somewhere outside and be reading as I took every step. In High School, I spent a lot of time reading Ellen Hopkins books’, who is still my favorite author today. It was around my freshman year in college that I got my first Nook, and there was no stopping me after that.

So here I am. A college grad with a BA in Literature, and Graduate student studying Creative writing, and an over-joyed book blogger. Who knew you could make a career out of such a thing that Dr. Suess started us all out on? Empires have been built. Entertainment is no longer a luxury but an hourly occurance.

Barnes and Noble bookstores, half price books, the movie industry.

Authors, bloggers, students, poets.

Directors, agents, publicists, editors, publishers.

Movie theaters, television seasons, internet movies, online forums.

All are outcomes and relatives to the art of writing and the hobby of reading.

Words can’t be hated, we speak them everyday. Stories, although some really suck, are fascinating to say the least. When you are asked why you love reading, is it possible to have only one answer? As if there is a definition for a book-lover. Maybe you could ask the person instead, why do you think you don’t like reading? Because they actually do, in a way, when you think of all the things I just listed. Everyone likes movies, television and the media. There’s hardly a choice anymore not to like it. When a person says they hate books, they actually just hate the act of reading, so they think.

Being told you are obsessed with reading, now that’s totally true. Because I am. I made it my day job, how much more luxurious can that get? My favorite thing to do besides reading, writing about reading, re-arranging my bookshelf and doing absolutely nothing is go to a bookstore to get more books. I mean they are right, I am obsessed. And I am not sorry.

Tell me, are you obsessed? Are books the most fantastic thing in your life? Comment and say so.