Exit, Pursued By A Bear

An Unreliable Narrator

Reptile House

in flagrante

Dear Internet,

For nearly a year now, I’ve had a PLAN. The plan is an over haul of my person: mind, body, soul. Truthfully, there has been some form of the plan in existence for so long, I’ve lost count of the years. It’s always resolved around: lose weight, fix the brain, be a better person. To be the best Lisa that I can be.

Sounds like a thing for a person of reasonable intelligence to strive for. Enlightenment of the self. A soul not in torment. A mind not turboized. A body, at any weight and shape, I could feel comfortable in.

Saturday night, I had the most vivid sexy times dream. I cannot remember the last time I had a sexy dream; I’ve had a lover for over a year, I was with TEH for six years before that — it didn’t seem necessary when someone’s cock, tongue, and hands were at the ready for my pleasure to self-pleasure except when my lover and I were in flagrante.

I’ve shied away from my own sexual pleasures for fuck knows how long, that even with my lover I struggled to tell them what I wanted. A stark contrast to my youth where everything turned me on and I had no problems announcing what I wanted; fuck you if you couldn’t please me. I once joked I could flirt with a flower and get aroused. There is something to be had for enjoying the sensuality of the material world and of your own (and lover’s) body.

(I told my lover we were destined to be together because they’ve been the only person to ever manually get me off. Twenty odd years of being sexually active and only one who knew how to take me to my knees.)

But things change, as they often do. What used to turn me on, not so much anymore. What I found attractive seemed like I was supposed to be attracted to that thing rather than actually desire it. When we lived at Throbbing Manor, I would silently cry when watching passion on the screen: I never thought that could ever happen to me. Again. A 1000 times. A million ways. It was/is frustrating when you know that you CAN do and be that person, but you’re paralyzed by what exactly? Sometimes I have all the answers and others, no.

I’m straying from the point.

So sexy dream. It was so intense I woke up, thoughts of my lover in my head as I remembered everything about them from the breadth of their shoulders, the feel of their hair beneath my touch, the grip of their hands on me. Their scent holding me close.

So I would do what any reasonable person would do: I masturbated.

The orgasm was quick and powerful, after all I had created a dream scenario with my lover in my head of such extreme, it was hard not to touch myself. It was hard to not want to feel their phantom body over mine. I caught my breath.

Then I rolled over and went to sleep. (What did you expect? I was alone.)

(I loved the part this morning when I got up and there was my cum all over my panties still. It verified I can be a sexual being when I was alone and not a dried husk.)

I cannot say that I felt like my sins being washed away via masturbation, but I can say something resonated in me, alone and fingers engaged, for the very first time in a long time. My body reacted to someone I did want, that I did desire. It reacted to me desiring me.

Something buried so deep began to breathe, little by little.

I was told recently I am extraordinarily beautiful. I rolled my eyes. In the not too distant past, I was told my body was so primed for my lover’s, they could get an erection sleeping next to me. “Just look at your beautiful body!,” husky words pushing me closer to them so I could indeed feel their physical truth. (We always slept naked. We would joke as we got ready for bed about our 2AM meetings as one or both of us would reach for the other in our sleep at that time every night. It didn’t matter how much sex we had before bed.) Yet another person unrelated to my sex life told me I was classically beautiful. Another eye rolling.

(I’ve also been told I have amazing skin for touch. At least I have that going for me.)

Is it my self-esteem that doubts these words? Yes. There is the confidence that for a fat girl, I can get much desire from many. On the flip, it was always down to, “But WHY do they want me? What could possibly make them want to fuck me, let alone hold my hand?

Silently, over the years the self-doubt grows. I’m too fat for clothes. My bras are beginning to strain. My flexibility is lessening. My hair is getting too grey. My skin is getting blotchy thanks to too much dairy eating, early life sun damage, and age. I worry that as I grow older, I will never feel body love, that if I end up truly single, finding a stable relationship would be near impossible and I would just have a rotating cast of lovers over the years of half-hearted satiation. You can always find someone to fuck, but real body love? Rarely.

I worry the AARP is going to be knocking down my door.

I live too much in the past, I live too much in a future that has yet to happen.  I need to live in the present.

I worry about losing the now fragile desire of me.

After that erotic break, back to the plan. The image above is of the notes I took this evening after I meditated. It was typical the plan would live in bullet pointed Times New Roman, 12pt; but I wanted to engrave it on the memory rather than type it out and have it in purgatory on my hard drive.

So I wrote it out, making notes a long the way. Some of it is platitudes, others are sketches. No step by step, just be. Here are the things I want to do. In pen. More has come since I snapped that pic, the red brick covering what is not for public consumption.

Maybe this time it will finally sink in. Maybe this time I can move forward past the pain, the guilt, the self-flagellation for my crimes.



P.S. Don’t want near daily emails or can’t make it here everyday but want to keep up with what’s going in my world? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator, a monthly-ish newsletter roundup of what’s happening. Bonus! Comes with GIFs!

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2010, 2003, 2001
originally published at exit, pursued by a bear

the constellation of your memory (taste)
Reptile House

dear internet,

i could not foretold it was going to end this way
      (this end in this now)
we promised those urgent words from joined bodies until the grave
   (both hoping that the other would hear)
   (you are my world, my true)
when i could not ask anymore
nor you
it was in that instance we knew the end had come
we fought against as swimmers to the sea

our bodies coiled slick snakes
our hands interlaced
      (legs intertwined)
i fit in a row against you
hip, thigh, breast to breast
   (you imprinted on my skin)
the smell of you dresses me up
nape of my neck, the curve of my waist
the pink of my sex, the length of my limbs
here was home


it was there i knew whatever made me exist
to make whole, was in that place
   (i admit
      i always tiptoed between open and close)
prayers answered and no amount of sacrifice too great

(but what we stated
   now we knew this was dismally untrue)

in that fissure
      (where i was safe)
everything always seemed to fall
neat little cells and otherworldly bodies
on our bodily canvas

division happening
when our bodies moved (i carry you in my heart)
that need swallowed in the air
      (as long as we were)
benediction to the other
   hearts pulsating
   bones crushing
throated moans
   silent in the air but heard through our taste

  (the root of the root and the bud of the bud)

perhaps, perhaps, perhaps (
      i go you go))


P.S. I cannot take credit of the subject line today as it comes from Melissa Febos’ fabulous long form creative non-fiction piece, Scarification. Liberal use of quotes taken from the man who eschewed punctuation, e.e. cumming’s, {i carry your heart with me(i carry it in}.

P.P.S be kind. this is the working draft of a long prose piece i’m working on

P.P.P.S. Don’t want near daily emails or can’t make it here everyday but want to keep up with what’s going in my world? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator, a monthly-ish newsletter roundup of what’s happening. Bonus! Comes with GIFs!

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2015, 2013, 2003
originally published at exit, pursued by a bear

home is where the...i have no bloody idea
Reptile House

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(This piece is longer than I had intended so grab a cup of coffee or beverage of choice.)

Dear Internet,

I’m taking a break from working on the “How To Write Fiction” MOOC, and oh boy aren’t I in for a treat.

In the pre-week comments I stated I wanted to strip everything I knew about fiction and if the critiques I’ve received on my first draft are any indication, I’ve got a long way to go. (However the general underlying response was my first draft was intriguing, so I’ve got that going for me.) If I would have taken this class even a year ago, I would huff my work was perfect and the cleansing was not necessary. This time, I am not so angry that I’m throwing insults about “how dare they” around the cabin.

(Or maybe I’m still sedated from the Klonopin I took the night before.)

This is all prep work for NaNoWriMo, which I’m hoping will allow me jump start my novel, get a rough draft done, and so I can feel accomplished. I have plotted out some of the work, wrung my way through other;  fingers crossed I’ve not created a hot mess.

I’ve started using marginalia from the British Library’s collection again in the featured image as it is in the public domain, it’s pretty, and because I can.

I’m still sick because my body is an asshole and has nothing better to do. I’ve started week three of a cough I can’t shake, which I think has more to do with quitting smoking and getting rid of the crap in my lungs than being actually sick. Whatever the case I sound like death’s rattle when the coughing fit starts with the bonus of learning how to spit like a man.


We’re now inching towards the end of week two of TheExHusband’s jeep still indisposed. It’s sitting in a parking lot of the local mechanic who, it turns out, is the only mechanic on duty. TEH is adamant of giving the guy business since the shop recently did super minor work for free. It’s frustrating and endearing at the same time, with the lean towards frustrating than endearing. All plans have been canceled as we wait to find out the status of the damned thing, so goodbye East Coast, I still love you.

I’m championing selling the piece of shit for scrap and buying a new/used car from a dealership in Louisville rather than some shady garage (as he did this money hole a few summers ago). It’s a good shot I’ll be driving him down to Louisville once we find out the status of the Jeep (which I’m betting is a goner. If I’m repeating myself it is because it is my every desire the thing is beyond repair).

In the meantime I’ve had TheBassist ship me my winter things because it’s dropping into the low 40s and high 30s. There is a good chance if I’m still here by the end of the month or early November, there will be snow. Literally, winter is coming.

I’m 80% doing okay, taking into factor the most recent meltdown (that was three weeks ago? Fuck. It felt like yesterday.), the sickness, the Jeep bullshit, and other maladies. I’m anxious about the right things instead of jumping off the ledge about others.

It’s lovely to be at Throbbing Cabin in the summer and early fall for a week or two. I could handle a month, but we’re now closing in on two months in late fall and we’re getting close to becoming batshit crazy. The nearest villages are 10-12 miles away and the big city of Traverse City takes 30-40 minutes to get to. Three of the closest villages are tourist traps and after a while you get tired of $15 burgers and trunk slammers from Florida. I often go walking around our area but without a proper coat it gets a little chilly and I can only walk in certain areas thanks to the big hills and little valleys (and the goddamned golf courses).

I’ve completed 98 straight days of meditation. Tada!

Throbbing Cabin is 1000 sqft and surprisingly we’re not killing each other or fighting (just crazy from lack of things to do), which I consider with all the circumstances to be a small victory. TheExHusband turned on internet the first week I was up here, brought up a TV from the old house; which coupled with my Roku means we’ve got loads of things to keeps us entertained. He works all day in the second bedroom which we flipped into an office for him in the summer of 2014 while I work on the breakfast bar in the kitchen. We are more or less out of the other’s hair.

It’s cozy and we do not lack for anything. I have my coffee maker, there is a working regular stove and apartment sized fridge. The closest of all the villages has an all in one gas station / deli / pizza place/ grocery / video store. They even sell Lisa-milk and GF food stuffs. The village also has a post office, two resturants, a free library inside the bank, a meat shop, a knitting store, and a local art gallery. For laundry and weekly groceries, out to TC we go. The area is pretty much perfect except for the location and the so dark you can slice it with a light saber which does not make even a dent into the denseness. However, lack of light pollution does make for a pretty sky.

The cabin is well heated from several space heaters. While there is baseboard heat, the first winter we were here, and only for 2.5 weeks, the electric bill was $500. For 2.5 weeks. Two space heaters heating up this entire place will run TEH, for a month, around $150. The baseboard heat will only come on when it dips below freezing so the pipes don’t freeze, which if the weather is any indicator is going to be end of this week, early next.

(And my rush to get the fuck out of here is compounded by the storms of 2013-14 bought 240″ of snow to the area. That is not a typo.)

(I know I keep flipping between “we” and “his” when discussing about Throbbing Cabin because of all the work I’ve put in to it, it still feels like “mine” even though TEH got it in the divorce. I declined his offer of ownership as so much work needs to be done, such as $15-20K for a new septic tank and drain field. It’s lovely to visit but I don’t want to own this place. At all.)

I’m 1100 words in and I haven’t even touched the main point of this piece which is “home,” what it means, and how I want to achieve it. (This is inspired by Theodora Goss’ piece on a similar topic on crafting a life.)

Which is a very good question and the apex of my problems since I was born and one I keep struggling with it often takes over my life.

The original plan was to move to the East Coast, retreat for a few months, look for a job, and get a place of my own, preferably with TheBassist. The plan changed. Then it was toGrand Rapids for six months while I healed emotionally and mentally which turned out didn’t happen and it was suggested I couldn’t, shouldn’t, live alone. Then it was to Louisville, then CT. Now it’s at the cabin, then more than likely Louisville, then who the fuck nows. If I end up in Louisville longer than two months, it’ll be the first time I’ve stayed anywhere longer than 1/6th of a year since October 2014.

For all intents and purposes, I am homeless. My possessions, what is left, are at TheExHusband’s house. Some of my things are at TheBassist’s. I’ve pared down my car goods to between 1/3 – 1/2 of what I took to The East Coast last October. I’ve been living out of two small bags and a bag full of toiletries since the first week of September when I arrived at the cabin.

During all of this whiplashing around, the goal and my greatest desire has been a job, financial independence, and a place to call my own.

I’ve applied for, between writing and librarian career tracks, 150 jobs since February of 2015.  I’ve made a grand total of $150 off my writing since August. My day to day living funds ran out in July (TEH has been supplementing me since August). My mental health, while mostly stable now, still has it’s downsides (mostly brought on by pre-menstrual hormones these days). I’ve taken my crazy pills daily since November 2014. I’ve racked up (and half way pared down) nearly $40K in credit card debt within the last year.

These are the facts.

I’m not revealing the minute details for sympathy, understanding, or a handout. This is what it is. This has been the apex of my life since forever and a time ago.

What am I running from or who or why?

I’ve been moving house every two to three years since I was 13. Throbbing Manor, where I lived for four years, has been longest place I’ve lived on my own since I was 24. Prior to that, my mother changed our living locations every 2-3 years from ages 13 – 24. So insofar as actual living space, I do not know what home means.

(When I’ve been at TheBassist’s or TheExHusband’s, even if room was made for me in their space, it still feel like “their” space, not mine. I was just a temporary boarder who happened to be cute. (It should be noted that was never their intent to make me feel uncomfortable, they went above and beyond to make me comfortable, but that is how I often felt.))

It’s been remarked numerous times over the last 20 years I’m running from something because of the shifting or it’s a pathos of my disease. I’ve never known physical space as mine, it was always someone else’s, even when I’ve had roommates. I’ve always felt like a visitor instead of a primary occupant.

(Which is why if you’ve ever visited me at any of the places I’ve lived, there has hardly, if any, decoration to showcase my personality. Decoration was in the form of my clothes, which are cheap and easily disposable.)

I know I’ve romanticized where I want to live. Do I want an adorable apartment in a big city? A home of my own in a quaint little village? A flat somewhere in Europe? This parallels the kind of life I also romanticize. Jet set traveler? Famous writer? Raconteur around town?

I want to be everything, live every place, and be every person.

This, obviously, throws a wrench into daily life plan and reality, most which seems to blur together into one grey line.

If home cannot be about a place, then what about being with a person? If i could not feel at home with the two most important relationships in my life, TheBassist and TEH, then how does that bode for me? What does that say about me? I’m too frightened to forge a relationship with anyone, romantic or platonic? Why do I destroy everything that should be the best of my life?

If home is not about a place, or a person, what about the material things? I have my cases and cases of books, 50-60% I’ve now donated. My clothes, shoes, and accessories which I’ve significantly pared down and donated the rest. Personal objects or things I’ve picked up over the years, donated.

I’m cast adrift with no thing, person, or place to call my home.

If it’s not a place, or a person, or things. Then what is home and how do I get there?


P.S. Don’t want near daily emails or can’t make it here everyday but want to keep up with what’s going in my world? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator, a monthly-ish newsletter roundup of what’s happening. Bonus! Comes with GIFs!

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2010, 2001
This was first published at Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Reptile House

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Dear Internet,

Ever play the timed word scramble game, Word Crack? Pretty easy concept: You have two minutes to find words out of 16 random letters. Like Scrabble, some letters have double or triple points and words can have the same point advantage. You can play against friends or random strangers. Lately I’ve been playing against random opponents and always losing. I get, do to the fire of my brain, picking up GRE words was difficult enough but I was consistently losing by 200-300 points. Per game. Are my opponents Rhodes scholars or winners of the local spelling bee? What gives?

What gives is you can spend a few bucks and get coins and you use these coins to get boosters. One of the boosters is “wisdom” which will show you three possible words per wisdom card. These word are, of course, big money words.  So I spent a few bucks, used my wisdom cards, and sure enough I was beating people by a few hundred points.

So this is legit cheating. We’re not encouraged to actually use our brains but use short cuts to make win the game. Once i figured out the accepted cheat process, I have lost interest in the game.

This is a metaphor for something and when I get that figured out, I’ll get back to you.

I had another round of loss today and I’m in the midst of processing it. I cried my hiccuping, nearly wetting myself, big sobbing tears; which lasted on and off for better part of the night. But through all of that, what kept me from having a complete breakdown was hope.

Sometimes the only thing keeping me going is hope, even if the percentage of that thing occurring is a tenth of a percent, there is still that chance. I play the lotto ever week on the hopes that I will win the Powerball or the Megamillions, dreaming daily of how I’m going to spend that money. Do I believe I will actually win that prize? Logically? No. Emotionally? As long as there is a chance to get my castle in Scotland, I’ll keep playing, no matter how minute.

When the waterworks slowed to a trickle, I went through and momentarily romanticized the loss. If only I had done things differently. If only I didn’t say those things or intoned those words or or or. If only a million times now and a million times over.

If I’m honest, I could see this coming and I shouldn’t be terribly surprised. Recounting recent events, I see how the loss broke down and went the way that it did. The crying jag, the gulping of air, the deep groves of scratches in my heart, I did some deep breathing exercises, got up and took a shower. I may be extremely sad and heartbroken, but at least my legs are shaved and my hair clean.

But not all is destroyed for after all, tomorrow is another day. And as long as that sun rises, there will be hope.


P.S. Don’t want near daily emails or can’t make it here everyday but want to keep up with what’s going in my world? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator, a monthly-ish newsletter roundup of what’s happening. Bonus! Comes with GIFs!

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2013, 2003
This was first published at Exit, Pursued by a Bear

giving birth to the world
Reptile House

Dear Internet,

When I gave birth to my first self-published book, The Lisa Chronicles: Vol 1: 1998, in January, I experienced a divine feeling, for that is the only way I can describe it, when I hit “publish.” Here was something many years in the making in which I was able to clean up, organize, and present as my baby.I knew it wasn’t going to be a big seller as the singular goal was to give it life.

Sales have not been spectacular but I want more of that feeling. I want to give birth to writing things and even for just a little while, feel like I am queen of the world.

I want to say the last year has been one for self discovery and I want to believe I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. I want to believe all of this is worth it, all the pain, the smearing of my reputation and name, the rejection from several communities has been worth it. I swore to anyone who would listen that I had to sleep with me at night and as long as my conscious is clear, that’s all that mattered.

But at what price does “doing the right thing” come?

I keep talking about my exhaustion levels. I keep mentioning how this lifestyle I’ve jumbled together from bits and pieces is tiring. I harp on how this is effecting me. Underneath it all, all I feel is I must do something with this life of mine. I must take what has happened and create some kind of purpose or meaning. If this doesn’t happen, I feel, then I beat myself up over and over and over again for being a failure. A loser.

I stare at my screen, that taunting cursor winking at me. A million and a half ideas and nothing is coming forward from my brain to my mouth to my hand. My sketch book is a mockery. I cannot get it out of my head if I cannot make a living at doing this, wha then will I do?  This thing, this writing, chasing that dream that so many have gone before me and so many of them magnificently failing. When editors tell me they love my voice and my writing, I am convinced they tell everyone the exact same thing. How is my voice unique and how can it make matter?

What if everything I’ve been telling myself is a lie? What if this is all there is?


P.S. Don’t want near daily emails or can’t make it here everyday but want to keep up with what’s going in my world? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator, a monthly-ish newsletter roundup of what’s happening. Bonus! Comes with GIFs!

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2013
This was first published at Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Reptile House


Dear Internet,

You may have noticed a drastic change in the design and layout of the site. I’ve been using the same theme for years and with so many changes and the cluttering, EPbaB is/was a hot mess. Like a child dressing up in their mother’s clothes.

I knew I had to re-do the design and layout, and while I was learning how to do backend from scratch  I was far far behind where I needed to be to make this site what I really wanted. Perusing through the WordPress Codex is often a disappointment as I ended up downloading and testing themes that are broken or far too complicated to use. (You know, like the ones who talk about how easy it is to drop and drag modules and you need a Phd to get it to work.) I stumbled upon Seasonal, which didn’t look like the other “personal” blog themes and was geared more towards my type of writing rather than those personal bloggers about their “brand.” Despite its attractiveness, I was weary. Very weary. But woah, all I did was just download the theme, configure it, and some small CSS changes. BOOM. It’s done (and under an hour to configure and launch I must add).

So hopefully you’ll like the site as much as I do and find it not only aesthetically pleasing but also easy to use.

If yesterday was spa day, Thursday was cleaning out my jewelry box that I’ve been lugging around for the last year day. I cannot even tell you what jewelry I DO own that is not with me. Last I knew, it was a lot of bullshit.

If you need a way to procrastinate, untangle your necklaces.

Pro Tip: If you slide the chains through straws, they won’t tangle up when you’re traveling.

Tuesday afternoon, after reading something or another on the interent, the world began to spin. There were two of everything as I struggled to right myself in my chair, calling out to TheExHusband to come help me. The few seconds it took to get from his office to me was enough for the moment to pass. A terrible low throbbing headache took hold and kept banging on for hours. I laid on the chaise, not doing much of anything as I waited for the headache to subside. It’s not that far fetched to state I did nothing that evening.

Wednesday I had several appointments in the city that I did not want to miss but the thought of driving 10 miles of two lane country road and another 10 miles on a moderately busy two lane country road made me super anxious. I couldn’t get it out of my head I was going to have an attack while driving and thoughts of, “What would I do? How do I react?” flashing like a movie reel in my brain. I couldn’t shake the IMPENDING DOOM.

Half a Klonopin swallowed.

I did deep breathing and eye open meditation as I drove, a very light sheen of sweat on my person when I pulled into my parking spot at the salon. The facial included a message of my face, arms/hands, and upper shoulders and i could feel the tension in my body actually getting worse rather than better since I was grinding my teeth every time she was touching me.

Full dose of Klonopin swallowed.

I weaved in and out of anxiety as I went about my day, dreading the thought of driving that 20 miles back to the cabin. Even stopping at Gallegher’s for donuts and cider didn’t really shake the impending doom.

Of course the Klonopin kicked in when I got home and everything was rosy.

Somedays it takes every once out of my being to pretend my heart is not palpitating a million miles a minute, impending doom is in my brain, and I am so scared to exist in this world. Every ounce of my being.


This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2001, 2001, 1999
This was first published at Exit, Pursued by a Bear

You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible all of your life
Reptile House

Dear Internet,

I’m not a terribly vain person except when it comes to two things: My skin and my hair. I pride myself looking roughly 10 years younger than I am and that (mostly) has to do with taking my vitamins, drinking loads of water, and taking good care of my skin religiously. (Mostly.)

My hair, despite the years of bleaching, coloring, and other misdeeds, has not been destroyed and still retains its lustre and gorgeousness no matter its length. Even when when it’s binded up, it still looks brilliant.

I love my hair. I love my skin. But the last year of stress, lack of cash, bad haircuts and dye jobs coupled with the general malaise has compounded into dull skin, crazy hair with far too much grey. I have not felt comely in months.

With my general moping about such things, TheExHusband thought it was a good idea for me to take a half-spa day to get some rejuvenation. I booked the appointment for an hour long facial, eye brow waxing, and finishing with a hair color and cut. (GTFO grey.)

The thing about skin care is I’m a cleanser and moisturizer kind of girl. No eye serum, no night cream, maybe BB cream if I’m feeling extra girly before going out. If I do makeup, it’s usually primer, thick eyeliner, and mascara. When I’m rolling in the cash, I do microdermabrasion and get the ‘stache lasered, but the day to day is pretty minimal.

One of the downsides of spas is they want to upsell you their specially formulated, organic, free range, paraben and SLS free products with the cost ranging from outrageous to ridiculous. Imagine my surprise when my aesthetician stated I had some age spots and sun damage (!?!) and suggested over the counter products to purchase rather than the spa’s concoctions. After she gave me a few brands to check out, most of which could be purchased at Target, with specific directions on how to (better) take care of my face. I hied thee to Target to stock up, leaving with a day cream with SPF, eye serum, night cream, and a good cleanser.

Feeling so much better about my physical appearance, I came home and decided to clean out my make-up container which came with interesting results. If you’re curious, that’s 20 shades of eyeshadow, liquid liner, and color pencils; four mascaras, four lipsticks, liquid blush, and highlighter.

Good thing orange eyeshadow is making a comeback.


This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2003, 2001, 1999
This was first published at Exit, Pursued by a Bear

water off a duck's back
Reptile House

water off a duck"s back

Dear Internet,

We’ve recently discovered RuPaul’s Drag Race, which shockingly I haven’t been watching before this. If you need to get your fix, seasons 4 through current are on Hulu. It’s like Project Runway, but much cattier and funnier; an obvious perfect complement.

Expect my mouth to get raunchier thanks to new phrases and saying I’ve been picking up, like “cock sucking dick pigs,” courtesy of Jinkx Monsoon! Which speaking of Ms Jinkx, the episodes we’ve seen so far (seasons 4-6), she’s by far my favorite queen. There is something about her, even though it would seem Sharon Needles or Bianca del Rio are more my speed, that grabs at bits of me and wakes me up.

(We’ve started on season 7 and in one word: meh.)

The resonation of Jinkxy comes from a few weeks ago when someone on the internet made various disparaging comments in regards to my writing. (I know, I know, I KNOW.) The sum of which can be distilled down that I was/am a pompous, illiterate hack. The thing was this didn’t feel like your average internet trolling — this felt personal. Very personal. The person, of course, hid behind an anonymous name but I have my suspicions. I may be way off base on who it was but the commentary hurt. A lot. It’s been banging around my brain as if none of the small steps I’ve taken have amounted to really anything or what’s been published is worthy. I have my fans but then again so does Dan Brown.

This phenomenon is known as imposter syndrome which according to Wikipedia is, “…a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.” I first became aware of this in the tech community, primarily women, who struggled with their accomplishments in a male dominated world. I didn’t really see myself, then, as having a modicum of feeling under accomplished but stepping back recently in this new world I’ve created for myself, I can see it whole heartedly.

The biggest of the impostering happening is for my writing, which is why the anonymous c0ward’s comments was a broadsword into my side.

A few weeks ago, Jim C. Hines, in a nod to the Hugo awards kerfuffle, discussed a recent conversation within the SF/F community about the “cool kids.” The tl;dr breaks down that several of the sad puppies accused the more well-known of authors / personalities within the community of being too cliquey and why Hines, and others, reject theses ideas presented.

I remember in high school (and after) always feeling extremely left out of everything. No matter what group I was hanging with, there was always a clique within that group that seemed cooler than me. It never occurred to me those I deemed more awesomer of having their own insecurities, issues, and even jealousies. Basically the same as me and everyone else we know. Their feelings just felt impossible to believe they shat like the rest of us. All we ever see is the finished project not the pain, sweat, and tears that went into them.

It’s always hard to feel your worth, that your contributions are worthwhile, thatyou are worthwhile or matter. It’s hard to shake the demons snapping at you  as you run towards your dreams.

Isn’t it easier to “what if” your way into not doing anything? Isn’t it easier to presuppose your failure before anything happens? Isn’t it easier to lock yourself in the closet of your brain and not do anything, ever?

It’s hard, I know, to move forward and do what you want. It’s hard to believe in yourself. I know it’s hard; I still don’t believe in myself 99.999% of the time. It’s hard to shake off the old demons that reverberate from your entire life. But you matter. Your work, your dreams, you matter.

Water off a duck’s back. Water off a motherfucking duck’s back.


This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 1999
This was first published at Exit, Pursued by a Bear

META NAME="description" content="Link to me and I'll..."
Reptile House

Dear Internet,

Re: Today’s title. It’s been languishing in my drafts for years (and I don’t recall what the original intent of the piece was going to be) and comes from a very earlier incarnation of this site (1999ish) when you could throw anything in the meta tags because you could. It was not about SEO, following HTML rules, but about being clever and perhaps  a bit naughty. At one point I had t-shirts printed with a spin on the wording.

So there’s that.

Sunday finds us a bit lethargic as we laze about the cabin if you so please. We are both on the mend from ThePlague but it seems even going out and about, even for a little while, is exhausting. I have several appointments this week I cannot reschedule again (they were reschedules from the previous week when ThePlague was in full bloom), including an appointment with a local therapist.

I’m a bit unsure about this local therapist thing. When I called to reschedule, the scheduler seemed a bit, how do I say this delicately, like he didn’t give a shit. “What time is available?” I says. “Anytime you want,” he says. Err, okay. Do they not get crazy people up in here? Aren’t the therapists have at least some bookings?

I hope this isn’t a waste of my time. Am I in crisis? To some extent yes, but I need to feel a bit assured as I search for support. My experience in Louisville this summer was emotionally debilitating:

Things came to a head when TEH and TheBassist both insisted I up my Lamictal to the last dosage as approved by doctor in Grand Rapids and take myself to the free clinic to talk to someone.

The free clinic in Louisville is designed mainly for the homeless and those on their last hopes. As a walk-in, I was told they could see me when first available slot came open. Four hours later I requested more info to discover the therapists were all at lunch and they closed at 3:30. Would I liked to make an appointment? Sure, why not. Okay, we can fit you in two weeks. Two weeks? Yes. What if I came back tomorrow? You’ll have to start the waiting process all over again.


I called six places in Louisville and every single one was booked out for weeks and months. If I was suicidal, which I wasn’t but I was in crisis, I could check myself in at the local emergency room who could throw me in a locked ward for 48-72 hours. THEN I could get help.

Being your own advocate about your mental health is a full time job. Every little process, every move, every counsel, every everything needed to keep your brain in a place where you can at least function on a daily basis Is. Up. To. You. So how in the hell can the system expect those who are really sick to keep up with this? The short answer is: They can’t. They fall through the cracks. Lives are destroyed, dignity is stripped, and humanity is pummeled.

I will have been at Throbbing Cabin for two solid months. Was it stupid of me to pull this while in the midst of starting therapy? Absolutely. That’s something I have to take on as my responsibility. But it shouldn’t be that hard to get even temporary help.

It’s even worse when you have no insurance.


This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2005

This was first published at Exit, Pursued by a Bear

to handle roughly
Reptile House

Dear Internet,

I'm on a spree to clean up half-dead posts in my drafts folder, so if my posts seem a bit lackluster from their usual intense energy, that's part of the reason.

Today is leaving the house for the second time in a week day. Laundry, grocery shopping, other needed errands capped off with seeing The Martian is the agenda. I'll report back tomorrow how well that went over. Hopefully I don't have an allergic attack to leaving the house and wearing pants longer than 15 minutes.

For most of the northern hemisphere, October signals decorative gourd, pumpkin anything, donut, cider, and cord month. But for me it always the start of big life changes. October 1999 I started at UUNet/WorldCom and moved in with TheExFiancee2. He and I lasted until October 2001, same month I found out I was accepted to Aquinas College to finish my undergrad. My job at Barnes and Noble began in October 2005. I met TheEx in October 2006. I moved to the east coast October 2014. And I'm moving again this month.

Lots of other little stuff always happens in October. When the 1st rolls around, I am giddy with excitement knowing that thing that will happen this month, whether minute or on a grand scale, is going to somehow change my life.


jeep diedWe made it through laundry and TEH reported he wasn't feel all that great as ThePlague was doing him in. We opted to skip the movie and do the grocery shopping before heading home. So there we are in TEH's jeep, Jasper, when it started making a loud racketing noise. TEH keeps driving and as we were about to turn onto M72, sputter and dead. Smoke discharging from the engine.

Jasper is deader than Bill Cosby's career.

Five separate cars, including the local sheriff, stopped to help us. After the first car, who helped us push the jeep to the side of the road, we waved the rest away. I was floored by how many people were just so kind to us while we were hanging out waiting for AAA to show up.

I'm flabbergasted, really, to think in 2015 someone being kind is so shocking. Dontcha think?


This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2012, 2008, 1999, 1998
This was first published at Exit, Pursued by a Bear


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