Friday, December 21, 2018

The Season of Lost Hope

Everyone says that Christmas/Holiday time is supposed to be about happiness and joy, coming together and a time when for a little while the world seems a little less cruel and painful. For me, I haven't felt that in a long time, not since I was a child and didn't know any better. Adulting is hard, you lose faith and joy in the things that you once loved as a child. Bills, taxes, stress, debts, all of that comes crashing down on you all at once and it tends to kill any joy you would have had for this time of year. Not to mention the painful pit in the stomach feeling of losing hope in something.

This happened to me recently, I decided to talk to my ex again after ten years and for about a month it was nice for both of us, we cleared up some unanswered questions we both had about what happened ten years ago and it all seemed to be going well, things were coming back around. Unfortunately, the recent events in his life and the stress in his marriage had been what prompted him to contact me again. I was willing to listen to him vent and to let him get rid of some of that stress he had been dealing with in his life. And it gave me hope, it sounds kind of bad when you think about what had to occur for that to come about in the first place. His marriage had to fail if there was going to be any real chance of getting back together, and sadly it did. Now he's facing being a single father with only minimal interaction from his sons' mother in their life and he's decided that I wasn't going to be part of that anymore.

After trying to have hope about it the reality can really destroy that. Now I'm left right back where I was before I spoke to him again. And I'm thinking about what to do now, I know many would say I should have never reopened a door that was closed ten years ago with him, while others would say there is nothing wrong with hoping for a second chance at a future together. He did want that with me back then but I was too immature and focused on my own crap to see what he was trying to do for us. And now it's too late. No going back. I have an idea of what I could do, find a job and start saving money to move out of my parents place into something of my own again. Finding time to make things happen for me because no one else will hand them to me. I have been back with my parents for too long now and it's time to start living my own life. Just not right now, it's too late in the year and no one will be hiring and of course I have to worry about what kind of work I can do with MS, I just don't feel like looking right now, too hurt from what happened to try.

Writing down my thoughts is the only way I know of to help ease my pain and sadness, I get the thoughts out of my head and then I can go back to a semi functional adult again. Without it, I just get stuck and have no release. Probably have to censor them for a public forum like a blog though, no names or anything like that. I still want to get married though, perhaps have a child and when I was talking to my ex again after so long that was what I was thinking about having with him. I wouldn't have minded being a stepmother to his boys either, before he drops this bomb on me I was worrying about what I would say to his boys when I saw him and them for the first time. Worrying that they wouldn't like me and only see me as an intruder in their life. But hey, no worrying about that anymore he just took that away from me, so yay right? A load off my mind already. Except that sinking pit in the stomach feeling isn't going away with accepting the inevitable, it's still there. Makes me want to cry because it hurts to have your hope stolen away from you at the last second before you can reach for it. That is what hurts most of all, to lose something like that. Do I really want to close the door on having a child by starting my MS meds? Because as soon as I do that door closes for good, there is no going back to change that. Or do I keep it open and just wait for the next time I get so close to getting what I want in life only to have to stolen away again?

So that's why I call this The Season of Lost Hope because for me it is. Depressing is another word for this post but I can't be bothered to lie and write something I just don't feel. Either way, getting it out of my head DOES help a bit but only a little, the underlying cause of the thoughts is still there and won't be going away any time soon. All I can do is write this out and hope my ex doesn't go looking for anything associated with my name or Google account sometime later on, not that he would but I am allowed to be a wee bit paranoid about putting anything out on the web right?

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Ghosts of the Past

Did you know that two days after I created this blog, I got an email from my first ex after ten years. It surprised me that he would do something like that since we've been broken up since 2008. It brought up memories, some good, some not so good. It also made me remember an email I wrote using the Future Me site where you can write yourself an email today and the site will hold onto it and deliver it at a future date. Most people pick a milestone birthday and I remember I did one that would be delivered on my 30th birthday in 2013. I sent it, oddly enough, in 2008 a mere few months before my ex and I broke up. I vaguely remember what I put in it, I think I wrote something like what had happened to me on the day I wrote it, my nephew was only a few months old and he had a cold or something, mom was on the phone with my sister about it. It was also talking about how that by 30 I had hoped I would have been married to my ex and we would have our own place. I hoped that we would have had many travels and adventures together because at the time I wanted to travel. I didn't actually get to do it until a year later in 2009 for the first time. I took my mom and I to Hawaii for her 55th birthday, I asked her in February that year about it I said "How would you like to go to Hawaii for your birthday this year?" She of course was literally floored that I would even ask that and took all of one day to think it over and say yes. That was the first time I had left the country, like ever. I mean sure there was that trip to the Thousand Island's American side when I was a kid, I don't really count that because honestly, I barely remember it I had to be like 5 or something. I paid for the flight and the hotel over the next eight months and mom paid for a few tours and things we did there, dad gave me $1000 in Traveler's Checks and cash to go there. I came back with $63, because Hawaii's expensive. I would have taken my dad too but I couldn't afford three tickets and at the time his work situation was up in the air, they were in the midst of talks about being bought out by an American company. We also had a sick cat at the time who needed his medicine administered orally, dad had to stay to do that. Mom and I were there for nine days and we called back here to Canada once a day, Hawaii is six hours behind us here in Ontario so we had to back up our times for the calls so it wouldn't occur at like 3 in the morning here. I did get some nice things to write about after that trip though as well as some amazing photos. Photography is my other passion, I love taking nature and landscape pictures because it's story telling through images. I don't have a fancy expensive camera (I'd love to though) with three different lenses and light filters so I take all my pictures with an ordinary digital camera. I got a better camera after 2009 so my Hawaii photos do look a bit blurred and odd to me now that I look back at them nearly ten years later, I still have that camera too.

I made some 8x10 prints of my best butterfly pictures and gave two of them to my sister for Christmas one year, others I've posted on my DeviantArt page which is where my best and least blurred pictures are uploaded, I watermarked them too just because I'm proud of them. I know I can sell them off that site, there is that option but I haven't done it. I have very few pictures that are not of butterflies, landscapes, or flowers and no pictures of people. I have thought about taking my camera out one of these days and just wandering around to see if I find interesting things to photograph, it's been two years since I've taken any new pictures of butterflies. I would go to the Butterfly Sanctuary in Niagara Falls to get them, I love going there but I haven't gone recently which makes me sad. One day I hope that the urge to get out there with my camera really pushes me to do it, it's all part of me trying not to let the fact that I have MS keep me from doing the things I loved before the diagnosis, it's still a work in progress but I am getting there. Making this blog is one of those steps in getting back to what I love.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Finding My Way As A Writer

For as long as I can remember, writing has always been with me. Long before I ever reached the legal age to work, long before I had even thought of using writing to make a living, I always did it.  It's the one thing in my life that I could always come back to when things got me down. Whenever I got the urge to express myself I would write or draw, it was a way for me to give a voice to all the thoughts I had in my head and it helped me to relax. I started when I was about twelve with a package of lined paper and a bunch of pens, I would begin to hand write a story that had come to me while I slept. Most of my writing stems from dreams I have and back then that was the only way I could express them. That one story would begin to take on a life of its own and before I knew it, I had run through half of the package of paper. The pages were kept in a binder so they wouldn't get lost or lose the order they were in. It was later on when I was about fifteen that I started numbering those loose sheets of lined paper so I could always find them again if they did fall out. I also kept journals of my thoughts or just to write down what happened to me that day, I used my journal a lot in high school. Whenever a writing assignment would come up in English class I always got a little bit excited thinking about what I wanted to write for it. My English marks were always in the high 80's and it was one of my best subjects, my  mom said it was because I read a lot and she knew that I did write too.

It wasn't until I turned 21 in 2004 that I had been working long enough to earn a tax refund that allowed me to buy my first laptop. It was a Windows Vista laptop with a moveable camera built in to the screen. Before that I was using a desktop computer to write with, which wasn't very portable. I had wanted one since I was 14 years old but in 1997, a laptop was just too expensive a thing for my parents to get me for a birthday or Christmas present. By 21 I didn't do as much hand writing anymore outside of the occasional journal entry, I found that writing on a computer was much easier (and didn't have the hand cramping) that writing with a pen did. It was also in 2004 that I had discovered the Sims 2. It was a brand new medium that opened up a whole new world for me, it let me combine my love of drawing with my love of writing. I could now create the characters I only wrote about in an actual 3D model that I didn't have to draw with my own hand. I could watch them live their lives in the 3D world they lived in and it helped my writing to evolve. I could now write more stories based on what the sims did in the game and for three years that was all the writing I did. In 2008 I joined the NaNoWriMon site that I had been hearing about from the other Sims writers on the Boolprop forums where I had been posting my stories. My writing once again evolved. At first it was overwhelming, writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days? I never wrote that many words in anything I did before I joined this site. It took me a year to build up my writing skill enough to take on the NaNo challenge. And in 2009, I finished one. I was very proud of that it was my first completed NaNo, it was a prequel to another story I had been writing on that laptop of mine before then. I was surprised at how fast those 50,000 words came out.

I kept writing my Sims 2 stories using a blog-style format on LiveJournal, another medium that many of the writers on Boolprop had turned to when The Sims 2 Exchange was shut down in favour of the new Sims 3 game that had just come out. I didn't know how to create a PowerPoint story and I realized it was pretty neat to see how it looked when other Sims 2 players would put their stories into that. It took me another three years after I had been posting on LiveJournal to figure out how to make a PowerPoint and put it on my LiveJournal. In 2009 I bought myself a new desktop computer with Windows 7 on it, the old one my dad bought me for college in 2003 had finally run its course after I had to reinstall its operating system twice to try and save it. The old desktop had a Windows XP operating system. I got a Windows XP Professional install code from my ex to put on it after the version it came with started acting up. I loved having a computer to write with and the fact that the only desktop I had at the time with my beloved Sims 2 installed on it was starting to fail on me, it was heart breaking. Once I got Sims 2 installed onto my new desktop I couldn't believe how much nicer it looked on Windows 7, it reignited my passion for writing my Sims 2 stories.

It wasn't until 2011 that I finally got on the Sims 3 bandwagon I put it on my new desktop and for the first time I was able to experience for myself the new version that had everyone on Boolprop playing and writing with. I didn't start creating Sims 3 stories yet though, I still loved Sims 2 because it was still popular enough on Boolprop, Sims 3 was new and of course it had its issues as all new games do. In 2014 though I began to write with Sims 3, by then it had been out long enough for most of the issues I had seen when it was first introduced to be resolved, either by EAXIS (EA and Maxis) or by the players themselves who found fixes for some of the issues that EAXIS didn't bother with. Because in 2014...Sims 4 had just come out and as usual, EAXIS started making the transition away from Sims 3 to promote their new game, despite their previous version still selling quite well. Anyway, I kept going and kept writing  and I wasn't about to stop just because my favourite new medium was evolving again. I didn't stop with NaNo either, there was a period of three years starting in 2013 where I didn't complete my NaNos but I still started one.

Which brings me to my more recent history. In 2015 around October I started noticing something was off with me, out of nowhere when I was talking about something and my speech would suddenly started to slur. I didn't think much of it at first, I thought it was only a temporary thing that would go away eventually. I was wrong, it didn't go away. My parents noticed this and were growing concerned, they had heard it happen for a few months and in January 2016 my extended family started to notice as well, I was attending my cousin's daughter's christening, three months after I first started having speech problems it was still there and my aunt and uncle witnessed it first hand. I was also stumbling sometimes when I walked and had a near constant pain in my lower back. My parents were afraid I had a stroke and didn't even feel it, my family doctor recommended me to a neurologist and from there my neurologist ordered some MRIs to be done. The MRI detected a problem in my brain, lesions had appeared on it. Their detection ruled out a stroke and even diabetes, I was sent for another MRI in July 2016 to check after the first one in March of that year. The damage was still present so another test was ordered for September. In August 2016 another symptom had shown up, I was experiencing double vision. The cause was finally determined after the test in September, I had MS. That diagnosis surprised everyone, including my parents who never even thought about that. That diagnosis made it even more important for me to keep up my writing, I would start to forget things. Things that I was always able to remember before, I couldn't anymore so when I wrote them down it helped to keep me from panicking too much about it. In short, writing is the one thing that has remained constant in my life, it's helped me through good times and bad and now that it's 2018 I know that it will continue to help me, not just because I forget stuff more now but because it helps me cope with forgetting things.