Stories

I’m missing a story. That’s what it is.

No matter what happens, I surround my mind with stories of characters. If I’m lusting after someone, real or imagined, it’s Astrid who gets to meet them. To enjoy them. To hurt from and with them. It’s an Astrid fantasy and I remove myself from the equation completely.

I do this often and have been for a long time.

Astrid has lived a million lives and died a million deaths and loved a million loves. She’s my go-to. Yeah, sometimes it’s Chaunce or a Astrid/Chaunce hybrid. For the most part, though, Astrid gets to be the center of my mind when I wish I was part of things.

I do not have a story. Not really.

Even growing up, the story was never about me to me. I push it on others. It’s a story about my Mom being depressed or my Dad dying. It’s a story about men who didn’t treat me well, about how women were harder to talk to, etc. But it’s very rare that the story is me. I ignore my reflection in real life – that’s not a size thing. I did it when I was 100 lbs smaller. I did it when I was a teen. I ignore my reflection and I pretend I’m someone else.

My personality is pretty cool but I have detached it from me completely. Pretty much everything that is the actual Shaquana Amanda Briggs is rotting somewhere in New York or in my dad’s grave.

It’s interesting to figure that out. Things happen to me but I don’t feel like I have an actual story – just notes. Car Accident. Break ups. Big moves. It’s all just written in the margins and there’s a blank body, a blank page, that I haven’t even tried to fill.

Knowing this made me feel better. I got out of bed today (late as hell but I did). I’m sitting and planning out this year. I know I’ll keep denying myself a story if I don’t unmuddle my mind. I have to understand and appreciate myself and this is the year I’m going to do it. Skill building. Solitude. Writing. Taking photos.

29 is going to be the year I regroup in case I make it to 30, to 31, beyond.

I’m going to use this Bama solitude to get the story back on course.

Quarter Life + Three

This solitude makes me a bit obsessed.

It’s been three days since I’ve actually done anything for work. Technically, I’ve been listening to music and daydreaming from sun up to sun down. It’s an odd stasis and I’m seriously stuck in it.

Also, lots and lots and LOTS of listening to porn.

Before about ten minutes ago I couldn’t even get up. My mind is completely content with existing inside itself. Seriously and completely content. Right now, Shaquana Amanda Briggs is just a vessel for Astrid Snow and Chaunce and all those merry characters in my head.

And then I realized why I’m back in my head again after getting out and living for so long:

This isn’t what I want.

It’s never been what I want.

And by ‘this’ I don’t mean Alabama. Bama’s pretty okay so far, actually. We’re unbothered. I guess the biggest problem is that I still don’t know what ‘this’ is, just that I am getting further and further away from it. Part of ‘this’ is probably unraveling because of my acceptance that I don’t want to be with anyone. I like being a single mom.

Maybe I would like friends? Some people who are like me, have kids, are rough as hell and not into living this normal life? I definitely think so. Some outcasts who aren’t part of the outcasted, who got lost along their way. I want to link up with some people like that and live a certain type of way. I miss my brother in that regard. I wonder who he is now and if he’s the answer.

I seriously wonder that.

There’s also this lust I have over a very certain type of person. See: GETTER. See: Danny (GG). See: Jontron. See: numerous others that are in gaming or music and are super talented or super lax.

 

Probably, the biggest problem is my lack of prospects in a number of areas. This has been the same for some time. I don’t enjoy many things – as it stands: daydreaming, some gaming, some writing, flowers, dark things, sexy things, the constant promise of death. Those things are okay. Other than that, I drown a bit. I don’t know what I want out of other people so companionship is a dead thing.

When I write stories, or even when I read them, there’s always a hue. A color. A tone. The people in stories and in real life are aligned on a certain path and then they deviate. The color changes when they change paths. My path is pretty much dirt and it is either a blend of too many colors or no color at all.

 

This isn’t really depression. Maybe I need to recuperate from the shit end of year stuff. But I am definitely missing something and it is definitely weighing heavy in me.

 

I feel more sudden changes coming soon.

Roots

So.

I like Alabama so far. At the moment we’re nestled in Forestdale, which operates kind of like East Point, GA – it’s not IN Birmingham but it’s kinda considered Birmingham. It’s quiet as hell here. Quiet enough to make me nervous, fill me with dread at night, but absolutely enthrall me.

I’ve not met any neighbors and I don’t plan on it. Well, maybe eventually so I know when things aren’t quite right outside, but for now I’m good.

I don’t think I’ve met one unpleasant person here. There’s an air that comes about when someone WANTS to be unpleasant, yes, but it’s an underlying thing. I’ve never been one to care too much about indirect hostility. If you can’t spill your venom like a normal person then I guess it’s a personal problem. I actually really like the feel of people being too polite to burden you with their animosity, though.

Driving, it’s like no man’s land. At least in Forestdale. And there’s this odd smell that I keep recognizing as gasoline but, eh, it’s everywhere. I smell it as long as I’m in Forestdale and then it just goes away.

So much possibility for that scorched Earth I’m always thinking about.

This is more of an update than anything. I purchased Scrivener and have been busy pulling my stories into it. My business is picking up in a very real way at the same time, of course, and I’m mapping out the life I want.

I’m thinking about setting some roots somewhere and then taking this young sir and traveling.

I’m steadying up.

 

We Ain’t Die…

I’ve been busy. Well, not really. But shit has happened.

At the end of 2016, Urijah and I were moving. We moved. Alabama, which I like very much at he moment, now claims us as official residents. I’ve moved everything over except my business and the homeschool stuff (you have to homeschool ‘through your church’ in Alabama, and that’s not happening).

On the way to Birmingham, Atlanta tried to deny us access. Some moron ran a light and I t-boned him. Totaled my fucking car. The smell of the air bags was potent, and stuck to me, for almost a week. I remember driving and then suddenly my wrist hurt, my ears were ringing, and Urijah was screaming his fucking head off. Absolute chaos. There was a vicious anger/disbelief there as well, one I haven’t felt ever. And when I got out and saw all the shit, OUR shit, sprawled across the ground…

When I saw that two week old car, 400 miles on it, the one I got to peel the plastic off of, mangled and broken…

When I thought about the fact that we hadn’t even gotten out of Atlanta yet (thanks Metropolitan and Ralph David Abernathy)…

I fucking just crumbled.

A lot happened. Naaman came through for us in such a real way, and would again in coming days. I wrote this on Facebook:

Well. We ain’t die.

And I still go get the keys to this big, beautiful house in the morning. I have money to re-buy Urijah some clothes, and Rajesh some clothes, and me some clothes. I can buy ointment for our wounds. I still have my hands to write and my brain to create.

We’re still doing better than ever. Totaled 2 week old car, yeah. But it wasn’t my fault, and the guy explained that to the police.

I have a bit of faith restored in the amount of people who stopped, who jumped out to help push the guy’s car out the road, who grabbed Urijah out the car when they realized I was stuck. With the officer who went and searched through the car and all our things to find Urijah’s tablet when I told him Urijah was autistic and wouldn’t calm down without it.

My heart is beating a bit thicker. 28 and something new happened. There’s always that.

And I still got here. I’m sitting in Alabama right now, waiting for tomorrow, waiting for tomorrow to snatch me or throw me or guide me gently.

By now it’s obvious, you know. We’re still here no matter what happens next. At that point, at least, we ain’t die.

… … …

And now we’re here in Alabama and I’m thinking about life. Had a shit client call with Marge and a shitty client that reinvigorated my passion for becoming a novelist – that’s where I belong. Fuck business. Seriously, I truly hate business.

So I’m moving forward. I’m finding my own clients that don’t suck. I’m going to write my own stories every night, no matter how tired I am. And I’m going to keep Urijah and I happy. Well adjusted. Bathed in solitude but not alone.

We damn sure escaped.

Escape

We’re getting the fuck out of here.

This year has been a huge eye opener. Well, fuck that. My 20’s were basically me spiraling from shit that happened in my teens, and now I’m finally coming to a stop. I feel like I did when I was eight, except with twenty years of experience under my belt to make me a bit smarter.

I feel like I picked up what I lost.

And I can honestly say a couple of things that I’ve been battling with, angry about, ignoring and the lot:

 

I don’t want to get married. Ever.

I don’t want to be stuck.

I’m not happy sitting still.

I like being alone.

I don’t want a traditional life.

 

I’ve been so stuck on trying to make life work for me. Trying to have something normal, something typical. When really, I need to take Urijah and get out of here. We’re different than this. I don’t want to get married and be Betty and Don Draper, as much as I like them sometimes. As much as I adore their relationship, Betty is bored and unsatisfied and Don is between another woman’s legs every ten minutes (and actively more in love with them than he is with Betty). I have been exploring my mind so much since Wolf left and it just feels…seasoned.

First off, a couple of things triggered this. One was Wolf leaving, of course, but it’s a little more than that. The whole last chapter in my relationship with Wolf let me know that I was going after something I can’t handle anymore. Maybe I could’ve when we were first together – but I wanted something different for us back then and he failed me. There was no working it out. I gained my crippling desire to be normal and settle down from the shit Wolf put me through, after all. So this most recent failure stuck out to me in that he failed me at the very crutch I put up to make my wounds from him BETTER.

I don’t want to get married. Even when we were doing better, the thought of it makes my stomach churn. Being stuck.

Then, the car. The fucking car breaking down when I need it so much and can’t get shit done without it. Rajesh misses two whole days of school because I couldn’t fucking drive, and I went out and said fuck it and bought a BRAND NEW ONE. A brand new 2017 Nissan Sentra. And I gave that 2006 Ford Escape back to he detriment of my newly good credit score. And I didn’t die.

Sitting in that black beast, smelling that new car smell, it made me realize that I am not bound to anything. There will always be another direction.

Third, the kids slashing tires in my neighborhood. I look at my neighbors and they’re stuck to deal with bullshit like this. They OWN their homes. They are stuck. I don’t own shit. I can come and go as I please.

And I will.

Lastly…Rajesh saying he wanted to live with Naaman next year. He wants to live with Nate and then, the year after, with his granny. And it’s not like he said I wasn’t doing enough or something. But something about it clicked onto all the other things and I said, “Yeah, that’s a good idea. But you should just stay there. No more back and forth.” Stay with your Dad.

Because it’s me and Urijah. Because we don’t belong to anyone but each other. Because we don’t belong to any state, to any house, to any family. It’s just us. I wipe his ass. I’m the only one who can understand him. I homeschool him. I take him here, there, everywhere. I give him gifts, do his hair, feed him, clothe him. He is my son, my friend, my annoyance, my everything. My mother is in New York, my sister in Alabama, my brothers in Washington. I don’t speak to any of my cousins or aunties or uncles or anything. It’s just me and this little munchkin.

We belong in the wind. I don’t want anymore leases over six months. I don’t want to worry about the friends we’re not making. I want to go and get gone and love and adore and see things. I don’t need to go to night clubs and drink/do drugs. I don’t need to be scared. I want Urijah to find home in every nook and cranny, and I want to do the same.

I don’t give a shit about my fear of the ocean.

I don’t give a shit about my fear of flying.

I don’t give a shit about the danger. We will die in here anyway, swallowed up by these walls and loans and cars and other people. I want to go.

We’re gonna fucking GO.

This year will be spent preparing. Passports. Money saved. Destinations picked. Languages practiced. Weight lost. Outside, outside, outside. Getting better at work so I can do it anywhere, writing and marketing and everything else. Dreaming and putting shit together.

 

Everything had to come to a head for this. I had to lose Wolf. I had to have this year with Rajesh. I had to see how life was becoming one long day, and I had to shake myself awake.

I found a time machine. And it exists in me and Urijah and this big fucking world.

 

Hola. Bonjour. Aloha.

 

We’ll see you soon. 🙂

Storms

Ohhhh, it roared last night.

Some part of me felt like the sky was caving in, the acorns were cracking against my windows, and the trees were bending and swaying because my world was ending. One story was ending. It was like the gods were trying to tell me that this was chaos, that something new was coming, and that I needed to pay attention.

I sat outside in it for quite awhile. Breathing out all the fear I’ve been accumulating. It didn’t rain until much later, after I’d moved the house around, decorated a bunch. I made this place feel like a real home. The Young Sir woke up and was absolutely amazed.

“Wow…you did a lot!”

I did.

 

Somehow, I woke up. Being to blame for something helped me wake up. I realized I didn’t work my hardest in my last relationship. One foot out the door. I did him a disservice and the confusion was terrible. It hurt. And I know it hurt him a lot more, my selfishness. I acted as if his pain and hurt, his scary nights in hotel rooms and his trying and trying to no avail was nothing. Like it didn’t mean anything. But it did. And Wuff is as strong as I am. So, his walking out the door for what is 100% surely the last time made me reflect. I reflected on the growing selfishness I’ve been wallowing in. The fear. The flailing. The confusion. And this has been years and years and years of it, building up.

I cried a bit. I laughed. I tore down things and put stuff up in their place. And I got over myself.

Looking for love like my Daddy gave my Mommy is stupid. They are two individual people. My dad is dead.

Looking for love in general, as a way to feel accepted, is selfish. Because it’s not what I really want. I just want something to tell me what I really want, to give me a purpose before I’m crushed to death like my father.

Looking for a house in the woods, to get away from everyone, for the exit in every situation, it’s hopeless. I want to stop jumping from wanting on thing to wanting the next.

So I took things down and put things up and sat in a storm. I watched the sky bleed. I made my kids go to bed at a reasonable time, and I will from now on.

I cleaned the kitchen before I sat down, and I will from now on.

I made tomorrows loose schedule before I took a shower, and I will from now on.

And I reflected. I thought about things instead of blaming everyone else for my problems. I thought about every fight I had with Wuff and how I could’ve reacted better. Not made problems out of thin air. I thought about why I’m so calm now, now that he’s away, even as I ache terribly from missing him.

I wondered why I suddenly blame myself for things that were his fault, too. I wondered why I do that. And I realize that we were bad for each other in our current states no matter how you swing it. Just fear/anger/tiredness towards the world outside and mounting tension inside. He needed so much space. I needed so much closeness.

 

I’ve written more in the span of time since he walked out that door than I have in years. Because that was my fault. This time was my fault and it really woke me up.

I don’t want to be selfish. I want to enjoy things. I want to teach my children how to think, how to enjoy, how to be fearless in this world that very well might eat them up no matter what they do. I want to love my life, and not just because I’m loved in it.

 

This is a nice feeling. It’s a true feeling. It got me up and cooking. Sweeping. Mopping. Taking things down and putting things up.

 

I reject the fear that turned me.

Float

I’m having trouble concentrating.

I’ve spent a bit of money this month, money I probably shouldn’t have spent, preparing. Preparing for that ugly, nasty loneliness that creeps up on me whenever I am single. It takes a while sometimes but it always comes. Depending on how I deal with it, I either end up better or worse.

 

It’s like a turning page. I know the next chapter is coming when that loneliness shows up. I know something new is going to happen, and it all depends on me.

 

The wrong answer is always ‘fill that void’. I usually do this with dating. Friendships that I will not hold up. Hoping and wishing for someone to sweep me away, for someone to love me, for someone that I can dote and love on. I spend a large amount of time in these fits hoping for someone special, doing too much for losers, and turning into a screaming beast myself. I make a lot of mistakes in that loneliness. I don’t want to do it anymore.

So I filled my room with pretty pictures, ugly pictures, family pictures, decor. I got a new desk to work with. I put plans in my head. I put a small amount of Christmas decorations up with the intent to put up more. I got a tv and an Xbox One and a case of soda. And I’ve been managing in this early stage of it.

Wuff is still here but tomorrow, when he’s gone, we’ll see how long it takes that real loneliness to kick in. Already, I am blaming myself for every mistake he or I ever made. I am blaming myself for his drinking, laziness, his misunderstanding me, his refusal to get a job until the very last minute. It’s soaked into my last post, even. Already, everything is my fault. I always end up hating myself in this type of loneliness. It distorts my vision in the mirror and I am just this weak, pathetic thing.

This loneliness, when it comes, always makes me want to be small. It makes me wish someone would carry me around in the palm of their hand. But it is all a facade, and I always end up pushing away anyone I falsely bring in during all that damn confusion. Time and time and fucking time again.

 

But this time. Pretty pictures. A garden, maybe. A desk. A game system. Children’s clothing, homeschooling, cooking and cleaning and all those things that make up a life.

 

This time, I’m going to float instead of flailing against an abyss while I drown.

Goodbyes

I’m a monster.

And not the edgy, highly sociopathic kind. I’m the kind of monster that makes you feel nice and good about yourself. I feed you and eat with you and compliment you and help you gain a type of confidence that doesn’t seem to exist anymore. I move you in. I adore you.

And then I let you go. Suddenly. Most likely in an ugly, surprising way. You’ll feel like I hated you all along and why couldn’t I just act like that before?

There’s something off about the way I make and break relationships and friendships. I don’t understand it, never have. I absolutely don’t mean to do it, but it happens every time. I’ve become so close to people that they ask me before they make any sudden moves.

 

It’s this odd thing that is 100% me. Even when it could kind of be the other person’s fault, it really is mine. One small thing can happen and then this slow, ugly decline starts in my head. I don’t say anything, not at first. I let it keep sliding and sliding and sliding until I really can’t stand the person anymore. And that one thing can be super small – an attitude, a missed hello, a bad morning because of something else.

And I keep this up. It’s not changing. I want it to change, and badly. Wuff was the latest victim of it, and at this point he’s probably the oldest victim of it. He had huge flaws, yes, and he failed me a lot. But towards the end he was TRYING SO HARD. And it really eats me up. It eats me up that I get so angry at nothing and, the truth is, there’s no real answer but to leave when I get like this. It’s over. This spiral has hit a midway point and the next step is chaos.

I guess I wrote this to remind myself later, when I’m complaining about being lonely, that Wuff did try. He really did. He went to work and stopped drinking and you could see the wear and tear on his face, in the sunken in cheeks, in his lack of sleep. He talked about the future with me and the boys with so much spark, with so much hope, and I led him right into a wall. I tried, yeah, but I didn’t try as hard as he did towards the end.

And eh. I love myself. I appreciate me to a fault. And I know I will get up and keep moving and I can only hope he’ll do the same. The truth is, I don’t want a ‘situationship’. I know people love differently, and he loves in a way that we could just live together and make babies and be friends for the rest of our lives. He would be fine with that as long as I was happy, as long as I wasn’t angry out of nowhere, as long as I let him. And I really wish I could’ve made that happen, wish I could’ve just fucking let it work.

But I’m this type of monster. It’s a monster I like. But it doesn’t seem to want me to have anyone else.

This fucking thing.

I know there won’t be a next time. So goodbye, Wolf.

Eh.