The Nerd Super Bowl

Today is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November: Election Day. It is something normally observed (unless you live in a state with off-cycle elections for certain offices) every two years. This year marks a set of elections between presidential elections, or what is colloquially known as the “midterms”. On the federal level, both houses of Congress face election — the entirety of the House of Representatives (which is up for election every two years) and about one-third of the Senate (each Senator serves a six year term and each seat is up for election every six years, but only one-third of the seats are up for election in a given election; for example, Florida’s Senate seats were up for election in 2016 and this year, but will not have a seat up for election during the next presidential election in 2020). On the state and local levels, a bunch of legislative and municipal seats are up for election as well as governorships, including in my home state of Florida. Both of the major party candidates for governor here are in their late 30s, by far the youngest candidates we’ve seen for governor in a long time. The Republican candidate served in the Navy before getting elected to Congress, while the Democratic candidate was the mayor of our state’s capital, Tallahassee, and could become Florida’s first-ever African-American Governor if he’s elected. Elsewhere, a transgender woman is running for Governor of Vermont, a Native American woman is running for Governor of Idaho, and a woman in Georgia could become the country’s first African-American female governor (although the governor’s race in Georgia has become quite contentious).

My Election Day started with a trip to the Florida DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), where I finally took care of something that needed to be taken care of for a long time: I finally obtained a new, valid ID card. I got it primarily so I could go and vote without any hassles, but…I could also use it to buy some alcohol if I wanted to (and I’m actually tempted to get some Chardonnay the next time I go to the store…or some hard cider)…or get into bars…but I’ve finally gotten that taken care of. The DMV office I went to was relatively empty (despite the DMV’s reputation for long lines and bureaucratic stuff). This was mostly because we went to an office that wasn’t in the county seat, which is guaranteed to be one of the busiest. Thankfully, I got all my required documents together and ready to go. I was even prepared to tackle a bit more of The Fountainhead while waiting, but the whole thing only took me about 30 minutes from the time I went in to the time I walked out with my ID card.

Next, my dad had to get more cigarettes 🚬, and then we swung by the McDonald’s drive-thru to get some lunch before we went over to our polling place. (My dad had already cast his ballot this morning before coming home, and my mom was never a voter, even when she was mentally competent…she didn’t care much for politics.) It took about another 20 minutes for me to sign in and fill out and turn in my ballot. There were 12 different state constitutional amendments to vote on, which took the longest part (although I had already filled out my sample ballot as a guide after researching and analyzing what all the legalese in the amendments meant), and I decided to look over my ballot one more time before turning it in, just to make sure I filled in my choices for the partisan races properly and that I was sure that my choices for each amendment were the ones I intended. The nonpartisan races were kinda pick and choose unless I knew who the candidate was. These were mostly county races.

So, who did I vote for? I’m not telling. Some of my friends and acquaintances know how I lean, but this is meant to be an apolitical blog that is welcoming to everyone, no matter which way they lean. I will say I am confident in my choices on who I voted for and that I have no regrets.

Tonight, I’m gonna watch the returns come in and play some armchair pundit with a friend or two over messenger. Watching all these numbers come in results in a data-palooza that I like to call the “Nerd Super Bowl”. No matter how the results turn out, this is a historical day, as is any General Election Day here in the United States. I hope those of you who were eligible to went out and voted! Every vote matters!

Now, as I await the start of the Nerd Super Bowl 🏟 (which kicks off in earnest around 8:00 pm Eastern time), I’m gonna relax and drink some well-deserved coffee ☕️ and reflect on how I actually got done what I wanted done for once. That I actually put on my grown-ass woman pants and did some adulting today.

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So, I’ve Got Something to Confess…

I’ve been holding on some information for the last few months that I didn’t feel ready to share publicly until the people involved were.

You see, it’s a family thing.

Now, I could make a whole big philosophical essay about the seasons of life, and muse about sappy stuff, but I’ve decided today is not one of those days.

I had to wait until the person involved made it Facebook official, and a few days ago she finally did.

Ready to hear my news?

Okay.

This upcoming February, I will be becoming an aunt for the second time. My brother and my sister-in-law are expecting their second child! They’re having another girl, and while I will not be publicly sharing the name on here, I can reveal that her first and middle initials will be R. M. (my first niece’s initials are R. A., by the way). And my sister-in-law made it Facebook official by posting a picture of the ultrasound on her page.

My sister-in-law’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day, but her due date is towards the end of February, so unless the bambina arrives early, they likely won’t be sharing a birthday.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this pregnancy goes smoothly and the bambina makes a safe arrival!

The Future of Literature is Female

Last night, PBS’s The Great American Read revealed the results of its months-long poll of readers from all over the United States to determine this country’s best-loved novel. To very little surprise from me, the readers selected To Kill a Mockingbird by the late Harper Lee. (Coincidentally, my blogger buddy Mr Knitter has a dog named Harper-Lee, who is an adorable brown-eyed Staffordshire Bull Terrier. No doubt named after the author?) I didn’t expect the Outlander series to finish in second, though! I voted for several books and series on the list, including Mockingbird, 1984, The Hunger Games, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Gone with the Wind.

Before I get into my commentary on today’s post, I’ll list the top ten books and series from this list along with their authors.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee * @
  2. Outlander (series) by Diana Gabaldon * @
  3. Harry Potter (series) by J. K. Rowling *
  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen * @
  5. The Lord of the Rings (series) by J. R. R. Tolkien
  6. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell * @
  7. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White @
  8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott * @
  9. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
  10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë * @

See all those asterisks (*)? Those were all books written by women. Seven of those top ten books were written by women. And the @ signs indicate books and series that have female characters as lead characters in the books (and I included Charlotte’s Web because the title character is female…just not a human female; Charlotte A. Cavatica is a female barn spider who is just as much a lead character as Wilbur the pig is). Out of those ten, I’ve read Mockingbird, Harry Potter, Gone with the Wind, and Charlotte’s Web; I’ve attempted to read Pride and Prejudice and Little Women, but have never managed to finish them. Twelve of the top 20 books on the list were written by women authors, including Agatha Christie and Ayn Rand. You can see the full list of 100 here.

I was also inspired to get three ebooks from this list (I had previously purchased an Apple gift card to get a couple of novelizations of The Tribe that I plan on reading after I finish watching the entire series; I am currently halfway through Series 2…I still had some funds left over for more ebooks), all by women: The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery (which was available for free through Apple Books, presumably because of its age), and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. (I also purchased the ebook of Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner, who did not make the list. I’ve previously read The Sound and the Fury.)

I’m amazed at how much Americans these days admire, read, and buy novels and series written by women authors! J. K. Rowling has become one of the best-selling authors of all time, first with the Harry Potter series and now as the woman behind Robert Galbraith and the Cormoran Strike series (kinda like how Nora Roberts writes crime novels as J. D. Robb). Jane Austen is celebrated by women all over the world as the foremother of the modern romance novel two centuries after her lifetime. My current read, Catching Fire, is part of a trilogy written by a woman (Suzanne Collins) whose protagonist is a fiery young woman (Katniss Everdeen). Jodi Picoult and Heather Morris and Celeste Ng are among a crop of recent women authors who’ve made waves on bestseller lists and on the way to writing modern classics. Nora Roberts, Danielle Steele, and Debbie Macomber are all hugely popular these days. And the runner-up from The Great American Read, Diana Gabaldon (the woman behind the Outlander series), has a huge fan following.

In a field where scholarship and criticism was largely focused on works by men for the longest time, it is impressive and a bit interesting that a lot of the highest placing books and series on this list were by women authors! Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged experienced the largest jump in the voting, going from #43 to #20 over the course of the vote. (Speaking of Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead is the next book on my reading list after Catching Fire; The Fountainhead is by far the longest book on my reading list at the moment.) And the plots and genres of those books are just as varied as the authors themselves: Outlander and Gone with the Wind have elements of romance and historical fiction, Anne of Green Gables is celebrated in children’s literature, Harry Potter is child-oriented fantasy, Agatha Christie was the Queen of Mystery Novels, and Ayn Rand dared to challenge the minds and mores of her readers and openly bucked what was considered “politically correct” (in the original sense, not the modern sense) in her homeland of Russia as it descended into the communism of the Soviet Union and she ended up influencing an entire generation of readers and politicians in the United States (regardless of whether you agree with her ideals; I am just talking about her influence as an author).

I’ve talked so much here about women authors and the readers they’ve influenced, but it is also important to note that not all women in the world are as lucky as women in the Western World are. According to ProLiteracy, two-thirds of all illiterate people in the world are women. In many parts of the world where religious conservatism and patriarchal culture are still the norm, women’s education is considered subversive or even outright forbidden. Illiterate women are more likely to live in poverty. Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai was nearly assassinated because she believed all girls deserved the right to an education, and she has since made it her life’s mission to advocate for the education of girls and women all over the world…all while pursuing a university degree at the University of Oxford. Literacy is directly connected to the ability to advance oneself socially and economically. We should be doing everything we can to ensure that all who have the ability to do so can learn how to read and write and be able to provide proper assistance and learning strategies to those who may have difficulties in doing so due to issues like learning disorders like dyslexia. We shouldn’t be letting people fall through the cracks.

Women readers become new women authors. Women readers, no matter the genders of the authors that influence and inspire them, become inspired to create characters and worlds of their own. Women authors can stand on their own and beside the men who are also inspired to write and who’ve inspired women to write. Women authors are not just romance writers: they write political discourse and of fantastical worlds. They write horror stories and thrillers and crime & mystery novels. They write science fiction and dystopian novels and follow in the footsteps of writers like Ursula K. Le Guin. I think the future of literature is definitely female. We celebrate all great books, regardless of the genders of their authors. But it does put a smile on my face to see women authors doing so well and influencing so many readers today.

Are there any female authors who’ve moved or inspired you as a reader or writer? And that question is open to my male readers, too, because you also matter to me as a blogger. Feel free to respond in the comments.

Randomly on a Sunday: 10.21.2018

We’ve just gotten our first cool front of the season, and outside it feels nice for the first time since, maybe, March. Our thermostat indicates that the outside temperature has not broken 80 F today. When you’ve been feeling temperatures of at least 85 almost every day for the last 5 or 6 months, 75 is a welcome break from the heat! We don’t typically start to experience the coldest part of our dry season until December and January.

So, here’s some random stuff that’s been going on lately:

  • I made a cheesecake earlier this week, my first time ever and the first time I’ve ever worked with a recipe involving a bain-marie. It was delicious. I plan on making a pumpkin cheesecake within the next few days; kinda appropriate since Halloween is coming up in a little over a week.
  • My Boston Red Sox are going to the World Series!!!! They’ll be facing the Los Angeles Dodgers in this year’s Fall Classic. I’ll have my fingers crossed for the Sox.
  • I’ve started on a basic scarf (which can be seen in my Instagram feed) that’s more or less just something to keep my hands busy.
  • My back issues came back a few days ago, and I was dealing with unbearable pain and stiffness for the last couple of days. My range of motion is slowly coming back, and my pain is primarily limited to bending now. Last night was the first night since the pain set in that I didn’t have a pillow between my knees while sleeping.
  • I finished Lord of the Flies last week. The first half of the novel was a bit slow for me, but the second half moved much more quickly for me and I was able to get into it more as the action moved along. I ended up listening to the book’s episode of the podcast Literary Disco (which is hosted by Tod Goldberg, Julia Pistell, and actor Rider Strong, best known to Americans as Shawn Hunter from the ’90s sitcom Boy Meets World, but who also happens to have a degree in English and is very well-studied in literature), and I may have to rewatch its episode of Crash Course Literature.
  • My current read is Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, which is Book Two of the Hunger Games trilogy. I’m four chapters into it at this point. I don’t expect to finish this one in a week like I did the first book, but it’s coming along a bit more quickly than most of the other books I’ve read this year.

I hope you all are doing okay today, and I wish you all a good day!

Even in a Hurricane of Frowns

In case you haven’t already heard, Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle yesterday at a very strong Category 4, and the damage up there is looking catastrophic, especially where it made landfall at the coastal town of Mexico Beach.

Some have (rightfully) expressed concern for me in the wake of Hurricane Michael, so I figured I’d write a quick post to let you all know that I’m fine. I’m lucky that we live quite far away from where the hurricane struck. Michael hit the Panhandle region (Northwest Florida), while I live in Central Florida. We weren’t spared effects from Michael’s wrath, as we did experience some squall line storms from Michael’s feeder bands, but thankfully my part of Florida was spared the worst of the storm.

The one casualty on my street related to the storm was a pine tree in a neighbors’s backyard (which was already dead) that was snapped in half by the wind. The top half of the tree landed on a neighbor’s roof, but since the branches of our pine trees are spread out wide instead of conical like a Christmas tree, the falling branches seem to have caused minimal damage to our neighbor’s roof. The bottom half is still standing, and I can see it sticking out over my other neighbor’s roof.

It is going to take a long time for our fellow Floridians in the Panhandle to clean and rebuild, but if anything we are a resilient and tenacious bunch and I send them all the good mojo (I guess you could say it’s a way of sending positive energy) I can.

As for the title? It comes from the Capital Cities song “Safe and Sound”: “You could be my luck / Even in a hurricane of frowns / I know that we’ll be safe and sound.”

The Difference Between Solitude and Loneliness

I’ll admit something: I love being alone, I hate being lonely.

How can two synonyms mean something so different, though?

The way I see it, solitude (the state of being alone) is a choice, while loneliness comes from mismanaged solitude.

I’m a pretty obvious introvert, have been for as long as I can remember. For me, being around people (even my own family members) for too long can leave me feeling exhausted and stressed. I need some time to myself each day to decompress from all the noise and tedium of the day. Some days caring for my mom are more stressful than others, and just ten or fifteen minutes by myself in the evening right after my dad gets up and before he gets ready to go to work are enough for me to get my brain back into a more relaxed state of mind and I can proceed with our usual nighttime routine. Days when I actually have the house to myself are rarer and rarer now, but when it does happen, I actually treasure the solitude that comes with it. When I’m alone, and the noise around me goes silent, I feel at peace. For those brief moments or days when I don’t have to answer to someone else, I feel comfortable in my own skin. When I’m out around others, that comfort goes away, and I start to feel awkward. It’s not as bad around family members, but I’ve always hated that feeling of awkwardness that seems to follow me wherever I go. So, many times when there’s an opportunity for me to spend a little time to myself, I take it. I like those mornings when all I have to do is wake up, feed the dog, put on some coffee, and then drink it while watching some morning programming and/or reading my emails or checking out the morning news online. I like those mornings when my parents decide to go for a ride around the Florida backroads in the Jeep and they let me sleep in. I like being able to experience things alone: opportunities to read while both the dog and I are sitting in the front yard, her enjoying the sun on her fur and me near some shade, preferably in a chair, reading a few pages from whatever book I’m reading; or being able to cook a dish just for myself (not as often these days, but when my parents would vacation and I’d have the house to myself, I’d get adventurous with what I’d cook and try out new recipes or indulge in things that were a little too expensive otherwise for more than one person, like some fish or a cut of steak).

Sometimes I dread the prospect of someday living alone; not so much for the fear of having to defend myself from intruders or people with bad intentions, but more because I fear that I’d be a terrible housekeeper on my own or that my habit of sometimes hoarding things would rear its ugly head. (Thankfully, I have managed to deal with some of my hoarding issues on my own and my own clutter is much smaller now than it was when I was younger.) But I also wonder if living alone would eventually turn into loneliness? Would I eventually crave to have the company of another person in my life (either a roommate or a significant other), at the cost of being able to set my own rules and routines without having to answer to anyone else? And that gives me a little bit of anxiety, too.

Solitude is something that can be managed, nurtured. Even the loneliest of hermits, I think, sometimes have to leave the hermitage and get a sniff of the outside world. Otherwise, that solitude turns into cabin fever, and not a lot of us can handle that without going crazy every once in a while. I like solitude, but I also like going to restaurants on occasion and reveling in the camaraderie with my family (because I’m usually dining out with family) over good food and a friendly atmosphere. I also like to visit my brother and sister-in-law and getting to see my niece as she’s grown from a newborn baby to a very active toddler, and I look forward to seeing her grow even more. I like going on walks with my dog and seeing the trees that fill the area in all their greenery, or even just joining her on the front lawn and reading a good book in the sun.

Loneliness is one of the darkest emotions a human being can feel. We are by nature very social creatures (even if introverts and extroverts choose to socialize in different ways). There was a period of time, about five years ago, where I had cut myself off from the outside world for the most part, where I didn’t use the Internet for about three years or so, beginning in the middle of 2012 (which had been precipitated by some virus hitting our home computer, and it left me very stressed out and anxious, like it was my fault). During that time, which was basically a sabbatical, I missed out on my best friend finding the love of her life, their wedding, and the birth of their son. I missed out on finding out how many of my old friends were doing. I missed out on the Yarn Harlot and her adventures. I missed out on a few Eurovisions, too. During that period where I was cut off, I remember feeling incredibly lonely and sad. I was content to stay away from technology during that time, and it felt nice not being addicted to a screen the whole time. But it also left me feeling incredibly, utterly alone and not in a good way. I felt like I was out of the loop and disconnected from the world and the people in it. And that feeling of disconnection was what was getting to me.

I slowly started coming out of it, when my dad got his laptop and decided to give me his tablet in 2015 (which was an Android that originally belonged to my brother…long story; and yes, that was the tablet that crapped out on me and forced me into a temporary hiatus last year, and oh boy did that feeling of disconnect come back, and quickly). I was very wary about where I went online and was content just lurking and finding out what was going on. I didn’t get my own email address again until January 2017 (many months after talking to my best friend for the first time in about five years), and not long after that was when I joined Ravelry. It took a few days before I made my first posts there, but there I found a community of crafters like me and I started opening up again. Two months later came this blog, which has come to serve as much of a platform for self-expression just as much as it has for tracking my knitting projects. My Tumblr came about in June that year as a way to keep more in touch with my best friend, who is very active on there, and has also become a platform for self-expression. Last October I took a dive into Facebook, although I have opted to keep that particular part of my social media very private and just for people I’ve known personally throughout the years, people who I’ve been longing to reconnect with. And then Instagram the following month, where we chronicle our lives and interests through our camera lenses. It has been a great way to connect with other knitters and crocheters outside of Ravelry, and when I see a project I like, it’s a great way to offer instant feedback to those who create. Or when I see a book pictured that I’ve read or am reading, I can give my input on that particular book. I don’t get many opportunities to go out into the world in person, but technology has allowed the world to come to me. Blogging has introduced me to a very interesting array of people who all share a common passion of letting others into their own little corners of the planet, talking about life or the things they love. For me, knowing that people are genuinely interested in what I have to say makes me feel a little less lonely. So, while I physically spend a lot of my time alone, these days I’m not feeling particularly lonely, whether it’s commenting on a fellow crafter’s handiwork or a fellow blogger’s latest post, or having a dialogue of political discourse or venting with a friend over messenger, or allowing my silly, nerdy side to come out over Tumblr. (In case you are wondering, I am not active on Twitter, for a myriad of reasons that I’ll keep private, but I do lurk on there, reading friends’ Tweets on occasion.) Especially in my last post here, which was admittedly quite a bit of doom and gloom (but doom and gloom that needed release), it felt nice knowing that you all cared about what I was feeling and willing to offer your own thoughts and advice on caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s, and that I truly wasn’t alone in my experience. Technology used in the wrong ways can dumb us down and rob us of our humanity like in Fahrenheit 451, but used wisely, it can connect us in amazing ways that wouldn’t have been possible even thirty, much less a hundred, years ago…and that makes the world a little less lonely.

So, yeah: I love being alone, but I hate being lonely. It takes a lot of work to balance the two, but I feel like I’ve managed to manage my desire for solitude to the point where I am content that it won’t turn into loneliness. Not as long as I find ways to make connections and maintain them.

On Sacrifice

I don’t know if this is the best place for me to write, emotionally, right now, but it is the most honest. I’m writing from a place of self-doubt, negativity, and lot of questioning when it comes to my own self worth (not what I’m worth to others, just myself). This pops up from time to time, and up until now I’ve never really written about it. Most of the time I keep it buried within my subconscious because I feel like I have to be the strong one in a bad or upsetting situation. But there are times when something just triggers me and I end up becoming passive-aggressive. I had one of these moments this morning, and I stupidly tried to take it out on my dad, which I should’ve known is a bad idea because he’s the kind of guy with whom I’ve learned I have to pick my battles wisely. He didn’t yell at me, but talked to me in such a stern way that I knew was a gut punch and a reality check. And he was right. But at times I am stubborn as f🤬k and I wanted nothing to do with him or say with him and I just wanted to feel like I was worth something to myself, because at this point I feel like I lack that.

So, what does this have to do with sacrifice? Quite a bit, actually.

There’s something I’ve hinted at at times on this blog that I haven’t felt entirely comfortable talking about in such a public manner (as I do make this blog available for public viewing), and it has something to do with my mom. Before I get into the meat of what’s going on with her, I want to tell you a little bit about the mom I grew up with. My mom was a kind, gentle soul who I could come to for so many of life’s problems. She was also strict and a bit overprotective (especially since I was her oldest child), which I think she inherited from her father, who was a captain in the United States Coast Guard and a strict disciplinarian (although my mother was a little bit looser in her strictness compared to her father). She was vibrant and had a personality that made her seem a lot younger than she actually was. She was very close with her mother (who died of cancer in 2004) and that closeness made its way to her and I as I was growing up. She was my world, and still is.

What I’m about to reveal, only family, close friends, and some Ravelers have known. Two years ago, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She was about 64 when she was diagnosed and is now 66. Her father (my grandfather) and her aunt (his sister) both died of the same disease in their 80s. In fact, my grandfather passed away four years ago this month at the age of 85. She’s in the middle stages of the disease at the moment: she can talk, but has trouble formulating complete thoughts; she can still walk and can still feed herself, but is getting more and more dependent on us to help with things like bathing and making sure she gets to the toilet when she needs to use it. My dad and I are her primary caregivers, and we’ve done it so far without need for outside assistance (although she does see her doctor twice a year, and he’s been her doctor for many years). We kind of “tag team” when it comes to her care.

I’ve ended up having to sacrifice a lot in my life as a caregiver, from the physical to the way I live my life.

These last couple of years especially have been tough on me. I can’t remember the last time I got a full night’s sleep without having to worry about her, checking on her, or having to go to the bathroom. Even when I get an aggregate eight hours or more of sleep, I often still feel tired and incredibly exhausted. There are times when I feel completely alert in an afternoon and then I end up falling asleep while sitting in a chair. There are times when I feel like just lying down in my bed and passing out into sleep. Coffee doesn’t do much to ease it; washing dishes or doing laundry keeps it at bay for a while, but I typically don’t get my energy back until 6:00 pm at the earliest.

I spend almost every waking hour with my family; the one break I get from being around my parents so constantly are the two hours I spend at the grocery store every couple of weeks. It never seems like enough. I’m always glad to see them again when I’m done, but sometimes I wish I could just get away from my family, even if it’s just a night out with a few friends. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen anyone not related to me when my family wasn’t present.

I’m not gainfully employed because I spend almost all my time taking care of my mother, to the point where it really isn’t feasible for me to look for work right now. Because I can’t work, even part time at this point, I’m not able to drive (and I would have to get a steady job in order to pay for auto insurance). I don’t drive, so I’m not able to socialize, and I end up at home all the time, with not much more than mom, dad, dog, and my iPad for company.

At times, I feel so jealous of my brother: he’s gotten to live the life he wants, on his own terms. He was able to find steady work and drive a car, he has his own house and a wife he loves deeply and a daughter who is the apple of his eye. He’s gotten to do everything he wants to do in life, and I feel like I’m watching from the sidelines.

I feel like every dream I’ve ever had in my life has been ruined, either by my own hand (quitting band just a couple of weeks into my sixth grade year for seemingly no reason at all or giving up on going to my dream college because my parents wanted me closer to home or dropping out of the community college to ease the financial burden on my parents when their longtime employer laid them off because changing technology was making their jobs obsolete) or because of my mom’s illness. My dream of possibly becoming a mother has likely been ruined because if my hunch of my mom’s illness being genetic is correct, I realistically only have about three or four more years to have a child and see it grow to adulthood before I possibly begin to lose my own cognitive faculties. My chances of finding lasting love are practically nonexistent; lookswise, I know I’m plain and plain usually means ignored and under appreciated and socially my prospects look awful. My dreams of having a decent career seem dashed because I’m getting too old. I don’t want to be just another housewife like my grandmothers were, and I don’t want to shuffle from job to job like my mom did. I want to be able to say I got my degree, but sometimes I feel like there are so many roadblocks in my way that I keep wondering if I have to change routes to find my own path in life. I’m 31, I should be living my life right now, but instead I feel like I’ve lost myself in the needs of so many others. I can’t just “get away from it”, so many bricks would fall out of the wall without me in it.

Most people my age are expected to at least be independent, employed, and able to support themselves. My dad claims that my being unemployed doesn’t change my worth to my family, but the thing is, it hangs like a dark cloud over me and I feel like I could do so much better.

And what if I have the same gene that is causing my mother’s brain to slowly kill her? What if the prospects for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients haven’t changed 20 years from now, and I end up having my own brain start to slowly kill me? What if it happens even earlier than that? Was all this truly worth it, or will I be forgotten by almost everybody but the ones who cared for me the most? Sometimes I feel like I’m losing myself in all of this.

I apologize for all this personal melodrama, but I was feeling feelings this morning that couldn’t really be spoken to my father. I had to find a way to let them out. I don’t know how many will actually care about my corner of the planet, but I don’t really care so much about the response I get from this. All that matters is that I let those feelings go and try to figure out my next steps.

After I post this, I’m gonna try and get back to doing my daily work of trying to get the kitchen straightened out and washing those dishes that I can’t stand. I have to try and get back to some sort of normal, whatever that is.