Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I'm gonna be thirty!

It’s that time of the year again.  As of June 3rd, I’ll be a year older.  Why am I mentioning that?  Because, this year I’ll be 30.  That’s right, I successfully survived three whole decades.  In your face, haters! 

Someone asked me how I’ve enjoyed the last decade and I didn’t have a response ready.  That bothered me, and when I went home I couldn’t get that question out of my head- it started to haunt me.  Did I have fun?  Would I do it again?  I set out on a mission to figure that out, and started by gathering some evidence.  So here it is, the list of what I’ve done with myself for the last ten years. 

I’ve written about 30 stories, turned 6 into novels and published them (technically 7 but I unpublished my first shortly after I put it up, like someone would see it and know I dared to share it.)  I did the covers for most of them when I had the time, then hired Miss H. C. Fang when I didn’t.  Through my writing I’ve met 3 of my closest friends. 

I left the country for the first time, taking a plane by my lonesome to join one of those friends in Cancun, and we had enough fun that she even invited me and my husband to join her in Jamaica the following year.  Which we did.  Yes, it was awesome even though he got drunk and walked into a tree and I had an allergic reaction to a room full of steamed shrimp.  Notice she didn’t have an embarrassing story in there, lol

My longest friendship is approaching 22 years, and she and I went on multiple excursions over the last 10.  She brought me to my very first steampunk convention despite my kicking and screaming, and apparently I liked it because we went again this year.  We set another new tradition, where she and I excuse ourselves, hand our children to our sulking husbands and ditch them for a weekend to escape into New Hampshire’s wilderness every summer.  This typically results in bad drunken poetry and sunburns. 

I’ve embarked on a few family vacations, going away with the people I need to get away from, and have actually started to enjoy them on occasion.  My husband now understands that when I say I want to be in nature, I really mean that I want to be close to nature without actually being surrounded by it. 

After six years of figuring out if we liked each other, my husband and I officially got married under the cover of darkness.  We picked the Friday following our decision to do it, which oddly coincided with my brother and his husband’s anniversary.  Which is great because I constantly forget which year we’re on and can just call my brother and ask him, since he was married exactly one year before I was.  To the hour. 

I discovered in my early twenties that our oldest son, who just barely missed being born in the last ten years (he turns eleven in july) had ADHD that could contend with mine.  I tried my hardest to help him and nothing seemed to work, possibly because he learned that he could distract me quite easily.  Many a homework date has been derailed because he starts me on a topic that I’m interested in.  Then when he was seven we decided to have our second child, which turned out to be another boy, who is so sarcastic and curmudgeony that I regret writing part of Duncan while I was pregnant with him.  He’s been like this from birth, mind you, greeting me with a smile and immediately scowling at his father. 

I’ve lost a lot of people in my life.  Some died, some just stopped coming around.  In the last ten years I’ve lost 2 to the boneyard.  Because one happened to be my grandmother, who was incredibly close to my son, I had to explain to my child that she was never coming back, but at least she had kicked this life’s ass.  That she was gone, but she left as a blackbelt at being alive and that we should be proud to have known her.  Other family members immediately fucked this up and made him a hysterical mess, because some of them are just… terrible lol. 

My oldest son had a bad reaction to medication that made him suicidal when he was eight, and in order to wean him off of it as quickly as possible he was institutionalized, so that they could supervise him and prevent withdrawals.  A lot of writers say that they write to stay sane and I’m no different.  He was in a children’s ward for eight weeks.  I wrote an entire book in those eight weeks because I couldn’t handle not seeing him around the house.  Believe it or not, this was a blessing in disguise because if not for his two month stay in a mental health facility, we never would’ve learned that he had Aspergers syndrome.  He only has a hint of it, enough that it went unnoticed for eight years, during which he was seeing people for his ADHD that were trained to look for it.  Our relationship has been so much better once we realized that, because it explained why my older boy will follow me around like a miniature business analyst, explaining to me how I can be more efficient while notifying me that I have laugh lines on my face. 

My mother had two aneurisms in her brain and underwent brain surgery to have them dealt with.  I was told by her family that the best thing I could do for her was go away, but it’s a great thing that I didn’t because I ended up running her house while I cared for her.  The family that was telling me I wouldn’t be able to take care of her only visited once, in a group, when she still wasn’t ready to receive guests.  She didn’t need too much help because I’m under the impression that my mother might be a terminator, but with a much better complexion and a love for children that doesn’t involve roasting them over a spit.  I waited until exactly one month after her surgery to make sure that she was going to be okay, then moved into our very first house.

And this house is also just terrible.  It suits our needs for now, but the person who flipped it didn’t do a great job.  The paint peeled off almost immediately after we purchased it, right before the pipes all fell apart or started to spew rusty water.  Also, fun discovery: there’s no insulation in the walls.  We live in New England.  It snows a lot.  That hasn’t stopped me from transforming it into what I wanted, but it still sucks that we paid for a POS.  A side note – I have had to evict three separate and remarkably aggressive homeless men from my garage, which looks impressive and cruel on anyone’s resume.

In the last ten years I have quit smoking twice only to go right back to it, became addicted to coffee and permanently damaged my stomach by drinking too much of it for too long, and have failed to stop biting my nails.  In short – I really suck at having bad habits.  Or maybe I’m really great at it, because I have successfully demonstrated why they’re considered bad habits, at the very least. 

I have been caught on two separate occasions smoking outside while dressed like batman, bat ears and everything, with goggles on over the eyeholes.  In my defense, I don’t smoke in my house and it was below freezing, so my batman hoodie covered the parts of my face not necessary for the intake of carcinogens. 

Also, my husband was caught by the police for trying to sneak to dunkin donuts in a  (travel ban) snowstorm, claimed that he was only out to get milk, and on his second attempt to sneak over there was greeted by the same police officer, who had purchased him some milk.  I got to spend that day making fun of him, reminding him that sneaking through a snowstorm while being the darkest man on our street, wearing all black was unwise.  It was like a very bad game of I spy, where you find the OMFG black spot against the entirely white background.  Furthermore, even if he’d made it there, the dunkin donuts was only open for plows and police, who would immediately ask him how the hell he got there anyway.  Leave it to my husband to be trying to thwart the nicest, most caring cop in our state so that he could get coffee.  <- I decided to include this entertaining story because I had offered this son of a bitch some coffee, and he laughed, then replied, “I hate your coffee.”  I then proceeded to cackle as I watched his quest crumble and fail. 

All in all, I’ve learned some things about myself.  Evidently, I rely on my twisted sense of humor to function, I am attracted to a grumpy and simultaneously ridiculous dork, and my kids could probably be rented out as weapons of mass destruction because I really have no idea how to do this mom thing.  I found out that I do need people, but that there are some relationships that can only be labeled toxic, and sometimes the right thing doesn’t feel right at all.  I’ve met so many interesting and amazing people, just about adopted a few of them as family, and have removed the venomous half of my blood family from my life. 

So going back to the question at the beginning of this, would I do it again?  Yes, I would.  But I’d tell myself this:

There are many times where it feels like the world has climbed up on your shoulders and the sheer weight of it makes every day hurt more than the last.  This is a fact of life.  But, it doesn’t last forever, it just tries to outlast you.  And that is the only thing I can really say about my first thirty years of being alive: it’s worth it, so be a stubborn ass and when you start to break to pieces, don’t be ashamed to let somebody else help you shoulder the weight.  And if that doesn’t work, write like a mother fucker. 

Happy birthday to me, and I guess to my dumb husband too.  He turns 30 a mere three days before I do, the old bastard.  Here’s to some more decades.  Cheers everyone  ;)

S. K. Hart