Finding Meaning, Again.

For so long, I’ve been motivated by two principle fears — fear of failure and the fear of being alone. At various times I’ve said I’m an introvert, but I’m starting to wonder if that wasn’t fear in disguise. If I never tried to be social, I could never fail at it or prove that I’d always be alone. So far that strategy worked. I was alone.

Then, things started to change. I realized that basically every single thing I did was motivated by fear (read Defeating Codependence). That making a choice was no longer an option. That was the thing I needed to realize to radically change the way I was.

For awhile after that, I lacked the fear based motivation I’d always had. My writing practice fell apart. I stopped reading novels, reading my emails, and the blog posts I used to read. I started playing this computer game, Eve Online. Important things for my day to day wellbeing like medical stuff I do multiple times a day went on like usual. I hoped things would change, and feared they never would.

I started wanting things again for myself though after months just going through the motions. Things I’d never been allowed to want when I was motivated by fear. I started to despair that maybe it was far too late to finally connect with the person I’d buried for so long, me.

Yesterday, something happened. The best thing that happened all day was I figured out something that was puzzling me about the game I was playing, Eve Online. That made me so angry. For a long while, I couldn’t figure out why. That’s when it hit me. Through my lack of motivation, I’d abandoned the things that give my life meaning. Those things are mediation and writing and maybe gaming added in as well. Then my motivation returned. No matter the cost, I’ll do the things that make me happy, now and whenever I look back on it.

Find the thing that makes you happy right now. Do it before it’s too late. And never let anybody or anything stop you. Finding meaning and happiness is the purpose of life.

GK

What Gets Me to Write

Knowing my “Why”

Knowing why you write is the most important realization you can make as a writer to get your words out into the world and to attract an audience. Your why leads back to what you believe. Anything that starts with a deep belief has the power to change the world. These are the reasons why I write and the beliefs tied to each one.


To find meaning in my life.

There needs to be a meaning to everything in my mind, or it risks falling into nihilism. What’s the point if nothing means anything beyond the observable and provable?

That questioning spirals into negative self talk, dragging me back into the wells of depression that meaning helps me escape.

I believe meaning comes from what we assign meaning to. Each person’s life is separate. A set of viewpoints should never be imposed on anybody, but actions that harm others still need to have consequences.

To not feel alone.

Writing helps me connect with readers and the imaginary characters I create.

We can never see a person as they actually exist. The brain constructs a model, a character if you will of that person and updates that simulacrum to match the inputs from the real world. We never interact with a real person before thinking how our model of them would react.

Writing about a character utilizes this faculty even more than interacting with an actual person, because it’s impossible to interview a fictional character. It all comes from the writer’s observations and empathy.

I believe people connecting with other people will make the world a better. Huddling in groups that only share our world view isn’t the way forward.

To feel what I never can.

I live a limited life as it is. Things required to keep me alive and my lack of ability keep me limited in real life.

In my imagination, on my computer, those limitations are smaller until they vanish. I can be anybody, anything, or all powerful in my imagination and hold onto it by writing it down.

I believe it’s better to have experienced something good even if it’ll hurt in the end.

To be heard how I want to be.

I have a speech impairment that limits how well I can be understood.

To get through a day and have my needs met is an exercise in patience, creative wording, and knowing the limits of what can be understood.

Sure, I could use a communication device that tracks the movement of my eyes, but not more than an hour, with the exact placement, and the time typing in something I

want to say.

Otherwise, I move my lips with a trace of sound to be understood.

On my laptop with a mouse and waccom tablet, I can type at a reasonable speed exactly what I want to say, how I want to say it.

Writing fiction gives me a perfect conduit to feel like I can be understood.

I believe everyone deserves an equal voice.

To reach flow.

Flow is a state by which someone is driven by a focused energy to be immersed and enjoy an activity without regard for anything else going on.

Achieving a state of flow requires something challenging, measurable, and rewarding.

Writing fills those three criteria for me.

I believe good things happen when people are challenged, have measurable goals, and are rewarded for their accomplishments.

Thank you for reading.

GK

Facing Reality for the First Time

A struggle all of us faced at one time or another

For years, I stagnated, slipping into basic survival mode and leaving everything unessential behind. That happened to me between 13 and 23.

It was a really difficult time in the progression of my Muscular Dystrophy, a degenerative disease of muscles rendering them weak or altogether ineffective. Breathing issues start around the time people like me spend most of their days in a chair, which happened at 12 for me.

After 15, I ran into the trouble of slowly losing weight by eating insufficient calories for my activity level. Then I began my years long struggle with breathing enough air. I could’ve have gotten help if I had more foresight and perspective than I did.

I withdrew from the outside world and imagined up a richer inner one. There were times I felt alone, times I didn’t know the use of anything beyond learning, and times I just went through the motions. That sounds a lot like depression from the sounds of that, but that wasn’t something I was willing to admit for years after.

Then I had mediation. It was something I’d been kicking around in my head, a leftover from the country of my birth and a melting pot for religious/spiritual development, by which I mean India in way too many words.

Then when I got out of school it was nothing more than watching TV and living in my parents house (where I still live btw), mediation became my refuge and escape. My life wasn’t great and depression still ruled over me.

My life turned around with a tube in my throat and a machine to breath for me. Those first two years were harrowing to say the least. Every other month, I was in the hospital with scary complications.

I faced the image of my own mortality a few times and got sick of simply surviving from one day to the next, marking time. I picked up writing and escaped my doldrums for purpose and meaning at 23.

At a certain point in my mediation journey, I hit a roadblock. It’d been ten years of mediation at that point. There wasn’t enough head space to throw into mediation to get me further than I’d already gone. It was time to clear some room. I turned my focus inward to what I could do without.

Fear of failure turned out to be the one thing motivating me for the majority of my life. I was running from failure any way I could.

  1. Doing well in school and trying to purify the tainted soul I believed myself to have (the reason I’d picked up mediation).
  2. The reason I never let anybody in to see the real me behind my defenses. I was always hiding.
  3. The reason I hated writing, which I now love. There was no correct answer, so I could stuck deciding what I should do.
  4. The reason I was usually the adult even in the first grade. A kid so well behaved that you wondered how their parents did it. That was me.
  5. The reason I couldn’t possibly be depressed. That would mean I’d failed psychologically.
  6. And the thing that gave my life meaning. Not failing was the only thing that mattered, the reason I did basically everything.

Clearing that away left a massive hole in my psyche that was scary for months after until it was filed back in. Without mediation, I never would’ve gotten into that mess or passed through without a major calamity. Wouldn’t recommend this to even my worst enemy. But in that brief emptiness, I wrote something beyond my current ability as a writer.

Then there was codependence. I had this belief that I’d be abandoned if I didn’t prove my worth on a constant basis by remembering more, being clever, or proving my intelligence. Figuring that out nearly broke me. I fought back my rejection averse thought process in a kind, watchful way that mediation allowed me.

Codependence is a messy, confusing topic, but I realized something that makes it a whole lot easier. Codependence is an attempt to control the world around us out of fear — fear of rejection, fear of inadequate self-worth, and fear of being unlovable.

  1. Blaming exigent circumstances without considering your contribution when something goes awry.
  2. Being laid back and counting that as points to be paid back down the line. Keeping score.
  3. Taking responsibility where someone else is already responsible, like apologizing on someone’s behalf.
  4. Demand love or get jealous of the affection other people get, especially when I’m feeling low.
  5. Show hollow displays of affection for an audience, and showing my true colors in private.

Letting go of codependence put me on the course for a clash with reality.

Cdependence is really a fear driven need to control the world around us, especially the people in it. Letting go of control requires accepting the world as it is.

The clash between how we believe the world to be and reality is where I’m at.

Reconciling those two requires constantly updating the model in my head with evidence from the outside world.

Sometimes people will let me down and dealing with that anger or sadness is on me.

That’s a quintessential stage of growing up that I’ve never let go enough to experience.

Knowing that everybody isn’t always truthful doesn’t make it any easier when it happiness to you. That feeling would make a great YA novel right?



Seeing Eight Grade helped me realize what I’m going through now, finding the person I have always been and being that person. It’s about an eight grade girl facing the reality that she isn’t fixed as she is now. Things change for the better and sometimes worse. Change is what life is.

GK

Roulette

A post-apocalyptic short story of revenge.

That was my name all right — Roulette. I reminded myself of that now. Nothing else remained of that identity.

Roulette — the only part that was still me.

Before all this, I had an identity. I was a whore. That was the only word we knew for it. I was in a stolen troop carrier driving into the unknown, a place I knew from words alone. I could never go back to my life. That identity was gone now, leaving an emptiness in me. We define ourselves with the facts of our life — a job, a place that’s home, and the people close to us. Without those sources of identity, I was a name and a face.

Staring out at the rubble on the side of the road made me feel alone. There wasn’t anything human out there for miles. A whole field of rubble went out into the distance, the shards of a destroyed civilization. A few highrises dotted the rubble afield. A post-apocalyptic existence didn’t give people opportunities. You did what you could get.

The smiling faces of my sisters made me happy. Excited chatter moved through the cabin of our liberated troop carrier. The uneven ground shook us. The rough sound of knobbed tires on gravel echoed around us. It was too late to turn back and go home. What we’d done was irrevocable.

It was revenge. That was all there was. Sometimes you want to be free just once and see justice done.

Did they have to kill our sister? Did they have to kill Jet in one of their petty games? And we weren’t supposed to do anything about it? We were supposed to shut up and take it like a million other things

It happened a few hours ago.


There I was under this muscular guard. Moans escaped my mouth. Sounds he had to hear for something I wasn’t feeling. It wasn’t working like it should. He chugged away like a train engine — rocking back and forth as he slid in and out. Sex was supposed to be great, but as a job, it wasn’t. I played along and faked the rest of the way.

The sweaty guy got off me. He was spent, and I still didn’t feel a thing. So many guys went through, they started to blend together. Remembering a face I’d seen for seconds and sacrificing a life for it wasn’t worth it.

The tat on his neck snatched away my breath. He was one of the guys that ruined Jet. The tat proved what I couldn’t any other way. Four guys were too much at once — Mother told them. We were theirs to take.

Jet wasn’t the same after. She couldn’t take it. She told them No the next time. That was enough. They shot her between the eyes.

I drew the sharp sticks in my hair — sharp after what happened to Jet. I turned to my lover for a kiss, and the pointy end went in his neck.

He spun away.

I jabbed it in deeper.

My feet were around his middle — he couldn’t escape.

He fell to the floor with me on his back.

I took the massive gun from his holster. My sisters reached the same conclusions I had. Four near dead men were in our home.

Their troop carrier was outside. Our folly was simple, killing men we shouldn’t have. Someone would come around, looking for the valuable equipment. They would find us, and all of us would die. We knew it would happen from the beginning. The price of revenge wasn’t too high. It was the lives of a few in an abysmal world. Lives didn’t mean much anymore with billions already lost and countless dying each day. After a while, loss became meaningless, maybe even a gift if used right.

Our life wasn’t happy. It was the plaything of the rich and powerful. They did what they wanted. We shut up and took it. I didn’t want to live and die that way. I wanted my life to mean something — anything at all — taking something instead of being taken.

All sisters — Daisy, Fen, Held, and me got into their troop carrier.

It was benches and screens on the inside and a shell with slits on the outside. A bench opened. The chemical smell of new rubber filled our heads. There were suits warped and twizzled into a scraggle of material that could stretch to any size — taught rubber on our bodies. I pulled the zipper down to feel the air on my chest. How could people breathe stuffed so tight in rubber?

There was nowhere we could have gone dressed like we had been, in clothes tattered from generations of use. We’d be spotted and gunned down on approach that way.

Their gun belts were too big, so they hung on at an angle. We had hours before anyone came looking for the troop carrier. They hid their tracks well to associate with us in the rubble. Our home drew power and sustenance from their business. Underground they went to find us in mazes of track.

Getting the map of the high rises around and the places we could do something more with our lives was easy. Mother made trades, our services for anything they had on them.


The troop carrier swerved around debris and rubble, sliding to a stop. With massive guns drawn, we walked out. The chill wasn’t severe in the warm rubber. There was the high rise — gilded green and gold. A barrier of plasma flew high into the sky to match. Rings of steel zigzagged in circles around.

We weren’t getting out the way we went in.

One guard had survived our revenge with raspy breaths. We’d pushed his hand against the screen inside the troop carrier for recruit badges. Held knew the computer every which way. That was enough. Getting him dead with another jab of a sharp stick, we’d taken the badges as points of steel in our thumbs. It didn’t hurt having those bits of steel implanted. It was just a dazzle of light.

We crossed barriers of steel and burning plasma. Walking through the steel doors and across the lobby, we entered a granite pillbox bank. The doors shut behind us. The short, mousy-haired teller behind the counter looked us over. The vault was on the opposite end. Held got on the terminal.

Fen drew guns too soon.

An auto-turret swung down and locked on.

My heart beat in my chest.

A thump and the shot fired — a scream from the teller.

Another thump and Fen fell to the floor.

Blood gushed from her stomach — too much blood.

Fen was my sister. I didn’t want to see the life wick away from her like I’d seen Jet’s. I didn’t want to bear witness.

I couldn’t bear witness again. It would break me in two, and then, everybody would die too.

Held took down the guns. The room blinked into darkness for a second. The doors behind us locked with a click. A gun was in my hand. Held hacked away at the terminal. Daisy had Fen’s head in her lap.

I pulled Daisy away and held her close to me. My gun went to Fen’s head, and a shot rang out. Our sweet young Fen was gone — to be no more.

I knew it was wrong to end her life seconds too soon for my own sake, but so much was wrong with our world.

Jet shouldn’t have died. Whores we shouldn’t have been. In that place, in those rubber suits, in that granite bank, we shouldn’t have been, but we were. Fen was dead. We all would be soon, and life couldn’t be lived that way.

The vault was behind us — the tiny teller in front of us. I took my gun and fired at him.

The small teller ducked. Glass shattered.

I pulled the mousy-haired teller over the counter to the floor.

“What kind of game is this?” His voice shook. We were a game to them, our lives were used and discarded like poker chips.

I didn’t want to turn and look at Fen. Nothing made sense now, but a few things came to mind. We had an out now. Held had the destruct trigger in hand to incinerate the troop carrier and the evidence of our crimes with it. The troops from the carrier were burned to cinders. This could all be explained away — a case of mistaken identity. We were on a job to realize a fetish, a fantasy of the mousy teller — sex with bank robbers. It would be easy to fuck Mr. Teller and become whores again.

I had to ignore the rotting corpse of Fen. That I couldn’t do. If she wasn’t dead, we would make it all go away.

There wasn’t an out now.

All the cards were played. The more we took control, the worse it became — fewer and fewer options. I dragged the impish teller across the bank and threw him at the vault. It scanned the biometrics of the teller I’d thrown at it.

He slumped to the floor, knocked out from my throw. The swinging door swept him aside. There was nothing inside.

Alarms blared. Held was at the terminal again.

Her body jerked around, sitting there by the wall, facing the terminal. Sparks went through her hair. Smoke wafted up. Her body was stiff. She didn’t slump. She didn’t relax. She froze.

Held was dead. Sweet Held, the smartest was no more. We didn’t have time to think. The auto-turrets fell from the ceiling and opened fire.

I pulled Daisy over the counter with me. The rubber suit slipped through my fingers. Daisy screamed as bullets cut her to pieces. The shots rang out after her screams ended. I shook. Tears rolled down my face. It was over. There was nothing left. The machinery of progress and survival of the richest chewed me up. There was nothing I could do hiding behind the stone counter. The bullets cut out, but the auto-turret spun with clacks.

The doors scraped open. Boots marched across the pillbox bank and identified bodies. Fen, Held, and Daisy wouldn’t have names without my confession. Mr. Teller was Michael Crawford. They shot him dead like he didn’t mean a thing.

Everyone was dead but me. Silent tears rolled down my face. That wasn’t supposed to be. I wasn’t supposed to survive without them. We were supposed to die together, at the same time. I wanted to survive too bad, and I had. There wasn’t anything left for me. I put the gun in my mouth.

I couldn’t pull the trigger.

They found me.


A table was before me. The cool steel of the tabletop chilled my arms. My rubber suit was sticky and tight as ever. A crisscrossing web of iron was at my back, cutting the light falling across the table. The guard that hauled me away sat there before me.

“Name?” His deep voice echoed around my head.

“Roulette.”

“Occupation?”

“Whore.”

“Really?” He was bored. I was the most interesting thing he had to deal with for a long time. Their defenses were impenetrable.

“Yeah, I fuck people for a meal. Got a problem with it?”

“How do you work up the attitude?”

I spit across the room. Good manners didn’t do favors in the rubble. It got you raped. I wasn’t a nice girl that got ruined. I was the corrupter.

“Good news, they want you upstairs.”

I let him talk at me for a while. That was all you could do sometimes. The privileged kept to their blather, ignorant of the matter at hand.

“I don’t know why they want you upstairs. My orders are clear. You’re not to be harmed.”

I could tell it wouldn’t be good. They wanted me whole. No one knew I existed. Everyone was dead. I’d seen the bodies as they took me away. It wasn’t good news — not good at all. Why did they want me? I couldn’t say, but it wouldn’t be good. Fear chewed at me.

After killing the guard in my bedroom a few hours back, I’d felt nothing. I still felt nothing, but fear was making a comeback. Feeling too much got you killed in the rubble. It took a lot for me to feel something. It was all too much now. I wanted it to end. The machinations of fate were too much. The unknown was before me, and I was scared as I should be.

“You must have something interesting under there.”

“There’s nothing. Trust me.”

“Mind if I take a look? Seeing as you’re in the business.”

“Eat dirt.”

He took hold of the cuffs between my hands, and they popped open. The door latched shut with a clang.

“Fuck you!”

He held my throat up against the wall.

“Stop!”

“Shut up.” He got the stick strapped to his back and held it to my throat, ready to deliver a shock to paralyze my throat, killing me.

I couldn’t breathe. Sputtering for air, black took over my vision. I couldn’t see, couldn’t speak.

He peeled back the rubber. His hands searched me. He was so strong, I couldn’t fight. His lips found mine.

My hands found his gun and grabbed on.

He pushed me against the webbed window.

I pressed the gun in my hands to the soft spot under my chin.

His hands locked onto the gun.

I pulled the trigger, and nothing happened.

He got the gun from me and threw my rubber suit at me.

“Get dressed!”


Two guards in rubber suits held my arms. I walked between them, not wanting to make them angry — I didn’t want to get hurt again.

They took me through rusted hallways with bands of bright steel. We went around corners and up flights of steps. It made my head spin. The bright bands of steel grew into entire corridors and entire floors. We stopped at a set of gleaming doors. The doors slid aside to a tiny room with no windows.

The corridors had no windows either.

My burly guards and I got in the tiny room. The doors shut behind us.

I felt motion. My ears popped. The doors opened.

A tall, wide woman was waiting for us. Yellow light bathed the room. Sheer draperies hung about the place in place of doors. Light stone pillars supported a stone ceiling. Pillows and cushions were everywhere.

Padded furniture filled the rooms. It was like the pictures in books.

We didn’t see the sun anymore except there, like in the books. They handed me over to her.

The big woman took my arm. They left, and the doors shut.

I was a rag doll in the lady’s hands. She was so much bigger than me. She tapped a stick to my suit. The suit formed seams and peeled away. I held everything in place. The rubber blackened in my hands. She shoved me into a pool of warm water. The ash washed off my skin.

“Get out.”

I did what she said — I didn’t want her angry with me.

“Dry.” She threw me a thick towel.

A clean smell covered me.

She tossed a sheer dress at me. I put it on. Nothing would be left to the imagination. It was long and joined in the middle with magic where the ends met. She threw me into a chair.

My hair lengthened by a stick she waved across my head. She swirled my hair around and stuck it in place with sharp pins.

“The Prince needs a compatible host and mother for his offspring. That’s you. Aren’t we lucky, dear girl?”

I spit across the room. It wasn’t a bad thing in the rubble.

She grabbed my cheeks, making my lips open like a fish. “Cut that out, dear.” She pressed a pin on her ample bosom. Pain radiated from the pins in my hair. I screamed in agony until it stopped.

She took me from that room through others to a room with a gilded cage swinging from the ceiling. She dragged over a stool. The cage door swung open.

I wasn’t going in there.

“Step up, dear.”

I shook my head.

Electricity arched over me.

I cried out, but goddammit I wasn’t going in.

She shoved me.

I fell against the steps.

“Up you go.”

The electricity surged again. I cried there on the top step.

Then my legs moved. I couldn’t stop it. My body stood up and ascended the steps. The gilded cage shut with a twang.

She left me. I was there for hours and hours. A plate piled high with food was within my reach and a jug of wine. I sat on the floor. The wind blew through the room. It was warm against my skin. The sheer fabric blocked nothing. I felt in my hair for the pins. I took a hold and pulled. My fingers tingled painfully. I took a piece of hard bread and put it between my teeth.

No one could hear me scream. That matron would rush in and zap me.

I pulled the pin free, screaming into the hard bread. Tears flowed down my face. The taste of metal filled my mouth. Then, it stopped.

I stuck the freed pin into the lock of my gilded cage. Then, pulling another pin arced electricity through the pin in the lock, making the door spring open. I jumped down from the cage. The dress bound my feet together too tight. I ripped off the front in a wide strip. I went in the direction of the breeze. It led to an archway and a long strip of stone sticking out into midair.

I walked to the end and looked out below. Green stretched out far and wide, and gleaming glass towers rose up miles under my feet. It was the world before.

Before the rubble, before the disaster, before everything went wrong — before.

My life was over. I wouldn’t be the Prince’s concubine. He would impregnate me in the way all men wanted me. I would bear his son or daughter. If a daughter, the whole thing would repeat.

If I struggled, if I refused him, if I didn’t eat — they would take control and force me.

My life was over.

They wouldn’t have control. I took a step and floated away to peace — my death at last.

GK

Defeating Codependence and Finding Lost Truth in the Process

Strategies for success.

A couple of months ago now, I published a post about realizing I’m codependent and starting to turn that thought process around. For those intervening months, I’ve analyzed the way I think, feel, and act through the lens of codependence. And identified those parts associated with codependency. Then turned my mind to change.

This ought to take years of therapy, but meditation ought to do the same job¹.

Meditation is the development of concentration and un-attatchment. I’m a novice having mediated with systems I’ve developed taking into account the information I had at the time. Keeping that up for years helped me.

Un-attatchment is based on the philosophy that attachment to an idea of self is the cause of all suffering².

Concentration allows the ability to cut deep into the mind³ to identify the causes behind cruelty and in a deeper sense why we think, act, and feel the way we do. Making sense of it all requires an understanding of how people operate, or how you personally operate. Medium is a great resource for that.

That was a long tangent. These are my lessons learned in fighting codependence.

Manipulation is bad.

I don’t think anyone disagrees with that. Manipulation isn’t easy to see. What constitutes manipulation? I have a video for you I watched on Youtube.


Manipulation is acting in such a way to get a particular response. The goal must always be control over other people.

Some examples would be nice⁴.

Being friendly in order to make friends. Being friendly should just feel nice.

Offering to do something like paying for dinner and keeping score if the gesture is ever returned. You shouldn’t pay in hopes they’ll do in kind. Paying should just feel nice.

Some of you are reading that wondering why people do things expecting something in return.

Don’t please anybody unless you’re happy doing so.

Most people with codependency were denied the things they needed as children⁵, including my need for validation. I wrongly believe how people responded to me was my responsibility.

That person was nice, because I gave them something expensive.

He was horrible, because I didn’t share my food with him.

The possibility that how someone acts is beyond my control was terrifying. It brought back my fears of abandonment and rejection.

Remember that I’m not responsible for how other people think, act, or feel. How I act shouldn’t harm anyone else or make me feel like I’m owed something. Otherwise, it’s not my mistake.

When you feel bad, check your boundaries.

People feel bad when their needs aren’t met⁶. People are wired for fairness⁷.

If I’m not assertive of my own needs to get someone to like me, I get mad when it feels like they don’t treat me with the same deference. Don’t get into situations like that.

What are acceptable boundaries⁸?

Setting boundaries has always been difficult for me. It’s terrifying. That’s all.

What if is set unrealistic boundaries and nobody can met them? That’s a lie I’ve told myself for years.

I was afraid of rejection.

No one has agency over how you handle your stuff. They can make suggestions, and you should consider them. If a decision means they reject you, you don’t need someone like that in your life.

No one can tell you how to be. That’s your responsibility. If that causes someone to reject you, so be it. Any time you put on a mask, it’s a struggle to keep it intact. Sooner or later, the mask will slip, showing your true colors.

Get your needs met.

Boundaries are different for different people, but there are some universal things.

Don’t do something that makes you uncomfortable.

Don’t do something that jeopardizes your well being — physical, mental, and otherwise.

Don’t take blame for how other people feel.

Set boundaries.

Make I statements⁹. Doing such and such makes me uncomfortable. I can’t be here. It’s triggering for me.

Exculpate other people. It’s nothing you’ve done. (This helps most at the beginning.)

Be honest.

Don’t coerce, trust⁷.

Be nice because it feels good. Expect others are nice for the same reason.

Resources:

  1. Britton, Willoughby.”Meditation and Depression.” Abstract. University Libraries, University of Arizona, hdl.handle.net/10150/195235. Accessed on 16 Aug 2018
  2. “Four Noble Truths.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 9 Aug 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths#Dukkha_and_its_ending. Accessed on 16 Aug 2018
  3. “What Does It Mean To Be Enlightened?” Bodhi Monastery. 2008, bodhimonastery.org/what-does-it-mean-to-be-enlightened.htm. Accessed on 16 Aug 2018.
  4. Gage, Kris. “Dating a good guy after a toxic relationship.” Medium. Medium Corp,20 Jan 2017, medium.com/@krisgage/dating-a-good-guy-after-a-toxic-relationship-3ce67ac9b9de. Accessed on 16 Aug 2018.
  5. Seltzer, Leon F., Ph.D. “From Parent-Pleasing to People-Pleasing (Part 1 of 3).” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, 22 Jul 2008, http://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolution-the-self/200807/parent-pleasing-people-pleasing-part-1-3. Accessed on 16 Aug 2018.
  6. Gage, Kris. “How To Know What You Want.” Medium. Medium Corp,13 Jul 2018, medium.com/@krisgage/how-to-know-what-you-want-656b3a660e04. Accessed on 16 Aug 2018.
  7. Wright, Robert. “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Uncertain Biological Basis of Morality.” The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group, Nov 2013 Issue, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/11/why-we-fightand-can-we-stop/309525. Accessed on 16 Aug 2018
  8. Gage, Kris. “How Much To Give And Take In Relationships.” Medium. Medium Corp,16 Jul 2018, medium.com/@krisgage/how-much-to-give-and-take-in-relationships-ccbdf31e2f4e. Accessed on 16 Aug 2018.
  9. Wilding, Melody. “ Techniques to Disarm, Cope With and Become More Confident Confronting Passive Aggressive People.” Better Humans. Medium Corp,21 Feb 2018, betterhumans.coach.me/techniques-to-disarm-cope-with-and-become-more-confident-confronting-passive-aggressive-people-9f7bcd5ffcb6. Accessed on 16 Aug 2018.
  10. h

GK

Finding Love a Block from Home

A short piece of fiction.

I walked familiar potholed streets to the corner store. It’d passed through different owners like dollar bills, but the worn asphalt and shabby cinder block were mine. The familiarity of life turned into a warm security blanket that covered and smothered. Predictability suited me fine though.

I walked by off-brand cans of beans and went to the fresh, stacked in little plastic bins, covered with slick cellophane; the finest beans you could get for a dollar. I wandered the aisles, adding to my tiny cart.

My little shopping cart full of essentials, I looked through glossy magazines, imagining how my life could’ve been if I wasn’t a waitress blocks from the only address I’d ever called home. My cart coasted through line and out past the clerk. I walked into the cool night lit up with street lamps. My ringing phone stole away my gaze to check who it was as I crossed the parking lot.

The blare of a horn and a glare of light came from a pickup swerving through. My phone fell from my hand.

A stranger pulled me from the frenzied driver’s path, and we fell to the rough ground.

The truck sped by, knocking my cart around.

“What the hell, man!” It was the man next to me. He got to his feet, pulling me up. “Alright ma’am?”

I stood up, breathing in the cool night, trying to calm my frazzled nerves. “Thank you.”

The man that saved my life walked away with a smile. Such a nice dude.

I couldn’t get him out of my head. He’d saved my life, and we’d been on the pavement together. Wistful searching of the aisles got me nowhere. Would I see him again? Did he live around? What were the chances?

A few weeks later, he walked into my diner. We went out the night after.

Life was a string of pearls, moment after moment. What you did with them meant the world.

GK

A Lost Love

A 300 word short story

I held her hand as she slept. Wires monitored her life dwindling away. Any moment could’ve been her last; I didn’t want her to be alone. We were happy before this started, but happiness wasn’t our fate. We got chemo and radiation. Cancer was a revolt against the body, ending with excruciating pain. Stripping away her soul with “treatment” couldn’t fend off the beast.

She called my name. Then she saw me there. There was clarity but not pain. “Promise me something.”

“Anything, Ansell.”

“Find love again.”

I couldn’t speak the lie she wanted. Tears sprang to my eyes. I wanted things to be different, but nothing could change our fate. Life isn’t fair — the moment you find a sliver of happiness, the bony hand of fate snatches it away.

I opened my eyes. She was looking at me with sad eyes and a smile. Everything started to change. Her face softened; her grip slackened. I saw the life slip out of her, shed off its corporeal skin.

My wife Ansell was gone.


I didn’t feel anything for days after. Oblivious people made things harder. The funeral was a farce of celebration, not changing a damn thing. There’s no preparation for your life imploding in on itself.


I was jogging in the rain and ended up at her grave. My sweet wife Ansell was gone now, buried under my feet. My heart broke in half and brought me to my knees. Falling against her gravestone, I didn’t want it anymore. I didn’t want to reassemble everything and live a sham. I wanted to wither away to nothing. Ansell was gone, and I was no more.

Her words hurt, like a dagger twisting in my chest. Find love again.

Her words were what I needed to hear, but I couldn’t understand.

GK