For those of you who have been following my blog for a long time you will have noticed a dramatic change in topic (again). While some of you are enjoying the new bits of fiction I’m putting out there it’s not what people expect from me and a few are disappointed that I’m not continuing with the motivational self-help topics I was known for writing. They enjoyed the personal stories that inspired hope and showed growth from a difficult situation.
And I understand. I really do. I enjoyed writing that myself and some day I might get back to it. But what started that line of posts is also what started the new series of fictional stories that I’ve been writing.
I’ve talked about it a little before, but the word of the day has allowed me freedom in my writing that I might otherwise deny myself. It allows me to clear my mind of anything except the word and write whatever comes from that. It keeps me from writing what is expected of me, or what I think I should write about, and allows me to just practice writing.
And although what I’m writing is not what I would have planned, I do like the story that’s unfolding and I’m proud of the way it’s developing.
There have been some questions about whether the story is fact or fiction. Clearly some of it is complete fiction but parts are also loosely based on real life. Since no one reading this blog is intimately familiar with my life or my history you won’t be able to parse out what is true but I will share a little here with you now.
The post that inspired the story that is unfolding (completely out of order, in case you have been confused) was written while I was sitting on the porch in Georgia. I loved that porch and the somewhat questionable stairs leading down to the water. I wanted to write about that setting and so I wrote Am I More Than Just an Obsession to You? This was a work of fiction but it was also my way of exploring how I’ve allowed my past relationships to, perhaps falsely, predict future ones. I’ve mentioned before that for the first time since my divorce I’ve made the conscious decision to focus on my goals and temporarily end spending time working on romantic relationships (my friendships remain very important to me). Part of this time I’m taking I’m thinking through who I want to be outside of a relationship, but I’m also considering why past relationships have failed. This post was part of that.
In that post I mentioned an obsessive controlling ex. I wrote these words with my marriage very much on my mind. I don’t talk a lot about my ex publicly. Although no one who follows me here has connections to my life in Florida I am aware that some day my kids may read what I have written here and although I don’t censor myself I don’t want to write things that might hurt them either.
That being said, I will tell you that my ex was verbally abusive. He controlled and manipulated me through fear, especially the last year of our marriage. I remained in the marriage for many reasons, not entirely limited to my low (almost non existent) self esteem but it was my choice to stay. It was also my choice to leave.
The pieces of the story I’m now writing about the controlling ex attempt to work through some of that. What happens in the story is not what happened in real life, but the emotions are essentially the same. Although I haven’t yet given the main character any indication of issues with self esteem (and I’m not sure that I will), often people end up in relationships in spite of the warning signs. They believe a false story they are told instead of paying attention to the person’s actions. They allow themselves to be manipulated because they like the story and they want to believe it’s true.
This is the first part of my story that’s unfolding.
When they finally realize what is happening they’re often too scared to leave, or they doubt their own worth too much to leave, and they justify this by thinking of only the good, ignoring the bad that is so much less than they deserve or worse, harmful. If they are able to break free it is with a tremendous amount of fear, regret, doubt, guilt and endless other emotions.
In the posts I’ve shared this as the main character being physically afraid of her ex, but the fear caused from verbal abuse is just as real. I haven’t fully worked out this section but I anticipate some mind games coming, that will add to her fear.
This to me relates to the months I spent going through my divorce…from the time I told him I wanted to end the marriage until the time we signed the papers. Before he moved out, I kept a bag of clothes under my desk, thinking that at some point I might not be able to go home. The clothes were there and I had a friend I could stay with if facing him at the end of the day just became too much. Each night I would wait until 9 or 10 to return to the house, most of the time simply driving around because I had nowhere to go, no place I could be. And often when I would get home he would be waiting for me. He would want to “talk” but really the more he tried to “fix” things by controlling every single move I made the more I knew I had to leave.
And so this became the second part of the story.
The remaining posts express confusion. There’s a yet-to-be-named hero in the story but there’s doubt and fear about trusting again. This person can be perfect in every way and yet at one point she thought her ex was perfect too…so not only does she fail to trust him, she lacks faith in her own ability to judge his character. What about him is she failing to see? What hidden agenda might he have? How can anyone ever really know for sure?
This is where I find myself now in my life. I want a relationship at some point yet I’ve struggled and I want to understand why. I’m tired of investing time with the wrong people and so it’s important for me to understand why I keep doing it. My life is complicated and busy and sometimes I wonder how anyone would fit into it, and yet I’d love to find the person who does fit. I want that for me because I deserve it. But I also want it for my girls. They have a father and I in no way want to replace him. But I want them to have an example of a good, healthy relationship. I want them to know they shouldn’t settle for anything less. It was in part my lack of role models growing up that led me to accept a relationship that was far less than what I deserved.
And it’s these thoughts that I share as the final part, where the hero protects her and she doesn’t know whether to trust her feelings for him or not.
So, if you have been missing my more personal posts, I hope you now see that they are still there, although changed slightly. I will tell you that I also plan to post a piece of the story using the word of the day as well so you can wait with eager anticipation while I put that one together. Given the time it’s likely I will be leaving to take my niece to breakfast before it’s finished so you will have plenty of time to wonder what could be coming….
I have an idea for the story that I think will work well. I credit Walt for encouraging me not to take the obvious route with this word.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Anticipation