So Simple, Yet Amazed

I amaze myself. It’s ridiculous, but I do.

I’ve managed to hold down my job. I’ve kept a steady relationship. I’ve traveled outside of the state alone. Most recently, I’m stunned at myself because I resisted using any of my credit (except for an urgent Lyft ride to work, which ended up being free) until I paid off the balance. The payment was already scheduled on my payday and tomorrow, it’ll be fully processed and my balance will be $0.00.

The reason I feel so surprised at myself for these things is they weren’t things I imagined I could do, especially restraining myself from spending. I would say to myself as long as I could get the money back and my account wasn’t at zero, spending it didn’t matter. However, that’s not a good way to think. I almost had myself in over my head with the debts I acquired from overspending. Now, I only have one small debt left to pay. On top of that, there are things I really need to spend money on, like health checkups, which I’ve put off because I despise visiting the doctor. Especially the ones that have to touch my face or lower half. Don’t touch me!

To raise my credit score, I sent for a credit card I was approved for. I don’t know when it will arrive, but it shipped earlier this week. I’ve been advised it’s best keep your credit card use under 15 to 20 percent, though I’m going with 15% to be on the safe side. The card’s limit is $200, so I have only $30 to spend every month if I truly want to keep to that limit. I don’t want the credit card to begin with, but keeping to a $30 spending limit seems impossible for me. Yet, I kept to a zero spending limit with the credit I already have through another until I could pay off the balance. If I can do that, I know I can keep my spending on that credit card under $30. Although, I must admit I feel silly about being excited I can pay bills, but that’s a different subject on its own.

Now, there’s something else I’m hoping I can amaze myself with: sticking to a self-made promise. I’ve been frustrated with myself lately because I’m very scarce when it comes to making artwork, even after purchasing a tablet for solely that purpose back in April. It’s not without reason. I’m often tired and art is not the only hobby I have. A life of only work, sleep, eat, and art in a repeating cycle would be very boring and miserable in my opinion. Plus, it’s possible I may have even less free time than I already do if a certain event happens at my job. But I really do want to create more art. I follow some artists on DeviantArt who seem to pump out artwork like a machine. While I doubt I’ll ever be in that position, I would like to produce finished artwork more than two or three times a year.

I’ve decided to make a list of things I plan to buy over the next months and, related to art, I’ve decided to try to draw at least once a week. I would say every day, but I would be forcing myself on days where I’m exhausted, feeling unwell, or am stressed out, and that’ll only push me to want to throw my tablet out of my window. Even some expert artists (well, as expert as you can be on a site like DeivantArt) agree practicing every day isn’t a good idea unless you want to because it turns art into a chore and that’s exactly why I do so little of it in the first place. I know scrapping ideas is normal, but I have way too many scrapped ones. I want to finish what I start. I feel this’ll soon be a broken resolve, especially if that aforementioned event occurs, but I will try. If I can stick to a resolve not to spend, I can hopefully stick to a resolve to create.

I wonder if it’s really a good sign I feel this way about myself. Is being amazed I’m capable of simple things like restraining from spending too much a sign of my self-esteem growing, or a sign of growing an ego and thinking I deserve something for doing what I should be doing? It feels more like the latter. I don’t think I deserve anything, but feeling proud of myself undeniably feels good. I have no idea where the balance is.

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Some Things Are More Important

Including today, I’ve had two days off from work. Today, one of my bosses called to ask if I’d like to come. Normally, I would’ve said yes and gotten ready as quick as I could. This time, however, I had to decline.

Well, that’s not the complete truth. I didn’t have to. Nothing was really stopping me from saying yes. But at the time she called, I was with my boyfriend, who I do not have the pleasure of seeing as often as we’d like. I was also in pain. Pain I deal with every month, but it’s still pain.

Accepting would mean I have to leave immediately, cutting my time with this person I see infrequently with barely a chance to kiss him goodbye. We’re used to the distance. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to use every minute we can have together.

It sounds strange for someone who needs money to turn down an opportunity for it, especially for a reason many would consider flimsy. I know very well jobs are hard to come by. But so are good relationships. While I would love extra money, there are some things money can’t make up for. In my situation, that was time.

Yes, more money would let me visit my boyfriend more often, but what would be the point if I had no time? My next day off is after three straight work days. The day I see my boyfriend, if we are both fortunate, may be on that day off. Three scheduled work days to one possible day with who I call the love of my life. Perhaps it’s me sounding haughty, but it’s not really a hard choice. I know I’m fortunate I can turn down the chance without worry. Some people would need to say yes.

When our time was finally up, we had to run to ensure my boyfriend got the bus he needed to get back home (it came earlier than expected). We hugged and kissed each other goodbye, and he waved at me through the window as the bus drove away. There will undoubtedly be many more goodbye affections and waves, but at that moment – when it was happening in the present – it meant everything. Nothing could replace it.

The Best Years

Something I often say is if I were given a choice between death and reliving my childhood, I’d choose death. For the most part, my reason is, to put it simply, my childhood sucked. It sucked enough that I was first suicidal at age ten, spent nearly my whole adolescence fighting against those feelings, and was often wishing I had died in infancy. I have never said I had the worst childhood, but it’s certainly not worth repeating.

However, even if I didn’t have to experience the abuse and dysfunction, I feel like I’d still choose death over childhood. Being totally honest, childhood is much cuter and more fun as an outsider viewing it than as an insider living it. I could write out a list of reasons, but the main one is powerlessness.

As a child, you have no control over your life, and that’s true no matter how amazing your childhood is. Outside of the dysfunctional aspect, one of the things I hated most about my childhood is we moved every year. I hated moving and to this day, I still loathe it, but as a child, what was I to do? I had no choice in where I lived, what school I attended, or where I moved to. I had a choice in absolutely nothing, and knowing you are powerless against something (or someone) feels awful, no matter how supportive those people are.

I couldn’t do that. I could not return to a time where someone had full and total control over my life, even if that person was the most loving in the world (she wasn’t, but that’s not the point). Childhood is essentially a luck of the draw. If you’re lucky, that powerlessness isn’t often a deterrent in you having a happy life until adulthood, and you’ll wish for it back when you are an adult because it was that enjoyable. If you aren’t lucky, you’ll consider yourself lucky for having survived it in the first place.

The only thing I could say I really miss from my childhood are certain cartoons and the familiarity of some locations. Those are nowhere near enough to make me consider my childhood worth anything. I’d burn all of my years before age 17 into oblivion if possible, and the only reason I’m even choosing the age of 17 is it’s how old I was when I met my best friend, who I continually call the only good I got out of high school. Without her, I’d burn every year before meeting my boyfriend, which would start my life at the very beginning of 2015, four months before my 21st birthday.

It’s akin to the expression of how one’s high school years are the best of their life. Without the existence of my best friend, I’d burn them to the ground, and the school along with them. They weren’t the worst years of my life, but I don’t consider them worth anything reliving.

My 20s so far are shaping up to be nice, so perhaps when I reach 30, I’ll call them the best years of my life and consider them well reliving. For now, however, nothing in my life I can remember, besides meeting the two most important people I’ve already mentioned, is worth reliving. Is that really a bad thing? Maybe, or maybe not. Since reliving the past is impossible beyond hallucination, it’s a moot point.

I’ll Be Stronger

Right now, as I’m typing this, I’m lying next to my boyfriend while he sleeps. I requested two days off for our anniversary, but I was somehow lucky enough to receive four straight days off. It’s peaceful, and the only sound is the air conditioner he seemingly can’t sleep without. Fortunately, he also has blankets.

I keep thinking “I could get used to this”. I imagine times like these as a preview of what our life would be like if we lived together. Of course, I won’t overstay my welcome and I am leaving tomorrow evening. Four days off just isn’t a daily opportunity. I wanted to use it wisely, and he agreed.

However, while I’m quietly playing on my phone to let him nap, I keep thinking about how things could’ve been so different. I think about how I’m trying to pave a path for my life. I remember when I was so afraid of adulthood, yet it gets better with each passing year.

What if I listened to my family, the people who want nothing more than for me to be blindly compliant and stay locked in a gilded cage? What if I followed in my mother’s footsteps, and had a child at 21 or 22? What if I gave in to the worst years of my life and cut my life off before I reached 20?

The truth is it’s an alternate reality that terrifies me. I really don’t know why since it’s clearly not my reality, but it’s what I’d make a horror novel out of.

Writing posts like these makes me feel like a braggart, but since it’s only recently I’ve genuinely been happy with my life, I’d rather write my positive emotions than endlessly complain. My family set the bar low, and once I was out of the childhood safety of fantasy, I never believed I could do any better. Now, I know I can. It’s not going in a standard fashion. I’ve definitely made some mistakes and it will take a while for me to really get where I’m aiming. But I can do it, and I’m not going to be like my family.

I’m unsure if this is a way of saying I am better than them. I don’t believe I am better. I believe I can do better. Although, I do believe I’m better than a lifelong cheating, abusive when drunk, self-centered alcoholic, but I imagine most people would think they’re better than that.

A Different Jealousy

I’m beginning to wonder if relationship jealousy would be easier to handle than this.

My family is jealous of how I treat my boyfriend. To be more specific, they believe I treat him “like a king” while I treat them “like crap”. The problem here is they were jealous because… I wore a dress.

I very rarely wear dresses, but I chose to for our anniversary weekend. Somehow, my family believes daring to wear a dress for a special occasion means trying to impress someone rather than just doing something special for a day that’s, well, special.

In other words, treating my boyfriend like a king means wearing a dress to his house. Meanwhile, treating them like crap was akin to… not giving them the password to my personal computer.

If there were ever one absolute bit of proof that shows how poisonous my family is when it comes to relationships, it’s this. I don’t expect a date between my boyfriend and me to be of any importance to them, but to be jealous over your family member’s partner? To get upset because I wear a dress for one special day instead of all the time at home?

To be truthful, a small part of me always suspected jealousy from them, but I don’t like to play the “you’re just jealous” card because I see it as immature. But I really don’t know what else to call it. It’s not the first time they’ve gotten upset about me spending time with my boyfriend. It’s just the only time they’ve accused me of treating him better than them. They make the same accusation when it comes to how I treat my friends too.

The kind of funny thing is they might be right. It’s not something I can personally see, but there’s a good chance I do treat my boyfriend better than I treat them. Except what they view as “special treatment” is really just the treatment that results when you don’t demand respect because “well, I say so”. My boyfriend and I have had our pitfalls, yes, but most of the time, we treat each other well and respect each other’s space and feelings. Most of my family wouldn’t know “respect” if it smacked them behind the head, and it’s a generational thing.

To give a recent example, my father wiped out my computer. It’d broken down and I intended to take it to a tech expert to be fixed. Instead, he took it upon himself without any permission from me whatsoever to try repairing it, and worsened the problem. On top of that, he had no idea why I was so upset, which didn’t surprise me since it wasn’t his computer he wiped out. Prior to this, he’d used my computer numerous times without asking, often when I was asleep or out of the house. When I restarted the computer after it was wiped, I set up the personal account again, but did not re-enable the guest account. Yet, he still tried to use it without my permission and asked for my password while I was visiting my boyfriend. I didn’t respond to the messages and deleted them.

This happened after a night where my dad and my grandfather had a heated argument that became physical because the latter intended to drive the family’s car while drunk. The car is under my father’s name and he believed my grandfather would get into an accident, which would result in him being penalized. That’s a legitimate concern, but my grandfather did not care at all. Note that my grandfather also has no valid license, which means he’d be breaking two laws. I don’t believe physical violence is how to solve things (my dad says my grandfather attacked him first; I didn’t see what happened), but look at the link there. My grandfather has zero concern for what could badly affect someone else. Thus, my dad, who was raised by this man, doesn’t either.

Those stories are two of many examples across my family. And yet, they still believe they’re entitled to my respect for no other reason than “family comes first”. If I really do treat my boyfriend better than I treat them, I have no guilt about that. Their jealousy isn’t something I’m going to worry myself about. At this point, I’m genuinely convinced they simply do not want me to realize the way they think of and treat people isn’t a positive thing. I figured that out years ago, but the more I get out into the world, the clearer it becomes. I often think about how my teenage self would be horrified if she knew what she’d be doing in the years to come, but maybe it was so horrifying because I was afraid of what I didn’t know and only had my family’s stories to go on. As it turned out, the world outside of what my family made for me is tough, but not so scary. It’s big and bright and alluring. They know it. And they know they can’t keep me from it anymore.

“Ex” Them Out

Something I subconsciously do on occasion is compare my relationship with my boyfriend to my “exes”.

I don’t like to refer to them as that because none of them were real relationships, but it’s the simplest to say. I say I subconsciously compare because these thoughts, like several, are random and usually pop up late at night when I can’t sleep for one reason or another.

At the time, I felt like I wouldn’t move on, that I’d keep wondering “what if”, that I’d never get anything better out of dating. You get the idea. Now, I genuinely feel like it doesn’t matter at all they once crossed my path and, to an extent, it feels like I never did meet them. On top of that, I feel like I would’ve been miserable if any of them had lasted.

The best example I can give is the one who came right before my boyfriend. To sum it up, even if he didn’t make me miserable, his lifestyle would have. Long story short, his time schedule was so constantly full, in the year we spoke to each other, we never once met in person. Going by what he told me, his life was full of business, constant travel, a lot of people, and very little down time. Nothing wrong with that lifestyle, but I hate traveling and I am not a people person. I’d only be going along with it because I’d have nothing better to do and didn’t want to be alone constantly. There’s no way I’d be happy.

In somewhat of an inverse, I’m the busy one while my boyfriend is often free, but I still make time when I can. Really says something that we live in different states, and can still manage to see each other every week or every other week, but that’s besides the point (my ex lived in the next county over!). I am a lot happier with him than I was with my ex, and he’s told me more than once he’s happy to be my girlfriend.

The other exes either only wanted sex and no real relationship, never made it off the dating website, and in one case, wanted kids later on.

I used to think of my exes as stepping stones I just had to take to get to my boyfriend, but now, I don’t even feel like that. If someone asked, the truest thing I could probably say is I dated around, found my boyfriend, and that’s it. Maybe it’s somewhat cold to say, but it does feel like they never existed to me, or never entered my life. That’s probably the very best way to feel about exes.

If my boyfriend ever becomes an ex, which I hope to high heaven never happens, he’ll probably be the one I consider “got away”. Unlike the others, I would’ve actually had something meaningful with him, and thus, a reason to really be heartbroken about. Of course, simply wanting a long relationship isn’t a good reason to keep it going if it’s failing, so letting go would be for the best. But in a way, I still feel like we’re in the “honeymoon phase” (how long do people say that lasts?). Early this morning, when we were discussing these thoughts I have, I told him, “Half my soul would die without you.” Dramatic? Maybe. True? Yes.

When I lost the first ex, my heart was broken for a week. When I lost the others, I was sad for a day. If I lose my boyfriend? That’s a pain I only want to know in my nightmares. And not even then.

In truth, I shouldn’t make these comparisons to begin with and I feel upset with myself that I do. My exes aren’t bad people. They just had ways of living that didn’t work well with me, and vice versa. This isn’t a rant about how evil my exes were because they weren’t. But I’m happy and very relieved they’re little more than distant memories. I don’t care about “what could’ve been”. I care that I have a loving boyfriend, and I’m happy now.

He’s also the reason I now believe in this quote. ❤

Credit: A Necessary Evil

Lately, I’ve been researching credit cards and companies because my credit file is nearly non-existent. As much as that sucks because it makes some things harder, I think I’d rather put up with the lack of credit than deal with a credit card.

From what I’ve found, most of these companies are terrible, especially big ones like Capital One, which was full of reviews about how their customer service sucks and they’re terrible at handling fraud. I’ve had my debit card receive fraudulent charges before, so knowing how that would be handled is very important. Thankfully, it’s only happened twice, and each time, I was not held accountable for the charges and the matter was rectified immediately. Hell will freeze over before I do business with any company that would hold me responsible for something that isn’t my fault.

Aside from bad experiences, some of the requirements for these cards sound dangerous. Since my credit is close to none, I could only ever have a secured credit card, which apparently requires a deposit of up to $300. Which does make sense, but worries me for the sole fact that money is no longer mine. Apparently, if you miss even one payment, no matter how small, the company will run off with your deposit. That means the only way to ensure I don’t ever forget the bill is to use automatic payment, and I am not by any means allowing a company I have no trust in at the moment into my bank accounts (if they haven’t already gotten into them, considering a social security number is required to apply for these cards). The only company I have auto-pay set up with is my cell phone provider, and I didn’t even permit that until I’d been with them for at least two years. Also, the only way you get your deposit back (if they don’t run off with it, that is) is if you cancel the card… which will badly affect your credit score. How does that not sound like a trap? “You have to give us your money, but if you leave us, we’ll still damage you.” In short, either way, I’d be backed into a corner and screwed. The choices are stay with this credit company for life, even if I’m not satisfied with them, or take a hit because I dare to leave them. Sounds like an abusive relationship. At this point, I wouldn’t even want an unsecured one, though it’s not like the difference matters to me anyway.

The newest thing I’ve read is spending too much of your credit limit will harm your credit score. I have no intention of making large purchases on credit, but that’s besides the point. The point is you’ll be penalized for spending outside of your credit limit, but also penalized just for getting close to it. Why even have the limit? The point of a limit is “you can’t cross this line”, not “you can’t get this close to this line”. Yet on the flip side, I read about experiences where the credit company unknowingly closed the user’s card for spending too little. So, let’s get this straight. You can’t overspend (which makes perfect sense), you can’t spend too much within the limit, and you can’t spend too far away from the limit. I repeat: How does this not sound like a trap?

On top of that, those negative hits remain on your credit history for seven years. So, if I cancel one credit card to go to another, that first card is still badly affecting my score for over half of a decade later, no matter how well I’m doing with my current card. Or I miss one payment, but never miss another, and that one missed payment is still biting me in the behind for years to come. No times one thousand. Even my job isn’t that unforgiving, and they pay me!

The bottom line is I’d rather continue what I’m doing and stay as far away from credit cards as possible. Yes, I know having no credit history will make some things harder, but I’m not sure making a few things easier is worth trapping myself.