Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Look what's coming SOON!?

Squeeee! I am so excited to share The Art of Being Indifferent with you all! Drew and Posey's story came to me after a long and arduous journey into the world of foster parenting, and worked as a sort of therapy for me. I'm so pleased and proud that InkSpell Publishing is helping me present this story to a broader audience...I hope you all love it as much as I loved writing it.

Here's what it's all about:

When opposite worlds collide...

Posey Briggs has a chip on her shoulder the size of Whidbey, the island off of the Washington Coast where she's stuck with her annoying foster family, and their band of mismatched, screw up kids. The last thing she needs while she rides out these last few months until she's eighteen and finally free from the system, is to be saddled with some bogus tutoring assignment given by an English teacher with a God complex.

Drew Baxter has the world in the palm of his hands. Best athlete in school, coolest guy on campus, nailing the hottest girl in school whenever he wants. What more could he ask for? Except for his dad to stop making his life a terrorizing game of whose face will get pounded tonight? He'd rather do just about anything other than sitting around listening to the school loser lecture him about Shakespeare every day.

Sometimes the universe has a way of thrusting two people together, even though they'd rather drink poison than sit across a library table from one another. And in this case, the universe knew something Drew and Posey never saw coming: they would become the single most important person in each other's lives, and save each other from completely unraveling.

Will the explosion save them or destroy them?

Ready for an excerpt? Yeah, me you go:

“You need to pass this class to graduate,” Mr. Kingston said gently. “I know you want to graduate. You might act like you don’t care, but I know otherwise. Am I right?”
Sniffing, I shifted my gaze to the window. It was raining. Again.
“Then let’s get the year started off on the right foot. Let’s get this grade up.” When I didn’t say anything, he tucked the charts back into his folder. “I’ve been thinking about how to help you, and I think I’ve come up with a plan.”
I pressed my lips together and sat up straight in my chair, still watching the window. I knew where this was going. This wasn’t my first rodeo. Crossing my legs at the ankles, I pressed my thighs together so tightly they ached. If this sick bastard put one finger on me, I was going to kung fu this desk right into his face.
“I want you to tutor someone for a while,” he said after a very dramatic pause.
Wrinkling up my face, I looked at my teacher through the corner of my eye. “Excuse me?”
Mr. Kingston chuckled. “I knew you could talk.” He leaned back in his seat and folded his arms across his chest. “Listen to me. I am willing to help you earn extra credit by working with a fellow senior. His grade is weak right now, and he could use a real boost to get the scholarship he’s got his eye on. I think a student with a passion for literature is exactly what he needs. That’s where you come in. I would help him myself, but my wife is very pregnant, and I’m needed at home as much as possible. I think this is a way for us all to get what we need.”
My stomach tightened. “Him?”
He nodded. “Uh huh. He’s in this class with you. Drew Baxter. Do you know him?”
I groaned and closed my eyes. Of course, I knew him. We only had five hundred kids in this school, and the popular ones were practically hailed as royalty, by not just the kids, but the adults, too. It was insane to watch. Parents stopped and pointed out the star athlete to their little kids like they were spotting a damned unicorn. And when the son of Twisted Tree’s mayor, Curtis Baxter, came into the one and only convenience store in town, suddenly there was no line to pay for fuel. No charge for a pack of gum. No wait to get to the pump.
It was sickening to watch, really.
“Yes, I know him,” I said through clenched teeth.

Preorder YOUR copy of The Art of Being Indifferent today,
and it will be wirelessly delivered to you on June 24th!


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Weight Loss Surgery...4.5 years later.

Four and a half years ago, after months of agonizing (why don't you message me and tell me surgery is the easy way out, so I can punch you in the face?) prep work, I went under the knife and had my stomach size reduced to roughly the size of my thumb. It was an invasive surgery, the recovery hurt like hell, and I still have side effects from the process (i.e. hair loss, thyroid issues, migraines.) But I was glad to have done it, and proud of all of my hard work, despite being told (often, and inaccurately) that I'd taken the easy and selfish way out.

The good news was that surgery worked for (most of) my obesity side effects (apnea, neuropathy issues, blood pressure, cholesterol) almost immediately. I felt, and looked, like a new person. I felt like I'd felt in my early twenties, or even younger. But the surgery didn't even touch some other symptoms (I still have crippling acid reflux, and likely always will.) As if like magic, weight dropped off of me, by the day, by the hour, leaving me--by the time the weight loss stalled, which is typical for WLS--gaunt and almost sickly looking. Which, at the time, I did not mind. Because at that time, in my mind, anything was better than being fat. I didn't care if someone told me they were concerned about my health, because at least I wasn't fat. I didn't care if someone did a double take when they saw me, because at least I wasn't fat.

Because, at that time, I felt like being fat was the worst thing I could possibly be. Selfish? Yes. Vain? No. And I think I explain why further down. I was just utterly sick to death of feeling like sh*t all the time. I was tired of getting painful, bloody rashes under and between my boobs in the summertime. I was tired of feeling winded when I walked up one set of stairs. I was tired of not being capable of chasing my children around. I was tired of looking at clothes shopping like a prison sentence. I was tired of being the token "funny fat friend." I was tired of not sleeping properly. I was tired of feeling so crippled by food addiction (bing eating, hoarding food, hiding food, eating past the point of fullness until I vomited) that I literally believed I would wind up eating myself to death one day. I was sad, and lonely, and angry, and let down, and depressed.

In my sad, sick brain I felt like no longer being fat would be the answer to all my problems.

Except that I was wrong.

You see, I can say that now, because I'm 4.5 years post surgery. I have looked at this WLS experience from both sides--and the middle--and I have experienced the benefits and the downfalls firsthand, so I have actual authority on this subject. Which is why I feel so compelled to share this:

Weight loss surgery did not fix what was broken inside of me.

It temporarily aided in the physical recovery of obesity, but it did nothing for what went on, and continues to go on, inside of my heart and head every single day. Nothing can fix that. That's just part of me, part of who I am. I can help myself with therapy, and positive self talk, and self acceptance and self care...but that part of me that is so broken, so loathsome, and self deprecating is just part of who I am. I can no more change that, than I can change my being left handed. It is just me. And while having WLS helped the problem, it did not, in any way, fix the problem.

I grew up in a home where fat people were not especially liked, and despite popular thought, I was listening, always. I heard my dad (who is deceased and free of his demons now, so don't assume I'm "vilifying" him in any way. *insert eye roll here*) talk openly about people who were overweight being "disgusting pigs," and how an obese relative I adored was "repulsive" and "self indulgent." I heard the jokes being made at Roseanne Barr's expense, and the John Candy and Mama Cass jokes. I remember hearing my dad make pig noises in reference to Carnie Wilson and Oprah Winfrey. When my mother gained a significant amount of weight due to Thyroid problems, I saw the way my father watched her with disdain, and he told me, often, that the key to keeping a man was to keep my body in shape, and to take pride in my appearance.

For the most part, I was skinny as a child, and thin (enough) as a young adult. But my unhealthy relationship with food started very early on. If I earned money weeding a neighbor's garden, or babysitting, I would immediately take it to the tiny grocery store in town, and buy all sorts of "naughty" foods that I would hide and gorge on while alone. Green olives by the jar, canned spray cheese, crackers, chips, candy bars, pop, cheese whiz, boxed macaroni and name it, I hoarded it, and I ate the h*ll out of it when nobody was around. As I grew older, I continued this behavior, often stuffing my face full of food to the point of vomiting, then being oddly delighted, because I had more room for treats. I used food for comfort, reward, punishment, and more.

As soon as I got married the first time, I started gaining weight. Just a little, here and there, but my ex husband was quick to notice and point it out. When we got unexpectedly pregnant with our first child, I took the term "eating for two" to heart and ate the everliving crap out of the ten months of pregnancy. By the time I had him, I was fifty pounds overweight, and my metabolism had shifted. I was no longer able to eat what I wanted, and keep (most) of the weight off. Suddenly I used a wee bit too much peanut butter on my toast in the morning, and my pants wouldn't fit by lunchtime. Between being stuck in an awful, unhealthy marriage and having our second child, I was significantly overweight and just a shadow (albeit a large shadow) of the person I'd been before getting hitched. I was told, repeatedly that I was "too fat to f***," and that my husband couldn't get off on me anymore. I was told often to diet, to work out, to put more effort into myself, to "accessorize more," so as to take the focus off of my double chins, and much worse. The things I'd grown up hearing my own father say at random were now being said to me, by my partner, and what did I do?

I ate my feelings. All of them. With cheese sauce, usually. Not surprisingly, I found myself a divorced, under-educated single mother of two children under the age of three. I was broke, tired, sad, and stressed out....and so over the next four years, I ate and ate some more. I used food as a friend, a confidant, a supporter, and a crutch. I planned my days around it, and rewarded my kids with it. I punished myself for being fat, by eating more, while subsequently praising myself for good works by eating as well. I was sick, sick, sick, but because I wasn't drowning my sorrows in beer like so many other relatives in my family, my addiction was going ignored. When folks did take notice, they just said things like "stop eating so d*mn much," or "just get out and exercise every day, it's not that hard." My addiction, which I was well aware was killing me, was going blown off, unnoticed, and ignored by everyone around me, because all fat people need to do it stop eating so much, right?

Wrong. I was neck deep in a full blown food addiction, and felt stuck, stuck, stuck. What people forget about food addiction is: you can stop doing drugs, you can stop drinking alcohol, you can stop gambling, or looking at porn...and you're going to LIVE. Thrive, even. But with food addiction, you're asked to just use a tiny amount of the very substance you're addicted to. Imagine telling a meth addict, to just use a small amount of meth every day, and never, ever abuse it again.

Exactly. Wouldn't work.

Some people did want to help me. Sometimes when I asked for it, but more often than not when I hadn't asked at all. People shared diet tips with me all. the. time....just under the assumption that because I was fat, surely I wanted diet tips, right? I cannot even begin to explain how often I got unsolicited emails from friends with links to boot camps, weight loss programs, and gym memberships. I was told about miracle pills and supplements, and offered more free samples than I can count. I was told in front of a room full of people at work once: "you've got to get your weight under control. You're too young and too pretty for that body."

Um.....thank you?

I became afraid to eat in public, often eating half of what was given to me while around other people, only to go home and power eat my way through a block of Tillamook Colby Jack alone at home later. I grew accustomed to the judging eyes on me as I ordered a Big R burger with a cheeseburger on the side, and a diet soda. I knew the jokes. I'd heard them all before, so I took to eating in my car. Once my (second) husband and I were out for dessert after a movie with another couple, and after ordering a lava cake and a glass of skim milk, the couple (not an especially health conscious couple themselves) cracked up, teasing me for ordering a hugely fattening dessert and a glass of low fat milk. The truth was, I just prefer the taste of skim over regular, but it didn't matter. My explanation fell on deaf ears, I was the joke. Again. Once I went to my brother's house for one of his children's birthday parties, I sat in a wicker chair, only to have it give out half way through opening gifts, sending me toppling to the floor in front of everyone. To this day, 100 pounds lighter, and I will never sit in another wicker chair. If that's all there is to offer, I'll stand. Period.

By some miracle, in the midst of full blown addiction and single parenthood, I met and married an incredible man. He still loves me, too, which is both unfathomable and wonderful. We had two more children, pushing my weight higher than it'd ever been--not that my husband cared, he still seemed to love me, even though I was a big girl and even when we became foster parents and had an agonizing failed adoption, which caused me to become even heavier.....

He still loved me. He even loved me enough to help me get WLS. He also loves me 4.5 years later, even after watching me struggle with the emotional torture that having a food addiction causes, especially after your stomach can't hold what your brain is telling you to ingest. You see, once I got the surgery, the problems didn't just disappear. They just came out in weird, random places that made no sense. Anger, crippling sadness, bouts of anxiety so sudden and scary that I thought I was having a heart attack, sullenness, malaise, being withdrawn. All this, and that guy still loves me. I don't deserve him. But I'm sure glad I got him.

Don't get me wrong, I am grateful I had the surgery. Four and a half years later, I am still considered a somewhat healthy weight. I bounce between 150 and 160 pounds and wear a size 8 or 10. This is where my body plateau'd itself, and I'm good with that. At my lowest post WLS weight, I was 139 pounds, but I was shaky, weak, and sort of gross looking. As much as I loathe my (still) poochy tummy and pancake butt, I am grateful that I have a body that still allows me to walk, run, dance, and play. I have a heart that beats, and arms that hug and my husband still finds me attractive, despite wrinkles and a shaved/sometimes bald head. I am blessed with moderately good health, with a hiccup here and there, none of which weren't expected, considering my family history, and life story. For the most part, I am a healthy 42 year old woman, and for that I am grateful.

That said, I still have demons.

I am never, ever satisfied with the way I look. I am working on it, so don't judge me just yet. Every day I put forth vast amounts of effort towards self acceptance and love for the way my body looks without clothes on. Despite having been thin(ner) for four and a half years now, I still see myself as an obese woman. I hear my father's voice in my head calling Carnie Wilson names, or see the looks of disgust he would give my treasured overweight relative while they ate in the back of my mind, and I shudder to myself. When my (current) husband pulls me in to hold me close, I hear my (ex) husband's voice in the back of my mind, telling me he can't get off on me, and more often than not, I pull away. Despite what my outside looks like, my inside is, and likely always will be, a sad, lonely, depressed fat girl, who wants desperately to eat until she vomits, so that she can make room for more.

Will these awful, ugly feelings ever go away? I literally have no idea. I hope so. But frankly, considering the fact that at 155 pounds, I look at a wicker chair and throw up into my mouth, I would venture to say no. These feelings will never go away. Because my WLS helped my neuropathy and my cholesterol, but it did not help my brain and my heart, and those two things are where the feelings of inadequacy, addiction, and self loathing reside, and evicting them has proven infinitely more difficult than I had originally expected. I would say that WLS has the ability to fix your outside appearance, but not your inside cancers. Those will continue to grow and spread and poison you, unless you get some significant psychological help.

I wish I'd found a way to accept myself the way I was. Granted, I really am okay with the body size I have now, and I would like to keep it forever. would've been nice to have learned to love the body I was in, before I lost it. Maybe then I would love the body I am in now, too.

I guess the moral of the story is: Weight Loss Surgery is lovely, and it's an excellent tool, but it is not a cure all. And if you don't fix what's broken in your heart and head, it's a waste of money.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Squeeeeeee! Guess what's coming out soon??

Beaches, boyfriends, and danger... summer is certainly hot! Grab hold tight as these eight authors wow you with stories from sweet to sizzling! After all, every day can have some summer fun!

Breaking Girl Code, by Brooke Moss

Aubrey is having the perfect night out, with the perfect guy, on a perfect summer night. The problem is... Preston's not her date. His real date is her B.F.F., and she's passed out in the backseat.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Have you read Charlotte and Vincent's story?

Still haven't read The Carny? It was my second traditionally published work, and one of my favorite stories/cast of characters I've ever written. I adore Charlotte and Vin, and hope you will, too....

Check out the excerpt below, and see if you'd like to give The Carny a shot:

Kasey gasped playfully. “You’re a tramp. I love it.” She patted the now fussing baby on the back. “I’ve got to go change him, and make a bottle. Be back in a minute.”
            “Okay. I’ll get some cotton candy.” I could hear the obnoxious rock and roll music being cranked near the rides, and my feet longed to head in that direction. 
            “Ha! You’re gonna go look for your imaginary boyfriend.” Micah shifted and passed gas. “Oh, crud. I’ve gotta go. Meet me by the tilt-a-whirl.” She winked before scuttling off.
            Rolling my eyes, I walked past the noisy, bright menagerie of rigged games and contests. Whack-a-mole, ring toss, balloon darts, wiffleball race. Each booth boasted oversized stuffed animals, hats, and tee shirts, and a bored looking carnie with bad skin and dirt under his fingernails. Their voices, trained to ring high above the throb of screams and music, called out false promises of big winnings and guaranteed prizes. 
            I saw the rides ahead, and felt the all-too familiar flurry of birds in my stomach. I’d done this very walk so many times, yet the anticipation never seemed to fade. I searched faces in the crowd. There were African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, and I spotted a Native American here and there, but my stomach sank when I passed two, four, and then six rides without spotting the face I’d had engraved in my mind for ten years. None of them had the same chiseled cheekbones; the same startlingly white grin; or the same deep black eyes that reflected my face back at me.
            What would I say if I ever actually spotted Vin? I thought to myself as I watched a kid clutch his stomach as he exited the Super Round Up. Hi, we actually kissed when I was a teenager, and I’ve been stalking you ever since. Wanna hang out?
            Okay, that was out. 
            I guess I could try Kasey’s advice…
            Hey! Remember me? You kissed me when I was just a kid. Ha! I know, right? Say, we should go get a drink. Maybe do some dancing.
            Ugh. Totally not my style. First off, I wasn’t a big drinker. And dancing? Ha. While both of my sisters had flourished in childhood dance classes, I’d been the human equivalent of a big, dumb Labrador in a tutu. No rhythm, no skill, and certainly not enough moves to win over the affections of any man.
            I shook my head and swatted at a wayward lock of hair floating on the salty, crab-scented air. There was no point in planning out what I would say to Vin if I finally saw him. In the years I’d been strolling around carnivals for stalking purposes, I’d not once caught a glimpse of him. Would I even recognize him if I did?
The years had changed me. My face was less cherubic and more heart shaped than it was when I was a teenager. I had the beginnings of some wrinkles in the corners of my eyes, and my braces were gone. Even if I did manage to recognize Vin, would heeven recognize me?
We’d only known each other for a total of seven minutes. He’d probably long since forgotten me. Scolding myself for being such a silly, pathetic girl, I wrapped my arms around myself and turned towards the familiar tilt-a-whirl, where, as always, seventies rock music blared amongst the squeal of kids.
“Charlotte Davenport.”
The voice sent a shiver up my spine and down my legs. It was the very voice I’d been daydreaming about since the age of eighteen. It sounded as smooth and sweet as I remembered, and my entire body halted at the sound, just as it had when his warm hands touched me.
Slowly I turned around, my skirt swirling around my ankles silently. 
There stood Vincent Young.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Excerpt time!!

The woods are about to warm up...all because Molly's best friend's dying wish was to force her and her ex-husband back together....

When the warmth of his tongue grazed the space behind my ear, then danced down my neck to my collar bone, my eyes rolled into the back of my head. “I missed you, too.”
Jamie released my knee, grasped my hips, and slowly walked me backward to the rickety wood cabin door. With measured slowness, he reached past my hip and flipped the lock on the door. “Do you want me to stop?”
I met his eyes, unblinking. “No.”
We landed against the door with a thump. Slivers of wood prickled my back through my thin t-shirt, so I arched my back to press myself against him for comfort. He brought his lips back to mine, feverishly taking what was his, what had always been his—stopping long enough to roll my shirt up and over my head. With a groan of approval, I returned the favor, ridding Jamie of his sweaty t-shirt before bringing my mouth to his neck, and savoring in the familiar flavor of his skin.
With an effortless swoop, he grabbed my backside, lifting me up so my legs hooked behind his back, then whirled me around to the nearest bunk. After pressing me between his body and one of the tall bed posts, he pulled apart just far enough to smile at me crookedly. He was out of breath, and I felt goose bumps rise across his chest. “I want you, Molly. More than I ever have before.”
I gazed at him. My lips were swollen and I could feel the blood rushing through them. My body literally ached for him, but the image of Mackayla flickered in my mind. I stopped our kiss the night before because of his girlfriend, now I was on the precipice of making love to him, but…
“I can’t,” I whispered. Every nerve ending in my body screamed in torment.
His green eyes widened. “What? I thought you…”
I shook my head, tangling my fingers in the back of his mussed hair. “You’re dating someone. You’re sleeping with someone. I won’t go to bed with you, when you’re—”
“I’m not sleeping with Mackayla.” He turned his head so that he could press a kiss to the palm of my hand. “We haven’t had sex.”
His lips on my palm sent shockwaves up my arm. “What? Why?”
“I couldn’t.” He pressed a kiss to my mouth, warm and lingering. “She tried, invited me in after the last few dates, but I couldn’t.” He faced me, his eyelids heavy, his expression wanting. “I still love my wife.”
I let my head fall back, looking up to the ceiling. “Thank God.”
Together we tumbled onto the lumpy old mattress on the lower bunk, Jamie’s weight pressing against the thin wool blanket enticingly. He slid the straps of my bra down my shoulders, while watching me with sudden patience. “I’ve dreamed about this so many times over the last eighteen months. I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted anything so bad in my life.”
I reached for him. “Then don’t stop,” I told him, arching toward him to find his mouth once more. “Don’t ever stop.”

So he didn’t.

Click here to grab YOUR copy of About That Summer today!

Facelift. win some, you lose some.

And my October 2017 release was a flop.

It makes me sad, because it was 2.5 years in the making, and I poured my heart and soul into that story. I adore the characters, I adore the storyline. I adore the motley crew of friends, I adore the setting. All of it. TOTALLY ADORE IT. But alas....nobody is biting.

This is how the writing biz is. Sometimes you write a winner, sometimes you write a loser. Sometimes you write a loser, and everybody and their dog buy a copy, and other times you write a winner, but give it a weird name that readers find off-putting and confusing, and then you slap a cover on it that looks good to you, but translates to more of a YA read, when it actually isn't and...

A turd in the punchbowl that is my career.

You have yourself a flop.

The author game is hard. D*mn hard, whether you have an agent or not, whether or not you're traditionally published or not, all of it is hard, and nobody can tell whether or not a book is going to be well received.

Lucky for you guys, I am not one to give up easily. Because I love these characters, and because I love the storyline, and because I love the setting, and because I love the motley crew of friends, I am not giving up.........I'm just giving my book-baby a facelift.

New cover: more focused on the sexy contemporary romance. CHECK.

New title: something more conducive with the adult romance genre and easier to remember and search. CHECK.

Here is the result of said re-vamp. What do you think? We'll see if it equals an uptick in sales. It's an experiment in marketing.....let me introduce you to: About That Summer. (Every Summer Has a Story, book 1)

Wish me luck, friends!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Bad habit.

I've got a bad habit. And I've been well aware of this bad habit for at least a decade, maybe two, okay, maybe three...

And for some reason, I just cannot seem to drop it.

It's nothing disgusting. I don't eat my own scabs, or sleep with a hair dryer running underneath my pillow. (No, seriously, I've seen a show on TV about both those scenarios!) But I do continuously, and habitually put myself into the same scenario over, and over, and over again, and I literally never break the cycle, and because of that...I continue to hurt myself with this bad habit again and again and again.

It's a problem.

I have a habit of investing more into people than they invest in me. Friends, coworkers, casual acquaintances, family members, colleagues, neighbors, doesn't seem to matter what our relationship is based on, I always, always throw myself 100%, head over heels in...

Only to find out that the other person is only partially invested. Or, worse yet, not invested at all.

It's like a platonic version of He's Just Not That Into You happening on a constant loop in my life, and I cannot seem to figure out how to turn off the feed, get off the roller coaster, disembark the plane, jump off of the crazy train, or simply just establish and maintain normal relationship boundaries. Because POOF. Someone else comes into my life and I am all, hi, hi, hi, will you like me, you're funny, can we be friends, oh, you like the Real Housewives (or insert any odd, random topic of conversation here) too, cool, we should be friends, oh, you think I'm great, good, me too, I think you're awesome, so we should be lifelong friends and get matching BFF tattoos, and never, ever stop being the closest friends ever!

So then we become friends, or somewhat close--usually closer on my end than theirs, lets just be honest--and despite how much I threaten myself with bodily harm if I do it, I always spill my guts to someone, telling them my life story, sharing my worst stories, sharing my hopes and dreams, and going above and beyond for them--despite knowing darn well they likely wouldn't do the same in return.

And then, some time later, it hits me: I have created a very one-sided friendship that is worth it's weight in gold to me, but to the other person? They're very meh. I am disposable. I could come or go, and either way, they'd be fine. It's not that they hate me, they just don't really like me as much as I like them. And while that's not evil or torturous or sucks for me. It hurts. And I keep finding myself in that situation over and over and over again. That I am disposable and easily discarded. Unworthy.

I hate it. Like, I really hate it.

And yet, I'm doing it to myself. What the actual frick is that??

Over the years, I've learned to tackle it with a preemptive strike. If I'm getting rejected, I'll reject them first. If I sense a rejection on the horizon, I'll walk away first. Still sucks, but at least I'm in control of the suckage. Certainly doesn't ease how painful it can be, though.

I straight up don't know how to stop setting myself up for failure all the time. Every time I meet someone new, or reignite an old friendship, or reunite with a relative I no longer communicate with, I promise myself: this is it. This time I am NOT going to tell them everything. I am not going to let them into my life. I am not going to trust them with all of me, straight out the gate.

And then I find myself like this just a short time later:

Followed very quickly with this:

Yeah. Sucks to be me. Again.

I have to learn how to improve my poker face, and to keep my cards to myself. Crap, I need to figure out how to have a poker face, and then I can learn how to keep my cards to myself. I need to learn how to remain a mystery to people. Let them find me cold and aloof. Better that than warm and weak. Let their questions go unanswered, and their texts unreturned. Why am I constantly giving, giving, giving, only to get ticked off when I get so very little back??

It's my problem, not theirs. I'm the one giving the milk away for free. I need to learn to be a much more aloof cow.

Unfortunately it's likely easier to retrain a cow, than to rewire my heart and brain. Seems like it's time to be done, though. This last blow was like that final punch that damaged Rocky's brain in Rocky Balboa. I have cavum septum pellucidum of the soul.

Ok, I don't. But I do have to take myself out of the ring from now on, metaphorically speaking. It's time to take better care of myself.