My problem with pens.

Originally posted on April 17, 2017

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I have a house full of old, nonworking pens.  It’s not because I want them.   Keeping up with pens and throwing away old ones is one thing I never seem to bother keeping up with.    Whenever I need a pen, I can never, EVER find a working one.  I have dozens of old markers that no longer have any ink in them, tens of cheap ballpoints I got for free somewhere with no ink in them and non-working clickers; I even have dried up pen refills with no actual pen to cover them.  I have Sharpies with their nubs worn down to nothing.  They all sit forlornly in old coffee mugs around the house.

People can’t understand why I can’t find a working pen when I need one.  They look around at the mugs of pens in every room and on every available surface, and they also know I have drawers full of pens (as well as old phone chargers, paper clips, rubber bands, broken push pins, paid bills from 2003, business cards for businesses I’ll never use or have never heard of, a broken lighter with Y2K joke on it [no joke], and all the other detritus most of us wind up gathering somehow without any effort at all).   I almost always wind up having to borrow their pen — if they’re carrying one — and I can see them just shaking their heads in bemused amazement.

I have the same problem with pencils.  I have at least a hundred pencils — all with broken points or sharpened down to an inch or so (and still sporting broken points) — and not one sharpener.   So the pencils I own are utterly useless.   Maybe I should install a sharpener on the wall, like the one we kept on the basement stairs while I was growing up (I’ll never know why it was installed on the wall of the dark basement stairs, as if it was something to be embarrassed about).

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At least with the Internet, I rarely need a pen.  But sometimes I do.  There’s still the occasional form I need to fill out, or the birthday card I need to sign (I hate e-cards).  Sometimes I have to leave post-it notes to myself on the bathroom mirror that say things like:  BUY A PACK OF PENS TODAY!  Hah.  I never learn.   I never go out and buy a pack of pens for these moments.  The one time recently that I did buy a pack, I somehow lost all those pens.  But the old, dried up, broken ones stuck around like unwelcome guests.

And they MULTIPLY.  You know that portal that’s hidden in the back of your washer that sucks your socks into an alternate universe?    Well, I think there’s another portal — a reverse wormhole — from that same universe that spews broken old pens into ours.  Maybe it somehow transforms our socks into pens.  You never know.

Why don’t I just throw away all those broken and nonworking pens and pencils?  Honestly, I don’t know why.    It’s not sentimentality,  and it’s not because “maybe one day I will use them in a multi-media project where I can glue them to a board with all the other useless junk in my drawers and call it art.”  ” No, I think the reason I don’t weed out all the old pens and pencils is pure laziness.   The idea of going through all those mugs and drawers full of broken writing implements and testing them isn’t something I want to spend my day doing.

So the pens stay, and I continue to search in vain for a working pen when I need one.

Anyone want some of my old broken pens?

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20 ways to lose followers.

I just saw this under “related posts” under my last post and thought it was good enough to deserve a reblog.

Lucky Otters Haven

Tired woman are sleeping and holding cup. Laptop is situated on the table.

As a blogger, I admit I’m guilty of doing some of these things myself.  So I’m writing this  post as a reminder to myself to stop doing these things, and hope other bloggers can take away something from this list too.

1. Don’t allow comments.

Some blogs, especially those dealing with mental illness or abuse, don’t allow comments because negative comments can be very triggering to people struggling with these things, and you are going to get negative comments.   It can’t be avoided.  But as a general rule, it’s good to allow comments because it makes your blog more interactive.  Real conversations get started that way and build a feeling of community, which can make your followers stick around and your blog more engaging.

2. Be a comment nazi. 

Some bloggers don’t want anyone to disagree with them and will not approve or delete comments that question the blogger’s…

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Blogging is not for pussies.

Originally posted on April 1, 2015

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Don’t be a pussy.

Anyone who blogs about a sensitive topic, especially one that focuses on mental health issues (religion and politics would be up there too), is bound to run into haters and detractors at some point. If you blog about a controversial topic, such as narcissism and narcissistic abuse (which is my #1 topic), religion, politics, or the ethical ramifications of breeding pit bulls, by default you make yourself vulnerable to online narcissists, trolls, bullies, and psychopaths. You are going to attract people who do not wish you well. It’s a built-in hazard of the trade.

Even if your blog isn’t particularly controversial or doesn’t focus on a sensitive issue, you are going to have haters and maybe even bullies. OM (Opinionated Man) is a perfect example of this (he insists he has a LOT of haters), and his blog is one of the most popular on WordPress. He doesn’t let the haters get him down, and neither should I and neither should you.

I’ve wasted a lot of time beating myself up for things beyond my control. Over people who do not wish me or my blog well. Way too often I allow other people’s negative opinions of me, my blog, or my articles to get me down and even make me want to change my blog’s focus or remove posts that I thought might have offended them.

You cannot please everyone. It’s not possible. If by some fluke you somehow do please everyone, then you probably have the most boring blog in the universe, one that’s all sweetness and light 24/7, and never approaches anything the slightest bit triggering or controversial.

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Someone is going to be offended.

Even if you blog about something as benign as cake decorating or flower arranging, you are probably going to offend someone. Maybe someone doesn’t like the fact you write recipes using cream cheese icing instead of buttercream, or vice versa. Maybe they are diabetics who take offense to the fact you don’t include sugarless cake decorations in your recipes. They might even assume you are prejudiced against people with diabetes. Maybe someone doesn’t like the color yellow in your floral arrangements because they have bad associations with that color. Maybe they are angry at you because the flowers are dead and they are are morally opposed to killing plant life for ornamental purposes. They could be offended by your fonts or your layout. Maybe they hate your avatar because your picture reminds them of their rude neighbor who lets their dog bark all night and revs their engine every morning at 5 AM.  You have no control over these things.  My point is that no matter what you blog about, someone is going to take offense.

If you can’t stand having bullies and haters, you probably shouldn’t be blogging at all. If you blog about a sensitive or controversial issue, as I do, you are going to attract even more of them than you would if you only blogged about cake decorating or flower arranging or baby koalas.

The Green-Eyed Monster.

Some people are also going to be jealous of you. If your blog becomes successful, expect to have haters. That’s probably why OM has so many haters. His blog is one of the most popular and well-known on the Internet. I’m not tooting my own horn here, but I’ve noticed as my blog has grown, I also have acquired more haters and critics. As a self-identified HSP (highly sensitive person), this realization has been hard for me to accept. I need to grow a thicker skin and just write about what I want and not worry about what the haters think.

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On Political Correctness.

I don’t like political correctness. I don’t like feeling like I have to censor my own thoughts and feelings, because openness and honesty has made my blog what it is. If my words offend someone, they just need to deal with it. If they hate me or my blog, sucks for them.  There are other blogs they can read instead. No one is holding a gun to their head telling them they have to read this blog. I even have an Escape button that will take them to the Huffington Post (it’s not lost on me that some may be offended by THAT). It’s not like I’m the only voice on the Internet that addresses the issues I write the most about. There are hundreds of others.

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I’m a natural pessimist. If I enter a room and everyone is friendly and welcoming except for one person who scowls at me, I’m the type who will fret and ruminate about that one grumpy person rather than feel blessed and grateful that everyone else is happy to see me. Focusing on that one negative person keeps me from enjoying the party.

It’s the same thing with blogging. I have a lot of supporters and friends in the blogging community. There are lots of people who enjoy my blog posts and visit every day. I shouldn’t worry about the few people who are critical of me or my blog, because they don’t matter. They are probably not the sort of people I would want to have as friends anyway.

So, if you blog, don’t be a wuss. Grow a tougher skin and accept the fact you are going to have haters. You don’t have to approve their comments. You don’t have to search Google to see what your detractors may be saying about you. You don’t have to let their vitriol ruin your day. They don’t matter.

Don’t censor yourself. Most people will be able to tell if you are trying to hard to be “politically correct,” and your blog will become boring and insincere and no one will want to read it.   People aren’t stupid and can tell if you’re not being honest or are censoring yourself because of your fear of criticism or offending someone.

Blog from your heart and soul. Be courageous. Write about what you want, no matter how controversial. Don’t be afraid to stir the pot and stand by your heartfelt opinions, even if they are unpopular ones.

Tell the haters to take a hike. You are going to have them. They don’t matter.

What to do the next time you can’t think of what to blog about.

I need to take my own advice! But it’s too hot to nap!

Lucky Otters Haven

sleepy_snoopy

Take a nap. It works for me about 90% of the time. Usually I wake up with at least one great idea for a blog post.

When I got home from work tonight, I had no idea what to write about. I was tired so I took a nap and now I have two ideas–this post and the one I’m about to write, which will be a lot longer.

Your brain is like a computer. While you sleep, your brain performs maintenance tasks–the biological equivalents of defragmenting and disc clean-up. More space is allotted in your conscious mind for ideas to bubble up from your unconscious mind that were trapped there before and you couldn’t access.

It always surprises me how often I’ll wake up from a nap with some idea I’m just itching to write about, but before I went to sleep it just wasn’t there.

So next time…

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Dry spell.

desert

For the past few weeks, for some reason, I haven’t had a lot of interest in blogging.   Part of it is laziness, but the truth is I’m having trouble thinking of new things to write about.   I’m finally sort of over writing about narcissism, and feel like there’s nothing new to add to the subject.   I feel like I’ve moved on — but where to?  I’m not sure right now.   It’s not really writer’s block.   I can write, but unless I actually care about what I’m writing about, why bother?  I feel vaguely guilty about this but can’t explain why.

I’m deeply interested in political matters these days, and I think that shows.  I’m still reluctant to write a lot about the political situation, but I’ve broken my rule to stay away from politics on this blog several times now.  I’ve toyed with the idea of turning this into a political opinion blog, with a focus on the narcissism of our *cough* president, but for some reason I feel like I shouldn’t do it here.   Lucky Otters Haven just doesn’t seem like the right place to do such a thing, though I have no idea why.

My lifelong education in narcissism has prepared me for this presidency (whether that’s a good thing or not, I’m uncertain because it also tends to make me obsess and analyze things outside my control too much).   My education has certainly kept me from falling for the smoke and mirrors act and I’m shocked at what an accurate BS detector I’ve developed as a result of being a narcissistic abuse victim myself.   I never knew I had such a good one.

Although my interest in blogging has waned for the time being (I’m sure it’s just temporary) I actually had the most activity ever last month — and made more money from this blog than I ever did before (not that it’s a lot because it’s not).  That should be a motivator but I’m not sure it really is.   I don’t want to write just for the views and the cash; I write because I want to and would do it even if I only had an audience of a few people and made nothing at all.

This summer I’m involved in a couple of home projects, including enclosing the porch (the work on that hasn’t started yet).  I’ll be plenty busy with that, but I will post updates with photos as it comes along.   As for other things, I guess I’ll just play it by ear, and write when a good idea pops into my head, whether it’s politics, personality disorders, or anything else.    In the meantime, I will probably reblog or repost some of my older articles that I think deserve to be seen again.

 

About my book.

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For a couple of years now, I’ve talked about writing a book.    Writing and publishing a book has always been a dream of mine,  but getting motivated enough or knowing what I wanted to write about has always been an issue for me.

My book won’t be fiction because I’m really bad at fiction and can never seem to think of a viable beginning or end that doesn’t seem contrived.   My one attempt to write a book of fiction (in 2003) was a disaster and I hated all my characters.   It was self-indulgent, full of cliches, stilted dialogue, and uninteresting and unlikable characters who always seemed to be arguing about nothing.  To this day I can’t tell you what the book was about, because I don’t know.   I have no idea how to plot a novel, although I have read hundreds of novels by others who do know how to plot them.  It’s simply not something I have any talent for.

For some reason, I never threw that manuscript away (I spent too much time writing it) but I don’t look at it and never will again.  Its 300 plus pages sit in a tattered cardboard box in the farthest corner in the back of a closet.  The one time I tried to reread what I’d written, I cringed at how atrocious it was.    It was that bad.   I sent it to several publishers who also thought it was that bad – and sent it back to me with a polite rejection note.

The dilemma I’m facing (besides lack of time and drive) is what the topic of my book would be.    I think I’ve finally narrowed it down to two things.

Let me say straight out that my book will not be about narcissistic abuse, narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or anything related to personality disorders, C-PTSD, codependency, or dysfunctional families or relationships.   Although this blog has been primarily about those things (at least until recently), I don’t feel comfortable writing a book covering anything in this field for at least four reasons.

First, there are many bloggers who have already written books about narcissism and narcissistic abuse, and many have done it better than I think I could.    I don’t even think this is one of the best blogs that ever covered narcissistic abuse.   Second, since I’ve moved on in my recovery,  I’m less passionate about this problem than I used to be.   I feel like anything that needed to be said, I’ve already said — or others have said better.   That doesn’t mean it’s not an important issue — it definitely is, but I feel like my passion for it isn’t there anymore.   Third, I’m afraid that delving into a personal account of my own life with a narcissistic family and husband — or my mental disorders that were caused by that — will be too triggering and send me back down the rabbit hole, a place I’ve gratefully left behind.  At first, it helped me to talk about it, and to find that I wasn’t alone.   Without that outlet and this blog, I would never have discovered things about myself I needed to change.    So I’m grateful for that, but I’m not in the same head space I was two years ago.  Therapy is quite enough for me right now and is intense enough as it is.  I no longer have any desire to dwell on the trauma I had to deal with just to have something to write about.   There are other things I prefer to write about now that make me feel better.  Fourth, I’m not a mental health professional and would feel like something of a fraud were I to write a self-help book for others, even though I know quite a bit about personality disorders, enough to write such a book.

So, what would my book be about, if it’s not going to be a novel or a book about personality disorders or narcissistic abuse?

I feel like I’m strong at writing opinion and humor.  Short little essays and anecdotes that give readers a window into the way I look at life — both the big and small things.    I enjoy writing posts like these.  My last post, “My Problem With Pens,” was one of the most enjoyable posts I’ve written in a long time.    I like that kind of writing and I want to do more of it.   No, I’ll probably never be the next David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs, but I love creative writing and I can write humor.   I think I’m good enough at it to compile my best essays (both humorous and more serious) into a small book.    I’ve written a number of those kind of posts on this blog already,  but I never realized until recently that was actually my strongest writing.  Because I never focused on those types of posts and never made a section for them in the header or compiled a list of links, it will take some time to go through this blog and pull out all the titles and then decide which ones to use (and probably add some new ones to flesh out the book and give readers of this blog something new to read).

The only problem with writing a book like that is I’m not already a “name” (unless you count blog ownership as a kind of qualification), and compilations of essays usually sell best when written by someone already well-known for something else.    But I’m not expecting to make a million dollars or for the book to catapult me to sudden fame and a review in the New York Times Review of Books.  Not even close.    I could probably make more money writing a book about having been raised by narcissists, having BPD or C-PTSD, or writing a self help book about how to deal with abusers.   I could probably even sell more books writing about mindfulness techniques and developing empathy for people with Cluster B disorders.  But I don’t want to write a book like that.   I want to have fun writing my book, and this is why I’ve decided to write a compilation of my observations, opinions, and humorous little anecdotes.

There’s another topic I’ve been thinking about writing a book about:  handling Internet trolls and bullies.   Obviously, that’s related to narcissistic abuse, but it’s a narrower and more focused topic and doesn’t require me to delve into my deep past and retrigger ancient memories.    I’ve definitely been a victim of Internet bullying (most of us bloggers have, unfortunately) and I have experience now in how to deal with them — enough experience to be able to help others.   Any book I write about Internet troublemakers would be mostly a compilation of some of the posts and numbered lists I’ve already written for this blog.    Someone told me I had one of the most comprehensive lists of articles about Internet trolls and how to handle them they’d ever seen, and that got me thinking that maybe I ought to publish an actual book about it.

Very soon, I will need to lay off blogging and start compiling posts and writing new ones for a book.  I wish I had time to do both, but the need to keep a roof over my head and food in my fridge makes doing both nearly impossible.

What would you rather see me write about first?  A book of observations, opinions, essays, and humor; or a book about handling trolls and online bullies?

My problem with pens.

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I have a house full of old, nonworking pens.  It’s not because I want them.   Keeping up with pens and throwing away old ones is one thing I never seem to bother keeping up with.    Whenever I need a pen, I can never, EVER find a working one.  I have dozens of old markers that no longer have any ink in them, tens of cheap ballpoints I got for free somewhere with no ink in them and non-working clickers; I even have dried up pen refills with no actual pen to cover them.  I have Sharpies with their nubs worn down to nothing.  They all sit forlornly in old coffee mugs around the house.

People can’t understand why I can’t find a working pen when I need one.  They look around at the mugs of pens in every room and on every available surface, and they also know I have drawers full of pens (as well as old phone chargers, paper clips, rubber bands, broken push pins, paid bills from 2003, business cards for businesses I’ll never use or have never heard of, a broken lighter with Y2K joke on it [no joke], and all the other detritus most of us wind up gathering somehow without any effort at all).   I almost always wind up having to borrow their pen — if they’re carrying one — and I can see them just shaking their heads in bemused amazement.

I have the same problem with pencils.  I have at least a hundred pencils — all with broken points or sharpened down to an inch or so (and still sporting broken points) — and not one sharpener.   So the pencils I own are utterly useless.   Maybe I should install a sharpener on the wall, like the one we kept on the basement stairs while I was growing up (I’ll never know why it was installed on the wall of the dark basement stairs, as if it was something to be embarrassed about).

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At least with the Internet, I rarely need a pen.  But sometimes I do.  There’s still the occasional form I need to fill out, or the birthday card I need to sign (I hate e-cards).  Sometimes I have to leave post-it notes to myself on the bathroom mirror that say things like:  BUY A PACK OF PENS TODAY!  Hah.  I never learn.   I never go out and buy a pack of pens for these moments.  The one time recently that I did buy a pack, I somehow lost all those pens.  But the old, dried up, broken ones stuck around like unwelcome guests.

And they MULTIPLY.  You know that portal that’s hidden in the back of your washer that sucks your socks into an alternate universe?    Well, I think there’s another portal — a reverse wormhole — from that same universe that spews broken old pens into ours.  Maybe it somehow transforms our socks into pens.  You never know.

Why don’t I just throw away all those broken and nonworking pens and pencils?  Honestly, I don’t know why.    It’s not sentimentality,  and it’s not because “maybe one day I will use them in a multi-media project where I can glue them to a board with all the other useless junk in my drawers and call it art.”  ” No, I think the reason I don’t weed out all the old pens and pencils is pure laziness.   The idea of going through all those mugs and drawers full of broken writing implements and testing them isn’t something I want to spend my day doing.

So the pens stay, and I continue to search in vain for a working pen when I need one.

Anyone want some of my old broken pens?

Why do bloggers take their blogs down?

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This is something I’ve always wondered about.   I see so many bloggers take down their blogs when they lose interest or they feel like their blog has fulfilled its purpose.    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited a blog I like and seen a message saying the blog has been removed.

I don’t get it.  Even if I were to lose interest in blogging and stop writing posts, I would still leave my blog(s) up.    One, it costs nothing on WordPress.  Two, people will continue to stumble on my blog and may be helped, entertained, or inspired by something I wrote.  Three, people who already know about my blog want to go back and reread something they already read.

It’s always so disappointing to see that a blog I’ve grown attached to no longer exists.   If I haven’t kept in touch with the blog’s writer,  it’s as if they’ve disappeared from the face of the earth.  I always wonder what happened to them.

I understand people move on with their lives and they often reach a point where they feel as if blogging has served its purpose.  I also understand that in certain blogging communities (such as the narcissistic abuse community), the posts may be of a very personal nature.   But why remove the whole blog?   Just leave it up so others can still benefit from it.

I have no plans to stop blogging, even though I post less than I used to and have moved onto other subjects (less posts about narcissistic abuse).    If I ever did stop blogging though, I would leave my blogs alone so others could still read them.

 

Why I’ve been so silent.

 

I know some of you have wondered about my not blogging as much lately, so  I’m checking in to let everyone know that I am fine and haven’t been abducted by aliens or killed in a car wreck.

There’s no real reason why I haven’t been blogging as much,  except that I’ve become politically involved online and run a Facebook political group and participate in a couple of others.   I was never that interested in politics before, but now it consumes me!   There’s little time for anything else.

This is a phenomenon I’ve noticed in many formerly politically disinterested people in recent weeks.    America is getting a huge lesson in high school civics and the way the government is run.  I am learning so much.   But everything else has taken a back seat for now, including blogging.   I don’t feel like there’s a lot more I can say about narcissism that hasn’t already been said, and other topics just aren’t engaging me much these days.  Of course, this presidency and narcissism are closely intertwined, and my research about narcissism and personality disorders prepared me to try to “get” why this president acts the way he does and seems to have a hostility towards truth and can’t seem to separate fantasy from reality.

I don’t intend to stop blogging.   I intend to come back here when this fascination with politics burns itself out, but in the meantime I don’t want to turn my blog into a political soapbox so I’m avoiding those kinds of posts.   I’ve done enough of that here already.   If I come up with a great idea for a blog post that doesn’t involve politics, I’ll write it up.   That could be tonight or tomorrow or next week.

I will say I’m very glad those of us who rely on the ACA won’t be left without health insurance, at least for the time being.

I’ll be going to Florida in  less than two weeks and will be taking a break from all the political stuff and doing some fun things with my son.  I’ll be sure to post from there, and include lots of pictures, just as I did the last time.

 

 

 

 

On being controversial.

I wanted to give this article I wrote on May 1 last year a second chance, so I’ve bumped it. I hope it inspires you to write honestly about what you really feel, trolls and critics be darned.

Lucky Otters Haven

wrong-internet

I don’t write to people-please. I did enough people-pleasing as a scared, awkward child and a codependent wife to a sociopath. Those days, for me, are numbered. I blog to be honest about myself and the way I see the world. Being completely honest isn’t always easy, and there have been many times I haven’t posted something I really wanted to because I was afraid of how people might react. But my track record is pretty good, and usually my desire to post an opinion or viewpoint that may not be “popular” overrides my fear of angering or upsetting someone. Even if I hesitate before posting an unpopular or controversial opinion, more often than not, I’ll eventually post it anyway and worry about the fallout (if any) later.

Most of the time, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve had people actually thank me for posting a controversial or unpopular opinion, because…

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