Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Nov 20

Communication Breakdown

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way I communicate with people. Those interactions have left something to be desired, for all parties, I’m sure.

I find myself being short with people. I haven’t had the energy to pretend that I am okay with someone consistently cutting me off or failing to even inquire how I am. I think I have desire to speak to people but am struggling, and it’s even worse when they don’t give me the opportunity. Perhaps I want my conversations to slow down a bit.

One thing that makes this difficult is that I don’t go to work or school and see a bunch of people on a daily basis. If I have a conversation with someone, it might be the first – or only – conversation I have with a person that day. I may have a lot to say, so I throw it all at them because I just happen to see them. Perhaps I am inundating people with things that they don’t care about, even if I do. There are things I enjoy and discover on my own that I want to bring into my interactions with others.

Yet, I feel like my roles in these conversations in passive. And I much prefer being engaged in conversation, Rapt attention to a deep conversation is more my stride, which is why I am only further disappointed by conversations that only seem to scratch the surface. Where’s the real stuff, bro?

Because of this, I find myself so disappointed, mostly with friends. And I feel bad, not because I am guilty over judging them but because there’s disappointment everywhere I turn. It’s so frustrating. I would prefer to be happy.

Of course, every conversation is a two-way street. I am not without fault here. I think that while giving myself permission not to pretend that I’m not slighted in conversation sounds like it will use less effort, but it only leaves me focused on what others are doing wrong. It’s a lose-lose.

I should probably just cut people slack for being imperfect. We all are. People have their own lives. Some people are especially busy. Plus, we live in a world where we interrupt one another on a frequent basis, and not every conversation will be thrilling or even pleasant.

Maybe I should discuss these things with people so they know where I’m coming from. Although, that might only open me up to more frustrating if nothing changes. And I seem to be struggling with suggesting change in a constructive manner, unsurprisingly. I may be lacking thoughtfulness just like others. And I’m sure I assume I am better in these situations than others are. It’s what we humans do, after all.

And now this human, having come to no useful conclusions, is signing off.


Oct 04

Things Are Improving.. Finally?

As I type this, I am feeling pretty good. I am listening to music and connecting to it in a way that I haven’t been able to do in a while. Unlike my previous posts, in which I discussed some of the difficulties life decided to throw at me this summer, this post will be more upbeat.

I am especially happy because I’ve been able to achieve my daily step goals these last two days for the first time in weeks? Months? I thought I had twisted or perhaps sprained my ankle and tried to take it easy, but it didn’t really get better. Ther another day I happened upon a description of Plantar Fasciitis and realized it sounds exactly like my issue (shooting pain and stiffness when waking up or after sitting down). I decided that trying some of those stretches won’t hurt even if that’s not my issue. It’s been only two days, but I already feel better. Not perfect but much better.

Since this pain started around the time I got some new shoes, I decided to buy a different style than I usually buy (it’s new shoe buying time, anyway). Hopefully, I’ll be at minimal pain and maximum mobility in no times. Which is good because I’m not digging this weight gain or my inability to play Ingress like a boss. Ha! The endorphins are also much needed after such a trying summer.

I no longer find myself crying (read: sobbing) all the time over my friend who passed. I will miss him forever and occasionally tear up, but I don’t feel the need to stay inside a blanket fort and avoid my life. He would appreciate me getting on with it, anyway. Part of this is because I have a house guest, and it’s a bit of a distraction.

My friend’s death really cast a pallor on all my other summer activities. Sure, I saw the eclipse, heard Adam Lambert + Queen in concert, enjoyed John Mulaney’s standup in person, had a story published in a zine that I have yet to open, visited a plethora of museums and traveled to or through nearly a dozen states.. but it all just paled in comparison. It was so difficult for me to enjoy the fact that I had done any of that.

It didn’t help that it all involved being in so many cars, trains or buses! While I will likely take at least three more road trips before the year wraps up, I had to slow down my pace so I wasn’t so exhausted and depressed.

Once I finish Halloween decor this week (boy, am I behind!), things in my life will begin to look more normal. I am going to pass up hosting my own party to save money and effort, but I am excited about my costume no matter where I wear it!

I’m even managing to catch up on writing reviews, entering giveaways, and email communications (including pitches to companies, which I haven’t done at all this year!).

But, first, I must hack some portals!


Sep 05

Sometimes You Just Need to Build a Blanket Fort

I am 31 years old. According to many, I am strong. I have my shit together compared to many that I know, and I’ve managed to make a way for myself that confuses and, perhaps, intimidates most people.

But this has been a trying summer. It started out fine if not busy. It quickly went downhill as my friend Collin’s health declined. His death was hard. I knew it would be. But it was harder than I imagined.

When people ask, I’ll tell them that, but I’m not sure they realize what it means. It means that there are days when I find myself crying a dozen times. Of course, there are days when I don’t cry at all. And there are no days when I don’t also laugh or bring a smile to someone else’s days. But there’s never a day that I forget, and I don’t think there’s been a day since his passing when I felt entirely myself.

I am not alone in this. Although, sometimes I feel more alone than I would like. I’ve also felt a little less safe than I would like to, you know, emotionally. Now, I am not one to decry that those who need safe spaces are weaker than. But it’s never something I thought I would need myself. As it turns out, it might be.

So I made myself a blanket fort. At first it was a silly idea, perhaps encouraged by the silliness of a new friend. I considered it and even joked about it my mother, who encouraged me to build a blanket fort.

To be honest, I can’t ever remember doing it as a child, so I began to plan it out (like kids do that! lol). It became a distraction as I dragged kitchen chairs into my living room. And I built a thing.

Blanket fort 1.0 wasn’t the best. I could sit in it, but it was small. I decided to renovate. Soon enough, I had a larger space I could lie in, and my cats could explore. It wasn’t entirely comfortable because I was on the floor.

After a couple hours in my newly-expanded blanket fort (and one roof caving in CATastrophe), I wondered if I could fit my air mattress in it. The fort was slightly more narrow than my mattress, but I squeezed it in there successfully.

It was starting to feel plush. And comfortable. Safe. Phantom crawled in next to my frequently. Goliath took longer to warm up to the idea. He was nearby, but he didn’t join me until after I fell asleep last night and the temperature had dropped quite a bit.

Yes, the whole thing was silly and childish. But it was more than that. It was a needed break from my routine, both my daily and mental routine. It was carefree and silly. And while I can’t say I didn’t shed a tear while in my blanket fort, I can also say that it felt good to be in.

Now, I wouldn’t want to need a security blank or a security blanket fort to get through life, and I don’t. I spent a day being silly, reading and playing games from within the comfort and confines of a malleable, semi-permanent living structure (as I coined it in a Facebook life even update). I slept there.

Then, I woke up and took down the “walls” and returned to my normal life feeling a little bit better and a lot more like myself.


Aug 13

A List Of Things That Are Bothering Me

We’ll start small.

My apartment is full of flies. I’ve never had more than 1  or 2 the entire time I’ve lived here. I’ve killed twice that in the hour I’ve been awake and a dozen were taken down last night. I don’t know what to do with them, and it’s not like it’s disgusting in here (aside from the flies). No room seems off limits. Sigh.

Then get big.

One of my best friends died three weeks ago. I suspected it was coming and we even got extra time with him. But it sucks. Period. He was younger than I am, and it seems so unfair. You can argue that he died as he lived — fearless and on his own terms — but it doesn’t make me feel much better. And I feel guilty in ways. That I don’t feel bad enough. That I maybe didn’t spend enough time with him when I could have. That I let discomfort prevent me from visiting him. That I checked out of our friendship during his last days because I couldn’t handle it. That I should be stronger. That I am letting this affect me too much for someone who was not romantically involved with him. Basically, if you can feel bad about it.. I do.

On the subject of loss.

Two of my close guy friends decided to move this year. One to another city and another a few miles away. It shouldn’t be such a big deal, but that’s 3/4 of my guy besties who aren’t accessible, two of them when I might especially need friends who will go on miles-long walks with me. And I’m not entirely sure these decisions are wise (though I recognize that it’s definitely not my place to say so). I can’t help but wonder if some of this pain — on both sides — could be mitigated by not leaving to begin with.

One friend’s move is only a reminder of how our friendship has atrophied over the past couple years. So while he might finally be moving, that era perhaps has already seen its end. And that’s difficult for me to come to terms with.

It would perhaps be easier to deal with these things if I weren’t so painfully single. That’s something that’s been weighing on me lately but only because there is someone who I like. And that terrifies me. Admitting it is scary. Trying to make something come of it? Terrifying! I’m pretty much in preparing-for-it-to-not-work-out-mode while simultaneously putting off acting on it more because I don’t want to usher in the inevitable end.

I’m pretty bummed that my eclipse plans seem to have fallen through. The friend I assumed I would go with can do it. I realized I made hotel reservations for the week after. Ugh! All the trains to the place where I wanted to spend the eclipse are booked, not to mention hotels. I don’t see how I can make it happen now. And that sucks. I was so looking forward to it.

Add to that loud, thoughtless friends, selfish people, pettiness, weird weather, missing out on legendary Pokemon, a potential foot/ankle injury and weight gain and.. everything is just sort of “meh” right now. =/


Jun 15

Where In The World Is Cole?

I meant to post about my trip to California, which happened in April, but seeing how it’s been over a month since I posted anything here at all, we can just agree that I’m not. It’s been too long for me to write about it in-depth, at least to me, but I will give you the rundown on what I’ve been doing.

April

So, yes, I went to California in April. I began tossing the idea around in my head in the beginning of the year but put it off due to money and nerves. Finally, I picked a date and booked myself a train ticket and flight. I decided to take the train from Chicago to California (after hopping a bus from here to Milwaukee and another train to Chi-town) to simultaneously save money and see the country. So.. I did that.

It was a long train but interesting. I saw a bit of the country – not all of which was worth seeing. Some of it was gorgeous and interesting, but restlessness prevented me from enjoying parts of the trip (I’m talking to you, Utah). I was super nervous because I’d never been on an American train before, but I survived and learned a bit about train culture, namely that there is a demographic of people (retired, limited income, wants to travel, has nothing better to do) that just loves trains in a way that I think I can’t.

My trip to Cali was short, shorter than I should have planned it and made even shorter by my purchasing a ticket from the wrong airport. All was okay, though. I saw the beach, took walks, enjoyed good food, bonded with my aunt, her husband and cat, saw the tech museum, visited rose gardens and the Egyptian museum, hacked 400+ new portals in Ingress and caught a new Pokemon. Not a bad little trip.

I flew into Minneapolis, spent the night with a friend and took the bus back after one long week.

May

I was super excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 last month and, well, it was okay. Just okay, you know? Not terrible but certainly not worth the time I waited, and that’s a shame. I saw the original three times, but the sequel just didn’t hit all the right spots.

I took a day trip to see a sculpture garden, shop and attend a cultural fest in the next town over, which was quite enjoyable.

Last month, one of my very good friends also got married. I was in the wedding, which was cold and hectic, but I wish them all the best. In April, my friend was finally able to move in with his fiancee, so I’ve had to adjust with not having him around. This has been, at times, quite the struggles.

I also struggled to walk as many miles per day as I wanted to last month.

Before the month wrapped up, I finally got myself to see the MC Escher exhibit at the art museum, and it was better than I could have anticipated!

The end of last month also marked my 31st and golden birthday. I wanted to do something different.. so I did nothing at all. I released myself from expectations and had an interesting day with friends, cupcakes and lots of sun. It was fun and low-pressure if not entirely memorable. But it certainly was different. Go me.

June

This month started impatiently. First, I was walking my ass off to level in Ingress. I am now 14 but probably won’t level for the rest of the year. Boo.

I was also awaiting the second weekend, which I had dubbed Wonder Woman Weekend. Robyn and I headed to Minneapolis (I’ll return next month to see Adam Lambert and Queen in concert) to stay with Wendy with plans to see the Pixar exhibit at the science museum, visit the zoo and see Wonder Woman. I didn’t see it opening weekend because I was waiting for this, so there was alot of expectation.

Wonder Woman was great, the zoo was nice and the museum was interesting, but it was hot. I didn’t get enough rest and returned home pretty grumpy. I also had a very busy work week last week that technically ended yesterday morning, so I am feeling little swamped.

Right before I left, I tackled making some galaxy bottles for decor. They looked amazing in the beginning but have since muddled. I think I know how to fix it, but it’s a bummer.

Throughout all of this, I’ve done the norm – walked all the miles, entertained a guest a time or two, read all the books (I’m over 52 titles on GoodReads if you count comics and audiobooks!) and comics (I’ve read my first ever Marvel titled in 2017), went out to eat, attended a few game nights, fires and birthdays parties and (binge?) watched plenty of Netflix. Judging from the length of this post, I’ve been a busy little bee. Perhaps I should add relaxing to my calendar!


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