Where Am I?

Am I okay???

I don’t know. Most of the time, I feel like… no. No, I am not okay at all. Then I review my notes from the last year and come to the pleasant conclusion that I am doing the best I can and accomplishing things on my own time. It really depends. Sometimes I’m doing really well! I’m working from home in my fabulous studio, organizing everything, and staying healthy. Other times… well… I get into a weird space in my head, go on a drinking binge, and word vomit all over Twitter. It is what it is. The fact that I have a stalker screenshotting my every move probably doesn’t help. At least we know he’s always entertained. Never a dull moment in my life, that’s for certain.

Currently very ill with serious stomach pains due to my latest freakout/binge. It’s not great, but it does inspire me to add a habit tracker and food diary to my 2022 Bullet Journal. I’m totally convinced at this point that if I just create the perfect customer planner for the next year, I’ll finally be the Best Version of Me and finally get my life together. I know, it seems pretty unlikely at this point, but at least I’m trying. Keeping a planner and journal this year did help a lot. I’ve just decided to consolidate it all into one convenient notebook that I can reference for everything.

How’s the writing going? Uhh… well… unfortunately I wrote a story about Andrew yesterday. It looks like it’s starting where I left it off before I went to Montana. We all know how that turned out. Then, lots of arguing for a long time. Now, here we are again. I’m not exactly thrilled, but at least it’s something? I guess? I’m so over it, you guys. I’m tired. I want to write actual books. If this guy is gonna keep showing up with his fucking screenshots, he can man up and be a real man, whatever that means. No more stories. I just want to write clickbaity fluff for entertainment so I can make $$$$$ and not live at home with my parents anymore. Priorities. I have them now. They don’t involve men. FDS has taught me well.

How is the quest to write clickbaity fluff going anyway? Umm… idk. About the same as trying to write everything else is going. It’s so frustrating, you guys. All I can say is that I have a very strict rule about my filling my time with other productive activities and writing-related things for inspiration. Lately, I’ve been learning all about taxes and finances and that other boring stuff. Wow, did you even know South Dakota is an expert-level tax haven? You can break all the laws here. Yeah, it’s great. Turns out that 10-year residency card is good for something after all. I’m just kidding. Or am I?

Planning to take some new courses in the new year to help with the copywriting level up game. Pretty excited about that. Keeping up with my Musical Mondays concept, which gives me the time and space to express myself in other ways. I just do it for fun, which takes a lot of the pressure of perfection off. The whole idea is to overcome the need to be perfect, which I struggle with so much when it comes to writing. That’s why I’m not writing anything right now. Every time I sit down to look at the blank page, I just…. ugh. Ugh. I have no idea what I’m doing, lol. Except for the fact that I am an obsessive Planner and therefore have everything I plan to write outlined to the very last detail. For some reason that makes it harder to let the words just flow?

No pressure, of course. I’m not competing with any of these other perfect little Instagram Influencers and their perfectly curated content machines and how the fuck am I supposed to make money on a blog about being a perfect lifestyle goddess when I am a hotass messy mess? Oh my god. It’s way too much for a normal person to even try to live up to, let alone me. I can’t do it. I’m totally freaking out right now. Somebody get me a Personal Branding Coach before I have an anxiety attack and explode.

Note to Self: There is, in fact, a market for people who cannot ever possibly live up to these impossible standards of perfection. They’re called “normal people.” I actually have quite a few of them in my audience. They’ll read anything I have to say and tell all their friends. Shoutout to all ya’all! You’re the GOATs. I love you. You’re the best. I’d be nothing without you. Thanks for not living up to whatever bullshit lie social media says you have to be in order to succeed.

Just wanted to stop by and give you all an update on why I’m not writing on my new blog yet. Please know that I am working on it and my books and doing everything in my power to bring you the Best of BetseyHorton.com. Thank you for checking up on me while sitting at Bloody Mary’s talking shit and passing your phones around the table. I wouldn’t be here without you.

I’m on a Journey

Well. It happened. Just as I predicted. The Twitter stalker escalated into real life. I actually got chased down in a car on Friday afternoon by a person who I never had a problem with, used to consider a “friend,” and wrote about quite well considering everything. Sigh. See what I mean about these small town people faking their values, morals, and so-called integrity? Yeah.

As per usual, I have absolutely no idea what the hell is going on behind my back. I almost never hear anything true about myself from the rumormill. People just make shit up because they’re bored and they want to hurt other people. I have no respect for people who talk about me behind my back. I have no respect for people who gossip and spread malicious lies about me or ANYONE at all. I have no respect for people who dismiss every single thing I have to say about my own life because they think they know me better than I know me. Like, how dare you you assume to understand my perspective? We aren’t even from the same planet, ya’ll. South Dakota and Washington, D.C. could not be more different. We view the world in different ways. We are not on the same page. We are not on the same planet.

The truth is… whatever they have going on over there isn’t about the book anymore. I took all the right actions and did the things I was supposed to do. I stopped publishing the stories, took them offline several times, took them to workshop, got non-biased feedback from strangers who can be objective, re-published a heavily-edited, condensed version that got better feedback, and took it offline again for more edits. I speak highly of the establishment in conversation with others and often refer back to my own set of nostalgic memories. I’m not using real names. I’m not writing “revenge stories.” I’m not even publishing anything in public anymore.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on Me. I’ve been taking classes in journalism, marketing, advertising, creative writing, business, art, theatre, dance. All the things. I deleted my Facebook account. I work out and stay hydrated. I journal, meditate, and do yoga. I avoid interacting with toxic townies. I travel to exciting places. I work on building a new career. I work on other projects. I try not to drink but I don’t always win that battle every day. I’m trying, but anyone who struggles with drinking will tell you it doesn’t happen overnight. The point is: I’m working on it. I’m doing my thing. I’m highly aware of how many toxic people exist in my immediate vicinity. I do my best to avoid them.

This doesn’t change my memories, my feelings, my thoughts, my stories, my characters. I heard your screeching, ignorant, petty “feedback,” which absolutely does not follow the rules of Constructive Criticism because it’s basically just “StOp BeInG sO cRaZy!” I’m trying to adjust course on my book. Yeah, I have tons of stories about The Rez, and Pierre and Yankton and Sioux Falls and Sioux City and random little tiny towns in Nebraska that no one has ever heard of. I have stories on stories about Mad Dog. I have stories about shitty bars I worked in. I have stories about characters I met in those same shitty bars. I have all sorts of things up my sleeve!

Does anyone care? No! Let’s all pretend I’m the same person I was four years ago because someone else thinks they know me better than me. They acted like assholes and now they’re mad that I’m writing about them as assholes. Don’t like it? Fine. Write your own book. I’d love to see you match the ten years of work I’ve dedicated to my project. Go ahead. Do it. Write your own version of Bloody Mary’s that’s better than mine. Write about how great you are and how everyone loves you and how your shit doesn’t stink. Use it to talk about how much you hate Betsey Horton. And please, use my real name so I can sue you for defamation of character later. I would love that more than anything.

I don’t know what to say to these people anymore. I am a very obvious person. I put myself right the fuck out there. What you see is what you get. People who know me, know me. They believe me. They support me. As far as I can tell, the people in this town don’t support anyone or anything. They just tear each other down constantly like the bucket of crabs they are. Every time I eavesdrop in a public place around here, there is someone going down a list of people and just ripping them a new one. It’s boring. And then they have the nerve to get upset when that gets reflected back at them by an “outsider” who has a different perspective on the town?

It’s true. I am an outsider. I’m not from a small town, or South Dakota, or even the Midwest. This place might as well be a different planet as far as I’m concerned. I observe it from my perspective. I don’t try to pretend otherwise. I am direct and upfront. I do not need to be fake or pretend to be nice to others so I can use whatever they say against them later. That’s what people around here to. I approach my surroundings with genuine curiosity and interest. I am not welcomed, I am not treated with any kind of decency or respect, and yet I am constantly told by the same people treating me like garbage that they are “So nice and friendly and helpful to strangers and have so many morals and values blah blah blah.” Um, okay, so if that’s really the case, why am I not observing that behavior out in the wild? Why do I only ever see and experience backstabbing?

Anyway, so, yeah. I moved on with my life and they didn’t. It is what it is. I’m still going to write my book because I’ve done actual marketing research on it for class and I know there’s an audience. I don’t care if they’re mad. They can keep behaving the exact same way they are behaving. I have no respect for any of them and I don’t take them seriously. That’s how they treat me, so why would I treat them any better? They don’t deserve it, right? They’re asking for it, right? They’re the ones who are crazy. I’m over here in my own world, doing my work, doing the therapies, trying to get my life in order, and they are… *checks notes* making fake twitter accounts to threaten me, taking screenshots of everything I post, chasing me down in cars, and screaming at me to go kill myself in broad daylight.

Yeah, and you wonder why I write these silly little scripts and stories making fun of you? Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

And in the end, they learned nothing. I Leveled Up and became the successful writer I was always destined to be. Small Town Haters stayed Big Mad. 🙁 🙁 🙁 Sad face.

The End.

I’m Right and All of You are Wrong

Yesterday I was sitting in a local establishment having lunch when suddenly, a wild alumnus appeared. He went to school here in the 90’s and started sharing his memories with those of us who happened to be sitting at the bar. I listened for awhile before I began to engage. I asked him what his favorite memory of his time in town was.

“Hands down… THE CAST OF CHARACTERS!”

“Oh? Really? Would you read a book about your beloved cast of characters and all the crazy stories floating around about the town?”

“Without a doubt!”

So there you have it. Quick! Let me just add that person to my ever-growing list of random people I’ve met downtown who don’t care about stupid, local, made-up drama! How many does that make now? Oh, not much. Just a couple hundred. Maybe a couple thousand. Idk. What do my website stats say? That’s what I go off of because everyone knows social media is for spying and data collection.

During this conversation, I found myself telling him the story of how I came to know this Crazy Cast of Characters. I detailed some of the stories I’d discovered about the town and one character in particular (Mad Dog, obviously). As I was telling this story, I realized once again that yes, I really do have something special here. My list of characters is in the hundreds at this point. I’ve got stories on stories on stories, some of which are mostly true. And then it hit me: I’ve invested almost ten years of my life into collecting these stories. I didn’t have to do this. I could’ve left South Dakota behind forever. But I didn’t. I went out and explored it and got to know it. I put in the time, the work, the effort.

Does anyone even stop to consider for one moment that I am literally the only person in the history of ever to acquire an interview with Mad Dog, a person who is literally famous in South Dakota history? No!!!!! No one thinks about any of this!!! They just want their latest target to beat up on because all they care about is DrAmA.

Did this random person mention Bloody Mary’s? OBVIOUSLY! They always do! Always! They always say it was their favorite bar. They say it was SPECIAL! So here we are again with me correctly identifying the significance of this location after many conversations with many former residents from different decades. Turns out, it’s NOT “just another bar.” The only people saying that are the asshole bartenders and their asshole friends who are being manipulated by the asshole owner into hating me. Why?

Because ?????????????

Why ARE they so pissed off, anyway? No one knows! I confronted him right at the start. I told him I was writing this book. I asked him permission to write about Bloody Mary’s specifically. He said he did not care what I wrote as long as I did not use his real name. Okay, no real names! Got it! Then what happens? He decides to turn around and act like this conversation never happened so he and his shitty little friends can play their absolutely insane mind games with me. All of it was a set-up. They set me up to kick me out. They set me up to get arrested. They set me up to run me out of my apartment. They set me up to write some of those nasty stories and social media posts. They set me up to ruin my reputation. I recorded all of it while it was happening in real time. You can’t gaslight me, motherfuckers! I keep multiple diaries!

I just keep wondering to myself…

Why?

Seriously, why?

I don’t know the answer to that question. I just know that I’m dealing with a bunch of alcoholic narcissists who spend their free time collecting screenshots so they can ruin other people’s lives for fun. Don’t believe me? Haha, well, you should see the screenshots I took a few weeks ago when some random troll came out of the woodwork on Twitter to threaten me. They made a fake account, followed a bunch of big publishing houses, the New York Times, and AWP, and then threatened to start posting unflattering screenshots in order to destroy my career. I actually laughed out loud when I saw this.

Really, bro?

Okay, let me explain something to you: No one cares.

Literally.

No one cares!

You are an anonymous troll account set up for the sole purpose of harassing and intimidating someone into silence. That doesn’t make you look good. In fact, it makes you look like a crazy, unhinged stalker. You’ve already lost, bro. Back off.

Oh, and coming after me about my drinking habits? Wow. That is NONE of your business. At all! That’s between me, myself, and my higher power. You do not get to run commentary on that. In fact, doing so makes you look like an even bigger asshole since I’ve regularly tweeted about my struggles with alcohol and have collected some followers because of that specifically.

What else were they talking about? LOL well they admitted to stalking The Publisher. Seriously! They were trying to say whatever about him that isn’t true because……. jealousy, I guess? They’re mad that someone in a position of power is supporting my writing instead of trying to destroy my career, ruin my reputation, and break me down psychologically into nothing? I don’t know!!!!!!

The whole thing was crazy. I literally looked at the account and said to myself, “Wow, whoever this person is is actually crazy. Some totally anonymous person just admitted to me that they have been recording me without my permission, obsessively stalking my social media looking for anything they can use against me, and following me to another town to watch my interactions with other people with the specific intention of harming me! WOW!!!!! Whereas I’m wandering around SD aimlessly looking for interesting stories and characters to write about while actively advertising myself! Yeah! This is right up there with telling me to go kill myself in broad daylight while walking down the sidewalk! That’s CRAZY!!!! The way these people are acting right now is literally unhinged. Like, I literally live at home with my parents. I don’t even have a life for them to ruin anymore!”

Then I reported them and blocked them, obviously. Now I’ve got screenshots to send to my lawyer too! Along with all of the diaries I’ve been keeping this entire time to prove that I am the subject of undeserved, insane levels of harassment. Good luck with whatever your plan is, guys. I have a pretty strong feeling it hasn’t been thought out beyond “ScReEnShOtS!!!! HeRp DeRp DeRp!!!!!!!!!”

The account is gone now, as it should be. Unfortunately, I have no doubt another will come along in its place, which is really sad. I can’t even take this seriously anymore. I’m out there in the world collecting stories and using various marketing tactics to promote said stories and collect data on my potential audience. I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Some people may not see what I do as a job, but I do. Writing is my job, my life, my passion, my everything. True, I haven’t gotten paid for it… yet. But I will. I know that. People want to read my books. My audience is out there, ready and waiting for me to climb out of the hole of depression and self-destructive patterns and release the books!

So there you have it, folks. I’m right and all of these assholes are wrong. They’re wrong. They’re so wrong about everything all the time. They’re wrong about my intentions. They’re wrong about my personality. They’re wrong about my life story. They’re wrong about my blog, my books, my stories, everything. They’re just flat-out wrong. Especially when they say really dumb shit like “Your scripts have ToO mUcH dIaLoGuE!” Yeah, bitch. They’re supposed to be all dialogue. That’s literally what a SCRIPT is. Are you really that fucking stupid? Unfortunately, yes. Yes you are. And then you have the audacity to say, “YoU nEvEr LiStEn To AnYoNe!” Yeah, no. I definitely heard you. I just don’t think you’re aware of how fucking stupid you actually sound right now. No one wants to listen to you, especially not me. Now if you’ll please excuse me, I’m going to go chat with real writers, editors, and publishers who actually know what the fuck they’re talking about.

Yet these assholes still have the audacity to come out anonymously online and act entitled to tell my story for me as if they are the real expect because of their carefully-curated collection of ScReEnShOtS. What a bunch of fucking losers. Get a real hobby. Seriously. There is more to life than your stupid small town drama. There is a whole world out there waiting for you! Go explore it and get some perspective! Then maybe you’ll understand what it is I actually do.

I’m so tired of this shit, you guys. So tired. I just want it to stop. I’m sorry you don’t like me. I’m sorry you’ve taken in upon yourselves to try to ruin my life. I’m sorry you live in a world where the highlight of your week is destroying another person’s life with ScReEnShOtS. I feel sorry for you. I really do. I hope against all hope that someday you grow the fuck up and stop acting like you are in high school. I doubt it will happen, but I just want you to know that I’m sending you good vibes. Mostly because I want your money when the books come out. But also because you’re sad and lame and stupid and like, wow. Just wow. You seriously need to find a hobby other than gossiping and spreading rumors. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel about the world once you turn all that energy back on yourself and use it to Level Up.

So this is a fun breakthrough to have! I credit this to the Reiki I had done last week. I’ve been trying to break through this block for over a year. I couldn’t get to it because I was hurting so much from all of the psychological terrorism these people have been using against me for the last few years. It hurts to put myself out there in the world and get attacked repeatedly for it. No, I can’t JuSt GeT oVeR iT. I fell in love with this town, the characters, and the stories. What happened at Bloody Mary’s broke my heart. It did. No one gets to tell me that I’m not allowed to feel that way. No one gets to decide they didn’t hurt me to avoid accountability for their actions. I feel what I fucking feel and I had to go through a lot of healing and therapy to get to the point I’m at right now. You don’t get to say that didn’t happen, Anonymous Twitter Troll. You don’t get to to tell my story for me. I tell my story for me. So back the fuck off!

I just want to write this book. That’s all I want. I just want to whip it into shape and get it into its final form. I want it out in the world making money. I earned it. I deserve it. I went through literal hell to write it. I put in the time, the effort, the work. This is my life and none of these people get to ruin it with their petty bullshit.

I’m over it. I’m right and all of them are wrong. That’s it. That’s The End.

Now go take a bunch of ScReEnShOtS of this post and shove them up your ass.

Self-Care Sunday

Sunday morning. Finally writing again. Writing? What is that? My job? Ugh. Yeah.

Lately I’ve been caught up with other things. Mainly reorganizing my studio to give myself a more productive work space. It took some time, but I finally got there. You know, except for the giant pile of laundry on the floor, but it wouldn’t be my room if that wasn’t a prominent feature, right? The important part is that I have my desks all organized and my writing stuff ready to go. I’ve got brochures pinned to my cork board, maps on my wall, a white board calendar, and all of my binders, notebooks, and supplies organized. I’ve even got a snack drawer. Yes, I am ready to be a professional Writer Extraordinaire. No one can stop me now! Mwa hahahaha!

The other major feature of my new studio design is the yoga/dance space! Right now, it’s literally just an extra door I put over the carpet. It’s laminated wood so I can dance on it or lay my yoga mat out. The only problem is that it’s actually hollow. I need to find a more permanent solution. The portable dance floors online are expensive though, so… motivation to work harder, I guess. In the meantime, I started a 30-day yoga challenge for flexibility and started doing dance classes on YouTube. Just having the space right there makes it so much easier for me. I find it to be such an ordeal to get to the gym on time, find a space, settle in, get the vibe, etc. Plus I hate seeing people I know in town right now because it gives me major anxiety. Now I can just skip all that shit, put on the space heater, change into yoga pants, and do a 30-minute routine whenever I feel like it. Zero stress. Just good vibes.

Right now, it’s all about mindset for me. Having my own space in order again makes me feel better. Yes, it’s still at home, which sucks, but at least it’s my space and it’s not in total chaos anymore. My head feels clearer. I can actually look at the business plan I made and chip away at it. It’s going slowly. It’s taking forever. Some days I get caught in the negative feedback loop playing in my head and it makes it so hard to write. I couldn’t understand why until someone recently put a voice to how I was feeling instead of gaslighting me, calling me crazy, and telling me to go kill myself like people around here usually do. She said, “It must have really hurt you to put yourself out there like that and share such personal things only to be attacked and degraded in return.” Actually, yes, it does hurt. It hurts a lot. I am not a weak person for admitting that I am not an invincible stone goddess who never feels emotions and doesn’t let words hurt me. Some days it hurts so much that I don’t even bother trying to numb it down because I already know it’s not going to work. It hurts so much that I can’t even write a 500-word SEO-driven blog post about beauty product recommendations. That has nothing to do with my personal life at all. It’s a completely neutral topic. It’s easy. So, so, so easy. And yet… I crash and break down whenever I look at a blank page because I’m in so much pain all the time.

Am I doing therapy to help me work through this shit? You’re goddamn right I am. I need it after dealing with that crazy cult full of assholes. But still. It takes time. And that sucks. The good news is, I’ve stopped drinking over it. Mostly because my 33-year-old body finally said, “Look, I can’t do this anymore. I literally can’t. Literally. So just light up a joint, take a bubble bath, and meditate. Stop poisoning me and start taking care of me!” Okay, got it. Now that’s what I do. It’s working out great!

So great, in fact, that when I did go out for the SDSU game, I actually had FUN instead of sitting alone feeling sad. I ended up running into a bunch of other alumni from when I was at school and we had a blast playing Bar Golf. There was no drama, no gossip, no backstabbing, no bad vibes at all. Just a bunch of 30-something alumni reminiscing about the good old days at Uni and wondering where life is taking us next. It was a fantastic afternoon. I was actually able to look at Verm objectively and say, “You know what? I did have some great times here and I’m always going to have those memories. I’m always going to remember all my crazy nights downtown and I’m always going to have a fondness for Bloody Mary’s in particular. No one is ever going to take that away from me, no matter how low they stoop.”

And then I wrote a story about turning all those dickbags at Bloody Mary’s into a variety of barnyard animals, just because I was so inspired by the defeat of SDSU. You can read it in the book when I publish it, whenever that is. Idk I’m on like the 21st draft so WHO KNOWS! In the meantime, I just avoid any and all interaction with any of those people. Literally everything they’ve been screaming at me the last few years is listed out and explained in all of the books I’m reading for therapy. Classics such as:

  • “No one cares!”
  • “No one likes you!”
  • “I never said that!”
  • “I never did that!”
  • “What blog? I don’t know anything about a blog.” (usually said after being confronted to their face about something they said about my blog)
  • “You NEVER listen to anyone!”
  • “You make everything about you.”
  • “I don’t read your blog!” (usually said after the person has read every single post and thrown a tantrum)
  • “You’re just doing it for attention!”
  • Blah blah blah
  • Etc etc etc.

Yeah, all of that is what narcissistic abusers say to their victims in order to gaslight them. The other crazy behaviors they’re exhibiting are also listed out, such as gaslighting, victim-blaming, invalidating all of my experiences/feelings, gossiping behind my back, spreading malicious rumors, openly mocking my mental health, using sexist slurs to describe me, the constant screaming meltdowns, refusing to take any responsibility for their words/actions, refusing to apologize, stonewalling, and all other attempts to isolate me from the community. Yeah, all of that stuff is considered bright red glaring flags that I’m dealing with a narcissistic abuser. In other words, I’m not the “crazy” one. In fact, men just call anything and everything women do “crazy.” That word actually has no meaning whatsoever! That’s why I NeVeR LiStEn to these jerks or take them seriously. They’re just petty misogynist bullies and I have absolutely zero respect for any of them.

I’ve started feeding myself this mental script daily so it stops hurting me. Just send that energy right back to them. All of this is a reflection of them, not of me. I’m not a bad person. I started this blog to stand up for myself against people like this. I’m still standing up for myself five years later. I’m not going to crumple because some asshole with untreated mental illness is screaming at me to go kill myself in the middle of the street in broad daylight. That’s insane. Who does that? I’m not doing that! That’s fucking psycho. The person who did that is a psycho. They hang out with a bunch of other psychos just like them. That is 100% a reflection of who they are on the inside and it is UGLY.

So yeah, definitely keeping a strong distance from that crazy townie shit. The more I think back on things, the more I realize that the source of all the drama in my life since moving here has been townies hovering around university students. If Verm was the cave in Harry Potter, the students would be Harry & Dumbledore and the townies would be the zombie things trying to lure them into the water and drag them down into the depths, never to return. So now I’ve recognized that pattern and have resolved to just avoid the townies altogether.

I’m too old for this shit now. I graduated high school in 2007. I’ve lived through a pandemic. I don’t care anymore. I want to travel and see the world. I want to be a great writer. I have dreams and goals and an epic bucket list to complete while I still have my freedom as a woman. I can’t be stuck in the mud anymore.

Like I said before, it’s all about the mindset. I am very busy and important. It’s the end of the semester. I have a massive To Do list I need to focus on:

  • 4 online courses that I’m SO close to finishing but have been dragging on
  • 2 books to finish, edit, and publish.
  • Starting new blog
  • A million residency/conference/school/job applications to fill out
  • Build my freelance portfolio/business
  • Manage finances responsibly

You know, real professional things that real writers do. Not worrying about whatever some drunk loser said about me this week. Just working on getting things done on top of eating healthy, working out, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep at night. My priority right now is me. That’s okay. It’s not narcissistic or selfish to take care of my own needs. It’s called self-care and it’s essential for people like me who struggle with things like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It doesn’t make me weak. It doesn’t make me “crazy,” whatever that word even means at this point. It means I value myself and want to take care of myself instead of poisoning my mind and body with a steady diet of alcohol and emotional abuse.

My sincerest hope is that anyone out there who is reading this and struggling with the same issues feels inspired to take back control of their life. I hope my difficult journey shows you that it’s not the end of the world and you can bounce back from traumatic life experiences. I hope someday I can create something better than this blog that does a much job of inspiring others. I hope one person in this absolutely insane clown world we are living in reads this and decides not to give up on life because of it. If I can accomplish that, my life will have been meaningful.

On that note, I’m off to write something that isn’t this. This blog sucks, I know. Please be patient with me. I’ve been through SO MUCH, you guys. I haven’t had a break in traumatic events in at least a decade and a half. I’m taking some time to heal from everything so I can be the best version of me and share my writing gift with the world. I have so much to offer, so much to give, so much to do. This time on Earth seems so limited, especially now that it seems like we won’t even have a world in ten years time. I want to make the most of it. So, like I said, please bear with me as I learn to make peace with myself. Thank you again for being my audience and making me feel like my stories matter. You are the reason I’m still here and I will always be grateful to you for that.

Be well. <3

The Revival

Here I am again, back in Verm. You all know how thrilled I am about that fact. Couldn’t be happier to be surrounded by all these ridiculous people, lol. It’s okay. It doesn’t seem to matter so much anymore. Who are they again? Where the hell are we? Does this place even really exist? I just saw a campaign online to unite the Dakotas as one and give Washington, D.C. statehood. Even East Coasters don’t see South Dakota as a legitimate state. Why the fuck does it matter what any of this small town trash thinks?

Mental Scripts Matter. This is now what goes through my head every time I walk through downtown. Much better than hating myself because a bunch of nobodies are mad that I speak my mind without fear, stand up for myself, and don’t take shit from other people. Oh, and I dress better than all of them combined. So. There is that. I don’t actually have to put up with disrespect from strangers on the street of LiStEn to anyone who just wants to be negative and tear me down. I am free just to be me. And I’m okay with that. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

Just spent another week on the East Coast thanks to my train pass. I was originally going to use it to go down South, but that didn’t work out because of Covid. Instead I used the first half of my pass (10 segments/30 days) to visit family in Cleveland and go to D.C. I used the second half to go to New York City, visit my older sister, and spend an extra night in DC. After 3 weeks on the road, I can honestly saying I am feeling 1000% better than I was in all the months prior to this trip. I like being home, around my family, walking around the city, eating delicious food, shopping, and interacting with people who actually know how to behave in public. Much better than last year, when I was trapped in a house for months on end and wandered a sad, empty, apocalyptic world when I did leave. 2020/21 sucked. 0/10, would not live through another pandemic again. As if I have any control over that at all, lol.

What did I do in NYC? Well, I went to see Moulin Rouge! The Musical, which is based on my favourite movie of all time. it was Spectacular Spectacular! Amazing. Loved it. I will write about it on my new blog, which I am definitely trying to work on, lol. But yes, exactly the sort of inspiration I was looking for after two years of this miserable pandemic bs. I am so grateful I had the experience to see it. It was just… Spectacular, Spectacular!

I spent a lot of time just wandering around watching people. I do that a lot when I’m in cities. I miss diversity. I miss seeing different people every single day. New looks, new outfits, new vibes, new neighborhoods, new parties, new events, new activities, new, new, always new. I hate being stuck in a small town in the middle of nowhere, where I have to see the same stupid people every day. They never change, they never get better, and they never get over whatever dumb bullshit from ten years ago. They just get progressively nastier as time goes on. It’s… really sad and depressing, to be honest with you. After I finally escape from here, I never want to live in another small town in the middle of nowhere ever again. City life is the life for me.

I collected a lot of stories too, which was good. I didn’t get as much writing done as I’d hoped, but that’s fine. The important thing is that I am feeling happy, refreshed, revived, and finally alive again. As I said in my last post, I hope I can carry this energy through so I can finish my books, start my new blog, and work towards having a steady income again. I want to be productive and happy. I want to work. I want to live my life. I am ready to step out of the haze of my pre-pandemic life and become the person I’m meant to be.

Now, if only I could stop staring at a blank page.

It’s cool. I won’t be too hard on myself. I just spent 3 weeks traveling by train. I’m happy but exhausted. It’s not the end of the world if I go home and take a nap or watch a movie after I finish this blog post. I have laundry to do, a desk to organize, and a bathroom to clean. I also have some sleep to catch up on. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during the pandemic, it’s that mental health breaks and physical rest are important. It’s okay to take time for me before I go back out into the world.

Nothing else to say for right now. I’m feeling kind of… well… tired, lol. Obviously. Off to go do something else now. Probably eat snacks and watch TV, or sleep. I know, I’m actually really boring IRL. I am nowhere near as exciting as the locals make me out to be with their imaginary delusions of grandeur. Lol, Bloody Mary’s. What a joke. Ha ha ha ha ha. These people are real. Hahahahaha. I can’t even, you guys. Oh well. At least it makes a good story! And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters to me.

❤️ Home Sweet Home ❤️

Currently sitting at a café in Washington, D.C. I’ve been away from Verm for two weeks now. It’s been magical, ya’ll. Believe me when I say I really needed a break from that town and all of the ridiculous people it. Nothing brings me back to life like a much-needed trip to the city. It’s like waking up from a nightmare.

This trip was very good for me. I made peace with quite a few things going on in my life. I reconciled some issues from the past in regards to my hometown. I had a deeply spiritual experience in a graveyard. I saw old friends and family members. I spent way too much money on shopping sprees and delivery/takeout. I did a photoshoot. I wandered around the city aimlessly, searching for answers about my life.

Most importantly, I met two writers who are Making It! One is a freelancer with a successful business and the other is a train conductor who self-published a book and sells copies of it out of his suitcase to random passengers on the train. Meeting these two writers and conversing with them inspired me to write again for the first time in many moons.

So what did I do? I picked up some legal, fancy designer weed, ordered a $22 custom salad and bottle of rosé for delivery, took a CBD bath, put on my favourite local hip hop radio station, and sat down with my notebook.

There, in that tiny, historic hotel room smack dab in the middle of downtown DC, I had my second enlightening spiritual experience of the trip. For the first time in two years, everything was clear to me again. My post-Paris writer’s block finally drifted away and I was left with nothing but the words on the page.

I finally saw my two books/short story collections clearly. I saw my memoir clearly. I saw my blog and scripts clearly. I saw my goals, my dreams, my projects, my path, my life so, so, so clearly. No one was there to question me, or gaslight me, or insult me, or scream at me, or berate me. No one was there to tear me down. It was just me and the page, alone at last, and nobody was there to stand in my way.

I can only hope this inspiration stays with me and carries me through the next few months. I know what I have to do now. I’m not going to let anyone stand in my way. Especially not those ridiculous people in that ridiculous town. Who are they, anyway? No one knows. No one cares.

Do you know what people in DC say when I tell them I’ve been living in South Dakota? They say, “Is that a real place? Do people actually live there? Why do we even have two Dakotas in the first place?”

No, it’s not a real place. I made it all up in my head just for the sake of writing a story. It’s all just an elaborate nightmare I had while I speaks lying in a coma in the hospital. It doesn’t matter what those people say, or do, or think. They’re not real. They’re just another story.

Therefore, it doesn’t matter what they say. We all know they’re going to buy the book anyway. I don’t need their approval or validation. They don’t know anything about the world and the world doesn’t know anything about them. Therefore, who cares? I’ll write whatever the hell I want and I don’t care what anyone has to say about it anymore.

So here I am, leaving my hometown once again. This time it’s different. This time I know… I will always be able to come back here and find my home again. No matter where I travel to or how far I roam, I can always come back home. No, it’s not the same as it used to be, but it’s still here. It lives inside of me. Home is the memory that lives in my heart. Whenever I’m lost, I know I’ll find myself here.

*sniffles and wipes tears away* Sorry, I got a little emotional there. I just love DC so much, you guys. There’s no place like Home! ❤️

Now what?

Well, I’m all out of money now so I gotta go back to work. I have something lined up when I get back, so hopefully it will go through. It’s not ideal, but it’s money, so I just have to suck it up and hope that another unhinged psychopath doesn’t interfere. I mean, it’s South Dakota, so my expectations at this point are pretty low, but I still try to hope for the best.

I have 5 trips left on my train pass that I have to use before Oct 10th. That may or may not happen. I might just hop the train and circle around so I can write. If not, I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth, so it’s okay if I can’t do another round. There will be other trips to take in the future.

As far as the writing goes, I really hope I can get it done. I am currently laser-focused on the two projects I took to Paris: Bloody Mary’s and Travel Tales. I had a very clear vision of how I want both to look in their final forms. Yes, there will be tons of new material in both that hasn’t appeared on my blog. What doesn’t make it into the travel book will be going on the new travel blog. See what I did there? Neat!

Yes, people will still be mad about Bloody Mary’s, but… It’s just like, whatever, you guys. They need to just shut up and get over it already. Move on. I told them five years ago I was writing this book. I’m sorry they’re still mad, but who cares? They haven’t really tried to fix things and all they ever do is rag on me behind my back, so… they don’t really get to complain anymore that I didn’t represent them well. I’ll represent them exactly as they are: a bunch of dicks and assholes. They made their choice. Hopefully it will teach them a lesson about treating people better in the future. If not, who cares? No one even knows South Dakota exists, lol.

I’m only making it into a book because people still get on here and read the stories every week. I should be making money off this shit, especially since they’ve put me through so much. I worked hard, I earned it, I deserve it. I’m not sorry about their widdle feefees anymore.

Thinking about going back to the strange little town. Ugh. It’s definitely not my favourite place on earth. I’m not excited about it. I’m not looking forward to it. I hate everything about living out there and a week back at home in DC reminded me of all the reasons why.

However, this time is different. This time I’m motivated. Motivated to finish the books, motivated to work, motivated to save money and get the hell out of dodge as fast as possible. I can’t do it anymore, you guys. I’m over it. I hate living in the middle of nowhere. I HATE it! I’m a city girl at my core. I do not belong in a country world. It’s time to get the hell out of there forever.

Time to go now. Wish me luck on keeping my inspiration and motivation going. I need it! Covid lockdowns and the post-workshop block had me spiritually dead for the last two years. I need this clarity, ya’ll. I need it!

Au revoir!

It Is What It Is

Here I am again.

Currently sitting in a coffee shop with my “Professional Writing” notebook sitting in front of me. I’ve put a lot of work into it in the last year. It contains notes from the classes I’ve taken, workshops & conferences I’ve attended, and several versions of my business plan. It feels pretty good to look at it. It’s so easy to feel like I accomplished nothing during Covid, but it turns out that’s not true at all. I’m on my way to living up to the name “Writer Extraordinaire.” And you know what? I have to say… there’s nothing quite like the validation from myself of knowing that it’s happening because of me. I did the work. I put in the time. I ignored everything the haters said and did, I stood up for myself, and I will be rewarded with a fabulous career because of it. Feels good!

Are the haters still hating? Of course they are. Someone actually told me to kill myself last week. I just walked by and all of a sudden he was screaming at me to go kill myself. Downtown. In the middle of the sidewalk. In broad daylight. Like, what a freak, amiright, you guys? Who does that? Seriously? Are you some drugged-out transient on the streets of LA? What is even going on here right now?

Yeah, so I’m still putting up with winners like that, in addition to the gossipmongers who are currently trying to make me look bad by talking about something that happened last year. Like I didn’t spend 4 months on the East Coast, take trips to NYC/Boston/Providence/DC/St. Louis/Kansas City and collect stories from the pandemic. Like I haven’t dedicated all of my time and energy to online classes, virtual events, workshops, conferences, and lest we forget the 4 months I spent dancing and mastering the art of walking into an audition like I own the room. Like I haven’t been editing my book, searching for new inspiration, and setting up a new website. Like I haven’t spent every waking minute studying digital marketing even though I hate social media just so I can get a remote job. Like I haven’t been planning trips around Africa, or researching spiritual retreats at yoga ashrams, or thinking about joining the Peace Corps, or keeping up with both my French and Spanish in my free time just in case.

What the hell have these people been doing? I’ll tell you what they’ve been doing: They’ve been sitting at Bloody Mary’s, talking shit about everyone they know because they are totally miserable with their sad, little pathetic lives. Here’s my question for them: when was the last time you even left South Dakota? Was it years ago? What did you do? Go to Las Vegas? Wow, you’re so worldly and cultured! You’re really in a strong position to look down on other people and judge them for being different! No wonder you’re still hung up on shit that happened 5 years ago. It’s the most exciting thing you’ve ever been a part of! Now YOU, yes YOU, YOU are not ready to let it go just quite yet. You love the drama. You can’t get enough. You want more and more, and you don’t care who you hurt to get it. And just think, for all the lies and negativity you spread, you are still nothing. You’re still some nobody from some tiny little podunk town in the middle of fucking nowhere and you know it. Tearing me down can’t change who you are on the inside. You will never be on my level and that’s what makes you so mad.

So anyway, like I was saying, fuck the haters with No Vaseline. Seriously. No one cares about your bullshit anymore. Take the free advertising for what it is and get the hell over it!

No one knows why they’re mad. Really, I don’t. But I’m also extremely focused on myself and my level up journey at this point in my life. I’m not going to be a doormat or a people-pleaser anymore. I’m not going to “listen” to people who are screaming at me about what a terrible person I am while they are dressed like literal slobs. I can’t. I’m very busy and important. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I’m turning up the radio, putting Ice Cube on blast, and tuning you the fuck out while I learn how to do my makeup so it brings out the intensity of my eyes. Why? Just because I can. I do it for me because it makes me feel good to leave the house looking like I just walked off the Parisian runway. Maybe if you treated yourself the same way, you wouldn’t need to hurt other people to make yourself feel better.

Hey, yeah, so I actually do feel a lot better after putting this out into the world. I’m just so tired. I’ve spent my entire life being bullied because I’m different. It comes from all sorts of different people, including my family members. I’m so over it! I just want to be me! I don’t want to be screamed at anymore because I’m taking ballet as an adult or walking around a small town in a dress and high heels. Yeah, I’m loud and I’m obnoxious and I’m opinionated and I don’t give a fuck what you think about it. I’m all that, and a kind person… until you piss me off, of course. But hey, that doesn’t really matter so much, does it?

So yeah, after a lifetime of putting up with this, I’m not taking it anymore. I’m standing up and saying, this is me. This is who I am. I like myself and I’m not going to change. If you don’t like it, go fuck yourself with no Vaseline. I don’t want to hear it anymore.

I feel good saying all of this. I do. And you know what else I’m getting out of not giving a fuck? I actually wrote a story last night! A real one! Well, sort of. It was definitely about Andrew, but it’s fine. He asked me to write him a story about him pretending to be a Compliance Officer. It was funny and sweet and cute and very, very sexy. I liked it. I couldn’t help myself. Writing it felt like being on heroin, or at least what I imagine heroin feels like because I’ve definitely never touched that shit in my life. Maybe not heroin. Heroin kinda gives me “Under the Bridge” vibes. Maybe more like… ecstasy or something fun like that. Anyway, I don’t do drugs so I can’t make quality metaphors relating my process to drugs. Let’s just say it was like being on drugs and assume you understand what that means.

The point is… it felt good. Really good. Soooo good. And here is my real question: if it’s so wrong to write about him, then WHY does actually writing about him feel so good? Yep, I gotcha there! Can’t argue with that one! And it doesn’t matter anyway. Andrew has made it very clear that he wants to be my Muse and he’s here to stay. So, I might as well write sexy, cute, fun, romantic, fluffy stories about him, right? Maybe use that inspiration to get that romance novel/screenplay I have outlined written? Maybe even write an entire series of romance novels and make fat stacks of ca$$$h monayyyyy?! Yeah, that’s what I thought. It is what it is. I’m not sorry about it and I don’t have to be.

I really like the story I wrote last night. I don’t feel the need to publish it on here. That will just make them blow up even further and I don’t really need that right now. As you can see from the previous paragraphs, I’m working really hard to get my shit together. I don’t need anyone interfering with that. Therefore, I will keep him to myself… for now. Until it’s ready for the world to see. They just don’t understand our relationship. They don’t understand what it means for an artist to have a Muse. I can’t explain it. It is what it is. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it. I don’t have to limit my creative expression because they can’t understand. So when the time is right and the romance novel is written, edited, re-written, re-edited, re-re-written, re-re-edited, re-re-re-written, re-re-re-edited, et cetera x10, then I will show it to the world. But for now… I shall keep my secret sexy snake safe here with me. <3

Wowza, I feel so much better now that I’ve written several things in the last 48 hours. I’ve been bad and writing on Twitter again, which is my absolute WORST habit. I know it. But it’s something. A little bit of something after a long time of nothing is a lot. It really is something. 🙂 So yeah, I’ll take the story about the “Compliance Officer.” Just for fun. Just a little bit of fluff after a year and a half of apocalyptic hellscape. Maybe a little bit of fluff is exactly what everyone needs.

Well, I guess that’s all I have to say for now. I feel so much better about life now. I really do. Everything is going to be okay!

Structural Integrity

Thursday. End of July. Another month gone. Another set of challenges overcome. And so life continues on.

How did my weekend go? Amazingly, of course! The screenwriting workshop was EXACTLY what I was looking for. Three days of intensive lessons on plot structure with loads of charts and examples provided. It built on some of the stuff I learned in Paris in terms of structure and character development, but they really took the time to break it all down. I also had the opportunity to chat with other writers and pitch some of my story ideas. I am continually surprised that I’m getting good feedback on my ideas. People see a lot of potential in my stories about South Dakota. That’s really great to hear, especially since it feels like all anyone in my life ever does is drag me through the mud.

By the third day, I had my Verm manuscript outline and notes out again. I mentioned previously I’ve been taking periodic breaks from it and coming back to work on it. I think I’ve been through about 10 versions of it at this point. I can tell you with full confidence that the post-workshop version I’m working on now feels right. I admit that writing this book hasn’t been the easiest process. I’ve collected SO MANY stories about SD that I am straight-up overwhelmed. Thanks to this class, I’m starting to sort them out. Here’s what I’ve got:

  • The Main Story aka The Life and Men of Betsey Horton, Writer Extraordinaire – Fabulous!
  • Bloody Mary’s and Other Stories from the Bars – Pretty much over it at this point. I thought these people were interesting, but it turns out they’re just a bunch of petty, immature jerks. Boring! Make no mistake, I will be recycling some of those characters, if only because they were involved in major life events. There’s nothing to “just get over” here, people. It’s time for you to accept that this is part of my story and let it go. And here’s the thing… if they didn’t like the way I wrote about them before, they’re definitely not going to like it now. That’s on them. They knew I was writing this and they chose to present themselves poorly. That’s not my problem and I don’t really care how they feel about it.
  • The Island of Lost Guys – Mix of characters from SD and NoVA. Has potential but needs a MAJOR overhaul. On hold until further notice.
  • Andrew — AKA the Completely Unplanned, Unexpected Disaster, parts of which are still available to read on The Secret Menu, but will ultimately never see the light of day as a complete manuscript.
  • Mad Dog’s Life Stories — increasingly of less interest to me since he is a massively ungrateful jerk.
  • Bad Bosses — collected short stories of all of my bad experiences working in the service industry. Highly relevant in this day and age. I just came up with this idea within the last 2 weeks.
  • Travel stories — reserved for new blog project that I’ve been struggling to start due to writer’s block.
  • All of the Native American stuff — difficult to write because I am not Native and thus struggle with anxiety over cultural appropriation, taking away someone else’s opportunity, telling other people’s stories for them, etc.

Whew! That’s a lot! Jeezy Creezy, no wonder I’ve had so much trouble with this thing! I keep trying to smash it all together when it CLEARLY needs to be separated out! Suddenly, it all makes sense!

As a result of the workshop, I was able to extract The Main Story from everything else. Once I cut away all the external factors and focused on her alone, I could see the character’s journey clearly for the first time. The Town and the bars are just the setting. The exes and bartenders at Bloody Mary’s are the antagonizing force. The majority of stuff I initially thought was important isn’t really important at all. There’s a bunch of side stories that aren’t relevant to the main character arc. This woman is on a journey to find herself in an unfamiliar environment full of strange and terrible people, all while struggling with her own mental health. She overcomes many challenges and finally becomes the person she always wanted to be. Spoiler Alert: it’s just my life story with a rigid structure forced onto it. And guess what? It turns out that story has far more universality to it than I thought.

By the time the workshop was over, I had charted out my character arc and the full plot. All in all, I would say the investment I made was 1000% worth it. Not to mention the fact that I got to walk away feeling fantastic about myself because New Califor-kers like my style. That’s pretty much all I care about at this point. We already know how the Vermin feel about it. Guess what? No one cares. The only people whose opinions matter to me live in DC, New York, LA, London, and Paris. It is what it is!

Other important pieces of info to note:

  • It’s normal to go through dozens of drafts and rewrites
  • It’s normal to sit in public places, people watch/eavesdrop, and use it as inspiration for your work
  • It’s normal to write stories based on your real life
  • It’s normal to create strong characters who seemingly have a mind of their own (ie; Andrew)
  • It takes years to write anything good
  • Sometimes the smartest thing you can do as a writer is take a class
  • Networking is not quite as terrifying as it seems
  • Some people are actually pretty cool!
  • Personal attacks/insults are not considered “constructive criticism”
  • Not every piece of feedback you get should be taken seriously
  • If you have to argue with someone in order to get them to see your worth, they are not someone you should be wasting any time on
  • It’s totally fine to tell overly-critical “friends” and “family” members to stay in their own damn lane. Are ANY of these people out here trying to write multiple books, scripts, short stories, and blogs? Are they trying to build a professional career while everyone around them constantly criticizes them? No? That’s what I thought.

So, there you have it. Once again, I have proven that I’m right and all of these ridiculous people who keep coming at me with judgment, criticism, and screaming meltdowns are wrong. They are not professional writers. They are not editors, agents, or publishers. They don’t know shit about shit about shit about shit. From now on, the only people I’m taking writing advice from are other writers. Everyone else can shove it.

And in the end, I realized everything is going to be okay. I am okay. The person I am becoming is okay. There is nothing wrong with me. I am doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. I am right where I am supposed to be. I made the best of a really bad situation. Now I’m using the sour, rotten lemons given to me in a compost heap to grow a beautiful lemon tree.

Speaking of Lemon Tree… I still desperately need a writer’s retreat so I can work on all my stuff in peace. I am so tired of the screaming meltdowns! I got more done this weekend with my horrible mother gone than I’ve gotten done in months. Y’all need to make sure you get vaccinated so this stupid virus goes away and we can live our lives again!

I’m going back to bed now. I have been on and off with sleep the last few nights due to all the stuff going around in my head. Pretty sure I woke up at like 4:30am. I finally got up and went for a walk around the property (we have like 10 acres) around 6ish. I started writing at 7:30am. Now it’s 8:30am and I’m exhausted! I have a lunch date today so I’m going to give myself a break to nap. It’s safe to say I definitely earned it after writing all of this stuff out.

Have a lovely day!

Updated Progress Report

Hello, world. It’s me, Betsey Horton, Writer Extraordinaire. I’m writing to you again because my last post was very sad and I wanted to let you know things are getting better in my world. The sun is out, I’m wearing a mini skirt, and I’m enjoying an iced latte from the comfort of my car, which is parked downtown with the trunk door popped open so I can write and steal wifi at the same time.

Why am I doing this? Because the cafe hasn’t set up their tables and there’s nowhere else downtown to sit outside and watch people. So I made my own set up, away from The Bar That Shall Not Be Named so that they cannot harass me over their delusions of grandeur again. Something tells me they will keep doing it anyway. It’s okay. I just call them the Crazy Cult People now.

But really, it’s actually not okay. At all. Anyway, here’s how my life is going, for anyone who cares:

Novel

I’m not working on this. I mean, I am, but I’m also just not. I’m not very happy with it right now. It’s supposed to be this inspiring story of overcoming obstacles and succeeding in spite of the bullshit. Unfortunately, it’s not that. Other people will not allow it to be that. I’m still very angry and upset over everything that has happened. I’m trending sober at a 90% rate right now, so I have to spend a lot of time sitting with those feelings. It’s not fun!!! But I’m working through them. Some days are worse than others. Some days I feel like I’ll never climb out of the hole. However, I continue to persevere. I will get my happy ending. I will!

Blog

I recently made a life-changing decision and decided to invest in a blogging course advertised to me on Instagram. It was a little bit more money than I would usually spend on a course, but no more than I would pay for a single credit hour at USD. Y’all, it was worth it. I’m not going to talk too much about it yet because I’ve only just completed the first section, BUT I will say that the structure of the course is exactly what I needed to help me take my new blog plan to the next level. My hope is to start out with a travel blog that brings me passive income and eventually grow it into an online magazine. Let’s hope I can make it happen!

Courses

I jumped back into my courses after languishing for some time. Right now I’m working on copywriting and UX writing. As stated in the last post, I find social media and digital marketing somewhat frustrating, so I decided to try something else.

I am pleasantly surprised by how much I like UX. I use my iPad for everything so I am constantly evaluating app design without really being conscious of it. UX also has a completely different way of integrating human psychology into writing. Marketing is all about selling people shit, even if it’s a lie. I’ve met a lot of super shady marketing people throughout my digital nomad journey and they kind of put me off it. UX isn’t like that. It’s literally just about creating a design that will make using websites and apps a more pleasant experience.

I’m also attracted to UX for other reasons, such as the availability of remote jobs with benefits, the ability to work from a beach on the island of Zanzibar, and an insanely high salary. It’s insane. Literally insane. Look it up if you don’t believe me. I did and I was like, “Wow, I’m never going to have to worry about paying rent or buying groceries ever again.” I can’t even imagine having that much money. Forget bartending! I’m investing in UX!

Right now I’m taking a UX design fundamentals course. I signed up for a portfolio course to help me put together something to use to apply for jobs. I signed up for a webinar specifically for UX Writing next week. I also joined a bunch of groups on Facebook and reddit. Will I finally be forced to use LinkedIn? Probably. It’s not my favourite platform. I’m not going to lie.

Job Search

Speaking of LinkedIn, ugh. Job hunting. It sucks. It’s fine. Everybody hates it. I am not alone.

For me, I feel like I’m completely starting over. I have a degree, a couple internships, and over a decade of service industry experience. I have this website, which I built myself with the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from the last two decades of my life. Yet it feels like nothing I have to offer is what I actually need to get a job. It’s probably my anxiety talking. Or it could be LinkedIn, which I hate because I just sit there comparing myself to my peers.

I’ve also been taking time to explore different things instead of just jumping right in to something new. I know that what I want more than anything is a remote job. There’s a limited number of jobs that can be done remotely. I’ve had to carefully sort through my options, take courses to learn new skills, and build onto what I have.

Now that I’m at a place where I can look back on the last 14 months of pandemic life and actually measure the work I’ve done, I’m feeling less anxiety. It definitely feels like all I did was watch movies and TV, but in reality I’ve accomplished a lot. Maybe not as much as I was hoping, but I’ve made a complete turnaround as far as my career is concerned. I’m not throwing away all my time and money at the bars anymore. Instead I’m investing it all back in myself and working towards making a real change.

Networking

As mentioned in the last post, I hit a low point around March Madness, so I decided to go back to doing virtual events. I attended virtual BroadwayCon, the TCM Classic Film Festival, and New Orleans Jazz Fest. I also went to an IRL Kentucky Derby party, where I bet on the right horse to win third place and won $37.

I submitted a photo of myself dressed as Jenna from the hit Broadway musical “Waitress” to BroadwayCon and won a 2-week free trial membership to a virtual dance studio. I started taking Ballet, Jazz, and Musical Theatre Dance classes. I love it!!!!! I subscribed to their service and now I’m taking 4-5 dance classes a week. They also hold “Sharing Sessions” for us to journal and connect. It’s a really great community. I’m so grateful they reached out.

So, not a job, but something! Networking isn’t bad! Networking isn’t scary! It’s not a bad thing to put yourself out there and meet new people! Not everyone hates you and thinks you suck, Betsey! Some people in this world are actually really fucking cool! It’s okay!

Routine

My routine has improved by leaps and bounds since I started taking the dance classes. I already had “Musical Monday” firmly scheduled in my calendar in order to dedicate one full day a week specifically to my love of theatre, dancing, singing, acting, and musicals. Now I take three dance classes on Mondays and watch musicals in between. The jazz classes are on Tuesday and Thursday. I haven’t been great about making Thursdays, but I do have Monday and Tuesday down.

Saturday and Sunday are my “have fun or do nothing” days. Tuesday-Friday is for my blog, courses, and job hunting. I’m trying to force a designated cleaning day into that schedule as well, just because I have a tendency to let my clothes collect in large piles on the floor. It’s a never-ending battle, but I’m working on it.

I did find a new quiet place to work on my courses since the cafe hasn’t been working for me. I was hoping to enjoy the outdoor seating once it opened up, but it’s not here yet. That’s why I’m just chillin’ in my car, stealing the wifi, living my life. I just wanted to sit outside, you guys.

Mental Health

Okay! Last section! I have to finish this really quickly since there’s a storm rolling in. Figures. I finally get to wear a short skirt and it starts raining. Sucks. I need to move somewhere with better weather. I’ve come to understand that the weather has a much bigger effect on my mental health than I previously realized. Thank god for Vitamin D gummies.

I said I was going to get obsessed with eating healthy and exercising. This has been going well. It’s not my first time around this rodeo! Obviously the dance classes came at the perfect time. Eating wise, I haven’t given up meat but I’ve been slowly weaning off my take-out habit and eating salads every day. I need to incorporate more fruit, but I find changing one’s diet tends to be a process that goes better if you focus on slowly eliminating bad things and adding in good things. I try to take that as it comes.

I haven’t resumed yoga yet because I haven’t found a class online that I like. I’m working on that. I would like to include a 10-20 minute session in my morning routine. I’m just not there yet.

I meditate sometimes, but the last few times I’ve gone into my “special room,” Andrew has been there trying to talk to me. He also comes out whenever I try to write. It’s VERY ANNOYING. I don’t know how to get rid of him. I would say that is the second worst situation I’m dealing with mental health-wise, after talking myself down from jumping into the sweet release of death, of course.

Okay, the storm is here now. I need to go. Thanks for supporting me on my journey to become a healthier person and a better writer. I appreciate it more than you know! Have a good one!

Not Another Progress Report

Hello, world. Betsey Horton here. Sorry for leaving you on read. I’m still here, somehow, even though I totally got wasted and tried to pull a Tiger Woods the other night. BTW, am I the only one who thinks this car wreck has “suicide attempt” written all over it, or am I just projecting my own sadness onto a celebrity? Hard to say. Especially when I’m currently in the middle of my “Elle Woods quitting her prestigious internship, dropping out of Harvard Law School, and packing up to go back home to dat Beverly Hills Barbie life” moment in the movie of my life. It’s like I’ve done all this work on my self-improvement journey and yet I’m still failing so hard at life. Yeah, dark night of the soul moment for sure.

Anyway, here’s how life has progressed since my last update (approximately one whole millennium ago):

Novel

As I mentioned in my last entry, I was gearing up to pitch my novel about Verm to an agent for the first time. I was very nervous, so I was completely avoiding any thoughts about it altogether. I did the responsible thing and attended a pre-pitch session at the Desert Nights, Rising Stars conference in order to properly prepare. Once I understood the expectations, I decided to be slightly more realistic about the meeting. My manuscript is very much incomplete. I decided to treat it like practice and then all of my anxiety went away.

The meeting went as well as it could have. I did that thing where I freaked out and held back too much. The agent liked my overall concept, but essentially told me I was guilty of over-summarizing instead of being specific. Fair and also true. What did I learn? Go straight for the jugular. Mad Dog, crazy bar owners, shady underground gambling rings, the works! Suck ’em straight down into the Verm Hole! Also, her agency does not work with my proposed genre, so she gave me a list of agencies that do and wished me luck. I would consider it a “soft” rejection because the future potential is definitely there.

After the meeting, I decided to step away from my manuscript for awhile. I need more perspective. There’s a lot of things that have happened in the last year and a half that I haven’t really properly processed. Mostly because I don’t understand why the people I’m dealing with are so ridiculous, unreasonable, and honestly, just straight-up insane. Ultimately, it all means something in the end. Besides, I am the hero of the book. I’m supposed to overcome whatever adversity presents itself to me. Since that adversity is appearing in the form of misogynists and their loyal army of cool girls, I guess I have permission to just laugh it off and focus on other things. Lol at small towns in the middle of nowhere. What am I going to do, change them? HA HA HA HA HA! That’s a good one. Oh, I crack myself up sometimes.

Blog

Listen, I know what I’ve told you about what I’m planning, but I’m not writing shit. At all. Nothing. It sucks. I know. Especially when I have the most amazing new blog neatly planned out in a notebook! It’s so amazing. It’s so cool. Unfortunately, I am totally not cool. I spend all my time being sad instead of just writing. It’s totally lame.

I also haven’t been able to come up with a new name. I need an actual name for my entire brand/concept/plan. I need it for the url, social media accounts, email, affiliate marketing, ads, everything. Yet I have no name. Content plan? Check! No problem there! A name? Impossible. Thus, I am delayed from making any actual progress until I can come up with one. Sad.

Courses

I signed up for a lot of these, so I’m just taking my time to work my way through them. I spend a lot of time studying other blogs, business, influencer marketing, and social media strategy. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about digital marketing in general the last year. Hopefully this leads to a job.

It’s hard to say since social media companies just change everything up on a whim because they don’t care that people are using their services to run businesses. It’s actually really frustrating. I was trying to learn Pinterest marketing yesterday and the damn site just wouldn’t cooperate. It’s like they decided to take everything useful and functional away from their platform and turn it into a useless lump. I know I’m not alone in this struggle because I joined a bunch of social media marketing groups on Facebook.

Overall, I just have to say I’m having a really good experience with Udemy. Yes, it’s cheap online classes, but it’s not like I need a *degree* to do digital marketing. I just need to learn how social media works beyond just shitposting and arguing with trolls. I think Udemy is perfect for people who want to boost their practical skill sets without going back to school and taking on a fuckton of debt. No need for elitism here, folks. I’ll go get my Masters when the time is right. For now, it’s a fuckton of super practical $12 coding, marketing, and writing classes that supposedly will help me get a job.

Job Search

It is a universally agreed-upon fact that job hunting sucks. I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. I’ve joined job hunting groups where people with STEM degrees are talking about not finding anything after sending out 200 applications. It’s scary.

I’m not really sure what to say about this other than that it sucks. It’s draining, demoralizing, and frustrating. The pandemic is making it worse. I used to torture myself with anxiety over it, but since I joined these groups, I’ve just let it go. Yup, it sucks for everyone out there. Sometimes all you can do is turn off the computer and watch Netflix for the rest of the day. Sometimes you spend lots of time applying for jobs and you never hear back from anyone except for the occasional rejection. It happens to literally everyone.

I tried to start a restaurant gig last week and failed. Of course. I tried everything I could think of to motivate myself and hype myself up to get the cash, but I knew it was over when I saw that greasy, disgusting, dirty bar. I can’t do it anymore. I especially couldn’t do it after almost a year of not doing it. Seriously, no more. I’m just torturing myself at this point. It’s a waste of time and energy. I just want to focus on getting a remote job with benefits. Yes, I’ll be broke in the meantime, but I’ll also be a lot saner than I would be if I was waiting tables.

Networking

February and March were really busy for me. I went to lots of online events and conferences. I attended the Paris International Film Festival, the Official(TM) virtual Mardi Gras party in New Orleans, the ASU Piper Center for Creative Writing’s Desert Nights Rising Stars Writers Conference, AWP (one of the largest national writing conferences in the US), a Gatsby-themed virtual murder mystery party, a virtual film industry panel for women, and, of course, March Madness, baby!

I admit that I was doing well until March Madness. Why? Because that’s when the drinking reared its ugly head up again. I usually don’t drink home at alone because that’s just sad. I like to go out and drink at bars, especially during basketball season. This is pretty much always a mistake. I get way too drunk, end up feeling really sad, and then think about death a lot. So, maybe just stick with the virtual events instead of going to the bars for any reason whatsoever.

Unfortunately, the common theme throughout all of these events has been the insane amounts of social anxiety. I don’t know how to get over this. I have skipped every single virtual meet-and-greet event and in-person party I’ve been invited to in the last two months. I am terrified of dealing with other people. I blame all of the shitty, toxic, fake “friends” I’ve entertained throughout life for getting me to this point. I’m legitimately afraid of interacting with other people after what they did to me at Bloody Mary’s.

This is really fucking dumb because I literally went to two WRITING conferences full of WRITERS. I went to a panel with a happy hour for FILMMAKERS. I was hanging out with artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, directors, editors, etc, aka the kind of people I WANT to be around because I have things in common with them. Instead it’s like… “No, scary, bad, run away because everyone will just think you’re annoying and hate you.”

No idea how to get over this at all. Zoom doesn’t help at all. Zoom anxiety is real AF. I hate being on that tiny little screen. It makes me way too self-conscious to watch myself try to interact with other people. I know I cannot possibly be alone in this, but ugh. Wow. It really fucking sucks.

Routine

My routine has changed recently. I’ve been staying at home more and going to the cafe less. I haven’t been productive at the cafe at all. I’m also not productive at home. I’m not really that productive at all. I’m mostly just reading and watching a lot of movies/tv, as I have done for the entirety of the pandemic. Some weeks I’m totally on, getting shit done, cruising through my courses, outlining ideas, hacking away at my business plan, looking for jobs, and submitting resumes. Other weeks I’m still in my pajamas at 3pm and watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians for the 80 millionth time. Welcome to the pandemic lifestyles of the perpetually broke and small town famous.

Mental Health

Not so good. Not so healthy. So many ups and downs. Mostly downs. I’ve had a few major downs in the last few months. Struggling a lot right now. Its hard. I feel so alone sometimes. I feel like nothing will ever change in my life. I just feel sad and empty all the time, no matter what I do.

My current attempts to counteract said depression include going vegetarian, drinking more water, buying new activewear, signing up for a Zumba class, and purchasing some Vitamin D supplements.

You know what would probably fix the problem? NOT DRINKING! DUH! So, yeah, still gotta work on that. At least I refuse to work in a bar anymore, so that is progress. Now that basketball season is over, I have no real reason to go downtown to fraternize with people who hate me. You know what happens when I do that? I get really sad. That’s not okay! That’s why I need to cut it out of my life altogether. The drinking, that is. The basketball isn’t going anywhere.

Therefore, I shall go on a fitness kick instead. I will get really into my home dance cardio classes, walks with the dogs, and outdoor yoga/meditation sessions. Spring at last, spring at last.

I know you’re asking yourselves why I don’t go to therapy, right? Well, the truth is that I have already been through extensive amounts of therapy in my life. In my case, it has 100% caused more harm than good. The medications fuck with my brain, no one will work with me to actually make a real therapy plan with an end goal in mind, and the diagnoses are constantly changing into everything aside from anxiety, which is what I actually struggle with the most. Seriously, one Xanax prescription and it would be all over for me. So simple, right?

Wrong! That’s not what Big Phama and Big Psychiatry want! They want to hook you on drugs and self-pity so you’ll keep pouring money into the system forever. Meanwhile, they’re out drinking top shelf booze and eating expensive caviar on the yachts they bought with the kickback money from shelling out poisonous prescription cocktails to children. I’m not here for it. I’m way more into trying alternative therapies. I’ve tried so many, I could write an entire book about it. I should get off my ass and actually do that. I have it all planned out. But nothing. Yay!

—–

So, there you have it, all. That’s my life. Look at me, trying to get her shit together so she will no longer be a glorified mess with amazing taste in shoes. It’s hard. I feel like throwing in the towel most of the time. I want to give up. Luckily for me, many people have reached out to me on social media with positive, encouraging messages. I’ve taken screenshots of all of them. I read through them now when I’m sad and want to give up. It is so important to remember that not everyone is a negative, energy-sucking douchebag. I do have friends and family who love me, want to see me happy, and hope for me to succeed.

So hopefully all of this will work out, even if it seems like nothing is working for me ever. Maybe I’ll update in another millennium, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll just be sad forever. Stay tuned to find out!