BLOG: A Mini Break Means True Love

Here we are. 2023. The sequel to 2020 no one asked for. Everything in my life is the same, except for the fact that everything has changed and will continue to change in the next few months. I’m kinda looking forward to it, but kinda not. As we all know, all I want to do is leave this town behind forever, but… there’s always a But and it’s keeping me stuck here like superglue. I have no idea what’s happening right now. I have my life planned out as far as next week and that’s as far as it goes.

What’s happening next week? Well, I’m ditching town to take a mini break, also known as my own personal writer’s retreat. That’s right. It’s just me, my manuscripts, and an approximate fuckton of legal marijuana all alone in a fancy hotel suite I got on an insane discount because I’ve spent years honing my travel booking skillz.

Stay tuned for my exciting new blog “Paris in South Dakota,” where I share my secrets for traveling, dressing, and generally just existing in style in spite of the fact that I live in the middle of bumfuck nowheresville. Hopefully I’ll be working on that (and the edited manuscript I just received back) while locked away in hiding for 48 whole hours.

I wish I could stay longer but I need to go back to work. Believe me when I say I am looking forward to getting away from my real life for a few days. I’m over it. All of it. It’s all just so… ugh. I swear to god, if I wasn’t dedicating 99% of my free time to watching TV and movies, I would go insane. Luckily for me, I’ve lived here so long that I’ve already drank my way through downtown and back, so it no longer holds any thrill for me. I’d much rather disappear into a fictional wonderland for the day while studying the fine art of screenwriting, and, of course, keeping up with my foreign languages.

I’ve been doing a cycle of English, French, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese. I’ve just spent the holidays watching multiple comfort shows in English after my last F/S/BP cycle, so I’m ready to start up again. I’m especially excited for my next Spanish cycle, where I plan to watch a trilogy of Period Dramas: Hernán (focused on the conquest of Mexico with multiple Indigenous languages featured!), The Queen and the Conqueror (love/revenge story between a conquistador and an Indigenous woman set in Colombia), and Bolívar (focused on the liberation of several Latin American countries from Spain). I’ve been wondering forever why no one ever made any TV shows covering these fascinating periods of history. Turns out I was just browsing the vault in the wrong language. Who knew?

In other exciting news, taking up Brazilian Portuguese will be significantly more useful that I originally anticipated. You know, considering the fact that they’re remaking the hit reality TV series no one asked for, also known as “Donald Trump Makes America Great Again.” They’re just calling their version “Jair Bolsonaro Makes Brazil Great Again.” January riots and everything. It’s been fascinating to watch, especially since Bolsonaro gives off the vibe that he can transform into a giant lizard and trawl the rainforest looking for small indigenous children to eat. I really feel like he’s a real life Captain Planet villain in the flesh. It’s wild, and has also inspired me to learn more about both environmental terrorism and more about the history/cultures in South America. Fascinating subject, really. Yep, these are just random things I read about in my free time. And here people downtown wonder why I “never listen” to them. Uhhh… it’s because I’m too busy listening to the news in Brazilian Portuguese. Next time be more interesting.

How am I dealing with my dad’s death? Oh, you know, it’s a lot of ups and downs. Lots of unpleasant feelings. As we all know, my relationship with my parents is… complicated, at best. I hold a lot of resentment towards them because they made a lot of important decisions for me when I was younger that quite frankly, I should have been making myself. I often feel like they’ve been holding me prisoner for over a decade and now I’ve finally been released. I’m not having a great time with it! Do I hold the good memories of my dad from my childhood near and dear? Yes, of course I do. But I also had a lot of problems with them as an adult, and that complicates things. Generally I’ve been pretty good about sitting with the feelings and just feeling them without numbing them, but it sucks. It really, really sucks. To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but I guess it has to be done. Like I said, I already drank my way through downtown. It’s not doing it for me anymore. I just have to sit with it. Unfortunately that means I can’t go do yoga (or dance) in public right now, because every time I do it, all of my emotions come out and I end up a sobbing mess. Not really something anyone needs to see at 7am when they’re trying to start their day. It’s better if I’m just doing it on my own for now. I guess now I have to actually do it instead of lounging in bed indulging in my extremely unhealthy social media addiction. UGH! All of my genius is going towards Twitter and Reddit right now. It’s so embarrassing for my life and my soul. At least I can say I quit Facebook forever and put a healthy distance between myself and Snapchat/Instagram. But really I just need to delete Twitter forever and replace Reddit with actual books/magazines/blogs, especially given the fact that Reddit is actually a disgusting platform run by disgusting people with disgusting, misogynist, pedophelliac agendas. I feel so dirty for using it. Really, I do, but it’s the only place I can indulge my not-so-secret obsession with the Kardashians with like-minded fans. I’ve also been invited to multiple secret Fourth Wave Feminism/women-only safe spaces that I desperately need to stay sane in this bizarre patriarchal void I’m living in.

Anything else to say right now? No, not really. Just paying very close attention to my mental health and relationships with other people, which have remained about the same as usual. Meh. It’s South Dakota. People here are weird. I’m over it, and by that I mean I’ve accepted it for what it is. It is what it is. And on that note, my charcuterie board has arrived, so I’m going to go focus my full attention on that. And by focus my full attention on it, I mean mindlessly scroll Reddit in the background. Ugh. I hate myself. Truly.

Okay, well, I hope you all have a lovely evening. Please send me good vibes for my mini break, mostly so all of you can read something other than “Betsey’s mental health updates.” What can I say? Healing trauma takes time, and as I’m sure you can tell by my fabulous collection of short stories centered on Bloody Mary’s, I have plenty of it to go around.

Boa noite!

SCRIPT: Wake Up Call

Meanwhile, in South Dakota, way out on the lone prairie, Betsey Horton, Writer Extraordinaire, awakes from her not-so-sound slumber sometime well before dawn. After tossing and turning for sometime, she finally accepts the inevitable. She picks up her iPad and sees an interesting notification.

Duolingo: Ms. Horton, we’re just done your Year in Review and we have good news! Congratulations! You’re in the Top 1% of Language Learners in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD! That’s right! Out of millions of people on this planet, you made it to the top! You did it! You’re a World Champion! You’re #1!

Betsey: What the f—? Is this for real?

Duolingo: You’re damn right it’s real! Here’s 10 pages of states to prove it!

Betsey: Wow, okay. Uhhh… but… wait… uhh… how?

Duolingo: You dedicated your time and put in the work! You took lessons in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Navajo, Haitian Creole, and Swahili! French and Portuguese are the two you dedicated the most time and practice on. That’s right! Just by dedicating 10 minutes a day, you made it. You didn’t even know any Portuguese a year ago. Now you can understand the brief dialogues they included in The Woman King. How does that make you feel?

Betsey: Are you sure you’re not making a mistake? I never win anything. There’s no way I can be Number One.

Duolingo: C’est vrai! You’re on top! Here’s your award!

The Owl motions to the stage behind him as the red velvet curtains roll up. Betsey suddenly finds herself standing in front and center with the spotlight on her. The Owl drapes her in a golden sash, hands her a bouquet of flowers, and puts a crown on her head. The crowd gives her a standing ovation and throws their hats in the air.

The Audience: You’re Number One! You’re Number One! You’re Number One!

Betsey: [looks around in awe for just a moment before she realizes she *LOVES* all the attention suddenly being thrown her way and immediately starts hamming it up for the crowd] Oh yes, thank you, thank you! Merci beaucoup! Muchas gracias! Obrigada! Obrigado! Merci, merci, merci! Yes, thank you. I love you all! J’adore tout la monde!

Duolingo: But wait, there’s more! Just for purely scientific purposes, we must know… why did you end your streak and go dark on your lessons when you were doing well?

Betsey: Uhh… well… actually… if you must know… the real reason is because I was listening to the French audio lessons and I got to the one where my two friends meet at a dinner party and really hit off and go on a date to the tennis court together and it goes so well that he asks her out for lunch. Honestly, I just got really randomly insanely jealous and I had to turn it off because I couldn’t stand listening to it anymore.

Duolingo: Ahhh… l’amour.

Betsey: Oui, l’amour. C’est une blague. Ridiculous. Why can’t I be invited to a fancy French dinner party where some random hot French guy asks me out on a date? Why do I have to be stuck in this godforsaken town in the middle of nowhere?

Duolingo: I can’t answer that question, but I can suggest you finish out the audio listen just in case you ever happen to find yourself in that situation. You never know! After all, that’s the point of learning new languages. They open up lots of new doors!

Betsey: You’re right. I should go back. As it turns out, I really enjoy winning. This seems like a pretty good way to go about it.

Duolingo: Yes, yes. That’s it. Turn back to the light side! Use your brain power for good!

Betsey: Brain power? What brain power?

Duolingo: The brain power you used to become a #1 Top Language Learner Worldwide!

Betsey: Oh, that brain power. The brain power I’m destroying with alcohol because I have no practical use for it in my every day life now that I live in this miserable fucking culturally devoid shithole.

Duolingo: Exactly. Now let’s get you back on track so you can make that fabulous trip to Brazil for Carnival!

Betsey: You’re right. I am much happier when I dedicate my time and energy to opening new doors to new worlds and new people. Let’s take the New Year by storm!

The crowd goes wild, again. Betsey waves and bows and blows kisses as she waltzes offstage.

The End?

BLOG: Wine & Charcuterie

Currently sitting at The Fancy Place. I got here early so I could get set up with the perfect view. Mission accomplished. I’m right by the window, watching the street, judging everyone who passes by, just like the good old days. Happy D-Days to me.

How’s life going? Well, pretty much all I do now is work. Turns out workaholism is also a gene that runs in my family, lol. I’ve had three days off in the last three weeks. This includes the occasional commute to Sioux Falls to work in a different store for extra cash. I’ve been doing so well they’re lending me to another store up there for a month while they hire and train some new workers. Yes, they’re paying me extra for that too. It’s a pretty good gig. My hope is that it will be a learning experience and I will be ready to move up to Lead for the holidays when all the students leave. In the meantime, I’ve been saving a lot of money, paying off some debt, and staying at home watching TV instead of going out. The lack of drama is extremely refreshing.

I have yet to broach the topic of therapy. I came back from my house-sitting gig and started working constantly instead. I just don’t want to think about it. Any of it. I just want to go to work, do my job, and come home. I feel like a Dragon sitting on gold, hoarding more and more, eyes sparkling with greed. Really I just took a Personal Finance class during Covid and now I’m on my A-Game. Hurray for responsible adulting. Or finally losing all hope and giving into the Capitalist Machine. Whatever.

How is writing? Uh, what writing? You mean the writing I’m doing right now? It’s great! Haha, just kidding. I’m just sitting on my outline. Literally. Finally had some time to do some reflection today. Here’s what happened as I see it now:

-Had a long life full of ridiculous experiences by the ripe old age of 26. Perhaps too many experiences. Enough experiences to write a novel, or so I thought. Find self burnt out and depressed.

-Get thrown into wall by terrible man because I’m an idiot and pursue terrible men all the time “for the story.” Decide to “make a change” because this is definitely the last straw, you guys, she says several years before Andrew comes along. Lol, lol, lol. Joke’s on me. Yep, and I added a couple more after that, but they weren’t what I would call terrible at all. Still not exactly ideal, but definitely way better compared to their predecessors. Anyway, I don’t date anymore at all, so there’s that. Quitting dating has solved most of the problems I was struggling with before, mostly because men are crazy and feel the need to make women as miserable as possible all the time. Eventually I realized I don’t actually have to do this at all anymore. I don’t have to date or have sex or get married or have kids or even talk to men if I don’t feel like. It was liberating and empowering. I’ve been so much healthier and happier since. I forsee myself being single for a long time. After all, what do men actually bring to the table in my life? Nothing. They bring nothing but problems and endless drama. I’m over it.

-Work in Chinese restaurant for awhile. Save money.

-Take a gig in at a resort in Utah for a bit. Spend a few months exploring the Southwest. Come back.

-Spend time in Omaha. Come back.

-Spend time with family in Ohio. Come back.

-Sick for awhile. Spend time outlining potential projects. Work internship that goes nowhere. Move into downtown loft. Start BetseyHorton.com.

-Work through outlines until unexpected creation of Andrew takes over everything. Accidentally write entire pointless novel about stupid, ridiculous, distracting man, as per usual. End up with four very distinct piles of crap that could either be screenplays or novels, plus a lot of extraneous plots and characters, most of which are just altars of Andrew.

-Drink way too much. Travel some more.

-Talk to editor in Boston. Get both helpful feedback and rejection, which is fine.

-Try to go back to work with disastrous results, the most spectacular of which was in Montana. People at Bloody Mary’s go on crazy retaliation spree. Ignore their petty, insecure bullshit and apply for Paris Writing Workshop anyway. Get accepted. Struggle to save money due to work situation. Make it thanks to a miracle literally dropping out of the sky.

-Go to Workshop. Get more helpful feedback and also more rejection, which is fine.

-Come back. Lost AF. Go on bourbon and drug-fulled mistake spree with much more entertaining results.

-Go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Get way too drunk, but ultimately have the time of my life. Come back with a bad case of “swamp fever.” Pass it to at least two other people. Turns out to be Covid. Sorry to those two people, btw.

-Pandemic Hits. Go on lockdown. Wake up every single day for two months and dance to Singing in the Rain first thing in the morning, even before coffee. No joke, this simple routine literally saved my life.

-Watch all the Musicals. Watch TV and movies. Watch them again in French. Learn all the lines, all the songs, all the dances.

-Go to New Jersey to stay with family. Spend four more months locked in a room with occasional outings for travel. Come back because NYC is dead as a fucking doornail. DC is even more depressing.

-Donald Trump gets fired.

-Start taking online classes and going to online events. Practice French and Spanish, decide to start learning Brazilian Portuguese just for fun (yes I’m still doing that). Struggle to find non-bar job. Drink too much, again. Plan out entire blog project based on all various writing and marketing classes. Still cannot write.

-Finally find job again. Proceed to become a total workaholic. Stare at blog plan occasionally, wondering what it would be like to write again.

-Now I’m sitting here on my afternoon off, watching people walk up and down the street.

To sum up: I think it’s all going rather well. Really!

I’ve done some projects, gotten an overwhelming amount of feedback (which I think is the main cause of my intense block), and received some rejections. Did it suck to be rejected by seven newspapers, two editors, an agent, and a Hollywood Producer (even though Nepotism is directly involved)? Hell yeah it sucked! But you know what? It’s just part of the process. Everything I’ve been through so far has led directly to where I am now.

The good news is: there’s still plenty of time left. There’s no rush. I’ve met tons of writers through AWP, conferences, and social media who have been rejected 1000 times. Many didn’t find success until after they turned 40. It’s okay. Success will happen. The only thing standing in my way now is the instability of the media/publishing/film/TV industries, climate change, and, of course, the imminent collapse of society when the Revolution comes. No big deal. I can handle it. It’s my Destiny. The Tree of Life at the Sun Dance Ceremony told me so. You can’t argue with The Great Spirit. You just can’t.

Anyway, so, the writing will come when it comes. Still thinking of applying to MacDowell and Yaddo. You know, just because it’s been my dream to go to MacDowell since I was like, 12, so… might as well go for that at some point. For those of you who don’t know, MacDowell and Yaddo are extremely prestigious residencies on the East Coast that only accept a limited number of creatives every season. If you get in, you get to go hang out at a giant compound on an expansive acreage in New England with other creatives for a couple weeks/months and just… create… free from all distraction. So many successful writers and artists have passed through their doors. I’ve been thinking about it again since Paris, but obviously I’m totally terrified of being rejected by “The Elites.” You know, because writing on a farm in South Dakota isn’t good enough for me. It has to be a farm in New England in autumn so I can really channel that writerly energy. So, we’ll see.

In the meantime, I’m focusing on the next-level expert charcuterie board and glass of wine in front of me. Honestly, I’m pleasantly surprised right now. This is exactly what I want. I am very happy right now. Is that happiness temporary? Yes, but c’est la vie, and I think the French would agree.

In fact, I know the French would say, “Life is a tragedy. You are born, you live, and then you die. All that matters is the experiences you have in between. Sometimes those experiences are simple — like the perfect wine paired with the perfect charcuterie board paired with the perfect ambiance (except for this music, which is totes ruining the vibe). That is the best you can hope for in life. Enjoy it while you can before you die. The End.” They wouldn’t say it that way, of course. They would make it sound much deeper and far more romantic than I ever could. Everything sounds better in French, after all. Too bad I can’t write in French the way I can in English. My French writing skills are on the level of a five-year-old (not even) right now, so, yeah, fuck it, I’ll just write in English instead.

OMG, sorry I totally just lost track of what I’m writing. No joke, I seriously got distracted by the charcuterie board. Amazeballs. So, I’m just going to go enjoy that and wait for someone interesting to come along, assuming that happens at all, which it probably won’t.

Wait, is it just me, or does Downtown seem way too dead for D-Days right now? If this isn’t proof society is headed towards eminent collapse, I don’t know what is. Kids these days. No one wants to get blacked out and make mistakes for everyone to film and plaster all over the internet for everyone to see anymore. They just want to vape and drink White Claws and watch 5 second videos on Tik Tok. Rah rah rah, get off my lawn! Or whatever.

On that note, I’m out. Have a lovely day.

PROMPT: Open Letter

To Whom It May Concern,

I heard you said something about me behind my back that I don’t appreciate and I just want to clear the air. I heard that people are saying not to believe me about sexual harassment because I’m “overdramatic” and “exaggerating that stuff.” As a survivor of rape and assault who is still struggling with PTSD, allow me to explain why this is not okay for you to be saying about me, or anyone:

When you say things like that, you are actively contributing to rape culture. You are encouraging other people to stay silent about their experiences. You are telling others that if they come forward with reports, they will not be believed, nor should they be. You are telling them their feelings and experiences don’t matter. Furthermore, you are giving those who feel it’s appropriate to make uncomfortable “jokes” and touch others without permission the power to continue their predatory activities. You are enabling them to continue hurting others. Is that really the kind of person you want to be?

Believe survivors. If someone comes to you with a story about harassment or assault, believe them. Be supportive. Direct them to the appropriate resources. Don’t question or doubt then. Don’t blame them for what happened. Don’t tear them down behind their backs and make the pain even worse. Don’t be that person. If you wouldn’t want someone to treat you like that, don’t treat others like that.

Rape, assault, and harassment are not a joke. Furthermore, not everyone finds “jokes” about sexual topics on the work floor to be an appropriate topic of conversation. There are actual rules we have to follow as we work in customer service. These so-called “jokes” are often hurtful and offensive to others who may be too afraid to stand up and say something for fear of retaliation and negative backtalk, similar to what you’re doing right now. That’s why I’m not afraid to take a stand and report this crap when I see it. People who uphold rape culture in any form need to be held accountable. Period. That includes anyone who publicly casts doubt on a victim’s story or refers to a survivor as “overdramatic.” It most definitely includes yourself.

In the future, I hope you will think about this letter before you open your mouth to speak. Words matter. I realize that small town Midwestern people think tearing down others behind their backs is a legitimate form of entertainment, but I do not, especially when it comes to doubting survivors and enabling rape culture. I sincerely hope you learn your lesson from reading this letter. Maybe someday you will finally understand that this issue is so much bigger than a casual shit-talking session.

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a *Magical* day.

Sincerely,

Betsey Horton, Writer Extraordinaire

BLOG: Mental Health Day

TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains descriptions of domestic violence and PTSD flashback episodes.

Today I took a Mental Health Day from work. I cannot express to you how refreshing it is to work for a company that understands this is A Thing and it’s not something a person can “just get over” so they can “just push through.” Sometimes we need to take a day to ourselves and just chill out where no one can bother us.

As we all know, I’ve been through a lot. I sort of handle it okay for the most part, except for that whole pesky drinking thing. The good news is that I’ve been working a lot so I’ve been making lots of money instead of going out and drowning my sorrows and dealing with annoying people I don’t like. Plus one for me. Level Up! I’ve gotten really obsessed with personal finance in the last year and a half, so I’m really hoping this pattern continues for the good of my wallet. Besides, let’s face it. Movies and TV > Small Town Drama. I am over it!

I’m also hoping to keep this pattern going in light of a more recent event which led to me taking this mental health day in the first place. I decided to take a self-defense class. I thought it would be something cool/empowering/helpful so I was pretty excited about it. Then I got there and things didn’t exactly go as expected.

What happened? Well, during the first demonstration, which was a block, I froze up and had a flashback. Everything around me went black and all I could see was a fist coming right at my face. I turned and coiled up to avoid it. He hit the wall behind me. I thought he was going to kill me. I’m lucky to be alive. I’m lucky I escaped. I’m lucky he didn’t break my ribcage when he threw me across the room and I hit the wall. I’m lucky he let me go and that I ran away as fast as I possible could. That was eight years ago. Yet there I was, standing there in a room full of people and three cops, going into full PTSD mode. Great. In hindsight, perhaps it was a little too ambitious to jump right into the martial arts portion of the recovery program.

Needless to say, I ran out of the room and promptly had a panic attack. Luckily for me, I’ve been doing a lot of yoga and meditation lately, so I used my breathing techniques to calm myself down. Then I went for a walk. It was a lot. I went back to my temp stay and sat alone with those feelings for a long time. I just kept saying to myself, “An app wouldn’t have stopped him. A block wouldn’t have stopped him. Fighting back wouldn’t have stopped him. Nothing was going to stop him. There was nothing I could do. It’s not my fault. I didn’t deserve it. He had no right to put his hands on me.” And you know what? It hurt. It really fucking hurt. I cried a lot. It sucked. It was not fun. 0/10, would not care to repeat said experience again.

You know what else really sucked about that incident? The fact that no one was on my side. All of these trashass people sided with this disgusting piece of shit. It was gross. Those same people who sit there and talk shit all day, who call me a liar and say I made it up for attention. They’re disgusting. And what was worse? My dad wouldn’t help me get a lawyer, then yelled at me for showing up to court without a lawyer, and now tries to re-write history by claiming that I never asked him to help me. Lol, men. What a bunch of shitbags. Like, you should just kinda know to help your daughter get a restraining order against the guy who threw her into a wall. That should just be a natural thing. But for whatever reason, it’s not. So what happened as a result of this? Oh, all the charges were dropped and this guy was just… free to go. And justice was served again. The End.

So yeah, this whole experience I had with this guy that I saw a handful of times, wasn’t serious about, and never even had sex with has left a lasting mark on me that I still can’t shake. Why? Probably because it was the cherry on top of the pile of shitty, abusive men I dated in the past. Is anyone really that surprised I ended up with a domestic abuser? I’m not. And here people wonder why I choose not to date anymore. It’s a disaster. I’m over it.

I spent about three hours drinking the same glass of wine, but I didn’t get shitfaced. I just thought… what’s the point? It will not fix anything. It has been eight years and it still feels like it happened today. I’ve been trying to drown this incident out, and all the other shitty, horrific, traumatic shit out, and it hasn’t worked. So… fuck it. Why not just take a nice hot bath with roses and lavender and eucalyptus and mint and ashwaghanda? Just get the whole garden up in this bitch. We’re sitting with our feelings, ya’ll!!! And guess what? IT FUCKING SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!

I also decided to pursue EMDR therapy. I heard from multiple women that this technique works. Though I have many issues with Big Therapy & Big Pharma from a previous life, I strongly feel after yesterday’s episode that I should try again. My work offers us a free subscription to Lyra, a mental health app. My first attempt to find a therapist on there did not provide the result I wanted, so I was very frustrated. There was only one person in SD and their profile stated that they did “Christian-based therapy.” Yeah, so, that’s a hard no for me. It’s just not going to happen for lots of reasons that I don’t particularly feel the need to explain here. I will try again to find a better option and update how it goes.

So imagine carrying this very heavy weight through the day, then going to your house to pick up some stuff, and your crazy mother shoves a graphic picture of a woman’s bruised up face right in front of me with no warning. She said, “WaNnA sEe A pIcTuRe?” The way she said it made me think it would be something silly of my nephews. Nope. Apparently my grandmother had an accident. Instead of just telling me this like a normal person, she shoved this horrific picture in my face and completely re-triggers me after I’ve been dealing with the incident described above. Naturally, I was upset. So what will she do now? Go around to everyone and rant about how selfish and horrible and nasty I am and how I’m making her life so miserable all the time. Honestly, it gets so old. I’m so tired of her tantrums.

I have spent decades living under a shadow of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I’ve also essentially been held captive by her and my father, whose relationship is so depressing that I can barely stand to be in the same room with them. Needless to say, I’m over it. I’m tired of being unhappy. I have goals and dreams and plans for the future. I want to live in Paris and have a successful writing career and travel the world. It’s become very clear I will never achieve any of that as long as I stay in contact with her. She always, always, always has to attack me and drag me down. I can’t take it anymore. I’ve finally accepted the truth. I can finally see her for the monster she is. I have no illusions about her anymore. She is a very disturbed, unhealthy person who desperately needs help. I can’t be around her negative energy anymore. It’s toxic. It’s never been more clear to me than it was today.

What is the point of this post? To share my experiences so other people out there struggling with these issues know they’re not alone. There’s no right or wrong way to deal with mental illness. It doesn’t magically go away. It’s not something you can just get over. It’s not something you can bottle up or drown in bourbon. It’s there and it’s ugly and it’s real. It’s real and I have to live with it every day. It’s exhausting. I want nothing more than to just be healthy and happy. I hope that my journey can inspire others to empower themselves to embrace this shitty journey for what it is and just vibe with the universe, man.

That’s all I’ve got for you right now. Walk in Beauty, Friends.

——

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
800-799-7233
http://thehotline.org

BLOG: The Witch’s Brew

Hello, world. This is me sitting here writing a blog post because I have stacks and stacks of plans in front of me and none of them will turn into words on the page. I guess I have no choice but to let it cook in the pot a little bit longer. I know all of you are waiting in eager anticipation for Paris in South Dakota. It’s so brilliant and professional. I’ve used various methods of market research to properly hone it into what my intended audience wants. I’m taking my time with it. So really, I have no idea wtf is wrong with my brain and why it still won’t come out. Sigh.

How is life otherwise? Well, it’s been a month and I still have my job. Making it past the one month mark is always a good sign. Hopefully things will continue to go well. I like it a lot so far. It’s exactly what I need at this point in my life. It’s good for me to have this kind of structure. I also have a lot of positive social interaction, which is what I desperately need after years of the crazy down-townie life.

Yes, those people are still causing me problems. I have no idea why. I haven’t been writing and I’m no longer unemployed, so I guess they feel the need to continue harassing me because I haven’t moved out of my parents’ house yet? Oh wait, that’s right, they were harassing me when I didn’t live at my parents’ house too! I’m so confused right now. They attack me for literally anything and everything I do! It’s so weird. It’s like… it’s not about me at all. It’s about their behavior and how it’s a reflection of them. Crazy!

Yeah, so, whatever. They’re still on their war campaign to attack anyone they see talking to me and let them know that I’m crazy and dangerous and I’m a loser who lives at home with my parents and I’m not a ~*~ReAL~*~ writer, or something. I have no idea what they’re on about anymore. It’s them. It’s literally them. All the problems come from them. I write in reaction to them. So, I don’t really care anymore. It’s weird that they are this obsessed with me. I don’t get it. What is the goal here? Seriously? I don’t understand what you’re trying to do. Is it some weird small town South Dakota thing? Because if so, I don’t get it. I’m never going to get it. I’m just going to respond by putting on a pair of stilettos and a fabulous dress so I can watch everyone’s faces melt off when they see me in public. I think that shit is HILARIOUS! So, mission unaccomplished, I guess.

And here I ask myself why I’m having so much trouble writing, lol. Well, isn’t it obvious? There’s nowhere I can go in this town where I can just exist as myself in public without being harassed. It’s ridiculous and pointless. Still, I persist. I’m not giving up on my creative expression because a bunch of assholes. It is what it is.

Speaking of downtown, how is that? Meh. I’m out even less now. I managed to eliminate Cleo’s from my agenda altogether. I don’t miss it at all. I’ve walked past like five times and thought about going in, but then it’s like… I don’t want to deal with it. I just want to sit on a patio. So, The Stick Shack it is. Unfortunately, that comes with J&M Drama, Inc. There is always drama there. Always. There has never been a time in the last 13 years I’ve known these people that there hasn’t been some kind of drama involved. They especially have a terrible reputation at my workplace for treating their employees like shit. I would like to add that they also treat their customers like shit, especially me. I put up with it because I like the patio. Otherwise, it’s annoying AF. Like, wtf is wrong with you? I come here all the time. You treat me like crap! Literally anyone seen talking to me gets jumped all over by a screaming mob. It’s fucking insane. I don’t get it. Unfortunately, it’s a small town and there’s literally nowhere else to go. It’s just… ugh. I’m so over it. I miss being in literally any city anywhere where I can just sit somewhere for happy hour, write a few notes, have some wine and tapas, and be left the hell alone. Such a basic concept. Still can’t figure out why people here can’t seem to wrap their heads around it.

Ultimately, the lesson I’ve learned from all of this is that sometimes it’s not actually the individual person who is the problem. Sometimes it’s their environment. I can do all the yoga, read all the self-help books, and get all the therapies, and it’s not going to change other people. It’s not going to make my parents stop being miserable. It’s not going to make the townies stop being cliquey drama queens. It’s not going to make the guys at Bloody Mary’s stop acting like unhinged psychopaths on a warpath. It’s not going to change this town. However, it has changed me.

It’s taught me that I don’t have to put up with this shit anymore. This doesn’t have to be my everyday life. I don’t have to entertain people like this or listen to what they have to say. I am allowed to cut people out, ignore bad advice, take the action that is best for me, and set boundaries with others. I don’t have to date men who treat me like shit. I don’t have to accept that “all men are just like that.” I don’t have to accept shitty, flaky, two-faced frenemies in place of actual relationships. I don’t have to accept being scapegoated by my family. I am free to be myself, and the person I’m becoming is actually pretty cool. I’m proud of her. She’s resilient AF. And she’s not going to have her promising writing career smashed to bits by a bunch of nobodies from some one-horse town in the middle of bumfuck nowhere.

For now, I must be patient and continue working hard. I spend a lot of time picturing myself alone in a fabulous apartment with an even more fabulous view from a fabulous balcony and fabulous hardwood floors for me to dance across without being screamed at by my crazy mother. I envision freedom and happiness. I envision myself far away from this negative environment, surrounded by fabulous friends from all over the world at a fabulous dinner party that I’m hosting to celebrate their awesomeness.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got up my sleeve for today. I’m going to go get ready for work now. Stay tuned for Paris in South Dakota… still brewing in a giantass cauldron under a moonbeam near you.

BLOG: The Empress

Currently sitting on a patio drinking bourbon. Why? Because I can. I don’t really care to think about anything at the moment, so I choose not to.

Recently got a new job. It’s okay. It’s something I can do for right now to stack cash while I figure out what I’m doing with my ridiculous life, which is nothing because there is no future. Still not writing, of course. My inspiration has long been dead.

Instead. I channel all of my creativity into my outfits now. I recently decided to purge my closet again and add more pink. I’ve really been into maxi dresses lately. I have the perfect little metallic belt and sparkly sandals to make them look more Empress-like. Last week I combined a pink maxi with a floral kimono for a look that was straight out of Murder on the Orient Express. So me, of course. Shoutout to the Netflix series, “Midnight at the Pera Palace” for inspiring some serious looks from Istanbul in the 20’s. I might be a little obsessed.

I would make a Fashion Style Instagram account, but creepy men tend to ruin the fun of that. You know the type. Random married men with kids in their profile pic who exclusively follow hundreds of random women on Instagram so they can jerk off to them. It’s so gross and disgusting. I will never understand the depravity of men.

That being said, I might make an account anyway and just dedicate an hour a week to cleaning out my follower list and blocking these types of skeevy men. I’m tired of them ruining my day because they can’t keep their dicks in their pants. I recently cut Cleo’s out of my life altogether because men cannot handle me wearing my fabulous outfits in public without insulting me and/or feeling me up. Of course my complaints were ignored, as per usual, because it’s my fault for “dressing provocatively.” What the fuck ever. Sigh. Just another case of men ruining public spaces for women. That’s just what they do. Boys will be boys, or whatever excuse it is I’m always supposed to make for men so they are free to act like garbage.

Yep, so yeah, that’s about all that’s happening in my life these days. I literally don’t remember the last time I even wrote a story. Okay, that’s definitely a lie. I do remember. I remember all the stories I’ve recently written. They were all about Andrew. I hate Andrew. The stories were pretty good, tbh. Definitely semi-quality romance material. I can never publish any of it, of course. It’s just my sad little thing I write for me because nothing else comes out of my pen anymore. Nothing except anger and rage and frustration and pain.

I know, I know, I heard ya’ll a thousand times. Nobody cares! Yes, feedback received. I listened. I heard. That’s why I don’t write anymore. I finally shut up and went away and stopped Blogging and quit dating garbage men and finally got a job (no thanks to any of the haters, of course). There you go! You did it! You fixed me! I’ve officially stopped doing ALL the things that make me “crazy.” Are you happy now? No? You’re not? You’re still going to treat me like a punching bag because nothing I do is ever good enough for anybody? That’s what I thought.

Back to drowning my sorrows now. Cheers to the future, when I take my stack of cash and run away to a fabulous apartment in Paris, or a yoga retreat in Bali, or a safari in Tanzania, or a bossa nova night club in Brazil, or wherever the wind may take me. Literally cannot wait.

BLOG: Now What?

What happened after last week’s little dramafest?

Oh, pretty much the usual for me. I woke up the next morning, got my ass out of bed super early for sunrise yoga, practiced French/Spanish/Portuguese on Duolingo, did the Wordle, walked my dogs, fed the cats, cleaned my room, did my laundry, worked on some classes, planned for the next two certification courses I want, and generally went on with my life.

It’s been like this for about a week now. Why? Because every time these people try to fuck with me, I drag their drama icon into the corner of my desktop and drop it in the trash where it belongs. Zero fucks given. Downtown is full of trash. It’s always been full of trash. That’s not my problem. Other people’s ignorant behavior is literally not my fucking problem and I’m not going to let it interfere with my life anymore. I guess we all have to grow up sometime. Someone should tell that to all the old men who gossip worse than 7th graders at lunchtime.

Yeah, so, definitely noticed a significant uptick in reads on my blog, as per usual. That’s what always happens. Always. These people love to rant about Betsey Horton, but they are out here driving up my website traffic because they secretly love this shit and can’t get enough. It is what it is. It doesn’t bother me because… duh! Traffic is traffic! Who gives a fuck what people are saying about me behind my back? All that matters is dat sweet, sweet Analytics data. Thank you again for your readership. Please see my Privacy Policy and Legal pages if you have any concerns about how your data is used. I can’t speak for Google or WordPress, but I can definitely confirm that I use the data I collect on my website to inflate my ego because I struggle with low self-esteem. Beyond that? I honestly don’t have any use for it. Again, thank you for your readership. It’s been a solid learning experience for me.

How’s the writing going? It’s not, but the classes are solid. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve spent the entire pandemic studying multiple modes of writing, digital marketing (and marketing in general), coding, design, finance, business, psychology, language, people skills, all that jazz that I need to both level up my career game and get this new blog going. The thing I’m particularly enjoying at the moment is learning all the background stuff. I’ve met so many writers who can’t or won’t do their own marketing or build a website or self-promote (and it’s 100% okay if if you don’t want to do any of that stuff because it’s definitely not for everyone), but for me, I’ve realized it’s extremely important to me to be in control of everything. I want to do the website, the marketing, the self-publishing, all the stuff. I want to learn all the front-end developer shizz so I can finally take full control over my websites. I want to become a marketing genius so I can run my social media like a well-oiled machine and never have to worry about tweeting something stupid while drunk ever again. For me, learning this stuff has been fun. Sometimes it’s a slog, but generally it’s fun. I can see the difference between 2019 and now. I definitely have a much more significant understanding of just about everything now. I’m not just a writer anymore! Now I’m The Boss!

As for the writer’s block… well… ugh. I can tell you that I have planned all the posts. There is no more planning I could possibly do for this blog. The plan is complete. Now all it needs is to be executed. Alas! If only it was that easy! I’m obviously still stuck in this void, whatever it is, so it’s not happening, but I can see the progress every day. Plus, one could argue that marketing, coding, and finances are just as important as writing, if not more! Education and skills = empowerment. Hell yes.

Well, I would write more, but I only have 12% battery power left, it’s 4:15am, and I have to awake in two hours, sooooo…. That’s All, Folks!

Stay tuned for Paris in South Dakota, coming soon to an interweb near you. Get ready to read all about my secret travel life that no one around here realized I’ve been living this entire time because they were all too caught up in their little bar dramas. Mwa hahahaha!

As Puck from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream says, “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

Indeed, Puck. Indeed.

BLOG: Everything is Effed Up

How am I today?

Well, let’s see.

I feel…

Tired. Angry. Sad. Frustrated. Disappointed. Also completely disillusioned with the reality of the world I live in. I’m really tired of men getting to do whatever they fuck they want and having meltdowns when they get called out. I’m tired of stupid, ignorant, misogynists who defend these assholes. It’s like… I go out all the time and talk to people. I’ve traveled solo all over the US and twice abroad. I lived in a foreign country short-term. I know what people are like. I know what men are like. Most of them I’m indifferent to. Most of the time, they don’t bother me. But when someone does, you’re gonna know about it because I believe in protecting other women from predators. Radical idea, I know! Oh but I can’t say that because all men are just innocent little victims of these lying sluts who are just making it up for attention. Yeah, whatever. Take that trash attitude back to the last century where it belongs.

I’m sick of living in a place where people openly disrespect me because I wrote a book and started a blog like that’s bad because smart people doing smart, creative things are bad. Everyone here is a two-faced, lying backstabber. They’re always there with their knives, ready, waiting, pouncing on the first opportunity they have to to be nasty to someone. It’s exhausting. It’s like some of these people never aged past thirteen. It’s not normal. It’s not right. In fact, I just think it’s really sad. I cannot personally imagine living my entire life in a teeny tiny little box where I judge everyone who isn’t exactly like me, but I also have an unusually high amount of empathy because I’ve been bullied by snakes like this my entire life. I don’t have the luxury of treating every single new person I meet like an outsider who must be ostracized.

Is South Dakota The Worst Place in the World? It might be. I haven’t traveled abroad as extensively as I hope to someday, but yeah, I’m pretty sure this place is at the top of the list of Biggest Shitholes in the World. Yeah, so they’ve got great sunsets. So what? What else is there? Because let me tell you something: these people are not it. They are so weird and scared of anything new or different. I literally cannot put myself in their shoes to try to understand it. I don’t want to. I can’t imagine living my life like that. It must be such a small, sad little world to live in. Definitely not for me. Show me a person who doesn’t fit this generalization and I will show you a unicorn. All the people who see the world as the bigger place full of excitement that it is get their asses out and leave. Why? Because they grew up in that environment and they know that close-minded attitude is trash.

I feel like I’m out of touch with myself and my creativity. I feel like I’m toiling away for nothing. I feel like I have so many passions, talents, and abilities that are all going to waste. I feel like I have so much to contribute and no where to go with it. I am literally blocked from doing anything around here because I might get my notebook out and write about it. Oh no, anything but that! Anything but a writer writing her stories! She might tell the truth about what corrupt, ignorant garbage we are and change all the names. So scary! Boo hoo, wah wah wah. Whine whine whine.

All they ever do is bitch my blog about like they aren’t all collecting screenshots and starting drama and constantly tearing people down behind their backs for fun. It’s disgusting. Listen, if you don’t want people writing about what immature assholes you are, then don’t act like that. Duh! It’s all on you, fam. It all comes back to you. Stop blaming me for writing down what I observe in my immediate environment and get your own house in order.

What I’m doing is not crazy. It’s not unusual. It’s not even that weird! So many famous writers whose books you didn’t read in school wrote stuff based on the town they live in. Maybe if you actually went to the library and read books, you would know that. But you don’t, so I have to put up with your ignorant, misogynist, absolutely insane theories about my life. I’m literally putting my thoughts out there in real time for you to read. I am not hiding anything. I don’t have to. I’m doing exactly what I was taught to do while getting my Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature. Yet you’re still sitting here acting like it’s the most insane thing you’ve ever seen in your life. Why?

Don’t like it? Don’t fucking read it. I don’t give a fuck. These stories are obviously not for you. Meanwhile, other people, you know, those outsiders who you hate so much, they love it. Why? Because they agree with me. They see my side of the story. They understand what it feels like to deal with the Fake Nice Mask and the constant backbiting and the entire insane idea that if you’re not one of them then you don’t belong here. I have that validation backing me. I’m not ashamed of anything I wrote and I’m not sorry for it either. I’ve done nothing but tell my truth.

The whole situation has gotten so out of hand. It’s actually crazy to me. Like, you literally don’t get to wake up one day and decide that you get to tell my story for me. You don’t get to spread these disgusting lies and get away with it. I hold the power. I hold the pen. I will tell my story myself and I’ll do it better than you ever can. Don’t like it? Write your own book. Use my real name so I can actually sue you for slander. Again, I don’t give a fuck.

I feel like… I’m so over it. I’m ready to get out of here and start living a real life around real people. I want to make real friends. I want to join a real community. I want to date real guys and go to really nice restaurants with French wine and unforgettable crab dips. I want to have a real job and a real apartment and a real life. Whatever this sick imitation of a life I’m trying to live is just not doing it for me anymore. There was a time when I genuinely loved living downtown, going out to the bars, meeting all these randos with fascinating stories. Truly, I loved that time in my life. I loved my apartment and my Muse and the fact that I wrote a story every single day. Now it’s over, that time is passed, and every time I go back to the town, it feels like my crops have all rotted on the vine. I’m ready to move on.

I feel stuck in a cycle I don’t know how to change. I feel like I don’t have the support network around me that I need to make it out. I feel like everybody in the world is just against me all the time, no matter what I do. I cannot even trust my own family anymore. It’s just a constant stream of negativity pouring out from everyone around me all the time and nothing I say or do can make it stop. Nothing. I’m literally doing the whole crunchy granola lifestyle thing and it’s still not good enough. Nothing is good enough. Nothing will ever change. It is the most exhausting feeling in the world. Turns out no amount of sunrise yoga can fix other people’s bullshit. Huh. Interesting. Who knew I had absolutely zero control over that?

I feel trapped. I feel like I’m slowly suffocating. I feel like I can’t get out. I feel like I can’t make anything in my life change no matter what I do. I feel like I am actually slowly beginning to actually go insane because I crave connection with others so badly and there is none of it around me. There is nothing here for me. Nothing at all. These people are all the same. The days and nights all run together. Time passes and nothing changes. Everything just keeps getting worse and worse. Nothing can stop it. It’s out of my control.

I feel like I don’t know what my place in the world is anymore. I don’t know if I ever knew. It seems like I’ve been drifting for so long, taking turns down long winding roads, looking for the answers, going back and forth across the country, and nothing ever comes of it. I don’t have anywhere to go. I don’t have anyone to see. I don’t live a life that has any meaning. It’s like staring down the void constantly asking, “Why am I here?” and the universe refuses to respond. It all seems so meaningless to me now. Still I remain distant and adrift.

Where to go from here? I don’t know. All I know is that the world around me is going to shit and so is everyone and everything in it. So amazing. So blessed. So grateful. So happy to be here, you guys. Just kidding. I have to go stare down the dark, empty, cold nothingness of the black hole I’ve been sucked into.

The End

A Whole Lotta Nothing To Say

I can’t believe I watched Obi-Wan Kenobi FOUR times in one day this weekend and I’m still sitting here staring at a blank page like… derp.

You’d think after 20 years of waiting for my fanfiction to come to life onscreen, I would have more to say than just, “It was great! 20/10, will watch again and again and again. It was everything I hoped for and more. I knew Ewan McGregor would never let me down!”

But no. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Zero.

Sigh.

I need a new Muse. I’m seriously short on inspiration right now. I always write best when I have a Muse to inspire me. Unfortunately for me, I have absolutely garbage taste in men, so my Muses pretty much always disappoint me in the end. Their stories always start out strong, but they fall flat soon after and never really end up going anywhere. Such a waste of time. Isn’t there a man out there who can keep it up for the long haul? I’m drying up over here.

The Town No Longer Inspires. The Town is an ongoing nightmare I want to wake up from. I use that as motivation to keep up with my classwork and stick to my healthy lifestyle habits. Lately I’ve been doing so well. My summer is full of sunrise yoga, casual chats, checked off boxes, finished classes, and virtual events.

I’ve been working really hard on overcoming my so-called “Networking Anxiety.” Twitter helps a lot, believe it or not. There’s lots of writers out there taking their time to help others and build up their confidence. There’s nowhere near as much negativity and tearing others down as there is on say, Facebook, or in a bar in this town IRL. It’s a nice little escape for me at the end of the day.

Life is still pretty boring. I spend most of my time working on classes, watching TV/movies, practicing my languages, and hanging out at home. I’ve been out here and there, but… ugh. I’m pretty much over it, ya’ll. I’ve seen it all, I’ve heard it all, I’ve done it all, and I got the t-shirt. I’m completely tuned out to everything that’s going on.

I don’t try to make friends with people around here anymore (learned that lesson the hard way!). I don’t try to get involved with anything going on in the community. I treat everyone I come across as if they’re immediately going to start talking shit about me as soon as I walk away because that’s literally what they all do. I don’t care who is fucking who or who is fighting now or what the drama of the day is today. It’s a small town in the middle of nowhere. Talking shit and starting drama is what they do best. No one can blame me for no longer wanting to be involved. I’m very much enjoying my peace.

I had my fill about a month ago when Mad Dog had to go to the hospital and I had to deal with the Owner of a certain bar I have written extensively about acting like the giant, overgrown manbaby he is. It was… actually quite shocking and ridiculous. Like, this is how you behave when someone you claim to care about is having serious health problems? Grow up. You don’t have to have a screaming meltdown and throw a temper tantrum every time someone says or does something you don’t like. You don’t have to twist everything into a soap opera or spread rumors to cause excitement. You can communicate like an actual, real adult. Maybe if you did that, I might actually listen to you.

The whole thing made me realize this whole Bloody Mary’s drama was never about me. This is just how he behaves… with everyone. Whatever exciting thing happens nearby gets co-opted into the latest episode of his soap opera. There’s no room for clear communication, resolving misunderstandings, or settling conflict. It always has to be the most dramatic thing to ever happen in the history of ever so he can throw his public tantrum and feel like a man. It’s so obvious to me now in hindsight. I feel like a fool for allowing myself to get sucked into it. Never again.

God, I can’t believe I wasted so much time on that character. I clearly didn’t see it before. Now I can’t unsee any of it. He straight-up gives me The Ick. It’s like… damn, his wife must feel like she has three kids. If that’s how he is with regular people every day, he must be a nightmare at home. Yikes!

The only good thing that came out of that was me finally separating out Andrew from Sam. As best I can, anyway. It doesn’t matter anymore. He’s on the Island of Lost Guys to stay forever. I don’t care anymore. His influence as a Muse was always highly questionable. Frankly, I’m just over it. I need someone who is going to take this job seriously.

So that was a thing that happened in my world. Honestly, it’s just about the only thing that’s happened recently. I’m sort of… fine with that. The whole experience reminded me how much I hate dealing with stupid, useless drama. I like not having anything exciting going on. It’s nice to be boring and watch a lot of TV. It’s just… you know… I wish something was going on to inspire me. It turns out working hard for what you want in life and delaying gratification so you can plan for the long term is BORING AF! Who knew? But hey, it’ll be worth it when the Euro drops below the Dollar next year and I’m finally living my best life abroad.

Ahhh… nothing like pumping out a bunch of garbage when sitting down to write for the first time in months. I suppose it’s better than what I’ve been doing, which is staring at a blank page for way too long. I guess I just have to keep working through all my anxiety shit and wait for the new stuff to come out. It’s all there inside me. It’s just not ready yet. When will it be ready? I don’t know. Today is obviously not the day. My sincerest apologies to all of my haters and fans.

Anything else to say today?

Nope.

Nothing.

Nada.

Goodbye.