I coulda been a contender….

“Good news from ERNIE about your NS&I Premium Bonds”

The email header gets me every time *wink*.

It’s a £25 win – which, believe me, is very welcome as I’m making diddly-squat from writing nowadays and Christmas is coming. But every time the message pops up, maybe 2-3 times a year, I have a blissful moment of…

WHAT IF????

PS that said, I’m sure if it was the million pound prize, they’d call me direct. Wouldn’t they? LOL

For the Left-Behind-ers

I first called this post “Catfish Confession” then thought it may be misleading LOL. So I renamed it the Left-Behind-Ers, for reasons I hope become clear.

You see, I’ve been catfished. I’ve been emotionally manipulated and then dropped / shocked / made to face the horrible and humiliating truth that I was FOOLED.

My sympathy is always with the catfish-ees – those Left Behind. And I want to shout out a HUG to them, to assure you I’ve suffered it and am happy to talk about every humiliating, painful detail if it helps you come to terms. Then I have a fairly fierce Demand that you (i) grieve, but then (ii) you regain perspective, rebuild your confidence, and get on with the important thing i.e. Your Life.

My catfisher was a gay man I wrote online with, for over a year (I don’t know his real name, or if he was gay, or a man at all *sigh*). On another continent, so the timezones only overlapped for a few hours, which meant I was always up late and/or early to share time, which took its toll on my sleep, and also made my family worry.

It was fun and challenging, he was outrageous, told me exotic and intimate stories of his lovelife, always led the way on our provocative, edgy writing. Never showed me a photo – though we exchanged gifts a couple of times – never gave any other personal details that I could have checked *if* I’d wanted to. But I didn’t give too much away either, so it seemed fair. This was early in my writing career, and maybe I had some self-protection in place even then, or maybe I just thought my life was totally boring compared to his, so not worth going into detail! I’d never heard of the term “catfish”, I was relatively new to online chatting.

He was in general amused at my naivety, but sometimes asked my help and advice, so I felt a personal connection. Then one day he claimed an upset in his personal life and just vanished offline. Good God! It was devastating. No contact, no trail, no recourse. I was shocked, hurt, suddenly aware of how emotionally fragile online relationships can be. Me, a professional, intelligent, mature woman, in floods of tears over an online chat friend. Ulp.

He came back online briefly, several weeks later, but we slowly dropped contact. He never admitted to being anything other than his writing persona, but I suspect now he was a catfisher. During the time he was offline, I’d found other women online who’d been in contact with him, equally horrified to have “lost” him, probably on an equal fan footing as I was. Ouch. I’d been amazed and horrified at my response, and I determined not to be hurt like that again.

It still makes me wince, to think of ME as I was then! but I’m proud of myself as well, in that it spurred me to learn more, develop more, so I’m confident now in who and what I am.

But if anyone wants to talk about it? I can and will, to prove you shouldn’t feel humiliated or embarrassed or a fool – at least, not for ever. I can stand outside now and see I *was* a fool, but also how cruel *he* was. It may have been deliberate, though I suspect/hope it wasn’t, just someone seeking attention, which ultimately came at my expense. No money changed hands, no physical harm was done. But I was in emotional distress for a long time afterwards.

Also, don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself – you were fooled, you were misled, you were lied to, whether deliberately or by omission. And you know what? Admit that it was LOVE. Maybe not sexual (my guy was gay, apparently, what sexual relationship could I have had, even if I’d wanted?) but these connections are so often a combination of romantic love / fascination / titillation / pride / flattery. We’re not honest enough with ourselves, trying to avoid the self-hate, embarrassment, shame at falling for a non-person. The admission that, at the time, we were looking for someone special for ourself. But it’s not wrong to love – it just needs to be the right kind of love.

I feel I lost a lot at the time, because of it. But I’ve gained so much more since then.

**HUGS ALL ROUND**

My friend, the author Sue Brown – and thankfully a real person! 🙂 – shares her feelings too in a very honest and compassionate post here:
https://suebrownsstories.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/catfisher-of-day.html

Age shall not wither me….

So here is my birthday cake from this year, beautifully crafted by a very talented friend, and bearing a strangely familiar resemblance to my favourite drink…

Before… and After the assorted Menfolk got at it :).
    

Go me *wink*!

And yes, any references to my age are hidden, because I know how scammers can get hold of that for their own advantage 😦 . Absolutely nothing to do with the fact I’m fighting it Every. Damn. Step. Of. The. Way LOL.

A morning of startling joy

Morning all :). Unaccustomed as I am to tooting my own horn… no, seriously.

I received note of three lovely reviews last week, on two of my titles. I cannot describe how much that made my day(s)!

In my writing and publishing journey so far, I’ve had great reviews, I’ve had bleahh reviews, I’ve had downright weird, incomprehensible ones :). And I reckon I’ve developed a pretty sanguine approach to them now. (though let’s not talk about how long that’s taken LOL….)

But to read a thoughtful, carefully and individually penned commentary, laced with enthusiasm and appreciation of the story and the characters….

WOW. Always a startling joy.

 Thank you, all those who read, love and SHARE.

/end of rather slushy post. It has been a rather grim start to the year for me, is all I can say in my defence, albeit nothing to do with writing.

Oh, and the reviews?!

How the Other Half Lives at Boy Meets Boy Reviews
and Hearts on Fire Reviews

A Good Neighbour at OnTopDownUnder Reviews
(currently on pre-order at Dreamspinner Press)

Regrets? Have I had a few? Or… ?

Whether you find this video a bit cheesy or contrived…it’s made me think.

It’s helped me think about what I HAVE done in life so far, and what I DON’T regret, and what chances/opportunities I HAVE taken, regardless of what others may have thought at the time about my age, size, gender, training, background, suitability, class, habits, tastes, dignity, etc etc etc.

I won’t regret ANY of that :). In fact, I try never to look back and regret – I confess (celebrate?) the fact I’m lucky / open-minded / curious / bold / bloody-minded / rash enough to have done what I wanted most of the time. Or I’ve managed my expectations well enough to be content with my lot ^_~.

I didn’t have a chance in January to post MY day on the Birthday Blog LOL, but I’ll catch up soon. After I’ve taken a few more minutes to take stock.

xx to you all.

slate board

Click on the pic to go to the video, or from THIS LINK.