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Warning: Take The Advice Of Writers With Caution

, , , , , , , | Friendly | January 26, 2022

I’m an aspiring writer. And I have writer’s block. It’s been bugging me for quite a while now, and nothing I do seems to work. I go to a writer friend of mine and ask for advice.

Me: “How do you deal with writer’s block? I mean, you never seem to have it. What’s your secret?”

Friend: “Okay, I’ll show you. Get out your computer and open up your manuscript while I get the stuff.”

He walks out of the room and I do so. He comes back in a few minutes and slams a bottle of wine down onto the table. He pours me a glass.

Friend: “Drink this, and then start writing. Any time you get stuck, take another sip.”

Me: “Seriously? Your magic cure for writer’s block is to get drunk?

Friend: *Shrugs* “It works.”

I give him a deadpan look.

Friend: “Right, remember Julia, the main character of my novel?”

Me: “Yeah, the evil empress.”

Friend: “I wrote most of her backstory while utterly hammered.”

Me: “But Julia’s your best character! The most well-written!”

Friend:Exactly.”

I wordlessly downed the entire glass of wine immediately. My friend silently nodded and refilled the wineglass.

I don’t remember much of what happened next, but I woke up the next morning with a horrible hangover and a significant expansion to my manuscript, which, after editing, I found to be a workable plot.

I haven’t yet had to revisit the bottle, as my muse has somewhat returned, but still, maybe my friend really was onto something.

He Needs A Nanny, Not A Girlfriend

, , , , , , | Romantic | January 25, 2022

I got food poisoning in college. My boyfriend offered his apartment to rest during the day; it was more comfortable and private than my dorm, he had classes all day, and his roommate was already gone for winter break. He came back in the evening while I was asleep.

Boyfriend: “[My Name]?”

Me: “Yeah?”

Boyfriend: “How are you feeling?”

He slipped his hand up my shirt.

Me: “No.”

I pushed his hand away.

Boyfriend: *Disgusted sound* “Did you sleep all day?”

Me: “Uh, mostly.”

Boyfriend: “I know you’re sick, but you could still, like, load the dishwasher or make dinner or something. My mom always had the house clean, even when she was sick.”

He tried again for my shirt.

Boyfriend: “I can make you feel better.”

Me: “I came over because I’m sick, not because you need a housekeeper or a mom. Stop touching me. I’m serious.”

I slapped his hand and he withdrew.

Boyfriend: “You really didn’t do anything all day?”

Me: *Sarcastic tone* “Well, I threw up a couple of times.”

Boyfriend: “When my mom was sick, she still took care of me and my dad!”

I started to stand up.

Boyfriend: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m going back to my room.”

Boyfriend: “But—”

Me: “I can’t talk to you right now. I’m sick. I’m angry. I have to go. I’ll call you later.”

I called him the next day but he rejected the calls. Then, I found a letter taped to my door saying we should no longer see each other because his mother didn’t like me. My friends and I referred to him as “Oedipus” for a long time.

It’s Probably Too Late Anyway

, , , , | Related | January 25, 2022

My grandmother is a little out of touch when it comes to technology. Sure, she has an iPad, but she barely uses it for anything other than looking at news websites and watching Netflix. She’s had her desktop computer for about twenty years now; it still runs XP without any problems.

I recently took some pictures of local wildlife — deer, bears, and a robin’s nest that was made right outside my window — and emailed them to her through my photography business’s Gmail account. After a few days without receiving a reply, I call her.

Me: “Hi, Grandma. I was calling to see if you received the pictures I emailed you?”

Grandma: “I did, but I didn’t open them. I don’t have a Gmail account because I don’t want Google to have all my information.”

Me: “I sent them to your regular email, the one you use to email me.”

Grandma: “Why don’t you go back to using the account you emailed me from before?”

Me: “Because I made that one when I was fifteen years old, and I closed it when I was twenty. I use Gmail now, Grandma, because it’s more professional.”

Grandma: “I still don’t want Google having all my information!”

I gave up and got my mom to email the pictures to her, instead.

Ah, Yes, The Trauma Diet

, , , , , , , | Related | January 24, 2022

People: “Oh, my God, you’ve really slimmed down. Like, a lot. Can you please tell me your secret?”

When people say that to me, I have to resist the urge to slap them, which is rather problematic, given that I hear that line on average thrice a day.

I was on the pudgy side for most of my life. I was rather sedentary. And a liking for booze, dairy, and snacking meant that I wasn’t the slimmest person in the world.

Then, I got pregnant when I was eighteen, and my father disowned me for that. Oh, and my boyfriend literally fled the country to avoid paying child support. When I tried to approach his family, they told me to f*** off.

Still, I found myself a room to rent and a part-time job and tried my best to raise my newborn little girl.

When I first started out, I had a full bank account and summer sunlight behind me. I was confident that I could do this. Then, the costs started mounting and my bank account began growing depleted. Winter was encroaching, and babies were expensive, even with welfare.

I had a choice between coats or good food. I chose the coats and started eating takeout. The price of baby products went up. I halved my sleep and got a second part-time job. Babysitters began charging more because of the health crisis. I dropped ice cream and chocolate to afford them.

Then, my daughter fell sick. I dropped alcohol to afford the medicine.

The heating bill was more than expected. I used my food money to pay for it and spent a month eating my coworkers’ leftovers.

I had to buy new school supplies — textbooks and the like. I cut down from three square meals a day (plus snacks) to just one, convincing myself that it was about time I started dieting.

Final exams arrived. I took time off from my two part-time jobs to study for it, depleting what was left of my bank account in order to feed and clothe my daughter and myself.

My bank account was completely empty after finals. I took three part-time jobs during the school holidays to partially replenish it. Sleep was basically nonexistent by this point, and I was surviving off one meal a day.

But even so, no matter what I did, bills and costs were slowly but surely strangling me. I’d gotten to the point where I was seriously considering some… less wholesome methods of earning cash, when my grandmother passed away.

She willed me quite a bit, and although she was barely coherent toward the end, her last words were apparently for my father to reconcile with her favourite granddaughter, so that’s what he did. He rescinded my disownment and invited me to come in from the cold.

The first conversation we had went something like this.

Father: *Stunned look* “You’ve slimmed down so much! Can you please tell me your secret? I’ve got a couple of inches I’d like to lose from my waistline.”

That’s an understatement. I lost almost an entire stone and was pretty thin and haggard by that point. On more than one occasion, I couldn’t afford to feed both my daughter and myself, and every single time, I chose to starve so that my daughter had food.

And hearing my father ask about something as frivolous as weight loss really made me come THAT close to committing murder.

Me: “It’s called being a single mother with no family for over a year. Guaranteed results.”

Some People Just Want To Watch The Salad Burn

, , , , , | Friendly | January 24, 2022

I’ve seen it before: some people don’t want you to succeed. Sometimes it’s envy; other times just pure malice. I’ve had it before at work but never from someone that I considered a friend.

I was making my lunch one night in our shared kitchen. I’ve been trying to eat more healthily, so it was a simple salad that I was making a little more interesting. 

Housemate: “Is that what you’re eating? It’s a little… plain.”

Me: “It’s okay. I have tuna, egg, cheese, and onion to put in yet. I think I have some croutons somewhere, too.”

Housemate: “Someone got a raise at work, then!”

I sigh to myself. Whenever money is involved, she gets super defensive and acts like I’m a millionaire despite earning a very similar salary to hers.

Me: “Nope, I worked it out; it’s a little over £1 a serving. It’s not just you that struggles with money, you know.”

Housemate: “That can’t be right! You’re just trying to make me feel bad.”

Me: “Okay, fine.”

I get out my phone calculator.

Me: “One egg, an eighth of a multipack of tuna, one-third a bag of lettuce, and one-tenth a block of cheese.”

Housemate: “You didn’t add on the sauce!”

Me: “Whatever, like 5p of sauce. See? £1.10. Happy?”

Housemate: “Well, it looks s***, anyway.”

I tried to reconcile a few days later. I offered to help plan meals or share ingredients if she wanted help. She seemed interested until I made it clear that didn’t mean I would make all her lunches for her. She suddenly “couldn’t be bothered,” so that was the end of that.