My Husband is Addicted to Plastic

and it’s not what you think.

Plastic, photo by the author

I hear wives complain about how their husbands spend so much time and money on hobbies. They whine about what husbands buy that clutters up their homes. Then when the husband creates a man cave to store his stuff they complain that he is always out in the garage. Sometimes they gripe about what husbands spent on the hobby. They say that husbands have charged up credit cards on things that are frivolous.

For example, my husband is all into Warhammer 40K. It is a massive tabletop gaming hobby. It involves plastic models, paint and copious amounts of time. To head off any of his wife’s discomfort, he took me to his local game store. He pointed down a retail aisle and said, “Go look at the armies. See if you like any of those.” I was half paying attention because the shiny dice had caught my eye. (Totally different addiction, um… I mean story.) I turned to my right and walked down the closest row of things. There were boxes shrinkwrapped in plastic with photos of fantastical creatures on the front. All sorts of beasts and mythical beings. Other boxes had images of beautifully crafted sculptures, buildings, planets, airships, steampunk inventions, and still others with objects of the natural world. Many had colors in combinations I have never seen. I was wonderstruck. I found a fascinating set that looked like trees with faces that reminded me of Ents from Lord of the Rings, but different. I called my husband over to show him the wonderous things I had discovered and proclaimed, “I like these.”

For those of you who know the world of gaming, you know that game systems differ across manufacturers and even within the same companies. I had picked out a completely different game from WH 40k. Yes, I chose the Age of Sigmar, Slyvaneth.

Lori’s Heartwood, Photo by the author.

My husband put his head in his hands and sighed.

Long story short, we now have a room full of plastic.

Husband and his plastic, Photo by the author

My husband made a point to include me in his hobby. Not all husbands do that, I know. He took me to see what it was he enjoyed and did his best to explain to me why. Was it because he wanted me to like the same things as he did? No. He wanted me to be included in his leisure life. What he understood was that what wives are really complaining about when they get upset about a husband’s hobby is that the husband is spending time with a hobby instead of spending time with them.

There are a few things that wives can do if husbands are not proactive about things.

Find a part of his hobby that you like.

Find a complimenting thing to do while he is participating in his hobby. If he likes to work on cars, offer to hand him tools. If he likes to garden or do yard work, sit in the sun with a book close by and just be close to him. Ask him if he needs a hand. Husbands like to be listened to as well. Let him talk and just listen. He might just be more apt to listen to you later when you need him to be there for you.

Join in with his hobby.

If he likes to play golf, learn to play golf. If he likes to watch football, put on one of his team’s shirts and cheer them on. If he likes to cook, offer to be his sioux chef. Whatever it is, find something you like about it that you can do.

Find your own hobby.

If you are completely against doing anything that is even remotely involved with his hobby, find your own hobby to occupy your time while he is busy. This is not the best solution, but it will distract you from complaining. Remember to make time for him as well. Don’t flip the situation by not giving him attention because you have newfound fun of your own.

A healthy marriage is s mixture of time together and time apart. A thoughtful husband will include his wife in his hobby or make time for her. If a spouse is not enjoying time with the other, there is way more wrong in your marriage than just a difference of hobbies.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

It is Getting More and More Difficult…

Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

I am known for my positive optimistic outlook about most things. I am a bright happy person most of the time. If I am sad it is usually for a short time and I find a way to fix whatever is making me sad.

Right now, it is getting more and more difficult to remain positive. I have made a conscious decision not to listen, watch, read the news. The general ignorance of society is heartbreaking. I do not engage in negativity on social media. It is full of bullies. If someone is being negative when speaking around or to me if I can, I disengage and walk away.

I am so tired of all the hate and discontent in this world. When did we become a planet of narcissistic know it alls?

I want to lash out. I want to call it like it is, to say, that is enough. I want to tell every negative voice to be quiet. I am struggling not to lash out. I am struggling to remain positive. Depression looms in my peripheral like a black cloud waiting to absorb the light in my life.

Some say I am practicing avoidance. That it is not healthy to avoid conflict. I am not afraid of conflict. I am choosing to not allow negative energy to enter my space of peace.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

Do You Hate Valentine’s Day?

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

I am not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. The entire thing feels forced. Love day should be every day. Why the world thinks people need a day to honor those we love is ridiculous. Valentine’s Day, the modern version of it anyway, seems like it was made up by the greeting card writers, chocolate sellers, and rose farmers to sell more product. If that is your thing, more power to ya.

I suppose if you need a reason for date night other than it is a day ending in -y, then Valentine’s Day is as good a reason as any to go wait an hour for a table at an already crowded restaurant.

Personally, I don’t need a special day to get love or gifts. My special human and I surprise each other all year with dates, gifts, and adventures with no reason other than we like to see each other smile. There is no pressure. How many of you will be exhausted after work yet will be expected to go on a date or spend extra money on a traditional gift for your person because it is February 14th?

Try this, start the middle of next month, surprise your love with something, not flowers, a date, their favorite book, or cake maybe. Tell them that you love them on that day just as much or more than you do (did) today, on Valentine’s Day. Suggest that you don’t do what everyone else does and instead you choose to celebrate love all year from that point forward. Then, plan little things and don’t tell them. Make it surprises as much as you can. You may have to actually… gasp! communicate about it sometimes. If you are forgetful, secretly, write it on your calendar. I bet you and your person will have fun. Maybe you will even get a few surprises too!

Next year on Feb 14th, you can stay at home in your pajamas snuggled on the sofa with your person and with no pressure to perform a Heart Day miracle.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

I don’t know how much money my husband has…

and I like it that way.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

It is true. I have no clue what my husband has in his bank accounts. I do not know the amount of his monthly income or investments. I know that he has enough money to cover his monthly obligations and keep us, along with my income, in the lifestyle we are accustomed to.

I can hear you screaming at your screen, “Are you crazy?” Hold on, hear me out.

We lived together for two years before we decided to get married and we had a simple agreement about who paid what expenses. We talked about what had to be paid and decided who paid what. It was sort of like a verbal back and forth tennis game. You take that bill and I will take this one. We each continued to pay the expenses we had before we got together, like cell phones and credit cards. We didn’t cut expenses exactly in half, but pretty close to half. If an unexpected bill or expense came up we discussed it and decided a plan of action together.

A study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that 36.1 % of divorces were caused by money problems. Some respondents said money though a contributing factor were not “the most pertinent reason for divorce.” The money issues “contributed to increased stress and tension within the relationship.”

With divorce rates in the United States the 40–50% range and the fact that my husband and I have been married before, as he likes to say, to the wrong people, we wanted to eliminate as many of the reasons for divorce from the start. We did what most people do when they decide to get married. We discussed goals and where we wanted our future to go. We both had our own established income, investments, savings and checking accounts before we moved in together. We made a pact, we would not argue about money. Instead, we would communicate clearly and decide collaboratively. We would put our commitment to each other and love first. Even when it came to important things like money.

After we got married we decided that our system was working. We had all we needed, bills got paid and needs were filled. Never once did he or I ask the value of the other’s net worth. We did not run out and get joint accounts. We did change our beneficiaries and permissions on all our accounts to make sure that if one of us had an emergency we could gain access to funds. We both have living and last wills.

Money does not have to be in the center of your marriage or relationship. You can have a successful marriage without managing money the way everyone else does it. There is nothing that says one spouse must pay the bills and manage the budget. We continue to manage our own budgets and meet in the middle when something comes up that is out of the norm.

The result, money is not a point of tension. We actually have healthier finances than in the past. We are generous to each other. We see needs and fill them without the normal stress that comes from managing shared accounts.

You and your spouse are unique. Your marriage is one of a kind. Why put your money in the same format, like joint accounts and budgets, that 31.6% who let money problems contribute to divorce?

The secret is clear and consistent communication.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

If He loves Me He Would…

My husband and I are avid gamers. Not video games, but tabletop games, yes the ones with dice, miniature characters of plastic and gasp! There are books involved!

I am always amazed when at the game store where we play or sitting around our game table with friends I hear, “I can’t stay long, my wife wants me home.” or “My wife/girlfriend hates that I game.”

My first thought was, why?

One of the quickest ways to kill a love or a relationship is to nag your significant other about where he is and what he is doing. Here is a good one, tell him his hobby is pointless. “I don’t get why you like _____.”

You love him for his uniqueness and how he spends his free time is part of who he is. You don’t have to understand why he likes it, but your relationship will be stronger if you accept him as he is. How can you get what you want which is his attention, and still respect that he has his own thing that he enjoys?

The answer is simple, go with him. Learn to golf, throw dice, catch fish or whatever.

My husband and I share the gaming hobby, so I guess we are lucky, however, I do not always want to participate. Sometimes, I would rather go do something else. Let’s say shopping. Because I love my husband, I go where he is. I do not wait for him to come to find me. I don’t sit at home fuming because he is at the game store throwing dice when I want his attention. I go to him where he is gaming, hug him, tell him I hope his game goes well. THEN, I go shopping. When I return he stops what he is doing. He is happy to see me. He missed me while I was gone.

“If he loved me he would stay home with me or do what I want.”

Really? So, the other time when he held your purse for an hour while you tried on clothes and asked if the pants made your butt look fat are the only times that he loved you?

If you are nagging him about what he is doing or worse, sitting at home ignoring him to teach him a lesson, you are not focused on love.

The truth is, love has to be the center. My need for time with him is not the center. Him doing things with me is not the center. If he loves you, he will make time for you. If you love him you will make time for him.
Someone has to go first. Why not you? Why not now?

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

Why I don’t Use a Pen Name

Photo by John Jennings on Unsplash

There are several legitimate reasons to use a pen name. Let me say upfront, I am not criticizing the reasons other writers choose to use a pen name. You probably know the reasons, there are many. The two biggest ones are to protect a writer’s family and freedom or embarrassment. I hear things that go like this, “I don’t want to hurt my family if I write about them.” or “I don’t want my family to know what I am writing about”.

I also get the argument that there is freedom in anonymity. I am not ashamed of my work, my words. Good or bad, what I write is mine. There is a sense of ownership when a writer or an artist creates. Words, characters, and plots sometimes play nice with the writer and sometimes take on a life of their own. If a story needs a certain thing I will write it. Yes, I have written erotica under my real name. I have written dark humor, murder, and other topics that might make my family cringe. My work is not for everyone and I am alright with that.

I had at first considered adopting a pen name for the sole purpose of writing more real-life content to include murder and erotica in my fiction or in nonfiction about how I handled past trama. I have heard it said that writers write differently when they use different names for different genres. I do not think that the words or the way I write would change if I decided to use a false name. The differentiating factor being the genre, not my name.

I decided against hiding behind a false name and rather embrace the vulnerability that comes from being honest and open. I found that in doing so my writing was better and easier to write. I wasn’t second-guessing my words in the vain of protecting readers who may get offended.

I write, work, and live with one name. There is power in a name, given, chosen, or implied.

As for my real name, I like my name. It is an honor to use it. My first and middle names were given to me by my parents. My last name was given to me when I was welcomed into the O’Gara clan by the matriarch long before I married my husband.

I am proud of my name. It has history and strength in it. I feel like I would hemorrhage if O’Gara was stripped from me or if I was called by a different first name.

I have a transparent personality. What you see is what you get and using my real name, is the real me. It is how readers will find me, love me or hate me.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

Confession of a Fat Girl

When a wake up call gives you the shock of your life.

How I wish I looked.

I haven’t always been fat. I was slim. I was attractive. All silk and smooth. I was tall with long elegant legs and arms. I was told that I had a body like a mink. ( A compliment, I think.) Sexy and dangerous to hearts.

Then I became middle age and fat. How the hell did that happen?

I know how it happened, over time things change. I kept living my eat anything and do what I want life style. In my head, I know what happened, but for some reason, it feels like I changed overnight. I was skinny and hot then I was not.

It is like I was in a twenty-five-year or so fog. My reality was not what my brain was telling me. It was telling me, “You’re good, Girl.” When in reality I was not good.

I was eating like that young thing that burned calories without trying. I was not that girl anymore. I thought I still looked good when I looked in a mirror.

One day, I woke up. The fog cleared and I was faced with cold stark reality. I tried the latest and greatest fix all diet for a while and it worked until it got bothersome. I gave up.

I realized it is time to do things differently. I can’t blame anyone but myself. Yes, we live in a fast convenient instant gratification drive-through society, but I was the one who put the food in my mouth. Yes, my job takes a lot of daylight hours, but I am the one who sits, sits, and sits when I could be up moving.

I eat without thought or moderation. I want it when I want, and with no thought of the consequences to myself or others.

I move when I absolutely have to. If I do not want to I do not move.

The thing in my stomach that says, “Hey fat girl you have eaten enough!” is broken because of years of abuse to my gut.

My knees, hips, legs, shoulders, back, and all of my bones hurt from carrying enough weight to equal two adults.

I am done

DONE.

D.O.N.E.

It takes time to change things, good or bad. This is the beginning, again…I have been on this road before. I have tried diets and they worked for a bit but were not maintainable for the long hall.

This time it is no diet for me. No eat this not that shit. I am going to start feeding my soul. I will eat when I am hungry and when I am not I won’t. Once I get my crazy food intake under control then I will move on to the next thing to fix.

I had a friend tell me that to eat an elephant you have to take one bite at a time. The elephant for me is changing my lifestyle.

Here’s to the first bite.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

Truth Will Not Hide

(Story originally published here.)

There are forces of nature that are set firm. The laws of physics are one example. Truth is a natural law.

No matter what you do to hide it the truth will not stay hidden. You can lie and stretch it, or here’s a good one ignore it, however it will not stay hidden. It may take months, years or even generations for the truth to come out, but it will come from the dark place that a human tried to exile it.

What’s more, truth is better acknowledged as soon as possible rather than ignored or hidden for long. The ramifications, the consequences of hiding it or ignoring it multiply. It is like a pressure cooker, oh excuse me it is called an instapot now.

It builds until that one thing breaks the seal lets the truth escape from its hiding place.

Photo by Daniel Jensen on Unsplash

Humans are forced to deal with it. The hurt or clean up from the release is often a thousand times worse than it would have been if taken care of at the start.

We tend to forget about the reality of pain from a lie. We hear horror stories sometimes about men who have second secret families or children find out they were adopted. We read stories of cheating spouses, hidden debt, crimes and other sorts of ugly truths. The emotional fallout of these lies is devastating. It isn’t only the lie of omission but the time it is hidden that increases the hurt.

Someone dear to me lied for years about something that if I had known from the beginning it would not have been as big a deal. I would have dealt with it and moved on.

I have lied. I have lied about small things and huge things. Every time the truth came out, someone was hurt. Sometimes the someone was me. After the last time I lied and hurt someone, I made a promise to God and to everyone around me that I will always be honest.

I am honest with my family, in my work, and my writing. What you see is what you get. If you ask me a question I will tell you the truth, so be sure you really want to know the answer before you ask.

The truth will not hide. It will come out.

Truth can not control the release of itself, you human control the light of truth. You can hide it, dim it, and lie about it. You can not extinguish it.

Let the truth be your torch. Let the truth be your goal. Learn tact, learn the skill of honesty that is a little less traumatic and freeing.

Always be honest.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here.

P.S. If you send me a letter I will write you one back.

I decided to Trust My Husband

Photo by Daniel Suarez Photography on Unsplash

I know it seems that trust is supposed to be automatic. We see a new couple who appear happy and in love at the beginning of a marriage. They have a bright wide-open future in front of them. They say the words and we pray for them as they start a new life together. We often forget that they had lives before this new chapter. All we see are the smiles, promises, and love of the event. What happens when the couple wakes up a few months or weeks later when the shiny new starts to fade?

Trus doesn’t just happen. It is something you decide to do.

We, humans, are a selfish lot. It is in our DNA to strive for filling our needs first. We seek what we want and for what satisfies us before we give to others. We have to consciously choose to put others first. Marriage is work. Do not let anyone sell you that fantasy that love is all you need. Love is the foundation that trust, compassion, selflessness and other pieces to a healthy marriage is built upon.

When you come to a marriage with past hurt it makes a marriage even more work. It is easy to carry over that old response pattern of hurt to a new relationship. Without meaning to you can project that onto your new spouse or partner.

My past left me scared and damaged emotionally. I had been told for years that I was fat. I heard names and labels applied to me more than I heard my name spoken. I was not touched, hugged, or kissed for years by the one who was supposed to love me most. I was told that no one would want me.

Then I was ignored.

What that taught me was that I was not a priority. I did not matter. I was not important. I was not loved.

When I moved out of that relationship, I was left with was a distorted view of myself.

I was middle-aged, overweight and depressed. Who would want me? I resigned myself to being unlovable.

God had other plans.

When my husband found me, I had no sense of self-worth. My past left me with no self-esteem. I put on a good face for people in my life, however inside I hated myself.

My husband saw past that to who I really was on the inside. He was completely different. We work at marriage every day. We do not leave the survival of our marriage to chance. We as a couple make each other a priority. It is the little things that add up. We spend at least thirty minutes every morning and every night uninterrupted with each other. We put the other’s needs first. We never call each other names even teasing. I tell my husband how much a adore him. He calls me beautiful. He uses my name and not pet names or words that he could use for anyone. He says I am enough for him. I am all he needs.

For a long time, I did not believe him. I can see I am overweight. I can see the age lining my face and the sliver in my hair. I am not as I once was.

I would tell him, “You have love eyes. You do not see me as I am.” To which he replied, “I see you as you are and I love you.” I still did not believe him.

He and I promised to always be honest. I trusted everything else about him. Why couldn’t I trust when he said good things about me?

My brain said that I was not beautiful or worthy of love. It is easy to believe what I heard in my thoughts since I had heard them for so long.

It was ridiculous to think he was so loving and kind but spoke lies, so I decided that I would just trust what he said was true. I decided to respond in a manner as if I truly believed it. If he said I was beautiful, I replied with “Thank you.” I ignored the internal thought process in my brain that instantly replied, “No I’m not.” Trust is a decision, not an emotion. I decided to trust. It did not matter if I believed him or not. If he said it, it was true.

Soon something amazing happened.

Eventually, the voice of doubt in my head got quieter. Over time my self-confidence is coming back. I still have times where I don’t feel like I am worth love. On those days, I tell myself, if he says it, it must be true.

Listen, life is better when you give yourself permission to believe it when someone tells you that you are beautiful and loved.

It is as simple as making a decision and choosing to trust love.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here or sign up for the O’Gara Inner Circle here

Do Not Hurt Yourself Striving for Perfection on Christmas

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

There are some things you do not know about me. There are some hidden things I keep tucked inside my soul. I do my best to be as transparent as a writer can be. I will answer any question honestly and often without sugar-coating it so the truth is easier for you to handle.

You don’t know that I hate to cry. I am not a crier. I will cry when angry. The thing is when the tears stop you better be running away or I can’t be responsible for your safety.

I often have two or three writing projects going at once and reading two to three books at the same time. I claim that I am not good at multitasking and I am not unless it is writing or reading.

I am a perfectionist in a lot of things, however never on Christmas. Not any more.

I used to be one of those women who just about killed herself to make sure that everyone around me had a perfect Christmas. I was exhausted and broke for a long time after.

One year I just stopped.

I refused to pull out all the decorations and buy a big tree. I refused to cook a huge Christmas dinner. I refused to spend all my time running around for gifts for all the people I knew.

I did not attend all the gatherings and parties. Yes, even family. I sent Christmas cards to a very small handful of family and friends. Made a few calls, you know with actual talking, to my close family. Chose a few special gifts to send to loved ones. Let me tell you a secret. No one really cares if you skip a few traditions.

That first year, I bought a small prelit tree with nontraditional ornaments. I ordered take out, drank coffee and watched television all day.

That was five Christmases ago.

You know what?

The world kept spinning.

Give yourself permission to rest, to NOT be perfect, and do not neglect yourself.

Life will continue after Christmas.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here.

P.S. If you send me a letter I will write you one back.