Plan B

Country X-ers love quotations. I don’t know why this is. There is nothing special about things other people have said.

Nonetheless, there are sheets of paper pasted around the conference room with quotations on them. I believe these are intended to be inspiring. However, I don’t know. Maybe they are covering holes in the wall.

One of them says, “If plan A doesn’t work, remember there are 25 letters left in the alphabet.”

I have a strong suspicion not a single other member of the staff knows what this means. But I like it.

This is Plan B. Or possibly Plan F. Or Y. I’m not sure. But it could very well be quite far down the list, but we will stick with calling it Plan B for simplicity’s sake.

It is vastly, vastly inferior to Plan A.

Plan A was a life outside of being trafficked with Natashka. It might have been a happy life with a dog and children and rewarding work.

But let’s say that didn’t pan out. Let’s say we were both too damaged to do all of that. Let’s say I am living in a single-occupancy hotel with more roaches than hairs on my head trying to survive on minimum wage whilst helping Natashka kick her heroin habit. We’ll call that Plan C.

On a scale of 1-10—Plan A with the dog and the kids and the good job being a 10—Plan C might be a 3. Plan B is off the chart. It is in the negative numbers. It does not even compare.

Plan B is really not acceptable. It is something I do because there is really nothing else to be done. Even Plan C is out of reach.

Understanding this is immensely freeing. And helpful.

It is as though I have been dragging a child on a long walk through the rain. I don’t know why I am—maybe we need to get somewhere—and I am trying to distract the child from the cold and the wet by pointing out the sights. Look, there’s a pretty flower. Look at that beautiful spider web. Isn’t it pretty?

And the child keeps complaining. She’s cold and she’s wet and she’s tired. But I go on trying to point out how lovely the walk is.

Finally, the child say,” Mom, it’s pouring down fucking rain.”

And I finally answer, “Yes, so it is.”

Someone inside has been saying, Ash, she’s fucking dead.

I have busy pointing out the sights, which have indeed been lovely. I look out my window now and they are lovely. But she’s trying to get my attention. She’s trying to get me to see that this is just really not acceptable.

Ash, she’s dead.

And I have finally said, “Yes, she is. She is dead. And life is really, really never going to be okay again. Never. And I know that.”

We can stop pretending. We can trudge through the rain and the cold and the wet as best we can and we don’t also need to try to pretend—on top of that—that it’s not pouring down fucking rain.

Since we aren’t also trying to pretend, we might also start noticing the flowers and the spider webs. And that might be nice.

Plan B will never be Plan A, but maybe we can start appreciating Plan B for what it is instead of trying to make it into something better that it can never be.


14 thoughts on “Plan B

  1. ridicuryder January 19, 2015 / 2:42 am


    My frame of reference is pretty out of whack too. It routinely makes people itchy or it kinda stops conversations…I get it…I’m weeeeiiyyyrrd (little known fact: as long as it starts with a W and ends with a D…there is no way to misspell weird).

    I have some insight for your situation and I suspect more of it comes from strange perspectives than me actually getting it (your experience). I understand what a relief total doom can be, back things up several decades and you might be a war widow (WW1) who is still wearing black in the 1950s…I don’t mind.

    I do wonder about Ash…waiting to come into herself. I think I get Ashana who has held it together for so long….

    Is this Ash emerging or Ashana decelerating? You have a fuck of a transformation happening.

    Regardless, I am happy to hang with someone so intelligent and with such an outlier personality. I do want “better” things for you like everyone else…it’s natural. I see how these natural tendencies do attempt to constrain you from the vastness of your loss. Be with the vastness (vastness in any form is cool).


      • ridicuryder January 19, 2015 / 6:08 am

        I’m still not stuck on the Ash / Ashana designations, but let me keep using it and maybe I will be. I don’t think a Firebird rising from ash or the whole ash to ash, dust to dust thing is a coincidence BTW. I know you’ll have more to say about it eventually.

        I have this friend who had been contemplating a total name change in the past year and in the end felt comfortable owning / reclaiming her maiden name. It seems you have already done a name change or two. Throw in the evolving names for the other alters with the Russian variations and who knows where your new handle (if one is chosen) will land?

        I kinda think you’ll be ageless though. 🙂

      • Ashana M January 21, 2015 / 9:09 am

        I don’t think I’ll probably remember which is which. Use whatever seems comfortable for you.

        I can’t keep choosing new names. It confuses other people too much.

        But I miss being Anna, which was of course always Anya or Annoushka or even Anyuta.

    • Ashana M January 21, 2015 / 9:13 am

      It’s that whole “just call a spade a spade thing.” Although that is, evidently, racist, but no one seems to have up with a replacement for it. But, anyway, if it’as a hammer, stop calling it a wrench.

      Yes, Ash is emerging in little bits. I mean to do a post about this and have just been busy being 5. 🙂

      • ridicuryder January 21, 2015 / 10:04 am

        I’ve been thinking (over thinking probably) about Ash.

        PPMAA (Please Pardon My Amateur Analysis):

        I have sensed two Ashana’s for a while…as in the Ashana that keeps things in order and gets stuff done as a multiple…and then “Ash” who is pushing forward to a more collected place (it doesn’t really seem that she is emerging though…). Ash seems to have a similar heat to Verka – I suspect the “leaking” presences can flavor your posts in 52 different ways so it is 10 times more likely that I am off with certain impressions than on.

        I suspect Ash authored Shitty Plan A maybe the simplest way to say this….

        Being 5 sounds like it might be fun when Lana isn’t burrowing under the covers for hours at a time. 🙂

      • Ashana M January 21, 2015 / 11:23 am

        I have no idea. I suspect Verka leaks into the blog the most. She likes to write. No one else does. Also Verka can write about what other parts think. She can articulate the experience of others.

        Yes, it is lovely to be a happy 5-year-old. It’s especially lovely to watch a happy 5-year-old emerge out of a terrified one.

  2. desilef January 19, 2015 / 3:15 am

    I truly hesitate to say this because you’ve been through a hell most people cannot even imagine and you have lost more than most people will ever have to lose. But at the same time that’s absolutely true, you are also at a stage of life where almost everyone must come to terms with not getting what was hoped for, with having to accept and find the good in the life we’ve ended up with. Does it do you any good at all to recognize commonality that goes along with the extreme difference that’s been unfairly handed out to you?

    • Ashana M January 19, 2015 / 5:07 am

      You’re right, I think I have felt this way since the day she died. It was a long, long walk through the rain. It helps so much just to admit that it’s raining.

  3. michelleatplay January 20, 2015 / 11:59 pm

    You know I can be Princess Pollyanna sometimes. And perhaps because of that I love this post so much. There is brilliance in acknowledging something for what it is rather than pretending it is something other. If we’re pretending, we cannot appreciate the truly good things about it. I’m going to be pondering this for some time.

    I hope your plan b grows into something you love. Perhaps it already has?

    • Ashana M January 21, 2015 / 6:28 am

      Oh, we have the same streak. It has gotten us through much. Yours may be stronger than mine, but we have this in common. If nothing else, it quiets that kid he keeps trying to get you to notice that this is less than satisfactory.

  4. michelleatplay January 21, 2015 / 12:13 am

    Would you mind if I link this post to one of mine?

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