Falling Down

Damn it.

I’m sitting in the car writing this on my phone, which I hate doing. I need a keyboard in my life. My thumbs just don’t move fast enough.

I’m spending most of my day in the car actually, as I have appointments and people who need rides and such and there’s just no point in going home. Therefore, I type on my phone, sacrificing comfort to get content out on a Monday.

I had a good weekend. I spent Saturday with Hubs and Kev at the beach, then we went out for dinner. On Sunday, Mark and I went fishing for a bit, then had dinner with my parents.

I wanted to write about falling down. I fell twice this weekend, once in Lake Erie as a massive wave took me out at the knees, and again the next day when I tumbled into Caz creek. The first fall resulted in a cut on my foot and me crawling my way to shore. I don’t have great luck at beaches. I either get injured, lose my glasses (not one but two pair have sunk to the bottom of the lake in my lifetime, ) get sunburned, or nearly drown. I love the beach, but I always seem to find misfortune there.

The second fall resulted in soaked clothing and a twisted ankle. I was able to walk it off, but I did drive home drenched from the waist down.

Falling down in the physical sense is not as bad in my opinion as falling down in the metaphorical sense, which I feel I have been doing lately. I am desperate for a job, yet unable to find work I can accomplish. Mark works his butt off but still we have a mountain of debt and live paycheck to paycheck. I feel like I have fallen flat on my face, and to be honest with you, it really pisses me off.

I hate that my worries are financial. I have never cared about money. I just want to make enough to live on, and maybe be able to put something away for emergencies. My dreams are realistic, but seem very far off from where I am right now. It feels like failure is lurking around every corner.

Sure there’s plenty going well. The kids are happy and healthy. Hubs and I are fine. My writing is good. Positives abound, but I am inclined to focus on the negative, and who ever said money doesn’t buy happiness doesn’t know what it’s like to cancel the cable.

So I have fallen in many ways, or at least I feel as such.

However…

I am not going to wallow. I am not going to stay there lying on the floor in misery. I will stand up. I will brush myself off (or wring out my clothes as the case may be) and wade my way back to shore carefully and deliberately. I will not take this lying down.

I mean, that’s what my head says. Then comes the voice that I call “crazy brain,”

See, there’s crazy brain and sane brain, and most of the time sane brain is in charge. But worrying? That’s crazy brain’s department. She loves jumping to conclusions, imagining worst case scenarios, and generally doing all she can to mess with my day. She’s the one who tells me that I’ll never find a job I can do. She’s the one who yells at me to go to bed during the day instead of dealing with my deperssion, but keeps me up at night to wallow in it. Shes the overreactor, the trouble maker, the one who can’t control the volume of her voice.

Sane brain is obviously more put together. And 90 percent of the time, she’s in charge. But when it comes to my concerns, crazy brain always jumps in to blow everything out of proportion.

I must find a way to keep sane brain in charge. She’s the one that knows I can find the right opportunity if I just keep looking. She’s confident that I will find a way to stand up after every fall. She pushes me to get back up, and most of the time it works.

All in all, I had what amounted to a beautiful weekend, but I also had these gnawing worries at the back of my head, making me trip up and forget that falling down is a natural part of life. Kev’s mom used to have a magnet on her refrigerator that read “this too shall pass,” and I thought about it a lot this weekend. I suppose it shall.

Just gotta try to stand up on two feet.

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The Steps on the Ladder

So, I hit a tiny milestone today and just felt like writing about it.

I decided a year ago that I was going to do something with my poetry.  I started sending it out places and got some positive responses.  I’ve had a few pieces published, and it’s made me feel good, like all those words I typed for all those years actually meant something.  Then a few months back I decided to put together a small book of poetry, also called a chapbook.  It’s about living with mental illness, and today I chose the last poem for it.

Now, of course there are a great many more steps.  I have to edit and format and get it ready to be sent out, and then I have to actually start sending it out.  That process concerns me, but only a little as I am very good at dealing with rejection.  To be honest, I think I would be more scared if it got picked up to be published.  Then what?  My thoughts and words out there for the whole world to see?

I have to remind myself that this is the point. 

Anyway, I am proud of myself today for assembling my pieces.  Next I will start the editing process, then I will choose the order of the poems.  I will have to learn to write a cover letter, (which honestly seems like something I should know by now anyway,) but after that I will be ready to send it out. 

One step at a time.  But first, a little celebration.  I’m going to get me a milkshake.

#WritingCommunity

In 2008, I joined Twitter.  I was one of those that came to the party fairly early, signing up when only a handful of friends used it and not really understanding the whole thing at first.  Like Facebook, but short?  Ok, I’m all for the spirit of brevity.  I also was able to do fun things like stalk celebrities and follow the news.  For ten years I had this account, and I kept it fairly small.  Then about two weeks ago, I started reading tweets from the writing community on Twitter, which is huge.  Many people were doing what was called a writer’s lift, and those participating seemed to be plugged into this community that I had been watching for a little bit.  I decided to give it a try, and within a week and a half I more than doubled my following.  Mission accomplished!  Wait…

With this came two dudes.  One was nice enough, though he lives across the world and we probably have nothing in common.  He was respectful enough when I told him I was married.  The other, not so much.  He begged me to meet him, promising that he could make all my dreams come true and insisting that he could make me happier than Mark does.  Sir, you don’t know me.  Even if I was single, a handful of tweets cannot possibly tell you who I am as a person.  And if I say I’m happy in my relationship, that should be the cue to step back and away.  Twitter is not a dating service.  You will not find your true love here.

The weirdo is nothing, however, compared to the enormous self-doubt.  I am now followed by published authors, which in theory should be a boost to my self-esteem but in actuality is sort of crippling.  I see these people write 1000s of words a day and talk about their agents and editing and how they’ve completed another novel and I want to throw up.  I look at my novel, which is pitiful in word count and will likely end up either being YA or a novella, and I feel sick to my stomach.  I thought that connecting with other writers would boost me, but I’m finding it makes me self-conscious instead.

When I finish something, I’m positive about it.  I’ve written stories and poems that have been published, and I have always been proud of my finished projects.  It’s the stuff I’m working on that gives me nightmares.  A novel that I am stuck on, trying to write about bargaining as a stage of grief.  It teases me, saying “Hey look!  Look how much you wrote, and look how far you have to go!  YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO GET THERE.”  I might get there, of course, but at the moment I am stuck.  A poetry chapbook, which needs a handful more poems and then will be completed.  That’s probably the easier of the two projects at the moment, but it feels insurmountable at times because I don’t have those few poems yet, and I don’t know when they will come to me.  I never know when it’s going to come to me, and that is what makes this calling so difficult.

I write in my blog every Monday, even if I don’t have much to write about.  It’s the one scheduled thing that I have, and I try to keep up with it as best as I can.  I love the feeling of my fingers flying over the keyboard, trying to keep up with my racing mind.  I wish I could feel this way all the time, just sitting at my desk and pecking out words and stories and tales of my life.  Alas, I suffer from terrible bouts of writer’s block and self-doubt, the latter being my own personal Achilles’.  I don’t doubt much, but I doubt my works in progress until they are complete.  I doubt people want to read my work until I have proof, like publication.  I assume it’s all garbage, no matter how many times I am told otherwise.

So, on one hand, I am glad that I’m getting so many new followers from the writing community, as it kind of gives me inspiration.  If they can do it, you can do it!  But on the other hand, can I?  Or is that just something I tell myself so I don’t completely lose my mind?

K is here, so I’m going to go do the mom thing for a while.  Hopefully later today I can sit down and get some work done, but truthfully, I’m not feeling it today.  I don’t know if it’s my own self-sabotage or writer’s block or just that the sun is out but I’m not inclined to spend the day at my desk, even though I crave that feeling of productivity.  Some days though, it doesn’t come.  And that’s alright.  I’ll just wait until inspiration strikes, then ride that mofo like the last train out of town.

Size is an idea.

Let’s talk about our bodies, shall we?

Last week I saw a post on Twitter bemoaning the fact that skinny girls are often told to “eat a sandwich,” which this woman finds insulting because no matter how many sandwiches she eats she can’t gain weight.  Several other thin commenters agreed with her, and some even had lovely ideas on how fat people could lose weight to be like them.  Now, my kneejerk reaction was that the sandwich comment is nothing compared to the stigma of being fat.  I know from personal experience, as I have been circling 200 pounds since eighth grade.  See, I was a 60-pound Kindergartener, so I don’t know any life in which I was not a bigger person, and I have dealt with my own insecurities about my weight over the years.  Still, I see the blatant prejudice of it all. 

People assume I am sweaty, smelly, etc.  I am of course none of those things, as weight does not belie bad hygiene.  They assume I am lazy, that I eat too much junk food.  Neither is true.  I take walks regularly, go to the gym, and follow a fairly healthy diet that I have to maintain for medical reasons.  I know people who have been denied jobs because they were too big, and the employer thought they wouldn’t perform well, as if playing Legos at a daycare has a weight requirement.  They assume we can’t be fashionable, and they’re mostly right as fashionable and affordable clothing does not come in plus size.  They assume we don’t have romantic partners, and often that can be the case as romantic discrimination against fat people is an actual thing.  And yet here I am, married for three years to a man who has no qualms with my size.  Even the compliments we get are sideways, my least favorite being “You have so much confidence.”  For what, exactly?  Am I “brave” because I wear a tank top on a summer day?   No, I’m just HOT…just like you.  Those are just a few examples of the common beliefs and misconceptions folks have about fat people.

So that’s why my immediate reaction was to hate on this girl for her ability to metabolize.  That’s really all it is; jealousy that her body processes better than mine.  So, I gave it a second thought, and realized she does have a valid argument.  My best friend in middle school was extremely skinny, and no matter how much she ate she never gained weight.  She was teased for it often, and I know it left emotional scars for her.  Now as an adult she is still slim, but has grown into her body and you can tell she is more comfortable with it now.  I’ve had other skinny friends be called anorexic, which is terrible in my opinion because anorexia and bulimia are serious problems.  You can’t just go around labeling people like that, just like you don’t get to label me lazy because I’m overweight.  The problem is that with thin people it’s words, with fat people it’s actions.

The first time I experienced weight discrimination, it was a small thing.  My mother took me to the doctor.  The only reason to go to the doctor at my tender age of 8 or 9 was to get the lollipop afterwards; all children know that.  My doctor was so proud of me for losing weight.  He kept going on about how great it was.  Then, at the end of the appointment, he gave me a sticker.  “Wouldn’t want to give you a lollipop.  Need to keep up the good work,” he said.

Like the lollipop would have killed me.

My mother took me out of there and directly to Parkside Candy for an ice cream sundae.  She never made me see that doctor again, and I realized then that there are subtle and upsetting ways in which other people judge your body.  Now one may argue that the doc had my best interests at heart, but again…like the lollipop would have killed me.  I budgeted for that lollipop.  It was the first piece of candy I would have in months, and him taking that simple joy from me because I was overweight was insulting. 

I think about how that might have gone for the skinny girl.  Maybe her doctor wanted her to gain weight.  Maybe she didn’t have to watch what she ate, and she could have candy whenever she wanted.  But maybe he would have made her feel bad about her size, too.  Maybe she wouldn’t be able to gain the weight no matter how many lollipops were consumed.  Maybe it would make her feel shitty, the way I had felt shitty, about something that wasn’t even really in my control.

I think that what we have here is a classic case of the grass being greener on the other side.  Skinny girl complains that people make fun of her for being too thin, fat girl automatically comes back with several instances of weight discrimination.  Fat girl complains that people stigmatize the overweight, and skinny girl comes out saying that maybe if you ate better and exercised more, you wouldn’t have that problem.  Well, guess what?  We’re all full of crap.  Everybody, and I mean everybody, hates their body at some point in their lives.  Some may take longer than others to come to terms with their figure, and that’s ok, but you are the only person who should be judging it, anyway.  It’s your body, your vessel, and you should be happy in the skin you’re in, everyone else be damned.

So yes, I will likely continue to have a knee-jerk reaction to skinny people complaining about their weight, because I don’t know what it’s like to be skinny, and they have no idea what it’s like to be fat.  If they did, I don’t think they would complain about things like this, but that’s just my opinion.  I will, however, try to keep in mind that no one deserves to be judged by their body, but instead by their character.  Your body is just a holder for your soul, and that’s where the real you lives.  You aren’t skinny, you aren’t fat.  You’re just you.

Doldrums

Today is a gloomy day. There have been a great many gloomy days lately, as mother nature rained down on us all spring long, bringing life to plants but also death to plans.  Now it is finally summer, and one would think those gloomy days are past, yet here we are.  As I type I hear the pitter patter of rain against the steel door and am reminded that I am depressed.

Only vaguely, the way I get when the weather is poor or during the winter when I haven’t seen the sun in days.  I can’t stand those times, the grayness seeping into my skin and making me shiver.  I write but I don’t want to, as is often the case on these gray days, when all I really want to do is curl up in bed with a book or lie on the sofa and watch television.  Today I am pushing myself to be happy, as M is here for a few days and I am determined to keep a smile on my face for him.  I am so proud of him right now, for personal reasons, but let it be known that he is an amazing and wonderful young man and I can’t wait to see the future that lies ahead of him.  But I don’t want to be sad around him.  So, this morning when I felt the world getting on top of me, I offered him a PlayStation remote and went out for a walk to clear my head. 

I passed a lot of gardens, as my street has several front lawns blooming with all sorts of plants.  I considered taking pictures, but the owners of these gardens likely would have objected to me traipsing around and photographing their hard work.  I heard a lot of birds, and lawnmowers.  I saw people on their way to work and school.  I saw garbage men filling up their truck.  I saw two ducks just hanging out on McKinley Pkwy.  I got some spell energy from a greenhouse on Wizards Unite.  I felt better.

I personally cannot wait until mid-July, when we head out on our first ever family camping trip.  Spending time outside always makes me feel better, and to spend three days with nothing but nature is something I am really looking forward to.  There’s still a ton of planning to be done and I am going to have to piece together supplies from various people, but I can’t wait to spend time with my parents, Mark and the kiddos out in nature.  Something about it takes away the doldrums, even if it were to rain on our little trip.  At least we would be together and could keep one another entertained. 

The drizzle is letting up, and the sun keeps daring to make an appearance, but no matter the weather I will try to keep a smile on my face, and look for the little gifts that the world has given me to get me by in the meantime.  Like gardens, and ducks, and the smell of air after the rain.   That’s enough to keep me going, today.

Green Thumb

Once upon a time, I lived in an apartment I refer to as The Dump.  We lived there for about two years and anything that you could imagine was wrong with it absolutely was.  The one little shiny spot however was that behind the garage there was a vacant lot.  This left plenty of room for our dog Buddy to play, and, after clearing away some of the brush, it occured to me one sunny afternoon that it would make a lovely garden as well.  So, I went out and got some 2x4s and built a little vegetable patch.  That summer, as Buddy raced around me, I grew squash, peas, beans, cucumbers, and strawberries.  I had never showed any interest as a child when it came to helping my mother with her garden, and it surprised me how much I enjoyed turning seeds into food.  I had always assumed gardening was not for me, and only started my veggie patch because I was out of work and needed something to do. 

I have the ability to grow food at this house, but haven’t tried it yet.  My neighbors are planting a few things and have promised to share the crop.  What I do now is tend the front garden, where I am growing purple salvia and bright pink peonies the size of a baby’s head.  Last week I rescued a dying gloriosa daisy and soon it will grow alongside them. 

Then, there’s my indoor garden, which I love the most, especially in winter when I’m dying to see something green.  First there’s my spider plant, who came to me in a tiny milk carton from an actress friend and now is a huge hanging pot with dozens of babies dangling from it.  There were more, but I gave one to each of my aunts, uncles, and cousins as Christmas gifts and still it continues to grow.  There’s my aloe plant, given to me after a show in a tiny painted pot, which massively overgrew it and now takes up most of the table.  I have a shamrock and superbells from my mother (the latter should really be put outside but I love looking at them every day.)  I have a pansy and geranium mix that I just bought, and a dieffenbachia I got for my birthday, along with an unidentified little pot of purple flowers.  There are poppies I’m trying to grow, and a spider plant baby that I hope will some day match its mama.

I remember being a child in my grandmother’s garden.  She grew roses for each grandchild; mine was peach-colored.  She had raspberry bushes and would let me pick them.  I think that was probably my first look at gardening.  In youth I didn’t think much of it, but as I have gotten older I appreciate it more and more.  I find solace and peace in the garden, and often have wonderful story ideas or surprising mental breakthroughs when my hands are deep in the warm soil.  It has become a therapeutic tool for me, and one that I never thought I would be using.  When I’m in my garden I’m thinking of my gram, and my mom, and all the wonderful bits of nature that I get to experience in those instances.  It quite literally brings me back to earth.

I need a bigger table.

Monday, Monday

Today I type on my laptop because for some reason my internet is out on my regular computer, which means I will spend more time editing than actually writing.  I hate the keyboard on this thing, as it seems my fingers just miss the letters I’m aiming for.  Plus my lap is on fire already.  Long story short, I hate using my laptop.

I gave it to the kids to use a couple of years ago and I am sure it is full of viruses and bugs by now.  In fact, when I’m done with this I will likely run some programs to clean it up.  For now though, I must make do and try to peck out some content because you know, Monday.

Monday is my second least favorite day.  For many it’s number one with a bullet, but I have always had a personal loathing for Tuesdays.  At least Monday is the start of something, a time to renew your week and get things going, Tuesday is the real downfall, the day that has no hope for better things and is about as far from a weekend as you can get.  Tuesdays for me tend to be doctor’s appointments as well, which is never fun.  Tomorrow I have my therapist, who is nice enough but is also a brand spanking new college grad who I occasionally think of as a child. 

The time has switched, you see.  For such a long time I had counselors that were older than me, but now
I have grown and they have stayed the same age.  I have ten years on my past two counselors, and five on the one before that 

Sometimes it’s hard to look for wisdom in someone younger than you, especially when you have more years’ experience going to therapy than they have working in it.  Still, I look forward to tomorrow because I want to help my therapist learn as much as she wants to help me heal.  So, we work together, as a team.  She learns from me as much as I learn from her.

I’m not depressed today, but I am feeling pretty lazy.  It was a long weekend with the kids, filled with yard sales and splash pads and barbecues.  I just want to sit on the sofa and watch television and do nothing.  Even updating is a chore right now, but I push myself to do it because I know it’s good for my mental health. 

So here, I did it.  Now I’m gong to watch Daria on Hulu and try and relax for a bit before I clean up the wreckage that is my house after kid-weekend.  May your Monday be full of hope and your Tuesday not drag.  Toodeloo.