Strange New Things

Hello! Long time, no see, Darlings.

I could tell you Everything from even before my last post, really the last two and a half years, every excruciating detail that has brought me to now, a Strange, New Thing typing this post, but…

your speculations are probably more spectacular than the truth.

And I’ve worked so hard to figure out where some big, bad things fit into my life, I don’t really want to rehash them all. My emotions might explode and get into your pretty hair.

So, I’ll sum up in a less aggressive way-bullet points!

  • A very important person in my life made a terrible and uncharacteristic decision. It hurt so many people and cause him great guilt and regret, ultimately leading to his depression and suicide. The suicide happened before we could reconcile. I was 31 weeks pregnant during his funeral. It sucked a lot.
  • After giving birth, I had postpartum depression. Again. It sucked a lot.
  • I was in an unhealthy job situation that, in combination with the above, sucked a lot.

Two and a half years later, I think I may possibly be able to get back out in the world because of the next few bullet points.

  • Strangely, forgiving him wasn’t the biggest issue for me. It was that I didn’t tell him I didn’t hate him as he assumed I did. I was just so. So. Sad. I have come to a “place” where I can forgive myself more every day and grieve properly with each allowance.
  • I’ve been back on the medication that helps me deal with postpartum depression for a long while now. Actually, I believe I’m finally in a spot where I can try getting off of them again, which thrills me.
  • I have a new, positive work environment and I like to go there, to be a part of the “team”. I didn’t know how bad the previous situation was until I experienced something different. I make less money, but can I just tell you Folks that quality of life is worth a million rubies?

So, I’m getting back on track. It actually started at the end of July 2016, but I was embarrassed to tell you all publicly. What if I wasn’t “fixed”? What if nobody told me I had crazy in my teeth? I’ve had a few months of pleasant days now, though, and I feel more…resolved, maybe? That might be the right word.

The next set of bullet points are things I’ve learned going through this mess:

  • Forgive others.
  • Forgive yourself.
  • Experience your emotions. Don’t hide them away.
  • Write it out to understand better.
  • Keep hold of your joy.
  • Live the best you can.

I’m feeling good about 2017. I truly hope you are, too.

Kanpai, Lovely People!

kanpai
http://therisingsky.blogspot.com/2012/10/what-does-kanpai-mean.html

 

March ’15 Update

I have Critique Partners!!! There are two lovely people who have consented to work with me on getting this novel to the query stage, in spite of all my Me. (Just kidding. I’m awesome.) Already I’ve seen such a huge difference as I critique their writing and get a new perspective on mine. (And, dang, they’ve got some good stories!) I am overwhelmingly thankful to have met such lovely writers. Because of their thoughts and experiences, I have grown soooo much this month! Ah, I just….can’t….even…. YAY!

Here are the stats:

Total hours: 23 hours 20 minutes (20 hours was the goal)

Total days: 8 days (20 days was the goal)

I have Big Decisions to make on this book, and I wish I had more consecutive time to make these decisions, but we deal with what we have. I just feel like, when I have to break it up like this, I’m taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back. On the bright side, I’m still one step closer to done.

I wanted to clean out the office area of my kitchen this month. I got all but the overhead shelf done. I consider that a success. I am also ready to start putting together my bedroom table that I’ve been working on with MY OWN HANDS, slowly but surely, for the past three months.

Oh! AND Husband moved ugly furniture out of my bedroom to its new and desired location, and I moved the pretty furniture out of the dining room (where it did not belong) to the bedroom and it looks sooo much better. I got paint samples this month, too, and I decided what colors I did NOT want my bedroom walls but had much success with the kitchen color. These were things I didn’t have on my To-Do list, but I’m impromptu like that.

One day I will have time to write a thoughtful, endearing blog about life metaphors and licorice. Today is not that day. Hope y’all’s month was stinkin’ amazing!

Laters!

-Mea

March Update

For March…

*drum roll*

I MET MY WRITING GOAL, which was to write at least 12 days out of this month.

The total stats are–
Days with writing in them: 13
Total number of Words: 7,762
Total amount of Time: 9 hours and 58 minutes.
Year to date word total: 17,921

Closer. CLoser. CLOser. CLOSer. CLOSEr. CLOSER!

Yep, Writing Peeps! This book is getting DONE! Whaaaaaat!

The “Write” Mind

I didn’t believe it.

I read a thousand articles and blogs by all these experienced writers saying that writing doesn’t have to be done in a certain place, at a certain time. I was skeptical because I had worked up an ideal writing situation. One that would involve me, sitting at a proper desk with a view of a willow tree blowing in the breeze, sipping a cup of fancy tea with a hand-woven afghan covering my shoulders, admiring the lines of sunshine crossing over my research and biscotti crumbs, my glasses resting on the peak of my nose while I tuck flyaway wisps of hair behind my ears from my handsomely messy chignon.

Those authors with published novels and book events, they didn’t know how I needed to write. I was so snotty, embarrassingly so, especially for not even owning a hand-woven afghan.

Here’s the thing about the dream scenario v. real-life writing. In the dream, did you notice ANY writing happening? No? Me, neither.

I’m a romantic at heart, and it is totally like me to romanticize the job. As a disclaimer, I’m not knocking dreams. Believe me. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t want to be a Writer. But I’ve learned a lesson as I’ve set writing goals and forced words out while waiting for a doctor’s appointment or ravaging fifteen minutes of my lunch break. The lesson: Novels don’t magically appear from your mind into querying form just because you position yourself exactly as you are in your dream.

Do you feel like you just learned the Tooth Fairy doesn’t exist? Me, too.

I don’t know why I couldn’t have learned this lesson from the above-mentioned thousands of articles that have basically said the exact. Same. Thing. Other than the fact that I have always been hard-headed. As it is, I’m learning it now. Maybe you’re not as stubborn as me and I can save you some pain from disillusionment. I’m writing this for those pliable minds.

The truth?

Maybe, in the future, there will be some days that look like “the dream”, which is why I am planting a willow tree this fall, but for the most part, life gets messy and unpredictable, and writing can happen EVERYWHERE.

It’s freeing. Suddenly, I’m not tied to a squeaky desk chair.

Don’t believe me?

I’ll give you an example. A computer breakdown thwarts my one hour grocery store trip, and there is only one cashier who can’t move to another register. (I live in a small town.) When I lived in the dream, I would be angry at the world for wasting my time and come home flustered, splatting negativity all over Husband until he was in a bad mood, too. Now, I have my book loosely plotted by scenes and I work one scene at a time, so if I get stuck in this type of situation, I pull out my phone app or the notebook-pen combo and just…start writing. It takes a few moments to think of what I’d last written, but that’s all. It helps, too, that I’m a more consistent writer, so I don’t have to struggle to remember what I was working on or how the scene is supposed to “feel”. When the computer magically starts working again and check-out resumes, I’m not mad. I can genuinely smile at the nervous employee, who expects to be yelled at by those in line, and return home with groceries and a happy heart because I’ve got more words to add to my draft.

See? All because I let go of the dream and got into my “write” mind. Bahaha! Cheesy, I know.

To further the cheese, here are clichés I begrudgingly use in this post because they are true:

1. Practice makes perfect- The more I switch mindsets from Mea-the-Mommy/Wife/Daughter/Full-TimeEmployee to Mea-the-Writer the less time it takes and the easier it gets.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff- In a perfect world, every word I write expresses exactly what I want, preciously detailed, and elicits the feelings I want the reader to feel with no revision necessary. This beautiful, broken world, my Friends. If I get ten minutes, I can’t worry if that was the exact word I needed or if MC wore a green or purple cat sweater in the last scene. I write my best and give myself something to revise later. You can’t edit Nothing.

3. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.- I’m still learning the best way to keep my wits about me, to let go of the romantic image of Mea-the-Writer, and to revel in the slow but steady pace in which I’m able to carve out writing time. Early in this revelation, there were lots and LOTS of times when all I could do was stare at the paper/phone app, reread the same sentence over and over, and declare myself too verklempt to produce anything new. I had to figure out how to Get Over Myself and write what popped into my head. Though the words were not always usable then, I can now keep a significant number of words from the original impromptu writing jaunt. I’m so thankful that something (and sometimes someone *Shout out to CP!*) pushed me forward when I needed it.

I see this transformation, and I’m amazed at how this whole writing adventure bleeds into other aspects of my life–organization, attitude, relationships…

Just finding something you love and going after it full-force…

I have never been so driven. I have never been so happy.

I can’t wait to see what will happen next. I’m my own experiment!

February Update

I’ve told you guys how much I like my planner, but did I tell you that I’m setting monthly check-points to see if that helps get things done? I didn’t?! Well, I didn’t know if it would work yet, since I had on January for a base and February to experiment with, but I’m loving the preliminary results!
I don’t know how many words I truly wrote in January because I started documenting that on the 21st.
But from the 21st-31st, there are 1,577 new words to LibertyBook (formally known as FirstBook).
For February, there are 6,887 new words, and 11 days that had writing within them, even if it was for 5 minutes.
I’m surprised, you see, how motivating documentation can be, and excitement tickles the base of my spine until I can’t sit still.
Let’s celebrate together on accomplishments, my Writing Pals! Accomplishments come in all sizes. Maybe you finally figured out how MC got from Point C to Point D, or you outlined a new scene, or you wrote your novel in a day, or whatever. (I might claim you are the devil if you wrote a novel in a day. No hard feelings. Just an observation.) Accomplishment is accomplishment, people, no matter the packaging. And that’s what I love about all this! That’s worth celebrating, don’t you think?

So here’s some Pi…
Pi
…for getting through another month,fighting for your dream. Here’s to getting closer to your Goal! Here’s to feeling damn good about yourself for persevering through all the things you HAVE to do to get to the few minutes you get to do something you LOVE! Hip, hip, ha-friggin-ray!!

Thankful

No surprise that in November, protocol requires me to write a thanksgiving post.  I love November because everyone acknowledges things they’re thankful for. Today that is me.

As much as I try to be Mrs. Positive Pants everyday, sometimes that is so stinkin’ hard.  It’s a little easier in November because lots of people try to be Mrs., Miss, or Mr. Positive Pants, and I feed off the positive energy like a leech.  So here I am, hoping to feed you some jolly juice, my fellow Leech, you.

There are the big things…family, my tiny home, my ability to pay for said home, friends, good weather…

I am so in love with my life, even as I struggle to make it better.  I think this is possible because I figured a few things out.  First of all, I know that I strive for worthwhile goals.  The past five years have been so enlightening for me.  In some aspects, I feel like I didn’t really start living MY life until then.  So now, I’m a 30-year-old goal seeker, and I’m just fine with that.  Sure I wish I would have been one of those people who figured things out in high school or something.  Who wouldn’t? But instead of dwelling on all the lost opportunities(which benefits nothing, I found out), I’m trying to make the time I have left so very meaningful.  Being a mom helped me realize how much I can squeeze into one day.  I told a friend of mine just recently that I didn’t know how lazy I was until I had Blue.  You don’t have to have a kid, however, to be aware of how you spend your time.

Secondly, I’m finally my own person.  I care about other people, true, but their words and opinions don’t rule me, and this…this is freeing in a way I never expected.  At Blue’s birthday party, I was able to tell someone close to me that I didn’t want multiple pictures of every, single gift as he “opened” it.  As someone who has been to multiple kid birthday parties, I didn’t want to torture my guests in that way.  There are so many other ways, like making them watch my kid splatter cake all over himself and others for twenty minutes while I hold the food hostage until he’s done. The point is, even though the person was obviously sad about not being a photographer for a day, It didn’t cripple me to tell them to sit down and enjoy the show. It’s my son’s party, gift time is awkward, and I didn’t want to prolong the awkward moment.  The end. I would have said nothing or worried my head off about what the person felt after I did say something 6 years ago.   

So, between a loving, supportive family, worthy goals, and being unabashedly Me, I am the happiest and the most thankful I’ve every been in my life.

I don’t want to lie to you.

Bad things happen.

To me, to people I love, to people I barely like.

But because of those Big Things I grasp like a winning lottery ticket, I am able to deal and still be smiling at the end of it.

When bad things happen to people I love, people I barely like, and even people I kinda don’t like, I try to be that supportive person I know they don’t have because, if they did, they wouldn’t be talking to me.

So there’s that.

There are little Happies, too!! Oh, good gracious, aren’t there!!

Today, my attitude completely changed because I popped a bag of salt and lime natural popcorn. It AMAZED me. Suddenly, I saw flowers everywhere. Birds sang on my shoulder. Bunnies frolicked in the breezeway.

And it dawned on me:

I could be this happy everyday if there was enough salt and lime popcorn in my desk drawer!

No. That’s not right.

I could be this happy everyday if I let the happy small stuff do their thing.

Let yourself laugh out loud at that funny quote, Mea. Don’t be a professional robot.

It’s okay that you like to scotch tape mailouts closed, Mea. You work in an OFFICE and don’t even have to pay for office supplies, so really, you’re a winner.

And if salt and lime popcorn can make birds sing, share.

Happy Thanksgiving.