Posted in My Process, The Writer's Life

Breaking Ranks…

If you’ve followed me online, here or elsewhere, you’ll likely recall that I usually take part in NanoWrimo. It is one of the few times of year that I really buckle down to focus on putting substantial word counts on the page along with other amazing writers. This year, I’m breaking away from the tradition. Not because I have no story to work on, but because I need to break from routines that haven’t served me well.

November has always seemed to me to be a bad month for such a major challenge. I mean, it is the middle of the holiday season and many people have extra obligations on their time with family gatherings, travel, end of the year deadlines looming, and events related to celebrations to attend or plan. Without fail, for me, there have just been too many distractions in the month of November to make the challenge without a significant amount of unnecessary stress. This year, when the Preptober videos started to pop into my YouTube feed, I recognized that there really was no way for me to commit to the challenge.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Life has changed for millions of us with the onset of this pandemic. It would be a lie to say that I’ve not seen some significant changes in my own life. Losing a job in April and now finding that, despite the lifting of restrictions, the job market for people with my skills is simply not bouncing back, well, that’s left me in a real predicament that I will need to remedy somehow soon. Now, add to that the fact that I’ve started back to school with a serious focus on study and there are bigger demands on my time creating more stress that factors in. Taking on a big challenge with a deadline like that is not going to make writing any easier and certainly won’t help my mental state. So, I wish those of you participating this year the best of luck in completing the 50K challenge. I’ll be cheering you all on from the sidelines!

I will say that it is not a matter of not wanting to write though. In fact, I’m happy to say that I am starting something new and what I hope will turn into something quite special for my readers. I say it is new, but it is really an older idea I’ve had floating about for a bit that I rediscovered while going through old files to organize my computer. The excitement of new characters and developing back stories is a fun part of the writing process for me. So, I will happily toil away on my laptop in my home office or in local cafes throughout November for writing and study sessions alike. In fact, I’ll probably be spotted doing just that throughout the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. I have found a great little local coffee spot closer to home. I’ll have to post a review when I get some pictures.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

I find myself slipping more lately. I haven’t been completely compliant with the idea of staying home. I can admit that much. However, I don’t get out often either. That’s something that I need to change in my life. You see, I’m one of millions that have depression. Some days are better than others. If I am truly honest, there have been more hard days than good days lately. They seem to come in waves.

For example, I’ve fought insomnia for weeks. I’ve had my days and nights mixed up making it hard to even function normally. I’ve drifted into periods of mindless surfing of social media and videos on YouTube or watching old cartoons on Amazon Prime or Netflix. I’ve read books, played mindless games on my iPad, and started to work on art pieces that never seem to get finished. Then again, I have experienced stretches where I could sleep for days on ened. Get up for just an hour or so and right back to bed for hours. My pup loves these days, mind you. I’ll try setting alarms, even multiple alarms in succession, only to sleep through them. I know that none of this is good for me, but its a viscious cycle and now being out of work, I certainly don’t have the luxury of health insurance to be able to get to the doctor.

I’ve attempted to give myself a schedule. I wanted to find things to do with myself. I think that was partly why I got back on the dating sites. Like maybe if I had somewhere to be, or someone to see and spend time with, it would help me find that motivation. It never takes long before I give up on those though. I’m just not the typical modern gal. What can I say? I’ll blog more on that at a later time though.

One good thing from all of this, I joined a local church and started getting to Sunday School more often. The insomnia has been a problem. Online services have been a blessing for me to keep up with the sermon series when I haven’t heard the alarms. The truth is, I feel like this was a very good decision and that I’m finding a group of people that are like-minded at least. So, that’s a good thing. I’m actually really looking forward to the Fall Fest they are having. It should be fun. But, despite feeling good and motivated when I leave church, it is still a struggle to find the energy and motivation to get up and get dressed to go on Sundays.

Posted in The Writer's Life

The Importance of Happiness

Happiness is a key to being healthy.

Yes, this is my awesome insight for this week. No, it isn’t very profound. But, in my personal experience, it is true.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that until the last seven or eight months months, my life hasn’t been a very happy one. It is true that I put on a good face for everyone around me. Trying to make it seem like I was happy with things when I wasn’t. But, the reality is that the depression that was rampant in my house was taking its toll on me.

64640_389799357763068_1872943124_nI learned a few things about myself as I was going through the process of figuring out who I was again. I figured out that I was an emotional eater. When I got angry or sad, I ate whatever I could find in the house. When my, then, husband came in he always brought sweets and sodas. When I was down, I couldn’t tell myself not to eat them. He certainly wasn’t helping my attempts to lose weight. His attitude, apathy, and emotionally abusive behavior toward me only added to my stress and thus my eating.

There were times I didn’t even know I was doing it.

For example, my biggest weakness is soda. I’m an addict when it comes to Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper. Even now, it is my biggest hurdle to try to overcome. My ex worked for one of the leading soda distributors. So, he kept cases of them in our refrigerator. He even went so far as to put a variety of the flavors all along the bottom shelf for me to choose from. Now, some people drink coffee to get themselves going in the morning, for me, it was always a cold Dr. Pepper or Coke. What was worse is that I would literally drink one after another all day long. I would simply keep telling myself, “one more and then I will switch to water the rest of the day” but, I didn’t. Then, the next thing I knew the case would be empty and he would be bringing in another to take its place. Even after I told him to stop bringing them in and tried to explain.

Make things happenChanging a habit is hard to do. We get set in our routines and when they aren’t working for our health sometimes it takes a jarring event to make us wake up and take note that it needs to change. For some people that is a health issue. For me it was the fact that none of it was making me happy. No matter how the epiphany hits you, changing to be happier is difficult.It is even harder when your efforts aren’t supported by the person you’re with.

I had come to a point that I nearly hated myself because simple tasks were far more difficult than they should have been for me. Things like washing the dishes, walking to the mailbox, going to the local Walmart for supplies were all too much for me to take. When that happened I had to fight with myself to keep going. There were days that it just didn’t seem worth the effort to even get out of the bed. I didn’t like the person I had become. I was not this depressed person who stared at her walls living vicariously through characters on a page all the time. But, I’d become that person and honestly, it was something of a relief that things fell apart the way that they did. It allowed me to find myself again and become the happy person that I am.

I haven’t really been dieting. There is no “skinny pill” or fad diet that melts away the pounds. What has truly worked for me is finding my happiness. I get out and do things with my family now. I go shopping just because I want to browse again. I take off and spend time with friends playing cards or just talking about whatever is on my mind. I take a little girl to the park, play games with her, and I generally stay busy. With that being said, I do eat less. There’s less emotional baggage to deal with and so, I don’t stress out and turn to food.

Finding my happiness took me a great deal of soul searching and pain. I had to lose everything I’d convinced myself I wanted in life. I had to start fresh, rediscover myself, and essentially reinvent the person I was into who I am now. Change is hard, yes. Being truly happy is its own reward really. Regardless of what size I end up; the important thing is to just stay happy. Life is just too short to let other people’s opinions of you weigh you down.