Trivial

I see them almost daily…the constant Facebook or Twitter rants about how “annoying it is when you text someone and they don’t reply but post something on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram”. I’ve gathered that people find that incredibly rude.

I used to think it was kind of shitty too, until I actually thought about it from a perspective that wasn’t my own.

But why? Why do we expect people to drop everything to message us back? Why do we get mad when they don’t immediately respond, but go on social media?

It’s like we are demanding a response, expecting it. It’s like we think our own lives are far more important than anyone elses. Of course that text message/email deserves an immediate follow up! We took the time to write it, didn’t we? It’s rude if the person doesn’t immediately answer, regardless of the excuse because people always have their phones on hand and how hard can it be?

I don’t know. We’ve slipped into this terrible society where our lives are the most important things. Our struggles, our triumphs and successes are of utmost importance, but we can’t take the time to truly listen to a friend’s experiences. After all, we can do one better.

Big fish, little fish, fishing stories over who got the biggest catch of the day float from mouth to mouth and nobody really listens, nobody really appreciates it.

My fish is bigger!
Yeah well, my fish is better because I caught it.

I know there are some people who listen, some people who appreciate the stories of woe and success from friends. I know I listen, I appreciate the success and mourn the trials of my friends. Hell, I care about the success and trials from people who I don’t even know!

But I will confess; I get busy a lot. And I’m not always on my phone, and when I am…I may completely avoid the text messages or emails. Not because I don’t care or don’t want to hear what you have to say, but because I’m just preoccupied with other things. Even if I glimpse at it, go do something else, accidentally forget about it and come back to it when I remember, it’s still considered “rude”.

I have my day. I have a billion things that I try to do in my day. I have kids and dogd to take care of, two growing and flourishing businesses to tend to, housework to do, dinners to cook and I never seem to have enough time. I try to make time, of course, but life is a constant battle of balancing time. Sometimes, things fall to the wayside. Does that make me an asshole? No. It makes me a busy mom of two…with terrible time management skills.

I often feel as if I am drowning in all the things I need or should do. I always feel immensely guilty when I realize I’ve forgotten to reply to someone, but it’s not and will never be intentional (unless you’re one of two people. But you likely aren’t, so no worries!).

I just got to thinking the other night, after reading another one of those passive aggressive Facebook rants about those assholes that don’t reply to a text but post on social media, and I was reminded…again…just how self-centered society has become. Empathy and kindness have both almost completely fallen away to cruelty and ignorance.

Why are we going backwards? It’s 2014. We have all this wonderful technology to make our voices be heard, and yet we are going backwards. We are segregating ourselves from everyone around us…even those within our day to days. We’re looking at our phones more and each other less. Our face to face conversation skills are at risk, because it’s easier to send a text update than meet for coffee.

Maybe the problem is technology. Maybe it’s people in general. Maybe I’m over thinking, focusing all of my resources and attentions on this seemingly pointless reason to be angry. Why aren’t more people angry about Ferguson? Probably because they’re doing exactly what I mentioned…focusing all of their resources and attentions on something trivial to avoid thinking about how truly broken our society is, in a lot of ways.

Maybe it’s out of fear; fear to speak up and have words twisted. Maybe it’s out of ignorance. Maybe it’s because empathy is down and selfishness is on the rise. Maybe it’s because we only see what we know; we don’t often look at it from another perspective.

I don’t know. This is me speaking up seeing we have to see a collective change…and it starts with you (and me).

Do I have any advice to give? No, not really. I am not a human behavior expert. Maybe there is no right answer, anyway. Maybe it’s an action…the action of evoking your empathy and compassion. The action of verbally speaking up against the wrongs you witness. The action of teaching our kids to stop turning a blind eye and refocusing their anger on pointless, trivial things.

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50-50: Playing Russian Roulette with my Hereditary Disorder

It’s common for little girls to dream about their wedding day, about having a family and taking care of babies. I know I dreamed of those things, before experience opened up my eyes to my would-be reality.

When I turned 16, a girl from my school got pregnant. She was also 16. I remember being a little jealous, because I wasn’t going to get pregnant. By then, the fanciful day dream I had as a child of holding my own baby was gone. In its place was the hard truth: any children I biologically gave birth to would have a 50-50% change of inheriting my genetic bone disorder, Hereditary Mulitple Osteochondromas.

I was in and out of hospitals, having surgeries to remove the bone growths and try and counteract damage. Surgeries were exhausting, and I had at least one a year for many tiring years. The recovery was never fun, and each surgery left scars – both physically and emotionally.

Surgeries aside, there was the day to day pains, the severe loss of self-esteem when I became aware of the fact that my body was different. I felt repulsed by it. I wore layers even in the summer, making sure that my bone growths and scars stayed hidden from my peers.

“You don’t have to worry about me. I am going to adopt. I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if my baby inherited this,” I remember stating to my mother when the conversation came up. I truly felt that way…I truly felt as if I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for playing Russian Roulette with those numbers. I couldn’t imagine what I would do if my child inherited my HMO, so my decision was not to have my own biological ones.

When I was 18 years old, I met my now – husband, Matt. I gained confidence and self-esteem, simply from seeing myself how he saw me. We were focused on each other, on having fun and not taking life seriously. Then I found out I was pregnant.

I was terrified and excited at the same time. I honestly didn’t think about my hereditary disorder…not even when I was in genetics counseling having all kinds of blood tests done. I told myself it would be fine. I rolled the dice with genetics, hoping for them to land in my favour. I was excited to have a baby with the man I loved, to feel a whole other being grow within my womb. It was an incredible feeling.

Each day, I prayed that the baby would be healthy, and that he wouldn’t inherit my HMO. But he did, and our next child too. My eldest son is affected more by it, but thankfully neither of them have needed surgeries just yet.

There are days when it is blatantly obvious that I have not forgiven myself, and I may not ever truly get to that place. I dance between feeling incredibly guilty about it, and wanting to punch myself in the teeth for feeling guilty. Our sons are beautiful souls, they are remarkable on the inside AND the out. I can’t imagine my life without them.

I consider myself a better person because of my struggles with HMO and chronic pain. I am incredibly emphatic towards those around me. And it’s not the worst thing out there…I am thankful every day that I at least KNOW this disorder, and it isn’t terminal.

Still, I would be lying if I said that their future struggles didn’t terrify me. I know what it’s like, after all I LIVE this. The list of things I cannot do seems overwhelmingly long. I cannot stand for long periods of time, I can not walk far. I’m never without pain and I’ve had to let go of dreams because I knew my limitations would get in the way. For so long, I felt ashamed and unworthy, because I couldn’t work regular jobs like “everyone else”. I worry every single day about their futures and their abilities to work and provide for themselves.

I also know what it feels like to feel hideously different from peers, and to be bullied. I still remember what it felt like to be called “Disease Girl” and “Crutch Girl” and “Crippled”. Kids are cruel when they don’t understand things, and I worry about my kids feeling the same way I felt. Devastated. Isolated. Less than.

I don’t want my boys to ever experience that kind of despair…but hopefully, that will give us all an advantage…my knowledge and understanding. Hopefully, neither of my boys will feel as isolated as I did…because they’ll have each other, and me.

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Why Raising Toddlers is a lot like Raising Teenagers

For the last several weeks, I have been running myself deep into the ground between writing obligations (aka my drive to finish my book by December), and potty training my youngest. It’s been potty training boot camp around here. Things have been intense.

Back in the day, I would have written up a little post summarizing just how this potty training experience has been going for us. Now? I will spare you the gory, unnecessary details and leave you with one thought: toddlers and teenagers are basically the same.

Toddlers are like teenagers. They don’t listen, they think that they are always right (and that their parents are terrible, horrible, no good very bad parents). When they don’t get their way, they have meltdowns and scream obscenities and slam doors. They throw things and cry big old alligator tears. They don’t do their own laundry, they make massive messes and refuse (or “forget”/become “too busy”) to clean them up. You also shouldn’t trust them with sharp objects or fire, so they don’t even cook either.

image

My youngest son is three. He is stubborn and determined. He is also incredibly intelligent. Each day, his vocabulary increases and his restlessness to see the world and do all things kicks in. He constantly wants to help (unless you ask him to pick up toys, then he suddenly has a case of selective hearing).

And sometimes, I forget that he’s just three. He is the master of manipulation, the king of throwing temper tantrums over ridiculous things. Today I watched him have a meltdown because I asked him to sit beside me and not on me, and I was struck with just how much he reminded of memories of my sisters when they were teens. (I never acted like that. I’ve always been perfect).

So, that’s how toddlers are like teenagers. Next week: how toddlers and teenagers are like pregnant women.

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Consumed – Teasers, Cover Reveal and Release Update

My beautiful and talented friend, JD, created some teasers for Consumed and I could not be more in love with them!

ConsumedTeaser1 Consumedteaser2 Consumedteaser3

Originally, I stated that the Consumed release date was going to be December 1st, 2014. However, I’ve had an unforeseen delay and have decided to push back the release date so that I’m not rushing to do all the things I wanted to do prior to the release (you know, giveaways and all that jazz). The new release date is December 15th, 2014, so mark it in your calenders (or, you know…add it to your Goodreads TBR list)!

And now…the COVER REVEAL:

Consumed Cover

 

So, to sum it up: December 15th is the new release date, there is the beautiful cover (and some adorable teasers).

That is all, for now! Oh, and one more thing…there is still an open giveaway on my Facebook page! Winners get an ebook copy of Collide. Enter now, it closes at 9pm tonight!

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A Little Taste of Damaged Goods

I had so much fun doing my first author take-over last night. The party is still going, so go check it out and make sure you enter all the giveaways! You could win some awesome things! Plus, this is also happening: another giveaway on my Facebook page, closing on Monday the 24th.

I also revealed a little taste of my current work in progress, Damaged Goods, on Facebook last night. For those of you that missed it…

“Kissing Grayson was explosive, intense, and everything that kissing Kyle hadn’t even managed to come close to. Grayson made me forget all my insecurities, kissing him made me want all the things that I feared. He had a power over my mind, my heart, and my body…and I knew that it was unbreakable.

Only, Grayson didn’t want me. At least, not completely. I could feel his desire against my lower abdomen, but the words he’d said time and time again rattled around in my brain. I can’t feel that for you. I’m not boyfriend material. I can’t be what you want me to be.

Still, my body responded to his as if I didn’t have a choice. I wanted to go with him, wherever he wanted to take me…for however long. It was better than the silence, better than not being with him at all.”

kissingcouple

I’m having a lot of fun writing Everly and Grayson’s story, even if some moments make me super sad. I think you’re all going to love it! You can add it to your Goodreads “to-be-read” list now!

Damaged Goods will release in early 2015.

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Thankful: Authors thanking our readers

Readers are very important, and I am so appreciative of every last person who reads my book. Without readers, there would be nobody to write for…and that is tragic. Can you imagine living in a world without books? Nobody to read them, nobody to write them? No thanks!

Now…how can we show our appreciation for our readers? By a massive weekend Facebook event, full of giveaways, of course! This weekend from Saturday at noon until 10pm on Sunday; I, along with several other incredibly talented and genuinely wonderful authors, will be doing a thankful event to give back to our readers and fans. There will be plenty of opportunities to win things such as books and author swag.

If you’d like to attend the event, we would LOVE to have you! Click here for event details and to RSVP.

Thankful

I will be on during the 7:30-8:00 p.m. time slot. Can’t wait to see you there!

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Soundtrack

I wanted to write a beautiful blog post, full of raw perspective and witty insights. I had some ideas, they were on the tip of my tongue…but they fluttered from my grasp before I could reach out to touch them.

The soundtrack in my mind is whining and crying. A low hum, a constant whimper. It’s actually the sound of my youngest protesting bedtime, despite how tired he is. The sound takes my thoughts away like sheets of paper caught in a hurricane.

It’s hard work, being a full-time parent and a work at home writer. I’m never short on ideas, but sometimes…it’s hard to hold on to them in the hurricane and chaos of my day to day.

I have a lot of guilt over how thin I spread myself, trying to accomplish everything I want all at once. I know where I want to be, I know what goals I want to accomplish out of life. It’s the getting there that is complicated, and the constant worry that I’ll miss a lot in the process.

I feel guilty if I’m not spending every waking hour with my kids, engaging them and playing with them. If I take a morning to write, I feel bad about it. But on the same hand, I know it’s healthy to encourage kids to play independently and entertain themselves. Mom guilt is a fun thing to try and process though. Even though I logically know that I am doing nothing wrong, I still feel like I am…or maybe just not doing enough. I could do more.

I hope that one day, they’ll look back and maybe be proud of me. I had dreams, and I fought hard to turn those dreams into a reality. I have achieved a lot in the past year, and I feel as if it’s made me a better person for it.

One of my greatest fears when I became a parent was that I would put everything I wanted on hold, and that my dreams and goals would evaporate as I became just Mom and Wife. I feared that it wouldn’t be possible to strive for success within a career as a mom and wife. I am determined to prove myself wrong. I didn’t want to lose me in them, and for a while…I did lose me. I stopped writing, I stopped thinking about my dreams and goals. I started worrying about crock pot recipes and cleaning, about rocking the hell out of this stay-at-home gig.

But that was slowly driving me insane. I missed the pieces of me that I put away for later, thinking they couldn’t be used when I was a mom of young kids. I had inadvertently fallen into the very mindset I feared. One reality slap later, and I took the pieces back out and promptly stitched them back on.

A mother’s mental state severely affects her children. I know that from first hand experience. My biggest fear is that I would wake up one day and have completely lost myself, the girl that I was and the woman I wanted to be, because I was so focused on being the best mom and wife. I didn’t  want to be living through their accomplishments, instead of achieving my own.

It’s not feasible to be the best mom and wife. There’s always room for improvement, and I am a flawed human. We all are. Perfect is a made up word that doesn’t exist. The trick is to love people despite their flaws.

I hope they’ll love me despite mine.

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