Being the Bailer

I’ve done a lot this week. More than I usually allow myself to do. It’s not what I did so much as how many “spoons” those activities took away from me.

On a good day, I waste the majority of my spoons simply cleaning or going to the grocery store. Oh, the grocery store sucks pretty much each spoon I have straight out of my hands. The standing, the walking, the stretching and bending, the lifting and carrying. And the kid wrangling too, because chances are I have a least one kid with me. It’s so exhausting that I often try and pawn the task off on Matt (who gladly does it and who is better at scoring sales anyway because I’m too pain-blind to pay attention).

On Tuesday, we went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. We took a train out, and while it was an incredible experience (seriously, fun for the whole family), it ate up every last one of my spoons, and then some of the ones I had on reserve, and the majority of the ones from next week.

We had to run to catch the train, which destroyed me. By the time we got home, I had a full fledged migraine brought on by what I can only assume is the pain I was in.

On Wednesday, I took Archer to a program I’ve been meaning to try out for the last several weeks. It’s a little tea and coffee playgroup thing, and while it was also fun, I stood too much and held him too much and just generally tried to do too much too soon after the Ripley’s Aquarium adventure.

I had plans on Thursday to take Archer to family story time at the library, and then bailed on those plans because I just wasn’t feeling it. I still foolishly did stuff though, I drove to my MILs house for a visit and then to my dads. Then I came home and cleaned.

Today, I was supposed to go on a play date with a friend and her kids to some family event thing. I had to text her and cancel, because I can scarcely move right now and I know my weekend is full.

I’ve got a family function to attend tomorrow, sans Matt’s help wrangling the boys and driving the hour long drive because he also has a family thing on his side to attend. I’m also babysitting my niece Saturday night to Sunday afternoon.
I have no spoons now, this morning, and my focus needs to be taking it easy and regaining at least a few of them so I can actually get through this weekend.

I know that there will already be tears (on my part), and that bailing today was necessary to try and preserve and regain spoons, but it really sucks to feel like a bailer…to be the one who has to bail. Especially because a lot of the time, I don’t think people get it. After all, it’s just walking around. It’s nothing that normal folks with no spoon limitation would consider to be strenuous on the body. But for those who have a spoon limitation, walking can be very strenuous. Regular old tasks that others wouldn’t think twice about, like going to the grocery store or even walking their kids to the bus stop, are seemingly large, exhausting fleets.

I’m not my best self when I’m in a lot of pain, either. I’m not as patient. I’m rather snappy and short with those around me. I try to reign that in, because it’s really not everyone else’s fault that I am in pain. I’m aware of it now…I’m more concious of my actions than I was a few years ago.

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Different Priorities

People are kind of ridiculous, and I don’t mean anyone in particular really, just people. In general. All of us.

There are very few people who can recognize and accept the fact that other people are different. They have different morals, different focuses, different goals and ambitions. What’s important to one person may not be important to another.

I find that when something is of high importance to me and not to someone else, that the solution – instead of getting all angry that the other person doesn’t find it as important, is to simply accept that our priorities are different and either let it go or do it myself if the situation calls for it.

I cannot waste my energy being worried or angry about how someone does or doesn’t do something. Different strokes for different folks, you know? I need to focus on what’s in front of me. I need to prioritize things the way that I need to prioritize them. That doesn’t mean my focus is wrong, it’s just…different.

I’m not a perfect person. I have low energy on a good day. I struggle with chronic pain, anxiety and depression. Sometimes, things slide. I’m a forgetful person, walking around in a fog of my own pain and the things that are important to me. My sons, my husband, our family. I have to let certain things go to preserve my diminishing energy sometimes, and that’s okay. I’m trying to learn how to deal with that, you know? The guilt of letting something slide, especially when someone else doesn’t agree with the fact that I’ve let it slide.

At the end of the day, I ask myself these questions:
1) Did my sons feel loved today?
2) Is everybody fed?
3) Did I do the best that I could have today?

If the answers as yes (and they usually always are), then I consider it a successful day and I try to ignore focusing on the things I didn’t and couldn’t get around to. Like the clean laundry that didn’t get folded or put away, the recycling that I forgot to drag to the curb, or the few dishes I left to “soak” overnight in the sink.

But sometimes, people forget that everyone else has these different lists of priorities. Some people are able to accomplish all that I can and do in a day, and then some. Some people have different responsibilities and their results are…different.

So, stop judging people for doing things differently and get over it. The key to a happier life is letting go of negativity, so don’t create it unnecessarily by stressing about what other people are or are not doing.

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Whispers

Do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in a thousand different directions? What you want to do, what you need to do, what you should do, how it should be, how it actually is?

Do you ever feel like there’s no right answer, there’s no solution where everybody wins and everybody is happy?

Do you ever feel like you leave destruction and mayhem in your wake, even when you don’t mean to…even when you just want to make it all better, make it all stop?

Do you ever wish you had the power to shut all those feelings of confusion, guilt and obligation aside just so you can get a spare moment to focus on what’s truly important to you? But you can’t, because time and time again you are reminded why you should be feeling all those feelings of guilt and obligation, and despite your confusion…you feel like your feet are encased in concrete and you are stuck somewhere that you don’t want to be.

I know where I want to be. I want to be in a happy place with those who do not hurt me. I want to be able to listen to what my husband is saying, what he has been saying forever, stuck on repeat because I can’t seem to hear him. I hear him, but I don’t because he is right but he is also wrong. I want to wash myself of all the guilt and negativity.

I just want things to be the way that they are supposed to be. I want to be the way I’m supposed to be, the way I want to and should be.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

In other news, we had to postpone the photoshoot for the book trailer and book teasers. It’s been raining and the grey skys wouldn’t have given us the lighting we needed for the photos we wanted.

However, I tried to distract my mind (which is currently on overdrive), so I made a couple of book teasers for Collide. I am new at this, so don’t judge too harshly. Here they are…

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I’m sort of pleased with them. They’re good for having been made on my cell phone in an app called “Phonto” that allows you to put text over an image. The images are mine, the bottom two taken from my days living in North Bay, Ontario (where Collide takes place).

I know I’d be able to rock it all a little more if I had an awesome computer with awesome computer programs, but one day…one day I will.

In the meantime, if this entices you to read Collide, you can find it on Kobo or Kindle.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

I’m hoping to get back into writing tonight or tomorrow. Today, we’re supposed to go on a family adventure. Nolan is playing hooky and we are taking a train to Toronto.

I’ve been on a vacation, letting things that are important to me be placed on the back burner so I could try to deal with and process other things.

It’s time to refocus.

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The Hangover

Back before I knew what life was really about, I thought the only ‘hangover’ one could get was from the bottom of a mickey of vodka or banana rum after a night of partying.

Now, after life has taught me a few hard lessons, I’ve learned that this isn’t true. There are all kinds of hangovers. You can have a book hangover, a person hangover, a shitty situation hangover, and just a general life hangover. There are so many kinds of hangovers that I’ve actually pretty much stopped drinking because life gives me enough hangovers and I really don’t need to add to it.

Just like after a night of drinking, you can feel completely drained and disoriented, dizzy and just…spent.

That’s how I’m feeling right now. Completely drained, disoriented, dizzy and spent. I no longer wish to deal with any bullshit, no matter how slight or seemingly insignificant it is.

Which almost makes me feel bad, but then and again…I’m hungover.

I’ll be nursing my hangover and the accompanying massive migraine in the dark depths of my bedroom.

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Putting All My Eggs in One Basket

Confession time…I hate the term “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, mainly because it’s something that I constantly do. Guilty as charged! I rely too much on possibilities, putting my all into it. 

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I’ve gotten a smidgen better at not putting all of my eggs in one basket, but the vast majority of them are in one basket.

Hope. It’s what I cling desperately too. I focus on the positive things that could happen, determined to somehow make them happen out of sheer will. 

When things don’t go the way I desperately hope they will, I feel crushed. Destroyed. Terminated by failure. Heavy feelings to cope with, to deal with. I’ve been this way forever. One extreme (blind hope) to another (sheer despair). 

I feel beaten down by the “wrong turns” life has bestowed upon me. I feel betrayed by my own self when I continuously put all my eggs in one basket, knowing what I know…that they’ll all break. 

I obsess over outcomes and cling to the ones that I want because I have a difficult time accepting when things don’t go my way. I’m not sure if this is just who I am, or a side effect of depression and anxiety. 

The sad reality is, things don’t always go according to plan. Shit happens. You’ve got to learn how to roll with the punches and not invest everything into one area. 

Example…the job out west. Oh, how I based everything off that job! How I counted on it! All that money meant that we could finally start chipping away at our debts, paying them off until we were debt free and able to start saving for our own place. All that money also meant I would be able to invest into my writing career…if we were careful about balancing.

I planned out the next year on that, I put all my eggs in that basket and when it fell through, it was very hard for me to accept. I kept thinking…but we were going to pay off our debts! We were going to save for a house! I was going to be able to do wonderful things for my books, promos and marketing and giveaways! 

I fell into that infamous pit of depression. I didn’t do anything because I couldn’t figure out what to do. It was harder on Matt, because he also suffers from depression and he had been so excited to finally bring us out of debt and provide more than what we’ve had in recent years. His self-esteem took a MAJOR hit, and he was left feeling like a failure. I didn’t help with my obsessing over that lost opportunity and my pushing for him to figure it out. I put a lot of pressure on him, telling HIM to figure it out because I just couldn’t cope. But he couldn’t either, and he felt the added weight of me laying the pressure of providing for our family on JUST his shoulders. I dropped my load on him and didn’t help him find a solution, chosing to tell him to figure it all out on his own. 

It’s hard to have depression and to stay motivated. It’s especially hard when you have to be the soul provider because your spouse suffers from chronic pain. It’s even harder when your ‘honey-do’ list is so high because there are a lot of things your spouse can’t do. 

So, things were shitty. We are both digging out of the pit now. Matt’s had interviews and we are trying to keep each other motivated. My biggest flaw is the “putting all eggs in one basket thing”, and I’m trying not to do that. My other big flaw is throwing my hands up and unloading all my worries on my husband for him to deal with, which definitely isn’t fair. You’re supposed to share that load of worries.

I’m not blind to my faults, I see them. I’m not blind to his faults either, I see them as well. I know we’ve made mistakes and likely will continue to make them, but I also think that every other couples struggle with things like that. They don’t always have their shit together, they don’t always work well together, sometimes their teamwork skills need improvement. Sometimes, they clash. And that’s okay, because life is about growing and learning and the ever changing seasons.

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Interviews & Giveaways – Oh My!

I’m excited to annouce a couple of things today…

StoryWorld has featured me on their website! I’ve answered some questions about my book, Collide, and my writing process. Not that I’m biased or anything, but it’s pretty cool so check it out!

It feels more real, this author thing, when an online magazine for writers does a little feature on you.

In celebration of that, I figured there is no time like the present to do a giveaway! So, I am doing a giveaway over on my author Facebook page. If you haven’t had a chance to read Collide yet, you’ll want to enter this giveaway! Winners will get an arc of Collide to read. All you need to do is like my page, share the post, then comment and let me know you did so.

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Writing What Scares Me

Have you read Rachel Thompson’s piece on writing what scares you yet? If not, I definitely recommend it.

One paragraph in her post stood out to me, nay…screamed out at me…the words jumping off the screen and resonating with that part of me that keeps all my “difficult pieces” under lock and key.

Part of the process any writer must contend with is: what will others think? But wait…isn’t that the point? While we may write in seclusion, we don’t publish books in a vacuum. We publish so people will think!

I am very, very overly aware of what other people may think when reading any of my words. It’s why I’ve never openly shared this blog on my personal Facebook account, and why I felt the need to separate my Twitter account from Facebook. I have family on Facebook, and Twitter (and my blog) are the places I feel safest in sharing my experiences…probably because people I know in real life won’t stumble across it. Or, they wouldn’t have before.

Now that I’m a published author (Gosh, it still feels exhilarating saying that…), I have more and more people I know in real life stumbling across this blog and my Twitter account. It’s both awesome and terrifying.

I’m still struggling with maintaining that sense of freedom I felt before, back when my Facebook, blog and Twitter accounts were segregated. Back when I felt like I could share a little more.

Except…I’ve always been a little hesitant to share all my truths. I’ve been afraid of what people will say when they realize that I do not have my shit together, like they think I do from what I post on Facebook. I’ve been afraid that they’ll laugh at me for all my mistakes.

The fact is, 98% of the time…things aren’t as amazing as they seem. Yes, I am doing a lot of incredible, awesome things…but I still struggle with major set backs and disappointments. I still make mistakes. I still have struggles that almost outweigh the awesome. Those struggles are heavy, real, and very suffocating…and I don’t share them because I’m afraid to. I’m afraid of what people I know will say, hell…I’m afraid of what people I don’t know will say.

The truth is, I’m terrified of failing and proving to the negative voice in my head that I’ll never amount to anything, that I am a burden. And I do feel that way, I constantly have to argue with myself to keep pushing and keep motivated. It’s exhausting, especially when I’m fighting for two right now.

It feels almost freeing, to write this post…to admit that I have these fears like many writers do. It’s inspirational when another person reaches out through their computer screen and slaps you with some truth.

So…I’m going to close my eyes and dive in. I’m going to try and find my voice again, to speak my truth even if it hurts. As Rachel said…

Accept now, before you even start, that some people will hate it. Then again, some will love it. Write for the lovers.

Strip yourself naked, bare your soul, and be brave. And if your family has a hard time with it, tell them to write their own damn book.

Sometimes, the truth is unpleasant. It doesn’t make it any less true though.

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