Who Am I? Why Do You Care?

I am a woman on a journey. Where I'll end up is yet to be discovered.


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Embrace Kindness

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What are your hopes and dreams for 2017? What do you want to accomplish this year? Are you prepared for what needs to be done in order to see those goals realized?

On New Year’s Eve my daughter and I set fire to the things we didn’t want to carry into the coming year. Emotional burdens and hurdles like anger, negativity and past hurts. Some things did seem to evaporate in the smoke from that little garbage pail fire on the back porch, while others are going to take a bit more work – but still – the thought is the same. We no longer need to carry the things from the past that hold us back. We need to shed those things in order to see a brighter future.

At the same time, we wrote down the things we wanted to do more of in the coming year. Some may call them resolutions, I just like to think of them as the things that will help me to become the person I really want to be. My daughter had several wishes for herself in the coming year, but to me, one of the most powerful was the little statement she wrote above.

Embrace people’s kindness.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? How hard can that be? Truth be told, how many of us are free to embrace the kindness of others in our daily lives? I’ll bet it isn’t as often as you think.

Too many times we refuse the kindness someone tries to show by the gift of their help. We tell them, “Oh, you can’t do that, it’s too much!” Or we see simpler things as something we should be able to do for ourselves. “Oh, no, I can do it, but thanks for asking!”

Sound familiar? It’s hard to accept help, isn’t it? But by offering help, those people are extending kindness.

My daughter knows she has a difficult time accepting acts of kindness. She doesn’t like to be complimented, she doesn’t like to accept help, she doesn’t like for anyone to do anything for her because she then sees herself as a burden.

Accepting kindness is a way to be vulnerable and open yourself up to others. This can be terrifying. Vulnerability is scary. I know. But as humans, without that vulnerability, without opening ourselves up to others, we lose the very connection that makes us human. I’m not so sure I’m ready to give up on that. Are you?

I believe that this very simple thing has the power to transform lives. It can be easy to show kindness to others, but accepting it in return is the the difficult part. Choose to allow kindness in, and I imagine you will start to see the world, and yourself, differently.

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Independence? I’m Not Ready!

Time. It just keeps moving no matter how much you wish you could slow it all down. And slowing it down is exactly what I want to do right now. Our lives are full of constant hurdles, struggles, victories, joy, pain, work, pride and regret. Sometimes we feel like we are just bouncing and jostling along going through the motions, and other times we get to live – really live – taking in the moment frame by frame and savoring it. I wish I had more days like that.

I came to the realization a while back that my life was my own and I only had to live it on my terms. I decided to live with joy and gratefulness – free from the people pleaser I had always been and free from the stress that surrounded me. Now this worked to an extent. Of course we always are going to have some stress. There is always going to be worry. For me, most of that worry came from always worrying about my daughter. With anxiety, depression, self harm, and suicidal thoughts, I could never get too comfortable. Even when things were going fairly well, it wasn’t going to be long before a crash of some kind occurred. Still, we had our good times. Lots of them. I have the most amazing daughter ever and I love her with all my heart. We have always been exceptionally close, probably because of what she has gone through. She’s always been attached to my side, sometimes experiencing separation anxiety just going to school. She’s nearly fourteen and we have always done everything together.

Lately she has been working on feeling better. Really working. She’s also working on gaining some independence. I’m proud of her for that. Really I am. We would spend every evening together, either watching a movie or playing a game, or even doing separate things, just sitting side by side while we did them. She never wanted to be far from me, and never even spent time in her own room. Her bedroom is probably the least used room in the house. She was rarely in it. She didn’t even want to sleep alone until fairly recently.

So as she works on independence, she is spending a lot of time on her own, in her own room, doing her own thing. I think it’s great. She draws, she listens to music, she reads. By herself. Every day.

At first, I could only think of all the writing time I was having. Wow! My evenings were so quiet! I could write away for hours! Yay teenagers! But you know what? Deep on the inside I’m not coping very well. I feel like I’ve gained a teenager overnight. Don’t get me wrong, we are still close and probably spend more time together than the average teen spends with a parent, but it’s so different not having her at my side every second. I miss her constant babble while I’m trying to write. I can’t even concentrate with all this quiet!! I’m proud of her, but at the same time – okay I’ll admit it — I MISS her!!  She’s right here…but she seems so far away!

I know this is not a problem. This is actually a very good thing. For seven years, she has suffered extreme anxiety. For several of those years she could not even go in the bathroom by herself. She would not go in a room I was not in. She would panic if I got out of her sight for a second. She had to follow me around the house if I went into another room. She couldn’t go to sleep overs, and she couldn’t have kids over. I worried about what was going to happen as she got older. I knew she would eventually have to branch out on her own. And now that she is, I’m ecstatic. Really I am. But there is that selfish part of me that hates it too. I want so much for her. I want her to be able to go and do and be anything she wants. I want her to follow her dreams and her heart wherever they take her. Yet I sit here tonight having a really hard time. She’s right in her room on the other side of the house – and it seems a million miles away. Silly, huh?

So I have work to do. I have that draft I’m still working on, and some articles that need writing. I have a website I’m supposed to be making for someone, but I’m sitting here like a lump feeling lonely. What’s up with that?

So maybe I want to freeze time just a bit. Maybe I want to enjoy my girl a little longer because I fear she is growing up fast now. She goes to high school in the fall, and I’m afraid time will really start whizzing by then. I’m excited for all that she will accomplish, and a bit sad too. I’ll get over it. I’ll be okay. I know a thousand parents before me have felt the same way.

Writing has been slow lately. I’ve wanted to re-write my novel from somewhere just past the middle, changing the events and the ending, but I’m having a hard time concentrating on getting it done. The story is still a good one, I guess it’s just the effects of life. The busy days, the time spent handling my daughter’s anxiety and depression, the nearing of the end of the school year – lots to do and lots to think about.

So tonight I’m looking at all the work I have to do, but I’m just feeling kind of blah. So I’m going to take a moment and selfishly wallow in my solitude, and then I’ll get a move on.

 


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Writing, Living, and Everything in Between

Sometimes I wish I could just slow time down just a bit. My daughter is growing up so fast now and it is such a bittersweet time. I find myself tearing up at the drop of a hat these days! I think my mom hormones are going haywire. This is the last year at the school she has attended since first grade and something will happen and I will think, “Oh, that’s the last time she’ll get to do that here!” and the tears come. I look at her sometimes and see how grown up she is, and the tears start. She will do something that makes me proud, and the tears start. I don’t know what’s happening here. I’m going to be an emotional wreck unfit for society by the time she gets to twelfth grade!! I’m so lucky to have her, and although I know she will always be mine, sometimes I can’t help but think that the years she has left at home with me are dwindling fast. I’m just not ready! But I have to be…

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately. It’s so easy to get caught up and realize life is whizzing by again and you aren’t really participating. I don’t want that. I want to take an active role in my life. I want to live completely, enjoying the simple, beautiful things all around me. I want to do the things I’ve been longing to do. No more wasted time. I’d rather learn from a mistake than live with the regret of never trying things.

My daughter and I get along great and I couldn’t ask for a better relationship with her. While her peers are starting to complain about their parents and talk about how much they hate their mothers, my daughter tells them she has no idea what they are talking about, that she spends all her time with her mother and likes it. When they talk about how their mothers embarrass them, my daughter tells them she can’t relate. I know, as we move deeper into the teenage years, that time with me will be less of a priority for her, but that just means I cherish every second even more. I think together we will come up with a big list of things we’d like to do together, whether it be go on a picnic or play a board game, and put them in a container. Each Sunday we’ll draw one and have to do it that day. I get caught up sometimes and miss the simple things we could be doing together.

I’ve been staring at my writings in progress and organizing my thoughts. Soon I will be coming up with a plan for my writing time, as well as what project is my next priority. November is almost here and I want to do NaNo again. If nothing else it will help me to get back to writing every single day. I won’t accomplish my writing goals if I don’t get my butt in the chair.

I’m back to studying more and practicing more in the area of copywriting. I promise to stop procrastinating out of fear and work toward my goals.

I’m kind of all over the place right now, my thoughts are scattered and my concentration hasn’t been the best. But these times pass. I’ve much to do and only one life to do it.


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Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Program

Life. It certainly has a way of making all kinds of twists and turns. Some appreciated, and some…well…not so much. Either way, all you can do is hang in there and ride it out. Of course the other choice is to meet it head on, fight the battles that come your way, and get the most out of every moment. I like to think I get the most of of every moment, but sometimes I know that I’m just hanging on and have my eyes clenched shut so that I can’t even see where I’m heading.

Today is a day for fresh starts, new beginnings and a new way of life. Had some pretty great news yesterday for my daughter, so life will kind of even out for us for a bit I think. That’s also fantastic news as far as my writing goes.

In the past, I would do the bulk of my writing when my daughter wasn’t home. I’d use that time for keeping up with my blog, as well as all the ones I love to read, for writing and for whatever else I needed to get done. A few months ago, I no longer had days during the week that she wasn’t home. She also had some things going on that I was concerned about, and even though I kept trying, I just didn’t have any energy for blogging or writing or for much of anything else. My daughter received yesterday, what she thought, was great news. She felt it life altering. She is probably right. We decided that this morning, when our eyes opened, we were new people. We (she) had been given the gift of a new start, a chance to let go of the anxiety that held her fast, and a chance to move on and to be the person she was meant to be. Nothing holding her back now. Time to get rid of all the negative voices in her head. I know it will take some time to do that, those voices are awfully pesky. Especially the evil ones. Why is always easier to believe the bad and not the good? Why is it easier to take what someone says about you that is negative and turn that into your reality vs what someone else says that is good about you? That’s a bit funny to me (and not in the ha ha way) but I know too many people that are ruled by the negative things that happen to them instead of the good. I know too many children (my daughter included) that only hears the bad, and it seems to shout louder than any good thing that is said to her. When I tell her she is a good person, and that she has so much to offer the world, that she is intelligent, creative, beautiful and funny — she doesn’t believe me!! That is sad. Sad that the negative comments of others can outweigh reality. BUT ANYWAY — no more of that. Hopefully time truly will heal her wounds and I will see the girl I know she is become more confident and emerge from the shadows where she often hides.

That also means there is a new “normal” around the house. We can now have routine and go about our daily lives. It means I have no excuse for not coming up with a schedule that allows me writing time as well as time to blog, and to read. It may be tricky at first, but we’ll get the hang of it.

So here’s to fresh starts, scheduled writing time, less stress, less worry and moving on. Here’s to getting a move on with the first draft of my new book, as well as being able to do more reading and maybe even some knitting. Here’s to hoping spring will be here soon. Here’s to watching my girl make progress and to maybe even getting around to some of the projects needing to be done around the house! I’m in a schedule making mood! 😉


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I Want To Do It All. (Are there instructions for that?)

I think I want to do too many things. At least I think that’s the problem. Then I have so many things swirling around in my ADD brain that not much of anything gets done! I think I need an intervention, or at the very least a self help group for procrastinating over- achievers. There just does not seem to be enough hours in the day for this single mom and would be writer-poet-knitter-reader-baker-craft maker- and don’t forget the laundress-house cleaner-painter-lawn maintainer-light bulb changer-car washer-tutor-errand runner. I guess what I’m saying is I have yet to figure out the balance that is working a day job THEN finding time to write as well as keep up with any hobbies I may wish to try and then all the housework/maintenance mundane no fun stuff on top of being mom to a pre-teen with a precarious emotional state.

My number one job, and favorite by far, is being mom to my girl. NOTHING else is as important and I would forgo any other thing on the planet to take care of her and make sure she’s okay and to just spend time relaxing or having fun with her. My second favorite thing is writing. (well, maybe writing and reading tie?) I need organization in my life. I need balance. I need to figure out how to get everything done. I know there is a way. I see other people balance beautifully without having an overload and shutting down. I mean, right now, my house looks like a tornado would probably do it a favor. I mean just rip right through and take everything and it would probably be an improvement. Okay, on second thought, I like having a roof, so I guess that would be a bad idea. The gigantic balls of dog fur add ambiance, right? Sure they do. I like them just where they are.

I’ve begun work on a new project. I’m just not entirely sure of its direction. I am having a difficult time right now finding writing time every day, but I haven’t been too worried about it. My daughter is having some difficulties right now and it’s more important to me to be with her and to just do nothing some evenings but sit and watch movies with her, or talk or whatever she wants to do. I have to admit to myself though, that maybe just maybe, I’ve gotten a bit lazy as well. It’s like in my HEAD I can see me completing all kinds of tasks. I see myself getting up in the morning and am off and running on a super productive day. I exercise, I eat right. I go to work. I come home and make dinner. I write. I knit. I mow the lawn. I clean the garage. I organize the house. I do the laundry and ACTUALLY put it away instead of pulling what we need out of the pile on the sofa for a week. You know, I want to get things done. Like a normal person. Is that just some fantasy I will never achieve?

Tonight my daughter and I were talking, and she is always telling me I’m awkward. She isn’t being mean, it’s true. My social anxiety makes me really awkward around people. I could be a recluse in a heartbeat. I fantasize about it. She was laughing, saying she would have no idea what to do if she had a “normal” mother like the other kids she knew. She said she would absolutely suffocate and die if she had a mother that was not quirky like I am. I told her it wouldn’t be any picnic for a “normal” mother to have to parent her quirky self either. She agreed and we laughed about it. While I’m glad my daughter appreciates my somewhat untraditional approach to parenting her (yes I have rules. Yes I require my child to behave herself and be respectful and all the other things “good” parents teach their children — we are just both sarcastic and snarky and I don’t sweat the small stuff. We have a unique way of communicating and we appreciate one another’s quirks and eccentricities for what they are. It’s awesome.)

I wish though that I could figure out the magic formula for allowing me to do ALL the things I want to do. Heck, I’d settle for half. Or less than half. Right now, I have high hopes of deep cleaning and organizing the house WHILE making time to write every day. For now I guess I’ll just muddle through. I haven’t had as much writing time lately as I’d like, but little by little the story is taking shape. I love this first draft stage when the characters are revealing themselves to me. I like looking at them and finding their weaknesses and seeing what makes them human. I like to see how they live their lives and how they solve their problems.

I keep trying to figure out what kind of writer I am. I like to read so many different types of things that I have a hard time narrowing my writing to a certain genre. I want to write things that make people laugh. I want to write things that make people cry. I want to make people think. I want to write tales of horror and tales of life and death and pain and redemption. I suppose all of those things can be found in the essence of human nature. I want to write stories that mean something to me. As long as I do that, I suppose there is no reason to try to decide what category I fit into. At least not right now. If I write what speaks to my heart, the category to which I belong should become clear. At least I think it might.

Being a writer is who I am. I cannot change that. I cannot deny it. Being a mother is the most important thing I will ever do. I guess all the rest can wait.


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Why, Yes, This IS Another Post about NaNoWriMo

At first I wasn’t sure whether or not to post this here, or over on my other blog, http://www.ADHDKristi.wordpress.com  After a bit of thought I figured here was probably the place. Along with thousands of other people, I started NaNoWriMo yesterday. I had mixed feelings on participating this year, but since my DD told me she wanted to do it, I gave in and figured what the heck. I had a few projects in the back of my mind, I figured I’d just pick one of them and give it a go. I remember last year, trying for the first time, and how excited I was. I remember not being able to WAIT for midnight to start writing. This year, it just seems I can’t get into it. Maybe in a while I can, but for now, two days in, it just seems like I’m pushing words around on paper (or screen) and my characters are boring robots. I’ve gotten my word count just fine, I’m 5062 words in on the second day, so that’s not a problem. It just all seems so…stale. So lifeless. I can’t get excited about anything I’ve written. I know the trick is to push through it and allow the story to take shape. The rewrite will be where I can remove all the stuff I wrote down before the story actually got started. I’m just not feeling it, and I really, really want to. Does that make any sense at all?

Another thing I have learned in two days is that NaNo just may not be right for an OCD, Anxiety Disorder pre-teen. The first day, she began her story, taunting me with “I’m gonna write more words than you today!” She hit a couple hundred words and hit a brick wall. She couldn’t control her OCD that wanted the sentences to be perfect. She couldn’t control her anxiety over wondering how she was going to write a book. She’d set her word goal at 20,000 words and began having anxiety over feeling “timed.” It was a mess. Then I realized she wasn’t even writing the story she had told me she was writing, and she had realized she was heading nowhere fast because she had no idea what was going on in this story, or how to write this type of story. She scrapped the whole thing, convinced she was going to fail. Then, telling herself that she REALLY wanted to participate in NaNo, she brainstormed another idea. Something more in her comfort zone. She asked for help. I got out notecards and helped her make cards for her main characters. She made a card for the villain and one with a brief summary of her plot. She started writing. In a couple of hours she had 800 words, which was a good start. She seemed proud.

Today she got up and said she wanted to finish up her homework and chores so she could write. Then she kept putting it off. After I began writing for the day, she came to me with feelings of knowing she was going to fail. She knew she had a lot going on right now, and knew she was never going to be able to write enough to reach her goal. She was already twisting herself up in an anxious little knot over it. I told her that just maybe, this type of thing wasn’t for her. Maybe it was too much pressure to “perform” and would take any fun out of writing for her. I knew something “bigger” was bothering her, but knew she would tell me when she was ready. Turns out I was right. She said she likes writing, but feels like she should do what the other kids do in order to fit in. She said she likes writing, climbing trees, and being outside. Her friends like to talk about boys and not much else. We had a long talk about having the right kind of friends – the ones that accepted you even when you liked to do different things than they did. I know that is a rare thing in middle school. We talked about how you could get along with your friends even when you weren’t exactly alike. She talked about missing her best friend who she had a parting of the ways with last year. She said more than anything, she wished they were still friends because they had liked the same things. It was actually being too much alike, I think, that caused the downfall of the friendship, but who knows. I talked to her about being honest with her friend and telling her that she was sorry for what happened, and that she wanted to be friends again. I told her it didn’t mean she wanted to stop being friends with the other girls, and that it was normal to miss someone that you had a lot in common with. She ended up texting her, telling her she was sorry for the fight that broke them up last year, and wanted to know if they could be friends again. She told her she missed hanging out with her, and that she didn’t want to give up her other friends, but she hoped they could be friends again and do things together again. The girl texted back that she would like that. So — I guess all fixed in the pre-teen world? Who knows? All I know is it seems like adolescent angst is kicking in again around here. She’d been doing well for a while. Doctor talked about upping her meds again, but I’m just not sure. I hate to keep upping them. It takes away some of her “spark” each time. Right now though, she just seems like an anxious ball and everything gets on her nerves. It seems like we can’t talk without her getting defensive, or me getting defensive. I know it’s because she’s growing up and I have to learn to let her go. It’s just hard. I do need her to take more responsibility for herself, it’s just that I’ve been doing things for so long, and when she repeatedly forgets it’s just easier for me to give up and do it myself. I have to stop that. I also have to trust her more and let her go.

With me being ADD too, it’s always hard for us to stick to any kind of routine or schedule. I know that we NEED routine, things would go so much smoother around here; it’s just forming one and sticking to it long enough for it to stick is another thing altogether. Okay, so none of the last part of this has anything to do with NaNo.

Earlier I could have sworn she decided that it wasn’t for her. Now here it is almost 11 p.m. and she’s still tossing and turning, and just came to me and said, “Why didn’t I do any writing today?” “I’ll never get my word count if I don’t write!”

When I told her I thought she had decided not to participate, she said, “But I love to write, I’m just bad at it.” When I told her she wasn’t, well, it nearly started yet another episode of the vicious cycle we seem to be on lately. ugh. I also know that part of it has to do with my increased anxiety lately. Why do we take out our anxiety by arguing with the people we are supposed to love the most?

All I know for sure is that we will get over this bump like we always do. Whether or not she finishes NaNo, I can’t say. Whether I start to feel better about my own project, well, we’ll see that too.


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November is for Writing!!

To be completely honest, I have just been absolutely exhausted lately. No idea why, truly. Maybe some of it has to do with the “let down” of the launch of Blessed Light Cleansing Rain being over. When I have a project going, I can hyperfocus like nobody’s business. Once it’s over, I’m just a bit lost. Still, I’m sleeping pretty well, and by afternoon I can barely hold my eyes open. I have no get up and go, and even though I was on top of things like laundry and clean bathrooms, it’s starting to pile up a bit in the past week. I just don’t feel like doing anything. At all. Nothing much holds my interest for more than a few minutes. I’m hoping whatever this is passes quickly! Headaches are still a problem, and the dizziness comes and goes, but those things are from a bigger neck problem that I hope to be able to address pretty soon. Anyway, I’ve just been tired and kinda disinterested in everything. It’ll pass.

It’s hard to believe that we are in the last few days of October. The month really flew by. Of course that means that NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. Yikes! A few months ago, I told myself I wasn’t going to participate this year. I was going to take a break. Then, the last book is finished and I’m crashing from the hyperfocus and I start to think, maybe, just maybe I should do NaNo and THEN take my break. Sounds good, right? I couldn’t decide which way to go, when my daughter asked about it and told me she wanted to try it this year. Well, now I sure can’t not participate!

I signed up with mixed feelings. I want to do it, but I decided to try a project that is slightly out of my comfort zone, and one that is still pretty vague. I’ve always been a “pantzer” type of writer – I don’t do detailed outlining or planning before a story – but I DO usually have a pretty good idea of what the major conflict is going to be, who the characters are (basically, anyway, they always reveal themselves to me as I write), and what direction I want the story to take. (that can always change too, but it at least gives me direction until my characters take over and tell me where they need to go.) I feel like I’m behind on my preparation this year. The freezer is empty, there are unfolded clothes piled on a bedroom chair, the dog needs a bath..you get the idea. I haven’t taken care of the “housekeeping” items that would make me feel better about beginning National Novel Writing Month. Still, I think once I get started, all will be well.

I’m looking forward to participating with my daughter. I try not to push her to write. She’s exceptionally good at it, much better than I was at her age, but she usually lacks the focus to finish a story. She begins project after project, but rarely sees one through. (and yes, I’ve been known to steal an awesome line or two from her!) I don’t want her to ever feel like I want her to write just because I do, and I’m smart enough to realize that just because she is good at something doesn’t mean she loves to do it. It’s really HARD not to try to nurture that part of her, though, because I see soooo much potential!! She is so creative, and has a way with snarky satire that I’m envious of! When she asked me about NaNo, and told me she wanted to do it, I was pretty excited. Then I felt her interest wane, so I didn’t ask her about it. A couple nights ago she asked me when she could sign up. She even tried to get a friend of hers to join in, but he was a no go. She worked out a few details of the project she wanted to work on, we set a word count goal for her, and she appears to be good to go! She even tried to convince me that if she was going to participate in NaNo, keep up with her schoolwork AND practice her clarinet, that I was going to have to do away with her bedtime. Ummm…nice try, but no. It’ll be fun to do NaNo alongside a 12 yo chatterbox that constantly makes me laugh. (maybe I won’t hit the word count this year…) It will be an experience, that’s for sure, and one I mean to enjoy as I also know how fast time is slipping away from me and soon she will be grown. 😦 She’s changing again; not just in looks, but I also see her steadily morphing from a child to a teen. I’m so used to her sharing everything with me, and her wanting to be close, that it will be really hard for me to back away and let her be as she needs more independence. It’s a GOOD thing, don’t get me wrong…I just know the time will come when she won’t want to talk to me about EVERYTHING the way she does now. She knows she can always come to me, but I’m fairly certain that teenage girls will still have their secrets. While nothing has ever been too personal for her to discuss with me (and believe me we have had some INTERESTING conversations), I know that soon, some things will be just a bit too embarrassing to discuss with your mother. It’s all good. (who am I kidding, I’m nervous just thinking about it!)

So, here it is, a few days left of October to get ready for November and a month of writing. We’ll see what happens!!