This Writers Life: About Strength and Loss.

grieving-takes-timeSo I have been thinking all week about what I would write about today. I debated on talking about the first week back at school for my kids, the books I have been reading, or even posing a few questions. But none of those really struck a chord with me that made me want to write about just yet.

Finally, I decided, just this morning, that I wanted to write about strength and loss.

On Saturday evening, I lost my Grandfather. It hurts. After I got the phone call I began making my own calls. Making sure I had someone to stay with the kids, a place to stay when I reached Maryland (thank you to my bestie who would have slapped me through the phone for thinking I even had to ask if she could have), and making sure I and my spouse had the time off work to get there and be there.

But then, I get another call. There won’t be a service.

Now, this came as a shock to me. Why? Why wouldn’t there be a service? It made no sense, and made me think it was a lie. I still think this. But I’m not going to voice why.

So I started making calls again, thanking all those who had stepped up in my time of need, willing to help ensure I could get there, but that I wouldn’t be heading out of state. Of course, they were all shocked as well.

I don’t pretend to know what people think, what makes them who they are. I am not a psychiatrist. I didn’t want to sound selfish, and therefore, did not voice my objections and feelings of hurt at learning there would be no service, I just said ok.

But why?

Because, I’m not the only one who lost someone. My mother lost her father, my aunt and uncle lost their father as well. My cousins and I lost our grandfather, and my children lost their great grandpap. Everyone is hurting.

Loss is such an insurmountable feeling. I can understand what my mother is going through having lost my own father a few years ago. But I know there is still nothing I can say or do that will help her grieve. The only thing I have to offer is strength and understanding. To her, to my kids, to the rest of my family.

While my heart hurts, and I will miss him, my family needs me here. And for you I say, feel the loss. It’s supposed to hurt. While you may feel that someone has more of a right to be hurt than you do, that is simply not true. You are entitled to your feelings, they are valid.

I do not care if it’s worse somewhere else, you can’t push your pain away for that reason. “I know it could be worse,” “Someone else has it worse than I do,” stop it. So what. Someone somewhere will always have it worse than you do, but that doesn’t make your feelings any less real.

Grieve.

Which is what I have been doing this week. I am strong for my family, but I still allow myself to feel the loss. I am not pushing it away. Strength can come in so many different guises. You don’t have to pretend that everything is ok to appear strong. Sometimes, the strongest thing you can do is feel the pain.

Be strong for those around you while they need you, but never forget, you lost someone too and are allowed to feel it.

R.I.P Grandpap, I love you, and will miss you.

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This Writers Life: About Bravery

BraveSo today, I want to talk about bravery. As writers, as people, as humans we sometimes shy away from doing something we want to because of fear. We fear how we think we may do, we fear what others may think of us, we fear failure.

This week, I witnessed bravery in the face of something that would have terrified me. And I witnessed this from a teenager.

Now, I have said before, that I believe teenage girls to be the cruelest animal on the planet, and I stick by that. But, setting that aside, I witnessed my daughter look that fear in the eye and… shrug.

This week my daughter tried out for the High School Volleyball Team. Why did this simple act put me in awe of her? Because she has never played volleyball in her life. Aside from the few times in gym class, which of course does not go over the rules or positions. So she really had no experience in this sport.

Given that, she had really enjoyed playing in her gym class, and was set on trying out. My stomach was in knots for her, but of course I supported and encouraged her. She wanted to do this thing, where the odds were greatly stacked against her. Trying out with a bunch of girls who had far more experience, far more skill, and she still went for it.

I took her on the first day of tryouts, and I watched her shoulders square, her chin lift, and walk into that gym with her head held high. In that moment I stood in awe. So proud that she was trying, so proud that no matter how nervous she was, she didn’t show it, so proud that she didn’t let the fear stop her.

Now tryouts are over, and this isn’t a story, this isn’t fiction, and my heart broke for her when she told me she was cut and didn’t make it. However, she still said, after telling me she didn’t make it, she wants to practice, and she wants to go to the summer volleyball camp over the next summer so that when she tries out again next year, she will make it.

She faced the fear, the insurmountable odds stacked against her, and faced it with bravery. And though she didn’t accomplish her goal at this time, she isn’t lettting it stop her. In fact, she is more determined than she was before tryouts. To improve, to make it next year.

Sometimes in life, we allow these things, these fears of failure and doubt, to tell us we’re not good enough and we don’t try. We aren’t brave. I was reminded this week why we shouldn’t let that stop us. And I was reminded by my teenage daughter.

And though she didn’t make it, and though my heart still hurts for her, I couldn’t be more proud of her. For the way she handled herself, for the way she faced something that most adults would have shied away from, for the way she didn’t let this one obstacle stop her in her tracks. That she became more determined. And proud, that she taught me something.

So, to my daughter, one of the bravest people I know.

This Writers Life: Hooray for time.

It’s Friday morning and I am sitting at my desk, coffee in hand, half sad and a little happy.

You see, all through June and into this month we have had my step-kids here. It’s been a busy, noisy, full house. While I love having them here, and I know my husband enjoys having them around, at the end of this weekend they go back to their mothers.

I’m sad because I will miss them. My husband will miss them. My kids will miss them. But, a little happy too because it will be a little less chaotic, and a lot less loud. I will be able to get more writing done, which is good.

But for now, it’s Friday, and we have the weekend left with them. One last weekend to spend together as a family. We have time.

So what’s on the agenda?

Friday: Get some (hopefully) writing done today and then dinner out. Our usual ritual with them. Which tonight, it will be Dave & Busters. Which is a grown up Chuckie Cheese for those who don’t know. We all love it.

Saturday: All about the pool. We have a cook out planned with the rest of our family so that they can see my step-kids before they go back to their mothers. Sadly, no writing planned.

Sunday: Reading, Relaxing, and trying not to focus on how the the clock is counting down to their eventual departure.

*sigh*

At least our grocery bill will look better. Silver lining.

Book & Writing Humor

So, I love reading, that’s no secret. I love writing, that’s no secret either.

What is a secret? I waste countless seconds, minutes, hours on reading and laughing at memes about reading and writing.

I’m sure a lot of bookworms and authors do this, so it’s not something shocking. But today, I thought I would share some that I just find funny and I like. Some that I feel are “Just oh so me” and some that make others laugh.

So here we go, enjoy.

 

The trouble with connecting

“MOM!”

“Mom, where are you?” She screams as she slams the front door.

I make my way out of the office and look her over. Her eyes are squinting, fists clenched at her sides, posture stiff. She’s upset. She won’t cry though. That’s not her style. Instead she’ll stomp around the house, slam doors, and yell.

Such is the life of a teenage girl.

“Some idiot called me weird.” She complains as she slings her backpack into the corner of the living room. She’s been taking extra summer courses.

“What idiot?”

She waves me off. Not planning on giving me a name. “Do you think I’m weird?”

I smile and shake my head, “Of course I don’t.”

Her fingers move to her hair, twirling through her curls, pulling a few strands in front of her face so she can she the deep purple color. This is her look of the moment.

We have gone through the girly and pink and dresses, the tom-boy backwards hats and skater shoes, and now we’re on multi-colored hair, headphones, and combat boots. I think she looks cute.

She sighs and I watch her shoulders slump forward, “No.”

“Want me to go up there? I think I can take them.” I smirk. This does elicit a smile from her finally. No matter how many times I’ve offered, she has yet to take me up on it. But it never fails to make her smile.

See, the problem with connecting is finding those who share the same soul as you. The same dreams, and passions. No matter what they are. If it’s music, or writing, or chess, or math, or even the same choice in style. There are always others out there that will share these interests.

You just may not always find them close to you. High School is tough. You’re finding yourself. Figuring out what you like, don’t like, who you are. Teenage girls are, I believe, the cruelest animals on the planet.

We all want that connection to other people. To feel welcomed, accepted, and in High School that’s just down right impossible it seems. I try and remember back when I was in school, and I remember it was rough. But things have changed dramatically since I was in school.

These days kids have all sorts of ways to connect with each other, with all the various choices of social media. But even with all of those, it seems kids are less truly connected with each other than they were before. Yeah, you may like a post, a tweet, a pic; you may have thousands of friends on facebook, but the true connections are lost.

If you’re struggling to connect, finding that rough patch of high school, keep in mind it will get better. I know when my mom said that to me I didn’t believe her, but it is true.

And now that I have a teenage daughter of my own, I’m finding out just how hard my mom had it, and oh how right she was.

The 5 Stages of grief…

So, for those of you who saw my last post, you know that I recently lost all of my work on my two works in progress. All. Gone.

So I had to start over. Yeah, that sucks.

So, I decided to use that, and the feelings I went through for writing tips. If I ever wanted to have my characters to convey the five stages of grief, I had already had plenty of experience, but now it’s fresh, and raw, and new.

It was akin to losing something to near and dear to your heart.

So here we go.

Stage 1: Denial

Denial-1-680x280

This. Cannot. Be. Happening.

Check. I was there. I could not believe everything was just, gone. I ranted for, oh, four hours, on how it was not possible. I ran various software designed to find and recover deleted files. The whole while thinking, “This will work. It has to work. It can’t just be gone. No way.” Yep. Denial.

The emotions were: Confusion, Disbelief, Wonder. And I felt a knot in my stomach the size of China. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But it felt big.

 

Stage 2: Anger

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Later that evening I hit this stage. After all software confirmed the same thing. It was gone. I wanted to throw my USB in the trash. It was the problem. Had it been a better USB this wouldn’t have happened. I will never use another USB.

The emotions were strong. My face flushed red when the software confirmed my fears. I took it out on my desk. It was less than civilized. Feet stomping. Door slamming. I was a spoiled three year old. It was not pretty.

 

Stage 3: Bargaining

bargaining.in_.india_

This stage came when my husband got home. He’s a wiz with computers. And I was sadly under the impression he could make it all better. “If you please restore my files, I will love you forever.” Well, I mean, I already will, but that, plus a dinner bribe and he was on my computer with the USB.

I paced. I nagged. I looked over his shoulder while he worked. All the while making him terribly uncomfortable until he ultimately kicked me out of the office to work in peace.

 

Stage 4: Depression

precision-nutrition-depression-diet

Yeah, this one hit me hard. Lasted all weekend. When he finally told me that everything was in fact gone. I cried. I laid in bed and wallowed. I moved around the house like a zombie. I didn’t want to do anything. The task of rewriting everything seemed so monumental and daunting; and not something I wanted to tackle. Yeah, I was pathetic.

 

Stage 5: Acceptance

Therapies-ACT-440x296

This came Monday morning. When I realized all was not lost. That I had hand written my outline for both stories in my notebook, and that I had emailed the first five chapters to critique partners right before everything went dark.

So most everything was gone. When I started there was nothing. It was a blank page. But now, I have my outline. I know where the stories were going. I have the first five chapters as a good starting point. I just have to start at Chapter Six. Which, while a big task, doesn’t seem as bad as starting at Chapter One of two stories with nothing.

 

 

So there you are. The five stages of grief. Hopefully it will help some, I know it will definitely help me. And who knows, I may change a few things in my stories so my characters have to go through these. Even though I know it’s not their faults.

Oh me, Oh my…

So, last week I did what I always do. I grabbed my USB, sat down at my desk, plugged it in to open up my WIP and start working, only to find…..

Someone has deleted everything from my USB. (My guess would be the little minion who bugs me to use my computer all day every day. I call him Son.) All of it. It’s all gone.

omg-excited

Needless to say, I almost broke down and cried. I consequently freaked out for about 4 hours. I ran all of the software I could to try and recover something, anything, and nada. No good. No go. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.

Nothing could be restored.

pass-out

After having myself a nice pity party all weekend about the loss of my WIP, there is only one thing left for me to do. Start over.

Luckily for me, I hand wrote most of my outline, and emailed some of my chapters to critique partners. So I can save up to five chapters. I just have to start anew from chapter six forward.

So here we go. Starting over. Perhaps it’s for the best. That’s what I have to tell myself. That’s what I need to believe. That whatever ends up coming out in these newly written chapters will be better than what was there before. Or I might run away.

abort