Category Archives: Writing

Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster

Once again, it has been it has been far too long.  I can honestly report that it is not because I’ve had nothing to say, just no time/energy to say it!  Just to catch every one up: Rudy, my Super Dooper Trooper is doing Wonderfully! He gave me another scare, and only one week ago I thought I was going to lose him.  Then, on Wednesday, 9/10, he had a “perfect” glucose level of 133! The vet and I agreed that we are going to wait one month before testing him again.  He’s been through enough tests and it’s time to just let him be for now.  Additionally, I have fallen twice in the past  two weeks, which has taken a toll on my body.  This may be the stress of everything causing a lack of coordination or just too much going on.  Either way it is taking a toll on my body!

Needless to say, dealing with this emotional roller coaster has left me fairly exhausted all the time.  I am still keeping up with the things I normally do, I am just not doing them at the same level.  I do think in the past day or two, I am starting to return to “normal,” whatever that is!  At least, I am feeling like I want to do something again!  I have begun to “study” writing, as I believe that to do something well, one must keep up on the skills of doing it.  In my case that means learning AND doing!  I have done that with just about everything I have ever done in my life and it has worked out well for me.  I just have to watch out for the tendency to get caught up in the learning and never get to the doing part!  Especially now that the doing is writing, which is very scary for me.  As I write those words, it seems very ironic that writing would be scarier than therapy! After all, therapy is, if done incorrectly, a far more dangerous enterprise. I mean, if I suck at writing, it is not detrimental to anyone’s life. (Except maybe my ego, but not my life.) Yet if I sucked at therapy, I could really screw someone’s life up. And I was not scared to walk into my office every day and see folks for therapy, in fact I enjoyed it.  So when I think of it that way, writing should be easy, right?  I think I will continue learning…

On that note, I just started reading a new book, entitled “Trying Not To Try” by Edward Slingerland.  It is based on the Chinese Philosophy of wu-wei, which is described as “an effortless way to go through life with spontaneity.”  It allegedly disputes all the thoughts about planning, reasoning and effort being needed for a happy life.  I am interested to find out more about the philosophy, especially since it fits into my theme of this year: “Just Be.”  Also, maybe it will help me be able to put words on paper; just write and stop trying so hard to make it perfect and planned out.  Which, of course, will probably go against everything I am learning about outlines, research and index cards!  That is what makes learning so much fun though…reading about all the different ways of doing things and putting them together to make the way that works for me!

After all, once I figure it out, I could write a book about it!

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How Humbling -100 Bloggers Following Me!

When I started this blog, I thought 100 people, whom I did not know, reading my blog would be quite amazing! And now that I have reached 100 followers, I have found that I am in awe that there are 100 people, whom I know only through this medium, that have read my words and feel that they are worth reading again, and again.  That truly amazes me and astounds me.

I would assume that each and every blogger wishes that they had thousands of other bloggers reading their words every time they hit the publish button, and in a sense I would be no different.  I would, however, rather have the people who do read my blog really enjoy it and have it mean something to them.

I have been thinking I need to publish more frequently and bring my “numbers” up.  Yet, while many bloggers whom I have great respect for, can do this very well, I do not feel that I would be able to blog everyday and have something that I really wanted to say.  So I blog much less frequently.  Not that there aren’t thoughts flying around in my head all the time, that is a given!  And, I am fairly opinionated, even though I have learned to keep a lot of them to myself as I have gotten older.  Or, maybe I am getting better at seeing both sides of a situation, or more, and less able to find “the right” one.  In any case, I am not sure I could be an everyday blogger.

I am sure that I have reached a milestone today! One hundred followers whom I did not know prior to starting this blog, have found my words worth reading.  How humbling and inspiring!  Thank you to each and every one of you!

Friday’s Fears

It has been too long since I have posted.  I know this, not because of the date, but because my head is exploding with words.  It seems that the only times I have a lot to say are the times I have little time to write.  While the times I have a lot of time to write are the times I feel I have little to say.  I believe that is fear, my friends.  So, today I am taking the time to write and hoping that I am ready for the company that is coming in 70 minutes.  No, I am not showered or dressed yet, so I will have to type rather quickly!

I am back in my funk.  That bicycle I bought July 4th has left my garage three times and one was to go to the bike shop to be repaired.  So I have only been on it twice.  Okay, so I’ve had a double ear infection like forever and the doctor said riding it might not be good, and I have had trouble just keeping my balance while walking, but this would not have stopped me in the past.  So is my common sense getting better or am I just becoming too compliant? I hate being compliant!

The weather here has been perfect, 70’s and low humidity.  We have set records for cool weather in July!  I have slept.  In the house with the windows open at least, but I have slept.  Of course, I found out this has contributed to the double ear infection problem, so now I am sleeping with the windows closed and the air-conditioning on while the weather outside is perfect.  And the kicker:  I am 53 years old and I may need to get tubes in my ears…I think I am a little young to be going through my second childhood!  Don’t little kids get these when they are like 3? I’m no expert on these things, I didn’t have kids and dogs generally don’t get tubes in their ears!

Speaking of dogs, my youngest, and some would say my favorite, Willie (Princess Wilhelmina) has now been diagnosed with allergies and is taking daily medicine.  She is also eating a lot. She is supposed to be a mini doxie, but I am unsure how long we will be keeping the mini part.  I’ve already started the diet; I did that the day I started the medicine and we went to the park for a walk before we started the medicine.  I am very familiar with steroids.  I started them the day before.  I did not do the diet or the walk for myself, however.  I’ve always been better at taking care of others.  I did begin to be more careful with my diet last night, right after I ate the candy bar and the cookies.  I did not eat them in front of Willie, though, so that counts, right?  Today, I am hoping to go back to the park with Willie and might even take my oldest, Rudy, who is diabetic. (I didn’t eat the candy bar or cookies in front of him either.)  Of course that would leave the middle child at home by herself, which would increase my guilt significantly.  This usually means we all stay home.  And sleep.

My other project for today is to “let go” of my former life.  In my previous life I was a mental health therapist.  I was very good at what I did and I believe I helped a lot of people.  This illness has removed my ability to do that work anymore.  I could never handle the stress, the hours and the mental acuity required.  I no longer have the memory that is needed.  That all sucks and makes me extremely sad.  So I have decided not to look at all the books I have that related to my former life.  It is time to give them to someone who can use them.  I have no idea who that is, but maybe my local library does.  So I will start there.  Today a friend will help me box them up and I will deliver them next week.  In addition, I am going to make my “office” at home more of a “studio” where I can be more creative.  Now, it looks like an office, very practical and business like.  I am not business like any more.  Now I am all over the place, I “flit” and that’s okay.  I want to be comfy when I create, not sit at a desk in a desk chair that hurts my body.  So that needs to change.  And today is the day it begins.  It will be a fun project.  I will start with cleaning out the space, so I know what I need/want.  Then I can hit the thrift stores to see what I can find.  What an adventure! Kind of exciting, getting to create a new space in which to create. I am a writer now: maybe not an author (yet), but a writer.  That is my new profession and I am very grateful that I have it.  If I can ever get past the fear of putting the words on the paper!

 

 

External vs Internal: Does It Really Matter?

There have not been many external events happening recently, unless you count the illness stuff and I really don’t want to.  Or you count the recovery from illness, which is a bit better to focus on, I guess.  Other than that there has just been a lot of sleeping, watching TV and reading, which I guess does fall into that recovery category.  Internally, however, things are beginning to shift again.  I am feeling the need to get out of the house, not for purely social reasons, although those are important enough, but also for observational reasons.  I need to be observing life–people, places and things–so that I can write.  And I am writing again, oh, I guess that is an external change.  It feels so internal to me that I don’t notice when words actually leave my head and get put on paper…well, on the computer screen.  It is especially nice when they STAY on the screen after I put them there.  Yes, I “lost” two hours of writing the other day, just gone to great abyss of…wherever that shit goes when it goes somewhere!  The important fact here is that it is gone…bye-bye…see ya (NOT).  That was the bad news.  The other bad news is that I can’t just rewrite it, those words came once, not sure they will come again, although I will try.  The good news, I spent yesterday setting up a new writing system (another external change)! So hopefully that won’t happen ever again.  I hope.  At least not this week.  Or this month.  Or this year.

So, I am excited about today because I get to spend it writing.  I really hope the words come.  If not it doesn’t matter.  I have a new mantra…Keep My Butt In The Chair! I say it to myself a lot now.  It is the only way that I am ever going to finish anything! It is the only way that anyone ever finishes anything.  I know I don’t have a lot of stamina and I can’t stay in that chair for long, but I have to give it a try.  You know, one hour of writing, two hours of napping, one hour of writing, two hours of napping, etc.  That is about how life goes, no matter what I try to do.  And somewhere I will slip in my “observation” time.  It will happen.  I just have to keep my motivation and my dream in front of me.  And the other negative crap, self-defeating thoughts, in that great abyss of…

I am also finding that the balance is hard.  The amount of time “required” being alone so that I can gather my thoughts so I am able put words together into a story, along with not being so isolated that I forget how to interact with people.  It becomes easier and easier to become reclusive.  I do miss laughing though!  I find I don’t laugh anymore.  I haven’t for a long time.  And I miss it more and more.  I realize now, that even when I find something funny, I have a hard time laughing at it.  I wonder, is laughing a skill that one learns and forgets?  Or is laughing something that, with enough pain, too difficult to bring back?  Either way, I want it back!  I love to laugh…or at least I used to!  I used humor at work all the time, I was known for it and it worked! I do not know how to get it back, but I do know I am going to work at it.

It seems I’ve made a list for myself:  Keep my butt in the chair; Make observation time; Keep my dream in front of me; Find the balance; Re-learn how to laugh again.

Okay, I’m exhausted just looking at the list!   Is it nap time, yet?

Monday Morning Musings

I haven’t been able to “write” here lately because of my clumsy, accident-prone self.  I didn’t quite make that four-inch step coming into my garage, so the door trapped my foot, took off my shoe and decided I should take a nice hard fall to the concrete floor…with both hands full, of course.  I was having such a fun time, too!

My three kids watching a video!

My three kids watching a video!

My three fur-babies very generously graced me with flowers and potting soil for Mother’s Day, so I was planting them in hanging baskets and planters, so I could display them for the summer.  I was just finishing up, when I took the nose dive into the concrete floor.  I guessing it was a good thing I was almost done! Of course, the plant I was carrying at the time did not fare so well…although while I was laying on the concrete, I did put the soil and the plant back into the now-cracked pot.  I figured I couldn’t get up right away, so I might as well do something useful!  I also assessed my “body” for any damage while I layer there.  It seemed my knee took the brunt of the fall, as I couldn’t use my hands to help.  At least it was the same knee that has already had four surgeries, I thought as I laid there.  As I slowly got up, I realized I was correct, the knee hurt A LOT!  But I looked outside an all the plants I had loving re-potted were sitting in the hot sun and had not been watered yet.  Yep, I watered them, hung them in the shade and cleaned up my mess THEN, I headed for the shower and the ice pack.  It was in the shower that I discovered that my right hand got messed up too.  Hence, I could not write or type!  It is still sore and hurts after use, however I wanted to write, so here it is. It has been over a week now and while I am feeling better, I know that it is not healed.  I did get x-rays and nothing is broken, Yay!  Of course, they say soft tissue damage, which could be worse than a break, but not in my house!

Of course the stress of all of this has made the Psoriatic Arthritis, Psoriasis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis act up like crazy, which helps nothing.  However, I am blessed to have great nephews who help me out with my yard work and other stuff.  And I have friends who will bring me lunch or cook dinner when I can’t, which is also a blessing!  I hope they all realize how grateful I am to and for them.  I have struggled with relationships since moving home, and I am now at a place where I am learning to just accept everyone where they are.  While this is not always easy, and I am always learning, I am getting better at it.  I am absolutely positive that it has not always been easy for everyone to accept me either!

I realized that writing here is a great stress reducer!  I have found that the ‘sphere is a loving and supportive place.  Bloggers, at least the ones that I have met, are accepting and helping.  I know that I am very new at blogging, and I have not met a lot of people, but my life has never been about quantity; it has always been about quality.  And in that way, I have also been blessed and I have much gratitude for the people in my life I trust.  I digress, again!

Writing is a passion.  It is something that if not done, will fester inside until it becomes so painful that when touched, it just explodes.  I find that this is how it is with me.  I have developed a need to write.  Before it was a desire, a want, a something I’d like to do; but now it is something much , much larger.  It is a passion, a driving force.  I find that on days that I am pulled away from my writing, I am becoming resentful.  Not that I don’t want to do the things that are pulling me away, just that I want to write, too!  It is all about balance.  And if I didn’t wear out easily, become so tired and go into the brain fog that comes with these auto-immune dis-eases, I could balance these things much more easily.

I have a passion, I am blessed.  And I am grateful.

I have a goal, I am blessed.  And I am grateful.

I have the tools, I am blessed. And I am grateful.

I have loving support, I am blessed.  And I am grateful.

I have the ability, I am blessed. And I am grateful.

Now to get on with it…

Changing Focus

I did not write last week, which means it was the first week that I did not make my goal.

Yesterday, I found out I have another infection, which is common with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis, even if this one is a bit more serious.

The curious thing about both of these things:  neither of them has caused me to want quit.  That would be my usual response.  If I set a goal for myself and I do not meet it, I immediately see it as failure and I move on to the next thing.  Hence, blogging would be history for me at this point.  Yet, here I am wanting to create another post.  And the health thing would have caused me to curl up in a ball and start my own, private pity party.  Not today though. Interesting. Even to me.

When I woke up this morning, I had to do my usual, “what day of the week is this,” routine.  It’s hard to keep track sometimes.  Then, instead of thinking,”what am I going to do today,” my thoughts ran to; “gosh, I’ve got to get some things done today!”  There is always a list, no matter how “quiet” you think your life is, there is always a list.  Maybe if I didn’t have a house, or if I didn’t have dogs, or I didn’t have… put in anything you’d like, but then I’d have to add, maybe if I wasn’t alive!

I recently read Anna Quindlen’s book “A Short Guide to a Happy Life.”  It actually started as a commencement address she was to give at Villanova University (they canceled it because of protests).  As of my first reading of the book, I think these things change as we reread things, the premise was: In order to have happiness you had to have a life! Seems like a pretty straightforward idea, until I thought about it and realized that a lot of my depression centered around my not having a life.  Oh, I live.  And considering everything, I live in a blessed way.  But to have a life, one must live differently.

There will always be limitations that I will have to deal with,  just as everyone does.  Financial, physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, the list could go on and on.  Everyone has them.  I am no different from anyone else.  I just have to decide that I can have a life even though I can’t do all the things I might want to do.  I have to find those things that I can do, to make a life; to find my happiness.  No one can help me be happy, nor can anyone help me to make a life (although there have been a few who have helped me to live recently).  I have to own my life and my happiness; I have to take responsibility for it.  I have to stop looking back and wondering “why,” and start looking forward and thinking “WOW!”  I have to realign my lens, so that I can focus more clearly on what is in front of me and around me now. I have never seen a picture dated today but taken of something that happened in the past. Pictures of the past are always faded with time.

Will a change in focus be easy? Probably not all the time, but I am going to give it a valiant try!  I have learned in the past few weeks that focusing on what you want, does not make it happen; focusing on what you have, tends to bring it closer to you.  Lamenting what you have lost only brings more pain; while recognizing all the beauty that is around you, brings more joy.

I am back on track with my goal of writing a blog once a week and I will not quit just because I missed a week.  After all, I have pretty nasty infection that was not being treated until yesterday, I think I can cut myself some slack on that one.  Another thing I never did before! Hmmm……. And the infection will heal and I will go back to dealing with the Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis again, without the infection.  It will be okay.

Most importantly I will follow “A Short Guide to a Happy Life” and go out and find one, just as soon as this infection clears up and I can.  And then I will be able to say “WOW!”

April Writing

April Fool’s Day.  I am going to challenge myself this month.  I have “signed up” for the NaNoWriMo April Writer’s Camp.  I didn’t know about it until a couple of weeks ago, but I decided to give it a try.  It is a motivational “camp” where you join eleven other “campers” in a “cabin” and together you motivate each other to meet your writing goal for the month.  My writing goal: 50,000 words.  Yep, that is not a typo, 50,000!  That breaks down to 1,667 words per day! I wish there were 31 days this month! Not that the one day would make all that much difference, 55 fewer words per day, but maybe I could miss a day? Already looking for a way to procrastinate, and I have never procrastinated before!

There are only a few people in my life that know about my life-long dream of writing a book and having it publish and having it sell!  I’ve revised that dream to a realistic goal of writing the book.  If it gets published, which I can now do myself it no one else does, that is a plus.  Of course, the writing is the first step.  There are more people in my life who know that I am a perfectionist.  Writing a book and being a perfectionist are two things that do not mesh well, I am finding.  At least not when I am writing the first draft of my first book!  I am trying to follow the advice of the saying I have hanging above my computer by Iain Banks: ” Writing is like everything else: the more you do it the better you get. Don’t try to perfect as you go along, just get to the end of the damn thing. If you try to polish every sentence there’s a chance you’ll never get past the first chapter.”  

So, I will be writing, not polishing, not perfecting, not proofing; just writing.  This will be hard for me, as it is totally against my natural tendencies.  But isn’t that what writing, like life, is all about:  stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zone, stepping outside the box, trying new things, etc. I haven’t done much of that either, at least not recently.  I’ve been too complacent with staying inside my safe, little cocoon where I know what will happen.  Part of that is because of my health and part is because of finances and those concerns remain, however, there are ways to step out a little and writing is one of them.  That is why I started this blog, to step out a little, to try my hand at writing and see if I received any positive feedback.  I have and it has felt good.  This is NOT a plea for positive feedback now…I wouldn’t feel it was genuine if I received a plethora of positive responses! I am grateful for all that I have received and will receive (hopeful thinking)!

And my writing journey continues, albeit a bit scarier and more intense…