It’s been so long since the pandemic started raging through countries and cities. It’s spilled into every corner of the globe with no end in sight. And here I am, where I’ve always been. Except this is different. I’m not the only one in isolation. I’m not the only one that feels stuck with no hope of escape. I’m not okay. You’re probably not, either. And that is okay.
It’s okay to feel lonely. It’s okay to feel sad. Or scared. Or anything else. It’s okay to feel. Twice today, I was reminded of this fact. Despite my social distancing online — which again, I apologize for, people are still taking time to reach out and tell me how much my words have helped them. Different ways of helping, but helping nonetheless. I’d almost forgotten what something like that feels like, and I realized that we all probably need it, in some form or other, as well.
So, if you’re reading this and something has been on your mind, or you’ve thought about something someone is doing that you appreciate, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell them. Tell them how they’ve impacted your life. Even if it was only for a few seconds. Even if it feels inconsequential, it should be shared.
I, for one, cannot thank each and every one of you enough for being here despite my silence. Knowing you’re there waiting for me gives me hope to keep fighting through whatever this is I’ve been experiencing in different degrees of severity for nearly a year.
“Here’s the thing: I’m not okay.
I haven’t been for some time.”
Here’s the thing: I’m not okay. I haven’t been for some time. And it seems that it’s only been getting worse as the days go by. I am at a loss for what I should do. Let me restate that. I know what I should be doing, but I cannot seem to force myself to do it. Instead, I’m seeking reprieve from life in something I never thought I’d enjoy instead of writing out my thoughts and really doing the thing that has always helped me — write. Yet here I am. Not writing. Well, I’m writing this little update, it’s been years since I’ve written fiction with any substantial amount of time. And I honestly don’t know if or when I’ll be able to snap out of this funk and just do it.
So that’s where I am. Don’t give up on me yet. I haven’t admitted defeat.
At the start of 2010, I wasn’t sure what my future would look like. I didn’t even know at the time if I would become a mother, let alone anything else. But that December, my dream came true. And while this past decade brought its share of triumphs, joys, and pains, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.
After the birth of my son, memories slowly started to surface. Memories I, at first, had no idea ever happened. Those memories broke me, in many ways. But then came the blood clots. The migraines. The horrendous anxiety. That caused those memories to come faster. And each one was worse than the last.
Eventually, it came to the point that I needed help. And part of that came in the form of writing. Well, a big part actually. It is the best way for me to get out of my head and be someone else. In 2014, I wrote my first novel, something I’d never completed before. The following year brought my first published books. It was cathartic. It was encouraging. It was fabulous ammunition against my demons.
But then my health worsened. The migraines became far too frequent. They were debilitating in every way. I spent the last couple years of this decade in the dark and in incredible pain. I tried for as long as I could to just keep writing. All along, I held on to hope and tried to find my way back to my books.
In an ideal scenario, I would have written at least one more book this year, if not more. But that didn’t happen. It wasn’t all for naught though. I managed to re-edit my first book. I redesigned my book covers. I even went as far as completing the plot of the next installment of my series. Maybe, just maybe, the start of this decade will prove to be the light at the end of this proverbial tunnel for me.
But that might be hoping for too much. This year, I’m going to work on being healthier by making smarter choices with my foods and exercise. I will continue to work on my personal life, most especially my family. Rather than hoping for a completed novel, I hope to take baby steps toward its completion. I’d like to continue that editing project, too. Most of all, I want to focus on being me. Living my life as best as I can.
I think I managed to find what helps me the most, therapeutically, this past decade. I don’t need to keep repeating it to prove anything. I just need to do what makes me feel better. That’s the best I can hope for.
I think it’s safe to say I’ve been putting this off for far too long. By this, I mean everything. This is where you come in. My life is out of sorts and I cannot seem to find my way back. Around and around I go. The answers are clear and I know the path I must take, but I keep stalling out. The why is not something I can name. But I do know some of the obvious.
This writer’s block has lasted longer than I ever thought possible. I’ve been neglecting projects I promised to fulfill. My books, my beloved characters, and the world I created have gone untouched for longer than I’d like to admit, for a variety of reasons that have changed over time. And I’m just … tired.
Where am I going with this, you might ask? I have no idea, to be honest. I don’t have any good answers. Maybe I just need time to lay everything out and decide what really matters, and ultimately let other things go. Maybe I just need a swift kick in the right direction. Not literally. Some motivation, might be a better description of what I need.
Perhaps, let’s try this. If you’ve been around for any period of time, you know what really lights me up and gets me animated. The thing that pushes me on. And if you’re aware of that, odds are you’re aware of what dulls me. The thing that’s really not worth my time, but somewhere along the way, I managed to convince myself it was. Can you pinpoint what’s holding me back?
“My darling, to say that I miss you
would be an understatement.”
To say that I miss you
would be an understatement.
To say that I’m tired
would be sugar coating
the amount of exhaustion I feel.
To say that I’m struggling
and feel like everything
is falling out of control is like
saying a tornado is just a stiff breeze.
I’m doing everything I can to live up to the high expectations I set for myself and I’m feeling as though I’m drowning in it. I’ll pull through, though. But it’s time to say that I’m only one person and I just can’t keep up.
For the sake of telling the story that needs told. For the sake of my characters, I will go on. But I’ll need one more cup of coffee. One more push. One more encouraging cheer from a friend. But, ultimately, I need to allow myself to breathe a little.
Not too much. Because the demons will take over if I let them. I have so many books I want to read, so many I need to write. It’s time that I learned how to pace myself. After so much pain, I deserve to give myself a break.
It was only a dream, but I still knew the soul behind your eyes wasn’t yours. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you watched me with a predator’s eyes. I was enthralled and terrified at the same time, not knowing what to expect. Not knowing if you were truly there every now and again when I saw how the sunlight made your blue eyes even more striking. And though he didn’t hurt me while living under your skin — this time — nothing was stopping him. Not even me. Isn’t it strange? Even in my dreams I’m frozen into submission, waiting for what was to come.
“I’m struggling. To stay balanced. Present.
All I can do is remind myself
that tomorrow is another day.”
So here’s the thing. I’ve been falling behind. I’ve been inundated with scattered thoughts. Illnesses. And life throws hurdles at me from every direction. It’s come to the point that I’m struggling just to keep my feet on the ground. Just to stay balanced. Present. And not worry about all these things I could do two years ago that seem impossible now. All I can do is remind myself that tomorrow is another day. And it will give me a chance to push away all the dust and rubble that surrounds me. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to get some semblance of my life back to the way it was. When the words flowed out of me like water from a faucet. When the stories that needed to be told could be put to paper in a matter of days, rather than sitting in my head for years, waiting for the right time. Perhaps that “right” moment will never come, and I’ll have to carve another path for myself. I have to. Because when I’m able to write, I’m able to get out of my head and become my words. Become a part of the story. I become silence. And that is when I’m finally able to breathe.
“I made a home in this darkness.
But home is not a prison.
I am worthy. To be me.”
This life of mine has never been an easy one. That’s no secret. But I’m alive. And that counts for something, right? I may have made a home in this darkness. But home is not synonymous with prison. Home is not a place where I can’t be loved just as I am. Home is not a place where I cannot be happy in my own skin. Because these scars are proof of my resilience. To keep pushing forward. To keep fighting. And I no longer bear them with shame. That weight is no longer mine to bear. It was never supposed to be mine. Home is a place where I broke through every barrier that was erected against me. And you know what? I might be bruised, but I’m fucking brave. I’ve broken through barriers. I’ve overcome. I’ve risen. I’ve proven that I am worthy of love and happiness. I have proven that I am worthy. To be me. To become so much more. Just as I am. And I’m going to keep going without apologies.
I make no apologies for who I am. Because this is me. Scars and all.
The last few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time pondering the rest of this year and what it might entail, as well as setting some goals for 2019. You see, I’ve realized that it’s far more important for me to be who I want to be, rather than whoever or whatever I might have been. This year brought a great many wonderful things my way and I couldn’t possibly count them all without forgetting some.
One of the most important reasons I set out to share my writing is to help people going through hell (or recently freed from) their own hell. No one deserves to feel alone. We Will Not Be Silenced was an anthology and a cause I am passionate about. Because I am a survivor.
I’m not sure what roadblocks 2019 has in store for me, but I know I’m not going to let anyone hold me back from being me, as I did a few times this year. I’m going to do my best to be a better friend, a better writer, a better mother, a better wife, and a better person. Like I’ve always been.
But I won’t hold back any longer. I won’t let the actions of anyone in my past that has hurt me, used me (or anyone I love) dictate how I move forward. With luck, I’m going to be me, only this time, without chains. Without dragging any dead weight behind me. I’m going to continue with my ethos and try to help more people, as well as myself, along the way.
I’ll do my best to be a better person going forward.
“Before you point that accusatory finger
in my direction, remember this:
I never asked for it.”
The sun is setting and I feel the cold seeping into my bones. I feel the life bleeding out of my feet, leeching into the ground. And I stand here, breathing smoke into the sky. Because that’s all I have left to give — pieces of my broken spirit. And that’s all that remains after the vultures picked me apart. So before you point that accusatory finger in my direction, remember this: I never asked for it. I never gave the wrong signals. I didn’t deserve all you forced upon me.
And how could I have known better? I was barely old enough to walk, let alone understand what vile things you wanted from me. If you wouldn’t blame a child, then why blame the teenager for going to a party? Why blame the woman that was followed home from work? It’s time everyone takes a hard look at the patterns. Those men saw something they wanted, and they took it. With complete disregard for their victim. And I suppose that’s part of the point. They have the power. They need it. So they take it wherever they can get it.
So, if you are a victim, and you’ve ever felt that finger pointing in your direction, know that no matter what anyone tells you — You. Are. Not. To. Blame.
I am sharing this again today, not because I feel the need to repost it, but because I feel it’s necessary to reiterate to the world that there is, in fact, a culture. It exists and there is a reason that women (for the majority) do not come forward until sometimes decades later, if at all. Society immediately rejects them.
She shouldn’t have been at that party.
She shouldn’t have been wearing those clothes.
She shouldn’t have given him eyes…. Where’s the evidence to prove this happened? Why didn’t she come forward immediately?
… and the list goes on.
So, this is for all the survivors out there — both the ones that have used their voices (and especially for Dr. Ford, for having the bravery to speak out in a public, televised inquiry, despite having been harassed and given multiple death threats by even considering doing so) and those that have survived in silence — know that it was not your fault. My thoughts are always with the people that have suffered at the hands of monsters and I hope that at the very least, someone will find comfort with these words. Just knowing that you aren’t alone might be enough.
I also want to state that I am not claiming that Kavanaugh is guilty, because I believe in the “innocent until proven guilty” principles this country is based upon. However, this does not mean that I believe that Dr. Ford is not telling her truth. Something happened to her, and I believe her. After thirty-some years, you wouldn’t remember something in such vivid detail if it wasn’t a major event in your life. I know this from experience. There are many things I wish I could erase from my mind, but alas, they are burned there like a brand and they will never go away as long as I live. These are not the accounts and emotional responses of a person that is fabricating a story.