Random Thoughts

Life

Hello loves. I am here to bring you a quick, albeit grim report. My activity here has dropped the past two days because my mother is in the hospital with heart failure.

I don’t yet know the extent of the damage or the prognosis. But I will try to keep everyone updated and try to keep up with posts as I’m able.

Please keep us in your thoughts and please don’t think I’m disappearing.

Sarah Doughty

Advertisements
PTSD and Awareness, Updates

Blood Into Ink: Your Writing Wanted

The incredible people at Blood Into Ink are looking for guest writers to submit pieces that coincide with the backbone of their collective effort: surviving and overcoming all forms of abuse or neglect. It is a safe space to share stories, connect with other survivors, and be a part of a community that understands what it means to survive. I’m honored to participate in this collaborative. If you’re interested in learning more, click here.

Poetry, Random Thoughts

Running Low

“My well of hope is running low.
There’s only a few drops left and
they’re evaporating at an alarming rate.”

I’m sorry that I’m not perfect. I’m sorry that what I’ve done has come up short. I’m sorry for always being sorry. As much as I try to be a good friend, a good wife, or a good mother, somewhere along the way, I mess up. And I fear that no matter what I do, or want to do, nothing will be enough. But that’s the way of the world. At least, it’s my world. And today, my well of hope is running low. There’s only a few drops left and they’re evaporating at an alarming rate.

In grade school, I was the one parents forced their kids to accept. And while I was tolerated for a little while, I could always hear the snickering behind me. I could hear the irritation in their voices when they finally told me I was no longer worthy of being a friend of pity. That I was the one hated — the one they bullied and said it was only a joke.

High school wasn’t much different. I was the one with access to a car so I could be one they called when they wanted to see someone else. I was the smart one. Tolerable just long enough to cheat off my tests or to copy my homework. I was the one too miserable to make any profound effort — because nothing was ever good enough — what my abuser told me at home every night was reinforced each and every day at school by people. My friends. My enemies. My bullies.

Over the years, not much has changed. I’ve found a few real friends. They are few and far between. And, though I do my best, it’s never enough.

© Sarah Doughty

No, I’m not okay. But I will be.
Random Thoughts

The Dreaded Block

“The words may be on a break. But they’ll
be back. They always come back.”
Returning

I’m often asked about writer’s block. What to do? How to overcome it? How long will it last? These are all good questions, but they only really need one answer. Keep writing. Every day.

You may feel uninspired, like nothing you put on paper or type on the screen holds any value, but odds are, there is something there. Don’t delete them or throw them away. And the worst thing you can do is to put the pen away and do nothing.

There’s millions of things you can try to wake up your muse, but even if your mind comes up blank, you should write something. Even if it’s only a journal of what happened during your day.

My first fiction novel, Just Breathe, was based on a dream. Back then, I tended to forget my dreams and move on, but I was fortunate enough to journal the next day, and my mind kept going back to that scene. My focus shifted, and the story began to unfold. So, lovelies, don’t ignore your muse when it stirs, you might miss something incredible.

© Sarah Doughty

In the comments, let me know what you do to overcome creative blocks.

Random Thoughts, Updates

This Current State Of Being

Hello lovelies, I thought it was about time to check in again. As you’re probably aware, I’ve been suffering from various illnesses for the majority of this year, and as far as I can tell, this is only going to continue.

While the horrendously long migraine ended, I’m still plagued several times a week by them. So, I suppose one positive is that not every day is bad in that regard.

Once I kicked the Springtime cold from hell, the next round of issues popped up. A few months of physical therapy to fix my back thanks to a sagging mattress and a couch that was well beyond its life expectancy was just the tip of the iceberg. Apparently, my thyroid isn’t performing correctly, which several specialists are optimistic that resolving this issue would improve the frequency and severity of my migraines, as well as help with other health-related issues, I don’t share their happy perspectives.

These migraines have been around for some time, and I was still able, most days, to do some of my therapeutic activities. But now, there’s more than just my C-PTSD and migraines to nag me. My concentration is worse, and my physical energy levels have been declining.

You’d think a simple pill to fix my thyroid would do the trick, but unfortunately, I’m one of the unlucky few to have the opposite reaction. Rather than helping that little gland perform, those meds hit the off switch. Let me tell you, getting out of bed just to go to the bathroom made me want to cry. And this went on for over a month while my doctor tinkered with the dosage to see if I would improve.

So now, I’m waiting in limbo to see a specialist for that, while I continue to feel like half of my functionality has been taken from me. I remain hopeful that this will be light at the end of the tunnel, but I’m not holding my breath. A worsened depression can be thanked for this current mindset. But could you blame me for feeling a little extra down?

This, of course brings us to now. As you’ve probably noticed. My Thirteen Reasons Why series was never completed, my next novel and poetry book were never finished, and my newsletters have gone unsent. In the rare days I’m feeling productive (using the term very loosely), I have been able to mock up new book cover designs for my fiction, which I hope to begin unveiling once I finish this novel that’s been collecting dust for months. But I have no idea when that might be.

My ability to keep up with blog posts has significantly diminished, as have my responses to comments. I really need to make more of an effort to keep up with those, at the very least. And I do thank each and every one of you that continue to leave comments, despite my silence.

I miss the way things were, and I cannot stress enough how much I want to get back to that. As always, thank you for letting me vent a little, and know that I’m doing my very best to get back to where I was before, at the very least.

© Sarah Doughty

Updates

Never Yours

Special thanks to Sudden Denouement for sharing my words. I’m honored that they have a place to call home.

“I was never yours to do with as you pleased.”

[Trigger warning: the following may be too much for victims of sexual abuse or assault. Continue with caution.]

My mouth wasn’t yours to silence. It wasn’t yours to fill with words that were not my own. It wasn’t yours to taste, or to swallow what you gave me. My mind wasn’t meant to be manipulated. To be broken. My emotions didn’t exist for you to dictate. How I should love you. Worship you with blind devotion. Or how I needed to fear you…

Read the rest here: Never Yours – Sarah Doughty

Random Thoughts

Discussion of “IT”

*Minor spoikers ahead. Proceed with caution.**
The thoughts expressed here are mine.

This was written in response to the discussion posted by Tyson Adams.

I was a fan of the Goosebumps books when I was six. So naturally I thought I was perfectly capable of handling the “It” miniseries when it was released. To say I was terrified was an understatement. But I was hooked. I dropped those Goosebumps like a bad habit and started reading Stephen King.

It, the book, was quite engrossing, but not so much scary. I liked the way the news reports were presented, and even the narrative of Pennywise gave us a new way of seeing him. But the chemistry with the Loser’s Club was really the core of it. Of course, there was that strange scene near the end of the kid’s journey that unified them and allowed them to become adults all in one go. Let’s just say, King’s voice of how was quite the odd method of achieving that goal. But otherwise, I rather enjoyed the story.

I’ve seen the miniseries from time to time over the years and remember those frights with fond appreciation. But I waited to watch “It” again in favor of having a somewhat cleansed palette. The theatrical version was so far beyond what I’d hoped for, that I saw it again a second time this past weekend. (Trust me, having C-PTSD and carefully planning an excursion into a dark theater full of people wasn’t easy.) The new Pennywise isn’t like Tim Curry’s portrayal, where he was apt to start cracking jokes, playing on actual clown humor around the few “scary” moments where he appeared as period-specific monsters.

Bill Skarsgard’s version is childlike in nature, but he has a deep hatred for kids. You can tell from the first, and notably more infamous “Georgie” scene. The way he terrifies his victims before attacking them is almost like marinating his food just the way he likes, and when the kids are good and terrified, he’s ready to save them for hibernation time. And he does this in various forms, depending on the individual fears of that child. For instance, rather than seeing Pennywise as the wolfman, Ritchie is just afraid of clowns, and naturally gets stuck in a room full of them. This adds a bit of timelessness to the movie. But when It is ready to take them for good, he toys with the kids in an almost animalistic way, much like a lion might play with a gazelle before ripping out its throat. But when he does this, his movements, voice, and abilities to shift reality are erratic, sometimes disturbingly fast, and very unpredictable, which is ultimately what makes this Pennywise so terrifying.

Of course, after my second viewing of the new movie, I went back to watch to miniseries. I have to say, the miniseries doesn’t do the movie justice. I spent most of my time rolling my eyes at the horrid acting (aside from Curry’s portrayal) and wondering how I was actually that scared at all in the first place. But the eyes of a young child, see much differently than adults. I can’t imagine how kids will react to this movie. I’m certain I won’t be allowing my son to see it until he’s at least the same age as the Loser’s Club.

© Sarah Doughty

Random Thoughts

Spectrums Of Writing

This was written as part of a discussion with the lovely Mandie Hines.

I think spectrums are everywhere, involving a great many things. When I started down this path of sharing my writing, I did it with the “fake it till you make it” idea in mind.

Outside of a few random pieces in high school and university, I’d never been published professionally before. But I wanted people to know I was serious about what I was doing. Yet, my confidence was very low. Showing that vulnerability wouldn’t quite be faking it, would it?

So I kept my head high and pushed through the anxiety that came with every post. Eventually, as I worked on my first novel, and my number of followers was growing, that anxiety eased. Eventually, it stopped. Several published (albeit free e-books only) books later, I feel I can safely say that I’m a writer now.

However, my confidence level hadn’t really changed much. Sure, I can see when people are just starting out, or if English isn’t their first language, but that doesn’t mean they can’t grow and learn. And when people do approach me, often on Instagram DM, they ask for advice or help because they see me as an authority figure. Or that I’m famous. A household name. But I’m no Stephen King. Even he, a repeating member of the #1 New York Times Bestseller club, says he’s the “literary equivalent of a cheeseburger and fries.” If that’s true, I’m the moldy cheese underneath a toddler’s carseat in a minivan.

I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, and I certainly don’t put myself in the category of being pretentious. There are several writers on Instagram that share parody pieces that is not only meant to insult readers, but the writers with a similar style. I cannot stand it when people do this, and I’ve spoken out against it before a few times. Art is subjective and not everyone is going to love a writer’s work. The same goes for Stephen King. Or J.K. Rowling. I see no reason why I should think I’ve hit some arbitrary milestone that makes me better than anyone else.

© Sarah Doughty

Random Thoughts

Couple Things

Hello lovelies!

I’m here to make a brief announcement, or divulge a bit of news, if you will. Well, perhaps more than one.

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you for you unwavering support. I’m honored to know that you are here.

Ever since the end of March, I’ve had a migraine. Yes, you read that right. A little over two months later, I still can’t kick it. I may have some days where I’m semi-functional, but for the most part, I’m in pain. Lots and lots of pain.

Because of this, I’m not commenting as much as I should (please forgive me for that), I’ve completely missed my next novel deadline and have resigned myself to letting it remain that way until I can safely say, all is well. My next poetry book is also moving along much slower than anticipated. And finally, I feel more and more with each passing day, how much my lack of participation is weighing on me.

I thrive on writing. It helps keep me centered and somewhat in control of my uncontrollable complex PTSD. And these past few weeks have been especially hard on me. I miss it. So much. And I hope to come back to it sooner rather than later.

Though I have managed to keep writing poetry, I’ve only barely been keeping up. And I’m now bleeding my Mental Awareness Month discussions about Thirteen Reasons Why into June, and possibly, at this rate, into July. If you’re still reading them, thank you for your patience as I try to get them written with some semblance of logic.

I have a couple days before I have to prepare the next newsletter, and I’m already dreading it. Not necessarily because of my head, but partially. With this migraine (and terrible cold/bronchitis/asthma fiasco) I’ve been to the ER several times and have had multiple appointments with several different doctors and other officials that could offer me some relief. I’m simply not sure if I’ll complete that newsletter on time. But, alas, I’m still trying my best.

Lastly, I wanted to note that the WordPress reader is acting up, and I believe it has been for a few weeks now. Rather than telling me that more posts from blogs that I follow can be loaded, it’s just continuing on as if I haven’t missed a thing, but I know I have. To those of you I’ve missed, I sincerely apologize. Please let me know if there was something important that I didn’t see, and I’ll catch up as fast as I can. Same goes for comments left fore. I know I’m not as quick to respond as usual, and I apologize for that.

There you go, I think that about covers it.

Take  care everyone, and I hope to be up to full speed soon.

© Sarah Doughty

PTSD and Awareness

Thirteen Reasons Why Discussion #4

**Trigger Warning — This post covers a broad spectrum of potentially triggering topics, such as abuse, bullying, sexual assault, and suicide. Please read with caution. If you need to find help for any reason, go to 13ReasonsWhy.info.**

What Was Done Right: Part One

**Spoilers Ahead — proceed with caution.**

I’m back with another discussion post about the controversial TV show, Thirteen Reasons Why. If you haven’t already, feel free to read the introduction, The Problems: Parts OneTwo, and Three.

From the moment the show begins, up until that last moment before the final credits roll in episode thirteen, the writers and showrunners did many things right. These things, probably more than the problems combined, are what has stirred up so much controversy and conversation.

Many of these details are things you probably didn’t notice or fully understand unless you’ve watched this show from start to finish more than once or you’ve experienced something similar. And like any good story, very little was left to chance in the final editing and production.

What really sets this show apart from most others was that there was so much more going on under the surface. Things like symbolism, hints and clues, even in the most heartbreaking of moments: the accuracy.

Today, I’m talking about the little details.

To save you the trouble, I’m going to break them down for you. If you have watched this show and choose to revisit it to recognize these for yourself, you’ll at least know where to look.

The first, and arguably the biggest of these was the differentiation between the “current” and the “past” — more specifically, when Hannah Baker was still alive. While watching, you may not have noticed the underlying theme in these time shifts. You see, it wasn’t just an indication of time. It’s a subtle reminder, but of what?

Think about it. Whenever Clay is listening or going about his post-Hannah reality, we see that not only are the days shorter and colder, but so are the colors. Did you notice that the leaves aren’t fiery reds, oranges, and browns, but more muted? Did you notice how everything is tinged with blue?

Compare that with the flashbacks of Hannah, narrating each moment that led her to take her life, the moments Clay remembered as she did so, do you see it?

Everything is more vivid, colors are alive, and the warmth is evident, especially when time shifts. You can visibly see the change. This wasn’t done by chance. And though it is helpful to differentiate time, it also shows people that the world is darker and colder without Hannah in it.

You may have also noticed that Jeff wasn’t present in any of the post-Hannah scenes, except when Clay was dreaming or hallucinating. My first time watching, I didn’t make the connection that Jeff was the other student who was lost, shortly before Hannah’s death, until tape number ten.

How about the significance of the songs that played throughout the show? Did you like the way they sounded, or did you actually listen to the lyrics? Take the very first song in episode one as we see Clay at his locker. “More Than Gravity” by Colin and Caroline is playing. Here’s a line you can hear, “I can’t love you, I’m too scared to.” Significant? You bet. Heartbreaking too, if you know the rest of the story already.

What about the throwback songs (or covers) to the era of the cassette tapes? Did you happen to notice that many of them committed suicide or they were significantly tied to people that did? Take Chromatics’ “Into The Black,” which was originally written by Neil Young. “It’s better to burn out than to fade away,” was quoted in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note.

How about “The Night We Met” by Lord Huron? “Haunted by the ghost of you” not only refers to Clay’s current state of mind as he listens to the tapes, but those moments they danced together.

Take some time and give the songs a listen and maybe look them up for their significance. You might be surprised at what you find.

Did you notice the entirety of Hannah’s published poem? As Clay reads the second half of the poem to Hannah in the Crestmont Theater, it’s clear that the poem takes a much darker turn. Try going back to episode eight and listening to the words.

How about the semicolon tattoo on Tony’s arm? Did you miss that? What about the glances and questions surrounding Jessica’s “encounter” the night of her party? Did you notice them?

In the next post, I’m going to delve a little deeper into what happens with Jessica, and how one incident can change a person forever. So stay tuned for that.

© Sarah Doughty