Thursday, July 26, 2012

What a crazy month!

I've been sitting here for a month trying to get out of the muck and write something funny. Much to my disappointment, however, I'm struggling. So, instead of being absent, I figured I'd just be me - exactly where I'm at right now at this stage of the game.

Sorry it's not more humorous, but for now, this'll have to do.

1) Summer break is almost over for the kids. Since both kids have had jobs all summer, I haven't seen them as often as I'd like, nor have they been gone as much as I've needed a break. Midget did leave her job today, though, so the next four weeks before school starts should be much quieter. I think she's talking about going to visit her dad, but she's wanting to do some things together in the meantime. I told her to figure it out and we'd do it. Big Man has interviewed for a second job (he's got his eyes on a truck, I think) and I've pretty much accepted he's too busy to get our usual two-week visit in. I miss him, but I admire his tenacity.

2) The book I wrote in 2010, Distance and Time has finally drummed up some interest. I pitched the idea to an agent earlier this month and after much nail-biting, I finally received a response. She said there's some good potential and gave me almost two pages of notes of things I did well and things that need work. This is the first professional critique I've been given, so needless to say, I'm encouraged. In talking with an author friend of mine, she said she, too, would feel this is a good sign. Typically agents don't take the time to critique something they don't want to work with. I won't count chickens, of course, but it's good to see all my writing has not been in vain.

3) Speaking of work, there have been some not-so-great adjustments around the house as I've turned this writing thing into a "job." I shouldn't use quotation marks because for all intents and purposes, writing is a real job, however, convincing my family of that has been another story. Now that an agent has taken interest, I've become even more focused on editing and writing than I was before, which has been good and bad. Good because my family can see the time and energy I'm putting into my work. Bad because my family can see the time and energy I'm putting into my work, which consequently means less time and energy I'm spending taking care of them. That's not to say, of course, that they're being neglected - trust me, with the miles I've put on the car in the last month playing taxi and the money I've spent at the grocery store, nobody's being neglected around here. It just means that time I used to spend watching movies with them or even the chores they didn't feel like doing isn't being spent doing those things anymore. I'm told there are adjustment periods with everything, but this one has sucked. I go through the struggle of feeling selfish about this, but then I counter it with the knowledge that I have to be selfish about my time spent "at work" if I want to be successful. Hubs has come around to understand the importance of balance and I'm sure the kids will too, but in the meantime, there's a lot of grumbling and arguing at my house.

4) To help me figure out how to balance my responsibilities a little better, I started seeing a therapist. I wasn't going to divulge that fact because there's so much stigma attached to it, but I guess if I want less stigma, I have to stop treating it like it's a secret. I don't expect some miraculous break-throughs that will define who I am or what I should do with my life - I pretty much already know the answers to those questions - it just means that I can bounce my thoughts off a neutral third party who can help by giving me the insight I need sometimes. So far, so good.

5) As a result of my therapy, I've determined...well, not really determined as much as re-determined (I've said it a hundred times before) that I can't have negative influences around me. I've got a terrible habit of soaking up that negativity like a sponge. And like with most wet sponges, it starts to reek after a while. This sponge had been smelling pretty rotten for quite a while, to the point that I couldn't even stand being around myself. I've been bitchy, catty, sharp-tongued and downright mean for quite a while and I realized that a lot of that was due to what I was surrounding myself with. I've been quietly pulling away from people who questioned my motives, decisions and beliefs. I've always prided myself on the fact that I'm there for those I care about and that part of me won't ever change. But what I won't do any longer is be there for those I care about who can't or won't be there for me. So I've cut some ties there. It wasn't pleasant and I'm sure there are people who have some pretty ripe things to say about me. That's their issue. Not mine. I'm doing what I have to do. I've also learned that it's okay to say "No," when somebody asks if I'm okay. And I've started doing that. It's not as easy as it looks. I'm also learning that when I close a door to a negative influence that I have to stop opening it back up the second someone knocks. Closure isn't my strong suit, but it needs to be.

6) Physically, I'm feeling great. Tired a lot, still, but I think that's as much of an emotional thing as a physical one. I'm starting to do yoga at home to improve my flexibility and help my body get back to where I was in 2009 when I lost so much weight (so I can do it again). I felt better then and I want to get back to that place. But, since I'm a stress eater and I can't seem to give up the Coke, that will be a slow process until my priorities shift a little. Doesn't mean I won't get there. Just means I can't do it all right this second. That's something I'm also working on: giving up my intense need to have everything I want the second I want it. This should've been a no-brainer and it probably has been, but this is the first time I've really put it into words.

7) I stepped out of my comfort zone and began posting a fan fiction story online that I began writing a while back. It's not Pulitzer prize winning material, but it's been fun and my readers seem to be enjoying it, so I'm happy with my choice. It's not for everybody, but it's something I've enjoyed doing so I figured I'd share it. If you haven't read it yet and would like to, please let me know and I will add you to the subscription list. I post a new chapter every few days (although that may slow with the current pull I have on "Distance and Time," but I am still working on both stories.

I'm stretching my wings each day, flapping them a bit harder as I go. I will eventually soar with the rest of the eagles, but right now I'm comfortable with these baby steps.

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