Day 135: Connections

I have made so many good friends over the last 6+ months thru SWW, ROW, and the New Year’s Revolution ReTREAT.  These are people with whom I have so much in common.  It has been a long time since I’ve had that in my life.  Aside from my very best friend, I’ve never really had many friends that had the same creative bent that I did but the ones that I did have were creative in so many different ways…dancing, writing music, playing instruments, drawing, painting…but no one was into writing.  So we could talk about creativity in general terms but not about writing specifically.  But creative people, no matter their creative discipline, understand each other.  We know what it’s like to struggle to create, what it feels like to have created something that we’re proud of, to have the excruciating feeling that we failed in our attempt, and all of the other frustrations, exaltations, and struggles.  There are many types of creativity but not all of them have to do specifically with the arts.  To be a good businessperson, you have to be creative.  To be a teacher, you have to be creative.  To be a parent, you have to be creative.  To just be alive,  you have to be creative.  But no matter how creative these people are in their lives and careers, they are usually not able to understand what I am going through when I struggle to write.  They can’t commiserate with me when a character isn’t working or I can’t repair a plot hole.  Well, they can but they won’t understand exactly what I’m feeling.  There’s just something about being able to talk to someone that has gone through the same exact thing and can offer advice. or a shoulder to cry on.  I didn’t really know what I was missing by having a whole tribe of artistically creative people.  It makes such a huge difference in my life.  And being able to share anything and everything creative with them is beyond awesome.  As I’ve said before…everyone needs a tribe.  If you don’t currently have one, reach out to others and form your own.  It is so important and so worth the effort.  I promise.  

        

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Day 134: Potential

Everyone has the potential to be whoever and whatever they desire to be.  The catch is that we have to work for it.  We can’t just sit here and dream about it and hope that it happens…we have to actively pursue it.  I know that there are a very lucky few who have their desires just happen serendipitously.  But that is extremely rare.  99.9% of us have to get up every single morning and actually make it happen.  And sometimes, unfortunately, no matter how hard we work at it, the dreams just don’t come true.  And when that happens, we blame ourselves, others, the Fates, and anyone/anything else we can think of that might have played even the tiniest role in the non-manifestation of our dream.  That’s normal but we can’t just stop there and decide that since it didn’t happen this time, for this dream that it will never happen…that we’re unworthy, untalented, not driven enough, unlucky, doomed, etc….  We have to pick ourselves up and figure out what happened.  We are only doomed if we accept that fate.  Maybe we put our trust in the wrong person or our timing was just a bit off or our approach was wrong.  And, yes, maybe we do need to do a little more editing or rewrite our synopsis so that it really will grab the right person’s attention.  We have to analyze everything…including ourselves…that brought us to this moment.  First, get rid of the “I’m a total failure” attitude.  It will not serve you well and you know this.  Look at this as a temporary setback and a wake-up call.  Second, take a hard look at your efforts to make your dream a reality.  Was it really your best effort or does it need some work?  Could you have used a different approach?  And so on.  Third, based on the answers to the questions in the second step, correct your course.  Find your own North Star that will keep you on course until you end up exactly where you want to be.  Just be aware that sometimes there will be deviations to the best-plotted course…and that isn’t a bad thing.  Maybe your dream is to have your book published by one of the big-name publishing houses but your manuscript is either rejected or ends up in the slush pile.  You begin to submit to other publishing houses that are less well known but are eager to find the next Stephen King or George R.R. Martin so they actually read your submittals and make an offer.  Or someone convinces you that e-publishing your masterpiece is the way to go so you do that.  What you don’t consider when doing either of those things, which you consider to be falling short of your actual dream,  is that you’re getting your name out there.  There are authors that began their career by e-publishing their books and were then “discovered” by a publishing house.  You can’t let circumstances stop you from moving forward.  You can’t look at every single deviation as falling short.  Sometimes you just have to allow your dream to become…something, anything.  Let it take shape without micromanaging every minute detail.  Just drift for a while and see what happens.  But don’t give up on it.  You have to do everything that you possibly can to realize your dream.  Don’t waste a perfectly good dream by just quitting.  You really do have the power to make your dream a reality.                         

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Day 133: Better Now

I actually feel much better today.  I went home yesterday evening and just crashed.  I apparently slept well…maybe even had some REM time in there…because I feel alert and somewhat rested.  I haven’t felt this way in a while.  It’s so difficult just trying to function and even think when you are completely exhausted.  Every single thing that you do is a struggle…like swimming against a strong current.  No matter how hard you try, you get absolutely nowhere.  Your brain doesn’t function the way it should.  You can’t remember things or concentrate.  Everything is foggy.  And your body just wants to shut down but you have to fight it just to get through the day.  The exhaustion I’ve been feeling is so very much like what I felt years ago when I had chronic insomnia and was lucky to sleep an hour or two a night even though I’ve been going to bed at a decent hour, seem to sleep through the night since I don’t recall waking up…even though I apparently do since I take out my oral appliance and put it in the case…and I wake up at my normal time…completely and utterly exhausted.  My poor neurologist.  Every single time he fixes one problem another one springs up.  My husband likes to joke that I definitely get my money’s worth out of my doctors and that I really make them earn every penny.  I currently have a PCP (who is also a hepatologist), neurologist, retina specialist, orthopedist, rheumatologist, and cardiovascular surgeon on the payroll and I have stumped them all at one point or another.  When you’re dealing with so many different health problems, it’s sometimes difficult to make yourself write even though you want nothing more than to sit in front of your laptop and let the words just pour out of you.  Sometimes I think about how unfair it is that this is my reality.  Then I think about people like Stephen Hawking who accomplished so much while being trapped inside his ALS ravaged body.  And Helen Keller who overcame so much and became such an inspiration to so many.  Those are just two of thousands of people who have not just overcome adversity but soared in spite of it.  So how can I feel sorry for myself and whine about not feeling like writing?  No, it’s not really fair that I have all the health issues that I do but, as it’s been pointed out so many time, life is not fair.  Even the people that seem to have it all and who don’t appear to have to struggle to achieve their dreams have their problems.  They achieve what they do in spite of them.  You’re only as incapable of achieving these things as you allow yourself to believe that you are.  I’m not saying that we don’t have to stop and practice self-care because we definitely do.  Last night I had no choice but to go home and crash but tonight, I really do have a choice since I am feeling so much better.  And if I don’t choose to use it wisely, then it’s not my physical issues that are stopping me…it’s just me.  And that’s not a good reason at all.             

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Day 132: Beyond Tired

I feel completely and utterly exhausted.  It doesn’t matter how much sleep I get, I still wake up feeling less rested than I did before I went to bed.  I’ve been through this before when I had straight up insomnia however I am currently sleeping at night…or so it seems.  I sleep with an oral appliance that helps with my mild sleep apnea but I have been waking up with it removed and either back in its case or in my hand.  When I had my sleep study earlier this month, they found that my sleep apnea, even with the oral appliance in use, had gotten slightly worse so that could have added to my daytime sleepiness.  But they also found that during the study, I did not enter REM sleep even once during the night.  And now that I’m removing my oral appliance at some point during the night…with absolutely no memory of it…I suppose that is pushing me over the edge exhaustion-wise.  And, if for whatever reason, I’m not getting any REM sleep even though I stopped taking a medication that can keep you from getting REM sleep, I’m in trouble.  This morning, I was barely functional.  Usually, after my narcolepsy medication kicks in, I feel more alert but not today.  I’ve had a lot of coffee and strong tea with no effect.  So, tomorrow, I will be calling my neurologist to tell him, or his PA, about my increasing exhaustion and removing my oral appliance in my sleep and asking them to please find a solution.  Fast.  At one point, I did have a CPAP machine and after about six months I began to do the same thing…remove it in my sleep.  I’d wake up and would find that I had removed the mask and headgear, placed it on top of the machine, and turned the CPAP machine off.  All in my sleep with no memory of it.  So, I don’t know what the solution will be since I obviously can and will remove it.  All I do know is that I’m pretty sure that when I get off of work, I am going to go home and pass out.  And I hate that because we have an SWW call tonight but sometimes self-care comes first.         

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Day 131: Perspective

I have to admit that I am sometimes a bit envious of the people that I see living their passion rather than having to work a full-time job and treating their passion as a hobby.  I don’t dream of being a fabulously wealthy published author that lives a life of luxury or anything.  I’m a realist…unless you’re J. K. Rowling or Stephen King or one of the few authors whose book sales merit that kind of money you’ll be lucky to make a little pocket money from your book.  Traditional publishing has changed over the years and it’s hard for new authors to break into it.  E-publishing is available to everyone and some people do very well using that platform.  Rapture was optioned once by a publisher so I have to at least try the traditional route one more time with the hope that I can generate some interest once again.  I am not ready to give up on that dream just yet.  I’ll give it a little time and then when I’m ready to give up, I’ll give it just a little more time and then I’ll try the e-publishing route.  One way or the other, I will be a published author.  I might not be able to quit my day job but that isn’t why I write…not that it wouldn’t be great if that happened though.  Your dreams have to be bigger than your reality otherwise you’ll you’ll be stuck right where you are.  I’ve been here at the outer limits of my reality long enough so I’m ready to step outside of it and see where my dreams can take me.       

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Day 130: Another Peek Inside My Brain

Here I am at work when it would be a perfect day to stay home, curl up under a cozy blanket and watch horror movies.  I don’t think that I’ve mentioned my proclivity for all things horror…movies, TV shows, and books.  Why that is, I have absolutely no clue.  When I was younger, I was completely terrified of anything that was remotely scary…The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and just about every other ’60s semi-scary show.  I would hide behind chairs or cover my eyes while others watched them.  As I got older, I started to become a bit braver.  I guess that the first full-on scary movie that I saw at the theater was Race with the Devil.  I was probably 13 years old.  It scared me but it also gave me a bit of a thrill.  And from that point on, I was hooked.  The one and only nightmare that I remember having was when I was 15 or 16 years old.  My grandmother had just died and the funeral, like so many in small rural areas, was held at a funeral home that was in an old Victorian style house.  I was also reading Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot at the time.  The funeral home setting was very reminiscent of the Marsten house in the book so I guess my overactive subconscious went into hyperdrive the night after we got home from the visitation and I had a nightmare that I’ve often thought about turning into a short story.  Maybe one day I will.  When I was 18, a friend and I went to the theater to see the original Halloween, which is still my all-time favorite horror movie and became a huge fan of the jump scare.  I remember sitting there in the theater and I was wound up as tight as a spring and Michael Myers popped up and I jumped completely out of my seat and kicked the chair in front of mine.  I think I scared the woman in front of me more than the movie did.  I like suspense and dread more than blood, guts, and gore but it doesn’t gross me out.  Most nights, I fall asleep watching a scary movie so I suppose it’s my own version of a demented bedtime story.  I even like the ones that have low ratings.  I usually watch those when I’m concentrating on other things.  You never know when you’ll find a low budget diamond in the rough.  That’s always fun.  Well, that’s today’s peek inside my brain.  It’s a scary place sometimes.                 

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Day 129: Musings

As I sit here looking out the window of my Magical Writing Haven, I am feeling extremely contemplative.  It is a slightly warmer yet still too cold rainy day.  At least we’re supposed to be out of the 30’s today.  I am 1 of those people that do not feel as though rainy dreary days are depressing.  They actually make me feel at peace with things and make me think a bit more deeply about life, passion, creativity, the future, etc….  Rain washes away all the dirt and grime that have built up on physical things and I suppose that it kind of does the same for me emotionally and mentally.  Maybe it’s because I know that in a day or 2, there will be a brilliant sun in a beautiful blue sky shining down on all the things that are now sparkly and clean.  Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to just go stand out in a downpour and have all of our cares, concerns, worries, doubts, etc…, washed away?  Unfortunately, life is a bit more complicated than that.  The best we can do is close our eyes, think about the rain washing over us and all of our concerns melting away as we breathe in deeply and then slowly breathe out and imagine ourselves being clear of all the things we’ve just allowed to leave our mind and bodies.  I have a lot of stress in my life which is mainly caused by my job and I carry it in my shoulders.  Every single time I’ve been to a masseuse or a chiropractor, that’s the very 1st observation that they make.  And they have to work so hard to get that tension out of there.  So now the second that I feel my shoulders begin to tighten up, I breathe.  It really helps.  It’s my early warning system. 

And now for a rant.  I finished about 1/2 of my defensive driving course and, honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that my insurance would go up if I don’t complete it, I would pay the stupid ticket.  6 hours of punishment that is mind-numbingly boring.  I’m not saying that it’s not worthwhile because it is but there has to be a way of presenting it that is more individualized.  The thing that kills me is that the class has to be 6 hours long and 99% of it is slides that you read.  I read very quickly and retain what I read so I get thru the slide in 1/3 to 1/2 of the time allotted for it but I have to just sit there until the next slide magically appears.  I could be through this class in 2 to 3 hours if I could change slides when I’m ready to do so.  My husband told me that I should have taken the comedy defensive driving class but that sounds even worse to me.  I just want the facts and to take the tests.  And the majority of what they are presenting is redundant.  I know that they are most likely doing that to pound it into your head but still, it’s boring.  And they have 1 almost 30-minute segment that is a video done by a theater troupe which includes pantomime and extremely juvenile content.  I’m sure it was done this way so that it could be presented to teen drivers but come on!  Have a separate class for teens and 1 for adult drivers.  I just want to be done with it.  I know that I’m lucky to be able to take defensive driving and have my ticket dismissed but do I have to be bored out of my mind while doing it.  Just make it interesting, that’s all I’m asking. 

Well, I have some things I’d like to accomplish today so I guess I’ll get started.  Have a happy rest of your Sunday.  Relax, breathe and let it all go.                    

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Day 128: Blessings and Atonement

This week I have found out that I have a lack of blood flow in an area of both eyes so I have some blurriness but no loss of vision.  I have some micro-aneurysms in the retinas of both eyes which could, but haven’t yet, leaked or at least are not currently leaking.  The past retinal tears which were lasered, are still holding.  I have slight retinal swelling in my right eye but for someone that’s had diabetes their entire life, my doctor says that I’m a miracle because by now, most diabetics would be in stage 4 of 4 of retinopathy.  I am somewhere between the 1st and 2nd stage.  I feel very blessed because I haven’t always been the best when it comes to taking care of my diabetes.  Over the last 13 years, I’ve done much much better thanks to my wonderful PCP, Dr. Bryan Wasson.  I am currently, based on my blood work, just about perfect.  Everything is well under control.  So, again, I really do feel blessed for the fact that I haven’t done any more damage to my eyes than I have.  Then there was the sleep study.  Turns out, I do have slight sleep apnea even with my oral appliance but the PA that called to let me know that said that Dr. Raroque, my neurologist and sleep expert, hadn’t decided what direction we should take.  The more disturbing thing was that not once during the sleep study did I ever achieve REM sleep.  That explains so much.  You can’t be rested without REM sleep.  I have been dragging myself through the day for months now with no clue as to why it was happening.  So, being my own best medical advocate, I jumped online and started researching medications that can prevent you from achieving REM sleep.  The very 1st drug, Trazodone, kind of slapped me in the face.  I began taking Trazodone last year when I once again developed severe insomnia.  I take the maximum dosage of 200mg.  So the only medication that Dr. Raroque has found to treat my insomnia is putting me to sleep but I’m not getting quality sleep.  How f’d up is that?  Actually, there was 1 other that worked super well for my insomnia but it cost $2,500/month and when my company switched insurance companies, the new company said, nope.  Xyrem, which is basically medical grade GHB…the date rape drug…worked incredibly well.  You would take it right before you went to bed, while you were in bed because it knocked you out very quickly.  Then you generally wake up about 4 hours later and take a second dose.  I will share a truly embarrassing thing that happened to me while on it.  I woke up, took my 2nd dose and decided to quickly run to use the restroom but, as fate would have it, it hit while I was sitting on the commode.  I fought so valiantly to stay awake but that didn’t happen.  I fell asleep and fell forehead 1st into the outer edge of the metal bathtub.  That woke me up enough to get me back to bed.  It just so happened that I had a neurologist appointment the next morning and I had a huge black and blue goose egg on my forehead.  Dr. Raroque, upon hearing the story of my stupidity, checked me for a concussion but I guess that my head was hard enough to take being slammed into a metal bathtub because I did not have 1.  I made sure that from that point on, I only took the Xyrem while in bed.  So, now I guess the search will be back on for an insomnia treatment to go along with my delayed sleep phase syndrome treatment and narcolepsy treatment.  Not sleeping as well as not getting any REM sleep will make you crazy.  I know because I’ve been there.  It affects your memory, balance, mental, emotional and physical state, your ability to concentrate, and your alertness just to name a few.  It can basically destroy your life in a very short time if you don’t have a doctor that cares enough to find the correct treatment for you.  I am extremely fortunate to be blessed with 1 such neurologist.  He has literally saved my life in the past.  So, once again, I am blessed.  I am also blessed to have a wonderful husband who loves me and treats me better than I sometimes deserve, an amazing tribe of friends and fellow creative beings who are sources of strength and inspiration, and to also have things in my life about which I am passionate.  Now, to the atonement portion of the post.  It’s nothing dramatic but it’s time to pay the piper…aka, the Irving Police Department…for my ticket by taking my defensive driving class online today.  It’s only 6 hours so I think I’ll do at least 1/2 of it today.  I might do more but I’ll aim for 1/2.  I really want to do some Succulent Wild World work today too in preparation for our next call on the 13th.  And I need some Inner Wise Self time too.  I need to listen to what she has to say.  Plus, I’m a SARK angel and I need to do some angel work in the 2 groups.  I’ve mostly been doing fly-bys in the groups because I have felt so awful so I need to make up for that.  I didn’t take my Trazodone the last 2 nights and I’m feeling pretty okay.  I passed out on Thursday night but it took me longer to fall asleep last night and the anxiety set in about not being able to sleep at all and I thought about taking it but didn’t.  And I’m glad that I didn’t.  So those are my tales of blessings and atonement.  I am going to go eat and then serve my penance in defensive driving.  I am so excited.  And in case you’re wondering, yes that was sarcasm!

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Day 127: Surprises and Acts of Kindness

This week hasn’t been stellar.  As a matter of fact, it’s pretty much sucked.  Or it did until last night.  When I got home last night, I have a big brown envelope waiting for me in the mailbox.  I’m always ordering things so I just assumed that it was one of those items.  After I got inside, I looked at the envelope and it was from one of my friends and I just knew that there was something wonderful inside.  And I was so right.  Lauren had sent me a whole package of gorgeous assorted notecards and envelopes…some of which she made herself…, beautiful stationery and envelopes, greeting cards with envelopes and all of the envelopes had stamps affixed to them.  There was a very sweet card from Lauren and on top of all of that, a Clifford, the Big Red Dog beanie baby.  It turned my week around completely.  It actually made me cry.  There is no way that I could repay that total act of kindness…not that she expects to be repaid.  She is just a wonderful caring person.  It’s amazing that I could have a week of bad and 1 envelope could completely wipe it away.  But it wasn’t what was in the envelope, it was what was in the heart of the amazing person that sent it to me.  And I plan to use every single notecard, greeting card, and piece of stationery to spread her kindness even further.  And every time I send one out, I’ll remember just how much happiness that envelope brought to me and relive it each time.      

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Day 126: Life Goes On

No matter what happens in our lives, good or bad, life goes on.  No matter how carefully we plan, things are going to happen that were nowhere in our Franklin Coveys or on our to-do lists.  But we press onward with our lives and our plans.  Sometimes that’s because we’re optimistic and other times we simply have no other choice.  I’ve been in both positions as have most of us.  My writing has been one of those things that’s continued…not as often or as much as I would have liked…but it never goes away.  Life continues to get in the way and usually, just as I’m digging myself out of whatever hole life has pushed me into and am starting to write again, one of two things happens…I receive some kind of inspiration (like SARK’s SWW and ROW) or I begin to doubt myself and my abilities to the point that I am on the verge of absolutely abandoning my dream.  It’s like being on a see-saw.  Up, down, up, down.  But no matter how close I come to giving it all up though, I can never quite do it.  When something is a part of your heart and soul, giving it up is not an easy thing to do even when life and the universe sometimes seem to conspire to make that happen.  I don’t continue on with it because I’m an optimist…I’m more of a realist…or because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that one day I’ll be a famous, published author.  I do it partly because it’s such a huge part of me and largely because I’m extremely stubborn.  It just means too much to me.  So, when you’re on that see-saw, just remember that for every time you’re down, there will be another time that you’re up.  Keep doing what you love no matter what life throws at you.  You’ll be glad that you did.           

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