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How to Play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon w/Words

I have heard a lot of people I know ask me how I write poetry because its so hard. My inclination is to say something along the ” I just write.” I used to “humble myself” by adding that what I wrote was “just…” as in, it’s OKAAAAY.” because I didn’t want to let anyone down who had expectation that weren’t met.

It took me years to realize that, by downplaying what I express or create, I was also implying things about the people who enjoy my stuff. If I only write “Okay Poetry” and you like my poetry the most, does that mean that you only have okay taste? It’s kinda implied. (It’s 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, but with language).

If I were being honest and not buying into public expectations of my cognitive abilities as a person with a disability I would answer the question this way:

  1. I put my thoughts on paper
  2. I use words that evoke emotion and images
  3. I don’t force it, I write about what I experience
  4. I share what I write
  5. people relate to the feeling, even if the story behind it is unique (or not)

Not everyone has to flock to our stories for them to be successful, unless that is the only way we define success. When I don’t meet my own expectations I’m likely to try a new approach rather than letting go of things that matter to me, I will keep adapting, taking breaks and coming back to where I left off until I get to where I want to go.

goals can take days or decades but if you believe in what you’re doing you keep learning. growing, and trying.

Do you create, if so, will you share what it is by leaving a comment ? Something tells me you are better than you think

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Things I Have Faith In

                Things I have faith in:

The value of minorities

The idea that some answers will linger,

Out of my reach.

The power of trauma to quash infinite voices

That the comfortable among us will not seek growth

Even as so much shrivels and dies,

That those who demand “English Only,” speak division,

instead of human.

The meaning behind the unspoken

My life will be one, that leads for others,

Only if I am willing to give it now.

Have a great day/night!

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DeaDly Ideas

To this day I cannot believe that silence is not wasted time,

Time is a construct of people.

People create, from our own ideals,

Monsters and fears

 to obscure and manipulate,

us against our own reflection

by proclaiming we, are the people of our own dreams

our pockets are not picked,

we revel in the jagged kindness of our giving

until we have no clothes to hold pockets

those who do not worship at the giving alter

are, by definition, worthless

and thus expendable

until only one rich man is left

and no one needs.

The taker is absolved

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Thick Skin

I had full faith as a child

that by age 30 I would have skin so thick

I would be a human callous.

It was almost a religion,

a mantra.

In the same way that religion is a tool

to cope with not understanding at present

and offer reassurance at any, future, minute.

My future fearlessness and confidence

helped me survive my fear

of a woman I loved, but couldn’t understand.

Her actions had no rhyme or reason

and I was powerless but to watch them unfold

She created me with flaws,

and I am still paying

for the legacy

Pounds of paper document all the jabs, tubes, and scalpals

that have broken through skin, muscle, and mind.

but I just bleed.

I have left the church of thick skin

the congregation told me,

“The day will come.”

and all I could say was,

“The price of patience is far too high.”

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Forget my Shadow

After years in the cycle of being seriated and then sown again,

broken to mend other fraying parts

before they came entirely unspooled,

I existed in the shadow of my memory of

the girl in the mirror.

Because she was not permitted to reflect a smile back

from irises of others,

She used her teeth to hollow out my bones,

and took shelter there, waiting.

When I was seen,

by the man who taught high school Spanish

I was beginning to wake up, in my osteogenic bones

not yet realizing,

When that teacher,

an all too patient guy came in

time seared a little bit more that reflection into me

and these bones begin to glow, as she smiled

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I Will be…

I have witnessed chaos,

and the blood pooled under my skin

Blessedly blinded by my silent fury

Frozen by the cabinet of fears screeching

inert amid the slaughtering of dreams,

Time marched on, over my curled up body.

I didn’t notice the boots thundering down,

Photo by Alex Fu on Pexels.com

but, as I sat up with fresh bruises and saw the walls,

as a prisoner of war I bled thoughts.

The doubting spirits of thousands

watched at a distance, waiting to be a part of this history as I bled-out.

words pooled from my mouth.

some spattered across the dim walls

from repeated wounds to my consent.

the blood cells that heal

those that say, “In the future, I will…

Be fearless in the face of pain,

Remember who I am,

Trust and respect her,

find joy,

or perhaps just calm…”

My Someday was dieing

faster than the cells of my spirit could be renewed.

the safety of stillness waned,

and offered fear that could not release,

its message without a tongue.

It’s sounds without meaning

it took a dacade to stop the bleeding,

and the echo of my enemies’ shouting

when I unfurled and began to stand, defiant

still bellow like gernades.

forcing the false light of death through dark moments,

and dark months.

I still catch those embers from time to time

I use them to light my memory of the possible,

and my path into the future.

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To be Drowned in the Tide of Tension

The day seems to have stormed in

and I seek to harness it,

even as I am battered before I can rise.

with my brain screaming, “Bow! RETREAT!”

I am fueled but the minute failures

so small that they cannot be evidenced,

only known.

And because I know them

I do all I can to rise,

and suffocate them in the shadow of a successful day.

But the moment I find my footing.

I’m swallowed by a pounding wave of nausea and weakness

I am humbled and I bow

I sleep and I wake up “fully in control”

for a few brief minutes,

before being forced to bow under the weight of another wave

Photo by Hernan Pauccara on Pexels.com

So, this evening I write in a nightgown that got to meet the day

and hair that was not tamed

with not but the coming morning for my happy begin-againing

I have yet to learn how to stop swiming against the current when I fall into illness,

but at least I don’t jump off of its deep in and try to inhale it anymore

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Ride the Waves

The good, the bad, the frightful, the funny, everything moves ang changes. Some people follow the flow of the world easily, whether they started from a better position, or are purely exceptional at the art of rolling with the punches. I lost my psychological and emotional elasticity at age sixteen, and gave myself a beating fighting with my demons! Since I began the healing process I’ve noticed that for chunks of time I can overcome any obstacle. But in those in-between times, one hard blow can knock me down and I stagnate in impossibilities.

Time, and the rest of existence moves on, even if we don’t. When we are unable or unwilling to change, it’s easy to feel trapped in some weird space/time anomaly, and humanity is not built for that. We need growth to feel good, even if the process of growing feels AWFUL!

Sometimes, we do the best we can, and still feel awful, because of things relating to biology, or the social world and our particular uniqueness. These are not necessarily things we can, or should, change. A generalized personal example follows:

If we stay at that vomit-inducing job (stress-vomiting is not a joke, I’ve been there.) why do we stay? if we realize that we need the -____ provided by what we’re doing, but hate the job itself, we can look for another job. Yes, it takes extra energy we don’t have in the short term, but humans are better at sprints than sustained running, We can bounce back from exhaustion better than we can from burnout.

If a depressive or uncomfortable internal state persists, we can only feel better when something changes. Sometimes the change feels impossible, or even more uncomfortable at the first attempt than the gnawing discomforts we know, again, I’ve been there, Anorexia is no joke, for example.) Keep trying, more than once, or twice. Set an amount of time that you will stick to a new activity or approach at something, if you don’t feel better after that, try something new.

The good news is that a lot of thing naturally fluctuate, and given time the down gets up, and the mourners carry the lost with them into the future. We get sick and we mend, tired and we sleep, if we wait. If there is no light at the end of your tunnel (whichever tunnel you are in) create a light, or ask people along your route for help creating it.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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Ruth-Bader-Ginsberg (1933-2020)

Death is hardest for the living.

Because we are hoarders of our clans,

protecting the like-minded with fervor.

And when they die,

it feels as if every pain they knew

Bares down on us, the living.

Perhaps in tribute,

 as a reminder of the cost of love.

But, no wisdom makes the burden of emptiness less heavy.

To lose Ruth Bader-Ginsberg,

Is such a cost, that it ripples through millions of households,

And though I know her as a great Heroine of Justice,

So many will never realize the loss for themselves and their lives,

Though we walk under a dimmer sun now.

For her eighty-seven years of service,

I will learn, I will listen, I will empathize, I will act.

I will vote, especially in the face of defeat.

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Soggy Cereal and Pumpkin Spice

Sometimes, you can tell that your views are unique. I have learned that skill called confidence with many of my idiosyncrasies. I like to laugh at myself often (in a loving and playful, but honest, way. And thus, I offer you the first in a series of “Quirk.” pieces:

Soggy

Maybe the reason I love being in the water 8 hours at a stretch,

Is the same reason I let my cereal sit as I read in the morning.

I am not quite sure what that common reason is, beyond illogical.

But my favorite part of a grape nuts box is the bottom.

And, I know many people disagree, as I hold my stance in the ever-changing ocean of public opinion.

I now have a use for pumpkin spice,

On top of my soggy cereal.

Since you’re already twitching in disgust involuntarily.

Tis’ the season!

Do you share your quirks? Do you feel ashamed of them? What is Your opinion??

I’ll check back for comments as I eat breakfast tomorrow! 😉 :p

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Correlating Change

I recently realized that some of the feedback I’ve gotten (repeatedly) on Sickybeat is seriously bothering me. So much so that I have not stopped thinking about it since the last time my “Reader Zero” repeated it. I was stewing over the fact that this feedback was more based on her stylistic preference, which I respect. Because of the repetitious cycle, and my waiting to make any changes until I had the whole thing in my hands, I communicated and even validated that I understood, that my use of metaphor can go overboard. My assurance has done little to stop the topic from coming up again.

I feel I can use metaphor to great effect, but wanted to be sure my ego was not leaving me a weaker writer. I set out through the online learning platform SkillShare to see what some accomplished writers/Teachers might say. Is the effective way of writing for an audience going to challenge me to change the writing “Voice” I’ve cultivated since age 14?

Different genres of writing require different skills, but there are skills that can be adapted across the board. I am not ineffective in my approach as such, in Moderation. I did pick up some new ideas that got my mind turning, and my hands working, but I also learned something which can be more broadly applied to life.

Learning a more effective method to do anything, that I enjoy doesn’t require that my past methods were bad or that I have changed my values or identity. A better method is that which allows me to show more of myself, not create a new self.

Just like I wear different clothes than I did when I was 5, doesn’t make me a different person. As messages grow and change, I rise to the occasion.

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Be patient, or Just Don’t Curse on Camera

Monday was my LSAT and, even with a persistent light headache, I was happy. At least I was functional and not fog-brained! The exam wasn’t without surprises. My test started off smoothly, almost TOO smoothly. I felt confident in almost all of my answer choices!

Second guess much?—> me to myself.

I TRIED not to overthink and to pay attention to detail and context; I only thought it would take 2.5 hours. But, do to unforeseen issues, I was testing for four hours. I was frustrated and struggling with the idea of being overcome by tech issues after working so hard for a year to get where I was. it took all the strength I had not to curse while I was being monitored.

by the time I had finished my headache had mutated into an incapacitating beast, I barely got a small sandwich down before I crawled into bed. I didn’t brush my teeth, put on PJs, or journal, I laid down and fell asleep within five minutes.

All this and I still feel positive about what my score will be. I may not be the top scorer, but I’m pretty sure I did well enough to get where I want to be. (I don’t want to be cocky or jinx anything, so I’m going to leave that there.)

I am happy on a personal level that I’m not incapacitated by post-test, pre-score, anxiety. Primary school weekly quizzes were the death of me, anxiety-wise. Even after I would survive one, the next was the end of the world.

But today, today, is my day. If I fall I get up again. When I succeed I learn from it, and continue on to the next barrier. It all makes for good writing.

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The Times, They’re A’changin!

With three days to go, I finally finished my Masters Review Summer Contest piece 🙂 I wish all the entrants good news and good stories!

I still have my LSAT in four days. (Though I did the LSAT writing sample yesterday 😉 )

Though I have not been this social or productive in a very long time, I’m exceptionally grateful for this moment and my abilities.

I learned and am still learning to be a better me, I am choosing effective ways to be a person I like.

Though it took a long time to be at piece with what I see in myself, I’m glad I was given the opportunity to own it.

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O-M-G! Are We There Already? (Can We Rewind Things a Second?)

Thank you for not forgetting me! I feel like it has been too long since my last post, and I wanted to give you the explanation.

The person(s) doing a feedback reading of the manuscript halted for a time in order to address some professional commitments. The good news is that the process has began again. Day to day I still write other (much shorter) pieces, some of which I share here.

On the topic of the short story for the Masters review contest, I have not given up on it. I am having a hard time with the last paragraph or so. I could just throw something down for the sake of finishing, but I don’t like not giving my best and I can get it a lot better. Oh! And that test is looming now, too!

By “that test,” I mean my law school entrance exam. (The LSAT.) This test requires long term preparation, even for many very intelligent and diligent people. I started learning about this test and all it entails in late 2018. 2019 was a year of getting used to and “decoding” the question types, and last February I started solving sample question sets daily. Last week I received my exact test date and time! So, I’ve been making sure all of my ducks are in a row and doing extra practice. I have ONE WEEK!

*Formal & informal logic are really helpful for my studying, I recommend looking at it concurrently with the LSAT!*

I hope to post more regularly very soon. I wish everyone well in your endeavors until I see you again.

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From A Wheelchair To A Rock Climbing Wall

Good evening folks! I thought I’d share a piece of writing more like what will be in the Sickybeat book!

My 2014 rock climbing adventure follows. Longish post, so you have been warned

            When people see me pass by in the mall or grocery store, I can nearly guarantee they don’t think, “I’ll bet she likes rock climbing!” the boxy walker I stand inside virtually assures my guarantee to be accurate. But, I DO love rock climbing, and I’ve climbed more than one wall. I had the assistance of two friends, and my heart was pounding in a way I’d never felt before or replicated in the years since, but the exhaustion was liberating.

            Co-dependence has been much of the story of my life, Cerebral Palsy can do that. Day-to-day life is enough work that caregivers don’t have energy left for their own self-care let alone the adventures I dream of undertaking. However, I’m a dreamer, a planner, a problem-solver, and a doer; there is nothing I have wanted to accomplish that I have left undone. When a hospital employee I walked the halls with talked about her rock-climbing hobby I knew I wanted to try it.

            When my hall walking buddy suggested that we could go to a local rock gym together and that she would help me try out climbing, I had my doubts. Nonetheless, I threatened to hold her to her word. over the next few days this friend was my nurse’s CNA, and I was eager to solidify details of our plan. My surgeon confirmed that it should be safe for me to go climbing if I waited six weeks after release so that my stomach was fully healed from the surgery I’d undergone.

            Afraid my friend would forget about me, I convinced her to send me an email with the covert intention of saving her email address in order to remind her of our agreement after I’d healed. One by one I counted the days as they rolled on back home. My surgery had failed before the requisite six weeks passed but rock climbing couldn’t make the pain any worse, it wasn’t possible. Thus, I began a persistent game of email-tag to pin down a date for climbing.

            The fact that my friend had a life, and a job really got in the way of my desire for an immediate climb. I am not a patience person, that’s why I was born at twenty-four weeks, the point in my life at which I wanted to rock-climb was a particularly patience-restricted time. I had no life to speak of; everything fell into one of three groups, food restriction, calorie burning, and burning calories as I paced around whatever hospital I was in at that moment. This would be the first time in a year that I’d happily participated in anything with friends. Sure, it would take a hell of a lot of energy, but the activity was done for fun, not any of my punitive ritualistic marches et al.

            I was awaiting the letdown. She would put off and put off until we lost contact, that was my base expectation of the large majority of people. When she agreed to meet me at a rock gym the week after I’d emailed her about it my anxiety didn’t subside. As was my M.O. I began to worry anew; something would happen to stop our plans. I could get immobilized by a puking bug; she could get in a car crash! Anything would stop my word from spinning.

            My sense of panic only lowered when I was at the rock gym, with momma and not just one friend from the hospital, but another gentleman I knew as a CNA. Getting into the gear, I felt alive, happy, and playful, it was almost foreign. One person climbed up behind me as I tackled the first wall, he had to lift my leg from one “Rock” to the next, most of the way up, and he did it so that most of the work was still mine. I pushed and pulled my body and lifted my foot as far as I could get it to go, before he pushed it the last inch. Or two, maaaybe. I hadn’t climbed half way up one wall before I felt compelled to turn my head and look down at Artemis. “I hate admitting you’re right mom. But, with as hard as my heart is thundering right now, I probably didn’t need to take that forty-five-minute walk before we got here. This is definitely a workout.”

            My tiny heart’s pounding didn’t stop me from forcing my seventy-five-pound body up two full walls before calling it a wrap.  I needed to have one victory during the year. I was twenty-four and adults are supposed to accomplish things.  While I was getting help to de-strap I had a sense that it was possible to conquer all things, even the demons that drove my illogical and unhealthy behaviors. For that day I was human again.

            The song in my soul would not claim freedom for six more years, but those rare shocks of “Happy-Dance-Enthuisiasm” were enough to energize me to continue climbing back into myself.

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Follow-UP!

In my most recent post I said that there would be a follow-up! This piece is short, and please enjoy, and leave feedback!

Tugging at a Trigger

Two hands,

two feet

enhanced dexterity

A mother’s twisted love

and a trillion triggers

the weight of my short note

sets off the illogical verbal barrage

and she runs in circles to escape her own bullets.

How is one to realize

“ I love you, Mom.”

is a damaging phrase.

Or was it my smile

on video chat,

meant as a light,

which lead her demons home

defining boundaries is simple for me,

because I never shared her house

without an escape route

and an alley in the field.

But, I not everyone has escaped.

And I wonder,

how many times

my reaching out in good faith,

pulled a trigger.

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Why People Mourn, or Not

When I hear an idea that strikes me and gets my mind turning I hold onto it. If that thought comes back to me repeatedly in the following few days, I write it down and keep writing about it until it feels done.

Most of my poetry takes the above path of creation. Tonight I wrote a poem based on a quote from Commander Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

“Maybe if we felt any loss as keenly as we felt the death of one close to us, human history would be a lot less bloody.” ~ William Riker

I wrote this poem in correspondence with that quote:

We barely flinch for dead bodies.

We mourn the losses of what we see is ours


Our nation,

but only in large numbers that we can’t distinguish ourselves from

our city,

because the people across that line in the ground

like different teams

Our schools

because we are taught more truth

Our Colors,

because novelty

is a virus

Our spirituality

because our peace is so much purer

While we dissect ourselves into identity groups

No one mourns

as the blood of an entire species spills red

In the history of time,

we proceed into memory,

as nothing but bones of possibility

The stain of humanity

has left little reason

for the future to mourn

a fear so virulent it embodied us

when to our death, we misinterpreted

the warning of caution, for that of danger.

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Help -I’ve Fallen and I’m Trying to Minimize my Public Profanity!

I wanted to let reader’s know that I’m still writing. I’m in pain right now ( I DIDN’T fall!) I’ve had a strong and pretty constant hip pain which has affected my ability to work as efficiently as I would prefer. Related, I also need more sleep. And, yes, I contacted my doctor long enough ago that I will be trying again tomorrow.

As a thanks for your patience I will share a poem I wrote, and then read, for another event on zoom last Sunday, enjoy!

A three year old, holding a pastel pink two cylinder bottle,

small fingers griping at the center gap

I was a “double fister,”one might say.

Looking at the hole in the wall,

I feared snakes, I knew there was no escape.

I was imagining -for the first time-

preparing for the life I didn’t know

that life of complex, every.damn.day.fear, trauma

I knew it when I was berated for pretending, hands-to-myself.

She opened the car door, where I sat alone,

telling myself a story out loud to pass the time

as she packed that blue Chevy-Nova.

“Don’t do that!” she spat, you sound Fuck’n crazy.

Before taking five young kids into hiding,

based on a delusion.

Eight-years-old.

Orange shag carpet

in the middle of a living room

Compassion and fear battled as I crawled around saving people

because, that is what makes me human.

In this real family home, safe to be weird.

When scarily fragile started to stick to me,

when “in-need” was spit-balled in my direction,

I laughed, at what people imagined.

And raged in the privacy of what could be,

what would be, and what was.

Imaginations so shriveled

egos with cracked armor.

I was protected with imagination,

Imagination crafted a shield of empathy and understanding

though sometimes difficult to wield,

and occasionally cracking

In the face of death, I imagined the pain to bear,

Looking inward, I lost the song of my soul,

I made death give me a new one for the price of my company.

I am alive now, because I became a bored hunter,

preferring protection against the strikes of enemies

over the ability to strike them down,

like a knife, the weapon fear can sever

and it is only the strength of a target

that can defend against it.

Sometimes while crossing over.

If I must pay the price of fear,

or the price of change,

you need not imagine

my choice.

I will pay for change, in any life I am given

I won’t imagine any other option

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When Feedback Comes, at a Trickle; How to Keep a Story Alive.

As I wait to get writing feedback from some of my potential audience, it’s hard not to want to shout “Hurry UP!” and let loose a deep sigh.

I can only do so much with the book as I wait on other eyes. I feel strange without a writing project in the works, but if I started a second I would feel horrible for it because the first is incomplete. I’m liable to trip myself if I multitask in that manner. Props to writers who can do it well, honestly a true talent.

So, what do I do? I don’t like killing time, I’d rather be a vampire sucking all the life I can get out of time, and leave time to go on undead. (There I go with metaphors!)

What I do with my bits and pieces of feedback is practice polishing my weak skills to buff them up! In my last post, I talked about a short story contest so that everyone else could enter if you so desire. I’m entering to see if I can be as concise as a short story requires and keep my voice and imagery. If I can put together a decent story that’s vivid without meandering quite as much as I catch myself doing, that will be victory for me.

I’m improving, with the edge brought on by a little competition, and making myself a little less comfortable. Greatness, in its true form, doesn’t come comfortably.

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Petite Storytellers, This One’s for you!

I like to add tools for other writers here when I can, and I have a new tool for short story writers.

I’ve been quietly sneaking around the Master’s Review website ( https://mastersreview.com/ ) and newsletters for two years. I kept telling myself, that someday I would enter their short story contest(s), when I wasn’t such a long-form writer. Well, after practice and genre research, I’m ready to pay the entry fee ($20) and jump in! Why not join me?

I may not win the prize kitty, but stretching slightly out of my comfort zone is going to be quite the personalized educational experience. #WorthIT.

the summer contest info is on the site! I hope you can enjoy this opportunity with me. (And maybe? win!?!?)

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The Answer Unspoken

As I go through the process of literary creation I am well aware that I need feedback, and have much improvement ahead of me. I tell my self I am ready and open to the knowledge offered to me. And yet it hurts to hear critique. Why?

I don’t question my skill or the need for further growth, but my vision for the stories I want to share doesn’t gleam and sparkle as brightly as I see it. (Of course not, I am these stories and the same events recalled by another participant would be there own unique tale.) On the flip side – being showered with praise, no matter how sincere, leaves me feeling like an imposter.

Another of my momma’s favorite phrases is pertinent here: “Everything in moderation.” As I got feedback on Sickybeat recently, “Reader Zero” had several relatively small observations, that I interpreted as negative. I was frustrated and began to wonder if there was so much to work on, what had I done effectively?

Instead of letting that question fester and grow into a bitter resentful focus, I asked it. Of course, she could not recall details of the effective aspects of the writing, but she is noting them as she reads. That wasn’t the immediate pat on the back I was hoping for, but it was reassuring and I can wait.

Critique is not meant to be an invalidation of our experiences or emotions. If it feels that way I have to ask myself why that is the case? Is what is said within the realm of “Reasonable?” In other words, if I told another friend about the feedback given would they say, “That’s mean to say,” or “That could be possible?”

If the feedback doesn’t help to improve the work I’d ask someone else. If feedback makes me think creatively and I still feel bad, I try to change the focus to positive aspects I could employ further (descriptive tools, flow techniques, etc). Other times, I need some space from it for a while.

Just never doubt your tale is worth telling!

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Winco is a Divisive Place.

In my previous blog entry I said I would be posting more, and more diverse styles of, content here. I was able to get better access to both hardware, a more up to date refurbished smartphone, and software, a more functional web browser, for creating!

Thus, I am sharing some new recorded content from the SickyBeat manuscript – about the “Winco Incident” I put the video at the top of my Free Content page (Click Here!) I would very much appreciate feedback! (In a respectful manner, please!) So, please leave a quick comment on the site or at sickybeat@hotmail.com!

As I experiment, I will learn more methods of “Spicing up” content! I hope you enjoy all that is coming, and I look forward to your thoughts!

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I’m Still Alive-ish

I woke up with what I thought was a sinus headache and took some allergy medication before getting up. over the last twelve hours my “Sinus Headache” has fluctuated from a simple annoyance to: UUUUUUUUUUGGGGGHHH! I have cold sweats and my mind is cloudy, and that F******* headache.

Tylenol was no help. Because I am so often fighting some illness or pain, and medicine and a nap did nothing to help relieve it, I decided to work through. 😀 I have been feeling less productive the last three days despite my best efforts and I have to remind myself that my perception is just that, a perception. Reflecting on this time of my life in the future I know that the probability is high that I’ll be proud of all the things I’m getting done.

My best, even at its worst, is a darn good accomplishment. I was able to get past a technical roadblock that is 5 months old! This means, with a little luck, I’ll be able to add more visual content re: my writing process/tips/tools! And I was able to use Prime Video on my Linux laptop! (Sidenote: I didn’t recall the Star Trek Voyager season 5 ep: Timeless, and it gave me rage! NO HARM MUST EVER COME TO CAPTAIN JANEWAY! But, I digress…)

Captain Kathryn Janeway Star Trek Voyager (Kate Mulgrew)

Momma always reminds me: this too shall pass. With that in mind I will rest hopeful, tomorrow is a new day, and I will feel better or find a way to work around the discomfort!

Have a good week, and never F with Janeway 😉

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Do You Ever Want To…

There is one useful thing about being a sociopath: not giving a darn after they get what they want about how it hurts anyone else. I don’t recommend trying to become one yourself, because eventually they become isolated by burning bridges and/or imprisonment and/or related mental decline. But it would be nice to not care sometimes, especially because I have a tendency to “Over-care.”

Even after doing all I can to support people, I feel horrible when I know their pain continues, even though it may be less. I know that this is not a helpful lens to view the world, but it is a habit i learned very young, and an extremely hard one to halt. Having Cerebral Palsy and needing higher levels of assistance in some aspects of life doesn’t help; if the person assisting is struggling, I will feel the ripples quite often….

As much as my degree of extra need bothers me, having no use for that internal pain bothers me too. in the name of taking some type of control over a situation much bigger then just me I wrote the following for all to enjoy,

I hope that this poem is unique,

but my knowing fear says it isn’t.

I am a giver, in the hopes of reducing pain

having such minimal control,

and trapped in a dependency

of inequality,

I seek the power

of empowering those around me

waiting for their rising tide to lift me

onto level ground

I’ve been waiting for decades

I can accept an eternity to rise,

peeling back scars and masks as I wait

so that only the purest cream of my spirit will rise to the top

and history will only be able to allude to the flaws I

“Must have had” for being a human animal.

In the meantime, I watch the scar consuming my body,

that peace that I paid such a price for, is burrowed deep in my skin

and I am powerless with the answers

I hope that this poem is unique,

but my knowing fear says it isn’t.

I am a giver, in the hopes of reducing pain

having such minimal control,

and trapped in a dependency

of inequality,

I seek the power

of empowering those around me

waiting for their rising tide to lift me

onto level ground

I’ve been waiting for decades

I can accept an eternity to rise,

peeling back scars and masks as I wait

so that only the purest cream of my spirit will rise to the top

and history will only be able to allude to the flaws I

“Must have had” for being a human animal.

In the meantime, I watch the scar consuming my body,

that peace that I paid such a price for, is burrowed deep in my skin

and I am powerless with the answers

to others’ screams for what is just outside their grasp.

I recommend bringing any pain outside of yourself-it may do someone some good.

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Regrets and Tacos

*these events take place before SickyBeat begins in 2009.*

On Thursday, February 2006 around 7P.M. I lay in a hospital bed alone after my family had left. I’d finished a very precise meal, chicken tacos, and was not allowed to walk around, my television watching would be monitored as well, no food, fashion, or diet product t.v.

I’d been convinced to take my first anti-psychotic after momma had to hold me in the bed after lunch. I was fighting to burn off the calories in half a sandwich and some melon, ready to pull out my IV. I had no plan, I wouldn’t have gotten far, I can’t walk without a special walker and the bed was a mile high itself. When my nurse came running in because of my screaming, she put the small yellow pill in front of me, and I resisted.

I became painfully self-aware, looking at my mother. I didn’t like what I had become, and the only way out was through. At least the pill melted under the tongue so I didn’t have to feel another lump go down my throat. A sense of general calm overtook me shortly before my momma and aunt left.

As I ate my tacos for dinner, I felt a freedom and hope i had believed were dead. This is where the fog descends on my memory, something happened after that dinner that left me again enraged. It had to do with the lead doctor at the treatment centre, maybe she stopped by that evening, but I was pissed off at something she said.

I knew I should document my own thoughts and experiences, it was one of the few permitted activities anyway, but I couldn’t get more than six words out before I drifted off. Healing is exhausting.

I didn’t start trying to recall or document my 3 weeks in that hospital until a year after I’d left that treatment program; because of the failings of our American insurance system, not because I was particularly well at the time. By late 2008 though, so much of the detail was blurred. I didn’t remember much of my prior “logic” for my behavior.

I swore that the next time I went through such a life-altering experience, I would write things DOWN! I had expected my coming 20s to be interesting and to have its share of suffering, but I had no idea it would be so crushingly torturous as it was. I barely had time or strength to write a 100-word poem once or twice a week. But, I always tried.

The half-filled pocket notebooks of poetry, the collection of hospital wristbands, the art I used to capture the successes, failures, and overall reality of that suffering helps me remember my humanity. I remember, the illogical thoughts, the choking fear, and paranoia, the pain, the lack of control. I take pride in my memories, I feel a deeper sense of empathy for others, because I have known things many not, like psychosis.

I have come out the other side of it. And now I can share that decade with you, knowing the weakness in my old thinking, and why it remained so gripping for so long. I can’t say I’m grateful for the intensity of that suffering that i experienced and caused others. But, because I took time to document it, I have the power over it as a tool of empathy instead of it haunting me like I ghost.

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Charred Carbs

I’m ready to shake things up, are you? The bulk of this post was written to honour a seemingly insignificant part of my youth that I miss dearly. It is in admiration AND admonishment of the changes we all must face. i realized I may not be made more popular by sharing this fond memorial – but I know I’m an oddity, and I like me for it.

I don’t know when I started asking for burnt crust

if I ever did.

But momma knew, and she always did it right.

My grilled cheese on wheat, with the cheese on hand.

Momma burnt the bread, and perfect overflow of cheese.

It was not in error, my siblings sandwiches were golden

But, mine wonderfully charred.

And it was true of the pot pie.

The flaky, saucy, concoctions,

better built savoury than sweet.

Every little bit a surprise gift

to be torn open and gobbled.

Scorched crust, best, last.

Today I am 31 and 7/12 years old

and, it marks the first time in 16 years

that I ate a pot pie.

Because I had been afraid of myself.

what I was, and was not.

As good as it was,

I could not burn my crust.

Because,

though I am now back at home

within myself

I am halted by circumstance

into a kitchen-less upstairs room.

Because I was brazen enough to pursue

a better self, independent in basic care.

The dignity freely promised by the country but

not delivered without steep shipping & handling fees.

But, I have not forgotten my burnt crust.

And, I am not going to be burnt by circumstance –

it fuels me. And the memory warms me to believe.

To fight, and hope, in the name of freedom,

To burn my crust.

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Oh! Sweet Frontal Lobe!

Don’t fail me now!

If I let my mind wander a minute I let it wander 74 miles! I have so many pots cooking each day, because despite my weariness, I am at home in myself again and I want to ACCOMPLISH THINGS! And muses keep coming. When I could be filling in parts of Sickybeat, I find myself coming up with ideas to better manage time. I could sit and write until something works, or I can imagine a life where my desk is perpetually organized because I’ve found every useful gadget and stacking strategy (haha!)

I found myself wanting to browse Amazon for future purchases and realized, I was feeling okay. Not too tired to think. Not in pain or ill. My mood was decent. Essentially, everything that usually holds me down was at bay. I was wanting to imagine because I’d started the day trying to address a package delivery issue for my baby sister. it had burnt me out before I could even start to fix it, in that general soul-anaesthetizing way that little things can. nothing was wrong, but my enthusiasm has been groggy since noon.

After realizing how disappointed I would be for being so frivolous with my time. I engaged my frontal lobe and chose delayed gratification. I wrote a segment and this post. I’ll save the sick days for when all my body can do is dream of better days

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Is it Trade,or Respect?

I see a lot of weaknesses in capitalism the way it exists today. Many of the most valuable things humans contribute are undervalued, if they aren’t presented in an approachable, or easy to swallow manner. If an act of kindness is too difficult, it’s hard not to leave it undone Even if we may enjoy, say, learning about the best ways to address personal health issues, like high blood pressure as a health nerd. Few people take the time to look past fads or pills to research, find those people who manage their health in a reasonable and safe way, and ask questions. If we do find a person who takes time to teach us, reciprocation is even more rare–if we’re not forced to pay money.

This is how a lot of work and kindness around us goes unnoticed. That may be why my first book didn’t go far: I was so focused on pushing it out to the public it didn’t occur to me that people’s time is valuable reading and reviewing and coming to events as my time spent writing, editing, and promoting was.

With SickyBeat, I try to take the time and review other books, blogs, websites I respect. It builds relationships and respect, and values of people’s work and time. If Someone isn’t a writer I create something for them, I give some of my skill and time for theirs.

But, I don’t call it capitalist trade, because my intent is not to overtake the other writers. I take the time because it was earned, and all the makers are people who have earned my admiration in general, even if I don’t like what is said. It’s like the idea that if someone else makes dinner to be nice, I eat it I don’t tell them how much I despise the artichoke, because they cooked for me and I got free time because of it. I also do the dishes to reciprocate.

What do you think?

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Writing, Living and That Weird “Balance” Thing

I’ve talked about listening to the needs of our bodies before, not only as an element of a happier healthier life but to maintain productivity and quality in the long run. I still struggle with this concept personally, but if I keep pushing I will burn out physically and mentally.

I did better when I faced a medical mix up this time; I didn’t even get upset. I didn’t become depressed and freeze either; I adapted and slowed down. Though I have learned to better regulate my emotions, I still feel the echos of anger and, more accurately, resentment. If I didn’t have so many complex health issues, if I hadn’t been born at 24 weeks, I wouldn’t need to slow down and/or stop nearly as often. Imagine all the extra things I could do. And no, I don’t mean if I didn’t have Cerebral Palsy and use a walker, I mean the layers of illness on top of each other.

I know, “It could be worse.” That is true, but my feelings are reasonable and legit. Looking at others with pity has never lifted me up, what keeps me getting up over and over is knowing that there is a better out their for me, a better I deserve. Whether it exists in another income bracket, another country, or in my own creativity, the only way to get there is to keep going. Sometimes it means I slow down to care for myself, but I never stop permanently. You shouldn’t either.

Thanks for taking the time to check in and for your patience, take care!

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My Nasty Habit

I think in metaphor, and write in metaphor, A LOT. During another feedback session with my reader metaphor has come up again. The tool can be useful, but as with much in life, I’ve gone to the extreme while using them to paint my pictures. Maybe the tangle of metaphors is my way of doing things with language that my body is in capable of, language is much more flexible than I’ll ever be. And yes, I had to fight to avoid metaphor in my last sentence.

What is too much metaphor in YOUR view? What other methods do you find effective in making a scene come alive? (For the record, I am being more mindful of my urge to rely on metaphorical imagery, and I almost did it again.) The habit is almost ingrained in my mind to the point that it doesn’t register. Maybe it has to do with my starting in poetry, but something tells me there are many poets out there who have an easier time, moderating the linguistic techniques they use.

I can also see a possibility that I turned to metaphor for scholastic (non-technical) writing in order to keep myself awake. Elementary school testing, and overly restricted essay requirements in later years, led me to think I didn’t like writing. I was constantly worried about where to place my commas among other aspects of “Conventions”-as my teachers used to call them. What’s more, writing by hand was difficult due to lack of fine motor skills and reaching all the keys from “Home Row” on a keyboard was another battle for the same reason. (Thought of yet another metaphor here.) Metaphor was a way to make writing fun again, and worth the struggle.

As my reader continues to go through my first draft she will find many more metaphors. Many will be metaphorically killed. Hey, moderation is okay! But my, “The Peristaltic Bowels” TV series metaphor will live on, even if I have to do some linguistic “re-casting.” It’s just that good. You’ll see 😉

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Another Perspective: How To Eat an Elephant

I am AHEAD of schedule with the third cover/Title pairing! A difficult feat for the software on my laptop and my patience. This imagery shines a different light on the story of my 20’s. It shows the light that wouldn’t dim during that time.

For those of you who know the elephant in the room concept, I played on that idea and also a phrase my momma told me when I feel/ felt overwhelmed, it seemed ridiculous at the time. I understand her lesson now, which boils down to: one bite at a time. Mommas phrase paired well with the not so hidden secrets almost all families, including ours, hold. It’s stuck in my head for a year and a half, and that is usually a sign of value, so I hope you enjoy this one.

I will start setting up a poll to get your feedback tomorrow, and I will have it up by Thursday in another blog post. I will include a “5 second pitch,” in that post which will also be open to constructive feedback!

I look forward to hearing from everyone in the poll and hope you are compelled to share it as well 😉

See you soon

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It is a Strange, Weird, Day (Surprise Positive Development)

Folks, I have good news! I was able to create a second cover and title option I like. (The image at the top of this post.) This second one takes a different visual approach, the elements all tie to the story in unique ways! I won’t give anymore away than that, and I appreciate your time, feedback and patience always!

I have a third option in the works, and hope to have it finished mid-week. On Thursday I intend to have a poll to get your opinion on the one you prefer based on a, “Five second pitch.” The pitch should help flesh out the soul of the story, and its purpose to help figure out which image suites the narrative and appeals to you, the readers!

Have a good week I’ll see you again soon!

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The Ultimate Question

When I was in middle school one of the well liked students (by teachers and students!), said in passing, “You know Mr. M, the shortest complete statement in the English is, I am.” The science teacher, Mr. M. engaged with this student and listened as he explained that in the sentence, “I” was the subject, and (being) “am” was the action.

Something about his statement didn’t site well with my thirteen year old self, and I think, after nineteen years, I can finally put a finger on what bothered me. To exemplify my explanation, and keep it brief: context. The word context is my complete answer and it is a reasonable one, if you have nineteen years to ponder this situation. A more concise answer is that “I Am.” Whether technically complete or not, is a meaningless phrase with no definition without context. WHAT AM I?

Further, in using just those two words and a period are we not making existence finite? “I am.” in an isolated position, is so permanent, and gives me a feeling of inflexibility. Inflexibility, tied to the lack of context dehumanizes a skill that, so far as research has taught me, is uniquely human. Language. (not to be confused with communication) I may be reading too much Noam Chomsky, and yet I prefer to ask open ended questions like why.

Yes, why my only be answerable some of the time, and it’s flexibility opens those involved up to division. (E.G. Why should there be/not be pet brought into the family?) but in this question there is opportunity for change and a defense of justifiable continuity. The same desire for a sense of definition that can be found in “I am.” is also the reason we have why. We want to know, and is order to to know, we often quash the curiosity of children as a rite of adulthood, but WHY?

😉 SickyBeat

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Sad Sound Effects Here

I wanted to thank everyone for their patience in regards to possible covers. I have been working one three options all week. The one that I have shared in my previous post, as well as others. The last two attempts I have made with my current program have ended in repeat freezes and laptop rebooting.

I have other solutions for creating my cover ideas, and I intend to keep working as long as it takes to bring them to fruition. I’m hoping that I will have the next two options and a poll within a week. I am trying not to put all my eggs in that basket, so to speak, in case something out of my control happens. But, let’s just say I have a lot of my creative eggs in the June 19th basket, just not every single one.

I’ll keep everyone update! Have a good weekend!

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Mark ‘Er Up!

My “Reader Zero,” i.e. the first person to read a full draft of the SickyBeat manuscript, came to me the other day. I was nervous and on the defensive the millisecond after realizing she wanted to discuss the book, because I knew what her issue was. In my struggle to order the printing (from multiple online sources) I put the pieces first which seemed to focus on my adoration of Shania Twain. This individual isn’t a fan, and she worried that the entire book would have that, teenager freaking-out-over-idol, vibe.

She read a line, a metaphor referencing Shania, meant to signify my state of mind at that time of life. I expressed that to my reader, still having to admit that the tone that came across when SHE read it didn’t fit my intended message. When I had done a verbal edit I knew where I stand, and the exact meaning I was trying to convey. Although I have a fair command over the English language, I also tend to use words as a poet first.

I rely on imagery to a degree that is not as common in other written forms. The term, “Flowery Language” is a common one for this habit; I don’t like the term because it has a negative connotation to some. I use vivid words to express a scene or idea.

The issue is,the same words evoke different images to different people. Much of the power people assign to language is driven from the context of their own experiences. When I began writing this book, (the piece my reader and I discussed was written in the first few months,) I was writing for myself. I had a vague sense that I wanted to publish the final product, but my goal at the time was to get the stories on paper, in a tone that appealed to my own sensibilities best.

Fortunately for this book, I’ve done enough work on recognizing my emotions, and the thoughts behind them, that I was able to hold my tongue. There was more she had to say than what I expected, and it was very useful. To assure my reader that this book was more than the first few pages she’s read, I had her jump to a random spot in the middle and tell me if she saw a different tone. She said yes.

Since I know what it’s like to be utterly turned off, or hooked, by a paragraph I am grateful for the opportunity feedback gives me. I was asked, how much she should say. My response was: write everything. I can take it all in and apply what helps the story come out in my intended fashion. I’d rather see it all than skip something out of kindness that turns out to be a big turn off.

My story is a valid and important one, I want to give it the time, work, and reflection it deserves!

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The World is Scary (And Sad) Enough.

This post covers my reflections while working on the first SickyBeat cover option. I will show the cover, and proposed title. Leave comments of what you like what comes to mind when you see it, and if you would read a book with a similar cover. I am not a pro with image editing and I hope you like it nonetheless!

I don’t like horror movies. I understand, the appeal, Sometimes fear reminds us we are alive. I like roller coasters for example. I like overcoming, I like learning from, and I like to stretch the limits of fear. So, why not the Saw trilogy? It feels to me as if the writers of horror movies have become more and more dependant on disembowelment, death and harm in general to bring us to fear. Is that necessary?

I mean, we have serial killers in human history. Why not watch a documentary? Or, dare I say…read a book? The world we live in is scary, but maybe that’s the appeal? The screen in between us and the story, the controlled plot, they expose us just enough while keeping us safe. The fear has a definition to it.

I love documenting my life in pictures because it let’s me look back and understand who I was from a different perspective while bringing forward the emotional reality I remember. The picture I used to make this sample cover is a great example of that. I distrusted everyone and myself. My stuffed bear (Bob…Just Bob please.) was the only witness to the world as well as my mind. I had no idea how plainly the psychosis and fear where playing out on my face, I was trying to look neutral….

Who needs horror movies?

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Patience Grasshopper-Control

The two things I hate most in the world are, lack of control, and having to wait. Right now those two things are a lot of my writing process. Feedback, editing, and any changes needing to be made that I could not see all depend on other people. If I tell a reader to hurry up, it can only hurt me: They may hurry for me, and miss observations that would have made me book stronger. And, if I just piss them off with demands…Well…

The world wasn’t built from the ground up with people who use assistive devices in mind. So, I don’t have control as much as the average person, and have to wait a lot more. Maybe that was one reason I fell into Anorexia- I thought I could control what I ate if nothing else. (Anorexia isn’t that simple, and I lost control of food too.) But, if I have to wait for almost everything else in life, how the heck do I add the burden of another wait to my world?

I wait by waiting. I know the finished product will come and, when it does, I will be overjoyed and nostalgic simultaneously. No one gets life back to re do entirely or to relive. While waiting, I turn to other things. I draw, I write poetry and compete in competitions, I take walks, nap, meditate, reflect, write letters (paper + pencil!) I study and research. And I savour how darn comfy the bed is.

Of course, there are Sicky-Book things that can be done that don’t include the manuscript, too. I found my photos from the last decade by random chance after I’d given up hope of seeing them again. I can choose photos to use for the book! I can reach out to the other actors in my story to check details. Finding a content/copy editor is useful, as is looking into the requirements of my chosen publishing method and getting into promotion (START THIS EARLIER THEN YOU’RE THINKING YOU SHOULD)

The most effective way to decide what to do next? Do what moves you most. I find that if I am getting ideas in any area, it’s best to strike while the iron’s hot? If no iron in the “Writer’s genre” is hot, do something that you want to do for a bit, and come back. If you find writing dreadful all the time, reflect on why you’re writing in the first place, if it’s a school/ worth requirement, reflect on what will make the process more effective.

Hey, this post took 45 minutes, that’s 45 minutes closer to Sickybeat!

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The Good Fear

I told everyone 12 days ago (sorry for the delay, and thank you for your patience) I was trying to print a draft of Sickybeat for a test-read by someone other than myself. Well, after some technical difficulties I did get a bare manuscript printed! 😀

Manuscript v2

It’s been a decade since I self-published my first book with a platform, and I know that I’ve improved in technique and conventions since June 2009. I had little experience publishing and no concrete directions for the writing of, I Ain’t Goin’ Down! I’m Proud of that book, and Sickybeat is better. But, I’m still nervously second guessing myself as it is read by other eyes.

Some people are anxious about more things than other people I, on the whole, am quite confident in most of the abilities and talents I have. The hard part is that my story is not always a bright one, and I could upset those I love with this new book. I didn’t intend to hurt anyone with the last one, but it happened and some family refuse to speak to me now.

I have become a more thoughtful and self-aware person in the last decade. But, even if my first book had been a family hit, the anxiety would still be here. I am revealing a part of my mind and thoughts during times of psychosis and selfishness. I am talking about things and people I enjoy that some people find annoying or fill in the ____. I’m asking FOR critique in my style and holes I may have missed in my writing. That vulnerability is hard.

And I am willing to face it so that I can grow.

My fears spawn reflection, and compassion for others. Fear is a messenger and I do my best to be an interpreter and listener without being overcome by it

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NEWSFLASH!!!

Hey everyone! EXCITED to say, I finished a second round of editing for SICKYBEAT! I’m going to let my mum read it first. (seriously, is that to cocky of a move? — We’ll see, right!)

I do have a tech issue, we don’t have great printing capacity. Neither of us have the eye strength to read on a computer or device. I tried to order a printing of my manuscript online, for pickup and there was some error on the website *if my allergies weren’t killing me, I’d be rolling my eyes.*

When I printed my last draft for editing I did it at a public library, because it was easy. Stupid COVID19.

As much as I want to set up print-to-pickup this very minute for peace of mind I’m going to wait. I can set up printing arrangements tomorrow. My body is shouting “REST!” And I’ve preached about listening to the body so much that I’d darn-well better follow my own advice. I regret it when I don’t.

Editing-Phase 2 is complete. Phase 3 appears to be on tomorrow’s horizon but, for now, I’m going to brush my teeth while I still have the motivation!

I’ll see everyone soon!

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You Will Do What matters

Some people with goals will work through them quickly, some slowly, and some never stop dreaming. Big and small, we are designed to desire success. Some goals last an hour, and we realize they aren’t for us after all. but the things that get done often nag at us constantly, chewing at the back of our minds until we are compelled to take action which will get what we want. Still, other ideas we’re passionate about, get lost because life won’t slow down for us.

Should we let go after a fixed time, if we haven’t worked on something for 2 years? Should we embrace a minimalist take on our aspiration when we’ve establish a life already? I’m not going to hand anyone an universal answer, but I can share two examples of what I’ve done.

If you’ve read this blog very long, you know that I love Shania Twain. I met her. The path to that accomplishment was long; it took 13 years, and it was not a progress laden journey. Cerebral Palsy, burns, depression, anorexia, countless hospitalizations, and 10 surgeries took place between the day 11-year-old me decided she wanted to meet Shania, and the day I did. Many people believed I would die because I was struggling on so many levels. There were years my ill health was all that was on my mind. And, I didn’t make progress, as hard as I tried, when I worked toward my goal.

But, I couldn’t let it go. When I was able to think clearly I always returned to thinking of creative new methods to make my impossible, my accomplishment. I wasn’t just throwing darts at a wall of ideas. I had to learn and incorporate new information constantly. At my first concert, where Shania read every sign I didn’t have a sign. When took a sign, it didn’t get her attention, so I kept trying, beyond the concert arenas. When my opportunity came it wasn’t planned.

For a slightly more recent example, the book I’m working on. I began writing in June of 2018; I loved this project from the start, but my body would allow me more than a half-hour at a time. Even when I was off of school and work for a weekend, and my weight had normalized from previous anorexic, life-threatening, lows; I couldn’t stay concentrate. My body wanted to sleep all the time.

I dosed in class, at work, and on the ride home, and I dosed after a few hundred words at my writing table. When at my most dysfunctionally exhausted, I stopped writing at all in order to preserve energy for things I couldn’t ignore, missing due dates for college assignments because I fell asleep before hitting the online submit button. If you’re wondering why I didn’t seek medical help, I was looking for answers, the process was extremely slow.

When I found a treatment that helped, a year had passed. My manuscript hadn’t been opened for 7 months, and I was drawn back to it with unfazed enthusiasm. Today was more productive than most, reading through and editing ten pages.

At times, I wonder if I am better doing other, easier, things. When going through long unproductive periods, I struggle to remember that no amount of time will dictate whether I leave an idea behind. If something seems like it has flowed slowly before freezing, I ask myself if it still moves or excites me. As long as motivation remains I’ll keep working over decades until it’s complete, or I’m dead.

Passion doesn’t always follow standards.

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Have You Ever Made THAT Kind of Mistake?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

No, I don’t mean walking out of a public restroom with a surprise white train following you? Not that time you failed your essay exam because you misread the question or got the numbers in a year reversed. Has someone stood by you, or done something to help, and you thought THEY KNEW how grateful you were because you’re family? Or, because any good person would appreciate something like what they did for you? Did you realize how meaningful an act of kindness was when it happened?

More often than I’d care to say, I have failed in the art of gratitude. I don’t mean making a list at the end of the day. I struggle to be AWARE of ways people go ABOVE being decent people for me. That kind of social ignorance doesn’t make me horrible (most of the time,) it does dim the light of good that is bigger than a relationship. I’ll give an example:

After I became a fan of Shania Twain and became active on an internet forum for fans (yeah, a forum from back in the day, and I miss it.) I started to try and use the internet to make connections and reach the goal I had of meeting Shania. ( (; ) I met a girl, Julia, and she did everything she could to help me make my dream come true.

Julia helped me start a website about it, we started online petitions and she virtually canvased people. She wrote letters to people, during the UP! tour (A_FREAKIN_MAZING tour FYI ❤ ) she cheered me up every time another fan reported back with photos where they got on stage (it happened often, Shania is very interactive.)

I was so upset about lost opportunities, and hard work floundering in the face of luck, that I never thought to say thank you in an honest way. Julia showed no resentment toward me so, I never thought about it. Until *spoiler…….* I did succeed the story about what happened the weekend IT finally happened after 13 years is a a true “against all odds” story and I wanted to tell my friend.

But, I can’t find Julia to this day. After the Shania forum closed down we lost contact. I spent years with Julia and I whined, and cried, and b!tched about everthing going wrong and “impossibility” and, “unfairness” my friend helped me, and all she got out of it overall was the worst of me.

How likely are we to be that selfless. In the history of humanity tiny kindnesses don’t necessarily change the world as a whole, but they can change those who give and those who receive them. Our actions cause ripples. our inaction can too.

I may never connect with Julia again, but if I manage to I will thank her. I know there are people whose chance to express gratitude to another person face to face is gone, because that person has died, I’ve been there too. It doesn’t have to end that way, if we’re willing to work.

As I write the Sickybeat story, I do my best to grow into a better human; for Julia, and Lex, and so many other people who stood by me at my best and worst.

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The World Revolved Around me–and Couldn’t Keep Up With The Drama.

I’ve self-published a poetry chapbook, and a memoir before, and both taught me a lot about writing. If I were to choose which of the two processes had a larger impact on me though, it’d be the memoir. In fact there would be a lot less material for my current project without that book. (No spoilers!)

The takeaway was- it’s hard to do justice to other people in nonfiction unless they label themselves agreeably. Most people are extremely complex in their behaviour. When stripped, brain and bodily reactions to one another are based in logical motivations-and most of these motivating factors remain unseen.

The most outgoing person could be a horrible spouse in any number of ways that leave no signs. Or the loner with no social capital and even less concern for pop culture may have the brightest heart- either way how do you write about someone who only shows part of themselves?

Now if you’re thinking, “My experience is mine and it is valid, I have a right to express it to others.” That is true, but it isn’t always effective in getting what we want. If this person is a family member, neighbour, or co-worker, you will have to deal with them after the final words you’ve shared are read, they don’t necessarily make the subject change for the nicer, or go away, trust me.

But, our experiences are valid. So, I find myself trying to understand the perceptions of those I write about too. Even if I disagree with those perceptions. If something is said that felt mean or passive-aggressive, I define the experience and do what I can to own it, “I felt attacked/threatened/useless/offended etc…”

I try my best not to hide from my own mistakes, writing reflectively can make it easier to be more self-aware in the present and future as well. I’ve realized that when facing something that leaves me emotionally or physically uncomfortable in the immediate future, I get mean.

For example, In January when I was hospitalized and needed to drink a horrid cocktail, and a lot of it, for a procedure to follow a few days later, I wasn’t cooperative at first. I started shouting at my poor nurse about how much I hated the prep and procedure and that she dare not try that fake empath…I heard her say it was okay if I didn’t like her and yelled at her, and realized that it wasn’t okay at all. I apologized before my body could even completely calm itself.

If I hadn’t been self-aware about my own tendencies I would have remained stuck in my discomfort and the torturing memories of the other ten billion times I’ve been in the hospital. The story of that January stay would have become another misstep that I regret today. I make mistakes often, as do the subjects of our writing Because there is so much we don’t share in our world, no one can understand anyone else’s burdens fully. That isn’t an excuse for harms we’ve experienced or those we commit, it is a reason to try our best to grant people the grace, darkness, weirdness, potential, and kindness we all possess. Everyone is part of someone’s story.

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Surprises and Persistence

I have a lot of plans each morning about writing and editing, learning new words in my favourite language app and and the psychology of language itself, and so many other things. In all honesty, my expectations are too high for the perfect day, and I am lucky to wake up optimistic even when I have been struggling. Hope doesn’t spring eternal for everyone.

At the end of the day, if I am unsatisfied with my degree of accomplishment it’s the result of a choice I made. I chose to focus on one goal over others, to let my mind wander, or to take a nap. Persistence is hard, even when I want something so much that I try (and sometimes fail) to work on it every day. Persistence is even harder when things happen we can’t control.

I woke up at 3:30am on Mother’s Day with what I thought to be a severe sinus headache, but within an hour it became cold sweats and vomiting as well. by breakfast, a few hours later it hurt to open my eyes and felt like my muscles were melting from the bone. I’d gone to bed early the night before with plans to make up for lost time in the morning. I didn’t do anything I planned yesterday; I went to the hospital instead.

I feel alright now, and have no answers as to what caused my discomfort, but I pick up where I left off instead of wasting time ranting about my lost time. If you had known me two years ago I would not have known how to practice radical acceptance. (Letting go of what is past and living now.) But with a lot of practice looking at the big picture, and having to pick myself up when I fall backward, I know it feels a lot better than depression over what I can no longer control or never could. Persist and grow with what you have where you are and there will always be reason for hope!

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The Weirdo Gets Weird(er)

As an elementary school kid, I never paid much attention to my difference from other kids. Sure, I have Cerebral Palsy and used a wheelchair most of the time but, I was never treated much differently. As a human my tendency is to remember the negative, (including my tantrum at 5 years old as I didn’t get the Christmas gift I so wanted in ’93.) My point being, I don’t forget pain, PEOPLE don’t, when it matters.

Then, I turned 11 and grew. It became harder to do things with me both socially, and for day to day care. No longer a small kid in a cute wheelchair who wore cute dresses or shirts with dancing teddy-bear ballerinas. Sweat-pants became common and my movement decreased, as happens when you don’t visit friends outside of school. At school, adults dreaded liability and my school activities decreased. (I had done the best push-up in my PE class in second grade. Alas!)

So, is it a surprise that, after 5 years of being labelled “Different,” I began to own my label. And a lot of the labels I had been given as far back as my memory goes, too? I became weird beyond my inherited norm. I became severely Anorexic before my 17th birthday. Food wasn’t scary, food was symbolic and the meaning scared the F*&# outta me.

By age 29 I’d had several, “There is no way you should be alive” days. Psychosis was my thought pattern. Fear was my world, I was afraid of myself and long prior had lost my identity to my eating disorder. I was obsessed with routine, to the minute. (I can’t give the whole story, what would I put in the SickyBeat book?)

After 13 years of fear and self-isolation, I finally realized that fear had taken my life, if I was going to be afraid constantly, and without reason what was the point? Which leads me to my final questions for you. Is life without fear possible? Is it worth it?

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To H-E-Double…Well, I Digress…

Let me get to the point: there are no tricks to ease my problems into the past. No quick solutions to the work required to reach our goals and define ourselves. There is work and time necessary in everything worthwhile.

But BINGE WATCHING?!?!?- Yep, that too. When we watch our favourite shows (hello Bob’s Burgers! ❤ ), We are analyzing the shows in terms of each character’s relationship with the others’. We decode the meaning behind jokes, and put ourselves in similar situations… How many times have you told your TV something like “No! That is NOT Ariana Grande! Obviously, it’s Janet Jackson!” *referencing a flubbed Jeopardy guess earlier this week*

Fictional TV has similar effects, *person is chased by a stranger* everyone watching, “IDIOT! Do not run into the dark alley I would____, instead!” Some activities are less involved, but if you aren’t thinking in some way, taking in information and analyzing, then you are dead by definition. Even meditative clearing of the mind takes effort, and a lot of it.

There are ways to do almost everything more effectively which require less energy, less work. Work will remain part of any successful venture no matter how much you believe in reductionism. Effort is living.

Here is an illustrative example, When I was in the 7th grade I did a personalized pysED program with my aid. One other student and his aid spent the time with us. My goal one afternoon was to walk up a ramp using the rail one the left side, I hated the idea. walking with a single support is hard, and up hill!!! I knew my aid must despise me, but I wasn’t any sort of rebel. I began to do as I’d been instructed.

The other student began to beg his aid to let him try the same activity. He had a muscle wasting disease that was hastened by usage, so my friend was denied. What I was doing was a great effort, and a great freedom. I asked both adults what kind of life this boy was getting if he could not accomplish and experience things. They said, in essence, they wanted to extend his life.–They seemed to think the ability to watch others for a longer time was better than using a shorter time in a way that was filling.– Cerebral Palsy forced me out of many things deemed “Unsafe,” or too “Hard/time consuming.” I will tell you, having to watch others always makes it worse.

The point of this post is not too complex: most fads, tricks, or shortcuts offered to us are nothing but placebos with bows on top. These things play on our psychological desires to conserve energy for better things and be better people. How much of what we seek to make easier/shorten is life itself? The boy from my story is likely no longer alive. Each time the idea of editing my writing, or exercising or speaking fills me with dread I remind myself how many stories and lives in histories around the world are remembered as purely gold stickers and golden spoons…. And My friend would love to be able to struggle, even if he just hit the floor.

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The Science of Fo—

I feel silence is acceptably uncomfortable in a few situations. When sleeping, while listening/processing, in order to provide space to someone needing to get something difficult out, and when reading a book out loud we need silence. The rest of the time silence is awkward. (For me.)

A little bit of background sound can do a lot. It helps me not to feel isolated as a person with a physical disability whose friends were rarely allowed to invite over as a kid. (I was seen as fragile by many adults. How little they knew.) Podcasts can help us learn and process new ideas. Music can be a great stimulus to the creative juices and keep energy up to do anything.

I am writing this post with my favourite Pandora play list blasting! *Melissa Ethridge at this moment!*

My struggle is, if I am actively trying to get a story on my laptop, I have to be careful what I put in my background. My If I hear a new song, or one that brings forward too many intense memories my mind wanders./I sing If I’m listening to an interesting podcast…I get interested in that. News radio, just NO.

Here’s a tip: when listening to people’s voices our brains are pretty hard wired to translate what’s being heard and give it context. If the message is one of on coming danger we need to know. Which is why I can’t listen to my favourite podcasts (Court Junkie w/ Jillian, & Write Now w/ Sarah Werner.) These shows are often introducing me to new ideas and resources, and I constantly stop writing to stop and note them. Sometimes a Court Junkie episode sets me off on a rant.

My answer is to listen to face paced instrumental music, music I know by heart that makes me feel positive, (cue Shania Twain), or music in another language. I get the power of sound without as much of the distraction because my brain isn’t trying to focus on and decode the meaning in the sound.

What sounds help you focus? Or, do you prefer silence?

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Watching my Mouth,and my Keyboard

I started getting interested in the mechanics of language, linguistics and Noam Chomsky, because I wondered what made my writing appealing to other people. Could I appeal to a broader group by using different vocabulary and get the same message across and valued by a greater audience?

I know that one of the most effective ways to have an impact is to help readers “feel” an idea. (Political ads are a good example, low slow music for a negative ad/sunlight and kids happily learning for a positive one.) It is said a picture paints a thousand words; if done well 5 words can paint a thousand pictures. Much of the power in ASPCA ads comes from the lyrics BEHIND the imaged of sad, poorly treated, pets-to-be.

I am beginning to understand more of the potential of words on a page (or screen) and how uniquely powerful they are, alone. When we read, the image each audience member creates is different even if the words have similar meaning because we all have different associations with meanings of sentences and different contextual life experience with the messages conveyed. I’ll give you an example below.

Imagine Joanna Shmoe wrote the following sentence: Rachel smirked mysteriously before she walked into the hardware store.

I know a few Rachels. No matter how hard we try, our brains will look for patterns and relationships; so, I read the sentence with expectations that “Rachel” will behave similarly in the author’s story as the Rachels do in my experience. Consider the word smirk, is it playful, ominous, or condescending in your mind? Ff the author decided not to qualify it where does it take you? If the smirk is qualified as painful, but you think of smirks as evil, could you shake your own association with the image in your mind?

The complexity of language and its living nature is sometimes hard two wrap our head around. (That is one of the many challenges in the law: interpretation.) Simultaneously, interpretation of language is a powerful tool allowing infinite meaning with the finite number of sounds/words people can create. (Gotta love sarcasm and humor; passive aggressiveness – not so much.

A tip to say good night: if you want to know how readers will generally view a character, write a few paragraphs in that characters voice and share it with friends. Ask them to describe the character as they would a casual acquaintance you had never met. If the language used gives the vibe you want to the majority, great! if not, try different language/descriptors. Check out my tools >PAGE< to find help!

Bonne Nuit! (goodnight!),

Sickybeat!

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I Ran Out of Brain Power (To Make a Witty Title!)

It takes mental training to strengthen focusing abilities of many people and that kinda sucks! If I can’t sit and push out a chapter, or a page, of good quality in one sitting during a quarantine, then what can I do during breaks to refresh my thought process and desire to write? How long will it take?

If you’ve ever had any thoughts like this, I can help you find answers. Starting with the second question; recharging breaks can take as little as a few minutes. YAAAY! The lesson that is recurrent in my life applies here; listen to your body. If it seems as though you are facing writer’s block, or a general long lasting funk, there is likely a reason, and it often goes beyond material quality.

When my brain want’s to avoid writing and I pull it along like dead weight while I am witty and happy in other situations, [even cleaning the toilet!] (gasp!!) The way I have luck fixing my process is by taking apart the pieces of it until I see the piece that needs oiling or changing. Has my space changed? Am I lonely/depressed does the topic of my writing bring up unaddressed emotions? Am I sick physically? Etc….. Some blocks are easier to fix and clear than others and there is no one write way (see what I did there? I hope it makes you 😀 )

Now if your in need an everyday type of break to recharge, I have a solid approach beginning with the same step every time: create distance. For me that means whatever I do to recharge I don’t do it with my laptop. Whatever your main place is to put your story ideas get away from it; when at my laptop I am in writer mode, even on Twitter. You can use your phone for internet if you want to do that. But, even then, on a break where I intend to return to a project the same day, I try to escape the screens until I am satisfied with my writing for the day. – Our brains are unconsciously cued by environment.

I DO:

Read books I’m interested in (legal books/ Linguistics books/ neurobiology/science of mental health and autobiography are my jam!)

Listen to music and sing along shamelessly (Shania Twain is my musician of choice followed by P!nk do not try and tease me over it, That Don’t Impress Me Much! I’ve learned to tune out negativity about music!) DO YOUR THING!

Doodle/Color- I love doodling because I change my focus from words to imagery and color and the process is less in my head. Since I am creating a visual image I focus on different details than those I do in prose.

If, when you return to writing, you have trouble picking up at the start try using another format (For example, poetry has many sub-formats to choose from). Talking knots out verbally can also help.

Do you take breaks while writing? How can you tell When you need one? What do you do to entertain yourself during a break? Maybe you’ve thought of something I haven’t! Please comment and tell me your method.

See you soon,

SickyBeat

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Echos of a Child’s Mind.

I was told as a child that I was not a good vocalist-NOT just by my siblings-by teachers in music classes. It made sense, when I heard my voice recorded the way others hear it, I despised it. No wonder my high school teacher scolded me in the middle of class practice. Music had been a chosen part of my curriculum until I dropped the class sophomore year and didn’t look back.

the idea that I was a lost cause musically, became a defensive joke I have hid behind for the last 17+ years. A week ago, bored in quarantine, I stumbled on a karaoke app and downloaded it. If I can’t laugh at my sister’s shenanigans, or my friends’, I CAN create my own. Best of all, I could use my killuoke (I’m so inherently bad it may kill!) to amuse everyone into a laughing ab workout,

When I started with this app, I was as cringe worthy as ever. I kept playing around to de-stress between editing sessions. I learned a lot about breath, tongue placement, and how I remember what hitting certain notes feels like. What was a joke and a good break the ice intro to this website has become a skill that I can mold again- I am not defined.

I had an epiphany today thinking about the way a writer needs a thick skin starting out, that need is something I had when it came to my voice. I didn’t take the time to demand an explanation, owned it as truth, accepting it by age 14 and leaving something that brings me peace and joy.

Similarly the skill of writing elicits negative feedback and people own it without demanding explanation. How can we improve the skill without using and sculpting that muscle. If someone can’t explain their opinion and support it, it’s no more valuable than an empty paper bag in the wind. Writing means to me that I write until I like a piece as a whole every day when I wake up. If I cringe I need to work my writing muscle more.

If you’re curious:

This < is what I sounded like when I first started working with my voice

Here < is my more recent one after 13 days of practice and exploration

I won’t become a professional singer, I don’t want to, I do want to write and I’ll keep going until I’m satisfied. I hope you discover that courage too!

Here

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If/Then Statements and Relationships

When I’m not doing any authorly focused activities ( writing, research, reading, building/maintaining relationships, promotion…) I am studying law and for the law school entrance exam. there is much in the entrance exam that I can do naturally well on an average day, and the parts I struggle with….*Cough looking at you Analytical Reasoning diagrams…Cough,* I improve with practice and patience.

Anyway, in the exam if/then statements are a critical way to express relationships in the abstract. For example: (given fact): if DudeX walks then ChickN runs. The idea is to realize that, given a relationship between facts (people) we can greatly restrain the possible number of conclusions made about the information and learn more than we might at first notice.

To carry forward my example, we know that if DudeX DOES NOT WALK then ChickN doesn’t have to run. She can take part in any number of things given the untold circumstances of my example situation because the other factor (DudeX) didn’t play by the rule.

Why would I mention this here on a writing blog? Because, the other day someone asked me why they should care about this blog or anything I do and I was reminded of these if then statements used to define rules and relationships in law which help lawyers figure out outcomes of cases.

I may never become rich, certain people won’t relate to or agree with what I say, but we exist in the same space essentially. If you see me and don’t engage we have no relationship and then we may miss out on something important we could have offered one another. As in any relationship one can find a way to leave, (especially an internet website) but we can’t know what we are unaware of…… If someone comes off as annoying because they were trying to get an ad up for a blog like mine and the ad didn’t come out as the author intended (I don’t do internet ads I’m a law geek and writer not an advertiser, captain!) Why make a harsh statement?

We attempt things before we know them. We see people before we talk to them. Where are we if we start in negativity? And what we miss out on then?

Sometimes The Bravest Choice

Humans fight,

illness

each other

time

the odds

the pain

Nature

the darkness

ourselves.

We tire and fight on

we fall and rise again to fight

we mourn and use our pain

as fuel for fighting

our urge to urge to rest

to learn and understand

so that we may forget needless fear

to heal, and grow

beyond a rapidly hollowing status quo

Dr. Suess for Adults

I am an adult

And I know that the woman

Is sick with fear,

Stunted

In the disguise of an adult.

But, my knowledge doesn’t blunt her viciousness.

Or her power as a “parent”

To isolate and try to destroy a sister.

I don’t hate her,

I despise knowing that no amount of distance or amount of time, will stop my aching,

Or my compassion

When she lashes out with hate on a dime @sickybeat

Because You’re Not …Because You Are

No one will say out loud that she killed herself.

To be honest, I know none of the reasons her friends use softer language, but I can make educated guesses:

Because it hurts to say,

Because suicide is wrong.

Because death is scary and sad

Because she gave up on treatment

Yes, my heart hurts that she hurt so much that she just didn’t see the point anymore.

Suicide can only be wrong if it is committed as a desperate act which could have been prevented if society didn’t build so many barriers to thriving

The expectation of what death is is no worse than the pain and suffering of life sometimes

And I wish she was here now, so many people do and I am saddened at the people who refuse to understand.

In circumstances far less painful people give up and are still respected they lean on money and name recognition for “success” and they parade by crowds in limousines to exercise unearned power.

I will not say my friend passed away, because soft words blunt her reality of interal pain. Nothing will end suffering if all we do is bury humanity in labels to hide their dying hearts.

Everyone Needs Some Hope And A HaPPY DanCE-Take Some Of Mine :)

I have been sick again over this last two weeks, (not covid yay!), but it sure felt awful! I am getting back into my groove, and I can prove it! A friend of mine said to me once that if someone is singing a song they love, don’t tease them, they’re are happy and we shouldn’t ruin it. When I was constantly in the hospital in the past I didn’t sing or dance at all. Today I did BOTH!

I hope that where ever you may be right now, you can find a reason to dance and laugh! (This video perhaps?)