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Tag Archives: Self-Discovery

Why aren’t you posting?

The world might be vicious and treacherous and deadly, but it couldn’t kill laughter. Laughter, like love, has power to survive the worst things life has to offer. And to do it with style. 

Blood Rites By Jim Butcher

I’m a slacker. I know. Not only have I not been posting, but I have not been reading. I barely have the energy to pick up books and read a page. But there are reasons for my absence. Here is why:

1) I FINALLY FINISHED MY THESIS! I turned it in and defended it! Last Thursday! My whole body feels the lightening of the stress. It was as if I had weights dangling off of me, and they turned into birds and flew away. I’M DONE!!

2) My adviser and I had a talk. I decided NOT to continue on with comprehensive exams and dissertation. Meaning, No Dr. Kwon. It was a hard and easy decision at the same time. Hard because I felt like a quitter. By not finishing it, was I saying, “I know I’m not smart enough, so I quit.” Am I failure? But my adviser told me “You are brilliant, but I don’t think you want to do this.” And he was right. I was not motivated to finish. Research was NOT a direction I wanted to go. And hearing someone who is 10 times smarter than me say that I’m smart was a huge ego boost. In the end I realized, I wasn’t quitting, but I was starting something new.

3) Travels, visits, holidays. This is just a busy time of year. Just went to Chicago, sister coming for thanksgiving, and in a few weeks going home for the holidays. There is no break. It’s cleaning, packing, unpacking, cleaning, and the circle goes on.

4) I got off my depression meds. Completely. Bye bye Welbutrin XL! I went cold turkey, too. It has been nearly two weeks, so far I am still sane. No breakdowns, no tears, and no suicidal thoughts. Life is good! I have had no negative triggers lately, so there has been no tests. We’ll see what happens when I run into negative triggers.

5) The husband and I decided we needed more space. We are moving sometime in April of next year. So we are sorting through stuff, getting rid of things, etc. etc. He has been doing most of the work. He’s such a trooper. ❤

There is one major life change I have not mentioned yet. However, it will take a long post just to talk about this one item, so I’ll post about that later. As if finishing your master’s, getting off of depression meds and moving isn’t enough of a life change 😛

As for plans, I hope over the next few weeks I can settle down and read more and review more. I have huge backlog for NetGalley and Edelweiss. They will be a priority for reviews, so my regular reads may or may not get reviews. Sorry for that! But I hope to get back to my creative writing, also.

For a long time, life froze me from moving forward. I was stuck. Now after all that hard work and a few laughs later–I’m finally moving to Act 2!

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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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I Probably Won’t

“I think in some ways every single person, human, vampire, whatever, has a choice to make: to be full of rage about what happens to you or to reconcile with it, to strive for the most honorable existence you can despite the odds.”

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

Hopefully by now everyone has heard about the rape of the Steubenville girl, the delinquent verdict of the two perpetrators  We have probably heard about the town and it’s members rallying for the two guys who raped the girl. By now, you have probably heard the tale of the sympathizing attitude of CNN and other leading news outlets. No, they were not sympathizing with the victim, they were sympathizing with the perpetrators.

I can talk to you about how disgusted I am by the ordeal. How appalling it is that grown men and women made excuses for these guys. I could tell you how journalists compromised human decency when they revealed the victim’s name to the public. You probably have already heard of the “drunk girl” and the “boys will be boys” rhetoric, and one or two of you may even be a part of it. You have heard of living in a rape culture and wondered who would perpetuate such horrid ideals.

But we are not going to talk about others say or do. Because I may also be participating in rape culture.

I was molested as a child. I am pretty open about it, it happened, and that’s reality. One thing I always held on to was, “at least I wasn’t raped.” Or, “so much worse has happened to children so much younger.” “I was just molested, not raped,” was my to go mantra.

But this tragedy brought up the question: What is rape? How is it defined? www.womenaresafe.org defined it as:

Rape is sexual penetration (genital, anal, or oral, including any intrusion – however slight) into any part of a person’s body (with emission of semen not required) and involving one or more of the following elements:

  • Force or coercion
  • Victim did not consent
  • Victim is unable to give consent

(8 to 30 years in prison)

The FBI defines it the same way, as do most organizations that are experts in the field.

But like the people who are denying that what happened to the girl was rape, I do not want to view what happened to me as rape. My mind rejected the notion immediately. But then logical reasoning started to fall in place. Men can rape women, men can rape men, women can rape women, and women can rape men. Any kind of object can be used, from body parts to candlesticks. And if it’s not consented and sexual in nature, then it’s rape.

And that meant I had to admit something that I have been avoiding my whole life…

Days later, and I still can’t say it aloud. Just the thought of saying the words  makes me nauseous. I couldn’t even type it out without feeling wrong.

Yet, by not admitting it, am I not letting the rape culture fester? By not admitting it, am I not saying that those high school boys did not rape the girl? Am I dishonest? Dishonorable?

I don’t know. I’ll get back to you on that.

Actually, I probably won’t.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A New Direction

“I do my best thinking when I’m not actively pursuing a thought. Ideas are like small prey, scuttling into corners when a cat tries to chase them, coming out to play when the cat sits silent and unmoving.”

Raven Cursed by Faith Hunter

As some of you may know, I have been working on a novel about a Courtesan named Marisol. The story was set in a future Utopian-esque society. I worked on it for awhile, but I kept getting stuck. I changed plot points and uncomplicated the story. Yet, Marisol’s story never flowed properly.

After I had taken the writing class, I realized part of the reason why I was struggling because I was doing so much wrong. Some of it was sentence structure issues. Guess how many of my sentences started with a “There are”? A lot. No child can count that high. Some of my other issues were plot structure and story idea related. Marisol’s story complicated enough that my readers were confused. Plot holes existed throughout the story. I changed the original so much, the meaning of the story got lost.

I am not sure where the original idea came. It probably came to me in a dream, in a place where I wasn’t actively pursuing a story idea. The story idea grew organically, and when I asked a friend which story I should do for class, she chose this one. And it blossomed into something I couldn’t have imagined.

Maya is the new protagonist of my new dystopian world. She’s a a young widow, mother of 2 children. She has lost a lot, and is in the process of losing more. And you better believe it takes place in the Greater DC/MD/VA area. The short had rave reviews and was truly the best story I have written. I had a lot of help, but that’s how you get to the place of dreams. I still have a lot to learn, but learning is a part of the process.

So, I will be talking to you about Maya. I am using the book by Alan Watt called The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the story within. I can’t follow his advice and work on my story every day for 90 days, but by the end of summer I’ll have a completed novel? We’ll see. I’m still taking classes and still in the process of trying to find a good writer’s group. I hope you like the new direction of my writing!

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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31.6 later…

“Life has moments hard to describe 
Feeling great and feeling alive 
Never coming down from this 
Mountain we’re on, 
Always knowing we’re gonna be fine 
Feeling great and feeling alive 
Never coming down from this 
Mountain we’re on…”

“On the Ride” by Aly & AJ

We’re gonna be fine….

It’s gotten to the point where I’m finally noticing changes in my body. I look a little bit smaller in pictures, my clothes fit differently, and the most important, my boobs are smaller! I know that sounds funny, like “how can a person be excited about losing bra sizes?” Well for those with massive breasts can agree, it’s GREAT. I may go buy new bras soon, or I may wait a bit more. We’ll see.

The question has been coming up, “how are you doing it?”. Well it has been a lifetime battle. So many diets, so many insults, tears. :::Shudders::: So what has worked?

I. STOPPED. CARING.

Really. I stopped worrying about calories on my plate, stopped counting, stopped giving a shit about what people think when they look at me. I stopped trying to be attractive according to others’ standards, stopped worrying about not eating certain things. I stopped caring about “I have to finish my plate because there are starving kids around the world” and I stopped caring about the bitches that say “oh should you eat that?”.

Stopping caring led to other things. I started listening to my body. I’m not hungry. I don’t eat. I don’t care if I paid for a whole meal, or if I’m at a buffet. I eat when I’m hungry.

It led to eating what I want. I want chocolate, I eat it. When I want. Where I want. How I want. But that also meant, I stopped wanting greasy food. I realized I never could stomach overly greasy foods in big amounts. It makes me sick. So why do I eat it? I don’t. I started realizing, wow I’m craving a salad. Like really. Not so much lettuce, but peppers and onions. I love red onions.

It led to loving what I am now. I care about myself for no other reason that I matter to ME. This is probably hardest for me still (ironically, the one I worked on the most). I like what I see, as long as I don’t let other people’s opinions bother me. I have to make a conscious effort to ignore those opinions. But, I try to do things, be things, that make me happy. If it makes me unhappy, I try to do otherwise. It seems selfish, but when it makes me happy to give money to the homeless person, or to be courteous enough to let a person cut in line, well then…

I’m eating fewer calories and burning more. Bare tacks, that is what a diet is supposed to be. The problem is, we focus on the weight and details without focusing on what the problem is behind it all.

Soooooo…. how did I lose 31.6 lbs? I think I have only part of the answer. But the rest? Well, life has moments hard to describe… Feeling great and alive, and we’re never coming down from this!

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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HAES: My Personal Struggles with Weight Loss

“What you eat is less important than why you eat it.”

Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon

So I finally finished the book, Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon.  You can find the review for it here.  Instead of posting a review of it here, I decided to write multiple posts this week discussing some of the points the author made and how it relates to my life.  Before I write those posts, here is a brief summary of my struggles.

I have been overweight ever since puberty hit.  One day I was a normal child, the next day my boobs were bigger than that of a pregnant woman.  My habits have been on and off healthy and unhealthy.  At my unhealthiest, I would eat ice cream cake for breakfast (my dad’s choice of course), sat around and studied or chatted on IM because I wanted to avoid my family, ate chocolate because nothing else made me feel good.  What else? I threw temper tantrums like a pretty emotionally unbalanced teenager.  As a young adult, I appeared emotionally stable, but inside I felt like a constant pressure cooker.  I used food and the occasional needle (literally, not drugs) to ease the pain.  Fast food was especially a refuge.

What diet haven’t I tried? Everything from slim fast to atkins to weight watchers to raw food . . . Lemonade fast?  Oh I did them all.  Sometimes I lost as much as 45 lbs.  And then I would gain it back and then some.

My biggest problems in life came from emotional issues.  Abused (emotionally, physically, sexually).  People who didn’t understand as a kid or even as an adult.  Friends who thought I was lazy or stupid abandoned me when I needed them the most.  I hated myself, felt I was ugly and unattractive.  On top of all of that, the negative attitudes of my weight and the comments of “oh you would be so beautiful if you lost weight” just perpetuated the cycle.  And the dam broke four years ago, and I became suicidal and withdrew from everything and everyone.  Rationally I knew something was wrong, but no matter what, emotionally I could not bring myself out of the hole.  I started therapy, diagnosed with depression, and the tide started to turn.

I got married to the most wonderful guy who I call “my knight in shining leathers” because he took me away from negative people and shrouded me in positivity.  I made friends who loved me and tried to understand me as I was.  Therapy started delving into the deeper issues.  The issues of my sexual abuse.  My parents and family.  My self-confidence.  My weight.  I started taking Welbutrin, which worked like a miracle drug for me.  All of a sudden I could handle my life.

My views of myself changed.  My weight became less of an issue.  Sure people still tried to tell me what to do otherwise.  But I started to realize that I was beautiful, and I didn’t really care about my weight.  Food started to mean, fuel, not emotional comfort. I don’t crave sugars as much as I crave fiber now.  I want to eat the banana so I can feel full longer.  I eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast because then I feel fuller longer. I go to the gym because I want to, not because I have to.

And guess what? I lost 30 lbs, and KEPT IT OFF.  When weight stopped mattering, and my health, both emotional and physical, started taking precedence–I started feeling a lot better.  If I don’t lose any more weight, it won’t matter because my health just improves day by day.

So when I read this book, I knew I had to share some of the points the author made with you guys.  So tomorrow I will write about negative attitudes.  I don’t know how many posts there will be, but rest assured, it won’t go on for longer than a week 😉

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Traveling into Urban Fantasy

“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” 

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

I have become an Urban Fantasy junkie. I love it. I love the world building, the magic, the characters. I like the fact that I can become so immersed in a world so different from ours without having any dire consequences in real life. Because I mean really, in theory, Kate Daniel’s world is adventurous and magical, but who actually wants technology to fail and all our buildings to fall apart? I’m sure the people of Atlanta would be furious. But in books, you can love a world of brainless vampires and sexy shapeshifters as the world falls apart around you (literally and figuratively).

I started rereading the Kate Daniels series because of the new book coming out on Tuesday called Gunmetal Magic.  Now that I have been reading Urban Fantasy for over a year, I picked up on plot points I may not have before (foreshadowing of Julie’s eventual predicament), and noticed how seamlessly the series fits into the Urban Fantasy formula. Not that it’s not original–because these books are original and fascinating–but that I can easily see why I love this book and others.

So how did I get tangled up into reading almost 30+ series in UF/PNR (with a bunch of failed starts)? Here is my story . . .

I have always been fascinated with fantasy elements, mainly magic. I used to read TONS as a kid, split between romances and magic type books. Some mystery. But high school and college my reading slowed down a lot . . .

And then I discovered Harry Potter. Oh, how I love MAGIC! I got hooked on to reading again, but I was a busy college student and then grad school started . . . I read the Twilight series and was disappointed.

After I got married I wanted to explore my love for the supernatural, but without all the teen angst. I wanted grown up books, filled with adult emotions and sex. Someone suggested The Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I went to Amazon and did searches for fantasy, and the Kate Daniels series was highly recommended, so I bought both series (paperback, no kindle yet). I had never read about a world like Kate Daniel’s Atlanta and fell in LOVE. But I wasn’t addicted to the genre yet.

I read more books, but they were romance genre, and then got a kindle and was reading romances that just got kinkier and kinkier LOL. Around winter 2011-12, I wanted to go back to paranormal, so started reading the Breeds, and the Dark-Hunter Series.

When the 5th Kate Daniels book came out last summer, I was reminded of the genre and went searching for more. Read the Anita Blake series, which started out strong, but got weird quickly. Then I discovered the Elemental Assassin series, and fell in love AGAIN.  Followed by the Night Huntress series, because who doesn’t love a generous dose of Bones calling his beloved, “kitten”.

And then, I saw the Hollows, and looked at the first book and thought “cheesy” maybe I should skip it. But I read Dead Witch Walking, and was hesitant to keep reading, but I can’t stop a series when I start it unless it’s a BAD book. So I read the second book and fell REALLY in love. Always give love a second a second chance because this is my favorite series after Harry Potter.

And books kept adding up.  Cassie Palmer Series, Toby Daye Series, Jane Yellowrock series, Jane True series, Sign of the Zodiac . . .the list just goes on and on.

This love is extra special, because it led me to my own fantasies, worlds, and dreams. It led me to realize I love to write creatively. So thank you Urban Fantasy, for giving me a fantastic travel experience without having to pay for baggage, a plane ticket, or hotel room.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Different but the Same

“If we are all alive ten years hence, let’s meet, and see how many of us have got our wishes, or how much nearer we are then than now.” 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I promised a long blog about my trip home, the one trip after being absent for two years, so here it is:

Flying into the BWI, I burst into tears when I saw the Baltimore skyline. The wave of emotion that hit me when I saw my HOME was nothing I have felt before. I felt, to some degree, a feeling similar to a deployed soldier coming home or an immigrant returning to their birth country. Sure, it’s only a small fraction of their feelings, but that feeling of coming HOME was reverberating through my every cell in my body. I was sad for being gone for so long, happy to see the place, upset that El Paso does not have what this place does. And there was an overall sense of awe that has no adjective that can cover that feeling of coming HOME.

Although some things were different, I felt the familiarity.

Take for instance that while I was driving on 29, there is all of a sudden a new exit, that happens to be a toll road, and a spaghetti bridge intersection out of nowhere. The ICC was built and opened at some point! That was only talk when I was there, not thinking it was going to be built. . . ever really. But there it was, in all of it’s fancy glory. It was altogether different yet a normal part of everyone’s lives already.

Even what was the same felt different at first. Taking exits and roads that I used to take, I felt, disconnected somehow. Although intellectually I recognized everything, I didn’t feel as if I were a part of it. But that changed by the end of the trip. I felt myself falling into the same patterns of driving from before, and I was comfortable in a way I haven’t been in Texas or Chicago. Things were different but felt the same.

The people were amazing. It was awesome seeing friends from different parts of my life: childhood, college, work, and even met an online friend in person for the first time! It’s fascinating how so many of us have changed, got married, had kids, bought a house. Yet when we get together with our old crowd, we revert to the giggling high school girls we once were. Not in a bad, awkward way, but in a “those were the days” way. We may be wearing stethoscope and changing diapers, but we are still the people with pig tails and fairy tales. Things were different, but still the same.

I moved away from Maryland 6 years ago, and I left with some preconceived notions. Like that people in D.C. are rude. But being back in D.C. for a week (after living in Chicago, AL, and Texas), I found that people are not just polite, but I fit in with them seamlessly. I used to think people drove crazy at home. But after seeing the drivers down here, who drive like they don’t care about their lives, people in Maryland drive smoothly and effectively.

So there are changes. It’s been awhile, 6 years since I lived there, 2 years since I’ve been back, it’s to be expected. What surprised me was how the same it still was and how I still fit seamlessly into the culture. No matter where I go, Maryland will always be the place where I grew up and made wishes for the future.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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