Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hate Letter

Yeah, yeah I know, I didn’t do Flash Fiction Friday this week. It was a doozy of a week, let me tell you and I’m ashamed to say it got the better of me. Inner Critic was just chomping at the bit for an opportunity to take me down, and she found one. Damn, did she work me over, too.
What happened? Let’s see, my boyfriend’s bestie in the entire universe came over for the weekend. He’s in the National Guard and had drill this weekend, so he was over from Thursday to Monday. He and a bunch of dirty stinky army boys were camped out on my couch for three days with their swearing and their camo and their dirty jokes.
I’m not going to pretend I didn’t have fun. I love our friends and I always have a good time with them. But it kinda side-tracked me from my writing. That was obstacle number one.
I also have three sick kids running around, one of whom eventually got me sick as well. So yay for germ-infested mini humans. So much fun. Obstacle two and three: check!
Between being sick, having company and generally just being a lazy shit, I got very little done last week. I wasn’t able to work out, failed to write anything and barely got my orders for TOPstitches completed. It was kind of a disaster, and it led to me losing my cool on a whole other level.
Breakdown ensued.
Yesterday was the pinnacle of it. I’d been irritated and grumpy all week (not realizing why) but I woke up Monday morning, really trying to be in a good mood. I was going to get my kids off to school with smiles on their faces even if it killed me.
Didn’t happen that way.
Long story short, the minions of darkness didn’t follow instructions and got me worked up with all manner of back-talk and sassery. (Yes, I made up that word, but come on, it’s excellent.) Kids were mad, I was mad, my boyfriend was mad because he got woken up early. I came home and our friend needed to be taken home because he didn’t have a car.
Great. I knew exactly who would get stuck with that joyous task. Long story short, it was me, and I had to take my 2-year old with me on an hour-long trip because my boyfriend didn’t feel like watching him. It was not fun. When I came back home, I felt like such a shithead for losing my cool on the kids and my boyfriend that I completely lost it. Crying fits, depression, emotional eating, you name it. I felt like the biggest jerk in the universe.
So at nap time, instead of staying up to work, I chose the sweet oblivion of sleep. I was sick after all, so I felt justified. But I didn’t awaken refreshed and ready to be the good mom I strive to be every day. Nope, still grumpy. Even worse, actually. And my Inner Critic was having a field day.
You’re a worthless, lazy, mean person and you’ll never get your shit together. Just give your kids to your ex-husband. He’d do a better job than you. Your kids will grow up hating you if you keep them. Spare them the therapy bills.
Yeah, she was in full swing, and I, in my weakened state, was eating up every word of it. I wrote something yesterday while she was assaulting me. It was a hate letter to myself. I did it as a way to both try and get to the bottom of what was making me so grumpy and to hopefully let it go – whatever it was.
I won’t post the letter because it’s very private and because it’s very dark. I re-read it once the depression cloud dissipated and yeah . . . I can get pretty dramatic sometimes, let’s just put it that way. In the letter I free-wrote everything I hated about my life. I hated the decisions I’d made in the past, hated that nothing had turned out the way I wanted. And as I wrote, that hate spilled over onto everything in my life – even the stuff I didn’t hate like my kids, my boyfriend, my writing, my business. I realized as I spilled my guts, unfettered, that I had begun to hate and resent everything. For no reason, really. If I had to give one, I’d say it was just because I was mad that nothing had turned out right.
And how silly does that sound?
I was pitching a grown-up hissy fit. A tantrum. Had I been a two-year-old, I’d have been on the floor, hands and feet drumming the tiles, screeching at the top of my lungs.
As an adult, I was just pissy and mean to everyone. Especially myself. Nothing had gone the way I wanted, so I was just going to sabotage myself with hate so nothing could ever go right again.
Once I realized what I was doing, I knew that it made no sense. Just because I made mistakes in the past didn’t mean there was no chance for the future. There is always a second, third, fourth chance for anyone who is willing to do the work to change.
I give my kids hundreds of chances to make good choices. I forgive my boyfriend when he screws up. I forgive my mother when she says hurtful things, my sister when she’s judgy. I forgive and forget with everyone in my life and give them endless chances to change their behavior.
But for myself?
Nah, I’d just thrown in the towel. I’d allowed my past mistakes to ruin my present – and my future. I wasn’t forgiving myself. Nor was I giving myself the second chance I desperately needed to make things right. I was phoning in my own life, rushing it through, hoping blindly that one day things would magically get better.
Unfortunately, I knew deep down that in order to have the life I wanted, in order to make those changes, I needed to get off my ass and WORK.
My boyfriend told me that, actually. After my cry-fest and my hate letter, I opened up to him about how angry and frustrated I was. I was probably looking for him to throw me some pity, but that’s not the kind of man he is. And thank God for that. Stop half-assing everything, Jen. Try. Try hard and put your heart into this, and you’ll succeed. I know you will, and you know it too. When you truly want something, you work until you get it. That’s how you published two books, started two small businesses and accomplished hundreds of other things.
He was right. And the things I thought were stopping me – like my kids and poverty, and my depression – were all in my head. The kids could be worked around, our money problems were generally under control, and I was depressed BECAUSE of the way I was acting.
I was depressing myself. Self-fulfilling prophecy to the max.
I had already worked through all of this a few times, but for some reason it wasn’t sticking. I was still angry and depressed. And I think I discovered a key: writing.
Whenever I start writing, I feel better. Doesn’t matter what it is, really, just so long as I put words to paper.
So I decided then and there that I would schedule writing time into my day. Every day. No matter what, I will write something. Whether it’s a journal, part of the blog, my new book, a short story, a fricking limerick, I will write something.
Because this is the only therapy that works. Exercise helps. Eating healthy helps. No alcohol helps. But nothing changes my mood quite like writing. And I have to cling to that if it works. I have to do it daily and hopefully, it’ll fix whatever broke inside me and made me this angry, mean person I’ve become.
Maybe I can find peace in my own words and stories. Maybe I can be happy again and lead the life I’ve been dreaming of.
Corny sounding, I know, but that’s what I truly want. I want the dream. I want a nice house with nice things inside it that I bought with my own money. I want my kids to have new clothes and toys not second-hand junk from Goodwill. I want them to join sports teams and go to college one day. I want my oldest daughter to get the (very expensive) medical treatment she needs. I want to not just be able to pay my bills, but be able to save money as well. I want to dedicate more money to my businesses and watch them succeed.
I want all of these things so badly it hurts. And the fact that I’m nearly thirty and no closer to those goals than I was when I was 19 . . . well it’s frustrating! It makes me mad!
But I have no one to blame but myself. I have been huddled up in a ball, scared and meek, terrified that if I move, I’ll just make things worse. What I didn’t realize until now is that by NOT moving, by staying where I am now, I am actually making things worse. Things will always be the way they are now if I don’t take action and try to make changes. Not just to myself, but to my whole life.
I have to try, and try with all my heart. No phoning it in. No half-assery. No pity parties.
I’m going to work hard and go to bed every night so exhausted I can scarcely move. . . but proud.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Little Boxes

Something about me, you may or may not know: I’m a huge crafter. I looooooove making stuff. I also sell the stuff I make, and earn decent money doing it. Nothing amazing, but my crafting obsession has saved me in a  financial tight spot more than once. I’ve sold hair bows, crocheted headbands, mini top hats (that’s my beautiful sister in the photo – the one who made the amazing Blood Crave trailer), I have also made and sold crocheted My Little Pony Hats and other yarny good things.

I have tried quilting, sewing, knitting, embroidery, textile design . . . basically name the craft and I’m sure I’ve tried it. Or at least pinned a bunch of stuff about it on Pinterest so when I inevitably decide I want a go, I’m prepared with tutorials and tips from the greats. I’m currently learning leather working, which has been great fun and I can’t wait to open my new shop and start (hopefully) making some real money.

Well what about writing, you ask?

You see, authoring doesn’t usually equal a steady income, especially if you’re not a bestseller of some sort or a writer with a huge following that sells lots of books, merchandise and get’s paid to do blogs and appearances and stuff.

I’m not one of those authors. I don’t even really want to be. I don’t like fame, attention, interviews where they ask the same stupid questions, or things of that sort. I don’t like the idea that money is the goal of my writing.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Best-selling authors up there like I don’t do it for the money, I do it for the art.

Yah. Okay. You go right ahead with that. Enjoy your movie rights advance.

It’s a bit different for me. I used to have dreams of making BOTM a major motion picture. I used to even create Pinterest boards with my ideal BOTM movie cast (no, I’m not showing it to you, omg the mortification), back when I thought the whole world would love my little book as much as I did.

I don’t want that stuff anymore. I don’t want BOTM t-shirts and Lucas Barbie dolls or anything like that.

I just want to say something with my writing. It doesn’t have to be something profound or deep, I just want people to be touched by what I write, changed in some small way. If I can do that for even one person out there, I know my writing will have been a success.

Fame and fortune not required.

Which brings me to my earlier point: authoring doesn’t equal a steady paycheck. I know that I will probably never achieve full-time writerly status, and that if I do, it won’t be for a very long time. I just have too much work to do on my writing chops to even hope for that right now.

But I’m a single mom now. And I need a steady income. I have three frickin kids here, people, and one of them is too young for me to hold a regular 9-5. I’d end up losing money if I worked, because I’d have to pay upward of a grand a month JUST to put him in daycare so I could work.

Silly, huh? Adulting is awesome.

That, kids, is why you don’t quit college. Never. Ever. No matter what. Stick with it till it’s done. Otherwise you end up working at Sephora or Barnes and Noble for $8 an hour like I did. (Actually, Sephora wasn’t so bad, I got LOTS of free makeup).

Thank God, I’m a crafty lady. As I said, I sell my crafts online, which has allowed me to support myself and my kids to some extent. When I got divorced, my online shops, TOPstitches and DHD, became more important than ever. They were now my sole source of income.

So, you may wonder why I’m talking about that stuff here, on my writing blog. Well, it’s because I’m tired of compartmentalizing my life. I’m tired of separating myself into neat little boxes for your viewing pleasure. I don’t want you to think I’m this two-dimensional person anymore. People who visit my TOPstitches blog (which is woefully empty) would believe all I do is crochet weird little hats. People here on my author blog would think: all she does is try to write stuff.

Well, I do both. And I do more than those two things. I am a three-dimensional person with many interests and passions and I’m tired of compartmentalizing them to please other people. From now on, this will be my main blog, where I will write about whatever tickles my fancy. As I said when I came back from my hiatus: things are going to change around here. But change is good. And this place is going to get more interesting, I promise you that.

Furthermore, it’s exhausting trying to have dedicated web platforms for each and every one of my interests. I’ve started and stopped SO MANY blogs, facebook pages and Etsy shops in an attempt to keep everything separate. It’s almost like I was hiding parts of myself from everyone, and I’m not sure why I was doing it.

Maybe it’s my OCD tendencies. I don’t like when food touches on my plate, when colors run on a pallette, or when things are mixed up in general. So maybe, I was attempting to keep my two worlds separated because it just seemed . . . simpler somehow. Cleaner.

But ultimately, it contributed to me losing myself there for a while. I’m not going to lie or sneak or omit parts of my life on MY blog just for the sake of conformity. Not anymore, anyway.

So there you go, Internet. That’s me. I write and I craft and I sell things and I talk about them ALL IN ONE PLACE. Here. In bloglandia.

This isn’t a marketing scheme, a plug for my businesses, or anything manipulative like that, I’m honestly just ready to show everyone me, and not feel ashamed or scared that you won’t like what you see. None of this is for you anyway. It’s for me, and I’m sharing with you.

Sharing is caring, people.

So it’s that time again, Flash Fiction Friday is coming up again and it’s time to start sifting through the interwebs for things to write about. As always, feel free to join me on Pinterest to add things to my Flash Fiction board. Just message me there (JenKcreates) and I’ll invite you to the board where you can pin things you’d like to see me write a short story about.

Join me, don't join me. It's a free country. Mostly. The choice is yours! I however, don't have a choice. I'll be there, hunting for story kernels, and I'll be back to share with you what I write.
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