Being Uniquely Me

So, this might come as a shock to some of my readers, but I listen to a lot of inspirational speeches, mixes, music and etc. I’m sharing one that really touched me the other day.

At 3.40 in, Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks and it rocked my world. He talks about Michael Jordan and how nobody ever said “Michael Jordan, he’s just like this player – or that player plus this one, minus that one. He just WAS Michael Jordan.”

Remember that. It’s going to be on the test later.

And now I’m going to share with you some personal stuff. Get ready for the ride of your life. Or maybe just a rollercoaster at your favorite park.

I have major depressive disorder. I just started treatment for it last year. I also have anxiety disorder, with an emphasis on social phobia. I see a therapist: originally every week, but now once a month. I take 4-5 pills a day to manage my disorders. One is for depression and anxiety, another 2 or 3 strictly for anxiety, and another for the nightmares. (And top all that off with Autism Spectrum Disorder formerly known as Aspergers.)

For my writing friends that have known me since I first really started writing, not just for me but as a craft, as a career – since 2007 – they no doubt wondered in the years between 2008 and 2015 where I went. I disappeared from my writing groups, I stopped sharing stuff online, I stopped blogging (regularly, anyway), I stopped talking to them.

I just stopped.

I barely wrote. I kind of cleaned. I worked out a lot – that seemed to take over my life, this idea that if I eventually got something I wanted (a certain size, shape, look) everything else would fall into place.

News Flash: It doesn’t work that way.

What took me from casual story writer to serious writer was a culmination of events.

(And I’m starting to think this might be a two-parter post.)

In November 2006, my third child – a girl – was stillborn. Full term, should’ve been healthy, but God called her back to Heaven / they needed another angel / it just wasn’t meant to be / the Universe said no / shit just happens. Take your pick.

Part of how I processed my grief was through writing. I took up the pen like I never had before. And my husband encouraged me to submit what I wrote. So I did.

I did not pick very good markets to submit to. But hey, I was a newb.

For about a year (year and a half) I wrote all the time. I published about 4 times. I joined a fantastic writing group at Zoetrope (shout out to AJ Brown, RJ Cavender, Boyd Harris, Bailey Hunter, Shari Wice, CD Allen, John Miller, Eric Smetana, Steven Sommerville, and holy geez there’s a lot of people I adore from that group and I’ll just stop there – just know that you’re loved) and also made some friends on Writers Cafe (Pauline, girl!).

Things were looking up for me. On the writing front. But everywhere else they were nosediving into a mountain.

indiana jones crashing

“A golf ball?! We’re not golfing, WE’RE CRASHING!”

Apologies, Mr. Ford. I just couldn’t resist.

The depression that had haunted my life, that I had managed to mostly hold at bay, took over my life. Slowly the words left me. I had ideas, I had paragraphs, but I didn’t have finished stories. I also didn’t have a clean kitchen or a clean house. My desk was a wreck. (Admittedly, it still is. I would show you, but no one should see this.)

We were also having financial troubles, so stack that depression with all the anxiety a normal person feels and add a triple digit exponent on that.

Then a stroke of luck – hubby got offered a job in Texas and we moved 5 hours away from our hometown. Leaving that environment, leaving the ghosts that haunted me there, helped some. The words returned, little by little. But I still couldn’t finish anything. Now I was focused on losing weight, putting on muscle, getting in shape thinking that if I just got that one thing down the way I wanted it, everything – everything – else would fix itself. My writing would start flowing again, I’d publish, money troubles would vanish, I’d be happy with myself in my skin…

But like I said, nothing ever works that way.

intermission

Go get your popcorn topped off, your drink refilled, use the facilities and come back tomorrow.

‘Til next time.

But before you go, head on over to Amazon and pick up The Rainbow Ranch for a steal before the price goes up.

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