2017: Reflecting

I sat down to write this morning and realized that though this has been a rocky year personally…. It was a great year for my writing. I finished and published three volumes of poetry this year and am nearly done with a fourth. I put in play a pen name, Serena Mossgraves. As Serena I released a Novella (The Death of Neverland). I am nearly done with my first novel (Rust, Gore, and the Junkyard Zombie)… Just have to finish the editing, the writing is done. I have done several short stories and worked with two children’s stories. I also started collaboration with my sister on our Spiritual Gardening blog.

Looking it all over, it really does not seem like as much as it is. Still, it is more than I have accomplished before. With the end of the year nigh, I find myself looking back at the things that I wanted for 2017…and thinking ahead to what I want from 2018. I refuse to measure my life in regret, so I do not dwell on the things that went sideways. However, I do look at them and see what I can learn from what I have done. This year, though a personal hot mess, I was able to redirect myself back to my writing. I was able to make it a priority. That is behavior that I plan on continuing.

What about you? Was 2017 a good year? Why? What will be carried over into the new year?

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Capability vs self worth

(Picture borrowed from Debbie Burns, head unicorn and founder of Debbieburns.me all rights to it are hers)

My writing mentor posted this picture earlier. It brings up a topic that I believe I would like to try and tackle. I have no doubt of how capable I am. I am aware of my strengths, my flaws, and the areas I need to work on. Still I have moments where I question my worth.

Now I could blame my past for that doubt. Claim that I am flawed because no one has ever seen my worth….but I really hate that. It is possible to both know your capability and to doubt your worth. I am a strong and open minded individual, still I struggle. I don’t see what others claim is talent. I see a lifetime of fighting. Of me trying to be half of what those around me said I was.

I struggle because this is the path I see. I stuggle because I refuse to quit. Perhaps the above is true, perhaps some can see the ability within and it will set them free…still not all of those who are struggling fail to see their own capability. I am a strong woman, I have a generous heart. I am creative, with a quick mind. I am a survivor who has learned to be more….still I have days when I don’t understand the love everyone around me has for the broken soul I am. Days when I am the one that sees too much of life and has no way of processing it.

This is just part of being me. Those who love me generally understand those days. They are quick to reach to help me understand why I am loved. And even then I understand my capability…even as I have no understanding of my self worth.

Kindness and cruelty

I struggle to see myself as others do. I can list my flaws innumerable. I logically know that I am not what my mental gremlins say. I am not selfish, nor cruel…not intentionally anyway. Still there are those days where I expect more out of people simply because it is something that I can do. I am a poor uneducated woman who is more than a little crazy. I am in constant pain due to physical issues. Still I show up, I do what needs done, and I move on. So on the occasion that I need to remind myself that I am not normal….well I find myself also reminding myself to be kind.

Kindness is not just for the rest of humanity. Sometimes the person who needs your kindness most is yourself. My writing coach, the Amazing Debbie Burns, gave me a couple of methods of dealing with the negative thoughts. One involves listing 100 words about yourself. You then relace negative words with positive ones. This is meant to try to get the brain to replace them when you think about self. We have to try and train ourselves to keep the mental gremlins at bay. Still after a lifetime of self abuse, it is not terribly easy to see the good that everyone else does.

So I will continue to do my word lists to help me see the bright light shining. I will start with the words I did above. “poor uneducated crazy” are all three replaceable. Yes, I have money woes but I have food, I have clothes, I have shelter. So I am content. There see one word replaced. Uneducated is not true. I have my high school diploma. I have taught myself computer programming in c#. I have studied several other things independently. So I can replace that with self educated. Now only one word remains. Crazy. Ugh it is the hardest. After all, I am struggling with mental illness. I am aware of the stigmas. I think perhaps for that I should use the word Unique.

So what words do you say about yourself that perhaps you need to change? I would encourage everyone to examine the labels we use to define ourselves, and in turn the labels we call others.

Holidays burdens

In our society there is so many choices. Things become somehow expected and so many of us end up overwhelmed. Addiction and depression drag us into deep meaningful arguments. We often feel alone during this time of year, a time when family and socializing is expected.

The problem is that we are not all social. We do not all have loving families to make us strong during the cold months. If you care for someone, please I beg you….check on them. Not everyone knows how to express that feeling. How to say they are struggling, and those that do are often hesitant because it feels like they are a burden.

Sometimes just knowing that someone hears us, that someone is on the other side of the phone….it can make a difference.

Poetry, rules and rebellion

I have a confession…writing poetry with certain constraints has always made me antsy. I have felt like I was somehow not good enough to write following the rules. So, I have written copious amounts of free verse…avoiding the structure of any fotms.

Then, as I grew as a writer and a poet, I found myself saying I don’t write that way too often. Well why the Hell not? Am I a Poet? Or do I just pretend I am?

So, when presented with a form/structure poem idea, I start by looking up the rules. For me, this is my go to site.

Believe me, I feel like a high school student again. In high school I knew the rules and felt my style was better as free verse. I think that if anyone tried to tell me that I needed to follow rules with my poetry I even would blow it off with poetic license.

The rebel nature of free verse still appeals. I will likely never be the next Haiku or Sonnet genius. Poetry speaks from the heart, and mine is often chaotic and unstructured. The meaning remains though.

So, just out of curiousity, what is your favorite types of poetry? Why?

Pheonix ashes

I am learning to be a new person, in order to do that I have to quiet the mental gremlins. That is harder than it sounds. I am a survivor. And I am tired of surviving. No, I am not suicidal. But I am trying to change the direction of my life. I am trying to make it where I no longer am having the string of disasters that my life has been up till now.

What that means for me? It means for to start I let my art and my words flow. I continue to put myself out there. I consider writing the memoir that I have been told was something I need to do. That will probably be some of the hardest words I write. I have shared a few of the stories.

To ease some of the panic, I will say that I don’t know if I will publish it. If I do it will be under a pen name.

Journals,  diaries and the journey of the damaged mind. 

        Lately,  I have been trying to do an exercise for my brain in the morning called ‘morning pages ‘. Basically brain vomit put in physical form. This helps me to clear the crap that weighs me down,  and recognize my problems so that I can address them. It actually is helping.  I used to understand the power of keeping a diary… Unfortunately people happened.  Said people used those diaries against me.  So I got out of the habit. I stopped listening to the internal therapist.  And the result?  I have a fair amount of issues that bind my self esteem in a knot.  So by starting to do this at least one time each day,  I am going to see so much of what garbage is buried in my brain.  And I will see what I am able to start working through.  I will be improving who I am.  

        Today I found that I was feeling like a failure because I was not juggling the numerous hats I wear as well as I want to.  Today I was kicking ass as a mom,  but my writing was not going as well as I wanted it to.  I rocked as a friend and I even did decent as a housewife.  But I was doing poorly as a crafter and small business owner.  I was an amazing artist but I felt that I was not a wonderful person…. Now… Read this again.  Today I was amazing but I did not feel like it. That is the place where the exercise helps.  We have to change how we see the world if we want to change the way it sees us. 

     What’s something that you can adjust your way of thinking about?  And how can you use it to make your world brighter?