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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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.

Stranger than fiction 

My life has been unusual to say the least. I am not sure that I have it in me to tell every story of a crazy life lived with survival in mind. I have told some of my story. And I will likely tell more.  Still tonight I was talking to other writers in a get to know you kind of way.  I realized that to an outsider my life sounds like fiction. 

      Which is fine,  it is what made me. I have seen the monsters that hide behind the eyes of men. I learned how to survive,  after living with no running water and living homeless. I learned how to be adaptable for living with moving often during formidable years. Still learning.  I am now learning how to see my own worth through the eyes of amazing women who see me as being worthwhile.  They are strong and creative with amazing talent.  And I am a part of this group.  Over the next six months I will be in the Fiction expedition hosted by the amazing Debbie Burns.  By the end of it I will have Rust,  Gore,  and the Junkyard Zombie ready for my editor’s lovely care.