2021 Let’s goooooo

2021 Let’s goooooo

Not to get political on here but today has me looking optimistically to the future for no particular reason. -WINK- So I wanted to make a little list of stuff I want/hope to do this year.

  • Be more active. I don’t really care so much about weight/appearance but I’m starting to feel unhealthy from zero activity and I want to change that. I got Ring Fit Adventure to get me through the winter (first work out last night and it was fun) and in the spring I can get outside and go for walks/bike rides again.
  • Go camping! Hoping to spend a lot of time in the new RV this year, especially since it’s a safe outing while we’re still in plague-times.
  • Finish two manuscripts! Well on my way to finishing the first. I just can’t lose momentum.
  • I already started my own podcast (Chaotic Nerdtral) and I’m back to being a regular guest on The Pub. Hoping to keep up with both! I really enjoy it.
  • Read 50 books! I’m already almost done with book #4.
  • Play more games and don’t feel guilty about it. I don’t need permission to do something “pointless” if I enjoy it and I need to remember that.
  • See my friends again. I really hope that the vaccine distribution grants my wish but there’s nothing I can do if we don’t get there. Just have to continue to be patient.
  • Do some deep cleaning at home and purge all the unneeded junk.

Happy 2021 everyone! Really hoping for a better year for us all.

Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness

In a recent recording for a yet unaired episode of the Pub podcast, we discussed mental health in graphic novels & web comics. One of the things we celebrated in these works was normalizing these issues and I thought, hey, as a (mostly) reformed sad person, I could talk about my own personal relationship with depression/anxiety on the off chance it helps someone somewhere, even a just little.

My main problem has always been anxiety, something I’m pretty sure is genetic and has no logical cause. Since I was a kid, curbing my anxiety was based on the safety net of my parents and my home. When I would go sleep over at friend’s house, once we laid down at night and everyone fell asleep and I was alone in a strange place, I’d basically have panic attacks. I couldn’t breath and my stomach hurt so bad I would make myself sick. Honestly pretty normal for a little kid, but the trouble was I never grew out of it.  

My parents got divorced when I was thirteen, and the safety net of my home/family structure was disrupted allowing my anxiety to run free. I became incredibly depressed and my coping mechanism was joking about suicide. I thought I was being edgy and funny but I wasn’t. I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to process what was happening and a concerned friend alerted a counselor and I wound up in therapy. Once I started talking about the jokes I started to realize I wasn’t exactly joking. No, I didn’t really want to kill myself but I was desperately hurting. Confronting that hurt instead of making light of it (in very poor taste) helped me work through the restructure of my family unit. I got used to two houses, to my parents separation and the safety net was strung back into place. I was in a good headspace for the rest of high school and college. (or as stable as one can be in those tumultuous years)

But when I lived alone for the first time during my early twenties, I unraveled. Now, keep in mind, I hadn’t made the connection between my safety person/safe space and my anxiety yet. I thought I had just been a dependent kid and had simply reacted badly to my parents’ divorce. All around pretty normal behavior.

When I lived alone, my anxiety became overwhelming and frustratingly, it had no cause. My apartment was shitty but it was safe. I had no reason for the panic attacks that at one point plagued me daily. I felt like I was being crushed. I cried on the floor for hours at a time for no reason whatsoever. I would rush to the bathroom to keep the tears back at work. When I was home, I would put Mythbusters on the TV and let it play over and over again every night just for the comfort of something familiar. It eroded me. I found myself going to bed at night and hoping I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. I would never call myself suicidal, I could never imagine inflicting that kind of pain onto my loved ones no matter how much pain I was in, but I recognized I was at a pretty serious stage and decided to get help. I went back into therapy.

Honestly, just having someone tell you that this behavior was normal, that it happened all the time to all kinds of people in all different circumstances was a relief. I mean, of course I logically knew that already, but it made all the difference having someone in a position of authority on the subject confirm it to my face. Slowly, I got a little better. In the meantime I had started dating and eventually moved in with my now boyfriend. Having a safety net restored helped me a lot but it didn’t solve all my problems. It was a band-aid. It had always been a band-aid. I developed stomach issues during my father’s sickness and death, though I hadn’t realized they were connected. They never went away. After every gastrointestinal test under the sun came back normal, over the following years I started to notice a pattern. When I was hyper anxious, my stomach was worse. Travel was a huge trigger, even vacations with my boyfriend were a guarantee for panic attacks and stomach issues. I would get so bloated that I looked nine months pregnant, my skin on my stomach pulled so tight it hurt. Even going to visit my mother had me waking up in the middle of the night, rushing to the bathroom to throw up.

Did you know that if you don’t have enough serotonin in your system, you get anxious? Did you know we have serotonin receptors in our STOMACH? Because I didn’t. I finally sought out a doctor with my hypothesis that my stomach issues were actually anxiety issues and I was right. They put me on medication to help me retain the serotonin I was losing too quickly and it was amazing how quickly things changed. I could have been angry if I wasn’t so relieved. All this time, all these problems, and a little white pill once a day made my life manageable again. Sure, I still get anxious sometimes, but it’s nothing like it once was.

Long story short, it does get better. Don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to get professional help. Medication is sometimes necessary and there’s nothing shameful in that. If you’re struggling, you are most certainly not alone. <3

It’s the most wonderful time of the (very bad) year

It’s the most wonderful time of the (very bad) year

I don’t think I need to spend much time reminiscing over how much this year sucked; we all know about it all too well.

Instead I’m going to focus on some of the good stuff I’ve got going on.

  • The Pub podcast is coming back in the new year and we already have some recording sessions scheduled. I really missed doing the Pub so I’m excited to get back into it.
  • I took my desire to do more podcasting and the fact that current conditions mean me and my closest friends only hang out online now and squished ‘em together. We’re going to start our own nerdy lady podcast in the new year called Chaotic Nerdtral. Looking forward to to learn the editing side of podcast and share some strongly held opinions with my inner senshi in the funniest way possible.
  • I read some killer series this year including the Six of Crows duology and the Cruel Prince trilogy. I just started Shadow & Bone and I am devouring it! Can’t wait to see the Netflix adaptation this spring.
  • I got my first full request on my first finished novel! Still waiting to hear back but regardless of the response it feels like a huge milestone. And a little ward against the constant impostor syndrome.
  • I started a new project in November for NaNoWriMo and while my turtle pace means I didn’t win, I’m still having a MUCH easier time writing than I did with my first novel and I’m really happy with how it’s coming along, especially for a rough draft. I’m aiming to have it done sometime in February and ready for revisions.  
  • In more personal news, the silver lining of not being able to do a damn thing this year means I was able to save my money and pay off some debts.
  • I turned 30 and didn’t transform into a pumpkin or burst into flames.
  • We got a free RV we’ve been fixing up and we can’t wait to start doing some camping this spring! Assuming all is well with it on the short trips we’re super jazzed to plan some big trips! Ultimate destination would be taking it down to Disney World someday when I have the money for it.

All told, I have to count myself lucky. As shitty as the year has been I suffered no major losses and I know not everyone can say that. So I try not to complain. Still, looking forward to next year and hoping against hope things get better again.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year everyone!

Summer’s End – Fall Project Planning

Summer’s End – Fall Project Planning

The days are getting shorter as summer starts to fade. Spooky time approaches- my fave!

So I finally took the query plunge and sent my finished MS to a handful of agents. I have pretty realistic expectations- I won’t be the slightest bit surprised if I only get form rejections. But I’m thinking it’ll help inform me on the state of my novel. The way I see it, there are three options. One, my novel is actually ready and an agent requests a full. Two, my novel isn’t quite ready and I need to have some more beta readers clue me into why. Three, the novel isn’t working on a fundamental core level and I need to take what I’ve learned, shelve it, and move on to the next project.

At least there’s a couple big motivators on the horizon. Pitch Wars is coming up quick and I think I’ll throw my hat in the ring. My MS is certainly in waaaaay better shape than last time I entered. I had barely finished it in time last year. After that we’ll be coming into NaNoWriMo so of course I have to try again. I’m hoping to start getting into a rhythm on this new project in October and create some good habits before November. The new WIP is kind of a Inuyasha meets Howl’s Moving Castle type fantasy. Still working out the details. All I can do is try!

But I’m getting that itch again- I took enough time off over the summer to recharge. I want to get back into it. The motivation is back but is the discipline? (World of Warcraft is testing me but I must be strong! Haha)

I also really need to sit my but down and read Save the Cat already, especially going into a new project. I keep opening it and starting and finding an excuse to read something else. I just get so intimidated and overwhelmed. The imposter syndrome kicks in hard. I need to relax, let go, and have fun with it. Write for myself and stop worrying about making it perfect or marketable or whatever.

What’s everyone else reading, watching, playing, or writing right now??

Countdown to NaNoWriMo (Don’t Panic)

Countdown to NaNoWriMo (Don’t Panic)

Three days till NaNoWriMo. Not gonna lie- I’m not ready!

I was supposed to have my cosplay for Daisho-con wrapped up before NaNo started so I wouldn’t be trying to juggle both, but I haven’t had as much time to craft as I was hoping. I’m building Sesshomaru this year and I’d say I’m about 50% of the way there. I have a kimono, pants, and wig all purchased. I have the tail/pelt thingy half-way done, hoping to finish it tonight. I have fabric for the sash. But I haven’t even started on the big piece I’ve been dreading – the chest armor. Hopefully I can rope my boyfriend into helping me out (he’s great with foam) and chip away at it. If I can get that riddle solved, all I really need to do is pick up some colored eyeliner and thrift a simple pair of black boots. I’m trying not to stress about it. I keep reminding myself that it’s just a fun little hobby and if it doesn’t turn out, no big deal. But I’m a perfectionist in all things, whether they be serious of purely recreational. Someday I’ll figure out how to dial my dang broken brain back.

Beyond Sessho, all I need to do is just a couple (supposedly) quick upgrades to Garfield the Deals Warlock and I should be all set. I’m also bringing Haruko (FLCL) and she doesn’t need any work, thank gawd.

The larger problem is that since I’m behind on crafting, I also haven’t been able to prep and plot as much I would have liked. At least I have the benefit of having already plotted out this project a long time ago. Hopefully as I dig into my old notes I’ll have enough to go off of in the beginning. If I can get a decent momentum going, the blanks should fill themselves in. I already proved to myself with the pitch wars deadline that I can write a ton if I stay focused. 2019 might just be my year.

Once NaNo is over, no matter the outcome, I want to circle back and focus on revising part one. Hopefully with some much needed help from the writing community, I can be in good enough shape to start querying in the New Year. I’ve found a ton of awesome resources through pitch wars that have elevated my writing game to a whole ‘nother level. My understanding of the publishing process has expanded times ten since I entered. (I’ll need to compile a list and post it because these resources need to be shared- wish I had found this stuff a long time ago!)

I’ve been dreaming about writing a book for ages, and it feels like only in these last couple months have I finally buckled down, gotten serious, and made real tangible progress. It’s going to take a little bit of sacrifice to keep this train on the tracks (I’ve already suspended my Warcraft subscription- there’s no time for games!) but it already feels worth it. I’m so excited to see what happens next!