Challenge Time

I have been through a recent creative outpouring of poetry. Not a whole lot of introspection or how y’all doin? posts. But this last week and a bit have been a bit of an odd one for me and I needed to look at, peer, poke and prod the happenings before I felt able to write about them. A couple of things have been just awesome for me, making me smile. Cheering my heart and making me realize that I am still growing and getting stronger with each passing day. The other began as armageddon and ended with peace on earth as I know it for the time being.

First I should tell you what I have challenged myself to this week. I turned the television off at 2 p.m. on Sunday and do not intend to turn it back on until T comes back Monday. So far so good. Everyone I have told this to always looks at me like I am crazy at first and than to a tee they have all said ‘Oh but you like to read that will take the place of the t.v.’

Wait what? Because I like to read I am not going to miss t.v?

And you know what? They are so right.

I am reading blogs I follow. I am immersing myself in others poetry, stories and find myself crying and laughing as well. There is this rich world in front of me that is way more lively than what I can find on the t.v. set.

I am writing. A lot. Everywhere  I turn I am finding myself inspired. Words come together in a way that resonates and I am off and running. I am being more patient as I write as well. I am willing to set aside the poem and come back to it. Once I have mulled it over out on the back porch of my mind.

Not that the writing has to do with the not watching television. That was happening before. I have had a creative outpouring that is for sure. Love poems, Heartbreak, Depression, Happiness, the words pour forth and at times I feel unworthy to be their Champion. I have even had an idea for a story. That one is way out in the back field being mulled over although it is slowly taking form.

I have been working at reading the same book for the last two weeks. It has really been a struggle for me. This is book 4 is a series that I began a year and a half ago. The first three books I devoured while I was down in Mexico visiting mom. And than I had to wait more than a year for this book. Began to read it. Read the recap so that I could remember what was going on. I am at 81%. At some point there was a major shift, like suddenly a huge chunk of the book, the one that seamlessly melds part one to part two, was gone. There are characters I have no idea who they are. I have no clue how something has come about. I am being oblique because there are people who might read or be reading this series and I do not want to knock it. Also I really like this author, her work is amazing, so there.

I am at the point though where I am seriously considering giving up. On that book. Time to move forward.

I am having one of my meandering conversations with myself. Hope you don’t mind and are enjoying the ride.

Compliments have been reigning down on me all over the place. I have been in the best place in the last little while. Me, mentally, doing fabulously. I am pumped about this. So I have been smiling and laughing a lot. Customers have told me they look to come through my line when I am in a till. Lately that has not been often. One of my staff told me she thought that things would fall apart if I was not as organized as I am. I know everything. Gosh she just makes my heart hurt she is so sweet. And not once but twice I was told that I in no way look my age.

T was here last week. His room still a disaster that I had been trying to get him to clean since July. I was and will not do it. He is 9. That is more than old enough that he can keep his own room clean. All week I let it slide. He was doing the basics so I was taking that as a win. Little did I know that we were headed for an epic battle.

Saturday rolled around and it all started out okay. T and me were getting along. Laughing and talking. He went out to play with his friends. No problem. Than he came inside with his friend and the attitude started. I asked him to clean up his room. That I was tired of the way that it looked and if he didn’t I was going to take a garbage bag and go in there and clean house.

Words were exchanged. T became snarkier and snarkier and my anger was reaching roiling point. When his friend’s mom got home, I sent him out and T tried to leave as well. I said no it was time to clean his room, that there were consequences to his actions and these were them in play. I only have one child. There was no practice kid for me so I am winging it as I go along. And I get frustrated really easily and annoyed. A lot of this is my own fault because I am the one raising him. Some of it is just him being a boy who can be a bit of a twit at times.

T tried to leave and I stood in front of him asking okay yelling at him to go back into his room. We ended up in a grappling match with myself pushing him back into his room so that I could close his door. He was pushing back staring up at me when suddenly he screamed at me:

‘Get the f*** off me! Get the f*** off me!’

I stared at him, my brain reeling from the fact that my 9 year old had just dropped the f bomb on me. Not once but twice. I stepped back and looked at him and he screamed angrily ‘Why are you like this?’

My response was ‘Why are you like this? I told you there were consequences to your actions T.’

I walked out of his room and closed the door.  I was shaking. I shot a text off to the ex which in hindsight I should not have done. I paced the living room a little bit, deep breathing as I went, calming myself. T was pitching things at his door, I was ignoring him. I looked over and realized that his door was open and walked over to close it. T was sitting on the floor putting things away. I asked him what he was doing because I could really not fathom what I was seeing. His snide reply was I am cleaning my room. Okay not gonna fight and I walked away.

He came out to the living room and I again asked what he was doing. He snapped I am going to the storage room what do you think I am doing. Ahhhhhh he is getting the vacuum out. A little annoyed at the tone but I will not respond. Let him go about his business. I washed the dishes and he came to me and asked if he could go outside. His room was cleaned.

I looked down well almost down at him and asked him if he thought he should really be allowed to go outside. He stared down at his feet and whispered that he was sorry. I asked for what? He whispered for dropping the f bomb on you.

I asked T if he thought that he was really old enough to be using the f word with me? He shook his head dejectedly and said no. We talked a little more and I checked his room. Made him vacuum a little more and said he could play outside for a little while.

That evening he swept the kitchen floor without my asking and fed the cats. We talked a little more and off he went to bed.

The next day we discussed the limits that were going to be imposed re computer time. That there was going to be more play time than watching youtube time. And that was when I realized that if I want him to spend more time at play, than I could not be zoned out in front of the television. Which lead to my challenge this week to not watch any t.v.

Wow, I totally just brought the whole thing home without even meaning to. Have no idea how so I am going to end it right here folks. I cannot get a better close. And I will glory in it for a few because never again will I be able to bring everything into a nice neat package.

As an aside, when the ex showed up to pick up T, he was told he would have to wait a minute while T cleaned the lego up off the floor in his room. He needed to keep it clean. Parenting win to add to my weekly tally. 🙂

 

Fear me not

***Picture posted on Facebook by Power of Positivity***

As I have detailed on here somewhat brokenly and rawly, I have learned I live with depression and will for the rest of my life. That somewhere along the line, the chemicals in my brain decided to go haywire and there are probably neural paths that have crossed that never should have even come in contact. With medication and previously therapy, I will not conquer and eradicate my depression, but we will live an uneasy partnership. Much like that little spider I allow to live in the bathroom corner.

As I was meandering through my Facebook feed this morning I came across the above quote and it instantly reached out and grabbed my by the throat. Because for so long I did fear failure. And with that fear, I stripped and bound myself with chains, closing off a part of me that is as essential to my well being as breathing or eating is.

I am a writer. I live to create. One of mom’s favorite stories about me when I was younger was how in grade one she received a call about a short story I had written. Not sure what was going on but the story was about a dog who died and a ghost squirrel was his (I am speculating here as I cannot go back and ask my 6 year old self) spirit guide. Not to heaven but beneath a tree in the backyard. I believe I have the story here somewhere  I might have to go back and reread it. It may be a gem of an idea!

However I am digressing.

My forte seems to be writing poetry. I began writing poems (not of the Roses are Red variety) I believe in 1986. I would not hold me to that fact, I may be a little off. But the first poem that I still clearly at least recall the premise of, had to do with the escalation of something between Ronald Reagan (than president of the U.S.) and his counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev (last leader of Communist Soviet Union) and nukes. I was 11 years old and scared. Who knows where the poem is today but that was my start.

I have always used poetry to express myself. As a teenager, struggling with depression and self-image issues and just a whole lot of anger, my poetry was dark and tragic. I wrote a lot about suicide. There was no happiness, no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel.

In hindsight, I was wrapped in a morass of pain and hatred, anger and fear. It all fell from my mind and pen in twisted pathways. Approximately 15 years or so ago, I found all my poetry. And I burned it. But that comes later in this tale. The emotions that bled off the page into the air around me as I read had tears pouring down my face for this poor soul I had been.

In high school I wrote the next great novel. Ha! Three years, a gazillion rewrites later and I was ready to send it off to the publishing world. I had done enough research that I knew I had to send in a query first so I did. And I received some interest back. I had to pay to have them read my manuscript. However the person who had to read it probably earned that money tenfold.

It was a horrible novel. I cringe even now when I think of it. I recently learned that my baby bro found a copy when he was in junior high and had an english assignment. So he took in all 300+ pages and handed it in. With his name on the front. I applaud his audacity but the teacher caught him out and ended up calling my mom. I can only hope that the english teacher never read it because I had had him during my season in junior high.

Needless to say, I did not sweep the publishing world off their feet. What I did receive was a very nice rejection letter which indicated that I had talent which needed to be shaped and molded. That I should take some creative writing courses.

Not sure if anyone can truly know what rejection is like to someone with depression so I am going to explain how it was for me.

First I cried. A lot. Than I began to be filled with this immense sadness. For this was my dream and now my dream was dead. (Yes I was also a tad dramatic when I was younger) I did not focus on the positives that I had read. Strong descriptive skill. Knew when to break with conversation. Talent. Benefit from writing courses. All I saw was that my novel was no good. I did not know what else to do with myself. (And thus started my career in Customer Service lol)

Next I packed up my typewriter. Cleaned my desk of all writing material. All creative works. And I hid it all away. Most of my material ended up being stored at mom’s until she retired and moved but I am getting ahead of myself.

For the next 26 years I wrote sporadically. Limited to poetry for family functions as required. I never showed anyone anything I was working on. I had short stints of productive periods writing poems but again I was harboring this fear. If I showed my works to others they would hate it. I was no good.

In 2003, during another bout of deep depression which had yet to be diagnosed, I found all my poetry. All the short stories. And I watched the papers burn and flutter into the air, ashes carried away on a breath of wind as I once again let go of this dream I nurtured for so long. (Even if I was not actively pursuing it, that small flame was nestled in my heart.)

I won’t bore everyone with the next 14 years of blackness and despair. Enlivened by the birth of my son. The career I discovered I was good at.  But still I feared. So I stamped out anything creative. I still was reading. Voraciously. My outlet. My escape. And I was and still am in awe of the authors I have found over the years. Of their creativity, the breadth and scope of their imagination.

So let’s jump ahead now. To today.

As I stated about I found this quote in my Facebook feed this morning and it resonated with me. Because for so damn long I allowed fear to rule my life. The words and sting of rejection so firmly entrenched in my thoughts that I feared to try anything. But all that has changed.

I began blogging back in December. And at first it was hard. What do you write about? Plus I had a lot I wanted to purge. I mainly began with blogs like this.

Talking about myself, my life. My son.

Yet as  I wrote, my imagination began to peek out. Unfurling herself from the cocoon she had woven in protection when I tried to excise her from my being.

Everywhere I turn I am inspired. I awaken from a night’s sleep with lines of poetry dancing through my mind.

And I no longer fear. I move forward, writing for myself and well those of you who are joining me on this amazing journey. Nine months later and I can say I am not in the same place I was in when I began this blog. And I hope nine months from now that I will have evolved even more in my writing. In my life.

Fear me not, for I tread among the stars. Illuminated with golden light and blessed of imagination. Travel along side and enjoy this journey with me.