Life and School

I don’t have many fears in life, but the ones I do have tend to revolve around losing things. Losing my family. Losing my friends. Not being wanted. Being forgotten. Of course, there’s bugs too, but mostly there is a theme surrounding the things I’m most afraid of.

Because of this theme, moving 18 hours away from home is probably the single hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

I’m pretty much an emotional wreck from the time I wake up in the morning until the time I fall asleep at night. I miss home so much it hurts, but I also know that I would never have done anything with my life if I had stayed. Knowing that the stagnation would have killed any motivation and creativity I had doesn’t make the loss of home any easier, though. It’s like taking your medicine and being expected to like the bitter tang.

My friends and family have all been really amazing in supporting me, and making space for my emotional ups and downs, even as some of them are going through difficult times as well. And that’s real love, isn’t it? Making space for one another, even if you can’t fix anything.

I asked my Tarot deck the other day if I’m going to make it through this. The card I pulled was The Journey (which corresponds to the Death card in the Rider-Waite deck). And this, to me, was a sign that I will make it through this, but not as I was. I will make it through this only with a period of growing and changing.

And that’s terrifying. Change is scary and painful, and even though I wasn’t happy before, at least I was comfortable. But there is no adventure or growth in the comfortable places of our lives, and if I want something more from this life, I have to take the risk.

I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know what losses are in store for me. I just hope that I won’t be forgotten by the ones I love in spite of all the space between us now.

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Mid-West Musings

I wrote this piece this morning. Just posting it now as I finally have internet.

I’m sitting in the morning gloom of my new apartment. The only pieces of furniture that have been moved in here so far are the cot I slept on last night and a chair my landlords let me borrow because all of mine are still on the U-Haul. I hired movers to come later today, but I haven’t heard anything from them, and I’m not sure they’re coming. Time will tell.

It’s hard moving on. I’m so family-oriented that moving half the country away from them is going to be a painful period of growth for me. I know this move was the right decision. It’s just hard to feel that.

I have one day left with the family who helped me move out here, and it’s all going to be taken up with setting up my apartment. I wish I could have sight-seen with them instead, but we have to stay here until at least 1pm because the internet people have such a huge chunk of time in which they might stop by.

And the movers. I really hope they show up.

I’m planning on spending the rest of the week exploring the campus, getting used to the bus system, and taking care of my apartment and various tedious other tasks (such as a DMV stop, etc…)

School orientation starts next Monday. I’m really excited to get started, and very nervous too. Once classes start, I’ll be taking Biochemistry, which I have avoided my entire school career because I was afraid of it, and Statistics, which I figured would be a good refresher. It’s weird to be returning to school after 4 years off. I hope that it’s like riding a bike and I’ll be back in the swing of things in no time.

I left behind a job that would have given me a pension in 30 years, but looking around at my miserable coworkers, I didn’t want that to be me by the end. There are people who think I made the wrong decision because of the stability I left behind, but what good is stability if you’re so unhappy you actively work to make others around you unhappy? I’d rather take a risk and attempt to find something better.

I also realize how privileged I am to be able to take that risk. I’m relatively young, I’m single, I have no kids, and I have an amazing support system in place. I’m grateful for all of those things, and I’m grateful for being able to make this huge change.

I hope my going-back-to-school gamble pays off. I hope the PhD I’m going to earn opens enough doors for me that I’m able to get back into a stable job, but one that’s more fulfilling and is filled with less bitter people.

I’m going to miss my family. I’m going to miss the house I basically grew up in. I’m going to miss my friends. But I also know that this was the best decision I could have made for my future.

Note: The movers did not show up. We had to empty the truck ourselves.

Books, PhDs, and Ghosts, Oh My!

This year has been pretty strange so far. The world is a giant trash-fire, but there’s been great news for my friends in terms of their writing careers. It can be hard to reconcile the two things, holding sadness and joy in my heart at the same time, but I’m learning to just kind of roll with things.

I’m so incredibly excited for my writing friends. Two of them are self-publishing their work, and it’s awesome to see their stories out in the world. One just got published with a small press this past week. And two more have signed with agents. My heart is filled with pride for their successes, and I can’t wait to see more stories from them!

As for my writing… I’m still tootling along. I’m putting my writing career dreams on hold for a while, though, because I’ve decided to take the plunge back into academia. I was accepted into a PhD program which starts this fall, so while I’m planning on writing here and there, school will be my life for at least 4-5 years.

I have a goal to finish the novel I’m working on before heading off to school in ~3 months. Not sure if I’ll meet that goal, but we’ll see! Moving planning has been taking up a huge chunk of my time.

And next weekend, I’m off to a haunted weekend full of ghost hunting and metaphysical talks. I’m pretty excited about it!

So, lots of changes and exciting things coming up in the next few months. Life is funny because I never know what it’ll throw at me next.

Life Upheaval

These past 2 months have been incredibly busy. My work transferred me to another location and gave me 4 weeks to pack everything up, make all the arrangements I had to make, and then move. They wanted to give me 2 weeks, but that was a little much…

So, now I’m here in the new location, which is actually in my old stomping grounds where I grew up. It’s surreal being back in an employed capacity. I’m used to just swooping in for quick visits, so it’s taking some getting used to actually being back.

But it feels so, so good.

I’m back on the query wagon for my book and I’ve started writing a new one! It’s amazing how creative I can be when I’m in a place that’s more suited to me.

I’m back, baby! And I’m happy!

Goodnight, 2016

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I can honestly say I’ve never been this excited to say goodbye to a year and welcome in a new one.

This year has had so many ups and downs. I’ve cried over celebrity deaths and personal ones. I’ve helped welcome new life into the world. I’ve let old friends go and welcomed new ones into my life.

I’ve watched my country divide itself further and further and I honestly don’t see how reconciliation is possible. But hope dies last, and I will fight for love and acceptance until my dying breath.

And two things happened this year that changed me forever.

The first was the Aspiring Writers Workshop with Madcap Retreats. I am a stronger, more fearless writer because of this experience. I’m perfectly willing to burn my work down until only the good remains. Before this, I clung to every scrap of writing even when it wasn’t working. And I have made lifelong friends after getting to know the talented, welcoming people who also attended.

The second was the Strange Escapes: Ghosts of Christmas Passed event held in Gettysburg, PA. Again, I made new friends and I found a new passion to explore. My life isn’t weird enough yet, but I’m hoping 2017 will change that. I want to be braver and put myself out there more to experience new things. Change comes slowly, but I’ll get there.

And finally, there are things brewing in my personal life that I can’t talk about yet, but I hope that soon I’ll be able to share them with you.

So… Goodnight, 2016, and goodbye. I’ll miss the parts of you that were good, but mostly I’m glad you’re leaving.

Writing is Hard, but Keep Going

It’s been about 2 months since the Madcap Aspiring Writers Workshop I attended. I left the workshop in high spirits, really riding the excitement I felt while there.

However, in the time since then, I have run the gamut of “my work is terrible, I should stop writing” to “I can do this! It’s my dream and I will get there!”

Writing is hard. It takes a lot of self-confidence, which fluctuates for me from day to day. It takes commitment and self-discipline. And when I have a stack of books come into the library for me, it’s easy to not write for a couple weeks.

But, there’s always the pull back to the page. Now that I’ve started on this journey, I feel like I can’t give up now. I feel like the finish line is just around the corner and quitting isn’t in my genes.

If I stop writing, nothing is going to happen. No one is going to knock on my door demanding to see my work. No one is going to call me up and scold me for not finishing my book. And yet, I don’t want to fail.

Sure, I might have oodles of rejection letters sitting in an email folder marked “Lit Agent Rejections.” Sure, I might not have heard back at all from a handful of other agents. But I don’t see that as failure.

Failure is me saying “I’m done” for no other reason than it’s “too hard.” There are plenty of good reasons for someone to give up on this journey, but for me, being hard isn’t one of them.

So, I’m going to keep plugging along. And one of these days, my dreams will come true. Then, I’ll be faced with the onerous task of choosing a new dream to fulfill. But that’s the exciting thing about life. You never know what’s around the next corner.

Creating a Life

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I miss the river, too.

Moving is hard. Moving to a new place without any friends or family is even harder.

I’m very family/friend oriented, so moving 5 hours away from everyone I know has been tough. I’m trying to balance the stresses of my first professional job with trying to create a life for myself.

Sadly, I haven’t been doing a very good job of living outside my head. I’ve thrown myself into the internet, into books, into writing, as a way of escaping my reality. I miss everyone back home so much that living inside fantasy worlds is more appealing than the loneliness I feel outside of them.

And I don’t really feel like I fit out here. I’m from a more diverse place, within 2 hours of at least 3 major cities. Moving out to the rural part of the state has been quite a shock, and not in a good way. I knew life would be different out here, but I didn’t realize just how fundamentally different my values would be from the ones people here have.

I’m tired of feeling like I have to choose between my values and not being ostracized. I don’t see how this gets better, but I’m stuck here for now.

So I will continue hiding in my stories and others’ stories. I will write until my fingers fall off from typing and my eyes burn from my head from staring at the computer screen. And I will continue yearning for something better.

How are all of you doing this month? I’d love to hear from you.