Wedding vows for a lasting marriage

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Anyone who has ever been married knows that there are wedding vows and then there are wedding vows. I framed our wedding vows and the reminder hangs at the foot of our bed, constantly broadcasting the commitments we made to one another over five years ago. For better or for worse, til death do us part, may we always be honest and faithful…

But for all those people who struggle to remain in a relationship, or doubt that their significant other loves them, or feel like checking out of their union, they may be remembering their wedding vows but not their wedding vows.

No one warns you when you get married. They don’t tell you that your chewing will driving your spouse crazy. They don’t tell you that your significant other won’t put his dirty laundry in the laundry basket like, ever. They don’t warn you that a text message first thing in the morning will brighten another’s day. They don’t tell you how good your partner makes you feel when you tell them you miss them and you’re sitting right there.

Marriage is savage. It can be exhausting, emotionally-draining, a roller coaster of emotions, and sometimes it doesn’t last. Sometimes you give up on what you should be holding to so tightly.

I lucked out. This gorgeous man of mine made vows at our wedding over five years ago. He also makes them every day.

Each time he texts me that I’m beautiful.

When he reminds me that he’s thinking of me.

Every single night when he tells me goodnight.

And again in the morning, when he tells me to have a good day.

Every time he unloads the dishwasher.

And when he brings me home flowers unexpectedly.

When he brags on me to other people.

Whenever I catch him looking at my butt.

When he sends me song lyrics that remind him of me.

And when he pulls me closer to him in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner.

Every time he smiles at a picture of us together.

When he sets his phone background to a head shot of me.

And when he turns the air conditioner down a notch because I’m cold.

Every time he agonizes over a birthday present for me.

When he begrudgingly agrees to another kissing selfie.

When he parks outside my work and walked all the way in to each lunch with me.

When he rubs my thigh at the movie theater.

And when he is concerned he cut his hair too short for my liking.

When he brings me a clean towel when I’m in the shower.

And when he compliments my legs when I change into shorts.

Each time he offers to take our daughter to school so I don’t have to.

When he chokes down a meal I’ve made even though it sucks.

And when he offers to run me a bath.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have someone who vows to love you more each and every day, you’re selling yourself short. You deserve it. I am incredibly lucky to have someone who puts up with my shit even when it seems fruitless. I love this sexy man who goes out of his way to vow his love to me each and every day.

The Wild (K. Webster): Banned Book Review

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I don’t normally do book reviews.

Hell, apparently I don’t normally use my WordPress to post blogs. /hangs head in shame

Today’s not a day for normalcy.

 

Yesterday, while browsing my Facebook newsfeed like any other day, I stumbled upon a post from my favorite author. In it, she referenced a book that had been banned from Amazon due to the fact that it broke Amazon’s TOS regarding child pornography. She said that a line had to be drawn, and while she’s absolutely in support of fellow writers who choose taboo topics, this one was too far.

Just as the phrase “don’t look down” encourages you do just that, banning books sparks an interest and curiosity that does not quiet until satiated. My author’s post had not mentioned the book title or the author because she didn’t want anyone to personally attack a fellow author. She simply wanted it to be known that she did not approve of such a topic. Because of this, she discretionally deleted every comment that mentioned the author or the title.

I searched high and low for this book, all the while becoming more intrigued and dying to find it. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t seeking out the book because my author dubbed it child pornography. I was interested in a book that pushed buttons, approached taboo topics, explored real life scenarios without any regard for the reader’s emotional state, and hell, it was BANNED. I had to read it. Images of books in flames danced like sugarplums in my head.

I finally found it with the help of an internet-savvy coworker. It had been banned from Amazon’s ebook selection but not in paperback form. While I love the smell and feel of a book IRL, I have developed quite the affinity for my kindle app and ebooks in general. In today’s want-it-gotta-have-it-now society, I didn’t want to wait for shipping (no, even my 2-day Amazon Prime shipping doesn’t scratch that itch as immediately as I’d like), nor did I want to put off getting lost in this book. Also, my doctor encouraged me to not carry the whole kitchen sink in my purse, so I tend to shy away from physical copies.

I finally linked over to the author’s Facebook page. Lo and behold, she provided a link to Smashbooks ebook format. I approved the Paypal transaction without hesitation. I imported The Wild by K. Webster into my Google Play Books app and the image of the hunky, rugged antagonist loaded across my phone screen.

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Webster leads off her novel with a disclaimer:

The Wild is an extremely taboo story. Most will find that the themes in this book will make you incredibly uncomfortable or maybe even offend you. This book is only for the brave, the open-minded, and the ones who crave love in even the most dismal of situations. Extreme sexual themes and violence in certain scenes, which could trigger emotional distress, are found in this story. If you are sensitive to heavy taboo themes, then this story is not for you.

Seriously, you’ve been warned.

Don’t say I didn’t try.

You’re probably going to cringe many, many, many times.

Even if you’re on the fence, it’s probably not a good idea to proceed.

Some authors’ opinions that I digested before downloading the book suggested that this warning was not enough. That it did not adequately prepare the reader for the mature content within. I disagree.

However, for those that want to be better prepared (and perhaps desensitized) to the taboo themes within, read on.


Spoiler/Trigger Warnings ahead. I repeat, SPOILERS ahead.


I don’t normally mind a spoiler. It certainly did not affect my interaction with The Wild. I feel as though, even knowing everything I did going in, my heart and mind were both fucked thoroughly while reading (in the best of ways, of course). Because what is a book if it isn’t a tool to rip apart your current state of being and try to help you rebuild into something better or simply different? What is a book if it doesn’t test you, influence you, and bring out your inner demons? To leave you raw and open?

Triggers/themes include strong violence and sex. I will further define the sexual theme into the impressions that I’ve heard from others – not necessarily my own feelings: rape, statutory rape, incest, sexual molestation, sexual abuse, child pornography. Each of these is semi-related to the book. An argument can also be made for each of these that they simply do not apply. I guess it depends on your perspective as you dive into this read.

As for me, I consider this book an unconventional love story. If anyone could possibly succeed at making these mature and triggering themes romantic, Webster did. Webster introduced the most nontraditional circumstances and the most nontraditional relationship inside the constructs of a literary world in which they actually work. If there’s ever a time when those mature themes are okay, it’s now.

Am I justifying any of these themes in real life? Hell no. But that’s the difference in reading/writing/absorbing a work of fiction and living the same such circumstances in real life. I read The Wild with an open mind, holding no judgment on either main character, understanding that within the literary constructs of this fictional world, it works. Is there ever a situation where these circumstances would be acceptable off the pages? Well, that’s for you to deconstruct.

We all categorize words and actions as moral or immoral, good or bad, acceptable or not, crossing the line or toeing it. We use our social constructs to makes these judgment calls, which are never easy and not always right. We use our current situation, our upbringing, our moral compass to pass judgments on others, when we may not even be seeing the slightest fraction of the circumstances that affected another’s decision. We pass judgment on others when we wouldn’t make a similar decision, but the old adage of walking in another’s shoes couldn’t be more accurate. We really don’t know.

Did Webster’s novel provide a comfortable and welcoming place to lay your judgmental opinions? Absolutely not.

Did she attempt to coddle her readers, staying strictly on the moral side of the line? Nope.

Did The Wild provide a life-changing experience in which every reader recalled their judgmental and morally stated opinions, frolicking off into a world of debauchery and taboo? If it did, Webster wouldn’t ever have to work again.

But it didn’t. What it did do, for me at least, was to provide a social construct – a literary world – in which NOT OKAY was OKAY. Does this book provide the potential for victim blaming/shaming? Sure it can. Does it provide excuses for incest or rape? It could. But every single written word (or spoken word, or even thought) can be tangled, twisted, explained away. Everyone – everyone is afforded a different perspective, even if only slightly angled away from another’s. Everyone will take something differently from this novel and every other they read. Whether your thoughts aligned with the protagonist’s or not, you thought, and that’s all K. Webster wants from you. That’s all any writer wants.

This novel was HOT, if any such word could be used for such a mind-fuck of a book. It was significantly more well-written than any literotica I’ve read on similar topics. It was tasteful while still being taboo, dirty, nondiscretionary, sexy. It was romantic and emotionally trying and heart-warming while still making the reader’s panties a little wet.

If you’re open to the literary themes and triggers I posted midway through this article, I urge you to seek out The Wild and give it a shot. Spit on the book halfway through if you want. Throw it across the room (hell, if I hadn’t been reading on my phone, I might have). Burn it in your next bonfire. Or, devour it, let the words seep into your veins and alter your rose-colored glasses just the slightest bit, and then pass it on.

 

 

That hopeless, forgetful look stopped being cool at 21

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Yeah, it’s super cute and it’s endearing when you encounter a young twenty-something, out on their own for the first time and hopeless. Eyes are glazed over and you can literally see those little question marks dancing around their head.

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It’s cute when they don’t know how to schedule a doctor’s appointment, can’t find the right aisle at the grocery store, or forget to get their oil changed at 5,000 miles.

It’s endearing when they pay their first rent bill late, or eat ramen for a week because they blew their paycheck on booze.

It’s cute when they heckle at the car dealership or buying their newest cell phone because they don’t know the right questions to ask.

But see, that hopeless, forgetful look, the dazed-and-confused vibe they’re giving off? It’s only cute for so long. In fact, it stops being cute around 21.

Then it’s just annoying.

You graduate high school with high ambitions and likely very little willpower to turn those to fruition. That’s okay.

For some reason they don’t teach practical skills in high school (and even less so with the dissolution of home-ec classes). You don’t know how to balance a checkbook, how to schedule an online bill payment, whether to wash your clothes on gentle or fast, or that you need to write down your appointments so you don’t forget them and get slapped with a missed-appointment fee.

That’s okay.

Like I said, it’s kind of endearing for a while, in the same way that a lost pup wanders aimlessly looking for momma dog or food.

It’s not cute forever. In fact, when you’re a grown ass adult who has all of their shit together, it’s really fucking annoying to forever be reminding other grown ass adults of their appointments and commitments.

It’s really fucking annoying when a grown ass adult has to forever be reminding other grown ass adults of a due date, or a meeting time, or if they’ve said they’ll bring something to an event.

It’s really fucking annoying that I’m a grown ass adult with a legitimate memory problem (thanks, fibro fog) and I’ve still managed to get my shit together and take the appropriate steps to make sure I’m not relying on other grown ass adults to remind me of my responsibilities.

Do you have a memory problem? Get a planner. Download a calendar app. Set alarms on your phone.

Do you have a perpetual problem being late? Set an alarm. Wake up five minutes earlier. Lay out your clothing the night before. Leave earlier than you would normally.

See, it’s not easy being a busy mom, wife, full-time employee, social committees organizer, scouts leader, etc., etc., etc. In fact, it’s really fucking hard. And I’m not saying I’m perfect – I am far from. I forget things. I miss appointments (occasionally!). I run late sometimes, and I totally feel you when you try to explain how the warmth of your bed sucked you back in for five more minutes.

But really. Grow the fuck up. They sell planners at fifteen different stores in my small town, and there is a plethora of applications for your phone (they’re free!). All phones have a clock application already installed (wow, effortless) and you can set a billion different alarms with different ringers for different occasions.

It was cute for a while. It was endearing when you were still learning to adult like a baby penguin waddling on the ice for the first time alone. Like a toddler letting go of mom’s hand and falling into a heap on the living room floor after four or five torturous steps.

It was cute. It’s not anymore. Learn how to adult so I can get back to taking care of my own family and I don’t have to micromanage twenty other families. kthxbye.

“Mister” President, please tread lightly on this nation 

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When I woke up this morning to the results of the presidential election, I was speechless.

Now, I’m not speechless, but my words seem insufficient, muddled; my thoughts are cloudy and I’m lost. I told my husband I’d probably cry if Trump became president. I’m not crying, but I think this feeling is worse.

I’ve followed both candidates, and those that didn’t get the primary nomination for their party, since the beginning of the campaign.

I started a diehard Bernie Sanders fan, applauding democratic socialism in spite of my peers who feared the words, recognizing the genuine regard for humankind behind the eyes of an idealist man (and I don’t mean this negatively, I’m an idealist, too).

I watched debates between the candidates during the primaries, both Democratic and Republican.

I watched as Trump blatantly spewed hatred toward minorities of all races and genders.

I watched as Trump mocked individuals with disabilities and families of fallen servicemen.

I watched as Hillary’s emails were scoured by the FBI.

I watched as uninformed individuals spread pro-abortion rhetoric on social media, including misinformation about “late-term abortions” – a term that doesn’t technically exist in the medical realm.

I watched as Hillary pulled out the Democratic nomination, and as Trump won the Republican.  

I watched as the Democratic National Convention and Debbie Wasserman Schultz stripped Bernie of the nomination.

I watched as a Bernie or Bust campaign started spreading like wildfire.

I watched as similar campaigns spread, popularizing hashtags like #nottrump and #imwithher and #killary.

I watched as riots broke out at rallies.

I watched as Trump egged them on.

I watched as Hillary was ridiculed for deaths in Benghazi.

I watched as Hillary called Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables.”

I watched a Trump defended “[grabbing] them by the pussy.”

I watched as Hillary won the popular vote on 11/08/2016.

I watched as Trump won the presidential candidacy on 11/08/2016 because of an outdated electoral college.

I watched as the Republican party took the House and Senate majorities.

I watched my friends in same-sex relationships shudder in fear that their union would be attacked.

I watched my friends of the Muslim faith shudder in fear that they would be persecuted for their religion, tattooed with a symbol of their faith (whether physically or metaphorically) as Hitler once commanded.

I watched my non-citizen friends shudder in fear that they would be ripped from the arms of their wailing infant children.

See, I started as a Bernie fan, enlightened and hopeful at the idea of a democratically socialist society, and when Hillary took the democratic nomination, I quickly jumped onto the #anyonebuttrump train. While I consider myself quite liberal, I’ve never been a straight ticket voter and was attentive and unbiased while watching the Republican debates. There are certain issues that are hot buttons for me – namely, equal rights and protection by the government for ALL people – regardless of religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation. While I could potentially waiver on democratic stances regarding economics, gun control, etc., this is not something I can give up.

This country wasn’t founded on nothing. Nor was it founded on religion. It was not founded on the concept of exclusion – rather, it was founded as an escape from the exclusiveness of the Church.

It was founded on the idea that “all men are created equal…” and that we have unalienable Rights like “…Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” In 1776, it was put into print.

It was founded on the ideals of “domestic tranquility, justice, welfare, and posterity.” In 1788, it was put into print.

It’s funny to me that Hillary received such backlash over her basket of deplorables comment. She stated that “…you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.” I don’t see this as disputable. She didn’t say all of his supporters were deplorable or racist, etc., but she did state that many of them were. And aren’t they? Aren’t you?

I told you that I wasn’t a straight ticket voter and I meant that with every fiber of my being. As much as those hot topic issues mean to me, recognizing humanity as the only human race is my primary concern. It is DEPLORABLE to exclude someone for their race, gender, etc. It is DEPLORABLE to spew hatred and contempt forth from a position of power. It is DEPLORABLE that by putting this man into the White House, we are validating every single deplorable behavior. We are teaching our kids that bullying is okay. We are giving common practice (often read = acceptable practice) to HATE SPEECH and HATE CRIME. If this man changes economic policies, we will recover. If this man changes environmental policies, we will likely recover. If this man changes policies of warfare, we will hopefully recover. My biggest fear is that we will not recover from empowering a deplorable like Donald Trump. My daughter is being raised in this country—this country that I was (generally) proud of. A country that was indeed a melting pot of culture and individuals, that provided her experiences and a wealth of knowledge at her fingertips. Now, I fear that the knowledge she will pick up on the street is deplorable – the rhetoric of exclusion, belittling, egocentrism, and hatred.

I know that parenting a productive member of society starts at home, and I hope that my husband and I can instill enough goodness in this little girl that she ignores the world around her and avoids this community of hate. I hope that she is able to rise above the common-place rhetoric that will soon take shape and I hope that she is able to change the world. And I seriously hope that by the time she is out in the world
alone, that this world is a much better place for her to thrive.

If you’re comfortable or complacent after this election, you’re either a straight, white male, politically relevant, rich, or ignorant (read: uneducated or naive). But please remember that exclusion comes back around. Don’t believe for a second that you are safe in an environment that breeds hate. And, don’t for a second believe that you’re any better than anyone that doesn’t fit those “norms.” This rhetoric is all very familiar to this Holocaust aficionado/student.

Keep your bigotry. The White House is not the place for it. Our law books have no room for it. Be a racist, xenophobe, or just an asshole, but by golly, keep it out of my government. 

I am discouraged that the House and Senate have Republican majority. I am discouraged that a Republican will be appointing the next Supreme Court Justice. I am discouraged that changes will be made to Obama’s administration, after all of the amazing strides he has made in the last two terms. 

But mostly, I am disappointed, discouraged, and disgusted in the country that I live in, that we would empower a man as unprincipled and un-American as Donald Trump.

These are a few of my favorite things

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Because I can.

Movies: The Dark Knight Rises, Sweet Home Alabama, Cruel Intentions, Dirty Dancing

TV Shows: Shameless, Californication, The Originals, Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars

Artists: Eminem, Garth Brooks, Lukas Graham

Songs: I Miss You (Blink 182), Renegade (Eminem), Don’t (Ed Sheeran), This Used to Be My Playground (Madonna)

Authors: Colleen Hoover, James Frey, Stephen King

Books: Slammed (Colleen Hoover)

How to Get Unstuck (Escaping Bipolar Monotony)

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How to Get Unstuck (Escaping Bipolar Monotony)

Bipolar exists in many forms.
For Bipolar I individuals, it is an all-consuming (and generally slow) cycle of severe depression and mania.
For Bipolar II individuals, we are faced with less severe mania (hypermania) mixed with severe depression.
Those with Cyclothymic disorder alternate brief hypomanic episodes with brief periods of depression.
Some bipolar individuals are identified with mixed features, in that they may display inappropriate responses or feelings which are opposite to their current mood state.
And then there are some who rapid cycle – experiencing four or more mood episodes within a 12 month period by definition, and there are also ultra-rapid cyclers, who experience these cycles more often, sometimes changing weekly or even daily.

A lot of people who aren’t bipolar don’t understand bipolar disorder because, especially if you are in a rapid-cycling episode, it seems like mood swings. And who doesn’t get mood swings, right? But bipolar can be much more serious, and to those living it daily, it can be crucifying. And for those of us that have characteristics of many of those types? You’re spent walking your life on a balance beam, knowing that you may fall or rise, but stability is a thing of the past, a distant memory of a better time.

I was diagnosed with rapid-cycling Bipolar II with Cyclothymic tendencies in post-partum. I went to the doctor thinking I was treating the post-baby depression, when in reality, I was being labeled with the very thing that made sense, both to my current life and my childhood.

See, my doc asked the typical questions. You know—the annoying ones, the ones where they ask you to tell them about your family. She asked it after she had obtained my profile and I didn’t think a thing of it when I described my father’s reckless disregard for his marriage, our family finances, his frequent change in jobs, or his non-existent relationship with his daughter. But once I told her that he went into Charter Ridge when I was 15 for depression and then lied his way out, it clicked.

At the time of my diagnosis, I was freshly-clad with a beautiful university diploma, demonstrating my knowledge in the area of psychology. I chose psychology because of my father, actually, telling myself that I could be a better doctor who would’ve seen through his blatant dishonesty that day at Charter.
I had learned about Bipolar in many of my classes, and I had even studied the medicines used to treat the disorder and behaviors associated with the disease. I still didn’t recognize the signs in myself or in my father.

But once she said the words, I understood. I understood that I would be living a life of gymnastics, and medication, and this constant dizzy feeling of not knowing which way was up.

I didn’t know, at that time, that it would be so much. That it would be this constant tumble between introverted and extroverted, constant apologizes on repeat, this delicate decision to medicate or not to medicate (because many doctors won’t prescribe you an anti-depressant without a mood stabilizer, because just treating the depression will cause you to go UP, but mood stabilizers stop the UP, so all you’re left with is DOWN). It would be a lifelong stuck feeling, of being stuck in this body and unable to escape, of being stuck in a recliner in front of a TV playing some program that you’re not even digesting, of looking on at your life from a fixed position, stuck, wondering when/if you’ll be able to rejoin reality.

Bipolar allowed me a lot of excuses. I explained away my alcohol abuse, my sexual promiscuity, my reckless behavior. I medicated, and then went unmedicated, and then medicated again. I set goals, and lowered them, and lowered them some more, only to be disappointed that I had no goals. I still make excuses. I still make apologies on repeat. And now more than ever, I’m doing what I can to stay on the middle ground between depression and mania, finding a happy place that is both maintainable and different enough to keep me interested.

There are a lot of side effects and aspects of my bipolar that I can’t control. The stuck feeling is one of the most prominent feelings I have with regard to this disease, and it’s one of the few that I can actually put words and actions to. There are a few things that help me get unstuck. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t, but I can tell when my body and mind get restless and I need a change of scenery. I want to share them with you so that if you are stuck, you can give them a try. And please, please, please, if you have an unstuck tips, comment below. I love to try new things, especially because even the best-laid of foundations can crumble at any time in this bipolar world I’m living in.

(I’m NOT a doctor!! Feel free to listen to what worked for me, but understand that I am not trained in this AT ALL.)

1. Move furniture. This one is huge for me. It probably seems silly to you “normal” people, but I’ve always loved moving my furniture around. Sitting on the couch in the same spot gets really depressing after about 3-6 months. Staring at my computer screen through a whole work day is daunting, and sitting in the same position in my office for 6 months straight distracts me severely from my work.
2. Listen to music. Any kind of music, really. Sometimes I need the depressing shit to get me through the day. Other times, I need something extra-energetic that puts a smile on my face.
3. Move. Exercise helps bipolar a LOT. But a deeper curse of bipolar is the constant depression and fatigue that make exercise seem frivolous and like a lot of unnecessary work. Moving just a little is not too daunting, and it really helps. A yoga ball in place of my desk chair at work has been a huge savior.
4. Dance. Music + moving? That’s going to have double the impact. No, I don’t blare music through the house and dance down the halls (well, I do occasionally, and it’s very therapeutic). Usually, I play music through my headphones while I work and bounce to the beat, or I max out my speakers in my car (well, now I don’t max out because I’ve already had to have one speaker replaced!!) and jam while I drive.
5. Fidget. Depression and/or bipolar mimic a LOT of other diseases. I am not trying to take away from those other conditions, but I am just lending to the idea that things that help one person might also help another person with bipolar. When I’m feeling stuck, I am very ADD. I have trouble focusing on anything of importance, and I fidget frequently. Now, I try to embrace the fidgeting. I wear MANY bracelets that I can play with throughout the day, and my yoga ball helps with the body-fidgets. I can sit on my ball and bounce, and it helps to reduce the “thumper” leg shaking. Also, since I’ve gotten my ears pierced, my earrings are a great fidget for me too.
6. Find safe ways to experience controlled mania. This can be totally dangerous if you’re not careful, and I’m not a doctor. Repeat—not a doctor! I don’t recommend this for someone who doesn’t feel like they can return to a state of normalcy, and I also don’t recommend it for someone without a support system. But, it helps me a LOT. Promiscuity was a big marker of my uncontrolled bipolar years, before I was diagnosed. My husband and I discussed early on in our relationship having an open-ish relationship, and we have taken advantage of it a few times. (I’m lucky enough to have an amazing husband that sticks by me through the repeat apologies, and is willing to explore things like this with me. It’s not for everyone. But, we find it to be a significantly better option than not doing anything to address the issue, which has led to cheating in the past.) It’s not really the DOING it that helps the stuck feeling, but it’s knowing that the options are there.
7. Go outside. I don’t think this one really needs much explanation. Even though my stuck feeling is psychological, there are a lot physical markers in my life that contribute to it. Furniture, enclosed spaces, messes. Embrace some nature, sunshine, and the amazing sound of running water. It does wonders for the soul.

Do you have any special ways that help you get unstuck?

Memories – Repost, Originally 10/23/2005

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Just noted that my old Memories piece was showing dead images. Hopefully this will fix. Will always be one of my favorite pieces because it’s so incredible raw.

Original post:

Before reading this, I think it’s very important that you read my other post, ESPECIALLY if you think you might be suicidal. See it here: Suicidal ideation and intent: What you need to know.

This a very old poem that I hold extremely dear to my heart. It’s 99% sheer imagination, at least it was in 2005 when I wrote it. I have since experienced much of it, but I jut really wanted to share it with you (collectively). You’ve been very receptive of my other writing and I look forward to hearing your feedback for Memories.

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Create a Purpose Map: Creativity Prompt #3

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In keeping with the spirit of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Creativity Workshop, here is my response to prompt #3 of my creativity notebook.

Click to see prompt #1 and prompt #2.

Create a Purpose Map

Creativity Notebook Prompt #3

To find your sense of creative purpose or your next creative project, Elizabeth Gilbert advises: “start by deciding what you care about and then go be a student.” To do this most productively, she recommends that you “get granular and get specific.” The following exercises will help you do just that. You will move from big picture passions to concrete personal interests that you can use as a starting point for your creative projects. To create a purpose map, insert a table into your creativity notebook or grab some post-it notes and make a dynamic map on your wall.

 

Issues I Care About, Why I Care, How I Can Start

LGBT issues, I know what it’s like to be afraid of your orientation and afraid of ridicule, volunteer

Secular Meditation, powerful to me and could be powerful to others as well, get myself into a routine and then video blog it

Addiction, learned a lot about it in psychology degree, close to home with father, volunteer to counsel, do research, document through photographs

 

People I Care About, Why I Care, How I Can Start

LGBT youth, I know what it’s like to be afraid of your orientation and afraid of ridicule, volunteer

Aspiring youth writers, Want to help them move past writer’s block and know they can publish, volunteer/start a group

 

Hobbies, Jobs, Career, & Vocation: Creativity Prompt #2

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In keeping with the spirit of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Creativity Workshop, here is my response to prompt #2 of my creativity notebook. See prompt #1 here.

Hobbies, Jobs, Career, & Vocation

Creativity Notebook Prompt #2

Elizabeth Gilbert advises us to distinguish between our hobbies, jobs, career, and vocation. To help you sort through these elements in your own life, take a few minutes to complete the exercise below on a new page in your creativity notebook.

What activities do you participate in on a daily basis? Try to itemize what you do on both the typical week day and the typical weekend day. What are all the activities that you wish you could do more of that might not be included on your list?

On the typical weekday, I work a 7.5 hour day at my job (sometimes overtime), take my daughter to her activities, including cheerleading, swim lessons, library events, etc., and then go home to get her fed and in bed, relax or clean the house, and then sleep. Now that I have started a direct sales job, I am also trying to find time to post on Facebook to encourage sales, run online parties, and promote my business.

On the typical weekend, I sleep in as long as my daughter will allow, and we relax around the house. Some weekends, we have events to go to, such as walk/runs, library events, or other kids events around town, and I usually have a meeting with my book club. The weekends are generally dedicated to cleaning the house, taking care of shopping or other errands, and relaxing.

I am having trouble finding time for my direct sales, so I definitely want to find more time for that. I also want to find more time to be out on my own, taking pictures or writing at a scenic place. Right now, I take time away from “mom life” to go to book club, and I feel bad leaving my daughter, but I also know that I need to focus on me time as well. I would love to have an opportunity to volunteer also.

 

Hobbies: Photography, Book Club, Meditating/Exercising

Jobs: State Job, KEEP Direct Sales

Career: KEEP Direct Sales

Vocation: Photography, Counseling

 

Is it feasible for you to move any of your hobbies towards the career category? What will that take? What risks and rewards will be involved?

Photography, perhaps, but that would be require investment in a nice camera and some sort of technical class on photography to learn tips and techniques. Also, a time commitment to take pictures of others is required and my schedule should be pretty open.

If it is necessary to keep your day job, are there ways that you could carve out adequate time to pursue your creative hobbies on the side?

This is a huge struggle for me. What little time I do have is spent recouping from my on the go lifestyle. Especially with my chronic pain, I am constantly struggling to keep up and I generally crash or nap when I have down time. Taking better care of myself will hopefully free up more time, and I need to take better advantage of weekends that are more open.

What is your vocation? What do you need to keep making time for in your life even if no one will ever pay you for it or you will never earn wide acclaim or recognition?

Writing and photography. Counseling (volunteering) if possible.

 

Curiosity Cat Scan: Creativity Notebook Prompt #1

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In keeping with the spirit of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Creativity Workshop, here is my response to prompt #1 of my creativity notebook.

Curiosity Cat Scan

Creativity Notebook Prompt #1

Elizabeth Gilbert says that to get started on your creative journey, it can help to look for “little tiny patches of sparkle or light” inside your mind that signal your curiosity. She suggests asking: “What is effervescent in me? What bubbles a little bit? What is a little bit interesting?” You should stay alive to the things that keep you curious, no matter how tiny or random or inconsequential they seem. Once you find those sources of light, she suggests “grabbing onto them like it’s a rope” and using them to pull you towards your next creative project. Remember how she used her interest in gardening to propel her towards writing her novel, The Signature of All Things!

What are you doing when you feel most beautiful?

When I feel most beautiful, it’s usually because I’m producing a powerful or impactful piece of art. Whether it be my photography, poetry, or writing, when I produce something beautiful, I feel beautiful too as its creator. Writing is difficult for me anymore, as I generally write when I’m depressed or melancholy, and while I still have a significant amount of that in my life now, it’s a lot different when you’re married with a child and a full-time job and not just a down and out sixteen year old with the world against her.

My photography was difficult, but impactful. I miss that feeling of accomplishment. I miss my series on addictions, I miss the search for a beautiful run down barn to capture. I still remember my mother driving me around, helping me find the perfect spot to start clicking. Photography is still incredible interesting to me, as is my work on addictions. Perhaps I can combine the two once again to crank out a great photography series. The photography light bulb in my brain still goes off, frequently, reminding me that I should recapture the moments. Perhaps I should listen to it.