Miscellaneous

#SATurday: Hurricanes and Mermaids

#SATurday: Hurricanes and Mermaids

I’ve been spending a lot of time walking home in the dark and thinking about how many people would say, “That’s unsafe.” Of course, it is unsafe. I am aware of this. Perhaps I do it because it is unsafe. The silence draws me to it. At least that’s what I tell myself. I mainly do it because I have no other choice. But talking about silence is the much more poetic way to speak.

The sound of your own footsteps is similar to squeezing yourself into the underwater world of a bathtub – a place where we can hear our own heartbeats (and probably the sloshing of water fighting the unnatural and contorted way you have to lay in order to fit underwater as an adult.)

Look! I'm a mermaid...with legs. Wait a second...
Look! I’m a mermaid…with legs. Wait a second…

As a kid, I didn’t have this problem. I used the bathtub as a pool. Goggles and all. I suppose that’s why a brilliant idea occurred to six-year-old me: the shower could be a pool, too. A raining pool. To do this, I clogged the drain with towels, and once a puddle formed, I had the perfect area to play in. The game was called “hurricanes and mermaids”, and my Barbie’s were the participants. We lasted thirty minutes before my mom ran in, screaming about how the kitchen ceiling was dripping with water. It occurred to me that – to our kitchen – I was the hurricane. What my mother was in this metaphor is still beyond me. Real hurricanes don’t have a curly-headed woman to stop the storm by turning the shower’s knob off. Something tells me this is exactly why I will never be a mermaid in a hurricane. I suppose that would also be called common sense.

I won’t lie. I have been told for a long portion of my life that I don’t have a lot of common sense. Mainly because I overthink everything – which sometimes results in appearing as if I hadn’t thought at all. Take my current situation as an example. I’m walking alone on a dark street in the middle of the night all by myself. If you happened to drive by and see me, you would probably think I was an idiot. After all, this is how a couple Law and Order: SVU episodes start. Right? I would like to take this moment to explain how much I would like to rant about the assumptions people have about those who are walking around by themselves, but instead I will continue forward with something I dread a little bit more than that: statistics.

If you get into the statistics of it all, only 26.1% of violent victimization happens by total strangers*, and – in fact – you’re relatively safe walking down the street by yourself. Even though articles like What It’s Like to Be a Woman at Night gain popularity, you are probably safer walking at night than you are driving in rush hour traffic. Especially where I happen to be. I am by no means encouraging people to waltz along the midnight path like I do. I have no choice but to. But this doesn’t mean I’m right or you’re right or any of it is right. I do, however, think it’s rather sad how society has snatched the serenity of the silent, midnight walk away from us. And I like to take it back, even if I shouldn’t. That being said, every time I return home unharmed, I have to confess I believe in society a little bit more. I also remember the hurricane. It is difficult not to when the rain falls.

Walking around in twenty-degree weather has become a norm for me lately – being carless and all – but walking in freezing sleet rain for a long period of time was new. Then again, being forced to walk around to find work has toughened me up a bit. I almost welcomed it. Almost. I definitely didn’t increase my walking speed. That would only make the holes in the toes of my boots get bigger. No exaggeration. But the moment was still an enjoyable one. It reminded me of the mermaids and the hurricanes and how I would’ve rejoiced in my young age at the opportunity to play in such awful weather. For that reason alone, I almost jumped into a puddle. Almost. I had to remember my boots again. But I managed to take my hands out of my pockets and enjoy the feel of the rain slipping through my fingers.

This might be where I lost my common sense, and a part of me has accepted my neutral reaction at losing such a thing, but a bigger part of me prefers to listen to the rain anyway. It is much more accommodating when you let it fall on your shoulders than pretend it isn’t hitting your ceiling at night. It becomes less ominous, more subtle – a way of breathing in a new day when you’re struggling to find a reason to stay positive since the next storm is coming.

One of these days, I’ll also remember to carry an umbrella.

~SAT on #SATurday

*Taken from latest Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)

P.S.

I look forward to hearing from you!
I look forward to hearing from you!
Miscellaneous

For the First Time in a Long Time, I Struggled with Writing, and This is What I Did About It

So, my title was ridiculously long, especially compared to my other titles. This might be because I have been struggling the past week. I will not call this “writer’s block” because it isn’t. It’s more about me than writing. (Plus, I truly think that calling it a certain thing can cause the problem to be much worse.) I set up a goal for myself, and I didn’t meet it, and I didn’t meet it for a reason. Below, I want to share what happened in the hope that my story will help others who struggled to understand where their struggles came from and how to quickly get out of a slump. Basically this is going to be how I reminded myself that it’s okay to fall down – as long as you get back up – and how I got back up before I convinced myself that I couldn’t.

So, what happened?

I’m in a writers group called Kansas City Writer’s. Recently, members were invited to submit to an event that would be taking place. Of course, I was excited. I clicked on the invite, ready to read the guidelines, and my excitement almost immediately died.

The event was Listen to Your Mother – a wonderful show that takes place on Mother’s Day in which writers from all around the city read about their mothers or mother figures or being a mother themselves. While I’m sure many writers were ecstatic, at this point, the invite felt like some universe joke, and a cruel joke nonetheless.

Why did it feel that way?

Well, as many of you know, my mother died from a drug overdose when I was eleven. I talk about her a lot. I write about her more. But it’s also been a decade since her death, and it’s sometimes more difficult later on in life – especially during the big events, like my graduation. My next novel also releases one week after the day she died eleven years ago. On top of that, this year is a mark that my mother has been more dead in my life than alive in it. Honestly, I’ve been talking to my dad about her a lot, so I’m still learning more about her drug abuse that I couldn’t comprehend when I was younger. These realizations are really hard. There’s really no more that I can say other than that because that is the truth.

As much as I write for my mother, I also write for myself.

I found myself at my laptop, striving harder than ever to just write about her, and I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. Not right now. And it took me over a month to realize that it was okay to feel down about her again, even though it’s been over a decade. I’ve gone through a lot the past year or so – I’ve moved, my brother became engaged, I graduated college, I’ve been published three – almost four – times, I got a job, and I’ve lost my roommate and grandmother. Because of all of this, I haven’t really taken a lot of time to just rest, to let all of the events soak in, to take a breather and write for myself a little more. Trying to force myself to write about my mom was just what it sounds like: forcing myself. And I can’t do that. Accepting that I can’t do that is harder said than done, but I’m getting better at it.

This is what I did to remind myself that it’s okay.

I shouldn’t have said “I did” something because it’s more along the lines of what “I do” all of the time. I keep nice reminders close around me at all times, especially when I’m feeling down. One thing I do is keep trinkets on my desk to cheer me up. I also keep photos on my laptop’s desktop that remind me of what I’m proud of, what I love, and what I want in the future. Below, I’m going to share a few of those things, and why they keep me lifting me up when I fall down.

Since we were talking about my mother, here is a photo I keep on my desktop as well as top objects I keep on my desk at all times.

momstatue

The photo is probably my favorite photo of us, because it was Christmas, and we were with the entire family. The objects are a little different. The mother-daughter statue was given to me by my aunt during my mother’s funeral. The bracelet draped around her shoulder is my mother’s bracelet that I used to wear every day until the hinge broke. And the fake flowers is actually a project we made together during my sixth grade year in middle school. All of these help remind me that she is proud, no matter if I can write about her or not.

But I also keep reminders of my cat (who is currently sleeping behind me as I type this)

kittyen

This is because Bogart is always with me. He reminds me to smile, and – as many pet owners say – pets are family. He often reminds me when I’ve been on my laptop too long (by crawling onto my laptop, of course) so having reminders of his much-needed little break time is an uplifting (and fun) reminder.

I have lots of reminders on my desk like this, but I never forget to remind myself of my novels. Photos like the one below are also on my desktop.

fourt

If I remind myself of what I have already accomplished, then I’m less likely to tell myself I’m not good enough and I’m more likely to remind that I am already good enough. I can only get better.

Lastly – although this is definitely not my last thing on my computer (I’m just preventing this post from getting too long) – I keep other parts of my life around – parts of my life that are unrelated to novels or inspiration for novels. The photo below may be me at a gun rage, but it is a lot more than that. It’s the time my father taught me how to shoot. It’s the time I received my grandfather’s gun. It’s the time I was reminded that I can do whatever I want instead of the stereotypes that dictate what we’re “supposed” to do. It’s the time I learned something new about myself. It’s possibilities within capability. 

Gun

To fall down is only the step before you get back up. This is one of the many ways I get back up quickly. I hope you find ways as well. I hope this post might aid you in your times that you fall, so that you can find something in your life to help you stand again. I hope for a lot of things, but I ultimately hope for more artists to continue to pursue their dreams, even if they keep falling down.

~SAT

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