Monday, December 29, 2014

Wickedly Looking Battle Scars…

This year has been a complete mess of emotions—where every component of my life has been thrown into a large barrel and shaken around, to the point where I haven’t had any clarity—like all of my foundations have been ripped out from under me, and for a time all I could feel was pain—physical and emotional. Multiple surgeries. Physical anguish. Mental anguish. This past week alone has been the most difficult week I’ve ever lived. And I don’t say this for sympathy—because we’ve all been here—but I say this to set up the tone of this post.  

How much hardship is too much? At what point do you break?

There’s so much truth to “When it rains…” Have you ever had a period of your life where you haven’t been able to see any light? Even when you know it’s there, you just can’t FEEL it? Where life has pounded down so hard on you that it’s hard enough to just breathe let alone try and accomplish the pile of ‘to do’s’ on the counter—or let alone accomplish the dreams that are burning deep within your soul.

This year alone has brought on the most extreme emotions and trials I’ve ever faced. From friendships to family to writing life to my health to my mental sanity and more.   Whatever kinds of demons you’re facing, it’s so difficult when you feel so alone, or that you’ll never be able to get a grip on life or yourself and pull yourself out of the darkness.

Can you think back to a time where every dream you envisioned was a possibility? Where you felt that no matter what you faced, you would pull out of it for the better?

Life has a funny way of challenging us. Of taking whatever we thought we could handle and show us that we can’t… or try to show us that we can’t. ;)

Because one thing I’ve learned is that every time—and I mean every time—that I thought I was broken
and that I thought I couldn’t possibly handle any more, the sun has shown its face again. Even when it’s just a smidge of sunlight peeking through the dark clouds.

And more often than not, it’s people who end up being my miracles. People who step outside of themselves and reach out, who have come into my life at the right time, who have made me smile or have made miracles happen right in front of my eyes. And it’s these people who have helped me through the dark—been able to help me see the light again and remember that I need to fight to find happiness and live the life that I want.

Do you ever envision the person you want to be? Ever feel so strongly that you were meant for something spectacular? Something that only you were capable of? Maybe I’m just a romantic, but I believe that’s true for all of us…

And I know for me, I’m sick of not being the person I want to be. Sick of being held down by physical limitations.  I’m ready for a change. I’m ready to be healthy and have energy and be happy and use my talents to their full benefit… I want to be the person I know is inside of me bursting to come out. The person that’s been dormant for way too long.

But the twisted part is I know that I won’t become the person I want to be without the hardship… because it isn’t until we’ve faced the demons or physical ailments or whatever challenges we have that we can change—that we become better. And I know we all know this, but there’s such a difference in feeling something as we go through trial and knowing it in our head.

But there’s one thing I know more than anything right now. And that’s it’s we’ve got to fight. We’ve got to. We’ve got to keep pushing forward, forging on to find those little bits of sunlight and hold onto them. Because I know there’s a time and season for everything. And even though life is always going to be hard, it’s not always going to be this *kind of hard. Things are going to get better and we can either let hardship mold us into who we really want to be, or we can let it break us and let it beat us down until we don’t recognize who we are any more.

And I would rather come out of it standing tall with some wickedly looking battle scars than not live up to the full potential that I know I have.

And to the few of you who have been my sunlight, I want to thank you—you know who you are. People make a difference. And I can only hope that some day I can be that kind of person for someone else that you have been to me.

Red. Head. Out. 

***Hope you all have a Happy New Year! Can't wait to see what 2015 brings. :) 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Reading And Finding Inspiration…

For me, I’ve always been inspired by the blank page.

But sometimes whatever magic we can conjure inside of ourselves just isn’t enough. I know a lot of us get inspiration from tv, movies, music, or even just stepping outside our front doors and observing people. It never ceases to amaze me how much magic and inspiration is just waiting for us to tap into it—grab onto it and put it on the page, and I think most of the time, all we need to do is just slow down long enough to notice that it’s there.

As writers, we work and work and work and edit and edit and edit—and what I find interesting is that a lot of us cease to read for pleasure while we get in work mode… we get to a point where we aren’t able to truly enjoy a book like we used to—where all we can see is plot/pacing issues, or too much telling, or character inconsistencies or unbelievable settings. Think to the last time you truly enjoyed a story without critiquing it to death inside your head…

For me, lately, I’ve gone back and reread the books that made me want to start writing in the first place. The books that first planted that seed of magic—those settings that lingered with me for days afterward—where I would do anything to stay in that world and spend time with those characters. I’ve been analyzing what it is that makes me love these books so much. Is it the ambiance? The characters? The conflict?

I’ve also discovered that whenever I beta read for someone incredible it restores inspiration fast. I think when we READ we can discover what it is that made us want to venture into this daring writing world. And even though I think we should immerse ourselves in stories as much as possible (not only for knowing the market and what’s out there), but so we can keep our creativity fresh and keep ourselves aligned with who we want to be as a writer. Because when we are right within ourselves, we’ll be in that place mentally where we can create what we’re trying to portray on the page.

Yesterday I received a package in the mail containing an ARC for Woven, David Powers King’s debut novel (Out in January!) with Scholastic. And already, I’m immersed in this wonderful world and pieces of inspiration are stitching itself back together in my writing soul. I’d forgotten what reading could do for my happiness and motivation. Can’t wait to finish it.

What was the last book you read that made you inspired to write? Do you reread books that take you back to that “magical place?” Jealous I get to read Woven right NOW?!?!? 

Red. Head. Out. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Trees, Hugging, Change, and Moving Forward...

I’m a nostalgic person.

I know it’s probably not healthy to look to the past as much as I do… but one of my favorite things is to look back and see how all the little pieces of life have woven together, creating a pathway that in no way seems like a coincidence.

I try to live my life in a way so I’m aware of events happening in the moment—so I don’t have to look back and wish I had been more alert to the special nature of the moment. But more often than not, moments pass by and I don’t realize what I had until it’s gone.

Sometimes this depresses me… but as life speeds forward, the one thing that brings comfort is being able to see how I have grown or how other people have grown or how we’ve overcome trials and become better for it.  As I reflect on the past year, there might be times I wish I could push the pause button on and relive, but this has been a year where I’m beyond grateful to be where I am now!

Last Year: Exactly a year ago I was wearing a heart monitor and passing out every day, knowing that I wasn’t going to live to see the next morning. (Sounds dramatic, but true)

Now: Totally healthy—running 2-7 miles a day, loving life!

Last Year: Not having a handle on what I wanted as a writer, which decision was best for me, which pathway to take.

Now: I have clear direction and know exactly what I want and what I’m going to push for.

Last Year: In total fear for my cancer boy’s life, dealing with unforeseen circumstances.

Now: Have most of the new issues under control and managed.

Last Year: Overextending myself to try and please others. Giving other people the power to hurt me.

Now: Managing my time better with friends. Only aligning myself with people who I really want to give time to—with people I want to know forever. Weeding out the negative.

Last Year: I let fear paralyze me. I allowed doubt to take over my life and stop any kind of progression.

Now: I’m not afraid anymore. There are still things I wish I had answers to, but the fear of not knowing doesn’t control me anymore.

And the list goes on.

I know that if any of you were to make a list like this, you would be able to see the change as well. It’s been one of those years I wouldn’t want to relive, but like I said above, I’m also grateful for all the ups and downs. It’s such a cool thing to look back and see how much has changed—for the better.

This isn’t to say I still don’t have a list of things I need to conquer and overcome, but I’m choosing to focus on the good (and here comes the cheesy part of my post) … 
This is a pic I had my 7 yo take of me hugging (sort of) this tree. If you look on my instagram account, you can see how the tree used to be full and yellow and gorgeous, but now is barren. When I saw it, I pulled off to the side of the road because I was so struck with the change that had happened in such a short amount of time. It only reminded me that in a blink, the tree would be full of life again… which totally made me cry as I thought about my own life and how life comes back to us even when we think we're at our lowest and we'll never feel passion again. 

That's what this year has been. A cycle, just like this tree. Sigh. 

Anything you want to share? What is the biggest difference in your life right now that didn’t exist a year ago?

Red. Head. Out. <3

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Plastic Spider Rings And Winds Of Change

It’s been a weird couple of months.

I’m in that time of life where I keep waiting for things to go back to “normal,” but I’m not sure that the “normal” that’s imprinted in my brain still exists. Life keeps evolving and getting more complicated and changing, and by the time I start to adapt to one way of life, another thing springs itself into the picture and I’m only trying to adapt again.

I can’t figure if this is just what life is or if it’s just the period of life I’m in.  People keep telling me that I’m in my prime and I need to capture every moment and I need to embrace being young and live up all the opportunities that come my way.

But I just feel tired. I’m just trying to survive.

I feel so passionate about being a good person. About being a good friend. Being the type of person I want to be to whomever crosses my path. And living up to the potential I know I have. I don’t want to make mistakes—I wish I could just have everything figured out and divide my time perfectly and for everyone to feel loved and create beautiful art and map everything out the way I want.

But it’s hard knowing if I’m being a good friend or not. If I’m putting the right amount of effort into the right things. It’s hard when you can’t see the future and you have no idea if your efforts will come to fruition.

I’m not sure what crazy gene differentiates us writers from the rest of the world… why we choose to torture ourselves for the sake of creating something that will hopefully one day touch someone. I’m not sure why we are sometimes plagued with jealousy— when we look at other lives and are jealous of freedom and having adventures and living a life that looks so appealing…

But then I stop and know I’m being ridiculous. I wouldn’t change anything. Because everything I’ve lived up to this moment has molded who I am. And I can only hope that right now—that this crazy time I’m living right now—is molding a future me, a better stronger version of myself.

And it’s in these moments when I stop and reflect that I realize that no matter our past—no matter what lives we lived until this moment—that we’re all just trying to survive. We’re all facing our own tailored individualized demons.

Ever feel the winds of change? Like when you know something big is coming on the horizon? For me, I think it’s just finally coming to know myself. I’m realizing the things that don’t have any place in my life. Like when you have to strip yourself of all the noise and really get down to WHY you do the things you do. To WHAT drives you and what is going to shape you as a person.

For me, it’s been a good time to focus on the simple things. So when people tell me that I should be out having adventures and “living the dream,” all I really want to do is remember what it was like to be a kid, when the most exciting thing in the world was to get a plastic spider ring.

Because really, for some moments, that’s enough. 

Red. Head. Out. ;)   

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Don't You Dare Give Up.

I hope this isn’t too weird, but I have some thoughts buzzing around in the inside of my brain, and I really want to release them in blog form. But truthfully, I am speaking to each of you, because so many of you are my closest friends and I want you to know my thoughts.

I believe in you.

I really do.

I want to tell you that you’re special. Not special in a cliche, cheesy way, but special in that you matter to me way.

Don’t you give up… just don’t. Don’t stop trying. Don’t doubt that you were meant to do this. You have a magic that no one else has. You are here for a purpose—and we’re all waiting for you to reach that “unattainable” goal. It doesn’t matter how many people don't believe in you… even if they are the ones who should be supporting you. It doesn’t matter if you’re standing alone, watching everyone else attain what you’re so desperately fighting for. 

Don’t let doubt rule you. Look how far you’ve come already. Yes, you could’ve settled for other avenues, but you haven’t. Keep your focus ahead. Trust in that spark that set you on the path in the first place.

Look back to the moment when you knew you were meant for this. That moment when time seemed to stop, and you became aware that you were finally living—like you were suddenly conscious of every little detail around you. In that moment you KNEW… you knew that you were meant for great things. And that you were capable of them.

So push.

Don’t let fear paralyze you.

It’s EASY to walk away. It’s EASY to not do it. It’s EASY to let past hurt and heartache stop you from doing what you want.

It’s such a personal journey. Learning to overcome the demons inside of you. Pushing them away just so you can get to the place where you can even begin to work. Believe in that feeling—that little voice inside your head that can only be heard when you silence all the other ones. You were meant to do this.

And sometimes it feels as if you've already achieved your dream. That your head is floating somewhere over your left shoulder and you're watching yourself try to attain your goals, but you're already standing on the green grass. You know that you’ll get there. Now it’s just doing it.

I hope you feel that you matter. That you’re important to me. And to seize onto those moments when truth seeps through and everything freezes, as if you’re the only person alive. But when the world starts spinning again, and you wonder if you’ll ever have another moment of clarity again, remember that that moment happened. And that doubt didn’t exist.

And even though there’s nothing you can do to get that moment back—know that there are better moments waiting for you. So don’t you dare give up.

I’m rooting for you.

I really am. 

Red. Head. Out. :) 

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