Beginning Writing 101

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Was excited to start this Writing 101 thing today but I’m not sure how i feel now. Today’s assigment is free writing. I am not good at free writing. You’d think I’d be good at by now considering i do it everyday but no, I still get stuck. When i do I usually just writing nonsense or hop from topic to topic saying whatever is in my mind. If there is nothing in my mind I write that there is nothing in my mind. I write things like “I can’t think of anything”, “my mind is empty”, “I never know what to write”, “what am I going to write?”, and so on, until something happens, something to write about.

Right now Chardonnay, my girlfriend, is getting ready for bed. She knew about the writing challenge and she asked me earlier if I had done it, I told her I would do it before bed and here I am sitting in bed writing hoping to get done in time to be able to kiss her and hold her before she falls asleep.

She is awesome though, for remembering that I had a writing challenge starting today. I know she has been busy at work and she was very tired and she managed to remember this small thing about me. Well, not small but something that I wanted to do and she wanted to make sure I remembered to do it. She know I worked hard today and she knows my memory is bad and even worse lately since I have been taking the Gabapentin. She knows she needs to remind of things, even the things that are important to me. Just now before I started writing I asked her how does she put up with me. She gave me a smart-alecky answer but really I don’t know how she does it. Everyday I feel like my body is falling apart more and more and she does her best to help me. She knows I do my best too.She knows I love her more than anything but still, I know I am exhausting. She does so much and I will never be able to give back what she has put in. I hope she knows I give her my best though.

I am supposed to write for 20 minutes and Chardonnay is laying in the bed now. I am sure she is still awake and I hope these last few minutes go by quickly because as much as she loves me I know she will not tolerate the clickity-click of this keyboard for too much longer. I imagine she is doing her best not to say anything because she knows I want to get this done, she knows it is important. I just told her I am almost done, I am sure she is glad about that. I don’t think i will be doing anymore writing before bed, at least not in the bed.

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We All Need #YesAllWomen!

I was late in finding out about the shooting that happened last Friday in Santa Barbara, California. I don’t have cable so I didn’t hear about it until the following Sunday. I am late in writing about it too but I wanted to try to find the right words. This post does not even begin to scratch the surface of how I feel about this as a woman but it is a start.

Immediately after I found out about the shooting I began scouring the internet for all the information I could find. I read a few articles about it. I found the 140+ page manifesto left by the shooter. I heard a few quotes. I found a few forums the shooter had frequented. I took to Twitter and followed the hashtag #yesallwomen and I even checked out the #notallmen hashtag as well. At the end of it all l found myself feeling very frustrated, pissed off, and scared.

I could only get through a tiny bit of the manifesto but I read a lot of quotes from it and I did check out some “He-Man Woman Hater’s Forums”. The things I read there were horrifying. There are actual real-life woman hating men in the world. To be honest part of me had to laugh a little, at first. From the safety of my couch I could let myself see them as spoiled brats and complete idiots. Complaining that they just could not understand why women just would not see them as the “alpha males” they were and flock to them with legs wiiiiiiide open. They could not see that any woman could sense their narcissism and assholishness from a mile away and probably avoid them at all costs.

After that I realized that this was no laughing matter. These men are angry and they are finding places to air perceived grievances and encourage each other in their hatred. These men are dangerous. They see women as nothing but prizes and property. Women are status symbols. They provide nothing but sexual gratification and ego boosts. These men feel like they are being denied their own manhood through women’s denial to hand over their bodies, and these men want revenge.

The whole thing was very triggering. I have been through traumatic experiences with men but what I found myself thinking of more than anything was all the little shit I have to put up with that men don’t. Which wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the lack of understanding from so called “nice guys”. That is what is most frustrating and infuriating. Privileges aside, I truly believe there is not one woman in this world who does not understand how hard it can be to try to navigate a world run by men. I am grateful for the #yesallwomen movement, and I hope it continues. I hope this tragedy brings women together.

I have been thinking more about my own experiences with men recently and also my own failings as a feminist. I let jokes and degrading remarks slide in my presence because I don’t want to be the woman who “can’t take a joke”. I listen and coddle the men around me who I hear complaining that “women never want the nice guy”, or the are being “friendzoned”. I hear constant complaining about women being bitchy or who are “probably on their period”. I have tried to explain to men why these comments aren’t okay but I am always met with defensiveness and invalidation and I get tired.

I think I have a responsibility though. I need to be stronger and think of all women everywhere when I hear these things. I need to open the eyes of those around me, both men and women, to what is really going on in the world. I think I need to inspire others to change they way they think and act. We all need to stop and pay attention. We all need #yesallwomen!

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I Am Proud of Me!

I have been feeling really proud of myself lately. Not that I have done anything very big or very amazing but I am taking baby step forward. My goal has always been to get to a point where I can honestly say I am an artist and I am a writer. I don’t quite feel like I am there yet but I do feel a change happening in my mind. I feel myself seeing the world differently. Everything is an inspiration now.

I only struggle now to find a way to type out what is in my head or get a drawing i want to do down on paper. I am making progress though, I am getting there. I know now that the only thing holding me back is fear. Fear of failing, fear of finding out I have no talent, fear of being laughed at, fear of the “big unknown”. My fear left me paralyzed, but not anymore, now I take baby steps and I praise myself for every accomplishment and I learn everything I can from every failure and keep pushing forward.

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My first goal was to write 750 words a day. I forget sometimes, but I am getting better. I find it is better to write in the morning or early afternoon rather than at night. I have more energy and my fingers can skip across the keyboard almost as fast as my mind can think the words. I realized that through free writing there I often spill things from my mind that I barely knew were there. Next thing I know I have a few bits and pieces for a blog post.

I have also been trying to blog at least a few times a week. I admit I am still struggling to find a flow for this blog. I am still learning and I think I have made progress. I am at least writing often, almost daily. I started out wanting to write about society and the human condition and how to move toward a happier life, but now I think I might be heading in a different direction. Not an entirely different direction, just maybe not on as grand a scale as I had originally thought. Maybe this blog will just be about me and my little life for now. Maybe that will be enough.

Joining the #yearofcreativehabits challenge. I just started this but so far I love it. Crystal Moody’s blog has been so inspiring and she has a way of writing that makes the idea of starting a small, daily, creative habit seem like the the most exciting thing. She got me excited about it and I haven’t drawn anything in years! I’ve already done four consecutive days and as soon as I’m done typing this I will start on day five’s drawing. If you want to follow along I encourage you to check out her blog and Tag Board. If you are interested, you can see my drawings over on my Instagram.

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Even though I am just starting out and I barely know what I am doing or where I am heading with any of this, I am proud of myself. I am proud of myself for just doing something everyday. I never did anything before because it seemed like I just couldn’t but now I know I can. Through small changes, good habits, and a positive outlook who know where I could end up.

So readers, what I want to know today is, what do you think? What things are you all doing that you are proud of? Do you free write? If you are new to blogging how is it going for you? What do you think of my blog so far? And lastly, do you have and advice for me? I am always looking for some tips about writing, blogging, and creativity. Help a girl out!

Just a Quick Note…

I have just discovered Bloglovin and I am hooked! I like that I can follow blogs from different platforms and there are so many on there! I don’t really need yet another app to follow more people but I really like this one so I’m going to give it a shot. So if you want you can follow me over there and if your blog is also on Bloglovin leave a link in the comments and I’ll check it out.

A Most Embarrassing Thing

Today I want to talk about something I really don’t like talking about. I don’t like talking about it because it is embarrassing and frustrating and sometimes scary. See….something is wrong with my body, more specifically, something is wrong with my digestive system, and it’s really starting to affect my life in a very negative way.

I’ve had digestive problems for most of my life, but for the in the past they were pretty mild. By digestive problems I mean gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, urgency, bleeding, and fatigue. It’s all very gross and “TMI”, I know. Over the years the symptoms have come and gone and every time I hope it is the last time, but it always comes back. In fact it’s starting to seem like every time it comes back it is worse.

At this point I am planning my life around access to a bathroom. I don’t like to go do things where I will be away from a toilet for too long. It’s very frustrating to live like this and I hate being in such pain all the time. I want to go to the doctor to finally find out what is wrong with me and figure out how to make it stop so I can live my life like a normal person. The problem is an issue of money. I don’t have insurance right now and I can’t really afford to pay out of pocket for the tests and procedures I am sure I will need. I know my girlfriend is frustrated too. It can’t be easy seeing me live like this.

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For now I am just trying to eat a more “bland” diet and be easy on my digestive tract. I am also doing a lot of research and I think what I’m dealing with is some sort of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, like Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative colitis. They sound scary but at this point I don’t care what the diagnosis is, as long as I finally have one. I want the reassurance, the confirmation, that I am not crazy, or lazy, that I have a real problem! That I have a valid reason for not being able to do everything everyone can all the time.

Doing research has also lead me to a few blogs, particularly on Tumblr, by people who suffer from similar problems as me. I was so excited to find other people who understood what it’s like to live their lives around toilets! I told my girlfriend I had found my people! She rolled her eyes but she is happy I found people who understand. Once I get an official diagnosis I will probably connect more with these people but for now it is at least a comfort. I don’t feel so alone or embarrassed, or scared….

Some times I am in so much pain I feel like my insides must be all messed up. I feel like whatever is wrong is going to kill me. Maybe not immediately, although I worry about that too when it gets really, really bad. I mostly worry that my life expectancy is greatly reduced. I assume my body isn’t functioning as efficiently as other’s and it can’t sustain that for very long. I imagine I will die early because I have crappy intestines. No pun intended.

I wrote this for two reasons. For one, I need to get this out. I have no one, besides Chardonnay, to talk to about this and I hate to make her worry so much. Two, I feel the need to join the cause to make things like this less taboo. Just like my post last week on periods this is something that I should feel okay to talk about when I need to. I shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to tell people why I can’t do things, why I am tired, and why exactly my stomach hurts, and nobody else going through these things should be embarrassed either!

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Memorial Day

“And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.”

― Joseph Rodman Drake

I admit, in the past I haven’t given much thought to Memorial Day. Not that I didn’t care or anything. I have always loved my country, for the most part, and I always appreciated the sacrifice the men and women in the military make in order to preserve the freedoms I enjoy everyday. I just saw it more the way corporations their commercials wanted me to see it.

”It’s the unofficial beginning of summer! Time to fire up the grill and eat and drink and have fun, fun, fun! The pool is open time to get a new bathing suit and pool toys and floaties! And hey since everybody is off of work (YAY!) why don’t you get a little shopping done because it’s time for our MEMORIAL DAY SALES EVENT!”

Every year I got farther and farther away from that, because I am getting older, and I really see it for what it is. I see the photos and read the stories of brave men and women throughout history and I am in awe of them! I also feel a sadness, a sadness for their loss and a sadness for the fact that there ever has to be war at all….

”We support you. We are proud of you. We stand in awe of your service.”

― President Barack Obama to the Troops at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, May 25, 2014

So let’s all remember what this day is really for. For me I think I will skip all the events and just stay home with my lady. We will fire up the grill and maybe have a few drinks but I will also keep in mind those who sacrificed their lives for freedom. I am thankful, no matter what my issues with this country are, I am forever thankful. I respect the bravery it takes to go to war, to fight, and to face death. To all those who have lost their lives, to those who are gone but will never be forgotten, I salute you! Thank you for your sacrifice.

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Creative Habits

I stumbled upon a very intersting blog, Year of Creative Habits by Crystal Moody. I can’t remember how I stumbled across the blog but I thought it was facinating. I actually went to the achives and started reading it from the very beginning.

I haven’t gotten all the way through yet but the habit she stared with was just a quick, 5 minute drawing every morning. I would really like to do that. I would like to stat it tomorrow but I am worried that is not enough planing time. I have a small sketch book and some pencils and pens, even a couple of markers. I even have a few ideas for quick drawings and doodles. The problem is where to schedule the time in.

“…quantity should be a higher priority than quality, because it leads to higher quality. The shorter path to maximized quality is in maximized quantity, and executing on the feed back after each finished product.”

― Hebert Lui

I work early in the mornings Monday thru Friday and while I do have 5 minutes to spare in the morning I am often working on writing then. I can’t get up earlier, I mean I really, really don’t want to get up earlier because I already get up at 4 am. I wanted to do mornings because it sounded like a nice way to start the day but now, I am thinking I might do the drawing with my lunch. I think it’s a good time to recoup and restart for the day. I work a split shift anyway so this would feel almost like a second morning!

Five minute drawings everyday at lunch. I will get everything together tomorrow and I will give my first drawing a try. Doesn’t have to be fancy just draw anything. I think I might pick up a few books of creativity and habits too. Crystal Moody also has a recommended reading list and the first one was Steal Like an Artist. I was trying to find it on my iPad but no luck. Might order a “real book copy” on Amazon for about $6.

So what am I hoping to accomplish by drawing everyday? Well for one, I just want to feel like an artist again. I miss drawing. I used to draw a lot as a teenager and I have been really, really wanting to try again. I liked being a creative person. I liked expressing myself and sharing my work. Right now I just sit and wish I could draw again, but much like this blog, I just need to do it! So I am going to draw and doodle everyday and maybe just maybe it will turn into something more. For now I just need to focus on building just one, small creative habit.

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