January 15 2018

Coffee Chat Monday: My Word of the Year

B6 Leather Quill Shoppe TN with “be brave” charm

If we were having coffee I’d tell you about how this is my third year choosing a word for the year to focus on throughout the year. The first year I chose the word positive. Last year I chose the word thrive. But this year the word choose me. That first year I started out really strong. I added quotes about staying positive, the glass half full, being mindful, and anything that might be related to being positive. The more I used the word or a related word the more mindful I was. By the end of the year, I realized it was all about being more intentional. When I slacked off and didn’t write down the word, a quote, was mindful in my everyday life about being positive, staying positive, finding something positive in even the darkest of days/times/events/etc, then the negative things like self doubt, fear, anxiety, etc. would creep back in.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a few years since I chose the word positive and yet there are times when I still have moments of self doubt, fear, anxiety, but I’m a much more positive person now. I look at the glass as refillable–to me it’s not about whether or not it’s half full or half empty, but that it’s refillable that matters (especially when it comes to my cup of coffee or my glass of ice water on a hot summer day here in humid South Carolina).

That first year there were times when I forgot my word. Yep, that’s right. When I was so focused on manifesting positivism in my life that I forgot it was because it was my word of the year… being mindful of the positive things, changing my attitude and being intentional about the “refillable glass” became a habit. I’d never really been a “negative Nancy” but there were too many instances when I’d let my anxiety rule and I’d focused on the negative instead of the positive. Last year I thrived in some ways, but in other ways I slacked off. And the majority of the reasons I slacked off had to do with procrastination, fear, doubts, anxiety–not being brave enough to do things, to try things, to get out there and reach for the stars. Continue reading

November 13 2017

How to Get Back into your Creative Life After a Break

Life Happens

We all have things that happen to us that slow our creativity down, or that put a halt to our creativity. I fell behind in my journaling, planning, and overall creative “things,” back in July when my Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 aggressive cancer (chemo wouldn’t help and surgery wasn’t an option–so it was just a matter of quality of life during the time he had left), and Mr. Rockstar was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I tried to stay creative. I tried to journal. To Plan. To finish out #onebookjuly2017 and #campnanowrimo. But my emotions, thoughts…my mental state was all over the place. Insert Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD, along with the roller coaster of emotions that come with finding out your Dad has inoperable and non-treatable stage 4 cancer, and your husband has a disease that isn’t curable either–I was a wreck!

Still, I tried to maintain some sort of routine, some sort of balance. I tried to be creative. And someday’s I managed to journal, plan, write, art… Other days–I barely seemed to function. The worse my Dad got the worse my emotional state became. My emotions were all over the place. I started grieving well before my Dad died on October 5th. But his death, and my Mom’s subsequent hospitalization (she was admitted into the very same ICU ward as my Dad–within an hour or so of his death she was up there a few rooms down from where he was (he was still in the room, they were kind enough to allow my Mom to say goodbye, for all of us to say goodbye). The doctor’s and nurses all knew who I was–first time they’d had that happen, and they were absolutely wonderful to us.

Fast forward a week, my Mom was in the hospital 8 nights and 9 days. So I was at the hospital for approximately 10 days, because I’d been there the night before when my Dad was helicoptered from their local hospital to the one in Charleston to ICU. By the time my Mom was released I’d already taken care of my Dad’s cremation, and a lot of paperwork for things like insurance, etc. I was on the ball in regards to taking care of my Mom. I was not, however, doing very well in the taking time to grieve for my Dad, taking care of myself (not really), much less housework, planning, journaling, filming videos for Patreon or YouTube, etc. I did manage to do a few loads of laundry somewhere in there so I had some clean clothes to wear when I went back to the hospital (my husband convinced me to go home with him to take a shower and get some sleep–I hadn’t slept but about 3 hours in about 3 days). (I’m sure I was in definite need of a shower by then.) Continue reading

October 27 2017

Creativity and Grief

On October 5th as my Dad took his last breath in the ICU my mom was being admitted into the hospital and within an hour or two would be in that same ICU ward… I was a mental and emotional wreck but I held it all together in order to do what was necessary to save my Mom. I wanted to scream. To cry out. To curl up in a corner in the dark… but I could not do any of those, all I could focus on was saving my Mom. She nearly died.

At that moment when my Mom was being wheeled into the ICU from the ER, and my Dad was still in ICU in the room he passed away in, I had both parents in ICU–one alive and one dead. It was overwhelming. The ICU was wonderful to us though. They made it possible for my Mom, as well as our immediate family, to say goodbye to my Dad before the Crematorium picked him up. And the Crematorium was also wonderful–they were understanding and compassionate.

On Friday 13th my Mom went home from the hospital. It was such a relief. Such an amazing thing, and yet as hard as it was for my Mom to go back to the home they built together alone, she did just that… the two of us–me and my Mom–had not had time to mourn my Dad. She’d been in the hospital, half in and out of delirium because of an ecoli bacterial infection, pneumonia, etc and I had been so focused on her that I hadn’t really dealt with my Dad’s death. Needless to say, I crashed. Emotionally, mentally, and physically, but the crashes came in spurts. I was still in “fight/survive” mode…my focus went from taking care of my Mom to taking care of everything else… taking care of the laundry, housework, etc that had been neglected while I’d been staying at the hospital with my mom two hours away. I’d come home 2 of those 7 nights to take a shower and get a bit of sleep. The waiting rooms in the ICU ward are not conducive to sleep.

My Mom is one hell of a lady. She’s such a strong and amazing person…this past week I’ve been working on a memorial video for my Dad’s memorial service this Saturday morning… It’s been hard on me. I had to take a break from it because I just couldn’t…I hadn’t really, truly dealt with my Dad’s death. Rationally I knew he was gone. Mentally I understood but emotionally I had not accepted it. I was almost in limbo, perhaps because I had spent that whole week after his death concentrating on my mom, but once my mom was home and I was home (I live an hour 1/2 from her) things changed. My purpose changed.

Throughout the past few weeks I’ve gotten some art done. Some writing done. I’ve tried to get back into a routine but my focus is off… I am all over the place emotionally. I’ve used creativity, art and writing to help with my grief. I’ve been channeling my grief into doing things psychically so that I can deal with things emotionally as I need to, as they surface. And they have surfaced. Those damn phases of grief aren’t as clear cut as people make them out to be. One moment I’m sad and crying, the next minute I’m angry and pulling apart my whole house to find a few pictures–carrying on like a mad woman because I can’t find them. The next minute I’m a puddle on the kitchen floor. One minute I’m doing well, and the next minute I’m a wreck.

Once I finally got the video finished for Dad’s memorial service I felt relieved, but at the same time overwhelmed with various emotions: sadness and loss, gratitude and love. and anger–fuc*ing cancer! Tomorrow (well today now since it’s after midnight) we’ve got errands to run, bills to pay, a few things we need to get for the service, but tonight I am working on a few creative things. Creative things that help with my peace of mind. The past few weeks have been hectic, filled with stress and anxiety, but one of the things that has really helped me has been the ability to be creative. It’s not a band-aid, however. The wound is emotional and it hurts but I can’t will it away or fix it overnight. All I an do is what I can do, when I can do it. My creativity in some ways has gotten a bit stuck, and yet in other ways is open. I’m rolling with what feels right to me currently. In the now…the present, which seems odd since I’ve been planning my novel for NaNoWriMo, planning my Dad’s memorial service and creating the video, as well as trying to figure out a bit of a schedule for November to fit in all the things like visiting my mom once or twice a week, having Viktor (my beautiful grandson) sleep over at least once a month,  Patreon, Youtube, NaNoWriMo, and my FB group.

Thank goodness for the wonderful community of people that have been so supportive during this hard time. From family members, to friends, to my Patrons and YT subscribers and my FB group members. I’ve been so blessed and I am appreciative of all the support.

I’ve missed blogging. I used to blog every day. I miss it. But with so much going on I kept putting off publishing a post–I have 5 or 6 drafts that have yet to be completed. I will get to them. Better late than never, but from now on I’m going to work on having a post that coincides with my YT videos, which are usually on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.