I learned a thing today. There’s a thing called the Hedgehog’s Dilemma which uses the hedgehog’s gathering together with other hedgehogs to share heat but having to stay their distance so they don’t hurt each other with all the sharp pokey ends to illustrate the introvert’s biggest problem. I am a Hedgehog – there’s nothing more in the world that I want those close relationships and camaraderie and shared experience, I just want all that from over here where no one is touching me. Or looking at me. Or expecting me to be able to use real words that make sense in a vocal fashion.
We’re a few days into January and I’ve had the kids home extra days for the cold so I haven’t had but 5 hours to myself since the first day of Winter. I am not getting words outside of my personal journal where apparently I have a lot to unpack. I’m still working to get back to normal from the injury I sustained in mid-December! It should have been a minor thing, a bruise at most but my immune system just gets so excited at having something to do that it treats it like a mortal wound instead. I’m so close to being back to normal but it’s still stiff and sore and I’m still moving like it is both of those things. I enjoyed the kid part of Christmas but I struggled a lot with the rest of it. I’m missing my dad a lot and thinking about my mom a lot. I’m weaning off the prednisone but my family says it’s still mucking with me.
I know my methotrexate is doing its job, with every dose, the inflammation in my joints really does go down but with every upping of the dose, my icky, sick, tired time the next day increases by about an hour. Really though, five hours of ick is worth it for being able to do stuff the rest of the time. I’m even adjusting so I’m not terribly tired after taking it. I think it’s likely to adjust up at least once more before we settle out but I do hope it’s not much more than that.
I do need to get back to writing. I need to get the last threads down and finish Hunter’s Hell. I know how it ends, I just have to fill in the odds and ends and get it done then set it aside for a short time and come back to it when I’m not a weepy, emotional mess because it’s absolutely creeping into the words a bit. It’s not like I don’t have projects to work on – Hunter’s Hell, Eldercynne War*, Gods of the Fallen, Long Is The Way, and Soul Eater are just the main titles I have in various stages of progress (though I have two more I ought to be submitting to places). I’m struggling to even read books right now, let alone write them. I’m far too emotionally involved with fictional characters, my own and other writers’.
This year hasn’t started that great. I think I was hoping for some kind of switch from awful to awesome but I think it’s going to take more than a switch. I think it’s going to be a slow transition but I’m pretty sure it’s going to transition. I can’t take another year like last year so it’s just going to be better when all is said and done. Period.
*working title only, likely to change.
I am still plugging along on Hunter’s Hell but I’m not counting on winning NaNoWriMo this year. The ideas are there and solid but the fingers are not quite cooperating the way I’d like. I’m about 10,000 words behind I think, give or take, but I haven’t started today’s words yet either. Even if I don’t manage to win, I’ll have a complete draft well before Christmas and that’s really what matters.
I went to my rheumy last week. I’m not entirely sure I like him yet – I’m definitely not really comfortable yet but I don’t really expect to be this early yet either. Fortunately, we are starting the process to drop the prednisone so hopefully, that means I’ll go back to having next to no panic attacks or crying jags in the middle of Kroger. He also upped the other med – but mostly it just makes me sleepy and a little forgetful and that’s not terrible. I’m having some increased pain in my hands but I expected that also so I’m not terribly worried about that either. It is what it is. I’d like to be closer to normal but I can’t make things happen any faster so there’s no point in being defeatist about it.
Next week is Thanksgiving here in the states. I am not looking forward to it this year. This will be the first year without my Dad and if I think of my mom most around Christmas and Halloween, I think of my dad around Thanksgiving and New Years. I’m not saying I”m going to start eating sauerkraut because ew, but I’ll be thinking about him and all his superstitions anyway on the first of the year. On Thanksgiving, I’ll be missing his sweet potato flambe for sure. It was my favorite from the time I was ten. I’m really glad my husband doesn’t really get it – really glad – but there’s a part of me that just wants to be miserable and maudlin and be left alone. That’s not how it’s going to work but that’s what I want to do.
I’m finding NaNoWriMo is a bit difficult this year without my cheering section calling to see how many words I’ve gotten. I don’t think I realized how much I appreciated having someone who was invested in my successes and failures and progresses.
The fair is done and my whole body is feeling it today! I met some interesting people and made some good connections and even sold a few books. I have some new stuff to get up on Etsy this week but not today – my fingers and knees are hurting. I’m falling behind on the book but I’ll catch up during the week when I’m not trying to make stuff too.
I’ve got bloodwork and a doctor’s appointment this week and I’m really hoping I can get off the prednisone ASAP. I do not like it at all. I had been doing so great with my panic attacks – I haven’t had many to speak of in a long time and now they’re getting to be a little bit regular and I don’t like that at all – I’ve been there, done that, wouldn’t like to go back there. I also blame my newfound weepiness on it too – I’m crying at the dumbest stuff. I burst into tears in Krogers because they didn’t have the breakfast my youngest son requested. I cried at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, not for that movie but because I was so upset that the role of Batman did not go to Joseph Gordan-Levitt who deserved it (and the story was perfect for it!) but to the guy I don’t see as anything like Batman (so much so that I haven’t even watched it). Both of those things are upsetting but neither is really honestly cry-worthy. I’m a lot quicker to get mad too and I really don’t like it. The other meds, it is what it is. My nails are terrible, my skin is terrible, but my hair isn’t falling out and I’m not hurting anywhere near as bad as I was. I’ll do as I’m told because, as much as I don’t like one of the ladies in the office so much, the doctor himself seems to know what he’s doing and for sure he knows more than I do.
I’m going to get some words today but I am not going to push too much with my fingers today – they need some recovery time right now. I’m in an interesting place in the book though, some ramifications from the events of book one are coming to light and no one knows what it means longterm just yet (not even me!), and the new plot is getting a little convoluted and the connections are starting to come to light and it’s just beginning to get exciting. This is my favorite part of the process but I’m a little worried that I’m coming to this point too early so I might have to toss in a small distraction or two as they figure stuff out. This is the sort of stuff that makes me remember why writing is my all time favorite thing to do.
So, I’m home and (mostly) unloaded with an ouchie knee and tired feet but I’m very happy with the overall results of the day. I cannot begin to tell you all how relieved I am to have this first event out of the way! I was far more nervous than I probably needed to be but I didn’t have any panic attacks and I peopled pretty well and I didn’t even get sarcastic once! You could say that today was a pretty big deal.
It probably helps that my friend was at the table next to me.
I went in with absolutely no expectations, which I think was very helpful. I talked to a bunch of people, I sold a few books, a few boxes, a few bookmarks, an Alice in Wonderland inspired miniature topiary, and a few magnets and I bought myself a pretty octopus bracelet. I came out way ahead on the day and I’m actually even looking forward to doing it again. I’m calling today a win all over – not just for my goals but for me in general. I really did expect to have trouble with the people part of it.
For those of you playing along at home, you’ve still got a short bit of time to enter the contest to win one of my books!
I have many days, a few weeks’ worth in fact, before my first ever table at an anything. I’m starting small, at a local craft fair to sort of stick my toe in the water and see how I do. I’ve got the books in. In fact, the last box arrived today. I’ve got some geeky crafty type stuff ready to go as well. If you liked my Nazgul or my sorting hat, and you’re going to be near Weirton on the 30th, here’s your chance!
The fact of the matter is, I’ve never done something like this before and I really am quite nervous about the whole thing. I shouldn’t be. I come from two people who could convince most people that dihydrogen monoxide was polluting our water supply. My children have that gene too – the performance, the desire for applause. I have it too in a far more introverted way. I realized the other day that I might not be as gregarious, charming, or loud as my parents or my children but ultimately, I’m after the same thing – validation from people I don’t know! That’s really what writing books is, isn’t it?
I far prefer sitting back here, on this side of my computer screen instead of on a stage or behind a table, but, it’s a little hard to get my crowing heard from inside my house, shouting into the storm that is the Internet and full of people just like me. So, out into the world I must go. Maybe it won’t be as bad as I’m expecting. Maybe it’ll actually be fun and I’ll sign on to do more. Maybe a lot of things.
So, I’m sticking my toe in the water and maybe I’ll find myself at Steel City Con or Parsec down the road a bit.
Just for a head’s up – if you haven’t liked my Facebook page, now might be a good time as I’m going to be having a giveaway on April 30th (the day of said local fair). What I’m giving away will be revealed on that day.
It’s been a year. Which is probably the best thing that can be said for it. Sure, there have been some ups but overall, there’s a shadow over this year for me that just won’t let the light shine down on it.
Like many people, I lost several of my idols this year. I went through a bit of a downswing early in the year with my depression and that had some slightly more lasting effects than usual. There were some upheavals with my career, my house, and some stresses in the family that are likely mostly par for the course, maybe. We lost our OldDog who was a good dog and maybe the smartest dog I’ve ever known.
But there were good things too.
Eldercynne Rising came out. I love this universe and am so glad I get to play in it – the Arachwie are by far my favorite of my created peoples, even more so than the Jaffine.
I got my Alfred. I am a cat person. I am not a dog person. Don’t get me wrong, I love all animals but dogs are not really my cuppa. We’ve always had dogs because my husband and children are definitely dog people. I am an Alfred people. I’ve never had dog that I really really adored until now. I don’t even mind that he smells like dog! No one has ever been happier to see me in my life – and I’m including my children.
I’ve lost 50 pounds (thanks, Pokemon Go and MyFitnessPal). An old friend reminded me that people can be totally awesome for no reason whatsoever (thanks, Becky – you are awesome and totally made my kid’s Christmas!). My kids have been doing great in school and everything. Several times this year, I’ve managed to people without making an ass of myself. I have only had three little panic attacks this ENTIRE year and none of them were debilitating enough to do much more than give me a headache.
All right, so there was maybe more good than bad, or at least, bigger good than bad. It just feels like there has been so much loss this year. This Christmas was harder for me than usual. Everything has made me think of my mother and how much she would have enjoyed my children. I don’t have words to properly explain it. I blame Brad Garrett and his singing Frankenstein’s Monster because that’s where all my weepy started this year.
I am an incredibly lucky girl to have met and married a guy who gets me. He doesn’t always understand and sometimes he thinks I’m pretty silly but, where it matters most to me, he absolutely gets me. There are some people who I have never met but who have effected me in ways that probably sound pretty silly to people who aren’t dorks/geeks/nerds – whatever title they choose on any given day. For my birthday this year, I now own two of their autographs. One is pretty much the best present I’ve ever been given by anyone ever and totally made me cry. I’m fairly certain that there is no way that my husband can ever top this birthday.
As of today, I’ve met two of the three actors who ever actually scared me and both were so kind and sweet. I doubt very much that I’ll ever get to meet the third but two out of three is pretty damned awesome. Jump scare type things may startle me, but it takes a great deal to scare me and the first time I watched Candyman, I covered all the mirrors in my room for almost a month.
Tony Todd is really wonderful. Youngest son was waiting with me in the autograph line and pretty much on the edge of the convention being too much for him. He was stimming maybe the hardest I’ve seen him outside our house – but Mr. Todd took it all in stride, talked to him, and kidlet even handed him the squid he carries everywhere which sounds odd but is a great honor.
The Steel City Con is crowded (less today as it’s friday) and there are a ton of people and things to see. It could easily be overwhelming but the people there – the vendors, the artists, the stars – they’re all super kind and awesome and it makes going there fun (even if I always come home with too much stuff!).
Image: Sarah Wagner
Last year, around my birthday, the family and I went to the Steel City Comic Convention and, among other things, I came home with a TARDIS. I love my TARDIS. I’ve worn it very nearly every time I’ve gone out since that day. Some people think it’s silly but those tend to be the people who think I ought to grow up and do something with myself (because writing books doesn’t count) and I discount their opinion pretty easily.
The TARDIS is many things to me. It’s sentimental for all the hours spent watching with my mom and all the hours spent watching with my kids. It is a symbol of hope – all things are possible if you are clever enough. It is something of a calming fidget when I get anxious or nervous – something solid I can hold on to and play with, there is comfort in its weight and very presence for me. The interesting thing is that I haven’t had a big panic attack since I started wearing it. I’m not saying that has anything to do with the TARDIS but, at this point, I don’t want to jinx myself by not wearing it.
What I was not expecting was that my totem would also be an ice breaker. More often then not, someone comments on it when I’m out. I love Doctor Who as much for it’s broad audience as anything – people of every age, race, gender, and socioeconomic status know what my pretty blue box really is. Today it was the woman behind the counter at the grocery store who informed me she’s been watching since before I was born. She watched with her mom the same way I watched with mine. I don’t really people well – I struggle with social interactions and find them to be rather clumsy most of the time – but not when it’s about something like the Doctor – then it’s very easy to say hello and find a snippet of meaningful conversation to boot.
For some, it’s just a weird thing, a childish thing even, but for some of us, it is so much more. It’s almost a secret handshake in a symbol, and I’ve yet to meet a Whovian who didn’t greet it with kindness.
Filed under Anxiety, Geek, Life
I’m finding it a little more difficult than I expected to stop being invisible. Almost my entire life I’ve been striving for functional invisibility. It’s very hard to give that up and try and get people’s attention now but, for my stories, I do try. Marketing is not my strong suit – I find the whole thing overwhelming and scary to be honest. It is really hard to suddenly have to wave around saying look at me when all I want to do is hide away.
I wasn’t always comfortable talking about my anxiety and not just because of said anxiety but because most people treat anxiety like it’s something akin to stubbing my toe. In some ways, I’m glad they do think that as it means they’ve never ever had an actual panic attack. You don’t just get up and walk it off. I talk about it more now not to garner any sympathy – I don’t want that – but because I spent so many years thinking I had these attacks because I was broken and maybe, some other girl will see this and know that she isn’t broken or any of those other negative things she thinks of herself because I wish there’d been that when I was younger and this first really came to a head. Which is a really icky idiom by the way – pretty sure I sat here for five minutes while I’m making a hat ornament thinking about it while I was going over the words I should type. And now that image is going to be in your head too. You’re welcome!
Panic and depression have been arguing over who gets to control me for a whole lot longer than I like to admit. Mostly I win but sometimes it takes me a while. The internet has helped. I’m fairly certain that, with the exception of my monthly support group for families dealing with autism, 99% of my non-family human interaction is online. I do go to the grocery and pet store so that’s the other 1%. Most of my close friends, I have never met offline. I don’t want to think what I would do without the internet!
I’m trying to do better. I’ve even signed on for a slot during one of my publisher’s marketing parties (March 9 at 4:30 please come!). Sometimes it doesn’t feel like I’m doing enough but other times, it feels like much too much.
I love Dune, no question. It was one of those books that actually changed me. The Litany is something I say more often than I’d like but probably not as often as I need to. Fear can be huge and paralyzing. Fear can be small and insidious, sneaking up on you like smoke that’s been hiding in your shadow. Fear can be loud, quiet, boisterous, secretive. For me, fear is the Eater of Worlds, the monster under the bed, the Jabberwocky and the Nothing all at once. It is the mind killer and it takes everything and twists it – everything in my mind is suddenly connected with that fear, that what if, and it won’t let anything else in. Even when logic and intellect tell that fear that it is stupid and unfounded. There’s a difference between understanding and Knowing.
A while ago, I found a tiny little bump. At first I thought maybe it was an ingrown hair or a bug bite. But it didn’t go away, didn’t change, did nothing but sit there and be a tiny little bump. Given my family history, I scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist who couldn’t see me for forever (ok 2 months but also forever). It has been driving me bonkers. And for no good reason as dermatologist confirmed my own opinion on the bump this morning – a clogged pore, a cyst, maybe but nothing to be concerned about.
The bump itself was not the problem. My problem is that fear is also the instigator of my tendency to look at all things through the lens of Worst Case Scenario. I knew the bump was nothing. I knew it but I could not get my fear to understand that. When my mother was diagnosed with melanoma the first time, it wasn’t a mole, a spot, a lesion or the usual, it came in the form of two marble sized lumps on her back. I am older than she was the first time she had cancer. I am not my mother but I can’t help but think in those terms when I find something strange. What would I do if? What would my husband do if? What would my kids do if? I know I’d jump into whatever treatment would be the most effective without care of hair. I know I’d do whatever it took. That’s good to know I suppose.
I haven’t been very productive in the last few weeks because my brain wouldn’t cooperate with me – it wanted to obsess and I didn’t want to so the kids and I had netflix marathons and played games and were bumps ourselves. Hopefully now I can get back to my regularly scheduled weird. I don’t talk about this stuff until after all is said and done because I don’t like to worry people unnecessarily and most everyone I know is dealing with far worse than a tiny little nothing of a bump.
Filed under Anxiety, Life