Holiday Affirmations: Day 1

During December, I’m going to share 30 small affirmations/mantras/whatever you want to call them to help people feel good during this time of year. I love the holidays, but I also know it can be fraught with stress and anxiety and not-so-great tidings. I hope these help you. You deserve it.

It’s okay to not be “in the spirit” as soon as December rolls around. You don’t have to immediately be in the ‘deck the halls’ mode, nor do you have to compete against anyone else for how important the holiday season is. You do you, at your pace. You get to decide what this all means, ultimately.

5 Thanks

Before the holiday sets in, I’m taking the opportunity on both of my blogs to acknowledge things for which I am grateful. This year has been rough, and I can’t even just say that in the greater sense. I’ve been working all year. My social life has suffered because things have been constantly busy. I lost 2/3 of my rat boys. But every time I stop to say, “Fuck this shit, I’m out” I also consider things for which I am grateful. Specific things. Like…

  1. The friends I’ve made online this year. In January, I posted a fun little story on Tumblr. Eleven months later, over 1200 people are reading other fun little things I write. And I consider a lot of them real friends, and that is freaking awesome.
  2. Pokemon Go. Silly, I know, but it’s been real fun, coming together and bonding with people over a game that was a part of so many childhoods.
  3. Art. In spite of everything, I’m still making it happen, a little bit each day.
  4. Good shows, good books, good games. And good people who make both.
  5. New York. Yeah, yeah, I know, broken record. You don’t understand how much I needed to spend two days alone in the most crowded place on Earth.

Take a moment to consider what you are grateful for. It’s hard to find the gold hidden in the pile of dung, but try. You’ll be glad you did.

5 Reminders One Week Later

  1. It’s okay to step away from social media. If it makes your heart feel like it’s dying every time you look at it, you are not helping anybody by constantly confronting a wall of pain. You don’t owe it to anybody to be present online.
  2. You can be concerned about what’s happening in the world and still enjoy the things that you like. Sometimes that’s the only way to stay sane.
  3. There is still a place in the world for kindness, compassion and happiness. Don’t let that get crushed.
  4. For every horrible person, there are many others who are wonderful. Connect with those people. Let them into your life.
  5. Everyone reacts to things differently. A lot of people are in a state of mourning. Just because you are not responding the same way as others does not make your feelings invalid.

Morning

I got up and I didn’t want to talk about this.

When I went to bed last night, I just lay there in the dark. We didn’t wait for it to be called, but we waited long enough to know. I felt sick. I didn’t think this would happen. It did.

I dreamed about it. Or at least, it was in the back of my dream mind. I recall being in a bus, trying to take pictures of the world beyond, and I kept considering what the world would be like when I woke up.

This morning, I kept waking up before it was time to actually get up. It felt like the opposite of Christmas. Like if I just stayed where I was and tried to go back to sleep then maybe this wouldn’t be a reality. Yet here I am.

I didn’t want to talk about this, but I wanted to talk to you. Because I know you’re scared and I know you feel ill and I know it looks very, very hopeless.

You are all worth every ounce of whatever goodness there is in this fucked up world. You are just as beautiful as you were yesterday and you’re still beautiful today. You are still loved. You still deserve decency and safety.

I’m not saying don’t be upset. It’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to be hurt and disappointed and angry. I’ve been angry since the beginning.

But don’t give up. I’m begging you. Don’t lose sense of who you are and a vision of what the world could or should be. The only way we’re going to get back to that is if we fight for it now. Do not give in to hopelessness.

Be vigilant. Be aware. Be informed. Research your state’s laws and government processes. Reach out to the people you know who are afraid and let them know that you’re there for them. If you’re afraid, talk to people you love and trust. Be kind to the people around you – that includes you. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Eat, sleep, create things. Pursue happiness.

And if you are thinking about hurting yourself over this…I beg you. Don’t. You are a crucial part of this world. Please don’t go. We need you. We love you. You are so very, very necessary. Your life is a gift. It is wonderful.

And I’m here if you need to talk.

How to Have a Day Job: It’s Dangerous to Go Alone!

howtohaveadayjobsnow

That’s a line from 1986 Nintendo video game, The Legend of Zelda. Before you go off to try to save the Princess, as a character was wont to do in 80s video games, an old man bestowed upon you a sword for your quest. And off you went!

So too do I make sure that my adventuring pack is full when I am facing the forces of timesheets and reporting in my 40 hour work week. No matter how much I want to pack light at my job, there are a certain key things that I always make sure to have to fill my breaks and lunch time with productivity (as well as fun).

Whenever I go to work, I carry with me:

  • My phone and a charger or spare battery pack.
  • A notebook and pen (as well as a spare pen). There is something very satisfying to using a “good” pen as opposed to the ballpoint garbage sticks you get from the supplies drawer.
  • A book. If possible, I prefer a physical book to really take me out of my element (the element being the electric screen in front of my face for 8 hours per day).
  • Headphones. When I don’t have music to listen to during the quiet periods of work or while walking outside, I feel completely and utterly lost.
  • My tablet and bluetooth keyboard. As a writer, sometimes I get ideas for projects I’m working on that I simply need to type out before it disappears. I always make sure my tablet is charged and that I have access to offline files so if inspiration strikes in the parking lot, I am so on it.
  • A pencil. Sketchbook is optional. Recently, I’ll grab post-it notes and envelopes and doodle when I am feeling like my hands are growing restless.

So why do I carry all this? It ultimately comes down to knowing that the key to surviving your day job is balancing your Job Self with your Real Self. It means being able to seamlessly shift perspective so you are doing things you love while you’re doing things that you have to do (to get a paycheck and do more things you love!).

What do you carry on you to work each day? How do you spend your breaks and lunches? Do you think that Ganon is just grossly misunderstood and needs to learn to love himself before he lets any princess into his heart? Tell me about it!

Monday Motivation: Halloween Edition

I don’t know when I started getting anxious about interacting with strangers.

When I was a kid, trick-or-treat was not even a question. The task was simple: go to the door, knock, say a thing, get candy. Boom. Then do it as many times as possible before people started turning off their lights and hiding.

Now? If I get a piece of mail that belongs to my neighbor, I’m immediately in crawling-over-enemy-lines mode. I pull out spreadsheets and paper bags and I focus on not losing my mind over having to actually walk over and give it to them for the love of God why.

It’s so important to try to recall that joyful abandon that most people had as children. When we were kids, we had no problem asking people for things. We could wear stupid crap and love every second. We didn’t worry constantly about being judged (maybe now and then but not like adults do). We would draw pictures and paint and at no point did we go, “I’m not sure if this crayon dinosaur is really promoting my brand. Could I be doing something better with my time right now?”

Play. Don’t overthink the tiny things. Get stuff done because once you get that stuff done you can do something fun. Decide why you want something and then do the thing. Because remember the really, really great part about being an adult: you don’t need permission from anyone. No bedtimes. So long as you aren’t hurting anyone, you get to decide what you’re doing.

Now go get some damn candy.

The Lady or the Tiger, or Two Ladies? Or Two Tigers?

Admittedly, that title got away from me.

I am currently debating whether or not I will be participating in NaNoWriMo in 2016. At this point, I have less than a week to decide. I have an idea for a story, some brief character concepts, a general sense of what I would write…

…Here comes the but(t)…

_)_)

Wait, that doesn’t look right. Anyway. I haven’t finished editing my book from last year. There. I tried to poorly diffuse my shame with a butt and it still didn’t work. And it kills me, guys, because editing is a slog. It’s boring. I hate editing.

I do not know what to do.

I brought this up to a fellow NaNo participant, and I asked, “Do you think I should do it and then have two unfinished manuscripts?”

Without even pausing, she said, “Two. Absolutely.”

I want to agree, but at the same time, I’ve tried to move away from unfinished projects. I always end up with accumulating a stack of ‘to do’s instead of feeling accomplished. And, sure, in many cases I come back and finish, but it doesn’t feel quite as gratifying as having something done and then getting to share it openly.

Now, with that in mind, however, most of the things I do finish are short pieces: short stories, flash fiction, poetry, fanfiction, that sort of thing.

So I pose this to you, dear reader: which is better? One finished manuscript or two unfinished manuscripts?

Now excuse me. I’m going to go wallow in artistic angst (which mostly consists of watching youtube videos).

32 Lessons: Part 2

Literally wrapping this up at the time when, 32 years ago, my mom decided that she had gotten through all her favorite shows and would go have me already, even though frankly she didn’t know what the big deal was about.

17. Take care of your teeth as much as you’re able to. And on that note…

18. Forgive your genetics. There’s nothing you can do about it. Take it easy on yourself.

19. Choose happiness now. Don’t wait until you’re in another place or ‘until I accomplish this thing’ or ‘until I am finally doing that thing.’ Make your happiness a priority this instant, even if it’s not easy.

20. Stretch. Take deep breaths.

21. Surround yourself with things and people that you love. Even if people try to tell you that you shouldn’t, or people disagree with your tastes. It’s your space. You get to choose who you let in it.

22. One day, you’re going to realize that your parents are just like everyone else. And that means you get to choose what your relationship is like with them, especially when you are making your own decisions.

23. Try not to burn bridges. You may want to cross them later. But if you do, grab a boat. Swim if you have to.

24. Always get your feet wet. This isn’t actually a metaphor; like, when you go to the beach, put your feet in the water. Jump in the pool. Never say no to hot tubs.

25. Never be afraid to laugh or cry or be excited or be down. Your emotions will always be there. If you internalize everything, you’ll explode.

26. Listen.

27. Ask for help. It’s never easy. It never gets easier. But do it, when you’re able to. You don’t deserve to suffer in silence.

28. Sing in your car. Dance in the grocery store.

29. Stretch. I swear by this, actually. As much as you are physically able to, even if it’s while you’re sitting down or lying in your bed. Move.

30. Read self help books, but know when it’s time to write your own book. Not everything will work for you the way it works for other people. Just keep trying until you figure out what is effective, and then develop yourself from there.

31. Nobody is perfect, and everybody has been at a point where they have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing. Maybe it’s something big like LIFE™ and maybe it’s just taxes. Don’t be afraid to find someone you can talk to and ask if they can walk you through it start to finish. Ask questions.

32. You are awesome, and you deserve love.

32 Lessons: Part 1

So, tomorrow is my 32nd birthday. And I thought it might be fun to share 32 lessons I’ve learned during the span of my lifetime to this point. I like doing lists like this anyway, but I hope maybe it will be interesting for people who follow me or read my stuff. I’m dividing it into two posts: 16 today, 16 tomorrow. Enjoy.

1. Travel, when you can. Even if it’s just within your own city. Check out places you’ve never looked before. Wander. You don’t have to talk to anyone. Just experience the world outside of your home.

2. It’s always easier to say ‘no,’ so say ‘yes’ whenever possible. Try everything. Open yourself to new experiences, even if they seem inconvenient or uncomfortable.

3. Everything makes a good story. Even the terrible shit (especially the terrible shit).

4. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about yourself. Never be ashamed of your interests or the things that make you who you are. So long as you aren’t hurting anyone, do what you want. On that note…

5. Be nice. It takes little effort to be kind. You can disagree and dislike someone or something without being a jerk. Show some compassion. You could literally save someone’s life.

6. Enjoy solitude when you have it. Be comfortable with yourself when you are alone. You’re always going to be stuck with you; might as well make friends.

7. It’s never too late to apologize, if you want to.

8. This, too, shall pass. Depression, anxiety, crises. Pure joy, happiness, sleep. It’s all temporary.

9. Make the things that you would like to see more of. Don’t produce content because it’s what you think you should do. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you’ll wind up resenting it.

10. Say ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘excuse me.’

11. You cannot control how people think or feel. The only thing you can do is decide how you’re going to let them affect you. Don’t take their baggage personally.

12. You’re never too old to appreciate cute animals.

13. Nobody else gets to decide your relationship with the universe. Pursue a faith and spirituality that speaks to you, from your heart, and not out of any sense of obligation.

14. You are made out of stardust. Your existence is magic. You are a miracle. Every day you are living is a day more than so many other people. You are literally awesome.

15. Be honest. With everyone. With your family, with your friends, with strangers. But honesty doesn’t have to equate with dickishness. Tact is your friend.

16. Surprise others. Keep people guessing. It’s really, really fun.