Maybe It’s Me?

Oh Readers,

Success and failure are constructs that can suffocate us, and are far more rooted in personal perspective than actual clear-cut definitions. Your success isn’t my success, nor is it the other way around. Many of us share similar concepts of success and failures, and I’m sure somewhere someone reading this agrees with me when I say: this blog dances that line of failure.

When I went back to work, my time seemingly disappeared, and so I lost my way and my passion – as usually happens when I work. Writing is my passion and I want to do it professionally as my career desperately. So why is it so hard for me to put it first?

Oh yeah, because I am also passionate about being an advocate for those without voices and without confidence to use their voice. This is why I work with children, this is why I prioritize my child’s life and passions before my own. When I write I aim to give people something they can connect with and feel represented by, and so writing directly relates to how successful I feel when trying to give representation. The less I write, the less successful I feel.

So I don’t think about this blog unless I have a project to post. For example, I have a book review I have drafted on paper that I need to type and finalize for posting. I wanted desperately for this place to be my platform for original work, and now it’s just a way to get exposure for my work. I’ve had some exciting connections from this project but with its inactivity, those connections are simply that – connections. They are not leads, nor opportunities, and so I again find myself thinking of this blog as a failure.

In addition to being too caught up in the work I do each day with people I can share a smile and laugh with, I’ve been helping other writer friends and family through teaming up to take writing classes online with Coursera. Even though we have been auditing the class, we evaluate one another and push each other to be more than what we were on the last piece we wrote. I’ve had a ton of time to grow and improve in areas where I’ve been weak in the past. I am working on my writing but you cannot see it.

And that makes me feel like a failure too. There’s not many of you watching, if any anymore, but those that *are* watching see that I’ve disappeared. I don’t want to do that, and I don’t want this blog to end this way. Somehow, though, I don’t know how to dig myself out of a hole enough to genuinely promise more content.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m not going to be able to really focus on this the way I want until I have an income from my published work, or until my husband is making enough money for me to be a “homemaker” – if I ever choose to do only that with myself. I’ve always been a fan of seeing my work grow in front of my eyes, with others to share in the joy of success as defined by me, occasionally my peers. Perhaps that instant gratification is the addiction my anxiety has given me, or perhaps it is the product of my generation’s love of technology, but it is my obstacle to overcome.

I finish projects, but then I do nothing with them. I’ve a many pieces that just don’t feel right enough to be “that piece” that gives me my start in the world of literature and fiction. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s not – but no matter what I’m doing (or not doing) with this blog, know that this isn’t the end of it. It’s not dying – it’s just taking a really long nap.

(And maybe I should too).

Yours,

xoxo -ab

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#13ReasonsWhyIAmHappy

I was just reading Virtual Vomit‘s Blog post titled 13 Reasons Why I’m Happy. I have not yet been able to reach an emotional place where I feel safe watching “13 Reasons Why” the show, but I’ve read the book. If you read my blog regularly, or have read anything of mine really, you’ll know that I try to raise awareness of as many social issues as possible with my writing (sparse as it has been). In particular, I have posts regularly about suicide and suicide prevention. For this reason I am going to post a list of #13ReasonWhyIAmHappy today.

If you are struggling with suicidal feelings I urge you to contact the suicide prevention hotline. They have qualified individuals to assist you with those emotions and guide you through this tough time in your life. I understand personally and deeply how difficult it can be to forget what it is to be happy. Overcoming those emotions is the hardest thing I have done and continue to do each day. These suicide prevention services go beyond a phone call. You can chat with represetnatives online too. Please, please consider visiting this website if you are dealing with these feelings.

And now… 13 Reasons Why I Am Happy (Right Now).

 

  1. I have a brilliant young man for a son who, in spite of his flaws, finds new ways to remind me that he is wildly compassionate and wise.
  2. In spite of being sick today I have been reasonably productive and still have several hours to achieve more of my writing tasks.
  3. My TARDIS blanket. No more explanation is necessary.
  4. Cologne is stronger than air freshener and much longer lasting. Spraying it on my curtains is allowing the breeze to blow the sweet musk scent of my husband all around the house.
  5. My accessibility to clean water and purifying options is such a privilege.
  6. The kindness of my husband to come home from work early and pick up our son from school today while I am sick.
  7. Books give me great happiness. The feel, the scent, the words – the possibilities!
  8. My three beautiful kittens that have come to love each other over the last year, proving that I was not wrong to bring my youngest one into our tiny family. Even when they get into spats, they lick each other clean and nestle together for naps.
  9. The nightcore genre of music inspires me with how creative people can be with content that already exists. It grounds me creatively with my work but also reminds me that there’s so much greatness that comes from those around us and from the work of others.
  10. Technology gives me outlets that I would not otherwise have access to in another place, generation, or universe. For that I am constantly able to work on something I love in one way or another.
  11. My home which is a customized ‘House of Horrors’ for me is something many people in the world are not able to have, and for that I choose to be grateful that I have a mostly safe place to live with my husband, son, and three cats.
  12. Trees. Trees give us oxygen, and they endure the changes in this world for far longer than those who first caused harm to them. Specifically, I would like to say I am happy for my tiny tree growing in a flower pot. His name is Harold and he is blooming for his second year this spring. I am proud of my little Harold.
  13. My family. Regardless of how they have affected me (positive, negative, neutral) their own choices have influenced mine. Though my success is neither lucrative nor boastful, it is mine. For that I am happy with where I have come to be and I am excited for the opportunities that still lie ahead – hidden by the shadows of my present obstacles.

 

Honestly, there is much more to be happy for in my life. Ten years ago, I never would have believed you if you were to share my story now. I would not have thought I would even be alive. Ten years ago, I didn’t know I was pregnant at fifteen. Ten years ago, I thought eventually I would cut too deep and end the constant suffering within and without. I never would have thought my then severe depression, anxiety, and insomnia would shrink. Even with my struggles now, I can cope without medication where I could not even just five years ago.

Now, I face other problems and it is a battle not to sink back into those depths. Those concerns that I could collapse into old habits is always at the edge of my happiness. It threatens me anytime I am faced with an obstacle I fear I cannot overcome. It is this reality that keeps me from delving into the film adaptation of a book I proclaim as being incredibly eye-opening to me as a teenager struggling the way Hannah Baker struggled. Books raised me. Books are my parentage and my guidance. I read to understand what it is I cannot see understand on my own.

So, I challenge you as a reader to list in the comments 13 Reasons Why YOU Are Happy right now, today, this very minute.

#13ReasonsWhyIAmHappy

XoXo

-ab

Failing at Failing, life is a series of choices.

Dear Readers, if any of you still remain.

I am pretty awful as following through with this blog. I assure you I’m writing in my free time but it’s mostly fanfiction related work or unfinished poems that I’ve typed up on my phone here and there. I had a feminist rant I intended on posting regarding menstruation – in direct relation to the Pink Tax. Of course, even that fell by the wayside in favor of other things that I decided “logically” ranked higher than my desire to be an author. I guess that is essentially putting my dreams on life support.

I was hoping to do a book review portion of this blog in the earliest conception of it. Reading is essential to becoming a better writer. I will never get published (if I keep putting my work to the side, for one) if I do not improve (as the primary comment of this paragraph). So I’m going to start putting book reviews into the ‘My Opinion’ section of this blog for the time being. It will keep a steady stream of content coming while also giving me the opportunity to learn from authors who have made their dreams come true during this continued hiatus.

Along the way, maybe I’ll stop being such a slacker and put this blog back together the way it should be – writing posted regularly. I want to be an author more than anything else in the whole world (besides a great mother and loving wife, of course). Life is a series of choices and I will take responsibility for mine – the ones that I make that ultimately result in this blog being neglected. I need to do better. That is nearly all I can say on the matter.

A side note, though, I was working two jobs for six months and it drained a lot out of me. During that time I thought of giving up on writing. I think I was mental during those months, and I plead forgiveness from all whom tolerated me during that time. However, the instant I left my management position I was able to calm down and start taking only the most serious things to heart. Again, I remembered my passion for writing. Sometimes I want to be a teacher, I think, and I believe I would be at peace teaching for the remainder of my life. I have a love for children and learning that has never been fully shared with the world around. But I do have to ask if I would ever be truly happy giving up on my dream in front of my son.

I would not. I am the example. I am the template. He looks to my husband and I for the outline of how life will be lived – and I don’t want him to give up on anything he loves.

So, yes, I am failing at failing at my dream. I keep putting it to the side and saying that perhaps it is not meant to be – that it is not in my cards right now, but I never let it escape me completely. I am still very dedicated to this career path. Life is a series of choices and these are my choices. I make the questions, I make the answers – so now I simply need to rewrite the test.

Hopefully you’ll stick around. I won’t blame you if you don’t. But would you blame yourself? I guess that’s a question you need to answer.

 

Yours,

xoxo ab

Boy Does Time Fly… Like, Too Fast

Dear Readers,

Somehow my dream to prove I’m a capable writer through the art of blogging died – because somehow I can’t make myself compromise the real-life demands of traditional employment with my goals set in stone to write professionally. To all the authors and bloggers making a livable wage from writing *while* being employed elsewhere – lend my your strength!

My blog sort of died (yes, I would say died) in about a year. It really is terribly difficult to maintain a schedule when you have a job which maintains zero set scheduling. As I take another financial risk to have a less demanding position with a set schedule fulfilling part-time hours – MAYBE, and I don’t dare to say more than MAYBE, I will be able to get back into the writing I’d intended for this blog.

I think, unfortunately, I will have to create fresh projects to make it relevant once again. Though I am saddened at my failure, I do feel new life breathing over me. When I go long periods of time without writing it is as if I have lost a part of myself. I cannot exist without a venue to write and share the creative words bouncing around in my brain.

Writing is a lifestyle – and it has got to be my lifestyle.

Before ending this post, allow me to take a moment to thank the few people who have been straggling about my blog and reading bits of my work. Those lone views and likes are what keep my alive – honestly. It reminds me of my purpose and my aspirations when I feel surrounded by darkness. Knowing that somehow, someway, someone has found their way onto my blog – that sends a light into my life. So thank you for all that you do simply by browsing my content. You are fantastic, you are, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Until the next post,

Yours,

-ab

2 Months & Counting: A Complaint Post about being a grown up…

Dear Readers,

I have two jobs. So it’s been two months since I’ve posted anything, and closer to three months since I’ve posted any new creative content. I feel like I’m drowning because of it.

I gave up a career in which I could have excelled were I happy, but I left that job to be a writer and the mother I always wished I could be to my son. My husband graciously supported me in that endeavor but these things take time. The plan was always for me to get an easy part-time job that never had work that came home with me.

I am simply not that kind of person. Work never stays at work because I do everything with 110% of myself. My work is what defines me, and when I do work that doesn’t make me happy as a I result I become unhappy. Since July my depression has been worsening and worsening, which only flares my anxiety to unmanageable levels. In these months I’ve considered divorce a dozen or so times, suicide even in the worst of days, but I force myself to persevere. I force myself to brave the storms because I created them.

I like to believes somewhere in my subconscious I created these storms to test myself and my family, to see if we are great and capable as I’ve always believed. The other part of me is convinced these the consequences of selfish decision-making. Financial strain at the cost of happiness… But, alas, I insist that writing is a part of me because I’ve never been happier than when I could wake and write for anyone willing to read.

So forgive me if you’re still here. Forgive me if you’re not. Forgive me because in so many ways I can’t forgive myself. I hope that I will find the time to write here for you and grasp at those tendrils of joy that float at my fingertips. I would hope that you would be there waiting to see what it is I come up with in the future.

Please remember that I wish for your happiness.

Yours,

ab

An Update on How Being Grown Up Really Sucks

Dear Readers:

When will I stop apologizing for being so irregular in my posting?

Or maybe the better question is when will I stop being irregular in my posting in the first place?

Being a grown up sucks. It means being smart, cautious, and – ugh – responsible! Writing is something I want to make a career out of someday but as a parent and a wife I also have to make sure that life is stable right now, and that everyone is happy right now. As such, that sort of means that things that make me happy fall to the wayside.

Between soccer, bowling, cub scouts, work, and that various volunteer projects I take on – it’s a surprise I have time to do anything self-fulfilling! If I’m really lucky I might get to watch some cartoons with the family during dinner time but every other minute of my day is pretty much taken up. In just the last week alone I’ve gone from just a wife, mother, and writer to a team manager, an assistant coach, a volunteer cub scout leader, a sort of counselor for nearly everyone I know, and personal assistant. It’s amazing how many different roles we can occupy for what is generally a fairly small group of people.

I’ve been reduced to living my life out of a planner just to know what I’m doing each day. I never used to need one – not even in high school! I was always Miss-have-it-together. I went from organized to “booked.”

Actual “booked” too.

A family member called me at work to discuss an important family issue… to which I replied – “I only have a half hour window between work and soccer.” That’s the kind of person I’ve become these days. I feel like a major douche wad without a matching six-digit salary to justify my lifestyle.

Long, whining story short – I feel like a joke. I prioritize contests slightly ahead of my blogging to help build a publication portfolio, but both have somehow fallen back to the bottom of the totem. As always – I’m trying to find the time to put true effort into the work I want to publish on here. I have a “Writing the World” Wednesday entry that I’ve been sitting on for weeks but haven’t been able to structure enough for posting – and a contest entry that received positive feedback but I’ve been wondering if I didn’t want to make it into a series for the blog. I haven’t forgot how to blog and I haven’t forgot the dozens of you that follow me because you like my work. I’m trying.

Forgive me?

Yours,

ab

Missing In Action.

Dear Readers Who Are Still Here:

My unexpected absence from my blog the last two weeks was unintentional. I always feel obligated to provide an explanation. Maybe you don’t care; maybe you care enough to read this post; maybe you’ve been dying for an answer. Really, though, a big part of this post is just to satisfy the fact that I want to note what’s been going on for me that has continually disrupted my ability to remain a regular poster.

Firstly, it is extremely difficult to find time to write in a busy life. Some people are busier and accomplish more, while others are struggling to get anything accomplish with fewer “to dos” than I’ve got. We’re all facing different battles – and all of our activities are warring for the same time slots. I’ve found that my job, while part-time, requires far more of my life than I could have ever anticipated. Some people tell me that this is a good sign. They tell me that it’s because I’m such a great manager that work breaks its way into my life in a dozen different ways. Aside from having a job – I’m a mother shuffling a little boy around from activity to activity almost every single day. I am proud, although exhausted, to see that my son has the same drive to be excellent in everything he does in his life. I know that a brilliant future awaits him – even if my future is filled with very long naps.

Secondly, depression makes life stop. It suffocates you. It blackens your field of vision. It grabs ahold of every bone in your body and squeezes until the fractures become too many and your body crumbles under the weight of permeating sorrow. Depression doesn’t go away because you will it to do as much. Depression doesn’t cease to exist if you’re medicated. It is just an unfortunate presence that not everyone can be free of – and I happen to be one of those people. For a couple of weeks I’ve been feeling lost, hopeless, aimless, and exhausted from all my self-loathing. It’s like being caught in a maze with no exit. How can you write a clear sentence if you can’t even think about something with a clear mind?

Lastly, anxiety. I know that two of these three “bullet point” pertain to mental illness and that probably sounds like a copout to some people. The unfortunate reality is that mental illness is devastatingly good at deterring people from accomplishing simple tasks. As my schedule is determined to make me forget that I have a passion for writing, my depression is in opposition trying to remind me that I once loved to write ahead of vital activities such as eating and sleeping! In those tiniest moments as I am able to pull back and look at these two distinct states of mind (and of life, really) – it stresses me out to see that I’m perpetually setting myself up to fail. I am a control freak and I often have to be able to plan and dictate the outcome of nearly any scenario which involves my future. Scatterbrained scheduling and disruptive depression make it impossible for me to overcome any anxiety I feel by failing to reach personal goals.

Being inside my head is most certainly the equivalent to being inside of a tornado of glass.

Writing the World Wednesday is the only thing I’ve been able to keep up with even close to regularly since starting my blog. After I deleted my Tumblr blogs on accident a month ago, I haven’t really been able to build a following online that supplement that small readership I’ve built here. Spiraling downward from there, I found myself saying I was going to give up on trying to get published. Every day I would find a new way to discourage myself from even trying. If I wasn’t discouraging myself then I was finding yet another thing that would prevent me from being able to meeting my writing goals.

I never know what’s going to happen at work and that sucks. There’s no other way to put it. My personal life is similar to organized chaos. If I want to succeed in these conditions then I have to find a way to break free of this constant self-depravation. To do that I have identify the tools that hinder my growth and make myself the master of those things.

I want to start branching out into an area that I’ve not quite touched base on yet with Writing the World: religion. This requires a level of research and understanding that I’ve not yet acquired. I hope to post this coming Wednesday – and Thursday – and Friday! I need to get back to doing my short fiction pieces for the days I’m off of work. What better way to get back on the horse? Small steps – one at a time.

I have always appreciated your readership, and I will always think fondly of your for your support. What I did to deserve anything so humbling and kind is a mystery to me. Here’s to a brighter future!

Yours,

ab xoxox

Problematic Navigation

Dear Readers,

Over the next few days navigating my blog may be difficult. I’m updating, condensing, and adjusting things around here. As I work on that I only ask that you remain patient. I am trying to make this the best blog I possibly can so that means always working on it. Unfortunately, there’s not a fast and convenient way to do that for me.

Thanks, as always, for being here. Your readership is valuable.

Yours,

AB

Technical Difficulties

Dear Readers,

For any aspiring author, an online presence is necessary in order to gain a following. A lot of agents assess your marketability based on your self-promotion. Aside from that, having yourself on the world wide web is a great way to get your work to as many people as possible. Even as a small blog with traffic of maybe 100-200 a week, this is still an important part of making myself known.

Today, through inattention, I accidentally removed several venues for my work. I’m presently trying to figure out the easiest way to restore these connections but the timeline is indefinite to say the least. For this week I am not posting a weekly story as the result. I like to consider myself resilient, so regardless of where I am next week – I won’t delay long. There will be a weekly story next week.

Mostly, I am distraught right now. These venues for my work have been a part of me for six years and to have lost them out of my own error is painful. For now I’ll start planning ahead for the blog and work on some other pieces I’ve been throwing together for contests.

I’m sorry that I have failed you in this respect. Many of my readers are regulars that like the work that I do each and every week, and to you I wish to give you nothing but gratitude for your support. You have been an integral part of my growth as an author. I hope that you will stick around to see me into what will inevitably be a flourishing career. Authors are oftentimes nothing without their readers. Please keep an eye out for the stories that will pop in next week – and in the meantime, keep making the world a better place!

Yours,

Alixx Black

There’s Still Time!

Dear Readers,

I know that my posts have been sparse this month, doing just the bare minimal posting, but such is the life of a married parent working. I had lots of exciting things happening this month and I got swept up in it all. Alas! Time does not pause simply because we are busy with life things.

We are getting ever closer to the distribution of Screamin Mamas’ literary magazine – which will feature my first publication! This is a huge step for any aspiring author, such as myself, and I can’t stop talking about it to anyone that will listen to me! As a mother, as a wife, and as a writer – I’m truly proud of this story- “Best Parts of Our Life.” It reflects the struggles of being a married woman with multiple children who works. The family dynamic is a hard one to master in writing – and I simply hope that I’ve done it justice.

You can show your support for me and the fantastic community that Screamin Mamas creates by purchasing a single magazine (New Year’s / Valentine’s Day Edition) or a subscription at the length of your choice. Check out the shop here! The singular edition is only $9.95. 

Your readership is always appreciated. As things in my life begin another round of a huge changes, I am glad to know that I will still have this blog. Writing is my greatest passion in life and I can’t imagine who I would be without it. Thanks for always being here, reading my stuff and checking out my periodic updates.

You are amazing ❤

Yours,

ab