Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday Feels: December

I love these posts. Friday Feels is maybe my second favorite series here (after the Undaunted Interviews, of course), because I love that it's simple but honest, I love that it keeps my mental health focus while allowing me to share my life with my readers ... and on days like today, when I just learned that Eden will be having surgery number six in January ... these posts are set up to be easy to write.

Every time you go to or refresh this page, you'll be given a randomly generated emotion/feeling, and what I like to do for these posts is just refresh the page and take the first ten feelings I'm given. Then I spend a little time on each one, thinking through what's going on in my life that might provoke or connect to that feeling. Sometimes they're easy to do and I can come up with things that are easy to share ... other times I have things come up that I'd rather not share here, or I have a tough time coming up with something to match the emotion.

Either way - the exploration of what I'm feeling combined with the honest admission of why I'm feeling it helps to enrich my understanding of myself and my world ... and I like that in sharing my own story so honestly, I'm able to give clarity and comfort to others with similar experiences.

So let's see what comes up in December, shall we?


1. Absorbed:
For lack of what I feel would be a solid way to connect this particular term to my own emotional range, I'll take my awesome cousin's suggestion of sharing what I'm most absorbed in lately, which would probably be The Hunger Games. I know, I know, I'm late to the game ... but still.

I'm still reading through the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, but recently Eden read the first Hunger Games book, and she was desperately hungry to be allowed to read the second book. I asked her, "How would I feel about that?" and she said, "Well ... there was some holding hands and some kissing in the first one - but that was all, I promise! No sex stuff!"

"Do you think I would think we should have a talk about that book and what was in it?" I asked.

She shrugged, her shoulders stooping over in anticipated disappointment. "Probably."

"And do you think this is something I should pre-read?"

She frowned, but I had a moment of abject pride when she nodded. "Yeah, probably," she sighed.

So I read the first book - and I was hooked. I read the second, approved it (with talking conditions), and then moved on quickly to read the third. And seriously you guys. If you haven't read these and you love a great adventure that's inspiring and empowering and suspenseful and actually features a female character as the hero ... then go get the Hunger Games now. You can pick up the whole boxed set in paperback here, or go for the e-books here - it's just under $20 for the paperbacks and just over $20 for the e-books, and either way you won't be disappointed.


2. Disappointed:
I think this month, the thing I've been most disappointed in is my own inability to get into the "proper" Christmas spirit. I love Christmas - I love the giving spirit and the magic of the Elf on the Shelf, and I love that my kids still love Santa. I love the music (aside from the idiocy of people trying to take this song and make it about a damn date-rape), I love the sense of tradition ... I love it all.

But this has been a hard year for me, and a lot has changed - and sometimes the weight of it all is just too much to allow much of that Christmas joy to seep through. When I add my daughters suffering over being abandoned by their dad, the financial stress of trying to manage pretty much everything alone, my mother spending several days recently in the hospital, and the news that Eden will be having yet another unexpected surgery soon ... well, I'm just not feeling it. Which is a disappointment to me, because I miss being able to feel that excitement.

And the fact that I'm currently shoving myself through a period of PTSD-induced decompensation isn't helping.


3. Dreary:
Dreary. That's the decomposition for sure. It's the sense of complete and total boredom that makes everything unappealing. I'm not hungry enough to be excited about eating even my favorite foods, not able to enjoy the scent and spirit of a good cup of coffee. I did alright with reading though - that was one of the things this month that I was actually able to engage in. But the rest of it? I'm just ... meh.

Even colors don't seem all that bright lately. It's just all ... boring. PTSD sucks.


4. Fuming:
The holiday season has been rough on my kids, especially the youngest. Abandonment is hard to deal with at any age, but when you're an eight year old kid who already has issues with anxiety and depression and then you have someone you love completely disappear from your life (like for months at a time with no warning at all) ... it has an impact. She's recently asked me to make her an appointment with a therapist because she knows how much mine helps me ... and she seemed relieved to learn that there is medication for depression. It breaks my heart.

But it also really, REALLY, REALLY pisses me off. I mean seriously.



5. Helpless:
Motherhood is hard, guys. It's the biggest blessing of my life, and I'm proud of the way my kids are turning out. They're kind-hearted, sweet girls who go out of their way to defend and befriend the kids around them. They're helpful and generally eager to please, emotionally intelligent, generally honest and usually open. I love them with every fiber of my being and every cell of my spirit.

But it's hard; being a single mom is hard enough on its own, but both of my kids have a pile of health problems to manage, and they each have their own mental health troubles as well. Coaching them through life and being everything they need me to be ... sometimes I just feel like no matter how good I get at juggling, I'll always be dropping the ball somewhere.


6. Joyous:
On the other side of that helplessness and the range of negative emotions that color periods of decompensation, there are still moments of joy that tear their way through the numbness that defines the majority of my days when I'm struggling. Moments like the one right after Eden's surgeon dropped the round-four surgical bomb on me, and while I struggled to maintain an appropriately calm tone and demeanor for Eden's sake, Josephine saw through the act pretty quickly; she stepped into her big sister role like a champ, pulled Eden into a conversation that distracted her, and made me a proud mommy. Moments like that are my favorites, because when I'm feeling like just about everything I do backfires in my face, my kids turning out the way they are reminds me that something's going right with them. And since I'm the major influence over who they are, it stands to reason that I have had at least a little bit to do with that. I fail a lot, and I have my own set of quirks for sure - but these kids are, without a doubt, a job very well done.


7. Optimistic:
The one good thing about periods of decompensation combined with my own penchant for honest introspection is that, when I'm sitting around feeling sorry for myself and thinking that I'm on my knees in the rock bottom of my life, I can remind myself that if I'm right and this is rock bottom, then there's nowhere left to go but up. It's going to better because it must. Because if what goes up must come down, then the opposite is also true, and what goes down must also come back up.

And if all there is in front of me is growth and increasing success in the various areas of my life where I'm totally busting my own ass every single day ... then that's the very height of optimism, isn't it?


8. Passionate:
When I'm struggling, music is a passion for me - the beat drives me and feeds the places in my soul that are hungry, and the lyrics give me words I didn't even know I needed, support where it's otherwise hard to find, and the fuel I need to keep going when I'm burned out. And when that doesn't work, there's always writing. There's this blog, where I can come and share a story with a reader who might relate, share a life lesson with someone who needed those words right in that moment, or ask a question hundreds or thousands of people might take the time to help me answer. There's Patreon, where I can sink myself into producing poetry that allows me to express the depth of what I'm feeling in a way that's pretty and appealing - no matter how ugly and unappealing my feelings might be in the moment. Patreon, where I'm writing eight books one chapter at a time - both because it's thrilling to know someone will read along as I go, and because the knowledge that someone is waiting is probably what keeps me hopeful enough to be inspired to do it.

When even that fails ... there are two little girls, one with solemn, slightly mismatched green eyes, the other with curious orbs of palest blue, each her own version of dark-haired innocent beauty. And every morning when they wake up full of life and oozing sass, their energy breathes life and purpose into me - and that is passion enough to keep going.


9. Scared:
January is terrifying to me at the moment. Christmas is coming, and after that 2018 opens with a bang. I'm doing "Bloguary" again this year - blogging every day in January (except Sundays), and while I'm super excited about some things that have developed and some posts that have been planned, I'm also a little intimidated by the rigorous writing schedule required in order to make it all happen - especially with the beginning of the month dedicated to the girls being out of school for winter break and the end of it dominated by pre-op appointments and surgical preparations. I'm excited enough to at least attempt it anyway because I want to ... but I'm also definitely concerned about the very real possibility that I will fail to get it all done as intended.

And that's without going into my fears and concerns regarding the fact that in just over a month, I'll be giving my baby away to her surgeon again, trusting that in the end, he will be able to give her back to me.


10. Skeptical:
I've been looking back on this last year with a mixture of admiration for myself and an abject feeling of defeat. Under the surface, I made major strides toward the advancement of my family - I kept going the therapy, I found myself a doctor (after nearly ten years of not bothering with one), I made motions toward changing and growing and bettering the situation my family is currently in. I hired an assistant to help me promote my writing. I wrote like a fiend. I grew my blog. I made new friends. I learned to set emotional boundaries. And I accomplished a load of quarterly goals.

But I still have a lot of progress to make, a lot of growth to accomplish, and a lot of learning to do. I have ambitious goals for 2018, beginning with the previously mentioned "Bloguary," and hopefully ending with my life and my family on the road to success.

That requires SO MUCH to fall into place in order to work though. And while I am hopeful - and yes, even optimistic - I am also incredibly skeptical. I don't generally have the best of luck, and I have very little faith that it's going to miraculously turn around in 12 months.

Then again ... It might. Right?


Which of these ten feelings have you been dealing with most lately, and what has inspired that feeling in your life? I'd love for you to share your own Friday Feels in the comments - and it would also be awesome if you take a second to share this post with your friends!

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