Possibility

I like my seasons- as I’ve mentioned here before on many an occasion.  Though temperature-wise my favorites are spring and autumn, I will always have a very special love of winter.

One of the reasons this is a special time of the year for me is possibility.  It has to do with the fact that our ambiguous holiday, New Year’s Day, opens this season.  It is the holiday of possibilities.  It encourages us to reflect, to progress, to be optimistic.  During a season when most people are at their saddest, this is a good thing.

Unlike those who have the condition known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder), I become happier during winter.  I feel alive and inspired.  Possibility is my friend.

For someone with an anxiety disorder, I need every moment of possibility I can get.  I need to feel positive, as if my momentum is going forward.  Winter gives me that push.  I can feel like everything will be okay.

Maybe this is why I take my vacations in winter typically.  Yes, it’s also because it can be cheaper.  However, I think I subconsciously knew it was always a good idea to have something to look forward to after the holiday season.  Reinvention.  Rejuvenation.  Things we need to keep going.

So, let’s take this possibility and use it!  Let’s roll it around in our head and hands, decide how we can utilize it.  More crafting?  Perhaps.  More writing?  Definitely!  More exercise?  Desperately.  More centering?  Essential.

I wish for everyone possibility this winter.  I hope it blesses you with your wildest dreams.

sillyideas

My motto for 2016

happy

Trying…

(images: pinterest.com)

Human

I know I look like numbers to you,

but I’m  not.

I’m flesh and blood,

a complex being with complex needs.

I need a paycheck,

that sheet of paper you provide every two weeks,

that strips from your coffers.

That hurts your bottom line.

I work hard for you.

I leave my children for ten hours a day to work for you.

I do soul-draining, mind-numbing data entry for you.

All I ask is for my loyalty to be returned.

All I ask is to be able to live and provide.

Provide for my family.

While you cut us back,

and line your pockets.

Owning it

I have an anxiety disorder.  I believe I’ve had it since I was born.  My mother has one.  My grandmother appears to have one.  I get it honest.

Mine is hampered by ADD and hyper sensitivity (I’m an HSP- hyper sensitive person in technical speak).  Other gifts from my father and mother, respectively.  They contribute and fuel this disease raging inside me.

Because it is a disease.  It’s a disease of the mind that attacks the spirit.  It takes over your rational brain, holding it captive under threat of death.  Essentially, your mind becomes a domestic terrorist.

anxiety3

(image: pinterest.com)

Yes, it’s a war.  Some days the battles are scarce, quick and bloodless.  Some days the battles rage from dawn to dusk.  There is gore.  There is tragedy.  Those are the days I fear the most.

anxiety1

(image: pinterest.com)

Those dreams where you trip and fall into nothingness…that’s a panic attack in the middle of the day, that hits you out of nowhere.  It can be something as simple as thinking about war or homelessness.  Traditional fears (abandonment, death, etc.) flood you like you are experiencing them firsthand.

On the outside, nothing could be wrong.  It could be a sunny day, with clear blue skies, a delightful breeze, birds chirping.  Maybe we’re at a picnic, enjoying the company of others, good food.  I might seem a little moody, but trying to stay in good spirits.  You might wonder, “what’s gotten into her?”.  You don’t really want to know the answer.

Because it’s not pretty.  It’s quicksand, a trap that your mind sets so it can slowly drag you under.  It’s dark, lonely, and extremely scary.  The worst part?  If you don’t have an anxiety disorder, it’s hard for you to understand what I go through.

anxiety2

(image: pinterest.com)

I’ve never felt invincible.  I’ve never felt carefree.  I struggle to exist in my mind every day.  I’ve lost my childhood joy- I very rarely experience the kind of happiness that gives you hope and purpose.  When I do, I hold on to it as long as I can.

It’s time I owned my illness.  I am an anxious person and I will not let it define me.  Who I am is an optimistic person who loves to help others, give compassion and support, and add a little beauty to the world with my words and creations.  I will not let the monster in my head take this away from me.

If we keep talking about this, if we acknowledge the struggle, maybe we’ll find a way to live with it.  One day….

anxiety4

(image: healthyplace.com)

 

Planning for 2016

Resolutions: I don’t usually make them.  Good intentions are nice, but commitments of this kind don’t usually work.  It’s better to have goals.

I really feel like having concrete goals this year.  I’ve had them before, but I’ve always known in my heart that they weren’t set in stone.  While I know I will fail, at a few of them at least, I still want something to work towards.

Having ADD, and being an adult with a lot of responsibilities, means that staying focused is extremely hard.  I need to change my habits.  I need to work on my energy levels (having 6 month old twins can be draining, especially when you work full time).  My dreams need to come back into my line of sight.

This said, here is what I’m planning, and my strategies for staying on task:

  1.  Planner

planner

(sugar paper from Target)

  • I’ve had planners in the past and they’ve worked to a point.  For the past few years I’ve only had a pocket calendar in my purse, so I could attempt to keep tracks of my obligations and events.  I went for a planner this year (the Sugar Paper one I’d been coveting last year).  My thought is this- have a pretty planner to carry around and jot my weekly/monthly goals in so I’ll be more likely to look at them.  I’m a magpie, so anything pretty catches my eye and I’ll want to play with it.

2.  Lists

  • I’m a list maker.  This is an ADD thing.  You learn to write post-it notes or have list tablets lying around so you don’t forget things (unless you forget your list, which also happens a lot).  This year I want to adhere to my lists.  I’ve fallen out of this habit with the twins’ arrival, but I need to respect my lists again.  Bow to the lists!

3.  Making my writing dream a reality

  • It’s time.  I’ve been sitting on this for awhile and I need to bite the bullet and do it.  Stop telling myself “one more edit”.  Stop setting up obstacles that I just need to knock down.
  • Format my novel and write a query letter
  • Submit my novel to publishers accepting unsolicited submissions
  • Look into self-publishing avenues in the event my novel is rejected

**I’ve decided not to go the traditional route at first because it’s too much work (does that sound lazy?).  Rejection paralyzes me, and at this point, it’s the last thing I need.

4.  Making money off my jewelry

  • I can’t stop buying jewelry findings, so I should try to sell my pieces
  • It takes investment, but at this moment the hardest thing to give is time- I need to make a point to take the time to make my designs

5.  Schedule my days better

  • On the above note, I always feel so harried because I don’t have enough time in the day to do what I a)need to do and b)want to do
  • I need to divide my days up into manageable chunks so it’s easier for me to plan my time (I used to do this a long time ago)
  • Know that this “schedule” will morph as life happens- things drop off and have to be rescheduled

6.  Savor Every Second

  • I’m already doing this, but my goal is to make this my way of life
  • I want to enjoy every second I have on this earth- every second I have with my family, every second I have to experience life and its marvels
  • To do this, I also need to do the following:

7.  Get back into regular exercise

  • Restart my yoga program- while I was pregnant, I got into yoga and learned that I really enjoyed it.  I always thought I was only good at cardio because I’m a high energy person, but what I didn’t realize was slowing down was good for me.
  • On that note…

8.  Learn how to relax

  • This may seem stupid to those of you who don’t have an anxiety disorder, but this is like surmounting Mt. Everest for me.
  • I need to invest in my spiritual teachings so that I can work on meditation and my general outlook
  • Need to look into a meditation app
  • Read more about Taoism and Buddhism

If I just look at this list, it seems daunting, but I also know I won’t stop thinking about these things.  So, I must attempt to work on them.  I’m not a quitter, though I am a procrastinator.

Additional note:

Must buy Scrivener!

scrivener

(image: eduhacker.net)

I love that this writing management program has a yin yang in its symbol.  I need this to organize my disheveled mind.

 

Onward into 2016!  I hope to make it a great year.  Coming off such a momentous one, I really need some normalcy.

2015 in Detail

I’ve been reading my favorite bloggers dissect their past year this week and it got me inspired to do the same.  I always look forward at New Years, which is a good thing, but sometimes I wonder if I need to digest what has already happened so I can go forth with more focus and clarity.

stonehenge

Stonehenge with my beautiful sister (Her: left, Me: right)

First, I started the year out with a well deserved anniversary trip.  Ten years before, my sister and I journeyed home.  It was the first time we left the country by ourselves.  We felt inspired and grown up.  Since then, I have been on many other trips, but they never had the same level of excitement as that first one.

To celebrate, we did London, with a few side trips.  As you can see from the photo above, Stonehenge was one of them.  We had never been, in the whole seven years of living in the UK, and in the other trips back to the country that I’ve taken, I never bothered to see one of the biggest tourist attractions.  It was a great trip- one of my top.

On to the reflection part:  I believe this was due in part to those ten years between our two trips.  We have matured a lot.  Our lives are completely different.  My relationship with my sister, which has always been tenuous (only 18 months apart in age, complete opposites in personality/disposition).  However, she has really been trying to getting along more.  I also believe we learned a lot about each other during that week.  I learned we are more similar than I thought.  She let go of a bit of her facade.  It was the perfect start to a momentous year.

twins2

My twin boys: Emmett & Oliver

The biggest thing to happen this year was the birth of our twin boys.  Having waited so long for a second child (my first is now sixteen), and coming to terms with it not happening, it was a shock- to say the least- when it did happen.  Add not one, but two babies to the mix, and it was an extremely joyous announcement.

Going from one, practically grown child to three, with two infants, was daunting.  However, I have more patience, more fortitude now.  I am an actualized person, with a defined identity.  I know my strengths and weaknesses.  I was more ready than I would ever be.

What did I discover with the birth of our two miracles?  That I can handle a lot more than I ever imagined.  Just like with my first, I say it’s easier than “they” say it is.  Everyone wants to scare you straight when big life changes happen.  I loved the “better you than me” line.  So supportive.

Well, it is better me, than them, because I’ve got this.  I’m magnificent, and this is one of the first times I’ve been able to say that.  Is every day a breeze?  Of course not.  I deal with each day as it comes.  I also know that it gets better, because I’ve done it before.

I also know that times flies, so it’s important to savor every second.  That’s what I’m doing.  I’m cataloging every coo, every smile.  I’m looking at them often, talking and singing to them, playing and generally being youthful.

What has it done for the rest of my family?  Well, I would say my husband and I are definitely closer.  He got to finally go through the experience of pregnancy and birth (he is my eldest’s stepfather).  He got to see what we are both capable of.  Though he’s not an altogether demonstrative person, I feel that our love is now deeper, richer, more multi-faceted.

And my sixteen year old?  He is loving finally having siblings.  It was harder on him than we anticipated (jealousy was an unexpected feeling- didn’t expect it from a teenager), but now he loves that he is a role model, and- will be- a hero.  He gets to help his brothers become people and I think he takes that responsibility seriously.

On the writing front, I didn’t get much done with everything going on.  On my way to finally finishing my last edit of my novel.  I’m ready.  I need this.  I need to get back to me after a year of concentrating on family.  But that I will pen that in another post.  Resolutions to come…Have a happy holiday everyone!

 

Inside

Ramblings by Elizabeth Smith

I want to escape,

inside,

my head.

Where everyone knows my name.

They say, “I feel you.”

I’m no longer a stranger.

Wearing a black wool coat can get hot.

I would prefer a concrete shield.

Sometimes I want it to make me invisible.

Sometimes I want to be seen, but not heard.

Sometimes I want to look down.

They nick my skin,

the words,

the sour faces.

Bitter fruit is all we seem to yield anymore.

I wanted to believe there was joy.

I wanted to believe I could get better,

Just let me go,

inside.

There, I am safe,

from me.

From you.

 

Neither World

You read it right- Neither World (not netherworld- close, but not quite).  This is an update on my recent post about being a Third Culture Kid.  I’m finally reading the book by the same name (David C. Pollack & Ruth E. Van Reken) and am already having revelations the first page in.

First, the book opens with an individual’s story.  This “Erika” is watching out the plane window as she is leaving Singapore, the place she has spent most of her life.  She’s on her way back to America, her home nation.  She says “How can it hurt this much to leave a country that isn’t even mine?”.

Truer words have never been spoken about my experience.  That’s it in a nutshell.  People who have never lived in another country (in particular when they are young and developing their identity) have no idea what it feels like to be linked so closely to someone else’s country.

While I always felt American, I never felt connected to America.  How could I when the only time I spent there was a year in San Francisco and two years in Maryland?  That was out of fifteen years of childhood.

I was around other American children, learning at base schools, so it gave an illusion of “typical American life”, but it was different in many ways.  I was inundated with another culture’s television programs, restaurants, shops, and landscape.  The way they spoke infused my own accent (I’ve never had a definitive regional dialect- we military brats always morph to fit wherever we are).

But did I feel like I was allowed to “own” these other countries?  Not entirely.  I have said many times here that I consider the UK home.  I spent most of my formative years there.  I have the best memories, made the best friends, felt the most kinship, and had the most soul-stirring connection with the place.  But I’m not allowed to claim it fully.

I envy British folk for being able to have a UK passport.  I envy them for being able to be surrounded by such a magical place day in and day out.  I’m sure others could say the same about me, living here in the U.S.

But I can’t even truly own my home.  My parents settled back in Maryland when I was in high school.  It was a turbulent first few years of despair and desperation.  I had been torn away from the only place I felt like home and put into a non-military school where not one other person understood what it felt like to be me.  I’m an alien here.

Though I have claimed it as home now, as an adult, I will never be a full resident.  It’s a part of the condition.  I will always be different- different to the point I get the most hilarious quizzical expressions when I speak my “foreignness”.  It makes me feel unique, special, but also very much alone.

So we Third Culture Kids live in Neither World.  We feel neither a part of our own birthright culture, nor do we feel entirely of the culture we identify with.  We are torn, pieces of us left in the places we’ve been forced to leave behind.

Equal parts exciting and sad, being a Third Culture Kid isn’t something I would change.  I’m just glad there’s a book that might help me deal with the continued alienation.

I want this key chain from Etsy.  It feels right…

home

(image: Home State Apparel https://www.etsy.com/listing/242275097/maryland-key-charm-by-home-state-apparel)

There’s also this lovely print featuring Harrogate highlights:

harrogate

(image: Mincella Designs-

https://www.etsy.com/listing/249977340/harrogate-place-names-print-unframed?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=harrogate&ref=sr_gallery_4)

 

 

Building a Mystery

I read a great article on the Darling Magazine website yesterday.  Here’s the link:

5 Ways to Cultivate Your Mystery

This was perfect for me because I’ve always wanted to be that woman with the elusive allure.  The one that you can’t quite crack.

Alas, I was born to be an open book.  What you see is what you get.  I not only wear my heart on my sleeve, but I always feel like I have to talk.  I reveal too much because I like to fill the silence.

I also have this foolish notion that if I overshare, people will like me more.  It’s a curse.

On the flip side, I have learned over the years to be more selective.  There are dark corners that are still very much hidden.  I pick and choose depending on the person because different people can handle different things.  It’s unfortunate that you can’t be yourself fully with everyone.

I also have my private world.  The one I escape to in my mind when I need to daydream, to muse, to creatively construct worlds and scenarios to feed my storyteller.  This, no one gets to see.  This, no one would completely understand.

So, I guess that’s my mystery.  If someone cares to wonder about it, I welcome their investigation.

A few pins to inspire:

mystery2mystery3mystery4mystery5

(all images: pinterest.com)