As 2016 comes to a close…

Well, here it is, the end of another year. For the past three years, I have chosen words to focus on in an attempt to expand my spirit and grow. In 2014, I chose Acceptance. In 2015, my choice was Gratitude. I had great success with both of those words. My spirit grew and I overcame a lot of adversary.

For 2016, I chose Abundance. I thought, how can I go wrong with something so beautiful? Well, the Universe has a way of laughing in my face sometimes. Oh, you want abundance? Are you sure? Fine, you asked for it! And boy did I ever get it. I forgot about an important rule – be careful what you ask for, especially if you aren’t specific enough.

The year began okay. I set goals for writing projects and didn’t really foresee problems completing them. But then I took on too many side projects because well, the Universe directed people to me who wanted to push my writing skills into other directions and I accepted this because that’s what I said I would do. Then I allowed myself to get bogged down in other people’s issues, figuring that the Universe had brought these things to me in an abundant way so that I could act as a guide or peace keeper. Boy was I wrong! These people didn’t want my help, they just wanted attention. In the end, I became anxious, panicky, and depressed. The depression grew, abundantly. I became ill over and over again, abundantly. I nearly lost my mind and was hospitalized. What suffered the most? My writing projects, in great abundance. From June until late September, I withdrew from the world. I wanted nothing more to do with Abundance. And even when I made a come-back in October, I’ve still struggled with my health, mental health, and some residual abundant effects.

So what’s my take-away from a year of Abundance? It can be both beautiful and brutal. Sometimes less really is more. I am now perfectly content with as little of everything as possible.

I actually thought about not bothering with a word for this year. I had two great successes and one huge failure. I thought, do I really want to put myself through this again? I finally decided that I would go for it one more year.

So, my word for 2017 is ENGAGE. You are probably wondering why I’ve chosen such a word. Well, for the last couple of years, I’ve had long periods where I have disengaged from the world, cut myself off from people, and not interacted with others like I should. I also support a few important causes which may be under jeopardy in the next four years, and I want to become engaged in those as well. And so, as I move forward into the uncertainty of 2017, it is my desire to engage once more with the outside world, with friends at home and on the internet, to interact with writers and artists, and throw my support behind causes that are important to me. As an introvert, I am pushing myself way out of my comfort zone. May the Universe have mercy on all of us *laughs*

 

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My Daily Tarot – Four of Wands

I’ve decided to get back into practice with a daily tarot reading. Something I haven’t done in nearly two years.

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12/11/16 – Four of Wands

You have achieved a satisfying goal. Take time to celebrate this. Be proud of what you have done. Be aware of dissatisfaction. This is not the time to be critical of your accomplishments. 

Well, that definitely hits close to home. I’ve been scheduling some of my posts for this upcoming week here on ATFWHI and I recall in one of them being proud for (nearly) finishing Seeing You (1 part left to go – scheduled for later today) and yet being frustrated that I hadn’t achieved every goal I’d set for myself this past year. I won’t go and change the post, but I will take a moment to have pride in my accomplishment.

I’ve said before (somewhere) that I won’t look at the lost opportunities from this past year as failures. Despite the illnesses and the depression, I still accomplished quite a bit this year – 29 Horror Tales, 26 Science Fiction stories (and one of them has turned into a serial collaboration with Keith Channing), and two novellas (over 50k words each) –  The Stacked Deck and Seeing You. I’ve also written some flash fiction, short fiction, drabbles (100 word stories) and poetry this year. So I can in no way say that this has been an unproductive year. I do have a lot to be proud of and I need to be celebrating!


In case you are curious, I am using the Gilded Tarot. You can find it here.

The Daily Me (Journal) Whose Sake? – 11/30/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

Someone that you are keeping in your life for their sake, not yours.

I can honestly say that I have given up everyone I kept for a long time for their sake and/or my own. I held on to these people believing that they would change, or I could save them or they would eventually enrich my life in some way. And then I realized, I am not doing this to help my life in anyway, I was doing it for them. I didn’t want them to suffer even though they made my life miserable. I didn’t want them to feel pain by my choice to move on. I fretted and worried. Did they fret or worry over me? Hardly. With each of them, I thought, I’ve known this person for so long, why throw away a friendship because of a, b, or c? I was only giving them more ammunition to ignore me unless it suited them, change their minds about visiting, or selfishly expect me to drop whatever I was doing to be with them whenever they chose. I was not living my life. I was always waiting on/for them.

I let one go in August of 2015. It was a difficult decision because he had been a major part of my life since my early 20s. The next one I let go in December of 2015. She’d moved away, gone on with her life, but I felt the need to keep emailing her twice a year to show her I still cared. I would receive maybe a couple words from her a year. Who’s sake was I holding on for? I had to let her go. And the last was in May of 2016. I’d tried to let her go the year before, but decided to give her one last chance. By May, it was apparent that she’d fallen back into the same ole pattern that had made me let her go the previous year.

These were difficult choices. It now means that I am down to two semi-local friends (they both live a good distance away, one 45 mins, the other 2 hrs – and I have no car). I have no social life, stay at home 90% of the time, and only get to talk to my friends on the phone or via email. I do have many online friends, but somehow it isn’t the same as having someone to share things with on a person to person level. Still, it is better than wasting away waiting on so-called friends to find the time to be with me. I’d rather be alone.

The Daily Me (Journal) Better Life – 11/27/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

Someone whose life is better because they knew you? Why?

I’ve only had one person in all of my 50 years tell me that their life is better because they knew me. And as ironic as it may be, that one person is my estranged husband. Yes, the narcissist who left my life in a shambles after 13 years of marriage and for whom I’ve had to work hard, mentally and emotionally, to re-build any sense of a relationship with him.

He’s told me this many times over the years and most of the time, I didn’t believe he was sincere. How could I have made his life better when he made mine so miserable? After long Ho’oponopono meditations, I was able to forgive myself and him for our failed marriage and something wonderful happened. The estranged one actually admitted fault too. I was flabbergasted because Narcissists don’t usually admit fault. Had I mislabeled him? I don’t really think so, at least not entirely. He has a lot of Narc traits, but maybe he still has a soul too.

Anyway, to get back on point. I believe him now when he says I bettered his life. When we met, he wasn’t very spiritual. He’d grown up in an ultra-religious christian family and rebelled in his mid-twenties. He’d become so critical of anything spiritual, even outside of Christianity. He was bitter, cynical, and angry. Over the course of the 15 years I have known him, his attitude has changed. I knew he would never accept any religion or spiritual path that was dogmatic. So I introduced him to Taoism. He took it right away and now considers himself a Taoist. He is, though, still working through his anger issues.

Another way he says I helped to better him was through nutrition. He used to consume tons of Mountain Dew and complained about his kidneys all the time, not making the connection between the two on his own. I weened him off of sodas and got him to drink green tea, cranberry juice, and flavored waters. He still drinks these even though we have separated. As for food, he consumed way too much junk food and complained about his increasing waist line. He now eats more vegetables and has gone almost completely vegetarian from my advice.

And the final way he says I have helped to better himself? By allowing him to be his authentic self. With the exception of trying to get him to stop drinking so much, I never tried to change his ways. He is highly artistic and enjoys creating music. I encouraged him to do those things after other partners had discouraged him. After our separation, the estranged one came to a realization about himself – he is actually a woman. He was afraid to tell me because he knew how he had always treated me about sex and said derogatory things to me about being a woman. He says that it was due to self-hate, knowing he was female but being stuck in a male body and so he lashed out at me. When he told me, I wasn’t at all surprised. I’d seen hints of it in him. I accepted this of him and have encouraged him to pursue a course toward becoming who he is meant to be. We still use the male gender identifier (his decision) because he still has to live as a male until he can afford the hormone treatments and surgery. I do now call him Madison instead of Matt though.

I know I’ve only had a handful of friends over my lifetime, but I still find it strange that none of them, besides the estranged one, has ever told me that I had bettered their lives. I’ve always tried to be open and compassionate with people, not tried to change them, and allowed them to come and go in my life unhindered. I wonder if I’ve made any impact on them and they just don’t know how to tell me (or feel they don’t need to do so). I think from time to time, people need to hear the words – My life is better because you are/were in it.

#WeekendCoffeeShare – 11/26/16

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the last time I shared coffee with you, it was back in May. I was sick then and I am sick now, but this was also before The Big Crash. The Big Crash, as I’ve been calling it, happened in June. I’d been growing increasingly depressed for whatever reason (I still don’t know why) and kept trying to ignore it. By June 2nd, there was no way possible to ignore it any longer. I’d begun having thoughts of cutting and burning, and yes, even suicide. Just thoughts, no actions. Those dark voices were also back. I knew I needed help and I needed it fast, so I checked into a psych hospital for a while. I also got medicated again, which lasted five months. Yes, I’ve stopped taking the medicine, ignoring appointments to see the psych doc and therapist. They would be furious with me, but I cannot write while medicated and writing is what I do.

If we were having coffee, I would invite you into my sitting room, which is just a sectioned off area of my bedroom. There are two comfy chairs, shelves of books and a gas heater. It is warm and cozy, perfect for a chilly day like today. We’d have some choco-coffee (a mixture of coffee and hot chocolate) and cinnamon rolls with gooey icing. I made them for Thanksgiving and they still taste wonderful. Come, sit and share with me.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about all the plans that got foiled this year. I wasted five months of writing projects. I’d had projects lined up from June through October, some fun ones too, but depression got in the way. I won’t call them failures, just wasted opportunities. I’ve shelved them until next year. I’ve learned that I can over-extend myself. I hadn’t scheduled in time-off. Something I will rectify next year.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that since making a come-back in late October, I have been working on a novella for NaNoWriMo. It is titled, Seeing You, a paranormal mystery involving a witch and the FBI. I became sick two days into writing it and have been sick one way or another ever since. First it was the tummy flu that lasted almost a week. Now it is a serious cold, possibly flu that turned into bronchitis. I am still plodding along on it, even though I am a day behind and have been almost the entire month. I am not stressing though. If I hit the 50k mark on the 30th, so be it. If not, I will still finish the 50k words into December.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how lovely Thanksgiving was this year. My brother did most of the cooking, as usual. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing and macaroni & cheese. Dessert consisted of homemade cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pie and apple crumble pie. With all of those carbs, I am going to have to do a serious cleansing diet in January because I know Christmas will be a near rinse and repeat. My niece showed up with her two daughters. It was lovely to spend a little time with them, even though I was sick. I adore Stormy, my niece, and her daughters, Skylar and Autumn. If I could afford it, I would spoil all three of them constantly.

And finally, if we were having coffee, I would invite you to tell me about your week. Did anything fun happen? Anything not so fun? Or just randomly okay? Regardless, I’d love to hear all about it. Share with me in comments.


This delightful coffee share is brought to you by Part-Time Monster and friends.

 

 

The Daily Me (Journal) Memories – 11/26/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

Your favorite childhood memory.

I’ve explored this before on my blog, but I will do it again. All of my favorite childhood memories involve my paternal grandmother and my two aunts, Jo and Betty, who lived with her. For many years in my early teens, I spent a month every summer with them. At home, I was mostly ignored, but with grandma, I felt wanted and special. She taught me how to tend a garden, how to can food, and how to be one with nature. She was an amazing steward for the Earth.

Since I was a quiet child, they’d often come looking for me and find me curled up in a corner somewhere with a book in my hands. Jo supplied the books. She had shelf after shelf filled with them. Betty provided the music we’d listen to. Usually Neil Diamond. Evenings were spent listening to a talk radio show on AM radio. Life was simple, filled with hard work, and peaceful evenings.

I always dreaded when the month was up and it was time to go home. Some summers, I’d be home a week and beg to go stay with my Aunt Jenny, my mom’s sister. That would only last a couple of weeks and I’d be home again. Back to being ignored. Then soon after, off to school again and being harassed.

The Daily Me (Journal) Loneliness – 11/25/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

How do you feel about loneliness?

By nature, I am a loner, and loneliness is usually a product of my own making. That’s not to say that I walk through my days in a state of perpetual loneliness. Indeed not, that would be an inaccurate depiction of my situation. In fact, I am rarely lonely.

I spend most of my time reading, writing and researching. All of these keep my mind occupied and leave very little room to be lonely. I also have three distinctive voices in my head most of the time – Catharine, Evelyn and Stefano – my muses and animus. They are constant companions unless I am medicated.

I’ve come to realize that it is not easy for others to be around someone who is a natural loner and introvert, and who is awkward around people like I am. I am sure that past friends and lovers have probably felt loneliness in my presence. One friend did express that to me once and it still pains me that I caused her loneliness. I can easily apologize for it, but unfortunately, I cannot change these aspects of myself without causing great harm to my psyche. For me, there is no faking it – trying to be “out there” and engaged with others on a large scale (small scale, maybe) – because doing so would cause me great suffering – mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Every now and again, loneliness will wash over me. Sometimes it is just a gentle whoosh around my toes as I am reminded of a long-lost friend or lover, but other times it is a huge wave that drags me under and carries me off to sea as I feel the emptiness and abandonment of the past. Years ago, either of these could have left me depressed, ranging from a few days to weeks and months. Now, I allow the lonely moments to come and go, acknowledging them, but not inviting them in for tea.