The blog of D Kai Wilson-Viola

Author, advocate, designer, mental health advocate and parent. 

Happiness isn’t earned, but then again, it is… #MondayBlogs

Happiness isn’t earned, but then again, it is… #MondayBlogs

It’s been a weird week at Casa Wilson-Viola. It started on Monday morning, waking up with THE worst cold, and wanting to get so much done, and then….getting a call about my blood tests from the Friday before. Turns out I’m incredibly anemic again, so I was right about that. And while that wasn’t a surprise, what came next kinda did.

I don’t know enough about anemia to actually talk about it properly, I just know what I know. And what I think might be going on, but I’m still waiting for some outstanding blood tests. That was why what came next was a bit…’what?’.
So. I’m not just one type of anemic, I’m two. It could be that I’m actually only one, but I’ve got one version that’s different from the last time, that causes the second one, or if I’m actually two. So. Monday was the ‘omg, your iron count is really low’ anemia conversation. The last time I had it, I was two points lower than I am now, and went for infusions in January 2022. So, tests were arranged for once I shifted my cold, and that was that.
Tuesday though, I got a text asking me to pick up some supplements from my pharmacy. I didn’t really get to talk to the doctor this time, but when I read ‘B12 and folate deficiency’, I started researching. Mostly because I wanted to work out what was ‘different’ this time, and whether it also explained the reason I asked (turns out, it doesn’t). I’ll talk about that a bit later, cause this week has been a bit of a pivot for me, without actually changing the general plans I had.
You can be one type of anemic without the other, but this time I’m both. I’m unsure where that leaves me, and won’t know till I talk to my doctor about the tests and what my next steps are. For now, though, I wanted to share the after…

This week has been a perspective change…

I was talking to a friend about the things I was changing to get ‘better’, which added time to my day that I’d been clearing down for writing, but she raised something that led me to the idea that I wanted to share.

I’d been talking about how it kinda made sense that my motivation wasn’t there, why I was foggy and tired all the time, and I said that before, I’d have laid down and postponed stuff. Given in for now. But, the last week was basically ‘ok, so what do I do?’.
Part of it is deciding that happiness is something I work for. Another part is that giving in…it’s not something I want to keep doing, and honestly? I can stay in bed and write.
So, that’s where happiness is and isn’t something we earn comes from with me. Happiness is something you can work towards, by achieving goals, and it’s the type I’m cussed on right now I guess, but you can also stumble into it too.

Especially if your balance is anything like mine right now.

This week is a big one for me – I’ve got books to announce, projects to signpost and more, so don’t be surprised if there’s more posts than usual appearing, and if you’ve got questions about the dietary stuff, hold them? I’m writing that up next 😉

Broken, busted, depressed #mondayblogs – Losing hope, briefly

Broken, busted, depressed #mondayblogs – Losing hope, briefly

I’m in a bit of an odd, vulnerable place right not.
And it’s been going on for about three months. Because I literally started writing this post in June of this year. And stopped.

Everything.

Broken, busted…

I don’t know how to put into words how hard the last few months have been, if I’m honest. It’s been a rollercoaster of trying to work out what to do and how to do it, and if I’m entirely honest, it’s been painful and unpleasant and just not fun.
A lot of it too has to do with stuff not really in my control. I am disabled and care for someone disabled, and the last few years have seen that ‘commitment’ as it were, rise and rise. The more time I put into getting better, it seems the more time I need.

In June, things really started to slip. I wasn’t in a fully regular routine and with summer just around the corner, all my grand plans for getting help and getting stuff done(TM) were shattered when various things happened.
Fast forward three months, last week, and everything just… collapsed in a spectacular fashion.

There is a light at the end of that tunnel

This week, we’ve had a house full of sick people – my beloved caught Covid (he dodged it, somehow when we had it, but we think we picked it up at Alton Towers as a few days after our day there, he was so ill that, completely unlike him, he took to bed for most of the day from Saturday till this morning. He’s much better now, to my intense relief), and we’re slowly sliding back into a routine of sorts. But on Tuesday, after he’d thought about stuff I’d been saying I guess, he told me that he wants me to just focus on writing for a bit. To stop trying to fight against ‘the tide’ because though I was trying something big and bold, the public encouragement was there, but in private, more people wanted ‘a free slot if everyone else was paying’ than the people actually choosing to engage with the plans themselves. Months of work on designing a coaching project aside, the discouragement I felt – and if I’m honest still feel – became so palpable, that I … I spiraled completely.

My beloved to the rescue…!

Tuesday night, I’d had a rough day (plague house, shingles break out for me, cold-sores starting, the works), and I went up to bed and I said to him ‘I can’t do it’ and he said ‘k. Tell me what’s in your way?’ And I told him. About how people want to do it but don’t seem to be signing up, about how it feels like the wrong time to be asking people to commit to coaching in this environment, how most of all, it’s not easy to teach people mindfulness, abundance and accountability when I’m not a reflection of it myself. He went very quiet and said.

“I think it’s because you’re not writing. How about you stop and do that for a bit.”
I told him that the business wouldn’t survive if I didn’t get this to work, and he said “We’ll make it work. Trust me.”
And that was it.

I’m not saying it’s not going to be painful, but, he’s right. I wished for a way to afford to write again, and it’s not the one I’d have chosen, but I am grateful that he’s willing to back me until I’ve got that bit of my life square again.

It’s still taken a couple of days to write this. I’m still dealing with a shame spiral I CANNOT fathom, because I feel like, once again, I’m letting people down. But at the same time, I’m actually willing to look at my laptop again. I’m sad because I won’t get to earn my Remarkable the way I wanted to, but…I don’t need one to write.
There’s a lightness of heart to go with the ‘oh, I don’t like this’ failure feeling.

So….yeah…that’s been my last three months. What about you guys?

(actually, one notable exception. Ludosport. I’ll talk about that next blog post).

Made of stone, heart of glass #Mondayblogs

Made of stone, heart of glass #Mondayblogs

21 years ago today, I was in intensive care. Concious, and actually, in good shape, just waiting for a transfusion. My daughter – who is also 21 today – had been delivered an hour or two before – and they’d nicked her placenta, and that created quite a serious bleed for me. I apparently lost over a litre of blood.
Probably a good thing I was distracted with the baby girl I’d just had, huh?

21 years on though, I have a beautiful daughter, an amazing son, a good life. A great one in fact. But I still struggling sometimes. and lately, it’s been one of those periods of painful growth.

I’ve got a heart of glass

It’s often said in fact, I’m ‘soft’. I’ll give in easily when people ask me for things, though it’s very much a CPTSD/people pleasing thing. It is in fact why they’ve asked me to write a book about it. People pleasing is a major problem with people with most mental health issues, IMO, but I guess one of the issues I have with people pleasing is when you don’t keep doing it, others turn you into the bully, the villain. In my experience, instead of being thanked for supporting people as far as I have, I’m the ‘bad guy’ because they feel they can’t do what they want to do, but don’t want to acknowledge that they’re getting the help.
And after a while, it leaves you feeling like saying no will leave you with a heart in shards, when they get upset about it and ‘fight back’.

The thing is, I’ve also got a really thick skin too – for criticism at least of my professional work. It’s an odd thing to think about, I guess, but it’s important to bear in mind that people like me – that work with other creatives, and support them as best they can – that give to the community – when they’re criticized for not continuing to do so because their boundaries are really difficult to work with and ensure that things are…stable, safe. And when referring to safe with boundaries, it’s something really important. Because honestly? We don’t handle boundaries well when we people please. And for me at least, it means my heart ‘breaks’ but bounces back of my thick skin, so the only person that really gets hurt…in my experience anyway…is me.

And that’s completely at odds with my ‘gratitude attitude’ (I’ll explain why I hate that one later) and trying to be happy and settled and….good.
I wonder if anyone has any thoughts (kind ones please, I’ve got enough wounds right now, mostly self-inflicted.
Right now, it’s holding course, it’s remembering that this is hard to deal with, that it’s NOT ME if I really need to fix my boundaries.

New stuff…a new design, backlist announcements and more! #mondayblogs

New stuff…a new design, backlist announcements and more! #mondayblogs

Firstly, I’ve redesigned my blog. I’d love to hear what people think of it, and if you’d like to see anything.
I’ll be connecting up more of my blogs as time goes on, but for the time being, and I’d love it if you sign up to my newsletter.

I’m also delighted to announce that on Friday, I’ll be relaunching Glass Block!

When Big Brother fell out of popularity in the early part of the 21st century it was replaced with ever more ‘realistic’ reality TV shows, till the need for this was replaced with a need for fantasy. In an attempt to resurrect the old format some die-hard fans filmed themselves locked in with a recently released murderer. The person to get out got the money from the stream sales at the end. Needless to say, they were slaughtered.

Word of this spread on the internet and a ‘sanctioned’ version by the UCPS (United Coalition of Prison Services) was established. Brought in from Darkness, one of the cities providing most of the prisoners, most of which he’d been responsible for collaring, Elliot Peters is forced into a nightmare world where the walls are made of glass and people vote as to whether you survive.

Glass BLock by D Kai Wilson-Viola

Glass Block is the start of a series of sci-fi books. Check back on Friday and I’ll share the link!

And coming up next….

There’s more on the horizon for me, but for now, I’m really happy with my site and my book!
How’s everyone else doing?

L is for Ludosport (where I am tonight!) #atozchallenge

L is for Ludosport (where I am tonight!) #atozchallenge

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Blogging From AtoZ 2022

So, the first thing I really should say is that Thursday, ten months a year, is training evening, when we all go see our friends and train. I’ll also be talking about Se.Cu.Ri, which is a core principle of Ludosport, and matches a lot of my outlooks in life. Se.Cu.Ri is Servizio, Cura, Rispetto, or, put another way, Service, Care, Respect. Which leads me to the second point I love about Ludosport. We learn a LOT of it in Italian. That’s not to say you need to speak Italian to join in, but the terms are a solid part of the sport, and quite honestly, I think that adds to the charm.

How I got started

Tempus, my beloved, started telling me about Ludosport, and I’ll be honest, I was a tiny bit sceptical. But I started looking into it, and the more I looked, the more awesome it looked. I’ve been out of martial training (judo, karate, kickboxing and on), for a while now, so I had only really been walking and, quite honestly, dreading restarting couch to 5k, because I need to do something. I’ve got my Bodyfit plan to try (it’s dancing, which will be interesting) but, I wanted something else.
We went for our trial session just before my birthday. I went in a bit …a lot scared, but came away desperate to start. Tempus and I had to wait a few weeks, but bar missing the odd week (COVID, training elsewhere), we’ve also started duelling fortnightly too more locally.

Where I am now

Where I am now is December, to now, I’ve learned a tonne. We’ve learned the first set of moves, and we’re into the second set, and to connect them up. I understand, but personally don’t enjoy the competitive side of it as much, but that’s because of issues I have with my own mental health. It’s important to be clear that a lot of that is about my mental health, and I’ll be touching on that later in the month, when I officially announce Run Girl, Run. But where I am now is completely adoring what we do. We’ve been out to meet and greet and promote to the public at the Bristol Light Festival, and I’m currently with the Bristol Academy, so if you’d like to like and follow them, please do. I’ll pop up on there occasionally no doubt, but it really is all about some seriously amazing athletes who are so caring, engaged and giving.

It’s not just about exercise for me (though, seriously, anything that stops me from needing to go do Couch to 5k when I’m scared to leave the house again is a winner for me, even if it challenges my mental health too), it also engages my brain. Thinking about both the dual languages that we work in, and tactics and everything else – it’s exercise for my body and brain. And I’ve got to be honest, I think that’s why I love it. I have to work at it on so many levels, engage on so many levels, challenge myself on so many levels.

The image that’s my featured image is my hilt, Drengr, but I borrow Tempus’ Carpe Lucem to train too.
But…it isn’t just about me. There’s a beautiful community around Ludosport. Our Academy is currently fundraising to send our trainers abroad for their training. And I’ll be donating. I hope others might consider it.

I’m linking to a video I was part of …six weeks into training for an interview. For someone that works with production companies, I’m stupidly nervous on camera, but I don’t think you can really tell…much.

You can watch the interview here.

There is a little more to this – including a book, which I’ll be talking about at R. 🙂
Do you have a hobby you love? Exercise in a different way?

G is for Gaming (and geekery)

G is for Gaming (and geekery)

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Blogging From AtoZ 2022

As is probably clear, I’m quite the geek. I’ll be talking about how more hobbies cross into geekery in the real world, but I’m a HUGE gaming fan. I’ve spent all of my life, since I was a young child, enjoying fantasy novels and I’ve gamed since I was about 9. From Heroquest, to D&D, I was a huge gamer until I had my children. After I left their father, I joined another gaming club and as I’ve talked about, a bit in ‘A Nanowrimo love story‘, I’m marrying a gamer and we met at a convention.

I thought for this post though, I’d share some of my favourite games, and aa few secrets about stories I’m writing right now. I’ll also share where I’m visiting today on the list for AtoZ (because I published this a bit later than I meant to. (G&H are shared for the visits, so I’ll do five on each, but from here on in, I’ll be doing around ten a day with luck. I hope to visit everyone though!). I’m also going to talk about why gaming seems to be considered a bit of a ‘duality’ even now for those of us that play.

My favourite games…

I gotta be honest, I love all games. I’ve already talked computer for Elden Ring, though I also play others. I’ve got a few games on my phone too, including Hearthstone, and we’re all currently playing our way through Elden Ring bar Artenapan. I’ve got a soft spot for simulation and worldbuilding games too, so I play a lot of things like Kingdoms and Castles, Suviving Mars, Terraforming Mars and the Tropico series, to name a few.

Boardgames and tabletop games feature heavily in my favorite things to do and play too though. Pre-pandemic (which is now over two years ago) we’d started playing Gloomhaven, and we’re hoping to pick that up again soon, but we’ve also got plans to join other people’s games and we’ve spent the last couple of date nights playing Terraforming Mars (the boardgame as well as the computer game), and Wingspan (ditto) and we’re looking forward to having a good explore at the UK Games Expo, later in the year.

And the secret?

I guess the biggest ‘secret’ is one of my main story series’ comes from a character and background I wrote for a game. We stopped less than six months into her story arc, it seemed like a waste, so Shula got set lose on the world. Or, will be. I mentioned her in B for books, but we’re in the process of setting everything up so we can run preorders and more. And on Monday, mine and other indie books (up to 60, the thread was really popular!) should feature in I for Indies 🙂 But Shula and some other characters are either people I’ve played in games or my partner (who is my self-confessed “bad idea bear” ala Avenue Q) has given me. Which is always fun. What I do know is Gaming is another storytelling outlet that I really miss, and I’ll be glad to get back to it fully 🙂



Today I’m visiting Life of a Woman, Inner workings of an Insane Mind, FictionPies, Uniquely Maladjusted (who I noticed is a Nanowrimo participant, just like me!) and will swing by more later today too!