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 😉

Working hard, playing less #Mondayblogs

Working hard, playing less #Mondayblogs

Things have dramatically changed for me here in the last four weeks. As a bit of a recap, I thought I’d share why.
In June, I decided that I didn’t want to keep going the way I was, and, as people kept asking, I was going to launch a coaching project. And while there had been a lot of interest in private, in public, people were just…less engaged I guess. And that’s ok – with everything going on in the world, it might not just be the right time for it, but it left me feeling less than stellar, if I am honest.

Tempus and I have been talking for a while now and one of the things I had observed is it’s hard for me to care full time for myself, my daughter and the house and run my business, let alone write, which I’d barely had any time for. Tempus, who is my beloved other half came down with Covid a couple of weeks ago, and as he recovered, one of the things he said to me was that I could consider just stopping for a bit… he’d support my writing.

I run businesses, but I do it to write…

Ultimately, while I run a hosting, coding and formatting service, and planned to teach coaching classes, but I do it all – all of it – in aid of my family, and books. I’ve always thought of myself as an author, though I am really quite good at other stuff, apparently. And I’m very lucky – I get to do a lot of fun stuff. But…

The honest truth of all of this is as my daughter has grown older, although she manages college, there are other things, like me, that she finds very stressful, and unfortunately, as an adult, she is encountering them more and more. I’ve often got to support her, which is absolutely ok, but it has meant that I’ve got less time to do other stuff, and, as I have mental health issues too, something had to give. And it did. Luckily, the ‘give’ was a choice, rather than what I know other people often face, so now, I just…change direction.
It’s not as easy as it sounds, and over the coming weeks, I’ll be explaining why.

At the end of the day, I’m lucky

While this isn’t how some people experience this kind of push, I am effectively now a part time looking after the house, and part time writing. Which is both exciting and scary. And I thought I’d be talking to you guys about it as we go, because, quite honestly, I think some of the advice will be useful – I hope – to other people.
The next few weeks and months are going to be incredibly exciting for me – and I hope, for you guys following along. It does mean I get less time to play with code and other stuff, but honestly? I’ll happily trade that off, for now, to get to support my daughter, look after our house, and best of all, write.
That adventure starts fully on October 1st, though I’ve been doing prep all month for it, around CV19, and other illnesses. ANd I’ve got some interesting stuff to show off, already. That’s coming up on Thursday 😉

The Covidcoaster – a week of ill #Mondayblogs #rungirlrun #kaiatus #Bloggingfromatoz

The Covidcoaster – a week of ill #Mondayblogs #rungirlrun #kaiatus #Bloggingfromatoz

Last Monday, I posted about how myself and my youngest tested positive for CV19. Monday/Tuesday, I started getting really sick. Monday, I’d been quite cheerful – after all, Artenapan, my daughter, had had three days of a cough and little else. That’s not how it played out for me (spoiler, it’s REALLY not how it played out for me).
The net result of last week was a week spent either in bed, sleeping, in a cool bath, or generally feeling like I was being slowly boiling alive. I mean it’s been great for story ideas (that make zero sense now that I’m thinking through them, but they worked when I was awake at three in the morning, staring at the roof), but it’s also been less than brilliant looking at what I’ve wanted to do over the last few months.

And heading towards #Kaiatus too…

The plan was that by this time now, we’d have several books out, I’d be tending towards various more announcements, but the truth is, I’ve struggled, a lot. I don’t have excuses, it’s just how it’s been the last few…it’s just how it is.
I’m planning on changing that as we move forward, but I’ve decided to go with the flow. We were going to offer a bundle for the rest of the year with various books, but I’ve got to be honest, I’m not sure I want to promise that. I’d like to say we’re doing something to move forward, but…I can’t say what we’re doing till we do it.
I’m working on my pages, I’m working on projects, I’m working on my happiness. I’m working on my writing. I’m working on myself mostly. But I’ll be moving forward as I can. We’ve got so much back end work to do but it’ll be ok once we get there. But I can’t say when it’ll be. I’m just pulling myself up for now and hoping that we’ll eventually just make everything click. 🙂
And then there’s Camp Nanowrimo too!

On the 1st, I’ll be starting the A to Z, and I’m hoping that I keep improving, but I’ve been so tired and sore and it’s just…. hard to think about what I’m doing moving forward, until I’m moving. But the thing is, I am moving. So, we’ll see.
I’m hoping too, to unveil a new look here, but that’s been delayed because I was sick.

Anyone else taking part in the A to Z? What are you doing?

A 2021 retrospective…a bit late ;) #mondayblogs #yearinreview #lifetheuniverseandakitchensink

A 2021 retrospective…a bit late ;) #mondayblogs #yearinreview #lifetheuniverseandakitchensink

Hi there guys. Normally, doing these, I do really try to get them up either as we’re travelling home on the21st December, but as everyone saw, I posted something else instead. So, I’ll do the retrospective today, and tomorrow we’ll do the ‘coming in 2022’.

I got nothing done…

I think the first thing to acknowledge is that personal goals wise, I’m not further visibly forward, but I did a lot of…I guess it’s ‘behind the scenes’ work. I did have a quieter, calmer year in some ways. Supporting the kids, supporting my partner, and trying to plan for what comes next. I think that though I did very little, overtly, there were a tonne of really great conversations that eventually led myself and my business partner to something we’re working on now, which we’ve tagged ‘AOK’.
Goals wise, too, I didn’t published a dammed thing last year, and only really rebooted this blog about three months ago. I’m still working through how best to handle all of that, if I’m honest, but what I do know is that I’m a lot happier now with most of the things I write, when I write them.
I did start a Substack.
But, because I got ‘nothing’ done, I spent a lot of time with my family. I have regulated my sleep schedule a lot better, though I do sometimes need to switch to LA time to do some stuff, it’s not frequently expected of me. I’m sure next year may change that, but it’s ok. Mostly I’m just grateful for the space to think and spend time with my partner, son and daughter. We bought a Cricut so my daughter and I are still into doing crafty things, we all go out to get photos of stuff, we got to do the UK Games Expo this year…it’s all been really good and really comforting in many ways. None of us have gotten really sick, nor have we caught CV19, but we’re all fully boosted now, and flu shots to boot. We’ve been *very* lucky.

I did lots for clients….

So, I’ve said ‘I got nothing done’ but equally, it’s been an ok year for getting work done for clients. From tomorrow, I’m developing something that cuts back on the clutter for one client so it ‘just works’ and building sites for two others. It’s all looking really solid. I learned Divi a lot more, I’ve been upskilling both for my business and for my uni stuff and I’ve had a lot of fun along the way. I love coding, but I love solving puzzles more.

I (started to) heal a bit…

I think it’s fair to say this year I got on with the rather hard work of starting to heal. I’ve not had an exactly bad life, but I’ve been through a fair few really bad scrapes and my mental and physical health are kinda dented for it. I do totally think I’m dealing with some form of adrenal issue right now, though I’m also quite worried I’m anaemic again, but most of what I did was read, learn, sleep, and just accept that I can’t do everything, or work on starting to accept that. I laid foundations though for this year too – knowing what to do and when to do it hasn’t been the easiest thing for me, but I’m working in advance with a lot of my stuff now and though I sometimes bounce off deadlines, I’ve met quite a few too.
in July, I was discharged from therapy. I’ve done everything I could with them, my therapist was moving on, and instead of getting used to another stranger, given the current pandemic based restrictions, we decided that it was best just to close my file and move on. I can go back if I need to.

And I took up more exercise

Last year, I was just starting Mount Fuji. I completed that and went on to do Giza, Petra, Everest and started The Great Wall of China. In total, I walked about 540km, based on my Fitbit tracking.
I started walking outside by myself too. Didn’t last long, but will be coming back. In November, I went for a Ludosport Discovery session, fell in love with the sport and have now completed enough form 1 training that I can duel, and did for our closing session of the year, winning my team three points. I was rather shocked I managed it. I think everyone else was too, as I often refuse to duel, or withdraw when afraid. I am dealing with a lot more panic attacks though, but we know why and we’re working on that too.

I read… A LOT

Because I didn’t get to do very much in the way of travelling, I’ve mostly adventured through my books. Which, if I’m honest, has mostly involved serial killers, thrillers and murder mysteries. My Goodreads year in review isn’t *everything* I read (cause I’ve got books I read through Netgalley that haven’t or won’t log yet) but it’s close. If you want to see my year, it’s here, but seriously, a lot of it is basically true crime. 😉 Some of it was also audiobooks, which I count.
I think the two books that stayed with me this year though were The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig and we’re currently finishing off Leviathan Falls, which is the final book of the Expanse. And finishing the show too.

Wrote too…

I completed both Camp Nanowrimos and Nanowrimo proper this year, and in the end, it turned out that though it felt like I was pulling teeth, I wrote close to half a million in 4thewords, and another 750k in my various files. Not bad going but next year is going to be a bigger challenge. I didn’t publish anything that wasn’t someone else’s to take from me and put out there though.

And yeah, then there was the ‘also watched’

We watched so many good things this year but I watched less in some ways than my family. And more in others. I had more true rime on in the background during the day, but I’ve watched far fewer programs, and have promised I’ll watch a few of the pertinent ones when we’re back at our usual spaces next week.
Outstanding for me though had to be Loki, Scrubs (which we binged to the last season then pretended that one didn’t exist), Elementary, which we’re catching up on, The Expanse…you get the picture. We’ve started watching Titans season 3, The Witcher Season 2, and The Expanse season 6, and we’re looking forward to The book of Boba Fett, Obi Wan and more.

Gaming

Gaming this year has mostly been about my Switch and our PS5. We’re both having a blast, no pun intended, playing through Fallout 76, though each of us can’t play with each other as it’s not cross-platform. Been playing games on the Switch too, but there’s nothing of note that I’ve played, really. I enjoy Surviving Mars, but a lot of what I do is just play through stuff for a little bit, get listless, put it down. So a lot of my time has just been spent mindlessly shooting things, which I’m kinda good at.

Meditating, self care, religion, oh my

I always leave this bit to last, so if people want to skip, they can.
I meditated almost as much as I walked this year. I’ve found Headspace to be an excellent way of dealing with my sleep issues and the sleepscapes and I have become best buddies during the Pandemic. But we already knew that from listening to the stories Calm put out last year. I decided to stick with Headspace, not Calm in the end, simply because I got on better with Headspace.

I’ve been home to my temple twice this year (which means I’ve been home to family twice this year) and moved my ‘I have to go do something, let’s go to my quiet spot) to a place nearer our current home. It’s not perfect, but it meets most of the needs of what my rules are. I’ve also enacted some pretty radical self-care, but that, and some other stuff will be in the books, in the new Year.

I’m sure I’ve missed tonnes, but I’ll be honest, I’m still not sure this year was actually a full year if that makes sense. Time isn’t right still, not since the interminable but necessary lockdowns, and we’ve been working through as much of being present and grateful as we can, but I’ll also be real about this, a bit of me is still sobbing away in the corner that something so horrible is ongoing.
I may write on that later, but I’m healthy, I’m here, I’ve picked up some new skills and hobbies and though I lost my gran, as a family, we’ve been far more blessed than we could have expected, so really, I can’t complain.

How was your New Year?

Kintsugi and Levelling up #gamergal #mondayblogs

Kintsugi and Levelling up #gamergal #mondayblogs

So, firstly, I’ve spent the last week with shingles all up one side of my face. It’s not *the most* painful thing I’ve ever felt, but gotta be honest, it’s close. Because of this, my ‘October announcements’ post and this one have kinda rolled up.

The pot of my soul, cracked as it is

I’ve been talking about ‘levelling up’ a lot on my private groups. I’ve been talking about several things really, but I want to be clear. My major one is community. I talk – a lot – about #payitforward and that the #writingcommunity is very important to me. To do that, I’ve been thinking about levelling up my life.
I’ve lived my whole life accommodating various things. Mostly, I guess, psychosis. My mental health is a major element of my life, and even when I’m at my best, I’m… not? I live with imperfect cracks, like a little jar, a Kintsugi pot fixed with the things I find around me. My soul is visible in places – in others, it’s patched and safe. There are raw patches, that I guess I’ll eventually cover over. But that little pot is pretty tight right now. I’m managing to fill it up a lot more often, even if there’s…less space in there. We’re working through various things as a business team, because we do sort of have some plans.
For now though…

Substacking

This is my newest project. I’ll be sharing snippets and more. But this Kintsugi thing? I’ll be talking more about it.
As for levelling up?
Because I’ve had shingles this week, I’ve not managed as much as I wanted to. But I’ve taken a couple of things forward. I’ve grabbed a Duotrope trial, to start working towards getting to my stories out there and building my name as a writer, but also to bring in a challenge. To ‘earn’ it, I have an amount I have to be paid for the pieces I submit, and that’s ok. It’s a low goal.
I’m using my diary again. I’ll be clearing my office space. I’m also getting Uni work done – I’m booked in for tutorials, and I’ve got my books ready to go. I’m a bit excited to complete my first year of Uni, and start moving towards my PHD.
And I’ll keep condensing down stuff to here. I’ll talk about that more in the coming weeks, but it’s pretty much a clean up and combine exercise right now 😉

And that’s me this week. Oh, and Kill Kit Killers is out on the 15th. That’s kinda exciting, and I know what the next three books are too! Woot!

Changes, struggling with writing and more…#mondayblogs

Changes, struggling with writing and more…#mondayblogs

I’m on a few weeks of classes, to learn how to work with one of the major systems we’re using right now. I’ll be talking about that more, and I have to say, I’m really excited.
The next few weeks are also ‘Freshers’ for me. I start back at Uni next week, and have several exams that I need to prep for.

But, I’ve got a few things to talk about

Changes

One of the major things I’m noticing is that I’m still as willing to do everything I used to get up to, but I get about three into my 20 piece daily list (I used to manage it), but I’m not who I was. Part of that, I have to be honest, is probably to do with being depressed. Part of it has to do with my issues with anaemia and persistent illness. A LOT of it has to do with maintenance insomnia. (I’ll be coming back to that one later, but the short version of that is I have *finally* taught myself to go to sleep pretty much when I go up to bed. Sometimes I go up and meditate and I fall asleep. Sometimes, I just go to sleep after reading for a bit. What normally happens though, is around 1am to 2am – one and a half to two hours before I’m thinking I fell asleep, I wake again. I don’t really help myself at this point, because I’ll have a drink of iced tea. Sometimes I can roll over and go back to sleep. Most of the time, I can’t. It lasts till…sometimes…8am, before I finally get to sleep. In short, it’s hard to plan a day when you don’t know how much sleep you’re getting the night before, and unfortunately, whatever else I have going on, sleep creates problems if I don’t get enough of it).
Most of this is all pretty well known, if you know me, even in passing. It means that my hours are often a bit scattered, but, I’m working on that. My partner and I have talked. While I’m not an early bird, I don’t like that I’m split shift sleeping. I don’t know if what I’ll end up doing is sleeping for a bit, getting up to work, then sleeping more. It might mean I can write in a set period of time, I don’t know.

The changes though – to make things easier for myself, and the things I want to do, while I’m doing my classes on WordPress design and Fresher’s week for the Open University, I’m going to start setting up all of my blogs, and connecting them up, collapsing or closing those of them that I can’t spend time on right now. It’s not permanent, I hope, but even if it is, moving on isn’t always bad. So I’ll be mapping that out. It’s the first step in about a million, if I’m honest.
I’ve got books, I’ve got information to share out, I’ve got things I need to – and want to – do.

Struggling with Writing

One of the things I saw that was interesting this morning – in fact, it was the first thing I saw opening my phone, was this post from Neil Gaiman.

Click through to Neil’s Tumblr. https://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/663460764030517248/yesterday-was-a-bad-writing-day-i-spent-a-lot-of 🙂

I think there’s a lot of this that’s important. For writers, creatives. For life. We have bad days. We do what we can, but sometimes it’s just a day that doesn’t move…anything. And then, one day, a good day. Maybe a few. Maybe a whole bundle of them, in a row, like a huge gift. And really, I do mean this could be *anything* we do in life. Sometimes, we find that it’s hard to do things. That’s ok too.

I’m between my good and bad right now. On that middle ground of being able to see both. I might slide back into bad. I’m working on the things I can reach from here. It’s all ‘low hanging fruit’ and learning for me. Uni starts next week, and I’m getting through to finish year one of three just as soon as I pick myself up and get a plan on….

Which is next.
You’ve got this guys. And so have I…