I’ve spent the last year trying to think about how to explain the basic changes I’ve gone through in the last two years. And one of the major things that I’ve been thinking about is gratitude, and ‘dancing in the rain’.
What is dancing in the rain?
For me, it’s a core concept to living with what I do. It’s accepting that I’m not always going to be happy, that the skies aren’t always going to be ‘clear’ but even if they aren’t, I can go outside and ‘dance in the rain’.
It’s a gratitute attitude, I guess.
Dancing in the rain is also the name of an essay that I wrote for ‘Miles to go before I sleep…’, which I’m sharing below. If you like it, please hit the link to sign up for an email when the book goes on Pre-order 🙂
Dancing in the rain from ‘Miles to go before I sleep…’
There’s a gratitude attitude, A way to look at the things you face. It’s not a way to ignore or negate pain, but, instead, a way to move forward. I’ve called it dancing between thunder and lighting, or dancing in the rain. Each step I make towards feeling better, each step towards feeling the way I do, and focussing on the best in my life that I can.
It’s also about crying in my own tears, and keeping my head up, my shoulders back, and trying to remain calm, cool and collected. And I do that, a lot.
When I started writing this book, it was long before I started with Ludosport, and it’s something I keep in mind now, a lot, because I’ve discovered that I’m not doing well with some of the things I’m challenged to do at practice. But I’ve learned how to so many things in the last two years, and I’m sure that with the support of my Academy (shameless plug for them!) that I’ll be in a much better place. From making some amazing friends to learning to dance – properly (cause you need to be pretty coordinated to duel with a lightsaber), dancing in the rain is a whole gratitude attitude that I’ve chosen to adopt. And I’m happy that I can feel that way now. I’m not sure I could have two years or more ago.
So, while Dancing in the rain sounds sad, and kinda miserable, it’s not. It’s about making the most of what’s around me and having a lot of fun, even when I am sad. Even when the ‘rain’ is my tears. Even when I’m being drowned in a torrent of sadness.
I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to say in this post about books, because those people that know me also know it’s pretty much all I talk about outside of Ludosport and gaming and my family. I was going to share a cornucopia of ‘coming soon’, but then I got Covid (next post) and that kinda got scrapped. I’ve been struggling really, and it’s not a pleasant feeling.
B for Books also links to N for Nanowrimo
At the core of my writing, whether it’s clear or not, is a project called Nanowrimo. I write a lot during the three months of Nanowrimo, and am…less disciplined the rest of the year, though, to be fair, I do write, every day. Just not always my books. And to be honest? That’s something that kinda bothers me. I’m pretty sure that I’ve said this before, but I’ve always felt I was built for certain things. Writing, being a mother (though, honestly? That came less naturally. I was still different to what people expected, but I found – and still find it – very hard.). Beyond that, I live with some other roles that I am – an advocate, a friend, an artist, a student. I’m constantly, consistently all about words though.
I wanted to announce books today, so I think I shall 😉
Out among the Stars comes first and will be FREE. It’s a short story from an old anthology I was part of. DungeonBashers and Black Monday are part of the same universe. Teine, which is Gaelic for fire, is my latest collection of essays and stories. Get news on them by signing up on my newsletter, and all the free books (Out among the stars, Footnotes to a Lesson, The Firemaids’ Temple, Vivarium, and finally, Funhouse. Want info on all of them? It’s coming really soon!)
And how does it relate to the theme I’m trying to write about? The duality of knowing I need to write books versus finding everything from the motivation to the time, I am often at war with myself.
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.
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.
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…
Actually, it’s not….really. Made you look 😉 I wanted to get your attention – what I actually want to talk about is language, but profanities, and our use of them, apparently dictates how linguistically intelligent we are.
Not quite yet…
I don’t quite buy into the studies that suggest that if we swear, we’re more intelligent. What I do agree with is if you can express yourself in varied and interesting ways, you are probably more intelligent, so it’s possibly a false indicator, as it was suggested in a 2016 study there was no correlation between profanity and the use of cussing and intelligence, but instead, it’s to do with the wish to extend vocabulary.
I’m really interested in linguistics, so I thought that this was a phenomenon I wanted to start talking about it more. So, my quick post today is about swearing, and asking you guys what you think.
Do you think it’s a sign of intelligence on it’s own, or do you think it’s more to do with whether you’re working on extending your vocabulary and finding different ways to express things?
(also, I’ll be re-releasing ‘The Secret Language of Fiction’ edition 2 soon, watch this space! – well, actually, watch my book announcements page!)
(again, as this is backdated, I’m writing this with the benefit of hindsight).
I did actually have this rather neat post about ‘a day in the life’, but, the last few days led to a bit of an epiphany.
You know there’s an Instagram bubble? I think when we write ‘days in the life’ that we sometimes make ‘blog bubbles’. So, instead of talking about what my ideal day should look like, and what it does when I’ve planned it out, I’m going to write about what my day actually is. And for the first time, I’m even going to include some of the mental health stuff I deal with – so this post could be mildly triggering. I’ll be possibly alluding to self-harm, definitely talking about psychosis and depression and anxiety and insomnia. And I have a favor to ask at the end of this post.
A day in the disordered
I fell asleep at 11:30pm – a year of training and working with an app called Headspace and other meditation apps (honourable mentions to Digipill and Let’s Mediate (I have them on Android, they may exist on iOs), alongside my partner, which is now 80% of how my sleep works out.
Unfortunately, about 1:30am, I wake up again. I wake up to a voice, that I always hear. She’s my constant companion, and she’s very hurtful. If I’m lucky, I take a sip of water, I go to sleep again, and I might get to stay there for a bit. Most nights lately though, I’ve been waking up and finally falling asleep again at 5am. The advice is, of course, if you’re not able to sleep in bed, to get up. But if I do that and she starts causing trouble for me. At her worst, she can trap me in the smallest rooms in the house. She’s the reason that I can’t get out of the house alone. She’s the thing I’m fighting back with my favor, but we’ll get there.
If I don’t get to sleep until 5 or 6am, I’ll either stay asleep till 8am, or 11am, or sometimes, I’m asleep till 2pm. And because of that, my day is always harder to plan for. How do I plan to be up at 9am, and exercised and ready to work, if I’m not getting to sleep until 6am? The answer is I don’t. Insomnia is a difficult and hard to live with disorder – couple it with anxiety and psychosis, and though meditation helps, I’m frequently operating in arrears of sleep.
And that’s why I can’t talk about a day in my life. I have half an hour when I wake up that’s a set routine (get up, unplug and box tech coming downstairs with me, plug in anything, such as my Bluetooth headphones or spare batteries that need charged, wash face, rarely moisturise (I’ll be talking about that in S for skin routine, cause apparently, I’m annoying as all hell about that), meditate for ten minutes after making the bed, then come down. At night, I either go up before Tempus and grab a bath, then make my juice/waterbottle for my bedside, plug everything in, brush my teeth, get my Bluetooth headphones connected so that I can meditate, set up the book we’re listening to on Audible. Depending on how I feel then, I either read for 20 minutes, then meditate, or lately, I’ve just meditated, and used a sleepscape to go to sleep to. And then wake up again at 1:30am.
I can’t talk about this really here, but there is going to be an I for Insomnia over on bi-polarbears (the link won’t work until the post goes live 🙂 )
And that brings me to a favor…
As many of you may or may not know, I’m an author. My major project this year is to talk about the fact that I live with a pretty severe (though not the worst, by a long shot) psychosis. I think I’m probably at the end of the ‘living in the community level of it,’ though, she’s quite hard to deal with. As an author too, it becomes difficult. I ‘hear’ my characters, and I don’t like that I hear and see things as well as part of my mental health.
On my birthday, I’ll be releasing a collection of mental health books. I’m not putting up the pre-orders yet, but I am asking people to subscribe to my newsletter, so I can start talking about the run-up to releasing them. There may be a Patreon, there may not.
What I want to do though, is to remove some stigma surrounding both hearing voices and other psychosis, but I also want to acknowledge that authors do hear voices, and that *is not* as far as I’m concerned, is a psychosis. But I guess that’s between you and your healthcare team.
What I do know is that she’s stolen five years of my life. I’ll never get them back, and while I’ve done some things in there, I’ve not gotten everything that I wanted to do, done. There are other things, of course, that got in the way, it’s not just been mental health, but if I can remove from the whole concept of ‘we don’t talk about this, we’ll get into trouble’, then I will. And I hope you’ll help me.
I’ll be talking about about this at P for Psychosis, because it’s important to me. Here, and at Bi-polarbears. I’ve avoided telling people I have issues such as psychosis for so many years, that it’s a bit uncomfortable for me, but I also know I’m in a good community, that accepts me for who I am, and knows me as I am, psychosis or otherwise. I hope to help others like me – because I think in the coming years, as we come out of lockdowns and the shadows of what we did to deal with the pandemic, that mental health is going to be a major issue – more major than even now, and I want to help people that need help. So I am.
It was 2001. November 2001, just after they’d decided that I’d damaged my pancreas with a few missed gallstones. I’d spent a month in and out of hospital, unable to eat, unable to deal with most of the pain that had consumed me. I dropped from a svelte mother of two who had been merrily breastfeeding and healthily curvy (12 stones or so) to 8 stones and skeletal. I went from breastfeeding to not and still producing milk, even though I wasn’t feeding. The doctors and nurses looking after me watched me sleep most of the day away, full of morphine and on drips, barely eating. At one point, they spoke of putting in a central line.
I got home and got pregnant again. It was stupid, but still a miracle. It was 2001 – my baby daughter was six months old, my son was just over two years old. By my birthday, after arguing and discussing and going through all of the options, we decided we could manage with a third child, as long as my body would let me. That was a question in and of itself – one that we finally got to the bottom of. I’d be ok, as long as I was careful.
And then, the worst happened. My blood tests showed that actually, I might not be ok. That my liver and my pancreas were struggling – and my relationship was breaking down and things just weren’t working. I’d been making plans by that point to go it alone with the three of my children, as their father was…not whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Our relationship had gone south long before I’d gotten pregnant again, but I thought I could cope.
I was then faced with the worst decision I could ever make. I could die carrying this child. And it’s something I don’t talk about much – there’s the more immediate ‘trying for this family’ always to deal with, but this was different. I really was on my own in many ways.
So, we went to talk about my options, and discovered the little boy I was carrying was dead.
By then, though, he had a name.
His name was Connor. He’d have been born around August 2002, and would be 11 now.
I have a godson, not much younger than my Connor would have been, and I left the father of my children a year after. We’d grown apart by then. And my life moved on. It always does. I don’t think the things that came after would have happened with three children as young as they were, and I know that losing him was the fork in the path that led me, perhaps, to where I am now. And logic suggests that we’ll never know – you can’t go back and change it. You can’t remove a scar – not easily. And there are some we just don’t want to remove.
But around now, every year, I miss the little boy I didn’t really get to know. We talk about stillbirth and miscarriages in hushed tones, and though I know it’s not the same as losing him at 30 weeks, or earlier or later, he still had a name, and I had hopes for him. He has no grave, but he has a tree in the place I spent some of my teen years. There is no marker, nor other people to remember him, aside from the people that lived it with me, thousands of miles away. And those that got to know me after, while I was still dealing with all of it. But I was the only one that knew him really. I wish, more than anything else, that everything I’d hoped, and all thing things I couldn’t have predicted for him came true, and there was a smiling boy on this post instead of an empty space where his happy face should be.