My journey to find my writer's voice and the lessons I have learned on the way.
I can hear the faint strains my writer's voice calling me. After years of silence, she is starting to speak to me again. I find I can hear her more clearly everyday. As I listen to the words she softly whispers to me, I want to sing them for the world. But, to make them heard, they must be more than lyrics. They must be the music of the heart. This is my hunt for the melody.|
If you want to learn more about me, I have an extended bio
|Last night, I dreamed of my children. Not as they are but as the were. And in my dreams, unlike my memories, I was a happy mother. I didn't feel harried, or anxious, or stressed. I saw them when they were happy to be home with me. I played with my baby and cleaned my kitchen. And In my dream, it was enough. When I woke, I was happy. Glad that perhaps there was a time when I was the affectionate mother I should have been. That I only remember the hard times in my waking hours. I was secure in knowledge that while my memory forgets, those good times are still there. Thankful that God remembered those moments for me and showed them to me.
As I slowly woke, content with the happiness of those long lost memories, I remembered that today is Halloween. As my youngest has just begun middle school, this means big changes for me. I was relived that I no longer have the craziness of past years. No school parties, no costume parades, no Halloween make-up to do, and children to run after. I can finally relax and enjoy the day. Halloween has always been one of the most stressful days of the year. And a small thought wiggled through. A small melancholy as I felt the new position of my life.
But, as I looked out the window, I saw a young mother with her costumed child skipping with excitement to school. All of my joy and contentment crumbled to despair. Suddenly I realized that not only had this day changed, but I had missed the whole point of it all these years. My dream no longer served to remind me that there were good times, but to show me how it should have been. How I should have enjoyed it more. How I was so discontented and busy, I forgot to look at the big picture. I was wracked with heaving sobs. Tears began to flow before I had even realized why I was crying. All those years, I was complaining about the stress and difficulty of small children. I was waiting for the day when they were self-sufficient. I spent so much of my time waiting for the next moment rather than enjoying the one I was in.
And now it's too late. I feel as though I was never the mother they deserved. The mother that found joy in those frantic moments. That waited for them to come home and tell me all about their day. How could I have ever been what they needed?
And as that wave of despair receeded, I am left feeling spent. Was last night a beautiful memory reminding me that I really did have times of happiness in parenting? That I was enough for them and that the haze of my depression has hidden them from me? Or was it a foil to show me what I have lost and what I did wrong and will never be able to change? It is a haunting melody from my past, a discordant collection of notes, and a reminder that I must find the tune beneath the chaos.
|Can't sleep. I was just laying in bed having a pity party and crying. I feel unseen and irrelevant. It sucks to have useless talents. I'm stuck at home watching the world move around me. While I can write, it has no place in my "real" life. This is the only place where I get any validation and am noticed for my efforts. When you have nothing to offer, you become nothing.
When I speak of this to anyone I get 1 of 2 answers. Family and service. But they aren't enough to pull me out of this mindset.
#1 Family - "You are a wife and mother. Your family needs and appreciates you for all you do."
I know it's true, but it doesn't make me feel better. I'm needed for what I do, not who I am. Not intellectually. I guess it's because I come from a very high achieving family. My sister's boss is running for Speaker of the House, and I'm supposed to be proud that I made dinner and vacuumed the living room?! Really?
My children are well adjusted and are accomplished which shows I'm doing something right. To this day, my highest achievement was competing internationally in ballroom dance. When I was 16. I'm now 41, and have done nothing noteworthy since then. Every one of my sisters have been praised by the community for their contributions on the news or in articles. All I can say is that we're related. Lucky me.
#2 Service - "When you are serving others, you find your own sense of self. You serve the Lord and find your talents help others"
A nice sentiment and really very true. However, I have discovered it is impossible in my situation. Apparently, you are either the serving or the served but cannot be both. I require a lot of help to get around and must be the recipient of service. Everyone is quite willing to give it, (but only if it fits into thier schedule and requires only 20 minutes). No one is anxious to recieve it however. But, when there is a service required, I am never asked to help. It's too much to ask, you see, due to my medical struggles. I not bedridden people! I have something to offer! No one seems to have enough time. That's all I have and I can't give it away.
As I look over my few blog entries, I find I write about my frustration with loneliness a lot. When will this get better? I'm trying to find a part time job to get out of the house. But with no work history for the last 13 years, it's a long shot. Once again, a lot to offer, but nothing anyone needs.
Thus my pity party. Things look darkest before the dawn, they say. I'm anxiously awaiting the dawn.
I have been on the verge of tears for the last few days. It's like something has shifted. It's that feeling you get when the distraction you've been able to achieve lifts, and the memory of tragedy comes flooding back. It's the feeling in the air just before the lightning strikes. I fear it will be the strike that kills me.
Except there is no tragedy. No life event to justify it. Just the sadness that accompanies one. It scares me because I don't know where it is coming from. I suffer from depression, mild bi-polar disorder, and anxiety. My fear stems from the fact that this feeling is different than those that usually accompany those disorders. I cannot just shrug my shoulders and classify it as being a part of that. It's a spiritual sadness. It's not only emotional, but a physical ache in my heart that I cannot put on the back shelf to examine later. It's ever present. It is a certain feeling of doom. It almost feels like I've lost someone or something important. It feels like a death.
Perhaps I'm in mourning over the loss of my true self. I've been withdrawing more and more into myself. I have very little interaction with people, and have even started to withdraw from my WDC community. I no longer communicate how I feel to anyone. Even myself. I long for the quiet days in my house where my family is gone and silence is my only companion. I don't have to pretend I'm the same as I used to be and put on a brave face. But the silence knows me too well, and is reflecting my apathy back to me. I no longer seem to care about anything except getting through the day. Even my writing is suffering.
Although I've felt and experienced this sorrow before, it has never lasted this long and it is always brought on by an event. I'm sure it is a reaction to my physical well being, (perhaps my TBI). I am broken, body and soul. I fear that while I can heal my body with medication, my soul is governed by another law, and I am at a loss to fix it.
Something has changed. Something has shifted.
I am broken.
|Guess what?! I'm writing a post in my blog! I know right! It's so.... not me. I've often wondered why I can't seem to blog, or journal, or just share anything personal on my newsfeed. Most of my personal feelings are reflected in my poetry and I have no need to share them. But, if I'm a writer, why can't I write a blog?
And for that matter, why does social media make me so crazy? You'd think it'd be perfect for me, home bound as I am, but I hate it. So many people on the fringes of my life that I haven't seen since high school. Why do I care what they're doing? But when my sisters start talking about my cousin's cancer that I had no idea about, I feel pretty guilty. It's when I hear, "Hey, I hear you're sister's starting her own company" and I have to say "Yeah, I hear that too" that it makes me crazy. Gone are the days of levels of intimacy. Anything you post is for the masses and it doesn't matter how close you are to those people. I should know more about my family than some high school friend. But no one has time anymore. I prefer close personal friendships, and the give and take of conversation to social media. I just can't seem to keep up with it or remember everything I read. It's almost a full time job. Why is that so hard for me?
And I'm a very social person and love to talk to people. I don't post much, but once I start talking, you can't get me to shut up. Just ask Cinn . Our phone calls are never shorter than at least an hour. And even though I'm in a bee hive of activity, I still feel invisible. Even if I'm the one doing all the talking. Weird.
However, I also can't wait to get home and be alone. I complain, but I love being alone in the quiet house, doing whatever I want uninterrupted. But I hate being lonely. How can both be true? Can they co-exist? Why exactly am I like this.
I now have the answer.!
On a lark, a few months ago, Cinn mentioned she had to take a personality test for school and she sent me the link Meyers-Briggs Personality Test So, I took it. I was shocked at how, with only 72 questions, it nailed me. Not only did I agree with almost everything, but it actually gave me insight into myself and those questions actually got answered. Here's a bit of what I learned.
Type: ENFJ - The Giver
ENFJ's tend to be more reserved about exposing themselves than other extraverted types. Although they may have strongly-felt beliefs, they're likely to refrain from expressing them if doing so would interfere with bringing out the best in others. (ah, can't keep private thoughts or journal, even for just myself. I tend to keep those things close to the vest since they are only important to my world view and not to others. Got it.)
ENFJs have a strong need for close, intimate relationships, and will put forth a lot of effort in creating and maintaining these relationships. They're very loyal and trustworthy once involved in a relationship. (Can't do social media, and need conversation and intimacy. When I lose a close friendship I am devastated. Check)
ENFJs are people-focused individuals. They have excellent people skills. They understand and care about people, and have a special talent for bringing out the best in others. ENFJ's main interest in life is giving love, support, and a good time to other people. They are focused on understanding, supporting, and encouraging others. They make things happen for people, and get their best personal satisfaction from this. (I love to talk and socialize. And I seem to make friends easily. This is also why I love doing "The Newbies Academy Group" and "Contest Central Station" )
The ENFJ may feel quite lonely even when surrounded by people. This feeling of aloneness may be exacerbated by the tendency to not reveal their true selves. (So it's not just me. I'm not crazy. I tend be a very private person on some levels so no one really knows me. By not expressing my opinion in an open forum, I am not easy to understand or figure out. Except for my close, personal friendships, no one really does know me so I am alone in that aspect. There's actually a reason for it. Cool!)
ENFJ's are so externally focused that it's especially important for them to spend time alone. This can be difficult for some ENFJs, because they have the tendency to be hard on themselves and turn to dark thoughts when alone. (Oh, that's why I like my alone time. And also why I don't. And also why I complain about being lonely)
I learned so much about myself. If you want to read the whole profile, go to Portrait of an ENFJ
Why don't you take the test? What will you learn about yourself? Let me know. I can learn more about you too. Portraits of all the personality types are available at Personality Portraits
You guys are so pushy. Since I've been challenged by both Elle and MontyB to write a blog entry for "Invalid Item" , I guess I'll have to do it. I'm not sure why blogging is so hard for me. I actually made it a new years resolution thinking that perhaps once I started it would grow on me. Nope. I lasted about 2 weeks. For some reason, I just can't write about me directly. My life is pretty uneventful, and although blogging is more about feelings that actual life events, it just doesn't excite me. I tend to pour my feelings into poetry. So, here goes my first blog entry in 5 months.
I feel the need to explain my lack of participation in the various groups I belong to. I'm afraid I may offend some of you by not being more active with you.The thing is that I don't tend to get "involved" in groups activities. A). There are way too many groups I'd like to be in B). They all have a ton of group activities you should participate in and C). That makes me feel like I have expectations and responsibilities I HAVE to fulfill. That takes all the fun out of WDC for me. I want to do what I WANT to do. Not what I have to do so I don't let others down. I only review items I feel like reviewing instead of those that are assigned or expected of me. I prefer reviewing newbies because I can really help them out more than reviewing, say Fi who is an amazing poet already. Most of those groups have people who are already talented and my reviews would be more praise than anything. Does that make sense? I'm kind of inactive in most of them really.
I think another issue is that my memory SUCKS and I can't keep track of all the different things I could or should do. I want to go at my own pace and do what I do in the moment. When I find myself feeling like there are things I need to be doing here and haven't gotten to, I start losing my spark and don't want to do them. So, for now, I focus on my own projects. "Invalid Item" mentors program, "Shadows and Light Poetry Contest" , "Roots & Wings Contest " "Genre Auction and Fundraiser" and "Contest Central Station" . That's really enough for me. It's funny but I go through review jags. I'll do a ton of reviews for a few days and then none for a few weeks. But that's how I like it. I do like to get involved in fundraisers and auctions though and want to support you all that way. If I haven't participated in one you are running, let me know. It's probably just that I don't know about it yet.
I do want to thank you all for your support lately. As you may know, I recently lost the friendship of a good friend for a reason I am unaware of. She is very fragile emotionally and I offended her somehow. She never discussed it with me and instead decided to stay away. I was crushed. I don't have many friends in my daily life, and it felt as if one of my connections was taken from me. One of my fears is that I will live my life through the computer. It is the challenge of our generation and to me it is disconnection through connectivity. When everything you say and feel is for mass consumption on facebook, there can be no true friendships. No one confides in anyone because there is not time for one on one communication. My family and friends alike all get the exact same information for the most part and there are no levels of intimacy. It is one of my greatest annoyances.
And yet, here I am, doing the same. However, when this happened, I turned to you guys. I was amazed by the response I got. MBs, gift packages, and all the kind words. There are no facebook fights here, no harsh criticisms. But I still felt a little disappointed that this was my only solace. Until it was pointed out to me, that we are unlike any other online community. We not only post our daily thoughts in our newsfeed, but we share our deepest thoughts and feelings through our writing. No one, not even those we see daily, know who we are better than our friends on this site. I can honestly say that most of my family and friends, including my husband, have read very little of what I write, and even then cannot understand it. Where else can I find people who not only read my work, but have the insight to interpret it. It is you here at WDC that know me better than anyone. So, I live my life here, online. But it makes me a better person, and that's all that matters. Luv You Guys!
|So, I decided to write about someone new I met. And, so I started going through my last week to find someone. And I thought... and I thought... and I once again found that my life is pretty...monotone. I go nowhere really, so I don't have the opportunity to meet new people. When I do go out, it's usually with my husband and we go to the movies. Although I am a very friendly and outgoing person, it makes my husband uncomfortable when I talk to strangers, so I don't really meet anyone that way. In the past 3 years, the only time I've met new people was when I moved into this house and started going to a new "ward" (an LDS term for congregation). I was also on a new bowling league last year ( I have an average of 145 thank you very much) and met a ton of people that way too. But, my teammates had to quit, and I had no way to get there every week, so that was out too. Once again, my isolation becomes a prison, and I strain at the leash. How did I, a person who can make friends easily and is very social, become so invisible? How did this happen to me?
And then it hit me. I have met a TON of new people. If it weren't for this isolation, I would never have turned to writing again. I would never have come to WDC. I spend almost all day, everyday here and it has given a new lease on my life. My writing has inspired others, gotten published, woken me up, and best of all, put me on the track God intended when he gave me this talent. If it hadn't been for my enforced solitude, I would still be whiling away the hours watching TV and cleaning the house.
So who have I met lately? Well, through my contests I have met so many people who are no longer just contestants, but have become dear friends. Many of you know me better than a lot of people in my physical world. But, I'd have to say, in the last little while, I have become closer to turtlemoon-dohi and GeminiGem🎱 and Cinn to name just a few. How could I have missed it. I don't have to meet friends and neighbors to meet new people. They're all around me, and understand me better than those in my daily life. Monotone indeed! I listen to a symphony everyday! Thanks guys!
|In an effort to fulfill my new found goal to blog, I have decided to follow some of the great prompts found at "Welcome To My Reality Forum" . I'm hoping to stay motivated, but you know the way New Years resolutions can be. But I digress...
So the prompt is something that made me sad.
Last night, my husband and I went on a date to see Anchorman 2. After 21 years of marriage, we still go on dates quite frequently and now that our children no longer require babysitters, it has become much easier to do so. While we were waiting for our movie to start, my hubby had his head buried in his iphone. Apparently his favorite basketball team ( The Utah Jazz of course) is considering a trade which was quite exciting and required him to stay tuned for more details as they became available. You know, real important stuff. So, I began to do what most writers do. People watch.
There in the concession line was a blonde woman with a huge belly. I mean she was ready to pop. And I found myself remembering those days fondly. The discomfort, the horrible maternity clothes, the slow ticking of time, and the feeling that my due date would never get here. Oh, how I remembered that.....the soft flutter as the baby moved, the joy of family and friends, the anticipation of new life, decorating the nursery, choosing baby clothes. Suddenly, I found myself in a reflective mood. While I definitely don't want another baby, (they tend to turn into kids) I suddenly realized that that stage of my life is over. And I never even noticed. I celebrated the free time I now have and for the most part am truly enjoying where I am. But where did the time go.
I guess it happens to everyone at some point, and is a bit cliché. But I'm 39. Not old really. But, when you get married at 18, the world is ahead of you. You are always the youngest in the employee pool, and everyone laughs and says "boy, you are too young to be married". There were actually years of this. I was 21 with my first baby, and by the age of 30, I had 4 girls. Done and done. Whew. My youngest will be out of the house before I'm even 50. See, young. Still time to travel and golf without all the "ailments" that come with old age.
Yet, suddenly, I realize that most everyone in the NFL and NBA is younger than me. I don't hear, "Wow, you don't look old enough to have a teenager" anymore. While I don't want to go back, I suddenly realized how fleeting time really is. Did I take time to enjoy those early years? Did I wish them away? Was I a good enough mom to my toddlers? How could the years fly by without me even realizing that they would? And, it made me sad.
While I would never go back, and am actually very happy with where I am, I wish I could feel that movement in my belly one more time, I wish I could spend that day in the hospital with a new baby one more time. I wish I could smell that new life, and hold the promise of what is to come one more time.
But who am I kidding, I LOVE my teenagers, and the freedom they give me. I have great kids. Yes, I AM a good enough mom. And when I watch them do the right things: go to church, join the lacrosse team, go on choir tour, instead of spending all their time and effort on boys, I know that time will always pass. But as long as I can enjoy where I am, and look forward to where I am going, I will always be young!
|As the New Year begins, I look back and am amazed at the progress I have made. I have met so many friends here, and feel that some of my closest friendships began here at WDC. Although there are many friends and family in my life, they do not understand my progress. When I tell them that I was promoted to a preferred author, or that my contest was nominated for a Quill Award, I get an empty “that’s great” or a blank stare. It means nothing to them. It is only here that I have friends who can appreciate the small successes I accomplish. Yet it occurs to me that while I know many of you well, you may not know me except through posts in forums, or through emails. You see my name around, but don’t know much about me. “Why is this?” I ask myself. Because, unfortunately, I am not a blogger. I tried it once, but because I am such a perfectionist, I would keep going back to edit this or that. I couldn’t seem to write it and move on. But, I find this has really hurt me, as I have not been able to really get to know people. So, I want to try to do it this year.
So I guess I’ll start with the basics. I am a 39 (not 40 till August) year old stay at home mom. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah and am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (otherwise known as LDS or mormon.) I have been married for 21 years (since I was 18) and am a mother of 4 daughters. They are 17, 15, 12, and 8. Because of their ages, I have a lot of peace and quiet during school hours, and can think and write to my heart’s content. It can get a bit hard though. I suffered a head injury in an ATV accident about 10 years ago and now have a seizure disorder. As a result, I have a grand mal seizure every 10 – 12 weeks and have no driver’s license. This means I am also homebound. Sometimes, my peace and quiet can feel like imprisonment. Although I have many friends and neighbors willing to help me get around, it can take 10 phone calls and a couple of hours just to get to the store to buy milk. I miss being able to be spontaneous. I have to make a list for everything when I go out, and since I am a bit ADD, that can really be a challenge. But, I digress…
I am not writing new things often, and only add new items to my portfolio around once a month. Although I know I should be writing more, I am not really worried. I know God gave me this talent with a purpose in mind, and I am just following his lead. I am learning so much through reading, reviewing, and running my contests, that I truly feel this is where I should be at this time. I feel that I am meant to foster friendships and meet people that can help me find my path, and get me to my final destination. I want to thanks all of you for your encouragement and reviews. I want to thank you for supporting and donating to my groups. I want to thank you for participating in my contests and sharing your talents with me. Your skill will make me a great writer. But, I want to thank these people individually.
Elle For encouraging and inspiring me to get my new project of the ground and helping me follow my path to my writing goals.
LostGhost: Seeking & Learning For being a great friend and support, and really getting to know me.
Marci Missing Everyone For being a kindred spirit
~ Sisco ~ For letting me help out in the "Invalid Item" and let me try new ideas.
Liam For giving me the opportunity to be an editor at Shadows Express e-zine and giving me the validation all writers need.
blue jellybaby For being a listening ear
~ Aqua ~ For her help and steadiness. She’s not a bad writer either.
Alexi January Let's have fun. For spoiling me and making me feel loved.
Dave For his amazing support and help in judging "Shadows and Light Poetry Contest" . It’s like having my very own poetry class and teacher. I couldn’t do it without him.
ANN Counselor, Lesbian & Happy For being so much like me, yet a complete opposite. Luv ya.
R.H.N For letting me commandeer her group and make some changes. Thank you so much for working with me.
| The music is getting louder and the lyrics are becoming clear. Everyday the writer in my soul is singing to me. She is still quiet and doesn't always hit the right notes, but at last she is being heard. And amazingly, I'm not the only one listening. I find that was intended as a hobby and way to fill the hole where my social life had once been, is now a demanding presence in my day. As I tune my instrument, I find there are people that not only hear my song but listen to the lyrics. I have found an audience that can appreciate my efforts and that wants me to succeed. For years, I have been in the audience, watching as friends and family achieve their personal and career goals. I gave standing ovations for their accomplishments. And I was happy to support and applaud them. Yet all the time, my world was shrinking around me. The talents and promise I possessed was not sought out or understood and could not bring me the accolades I craved. So I muted them. I didn't want to be haunted by what could have been or be reminded of the meager crumbs of my experience.
Yet I find there are those that can appreciate the one thing that does set me apart. And I spend my day immersed in that world of words, swimming happily and finding the fulfillment of a job well done; something that hasn't been possible in years. I have something that is mine. Mine alone. I hold it close to my heart and pour into it all the potential I have hoarded through the years. How it seems to flow and fall from my pen from an unending source. I have found a way to make my talent relevant and my purpose and path are leading me on. I am forever thinking of new things to write, classes to take, all the while finding my own definition of good writing. I have met others who speak this language and at long last my world has stopped shrinking and I can see the room getting larger.
| Writing is like an old friend that is fondly remembered. At one time it seemed that it was vital to my soul. It defined who I was and as I learned and practiced it, I came to believe that it was the reason I was here. As I wrote, I found out who I was. I amazed myself at the things that seemed to flow straight from my soul to the page, the words written before they had fully formed in my head. I discovered I had a talent for writing. It is my gift from God. My blessing and mission in this life. I knew it with all the surety of my 16 year old heart.
But life crept up on me. With all the new experiences of adulthood, love, and marriage, I slowly drifted away from that knowledge. Work and children came foremost in my mind. I found other things that inspired me and as I moved forward, I slowly lost my friend. It became a lost dream of my childhood, and receded from my life. And I never even noticed.
But my old friend has not forgotten me. It has been dormant, waiting by the phone for the day I would finally call. And miraculously it is still there for me. Once again I feel the power of this gift. How could I have ignored it for so long? It has so much to tell me. But this time, I hear it with mature ears. I can recognize the true import and impact the my words can have. And it frightens me. I don't want to admit I have talent for fear of being wrong. But I know in my heart I am right. Because it isn't me that does the writing. I am just the vessel, a way to bring the right words to the people who need to hear them. How I have missed this dear companion. It was the missing piece of myself that I didn't know I had lost. I am on a new path of discovery. I am learning to listen to myself; that I am smart and have insights that must be shared. If it wasn't true, why does it see to complete me and give me back the person I thought never existed but always wanted to become?
This is my world of words. My workshop of ideas. This is my long awaited reunion with my precious friend and my way forward. I long to meet the potential I feel inside of me. And I pray I will not again forget the purpose of my gifts. I write to understand the world around me. I write to show that God is in all things. But most of all, I write to discover the eternal soul that is robed within this mortal body. She knows who she is and her mission is set. I will find her in these pages and she will lead me home.