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Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2166092
by Emily
Rated: 18+ · Book · Personal · #2166092
A blog to house my musings, curiosities, and fascinations.
When it came time for me to start blogging again, I found myself paralyzed. I was trapped by the belief that my blog had to be unique, that it had to have a defined theme, and that it had to be appealing to everyone. After some time scouring Google for advice, I realized that if all I did was worry and plan, I would spend forever worrying and planning and never get to writing.

From that realization, I've decided to display my blog writing guidelines here for everyone to see, but especially for me to see when I come here to write.

~1~
Blog about what is appealing to YOU.
Don't worry about anyone else.


~2~
Allow yourself to WRITE!
Don't restrain yourself to one voice, one writing style, one genre, or one topic area.


~3~
Throw out the fear of maintaining a consistent theme.
Blog about your passions, interests, fancies, inspirations, opinions, musings, curiosities, ramblings, and loves.


~4~
Explore, experiment, and have fun!


So, this is my solution. A blog about anything and everything that sparks my interest. *BigSmile*

The title is inspired by the quote at the bottom of this introduction. Everything you love, even for a short time, becomes part of you. Our experiences and perception of the world is colored by those things we love and have loved, whether those things are *Paw* or not. This blog will be a place to house those passions and curiosities. Please enjoy!


In memory - 8/15/2017

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are."
-Anonymous


Merit Badge in Aloha
[Click For More Info]

Only the most selfless, dedicated person would come up with an idea like an Aloha MB. But then, from all those  things you do on WDC and we know you're doing out in the world, it's what we should have known you'd do. You've always been working to make things better and help people, animals, and places. Maybe the badge should have your picture so everyone knows a real example of Aloha.
Previous ... -1- 2 3 4 5 ... Next
November 2, 2019 at 1:06pm
November 2, 2019 at 1:06pm
#968831
Holy cow, October went sooo fast! Here we are in November, and before you know it, it'll be December, and then 2020! *Shock2* In 2 months I'll turn 25, which is like ... a quarter century old! *Surfing* Life's happening, dudes ... Here's to another month *ThumbsUpL*

I wrote a few things in October:

 
STATIC
Fall in Focus  (E)
The calm of a forest in fall is staggering
#2203641 by Emily

STATIC
A Happy Home  (ASR)
The true story of a shelter dog finding her way home.
#2204066 by Emily


One of the items I wrote during the WDC Birthday Celebration was also recognized with a beautiful award. Thank you, Kit!

STATIC
Patches of Red - Rewrite  (13+)
I wrote the original in April of 2013 - how has my writing changed since then?
#2199637 by Emily



And now, my goals for November!

Read:
For "The Monthly Reading Challenge, "Writing.Com Reading Challenge and "Angel Product Reviews
*Box* Book One
         *Box* Product Review: {pr
*Box* Book Two
         *Box* Product Review: {pr
*Box* Book Three
         *Box* Product Review: {pr

(also, when the WDC Product Review system is up and running again, I need to enter the reviews for two of the books I read last month.)

Enter Contests:
*Box* "The 75 Word Contest for "The Contest Challenge

Continue Regular Commitments:
*Box* Normal review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group and "Anniversary Reviews
*Box* "30-Day Blogging Challenge November prompting and judging

Take care!
-Emily

Signature

October 1, 2019 at 8:10pm
October 1, 2019 at 8:10pm
#967091
Woohoo! It's October! It's the start of my favorite quarter of the year! I'll be playing Miss Emily Scissorhands for the month *Bigsmile* If you see more cool members playing dress up for Halloween, remember to recognize them here: "The Witch's Garden

In September, I wrote a few things:

STATIC
Patches of Red - Rewrite  (13+)
I wrote the original in April of 2013 - how has my writing changed since then?
#2199637 by Emily

 
STATIC
Diptera's Prize  (ASR)
A short quest for a sweet treat
#2199669 by Emily

 
STATIC
Can't Stop The Feeling  (13+)
In a world where joy is a commodity, Mac and her cat Jelly try to share their happiness
#2199931 by Emily


I'm pretty pleased about getting those short stories out - I have a killer time getting my thoughts in order enough to complete one, let alone one as short as "Diptera's Prize. I'm trying to work on getting better though *Smile*

And now, my goals for October!

Read:
For "The Monthly Reading Challenge, "Writing.Com Reading Challenge and "Angel Product Reviews
*Boxcheck* "Within Arm's Length" by Dan Emmett
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Within Arm's Length: A Secret Service Agent's Definitive Inside Account of Protecting the President"  
*Boxcheck* "Home Deus" by Yuval Noah Harari
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow"  
*Boxcheck* "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo
         *Boxcheck* Product Review
*Boxcheck* "Wishtree" by Katherine Applegate
         *Boxcheck*Product Review

Enter Contests:
*Boxcheck* "Oriental Poetry Contest for "The Contest Challenge
*Box* "SugarCube's Bi-Weekly Random Contest!!
*Box* "'SCREAMS!!!' HALLOWEEN CONTEST!
*Boxcheck* "SENIOR CENTER FORUM
*Box* "Honoring the Dead
*Boxcheck* "Holiday Short Story Contest

Continue Regular Commitments:
*Boxcheck* Normal review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group and "Anniversary Reviews
*Boxcheck* "30-Day Blogging Challenge September Judging

Ta-ta for now!
-Emily

Signature

September 19, 2019 at 11:49am
September 19, 2019 at 11:49am
#966431
Write a detailed description of how your significant other has made you a better person.

*Yinyang*

Write a detailed description of how your significant other has made you a worse person.



So, I put the first half of this prompt for the "30-Day Blogging Challenge out into the world last night and immediately fell asleep, only to wake up to find it had been defiled altered via Elle and the "JAFBG. At first I laughed, and then I thought to myself… How could I not take on this challenge? *Bigsmile*

I don’t talk very openly about my SO online, but there are several pieces in my portfolio and this blog about him and our relationship. (side note, one of those items just won a cool thing, so woop!)

First, some background… Anyone who’s known me on here for a long time knows that I opened my account in 2011 when I was 16 years old. Oophta. That’s a tough age. I was in high school then. Met another member on here and, because WDC was basically my entire social life, he and I became close. I went to college, still considering myself in a relationship with this bro from across the country, and then my world split wide open. I wasn’t alone on a literal island anymore. I wanted freedom, and then the “relationship” revealed itself to be controlling. I won’t say that the relationship turned controlling, because of course it always had been, but I was just stupid and naïve. Shit went down, I rebelled, he threatened to reveal things about me to my grandparents, I cut him out but he flipped it as if he were the one separating himself from me who he said had suddenly become “destructive.”

I was finishing my freshman year of college then. Summer that year was … bonkers. Self-destructive, chaotic, fragile, dangerous (there are items about that time in my port as well). That’s when I went MIA from WDC. For four years I was “away.” I say “away,” because I wasn’t really gone. I did check in. Every day. The newsfeed was always open in a tab on my phone and it was part of my morning ritual to check the WDC happenings. Anyway, life went on, I enjoyed being a rebel while it lasted, but then I was done. It was as if I remembered who the girl was that I had been before all this.

Thinking about coming back to WDC left me with a bitter taste in my mouth because of the person I had found on here who had so radically changed my life. It felt too soon to go back in case something wrong about me still lingered there. So I stayed away through the rest of my undergraduate degree. It was probably a good idea too – I focused on my studies and set myself up for the career I am in now. During my rebellion when I began to realize I was hurting myself and wanted it to be all over, I found the man who is now my SO. He’s the one who pulled me out of that life and gave me stability and a place to retreat to when I wasn’t feeling like myself.

It started with him bringing me Target bags filled with DayQuil, Ibuprofen, candy, and stuffed animals when I was sick. He took care of me, showing genuine concern rather than something self-serving and fake, and made me feel safe from myself. With him, I didn’t have to be as strong as I was pretending to be. I didn’t have to tough it out or prove how capable I was to anyone. We dated while I finished school and then I moved in with him. I was starting my new job about that time. We got a dog together. Only then did I start to feel safe and confident enough to come back to WDC, which I did in August of 2018 (just over a year ago).

In that four year break, I had barely written anything creatively, so it came as a great surprise to me when I found how much my writing style had changed and improved. When I was young on this site, I believed I would always be a “novice” writer. Of course, there is still a TON more to learn, but now I feel happy to share my writing. I’m not embarrassed by it and I’ve had the experiences that lend themselves well to emotional writing. That’s what I’ve found I excel at. When an emotion begs to be written, that’s what I write about. Often, those emotions are tied to the worst and best times in my life so far. As I have grown as a person, my ability to capture emotions in writing has improved and I am now able to use my writing as an outlet, but I would not feel comfortable enough to do so if I wasn’t in the stable place I am now. I’ve learned how to release my emotions through my writing to keep myself sane and happy instead of letting everything build up inside to the point of breaking (or rebellion).

Gee… this is such a long explanation and I haven’t even answered the prompts yet, so … let’s try to get to that.

Also, everything you read above was originally written in one huge paragraph. I’m going back now to fix it *Wink* Okay … onwards!

My SO has made me a better person by allowing me the space to be calm. He’s given me the stability I couldn’t build for myself. He’s kept my mind still when it would have raced without his guidance. His presence in me takes away stress and quiets my internal chaos. When I worry, he holds me and says it’s okay. He says that we will figure it out. He reminds me that I am capable and smart. He trusts my abilities when I do not. He builds my confidence in myself and assures me that my “end of the world” isn’t as bad as I think.

He allows me to laugh my obnoxious laugh, smile with all my teeth, snort, burp, and fart without embarrassment. He makes me giggle just being around his humor. He knows how to make me happy, and if I’m happy, I can’t be the sad/destructive person I was before.

He taught me the value of generosity and selflessness. He makes me eager to be the best person I can be, if not for myself, at least for him. I want him to be proud of me and therefore seek to be proud of myself. I am driven to succeed for the benefit of us rather than just me.

He’s shown me what it means to be a good daughter. He reminds me to call my mom (because he calls his every day), and reminds me to take my grandparents to dinner while they are still around. He cares about my family and gets me out of my head enough to remind me to care about them too.

I suppose I could go on and on in this way about my SO, but I don’t want to forget about the second prompt from Elle. Already, as I’m thinking of the ways I’m a worse person because of my SO, it feels silly to describe them after the floaty and joyful paragraphs preceding this one… but, I can’t go back now!

Before meeting my boyfriend, I was very willing to see the best in people. Now, I’m more cynical in that I can easily imagine ways that people aren’t who they say they are. I tend to believe people will lie, cheat, and steal more often than I believe they will do the “right” thing. It takes me longer to trust people, but I believe this is partly due to my own experiences and growth rather than solely due to my SO’s influence, if that makes sense. I may have gotten this way with or without him, but he’s still seen more of the world than me and doesn’t hold back when sharing his opinions, biases, or stereotypes.

The other way I believe I have changed for the worse because of my boyfriend is that I’ve become more isolated. By that I mean that I have few people I can call “friends” and never “go out” as someone else my age might. I dread get-togethers or other “parties,” unless I am with my boyfriend. If we are going together, that’s a whole different story. But now that I have him, I don’t have the desire to meet other people to hang out with as friends. His friendship is all the friendship I need. I want to be alone or I want to be with him. I think having friends might be nice, but I don’t want to put in the energy to make them if I already have the one I want. I know this is partly my introverted nature, and I’m cool with it, but I wonder sometimes how my life might be different if I had hobbies or friends outside of my relationship. That said, I’d be more at risk of getting into trouble, so maybe lacking friends is for the best.

Whew … Well, that was a journey. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading!

See ya!
-Emily *Heartt*
September 5, 2019 at 11:10pm
September 5, 2019 at 11:10pm
#965665
Help!

I think I might want to change my username...

Currently, it is “hawaiifoeva.” This was the first username I ever had on a kids social website called, Club Penguin (anyone remember the Puffles?) The name kind of stuck to me after that and I used it everywhere.

Now, it’s been a year since my return from hiatus, and my username is feeling a little... childish. I like what it represents - a reminder of where I came from - but it’s getting a little stale.

If I changed my username (that’s a big IF, this isn’t set in stone), I would want to change it to simply “emily.” Emily doesn’t currently exist and I’m kinda eager to snatch it up. Also, a bit jealous of Elle who has such an iconic and memorable one word name. Like Beyoncé or Oprah.

I’d love to hear anyone’s comments, thoughts, advice, but I’d be most interested to hear from those who have changed their username in the past. What was the biggest hassle? When is the best (or worst) time to do it?

Hit me with your thoughts in the comments *Smile* Thank-y thank-y!

-Emily

September 2, 2019 at 2:03pm
September 2, 2019 at 2:03pm
#965415
Happy Birthday, WDC! I'm so loving all the activities - I gotta write this fast so I can go play some more *Bigsmile*

Since my last entry, two more of my works were nominated for the 2019 Quill Awards *Blush* They are:

STATIC
Body Memory  (GC)
The memory of it makes her skin crawl
#2186519 by Emily

STATIC
All the Things You've Given Me  (13+)
"I tied my flailing body down with a cherry behind my ear..."
#2194928 by Emily


Signature for nominees of the 2019 Quill Awards

In August, I wrote:

STATIC
How Often?  (E)
Inspired by worry, innocence, and truth
#2199060 by Emily


...aaaannd ... that's it *Pthb* Not a very productive month.

And now, my goals for September!

*Boxcheck* Record some "Poetry Readings (did 8 *Bigsmile* )

Read:
For "The Monthly Reading Challenge, "Writing.Com Reading Challenge and "Angel Product Reviews
*Boxcheck* "The Bees" by Laline Paull
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "The Bees: A Novel"  
*Boxcheck* “Educated” by Tara Westover
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Educated: A Memoir"  
*Boxcheck* "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail"  

Enter Contests:
*Boxcheck* "The Taboo Words Contest for "The Contest Challenge
*Box* "SugarCube's Bi-Weekly Random Contest!!

Birthday Festivities!
*Boxcheck* "The Great WDC Lucky Bag Giftaway!-CLOSED!!!
*Box* "Pop-Poetry Contest - CLOSED
*Box* "Sing a Song Contest
*Box* "The Bard's Hall Contest
*Boxcheck* "Fabulous Fantasy Contest
*Boxcheck* "Angel-Witch Bingo!
*Boxcheck* "WDC Birthday Arcade
*Boxcheck* "What Have You Learned On Writing.Com?

Continue Regular Commitments:
*Boxcheck* Normal review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
*Boxcheck* "30-Day Blogging Challenge September WDC Birthday activity

I'm off to play more party games!
-Emily

August 6, 2019 at 3:16pm
August 6, 2019 at 3:16pm
#963814
What rites of passage have you experienced that you think everyone will experience at some point in their life? In other words, tell us about your notable experiences that are key to the human experience.

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance



This is a great prompt for this week. Talking about experiences is a bit nebulous, but forcing one's self to think about the key experiences vital to being human is a whole new challenge. Let me see if I can get a list going here:

*BulletGr* Loving another being more than yourself.
This is actually the second thing I thought of to add to the list, but I moved it above the first thing because this needs to happen before the second bullet can have the full effect. When I say "loving another being more than yourself," it is inclusive of all beings on Earth. I know a person is still a person even if they never love another human being (and the question asked for things "everyone" will experience), so a "being" in this case can include animals, plants, people or anything else outside of yourself. Loving another is vital to the human existence. We are designed to love and receive love. We crave connection and need love to develop appropriately. Care and compassion for another living creature is something everyone should experience. It manifests in many ways, but for me, love is when I care first about their needs over my own.


*BulletGr* The pain of losing a loved one.
Now, having something/someone you love taken away from you is a fact of allowing yourself to love them in the first place and is thus inextricably intertwined with the first bullet. Fear of loss is not a reason to forbid yourself from loving another. Both emotions (love and loss) are necessary to the human existence. Feeling true sorrow is obviously painful, but reminds us of the fragility of life and why we should make the most of every moment we have.


*BulletGr* Being truly comfortable in your own skin.
This is one I can only speculate at and refer to role models in my own life because I haven't reached this point yet. Being able to love your body, inside and outside, without worrying about what other people think of you, is a rite of passage that I hope everyone will experience at some point in their life. As I said, I'm not there yet, but I'm using my mother's experience as an example. She is unabashedly herself. When you meet her, she exudes fearlessness, honesty, joy, and safety. She is content with herself and her abilities. She embraces her flaws and leans on her strengths. She is not self-conscious. I know this because I've witnessed the change in her as I've grown older. She used to be down all the time and concerned about her body, hair, career, etc. Now, she loves herself first and foremost, and that allows her freedom to develop her passions without the need to impress anyone else. She's a woman I admire and hope one day to be the same figure for my own children.
August 6, 2019 at 2:49pm
August 6, 2019 at 2:49pm
#963810
Have you ever felt like you're missing out in life? Describe a time when you missed an experience that you believe would have been rewarding. What can we do to make sure we're not missing out on important life experiences?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance


Okay, Char. I have a sinking feeling that this prompt is going to get me upset in some way or ranting about a pent up emotion I’ve hidden from myself. I’m saying that right out of the gate because I haven’t blogged in a while and you’ve hit us right away with a killer prompt. Anyway …

I’ve missed out on so many things in life, but most of those were a conscious choice I made. In high school and college, I willingly and purposefully isolated myself from my peers by always saying “no” to parties, study groups, walks down to the river, every school dance (including prom), and basically anything else you can think of. When there was a school function I simply couldn’t avoid, I would show my face for the absolute minimum amount of time just to prove I was there, and then peace out. I told myself this was all in service of my studies – I would be the damn best student in the class even if it killed me – but I’m certain there was plenty I missed out on. But truth be told, I’m not upset about missing those experiences at all. Let me explain.

Don’t get me wrong, I tried fitting in. I tried going to those parties, getting dressed up for those dances, being the awkward lanky girl with the downcast eyes in the middle of the mosh pit. I tried. And I always left feeling worse than when I went in the first place. I know my comfort zone and I know the distinct situations that threaten that space. I learned, through trial and error, that those situations that are meant to be a fun time amongst friends are downright torture for me. I’m forced to put on a happy face and pretend to enjoy myself when all I would rather be doing is cuddled on the couch with a book or a bowl of popcorn watching some true crime show on Netflix. In those situations, all I can think about is how to graciously extricate myself so I can get back to doing something I truly enjoy.

What it comes down to is this: I know what makes me happy. I don't miss out on things that make me happy. Things that other people classically fear missing out on are of no consequence to me, and thus do not make me sad when I miss them, usually on purpose.

Now I know these to be the traits of a classic introvert. I recharge my batteries by being by myself rather than with other people. And I am totally at peace with this. I purposefully choose to "miss out" on experiences because I know they will bring me more discomfort than joy. So in that sense, I’m not missing out at all.

In my life now, I am no longer in school, and so the scenarios described above no longer apply. My "friend" group is my co-workers and my home life consists of my dogs and bf. I suppose I fear missing out on classic life experiences such as getting married (low-key only, no celebration) and having kids, but those things are coming. I hate even saying it because it seems so wife-y and petty, but I do want those things one day and fear I'm somehow "losing time" by having to focus on my career and blah blah blah ... Maybe that's a topic for another entry *Laugh* What I would say to myself to ensure I don't miss out on things that are important to me in the near future is to stand up for your desires, voice your concerns and fears, and don't let your happiness take a backseat.
August 3, 2019 at 11:11am
August 3, 2019 at 11:11am
#963656
Hello, hello, hello! Gee golly, I'm pretty disappointed in myself for falling behind on ... pretty much everything here on WDC. All I can say is that work was hell and I barely kept up with prompting for the 30DBC, so this blog fell by the wayside. But they say it's best not to "dwell," so let's get caught up on everything right here and now and move on *Smile*

This blog post series each month was started as a way to help me remember what I did each month related to writing so at the end of the year, I could look back at my successes and be proud, I guess. So, not bragging, only selfish. And helpful since I'm so forgetful *Pthb*

Anyway, last time I wrote was about May, so let's highlight some of the things that happened in June.

June writings:
 
STATIC
The Cast  (E)
A private moment is captured
#2192785 by Emily

 
STATIC
Belonging  (18+)
I want to belong TO someone and I want someone to belong to me.
#2193828 by Emily


I also added stories to my collection for the "Musicology Anthology, but got way behind and unfortunately, gave up *Frown* Maybe one day I'll come back and work on it some more, but I definitely took on too much trying to write that many short stories when I knew I would be busy and knew I am a novice at short stories. Anyway, here's the incomplete collection:

BOOK
The Golden Age  (GC)
Stories of family, growing up, and facing your destiny based on Woodkid's "The Golden Age"
#2189427 by Emily


I am proud to say that two of my works were nominated for the 2019 Quill Awards *Delight* They are:

STATIC
The Winning Color  (ASR)
A defeated Queen attempts to bring a victory to her troops
#2179314 by Emily

STATIC
Callused Hands  (ASR)
I see the years built up in layers - Includes Reading
#2186907 by Emily


Signature for nominees of the 2019 Quill Awards

I also think I neglected to mention two of my poems won 2018 Quills, which I'm very humbled by *Blush* My grandparents think I'm some kind of prodigy now *Laugh*

STATIC
Mistakes  (GC)
It made me sick believing them - Includes Reading
#2169989 by Emily

STATIC
There Are No Bad Words  (GC)
Every logophile knows how powerful the right words can be
#2173039 by Emily


Signature for winners in the 2018 Quill Awards

Okay, now on to July ...

New writings in July:

STATIC
All the Things You've Given Me  (13+)
"I tied my flailing body down with a cherry behind my ear..."
#2194928 by Emily

STATIC
Over the Coral Jewels  (ASR)
The path to love is like the ocean
#2196258 by Emily


This old piece was also given first place in a contest I had forgotten I entered back in November 2018:

STATIC
Something Beautiful  (13+)
A farmer boy becomes a man at the cost of a mare and a mango tree
#2166607 by Emily


I did keep up with my reading goals as well (thank goodness). I read:

"Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants"   (Very, very highly recommended)
"The Silent Patient"   (The first time in a long time that a book has made my jaw hang open)
"On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft"   (A pleasure learning from the master)


And now, my goals for August!

Read:
For "The Monthly Reading Challenge, "Writing.Com Reading Challenge and "Angel Product Reviews
*Boxcheck* "Hidden Figures" by Margot Lee Shetterly
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race"  
*Boxcheck* "Less" by Andrew Sean Greer
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Less (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize): A Novel"  
*Boxcheck* "Being a Beast" by Charles Foster
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Being a Beast: Adventures Across the Species Divide"  

Enter Contests:
*Boxcheck* "Open Expression: A Poetry Contest for "The Contest Challenge
*Box* "Dark Dreamscapes Poetry Contest
*Boxcheck* "SugarCube's Bi-Weekly Random Contest!!

MHWA: "MHWA Mental Health Challenge
*Box* Week One
*Box* Week Two
*Box* Week Three
*Box* Week Four

Continue Regular Commitments:
*Boxcheck* Normal review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
*Boxcheck* "30-Day Blogging Challenge judging for July Official Month and prep for September WDC Birthday activity

Okay! Let's see how we go!
-Emily

June 20, 2019 at 1:49pm
June 20, 2019 at 1:49pm
#961234
I leave a piece of me
in sweat and sea -
a silent shiver
promising
s
e
r
e
n
i
t
y

In salt and sand

I leave a piece of me




_________
Written for: "SugarCube's Bi-Weekly Random Contest!!
Prompt: Write a poem that is exactly 32 syllables
June 7, 2019 at 9:20am
June 7, 2019 at 9:20am
#960332
Oophta ... (it's a MN thing) ... May was rough. I had all good intentions of keeping on track with my commitments, yet somewhere in the second week, it all went downhill. I didn't manage to write a single review, and really fell short on my short story writing goal. Now I'm super behind in the Musicology Anthology thing, but I'll try my best to catch up. Outside of WDC, I did have a few noteworthy things happen though - First, I completed my Environmental Education Certificate *Smile* Second, I adopted another dog. And third, I got a raise at my job *Cool* Hopefully the highs of those victories bleed into June, but since I'm already a week late in writing this entry, I'm not holding out too much hope.

As I alluded to in the beginning, the first half or so of May was fairly productive writing wise. I wrote three poems linked below. One of them has zero views still, sooooooooo, have a look, will ya?

STATIC
Home Again  (E)
A love letter to the place that continues to pull me back - Includes Reading
#2190816 by Emily

 
STATIC
As Hard As Soft  (E)
The paradox of an egg
#2190840 by Emily

 
STATIC
Sanguinaria canadensis  (13+)
The truth ran in rivulets down my fingers
#2190987 by Emily


I struggled to keep up with my reading goals, but I managed to pull it out right at the end. I did also keep the "30-Day Blogging Challenge running smoothly (I hope), and worked on a new method for getting more engagement in the Unofficial months. My goals this month are severely trimmed down again, even more so than last month to account for my drop in productivity. I need to focus on the most pressing writing priorities and maybe by completing those, I've get the motivation I need to get back to the long list of goals I had before.

Review:
15 for "Anniversary Reviews (It's my anni this month, so I should probably make an effort):
         *Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box*

Read:
For "The Monthly Reading Challenge, "Writing.Com Reading Challenge and "Angel Product Reviews
*Boxcheck* "Sapiens" by Yuval Noah Harari
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind"  
*Boxcheck* "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "The Last Lecture"  
*Boxcheck* "Inheritance" by Dani Shapiro
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love"  

Enter Contests:
*Boxcheck* "Haiku Hunt Contest for "The Contest Challenge
*Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Box**Box**Box* Six short stories for "The Golden Age

Continue Regular Commitments:
*Boxcheck* Normal review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
*Boxcheck* "30-Day Blogging Challenge prompting, admin, and judging (for last week of Unofficial Month)

Come on, Em! Get it!
-Emily
April 30, 2019 at 3:00pm
April 30, 2019 at 3:00pm
#957932
Howdy! April man … it was a month. Spring weather was popping – snowstorms, rain storms, tanning in the hammock, all of it. GOT came back and I’m thrilled to say the least. I managed to write a mini poem every day in April, which I’m pretty pleased about. Not what I would consider NaPoWriMo quality, but I put a poetic observation on paper every day, which isn’t something I thought I’d be able to do. Of course, not every piece is print-worthy, but I expect to find at least a few gems when I go back through. That collection is right here:

BOOK
Fleeting Moments  (E)
I follow doggedly as the world streaks by
#2186664 by Emily


Other successes include 22 reviews, 2 new poems, 1 short story (haven’t written a short story in a looong time), and 2 Quill wins for short free verse and long free verse *Blush* That was a mega surprise *Proud* I also read five books and wrote reviews for them, and kept up with my "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group guardian duties and my sleep tracking over at the "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge. May is another official month at the "30-Day Blogging Challenge so I’ll be posting the first prompt for that tonight.

I guess the big writing project looking ahead is for the "Musicology Anthology contest. I’ve committed to writing 14 short stories over the next three months, and I’ll be storing them all in the book linked below. I haven’t been very good at my storytelling in short formats in the past, so I’m glad for this opportunity to stretch my writing muscles and get in more consistent practice *Smile*

BOOK
The Golden Age  (GC)
Stories of family, growing up, and facing your destiny based on Woodkid's "The Golden Age"
#2189427 by Emily


Other April writings:

STATIC
Callused Hands  (ASR)
I see the years built up in layers - Includes Reading
#2186907 by Emily

 
STATIC
Mud.  (E)
It is not wet dirt.
#2187272 by Emily

 
STATIC
He Was Too Young  (GC)
Evidence of a missing cop is lost in a blizzard - will Mel discover what happened to him?
#2187777 by Emily


As for goals, there are a few important changes from previous months. I’ll still be reviewing, but other things are being cut, like Wodehouse (which is on hiatus), MHWA Challenges (which are on hiatus for May), and several contests because I’ve frankly not been too good about entering and I want to focus on the big project anyway.

Review:
15 for "Anniversary Reviews:
         *Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box*
15 for "Newbie Welcome Wagon:
         *Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box*
12 for "SuperTower Review Room MB Rewards:
         *Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box*
At least 5 for "Mental Health Writers Alliance as part of May Challenge
         *Box**Box**Box**Box**Box*

Read:
For "The Monthly Reading Challenge, "Writing.Com Reading Challenge and "Angel Product Reviews
*Boxcheck* “The Feather Thief” by Kirk Wallace Johnson
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century"  
*Boxcheck* "Brief Answers to the Big Questions" by Stephen Hawking
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Brief Answers to the Big Questions"  
*BoxCheck* "The Other End of the Leash" by Patricia McConnell
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs"  

Enter Contests:
*Boxcheck* "The Contest Challenge
*Boxcheck* "SugarCube's Bi-Weekly Random Contest!!
*Boxcheck**Box**Box**Box**Box* Five short stories for "The Golden Age

Continue Regular Commitments:
*Boxcheck* Normal review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
*Boxcheck* Sleep and update "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge every morning
*Boxcheck* "30-Day Blogging Challenge prompting, admin, and judging

See ya later!
-Emily
April 11, 2019 at 3:12pm
April 11, 2019 at 3:12pm
#956356
If your personality was an element type (earth, fire, water, air), which would it be and why? Would your elemental type change depending on the day or would you fit fairly neatly into one category? Has your element type changed throughout your life?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance



Just for fun, here are the word associations I make when thinking about the four elements and how they relate to someone’s personality:

Earth – solid, dependable, steadfast, loyal
Fire – passionate, eager, volatile, witty
Water – fluid, respectful, easygoing, gentle
Air – ephemeral, free, joyful, simple

My own personality and the way I live my life always falls somewhere in the Earth/Water realm. Maybe you could say my personality element is mud. *Laugh* My roots begin in Hawaii, and I do believe I was shaped by the easygoing lifestyle there, reflected in both the Earth and Water personalities. I like the feeling of being carefree and accepting of the twists and turns of my path through life. I value respect and honesty and consistency. I dislike change and can most often keep a level head in all situations. I am loyal to those I love and trust. I like to have firm ground to stand on and need to be prepared before doing something new. The disconnect for me between water and earth is that one is so mobile and one is so fixed. I think I see myself more fixed than mobile, but I work to embrace the fluidity of water as well, though it requires more conscious effort.

A perfect example of this is in my work. I plan and coordinate workshops and other events where there are many moving parts and things need to go according to plan. I am in charge of making sure that happens. My earth side needs to feel in control, which often leads to stress and worry about whether something will go wrong. My water side reminds me to roll with the punches and trust my ability to navigate the challenges as they arise. Water reminds me that it is worthless to stress about things out of my control and reminds me to keep a healthy balance between structure and flexibility.

Anyway, main takeaway: My personality is muddy.
-Emily

April 11, 2019 at 2:48pm
April 11, 2019 at 2:48pm
#956354
How does your diet affect your mental health? Do things like caffeine, fried foods, or high sugar snacks impact your mental health at all? What do you think the connection is between physical and mental health?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance



I was thinking about this last night as a matter of fact. The thought came up because I’ve recently been feeling very lethargic and unmotivated. Even things I used to find fun are boring now and my work has been a struggle every day. My to-do list is getting longer and longer and I’m having a difficult time focusing on anything long enough to get it done. I used to never be this way. I used to have an even level of motivation throughout the day and be able to work on something, even something boring, for a long period of time. I was highly motivated to work on undesirable tasks, if only to get them out of the way. I was always one to do the things I dreaded the most first so that I didn’t have to stress about them any more once they were off my plate. That was a really satisfactory way to live and it was helpful to my mentality because I was able to preserve the regular mental breaks I needed so I wouldn’t get burned out. Now though, something has changed. I’ve been dwelling on hard tasks, but not working on them at all. It’s more than procrastination. I know I need to work on them, but I just don’t. And I think last night, I had an epiphany about why.

Caffeine.

I never used to drink coffee or any other type of energy drink. I drank water, and that was it. For some reason, I really couldn’t tell you why, I started drinking the leftover coffee in the pot that my bf makes in the morning. I think it has had a negative effect on my productivity. I’m jittery when I drink too much, and so lethargic as soon as 1pm rolls around that all I can think about it going home from work early. I long for days I have the privilege of working from home, but when those days come, I hardly work at all and convince myself I’ll make up the time later. I sleep way more than I used to and have a wretched time getting up in the morning. I used to consider myself a morning person able to be fresh and ready in the morning without needing much time to wake up. Now, I go to sleep early, wake up late, and still feel tired. With coffee, I can get a solid 4 hours of productive work in before I start to crash, and then I don’t want to drink more coffee since I know it will affect my sleep and make me more tired.

This is all bringing up another thought in my mind about impulse control related to food. When there is food available that I want to eat, especially when the fear exists that if I don’t eat it right then, someone else will eat it, I will eat it even if I’m not hungry. When there is a piece of pizza left in the fridge in the morning, I will eat it for breakfast even when I don’t want to because I worry it will be gone by the time I do want to eat it. I believe this is what happened in my mind when I saw the leftover coffee in the pot. My bf used to make his coffee in the Keurig (only making as much as he needed), but with the pot, there was enough left over for me, and so I drank it! For no other reason than that I didn’t want it to be wasted and I didn’t want someone else to have it. It makes no sense why I feel this way about food. I always had food security as a child. The only potential reasoning I can see for my behavior is that I grew up with a younger sister who stole my food and a constantly dieting mom.

As for other bad-for-you foods like fatty foods or fried foods, they do affect my mental health in that they make me feel bloated and upset with myself for eating them. Physically, they make my body feel heavy, which negatively affects my self-esteem. I know that when I feel good about my body, my mental self-image is more positive as well, so in that way, I do believe physical health and mental health are related.

After writing this post, I’m going to try to focus more intentionally on my food intake again. I lost 30 pounds at the end of last year, but now my weight has plateaued and I’m feeling frustrated again. Maybe cutting the caffeine out will put me back on track.

-Emily
March 30, 2019 at 1:54pm
March 30, 2019 at 1:54pm
#955357
Well, last month was a little busier for me, and I didn’t get the MHWA prompts done, but I’m not giving up! I’ll try again in April. Otherwise, I did continue writing and adding things to my portfolio. For tallies, I wrote 22 reviews, 5 poems, and 1 non-fiction essay. I also powered my way through 5 books and wrote reviews for them. Yesterday, I felt the urge to create an item to practice my observation skills and short poetry, so I made a pseudo nature journal as well where I hope to write something every day in April at least for NaPoWriMo, though I’m not putting a hard challenge on myself. I’d rather just see what happens and be conscious of seeing spring bloom this month and getting outside more *Smile* Of course, I also kept up with my "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group guardian duties, "30-Day Blogging Challenge prompting, and my sleep tracking over at the "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge – I may give myself another thing to track for April rather than wake ups as I think I have that pretty well mastered.

Writings:
 
STATIC
Perspective  (E)
Spring's golden blossoms beckon from the land beyond
#2184552 by Emily

 
STATIC
Enlightenment  (E)
Reason shines as a spirit dressed in crystals of frost - Includes Reading
#2185022 by Emily

 
STATIC
The Age of Enlightenment  (E)
A brief history on the Age of Enlightenment and the period's influential philosophers
#2185009 by Emily

 
STATIC
Winter Glass  (E)
A hedge glitters in the morning frost
#2185572 by Emily

 
STATIC
The Raucous Song of Spring  (E)
These boisterous birds hold court from the tallest tree announcing spring is here at last.
#2185724 by Emily

STATIC
Body Memory  (GC)
The memory of it makes her skin crawl
#2186519 by Emily

BOOK
Fleeting Moments  (E)
I follow doggedly as the world streaks by
#2186664 by Emily


Goals this month are again similar, with a few modifications. I’m keeping the MHWA tasks listed so I can keep reminding myself to do them. This month will be better, I hope!

Review:
15 for "Anniversary Reviews:
         *Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box**Box*
15 for "Newbie Welcome Wagon:
         *Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck*
12 for "SuperTower Review Room MB Rewards:
         *Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck*

Read:
For "The Monthly Reading Challenge, "Writing.Com Reading Challenge and "Angel Product Reviews
*Boxcheck* "The Third Twin" by Ken Follett
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "The Third Twin"  
*Boxcheck* “True Crime Addict” by James Renner
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray"  
*Boxcheck* "Brain on Fire" by Susannah Cahalan
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness"  
*Boxcheck* “Elevation” by Stephen King
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Elevation"  
*Boxcheck* "Calypso" by David Sedaris
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Calypso"  

Mental Health Writer’s Alliance Challenge: (do at least 20 Tasks)
*Box* Task #1
*Boxcheck* Task #2
*Box* Task #3
*Box* Task #4
*Box* Task #5
*Box* Task #6
*Box* Task #7
*Box* Task #8
*Boxcheck* Task #9
*Box* Task #10
*Boxcheck* Task #11
*Box* Task #12
*Box* Task #13
*Boxcheck* Task #14
*Box* Task #15
*Box* Task #16
*Box* Task #17
*Box* Task #18
*Box* Task #19
*Box* Task #20
*Box* Task #21
*Box* Task #22
*Box* Task #23
*Boxcheck* Task #24
*Box* Task #25
*Box* Task #26
*Box* Task #27
*Box* Task #28
*Box* Task #29
*Box* Task #30

NaPoWriMo:
Write something every day in "Fleeting Moments
*BulletGr**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck*
*Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck*
*Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**BoxCheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck*
*Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck*
*Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck*

Enter Contests:
*Boxcheck* "The Contest Challenge
*Boxcheck* April "a very Wodehouse challenge
         *Boxcheck* Review two entries in "Kittiara's Writing Contest
         *Boxcheck* Review one entry in "Intentionally Bad Story Contest
         *Boxcheck* Send review credits to in-depth reviewers (3K+ characters)
         *Boxcheck* Enter a contest of your choice
         *Boxcheck* Describe a new challenge for "Kit's Quick, Simple, Silly Activities
*Box* "The Prompt Me Contest
*Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Box**Box* "SugarCube's Bi-Weekly Random Contest!!
*Box* "Oriental Poetry Contest
*Box* "24 Syllables
*Box* "Tweet Me a Story
*Boxcheck**Boxcheck* "The Daily Poem

Continue Regular Commitments:
*Boxcheck* Normal review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
*Boxcheck* Sleep and update "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge every morning

Take care,
Emily
March 5, 2019 at 5:18pm
March 5, 2019 at 5:18pm
#953769
On a scale of 1-10, how patient are you? Do you have a preference for instant gratification? Is impatience or patience a family characteristic? What qualities would you like to develop to help you be more patient with yourself and others?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance


As I was pondering how to tackle this prompt, I found there are certain aspects of my life where I am consistently patient, and other aspects where I am overwhelmingly not. I will rate each separately with 0 being the least patient, and 10 being the most patient.

Patience with the Process
When it comes to waiting for something completely out of my control, I will happily wait forever for it. A perfect example is purchasing something online. I know it is coming, and there is nothing I can do to speed up the mail, so I’ll wait and wait and wait for it, sometimes so long that I forget I’m waiting for something at all (the surprise of finding a gift to myself in the mail is always fun *Wink* ). I’ve done my part, and whatever happens next is not my fault or my responsibility. If I never receive the package (it was lost), they’ll eventually send me an email asking me how I like my new item, and I’ll be reminded then that I never received it. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad trait, but it’s just the way I am. If worrying about it will do no good, why waste my time and brain power doing so? Rating: 10/10

Patience with Promises
One way I am not patient is when it comes to people and the promises they make. If someone tells me they’ll reply to my email before noon, I’ll get incredibly frustrated and annoyed if the email doesn’t come until afternoon. Or if someone promises they will be home by a certain time and are not, I don’t like waiting for them. This is probably a result of my own obsession with punctuality. I would never ever promise something I could not do, even something as mundane as sending an email at a certain time. I am particularly conscious of other people’s time, so I expect others to be the same way, but I find this is often not the case. Rating: 2/10

Patience with Driving
Don’t even go there. The road rage is real. I hesitate to say I hate anything, but I will say I get the most annoyed while driving. That’s a whole other entry… Rating: 0/10

Patience with Myself
This aspect of patience was interesting to think about. Many things I do happen slowly, but that’s more a result of procrastination than patience. Maybe a better example would be when I make a mistake, how patient am I with myself in correcting it? I think I am a harsh self-critic, so I find it hard to forgive myself when things go wrong as a result of my mistake. I should work to be more patient and give myself more room to learn and grow from mistakes rather than beating myself down over them. Rating: 4/10
February 26, 2019 at 4:50pm
February 26, 2019 at 4:50pm
#953220
Discuss some victories you’ve had this month, no matter how big or small. What are some goals you have going into March?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance



What a perfect prompt! *Bigsmile* The last two months I’ve done a bit of a blog post about goals for the next month, and it has worked fairly well for me, so I might as well tie it in to this prompt and do it again! *Proud*

Victories, let’s see. February was a solid month for me, nothing too crazy stressful which was nice. I felt underproductive at work, but then a coworker I disliked got fired, so that was a breath of fresh air. *Laugh* Writing wise, I kept at it with 26 reviews, 3 new poems, and 1 new non-fiction essay. I also created two new fun games I’ve never done before on this site, even after all these years: 1 crossword and 1 word search. It was also my first time challenging myself to do the "MHWA Mental Health Challenge tasks, and (after this entry) I’ll have done 20! Woohoo! I consider that an accomplishment *Smile* From the task prompts, I wrote 6 blog posts which I am quite proud of and might work to expand in the future (especially the one about public speaking and the one that is currently secured behind a passcode about crimes committed by the mentally ill). I liked the feeling of blogging to prompts again. I get so stressed having to give the prompts for the "30-Day Blogging Challenge that I don’t like also writing for them *Pthb* The prompts for the "Mental Health Writers Alliance though were really thought-provoking. *Thumbsupl* I read 6 books and wrote reviews for them, kept up with my "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group guardian duties, and my sleep tracking over at the "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge as well.

Writings:
 
STATIC
Vestiges of Life  (13+)
The unexpected vibrancy of color in winter - Includes Reading
#2182074 by Emily

 
STATIC
Kona Coffee  (E)
Coffee begins not in the bag, but in the belly of the earth
#2182207 by Emily

 
STATIC
The Symptoms of Repression  (ASR)
How do repressed emotions affect the emergence of mental health symptoms?
#2182897 by Emily

STATIC
Follow Me to the Horizon  (ASR)
Follow me through the curtain, to the place where water cascades over the edge.
#2182980 by Emily


Fun Stuff:
 
CROSSWORD
Kona Coffee Crossword  (E)
Take a sip and relax with some warm coffee from my home to yours
#2182171 by Emily

 
SEARCH
It's a Journey  (18+)
Sometimes you find yourself desperately searching for the right words
#2183567 by Emily


As for goals, pretty similar to last month. I’m going to try to get more MHWA tasks done and go a little easier on the contests:

Review:
15 for "Anniversary Reviews:
         *Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck*
12 for "SuperTower Review Room MB Rewards:
         *Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Boxcheck*

Read:
For "The Monthly Reading Challenge and "Writing.Com Reading Challenge
*Boxcheck* "The Nature Principle” by Richard Louv
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age"  
*Boxcheck* "The Universe in a Nutshell" by Stephen Hawking
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "The Universe in a Nutshell"  
*Boxcheck* "The Fact of a Body" by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir"  
*Boxcheck* "Why is the Penis Shaped Like That?" by Jesse Bering
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?: And Other Reflections on Being Human by Jesse Bering (2012-07-03)"  
*Boxcheck* "She has her Mother's Laugh" by Carl Zimmer
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity"  

Mental Health Writer’s Alliance Challenge: (do at least 20 Tasks)
*Box* Task #1
*Box* Task #2
*Boxcheck* Task #3
*Box* Task #4
*Box* Task #5
*Box* Task #6
*Boxcheck* Task #7
*Boxcheck* Task #8
*Box* Task #9
*Box* Task #10
*Box* Task #11
*Box* Task #12
*Box* Task #13
*Box* Task #14
*Box* Task #15
*Box* Task #16
*Box* Task #17
*Box* Task #18
*Box* Task #19
*Box* Task #20
*Box* Task #21
*Box* Task #22
*Box* Task #23
*Box* Task #24
*Box* Task #25
*Box* Task #26
*Box* Task #27
*Box* Task #28
*Box* Task #29
*Box* Task #30
*Box* Task #31

Enter Contests:
*Boxcheck* "Verdant Poetry Contest for "The Contest Challenge
*Boxcheck* "Rebel Poetry Contest
*Boxcheck* March "a very Wodehouse challenge
         *Boxcheck* Research and write blog or static <1000 words about "The Age of Enlightenment."
         *Boxcheck* Select one figure from each of the following eras: Pre-Socratic, Medieval, Renaissance, Modern, and Contemporary. Give summaries (<500 words each) on their contributions to Enlightenment.
         *Boxcheck* Write a story (<1000 words) or poem (<21 lines) that deals with enlightenment of some kind.
*Boxcheck* "The Prompt Me Contest
*Boxcheck* "SugarCube's Bi-Weekly Random Contest!!
*Boxcheck* "Oriental Poetry Contest
*Boxcheck* "Haiku Hunt Contest

Continue Regular Commitments:
*Boxcheck* Normal review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
*Boxcheck* Sleep and update "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge every morning
*Boxcheck* General administration, prompting, and judging for the "30-Day Blogging Challenge

See you in March! Take care,
Emily
February 23, 2019 at 1:56pm
February 23, 2019 at 1:56pm
#952963
An estimated 75% of people have glossophobia, which is a fear of public speaking. How comfortable are you speaking in public? Have you ever been in situations where you were forced to do public speaking? How did it go?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance



Oooh, public speaking. If you had asked me this question just 3 or 4 years ago, I would have probably said it was my greatest fear. Now it ranks much lower on the fear scale, somewhere around nervous, but manageable. Let's see how I got here, shall we? *Bigsmile*

I was totally a shy kid. In grade school, I was taller and heavier than everyone in my class, which made me feel absolutely colossal. There's a picture of me at age 10 or so lined up next to two of my classmates when we received our "Perfect Attendance" certificates and I am a full head and a half taller than the boy on my left, and two heads taller than the girl on my right. A giant. Obese, I thought, even at that young age. There was a time in physical education class where we lined up and had to weigh ourselves one at a time and then tell the teacher out loud what the scale read. I was in the 5th grade, I think, and I weighed more than every other girl by a long shot, more than every boy, and as much as what everyone considered the "fat kid." (Michael was his name. I remember because in my shame I felt the need to tease him: "Michael, Michael, motorcycle!" It is foolish and nonsensical, something I'm ashamed of looking back, but at that time, I needed to do anything that would direct attention away from my massive, white, whale body.)

At the time, I could not understand this, but I was bigger than everyone in my class because I was Scandinavian. In Hawaii where I went to school, my classmates were Asian, Hawaiian, Portuguese, Filipino, and other pacific islander ethnicities. I was a different genetic make-up, which made me physically different from my classmates through no fault of my own. At that time, I did not understand this in the least, resulting in my thinking I was fat, fat, fat. On top of that, my eyesight was horrific so I wore thick glasses, and my teeth were a jumble, so I got braces early and wore them for nearly 4 years. My appearance screamed black sheep and did NOT fit in. All together, these insecurities with my appearance made speaking in public a nightmare. I wanted to sink into nothing, be nothing. I wanted to hide, and that feeling continues to persist to this day. I am overly aware of the space I take up and how to move so I don't accidentally knock into someone else or get in their personal space. But lest we get off-topic, let's get back to the topic of this post: public speaking.

My insecurities as a kid contributed to my fear of being in front of other people. It was not just public speaking, but I was afraid of doing anything where other people would be watching me or where I would draw unnecessary attention to myself: playing sports, raising my hand in class, walking across the stage to accept an award, coughing in a public place, going to the bathroom when other people could hear me. This fear nestled deep in my subconscious, and it's been hard to shake. But I did start off this entry by saying that public speaking is something I'm not as afraid of now as I was in the past, so how did that happen?

I still felt the fear of being the center of attention through most of college, but I think after I presented my final honors thesis in front of all the other Bio majors, it was the last hurdle and the time I finally let go of some of the fear I had held onto for so long. The way I said that might make you think my presentation was phenomenal, but the reality was that it was not. I had spent months and months preparing my presentation, my powerpoint, my speech, my outfit, but when I got to the podium to begin, all of my slides were fucked up (something to do with the moderator transferring them onto his computer from my flash drive). At that point, there was nothing I could do, so I gave the presentation I had practiced so long for, accompanied by the slides I knew looked horrible, and when it was over, everyone clapped just the same as they would have if everything was perfect, I received an A grade, and then it was over. In that moment, I recognized how pointless it was to harbor all that stress over presenting when things will go wrong anyway. That's something that has stuck with me ever since.

I speak in public all the time now for work. Less formal presentations, but a lot of presenting in meetings, giving lessons for students, and staffing booths at events where I speak with the public. I still feel the nerves, but those are normal and natural and a strong motivator to do a good job. But I am no longer petrified of speaking in public or being the center of attention. This might also have to do with the fact that I have grown into my body and am more adult in carrying myself. Part of that too is realizing that everyone is more concerned with how they look than with how you look.

I think the moral of the story is that public speaking is about having just the right dose of nerves to motivate your performance, mixed with the acknowledgement that no one, including yourself, is perfect. Mistakes happen, and that's okay - they're what make us human.
February 21, 2019 at 11:40am
February 21, 2019 at 11:40am
#952640
Do you think or notice that getting older has an effect on mental illness?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance


This is an interesting question that I don’t think I’ve ever considered. Perhaps because I have not yet experienced most of my life, the component of age hasn’t been much of a consideration. That said, I am beginning to mentally transition from a “young adult” to just a normal adult, so there are more responsibilities that I am now taking on. I think that’s where my mind is going with this entry, so let’s pursue it!

Responsibilities change as we get older. Becoming an adult means more responsibilities related to finances, a home, a car, a career, children, aging parents/grandparents, and more. Our lives progressively become more and more about providing for other people over ourselves. You may take on the responsibility of loving someone else, loving an animal, working a job, caring for a home and children, which will leave less time for caring for yourself. I am a big proponent of self-care, whatever that means to you. I am an introvert, so self-care to me means curling up alone with music, my writing, a book, and the dog curled nearby. I need this time to keep myself sane, but as we age and take on more responsibility, the time available for self-care becomes more limited.

However, I will say that as we age, we also build our support system. I mentioned intimate relationships, pets, and children as “responsibilities,” but they are also (of course) things we love and when the relationships are healthy, they help our mental state.

Another side of this though is that as we’ve grown up, we’ve also learned how to deal with more things because we’ve experienced more things. We understand that life has high points and low points, but the train will keep moving so long as we don’t jump off and the view is bound to change around the next bend. We have a longer history to compare our current hardships with. Young people, especially teenagers, get more agitated when confronted by something difficult because they do not have the life experience to see the end of the tunnel. This does affect their mental state, so in that way, age may alleviate some of those stressors, but then of course, others rise to take their place.

So far, I’ve only talked about the transition from youth to adulthood (because this is my only experience so far), but on the other end of the spectrum, there is aging into middle age and eventually old age. There are a whole suite of new stressors associated with this aging in our latter years including fears of retirement, an aging body, the compounded stresses of your children’s lives, and eminent death.

I apologize for the “all over the place” entry. I think this topic itself is “all over the place” because there are so many different angles it could be discussed from. The stresses through our lives change, and thus our mental state is affected differently throughout our aging. People deal with different stresses differently, so where someone’s mental health may be more affected by the stresses in youth, another may be more affected by the stresses that accompany old age. Our path through life is never exactly the same as anyone else’s, so I think the answer of whether age affects mental health will depend on the person.

February 18, 2019 at 9:38am
February 18, 2019 at 9:38am
#952343
Recent studies have shown that your brain can form good habits through repetitive actions, whether or not you derive any satisfaction from the actions. Do you think you can form good habits such as eating healthy or exercising simply by repeatedly doing the action? Do you have any experience with forming habits this way? Are there any other methods of forming good habits that you’ve tried?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance



I have heard this habit-forming technique several times before. "Fake it 'til you make it," right? And I think there is a lot of truth in it actually. It's a bit like muscle memory - doing something regularly will improve your skill at it and it will become easier and easier over time, eventually becoming a habit. There are some things, like exercising or writing, where our proficiency will increase the more you do them. Often, these are habits that are harder to start forming because we feel incompetent at doing them or embarrassed, which dissuades us from trying in the first place. Then there are other things, like eating healthy or brushing your teeth, where it isn't so much about improving your skill as about feeling and seeing the positive results.

"Do you think you can form good habits ... simply by repeatedly doing the action?" Yes, and no. I think to say "repeatedly doing the action" is not exactly specific enough. If I exercised repeatedly throughout the day/week/month on a whim without purpose, I do not think this would form a habit. I think the repetition needs to be done in a deliberate way. Perhaps the most important elements of forming a habit through repeated action are intention and timing. Knowing why you are doing an action, and doing it at a specific time of day is hugely important in forming that habit. In the beginning, you need to consciously think about repeating the action, but if the goal is for that action to become a habit, it needs to eventually be automatic. And the quickest way to make an action automatic is to trigger it with something external, such as the time of day. Rather than "exercising every day," decide instead to "exercise every morning." Rather than "write a poem once a week," find a time you are more creative and productive and say "write for one hour every Sunday night," for example.

Another hard part about forming a habit is that we often feel like we don't have enough time in our day to add anything else. This makes it really difficult to carve out time for a new habit, especially something that takes time like exercising or writing. If we are not intentional about setting aside time for our new habits, they will likely be pushed to the side very quickly. Tell your family and friends about your goal to form a new habit and block off that time on your calendar. You may also need to compromise a bit to find more time in your day to keep doing the things you want to do as well as add a new habit. Personally, I love to read and it is important for me to continue reading. However, sitting down to read a paper book makes me feel like I am wasting so much time that could be used doing other things. This may be because I'm a relatively slow reader and I need complete silence to read, so the appropriate conditions are rarely met. Now, what I have started doing is listening to audiobooks instead. I can read AND do other things! I can read and drive, read and clean, read and do laundry, read and cook, read and exercise. It's been revolutionary in my life! *HappyCry* By doing this, I feel like I have more time in my day, but I really haven't lost anything, AND I'm reading more than I was before. You may be able to find a similar way to carve out time in your day to add your new habit as well as continue doing the things that you love.

Finally, if you don't find joy in doing your habit at first (most common examples are eating healthy and exercising), give yourself time to ease into it. There is no reason to push yourself full force in the beginning because then you will learn to dread the time you set aside for your habit and it is more likely to be abandoned. Go slow at first. Maybe only 10 minutes exercising instead of a full 30. Maybe start your diet by adding a salad to your normal meal or alternating "normal" and "healthy" eating days. To help you learn to love your new habit, you may also be able to pair it with something you already love. If you love cooking, learn new recipes for your new healthy eating habit. If you like music, listen while you're exercising.

To break it down, here are the strategies I mentioned in this entry and have worked for me when forming new habits:

         1. Be deliberate in your intention
         2. Trigger your habits with a specific time of day
         3. Set aside designated time for your new habit
         4. Build up slowly to avoid burnout
         5. Pair your habit with something you already enjoy




By the way, I spelled exercising so many times in this entry that I finally trained myself to spell it right on the first try! Woop woop! Habit forming right there! *Proud*
February 17, 2019 at 3:57pm
February 17, 2019 at 3:57pm
#952230
I’m currently reading Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, which is a nonfiction memoir about the author’s struggle with depression.

Tell us about some of your favorite nonfiction mental health books. Have you ever thought about writing a nonfiction mental health memoir yourself? Why or why not?


From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance



When I saw this prompt, I knew immediately the book I wanted to write about. I've been pouring myself into audiobooks recently, and this particular book is one that simply blew my socks off. I was not expecting to relate so much to the author, but her story is as real as it gets. She doesn't claim to be anything more than she is. She is imperfect, and that's ok. I wrote a more general book review linked here, but I'll take some time now to delve a little deeper into my thoughts on Hope Jahren's book, Lab Girl.

Lab Girl   (Rated: 18+)
ASIN: 1101873728
ID #113919
Product Type: Book
Reviewer: Emily
Review Rated: E
  Setting:
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  Overall Quality:
Amazon's Price: $ 12.25
You Save: $ 3.75


I assume you clicked over to read the review, so I won't repeat the basic premise of the book here again. Jahren's writing style was so engrossing, it was easy to get pulled along by her tale and miss the subtle signs of her anxiety, panic, and manic depression emerging throughout the book. Jahren does a fabulous job telling her story. All of it. All of her joys. All of her fears. All of her accomplishments. And all of her struggles with mental health. At first, she does not directly call out these unhealthy emotions, choosing instead to let the reader feel them for themselves as a part of the complete story. This is not a book about mental health. It is a book about Hope Jahren. The whole of her being, including the parts that wouldn't normally make it into a book about a successful scientist.

I really appreciated how Jahren juxtaposed her analytical and obsessive passion for her work with soil and plants, with her aloof dismissal of her own psychology and the strain she was putting on herself. I related to her easily because she was afraid to seek help for fear of being shunned in the scientific community or further marginalized. Whatever problems she was having would simply have to take a back seat until the grant proposal was written, the spectrometer assembled, the research paper edited, etc. Her dedication to her work was humbling to witness, but so much more was revealed once the reader saw deeper into her pained psyche.

In addition to her wholehearted dedication to her work, I also related to Jahren for her distinct fears stemming from her gender. She was a young female scientist in a predominantly mans field. Her constant need to prove herself extended beyond her lab and into everything she did. Even when she was finally ready to start a family, she was plagued by the doubt of whether she would be a good mother. Would she be able to ever love her son as much as he deserved to be loved? Her recount of giving birth is one of the most personal and honest pieces of writing I have ever read. This is not a book full of happiness and rainbows. This is real life where things are messy. Things go wrong. And people make mistakes.

I do also have to comment on the fact that I listened to this as an audiobook where Hope Jahren herself was the narrator. I wouldn't recommend it any other way, to be honest. I do want to read the book again in paper form, but hearing it straight from the author's mouth is unlike anything. I also noticed that Matt Haig narrated the audiobook of his book as well, so I've put that on my list. I think I would probably listen to any memoir read by the author because it feels so much more intimate and personal to me. I could tell, for example, when Jahren was struggling to read the words she had written and even started tearing up. Absolutely gripping. Highly recommend. I'm excited to hear Haig tell his story.

If I were to one day write a memoir of my life, it would include elements of my mental health, but I don't believe I'm anywhere near the point in my life where I want or need to write that book. I have a lot more growth left to do and a lot more life to live. I don't know what mental health struggles are in my future, but reading the accomplishments of Jahren and her candid attitude about her mental health showed me that if and when I'm ready to write my own memoir, I'll be able to follow her lead and showcase how my mental health is a part of my life, not a director of it.

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