*runs across room kicking 2013 out the window…kicks harder to make sure it’s gone…dead..buried…not like those bad guys you think are dead but then hop up behind you suddenly…nope, not this girl. Tosses boulder outside window to make sure, 2013…gone..dead*
*catches blog readers watching…crickets crickets*
“Hiiiii guyssss…” *whistles and leaves room*
So, as you may have guessed by my not so subtle feelings expressed here–I am SO HAPPY 2013 is over! I honestly don’t know where to start. This last week, I had come across a few blogs from authors/writers/readers who chose to be brave and write about this past years difficulty in their lives. Most of them, very raw, very honest. I appreciated them so much. There’s something about realizing that in your darkest times, you are not alone. Perspective, you know?
One of those blogs were today from (twitter handle) @brokeandbookish Jamie. She wrote:
The title was enough to catch my attention and respect, without even reading it yet.
In order to go into my Resolutions for 2014, there are certain things you need to know about me and this past year. It’s gonna get personal, so I totally understand if you skip to PART 2 of this post where I get to my resolutions. *smiles appreciatively*
As I was reading her post, my eyes would widen. I was reading MY life, and feelings about last year. Did this girl live my life? Granted, her specified circumstances were slightly (which is funny, only slightly) different from mine, but all the sentiments, inner dialogue and hermit tendencies during tough times most definitely were identical. She expressed in words, things I have not been able to all year. Anyway, let’s get to it:
2013, you devil, you:
*glares at 2013*
“No, that was not a compliment or me flirting with you!”
*pivots, whips hair turning and walks away*
This last year has been, as a whole, the hardest, darkest year of mine and my families life. Have we gone through major dark times in the past? Yes, but 2013 was one big freaking BLACK cloud of evil that refused to leave us alone…especially me.
My family and I entered 2013 just going through a death in the family. My other older brother, had a bad migraine one week, and one day went to the hospital to deal with it, fell asleep and never, as himself came back to us. He went into a coma. Eight days later, after living in the hospital day and night–critical care unit–finding out pieces here and there but never certainty–we were told he had developed a massively impressive sized tumor which they can not remove and then found out…it was cancerous. There was no hope. The end of those eight days, the doctors ended his life support.
Four months leading up to this event was already hell. My Mom was going through major things that effected all of us severely. The last six months of 2012 were the hell gate leading into 2013’s domain Inferno!
The months that followed his passing–into 2o13–everything else in my life fell apart. I learned that people I thought were friends for four years, in fact, were not. When my life fell apart, I was in shock at the reality that they were no where to be found. I was the one who made all the effort in the friendships. I didn’t notice that till it was my turn to go through something, and not just something–life altering, life shattering many things.
I had a career I had invested 7 years into and suddenly, it was time to say “goodbye”. It didn’t fit anymore. It wasn’t what I was meant to do. I did not belong anymore.
“What would I do now?” I panicked and thought.
I had to return home and move back in with my Mother and my other older brother for both health issues as well as my Mother needing me to help out with the company.
(giving you all the reader’s digest version because its not necessary to get into all the gory details, and beside–most of you don’t care–which is totally cool! *winks*)
YA Community, Books & Writing Saved Me:
I laughed and told a friend jokingly, that if I ever wrote an autobiography, it would called something like “Writing & YA Saved My Life”.
But seriously, these three things I believe are what got me through the last half of 2013. I. Survived. 2013 because of the YA Community, YA books, and Writing.
As I was sinking deeper into a dark introverted hole, a light broke through suddenly mid year. Here’s the thing, I am a great Mask-Wearer. I don’t share my deepest darkest emotions (especially verbally-I can only seem to express emotions through writing. Frustrates my closest friends but they are patient and love me…the real ones, who pursued & stuck around). I grew up with an amazing and strong single mother who has never known “Quit-Lie down in defeat!” Its not in her nature, or her vocabulary. God, I wish I came out more like her. She could conquer the world, really, just by believing she could. Hell comes like acid storms of immense heat and she stands firm, glaring the Hell storm back, determined to live. I tend to ball up in a corner, by myself and hide away from the world.
I wanted to quit life…MANY. TIMES. I will be honest and raw here. Things were bad.
Suddenly, that thing I mentioned (previous blog) where my life-long reading slump was broken, and YA took over my life? Yeah, that was the light that broke through. After reading these books, from this genre I now shamelessly accepted to love, courage came to face a dream and desire I never wanted to face. Facing it, and accepting it was a desire and dream of mine, meant me facing what I thought was the reality…I am not good enough and as someone who hasnt been reading much these last few years (Fiction genre reading that is), the idea was ridiculous. Flat out delusional.
I had written screenplays and skits for drama for years and years. Finally, I had believed, that dream was never going to happen (one of my scripts being chosen to be turned into a movie). So I wrote these stories in my head in script form (mostly dialogue and scene location) just because it was a part of who I was, what I did. Only my two best friends knew about them, we would even read some out loud for fun.
I wanted to be a writer. I wrote poetry since childhood. I wrote songs since my tween years. I wrote plays, and scripts all the time. I filled journal upon journal with my emotions and expressions, and days events. I drew outfits and people I saw in my head, and each one always had a story. Only I knew that.
All those years, and for some reason, I NEVER identified any of that with a desire to be a writer. I pursued Acting, Music and Dance when I was younger. I thought I would be an Actress, or a Singer/Musician. Those two never panned out. My health issues were not giving me a fighting chance, which then ended with me allowing my defeatist attitude about it, to ruin my chances all together.
Falling in love with YA reads gave me clarity. I wanted to Write and I wanted to write for YA! It made perfect sense. How had I never seen this before. My style, my characters, things I’ve written always carried a YA feel to it. The problem was, I never heard of the term YA (or even Young Adult Literature period) till this year.
Here’s what really saved me…& you will never know how much I appreciate you:
The YA community I discovered after these realizations began coming together, charged it all. It took courage for me to accept this thing I was loving. A 29 year old liking “young adult” “teen” books. A 29 year old choosing now, this late in life, a whole new career path–another artistic, dead beat, no hope of financial stability future career path–had I not learned my lesson?
A 29 year old who never got to finish college, didn’t attend a university, doesn’t have an English degree, hasn’t been an avid reader for years on end–this 29 year old who does not fit the mold…AT. ALL. What was I thinking?
I asked myself this over and over. Many nights in delirious laughter, in mournful cries, in dazed–starring out into space–eyes for hours, over-analyzing it all.
What sucked me out of this? What encouraged me? What helped build this new re-discovered love into fruition? What gave me hope, and advice, guidance, and bookish love?
The YA community.
They have been like no other.
It’s funny, I have spent years around the entertainment industry community, and the beauty industry community (studied at Paul Mitchell for hair and makeup) and no matter what, I never fully belonged. My personality just didn’t fit in–not fully.
When I found the YA book community, their nerdy banter and fangirling and connection to anyone who could relate, felt right. I finally felt like I could belong, comfortably. With the other communities, I always felt I had to try harder to be cooler, wittier, well informed, knowledgeable and boastful about it, fashionable (With acting and music? Hipster. With beauty? Fashionable and fabulous…all. the. time.) It was too exhausting. Too much work. My introverted self would then come home, peel off the attempt to fit in, curl up in bed and disappear for a few days to recharge.
I want, no, I need to thank Epic Reads (Margot and Aubry), I need to thank all the book bloggers who on Twitter have embraced me (M.G. Buehrlen, Jen-cupcakegirly and many others), even in the smallest way (A random favorite here and there letting me know, “Great minds think alike” ha!), and the authors I have interacted with even (Jodi Meadows, C.J. Redwine, Amy Tintera, and more), your small random interactions have meant more than you’ll ever know.
I appreciate how easy it is to connect with these people and all because of books! Books give us an understanding of one another that only others who love books, especially YA books, can understand. I am so glad I found this community of crazy, quirky nerds. I can be myself. It’s nice. *serene grin*
“Books – whether I’m writing or reading them – are home to me too.” -Jessica Spotswood
I had mentioned on Twitter to her and Jodi Meadows that,
“…need to remember reality & that no matter what-I write because its Home to me”.
Jessica Spotswood was the other author who wrote a blog post about facing difficulties and was brave enough to share them with us.
I mentioned how writing is “Home” to me. It’s one the sweetest, and wonderful revelations I have learned about myself in 2013. (hey look, a silver lining!)
Taking courage by the horns and running off the very high cliff (I’m terrified of heights), spreading my arms (don’t worry, I have one those batman paragliding wings strapped on, Oh, and a professional trainer strapped onto my back too) and not apologizing for what I love, not over analyzing all the reasons not to do it–I’m just soaring and believing it can be done. In the end, I’ll do it anyway because I love it.
“Less Stress – More Daydreaming” -Jodi Meadows (2014 resolution)
SO what are my 2014 Resolutions???
Well let’s take a stroll over to Part 2 of this blog (before a riot begins over how long this post ended up being…so was not my intention)
Here’s the thing. Even if only ONE person sticks around long enough to still be reading this, and this ONE person found this helpful–not because of me, but because of these two brave and awesome women who posted their struggles and thoughts to overcome, much more eloquently than I attempted to, then it was worth all the readers who tuned out 10 paragraphs ago.
Their blog posts helped me–spoke to me. I needed to read them. Perhaps, someone else will need them too. In that case…worth it!
Now, onto what some of you only wanted to read…RESOLUTIONS!
(Click link below to go directly to it)