Remember to Breathe

Remember to Breathe

*This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you choose to click on them and/or make a purchase*

Breathing is definitely NOT overrated.  I lost most of November to a sinus infection, and while sinus infections are nothing new to me, this one added a new twist: asthma exacerbation.  My “mild” asthma became much less so, and pretty much any type of exertion left me breathless.  This was especially annoying considering I live on the third floor, so just taking the stairs was an adventure.  Add some truly excruciating joint pain to the mix and you may begin to understand why I haven’t been a very happy camper.  Writing and typing are difficult when you have shooting pains in your elbow and your fingers are too stiff and sore to hold a pen.  I have a speech-to-text program that I like to use for “writing” down my thoughts, but even talking was too much exertion for my poor lungs.  So I haven’t been able to get much work done on my book, let alone anything else.

*BreatheAir Purifiers for AsthmaBreathe*

It’s extremely frustrating for me to not be able to do the things I want to do.  I don’t like being told I can’t do something, and my body has been telling me “nope” for several weeks now.  (Yes, I’ve seen a doctor.  Yes, I’m much better, thus why I’m actually able to write this now.)  I’ve been forced to slow down, take it easy, relax… and I hate it.  Patience is not one of my virtues.  But it’s given me a lot of time to think.

*The Power of Breath: The Art of Breathing Well for Harmony, Happiness, and HealthBreathe Better Feel BetterBreathing Space: Living and Working at a Comfortable Pace in a Sped-Up Society*

Obviously, the book I’m writing is much on my mind.  Make that books.  As I do my research and go over my notes, I realize this is a much more ambitious project than I originally thought.  The good thing is that just makes me more excited about it.  The bad thing is that excitement makes the frustration of not being able to work on it worse.  I’ve had to constantly remind myself to just take a deep breath and let it go.

*“Take a Deep Breath” by V Sharp Multon*
from: Imagekind-Artwork from independent artists

Since writing wasn’t working, I ended up doing a lot of reading and listening to audiobooks.  I must admit, I love self-help books.  I love how they can make me think about my life, hopes, and dreams, and get me enthused about them all over again.  One that I recently finished and highly recommend is Jen Sincero’s *You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life*.  I have the audiobook version, which she reads herself.  I really like her style, though it’s quite different from the usual fare.  She can be crass and vulgar (she was in a band called Crotch, that should really explain a lot right there) but to me anyway, that makes her seem more real and approachable.  I’m seriously considering investing in one of her coaching programs.

You can check out some of the quotes from You Are a Badass on Goodreads, but there were two that I want to share in this post:

“Life often turns to shit before it turns to shinola.”

“Birthing your dreams is like… giving birth.  Conceiving the idea is the fun part (hopefully), then you go through insane amounts of fear and excitement and dreaming and planning and vomiting and growing and thinking you’re crazy and thinking you’re awesome and stretching and shape shifting until you’re practically unrecognizable to everyone, even your own self.”

Following your dreams is not an easy path.  As the saying goes, if it was easy everyone would do it.  I’ve never been pregnant, but I’ve been around enough pregnant women to recognize the truth of the second quote.  I know that following my dreams has changed me considerably from the person I was a decade ago.  It’s been a pretty wild ride, but I’m not about to get off the roller coaster.

What I found incredibly interesting and enlightening was the chapter containing the first quote.  By really going for your dreams, you are basically trying to completely change your reality, but your reality doesn’t want to change, so it throws a tantrum like a threenager.  It’s like Murphy’s Law on steroids and crack.  But it also means you’re on the right track.  So the sinus infection, my asthma now requiring a daily inhaler, the joint pain I’ll be seeing a Rheumatologist about in January, all but one of the headlights on my car going out, the flash drive with all my notes and references for the book getting corrupted (talk about leaving me breathless!), my laptop BSODing, my credit score tanking because I couldn’t pay my bills and my creditors were breathing down my neck, and what seems like a million other little setbacks are all because I’m finally on my way to making my dreams my new reality.  I’m going to believe that anyway, it helps me to breathe easier. 🙂

Now, back to MY book.  I think strategic planning is extremely important for any business, but it’s also extremely different for a one-person business than it is for a corporation.  First of all, you ARE your business.  You eat, sleep, and yes, breathe it.  It’s very difficult for an artist to detach themselves from their art, as we pour our hearts and souls into each piece we make.  So you’re not just planning for your business, you’re planning for your LIFE.  Because of that, I will be incorporating not only the knowledge I’ve gleaned from my studies on corporate strategic planning, but also from the variety of self-development and life coaching books I’ve read.  I’ll try to keep my rah-rah cheerleader tendencies to a minimum, and because I always put “none of the above” for my religious affiliation, you won’t be seeing any mentions of a specific religion.  This book is about you, your business, and your dreams.

*Breathing Freely: Celebrating the Imperfect LifeTake Their Breath Away: How Imaginative Service Creates Devoted Customers*

I’m also using the material I’m creating to take a good hard look at my own business.  These last few weeks have given me a lot of time to think and dream and figure out what it is I really want.  I’ll be doing a post about my BIG dream later, but there are three things that I want my business to be about: freedom, creativity, and passion, not only for myself, but for every small creative business.  Painting the Big Picture of Your Creative Business will be all about discovering the passion behind your business and creating the freedom you want in your life.

*Breathing on Your OwnA Deep Breath of Life: Daily Inspiration for Heart-Centered LivingBreathing In, Breathing Out: Keeping a Writer's Notebook *

For me, part of the freedom I want to create for myself and my business is the freedom from worry about money.  Besides the sickness and pain, another thing keeping me from writing is the necessity to try and find ways to make enough money to pay the bills.  Time spent listing items on eBay and Etsy or researching events I can vend at is time spent away from working on my book.  This is one reason I created the Indiegogo campaign, to raise funds so I could work on the book without financial distractions.  The campaign ends today (December 18), and I am nowhere near reaching the goal for the first book, let alone all ten.  So I’ve been looking at other ways to make some passive income, and that’s why I’ve signed up to be an affiliate for some of my favorite companies and websites, like *eBay*, *Amazon*, *Groupon*, *Better World Books*, and *Jo-Ann.com*.  Then I went a little nuts…

*Asthma FreeDarth Vader Breathing Device*

*Asthma For DummiesThe Art of Breathing: Thirty Simple Exercises for Improving Your Performance and Well-BeingThe Breathing BookLet Your Spirit Breathe: Living a Peace-Filled Life*

*Take a Deep BreathWhy Is It So Hard to Breathe?: A First Look at AsthmaBreathing Space: Twelve Lessons for the Modern Woman*

Yeah, I went a little overboard.  You can see them all on the Referrals and Recommendations page (still a work in progress, but let me know if you have issues with any of the links or you can’t find what you’re looking for).  As you’ve probably figured out by now, I am putting an asterisk on either side of any affiliate link.  This ensures that it’s completely obvious that it’s an affiliate link, and also helps me to find them when I’m done writing a post if I don’t put the links in as I go.  And links without the asterisks are non-affiliated.  Anyway, I’ll be seeing how these do and likely will pare them down in the coming months.  I’ll also be doing some specific posts giving more details and reviews of certain products and services, and using some to illustrate some of the other posts I have planned.  Speaking of which, you can get a sneak preview of possible themes by checking out my Pinterest boards.  I’ve been adding products I find on Etsy for each of these “vision boards” in hopes of giving those sellers a bit of extra exposure, plus I may use some of them for illustrative purposes like I did in my last post.  Note that I have no affiliation with these Etsy shops and am not receiving any compensation for sharing their products.  I just think they’re neat and I want to help other artists and small businesses like myself.  Of course, I will add my own products to these boards as I make them, as there are dozens of inspirations running through my head thanks to this process.  “Vision boards” indeed.

*AFI Breathe Spiral Notebook *

I’ve also been looking at other ways to express my creativity and passion.  Several years ago, I set up a Zazzle store that I called Badly Drawn Designs, a play on the Jessica Rabbit quote I play at the beginning of my shows for The Cape Radio and the fact that all my designs are text-based.  I haven’t added anything to it in years, but it’s still generating a little bit of income for me.  I have an Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of other ideas, so I really want to start creating these again, especially now that I have PhotoShop.  Here is my most popular product of all time (42 sold so far!):

*See more Badly Drawn Designs*
*Make your own t-shirts online at zazzle.com*

I’m also using PhotoShop to create images like the one at the top of this post.  The background image is from Pixabay, a site of royalty free, public domain images that can be used for commercial purposes.  I add the word art, using fonts from dafont.com which are also free for commercial use (not all of them are, so make sure you look for ones that are public domain or 100% free).  I really do enjoy playing around with fonts and words, and I’m thinking of creating word art images for sale in my Etsy shop.  These would be digital downloads, so another great source of put-it-up-and-forget-it income.  What do you think of this one?

JustKeepBreathing

You’re probably wondering how this all fits with the rest of my business.  Remember those three words I mentioned earlier?  Freedom, creativity, and passion.  The affiliate links offer me the freedom to work on other things while still potentially generating income, and the companies and websites I choose are ones I am passionate about, related to creativity, or speak to one of my other passions, like helping small business owners and saving the world (even if it’s just *feeding animals at a shelter*… it all adds up to a better world eventually).  Badly Drawn Designs gives me the freedom to create something without having to reproduce or ship it myself.  I’ve always had a passion for words, and playing with fonts and images provides a creative outlet.  I love making jewelry and sewing, but it’s not always possible for me to do so.  And of course, writing Painting the Big Picture of Your Creative Business gives me the freedom to creatively share one of my passions: reworking big business concepts for one-person businesses.

So much of the literature available to us “little guys” seems to be based on our desire to either become one of the big guys or sell our business to them.  But what if that’s not our goal?  A lot of small, creative business people just want to keep their business something they can handle on their own, maybe with a little bit of help now and then, but they don’t have any desire to deal with employees or investors or IPOs.  I am designing Painting the Big Picture of Your Creative Business for the individual artist and crafter who wants to define success on their own terms.  Strategic planning can help you whether you want to make a million dollars a year or just want to help put food on the table.  In fact, I would say that strategic planning is vital to the success of your business, however you define success.  And it doesn’t have to be hard, or confusing, or frustrating.  It can be an extremely fun process!  Plus, you can pre-order today for as little as $5, so what do you have to lose?  Take a deep breath and click that Contribute Now button. 😉

*Breathe for Life: How to Reduce Stress & Enhance Your FitnessBreathe In, Breathe Out: Inhale Energy and Exhale Stress by Guiding and Controlling Your Breathing*

I couldn’t resist adding one last thing… who knew bad breath could be so cute??  🙂

Giant Microbes Bad Breath Microbe

*Giant Microbes Bad Breath Microbe*
from: StuffedAnimals.com























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Reawakening Dreams

I was six or seven when I wrote (and illustrated) my first book.  It was about the first Thanksgiving and had a bright pink laminated cardstock cover.  I think I was in my Strawberry Shortcake phase at the time, so pink was my favorite color.  My teacher entered it in some contest, and I won.  I don’t remember much more than that about it, but it was likely what fueled my early ambitions to be a writer.  Around that same age, I also remember saying I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.  These dreams lasted until my teenage years when various circumstances made me pack them away, along with my dreams of being an artist.  But these dreams never really died.  I’ve added a few more to the box they’re stored in: life coach, librarian, used bookstore owner, professional cosplayer, fashion designer, world traveler, and a handful of half-formed thoughts of “wouldn’t it be cool if…” and other vague ideas.

It’s time to unpack the box.

Heart-shaped box of dreams

From KinkySpot on Etsy

I’ve always been a big proponent of following your dreams and working to make them come true.  While many of my dreams have had to be put on the back burner for health or financial reasons, they’re still simmering.  I’ve talked about my mental health issues a few times as well as my belief that if I can follow my dreams in the face of them, anyone can.  So I’ve decided to unpack five dreams from the box: writer, teacher, life coach, world traveler, and Director of the Rewondered Creativity Center (more on that later, since I apparently deleted the original post about it).

Never let it be said that to dream is a waste of one's time, for dreams are our realities in waiting. In dreams, we plant the seeds of our future.

From VinylMasterpieces on Etsy

I’m writing a book to teach other creative solopreneurs like myself how to use strategic planning for their very small businesses.  I’ve spent the last couple of weeks looking over my notes and finding a few more resources to explore.  As the book has started to take shape in my mind, I’ve realized that it’s not just a business planning book but also a life planning book.  Which is fitting, as I believe most artists, especially those operating a one-person business, have difficulty separating themselves from their work.  We put pieces of ourselves into our art and our business and personal brands are irrevocably intertwined.  So our dreams for our business are also our dreams for ourselves.

Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.

From StandardStamp on Etsy

Now, those who know me well and/or have been reading my blog all along know that the universe loves to laugh at me when I make plans.  So me writing a book about planning might seem a bit oxymoronic (or just plain moronic).  But strategic planning is a bit different (in my not so humble opinion, at least) than just “making plans.”

Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans

From SoulfulSayings on Etsy

Don’t let the term “strategic planning” scare you.  The title of my book is Painting the Big Picture of Your Creative Business because that is what you’ll be doing while you create your strategic plan.  I had also considered calling it Dreaming Your Plan, Planning Your Dream as that is another apt description.  Strategic planning is a process of dreaming big, deciding what you really want and care about, creating a vision for the future of your business (and your life), and then figuring out how you’re going to make it all happen.

Dream your biggest dreams then wake up and chase them like crazy

From WallDecalsAndQuotes on Etsy

November is National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo.  While this book is not a novel, I do want to use the idea behind NaNoWriMo and make a pledge to write every day this month.  This will include blog posts like this one as well as the updates for those who choose the In the Loop perk from my Indiegogo campaign.  I want to have the first part of the book done before the end of the year so that you will be able to use it when you do your planning for 2016.

A book is a dream you hold in your hand

From ATArtDigital on Etsy

That tells you a little bit about my dreams of writing and teaching.  Life coaching appeals to my cheerleader side, sharing my positivity and enthusiasm while helping you to ignite yours.  So I’ve included perks where I will personally help you work through the material I’ll be providing.  Perhaps I’ll even dress as a cheerleader for those that choose the Face Time perk. 😛

I am and always will be the optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes and the dreamer of impossible dreams.

From SonnetDreamArt on Etsy

I’ll be expanding on my idea for the Rewondered Creativity Center in a future post, as it is part of my own strategic plan and big picture vision for my business.  So that leaves world traveler.  I’ve never been outside the United States, though I’ve been to 80% of the states and lived in eight different ones.  Thanks to The Cape Radio, I have friends from all over the world, and I’ve always dreamed of visiting them.  I don’t even have a passport yet, but I have looked into what it would take for me to travel to Australia and will be putting a portion of my product sales and proceeds from my Indiegogo campaign into a savings account for that trip.

Adventures are calling and I must go

From FebruaryLane on Etsy

Which dreams would you like to reawaken?  Which dreams are you living right now?  Have you even figured out what your dreams are?

It’s time to wake up, and start dreaming.

Don't quit your day dream

From maybesparrowphoto on Etsy

 

 

Revelations and Recovery

I meant to write this post last May, for Mental Health Month.  I had hoped to get it finished during Mental Illness Awareness Week.  I’ve discovered that it’s very hard for me to write in depth about my own mental health issues.  But before I get into that, I want to share an analogy about mental illness that my dear friend and personal hero, Steven Hall wrote.

The Batman Analogy  by Steven Hall

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re Batman.

Imagine that you fight crime with the help of a butler, a sidekick, a police commissioner, and several Bat-themed accomplices. You have virtually limitless resources from which to either purchase the tools and weapons you need, or you just craft them yourself. You have a computer that can analyze anything and a vast secret base from which to operate. Your most diabolical enemies are locked up with a brief, intense struggle, and while they always manage to escape Arkham, you always manage to put them back where they belong.

Now imagine that your most diabolical enemies have discovered where your Batcave is, and have taken up residence there. They have access to all the gadgets and the computer, the support network, and your secret identity, and they’re somehow using them all against you. There’s no place you can hide, nothing they can’t access, and nowhere to run that’s safe. They will always find you because they know everything about you, so you just sit there in the Batcave and let them torture you day in, day out, using the very tools that you built to fight them with. The Scarecrow is there, too, making sure that your reality is a constantly fluid and everchanging concept. There’s no sense trying to put them all back in Arkham, because they built a tunnel that you can’t access leading them straight back to the Batcave. The whole idea of being Batman is suddenly and utterly pointless.

The first scenario is, what I understand, how the normal brain works. You have your resources, you have your tools, and you can usually overcome your obstacles with a little bit of effort and determination. You’re a hero, and that’s what heroes do.

The second is the brain of an individual with mental illness. Eventually, the fight becomes so ludicrously overmatched, you just give up hope and start to just sit there and take it, not fighting back, wondering when the fight is going to end. You start rooting for the bad guys in the hope that in the end, there will be mercy.

But the point is this.

In that second scenario, you’re so far beaten that you forget who you are. You draw a blank on this Batman guy and all you can think of is how badly Bruce is getting his ass kicked in his own safe house. But no matter how bad things get, YOU’RE STILL A HERO, AND YOU’RE STILL FIGHTING, even if all the fight that’s left in you is to just breathe and survive the day.

Because one day, you’re going to find something left within you, just enough strength to rise once more and take the fight to your enemies again.

And THAT’S what heroes do too.

***

I hate to admit it, but for awhile there, the bad guys were winning.  I’ve been diagnosed with Chronic Depression, Anxiety/Panic Disorder, and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  I also suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and Insomnia, plus a handful of physical ailments such as Arthritis, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, and Eczema, which are worsened by stress and anxiety.

Last winter, my anxiety was completely out of control.  Between the stress of my husband’s uncertain health (he’s still getting migraines and cluster headaches several times a week), our even more uncertain financial situation, going to graduate school, and running a business, I was having some major pain issues in my neck and shoulders, my own headaches (not as severe as my husband’s, but that’s not a competition I want either of us to win), and heart palpitations.  I’ve since described anxiety as a flight or fight response where you’re stuck on the “or” part, and boy was I.  It also exacerbated my SAD, Insomnia, and ADHD to the point I was in a constant state of fog, unable to sleep, and unable to stay awake.

***

I started back on antidepressants (I had managed without them for years), but it took several months to find a dosage that helped.  In the meantime, I couldn’t keep up with the work required for my MLIS classes, and I was disqualified from the program.  This was a pretty big blow that did not help my depression one bit.  I couldn’t keep up with getting orders from my Etsy shop out in a timely manner, and had to shut it down.  Another blow, which only added to the stress of the uncertain financial situation.  I was feeling like I’d failed at everything.  My general mantra of “it’s okay, just try again tomorrow,” was sounding like a broken record and I was beginning to wonder if trying again was really worth the effort.

It’s ALWAYS worth the effort

It’s not easy living with mental illness.  It’s not easy to go undiagnosed for 40 years (my ADHD diagnosis was about a month after my 40th birthday).  Some days, it’s not easy to even get out of bed.  But it is always, always, always worth the effort.  Even when that effort is simply “I’ll try again tomorrow.”

***

I don’t like to talk about my mental health issues very often.  I look at what some of my friends and loved ones are going through, and I feel like I’m whining if I mention mine.  But that’s one of depression’s traps.  My illness isn’t any less valid because it’s less severe than someone else’s.  My pain might not be as intense as what my husband is suffering, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.  I get pissed off if anyone tries to tell anyone with a mental illness that “it’s not that bad,” or “suck it up,” so why do I tolerate it when I say it to myself?

I am a fiercely independent person, I don’t like being told I can’t do something, and it can be very difficult for me to ask for help.  So part of my issue is not wanting to give in to my mental illnesses, not wanting to admit how much they really affect me.  Admirable in theory, but ignoring them does not make them go away.  I don’t want to “wallow” or use them as excuses, though.  It’s a strange dichotomy, not letting mental illness rule our lives while advocating to eliminate the stigma we face on a daily basis, even within our own minds.

I’m also an optimist.  Yes, optimists can have depression.  My depression isn’t necessarily a sadness, and my anxiety isn’t necessarily a worry.  I don’t really tend to dwell on the negative or concern myself with thoughts of what might go wrong.  I am more of a Pollyanna and a cheerleader, and my positivity and enthusiasm don’t really go away when I’m having a bad bout of depression and/or anxiety.  It’s more like they’re on the other side of a glass wall; I can see them, but I can’t touch them.  And that makes things worse, because I know it’s irrational, I know I don’t really believe whatever negative thoughts might be creeping in, but I’m stuck.  I can’t do anything but press against the glass.

***

If you have a mental illness, you are a superhero.  Every day you exert superhuman strength just to appear “normal.”  You live a kind of double life with a secret identity.  But instead of your secret identity being a “normal” person, it’s your superhero identity that is the “normal” one.  Your superhero identity is the face you show the world, hiding your secret identity as much as possible.  It’s like you’re two different people, and others don’t see the connection, that they really are the same person.  But unlike Clark Kent and Superman, it takes more than a pair of glasses to switch between the two personas.  And some days you just can’t.  So you try again tomorrow.  Because you are a superhero, and that’s what heroes do.

***

So I am “heroing up” here.  I am taking back my life, getting back in business, and writing a book.  Yes, I’ll still have bad days.  But I also have the right medications now, and amazingly supportive people in my life.  I’m not in this alone.  And neither are you.

You are my hero

Reintroductions: Blowing the Dust Off

*cough-cough-cough*

Wow, it’s been nearly a year since I last used this blog.  Those who’ve read my posts in the past will recognize my “I’ve been busy” mantra and the “health issues” excuse.  To say it’s been an interesting year might be a slight understatement, and I apologize in advance that this might be a rather long post, as there’s quite a lot I’d like to catch up on.  I’m also currently fighting off an anxiety attack, so I’m hoping that getting some of my thoughts down on virtual paper will help ease the demons in my head.

You’re probably wondering why I’m jumping back into blogging again, and how long I’ll stick with it this time.  The short answer is because it’s a class requirement, so I’ll be posting at least biweekly for the next four months or so.  I am starting a Master of Library and Information Science degree through San Jose State University and will be tagging these posts with MLIS so those who only want to see what I’m doing for my classes can click on the MLIS tag in the cloud on the right, bookmark this link: https://rewondered.wordpress.com/tag/mlis or follow this RSS feed: https://rewondered.wordpress.com/tag/mlis/feed/.  Of course, I also hope to use this blog more often for my business and other topics I am interested in, but more on that later.

Let’s start off with the reintroduction, as there will be those who are required to read this for our class who know nothing about me, and perhaps some of my old readers are getting a new notification from this blog but don’t remember why they subscribed to it.  My name is Heather, but I also go by Wondie.  Wondie is a nickname I received from a character I created in City of Heroes named One Hit Wonder.  I began using this character as my DJ persona for The Cape Radio in 2004 and the name was shortened by my listeners to Wondie.  My business name, Rewondered, is also based off of the One Hit Wonder name, so I tend to use Wondie as my business persona as well.  You may call me either Heather or Wondie, I will answer to both.

Wondie

 

Through Rewondered, I design and create jewelry and accessories using found objects and leftover supplies, “rewondering” them into new wearable art.  I sell my designs on Etsy and at local events or craft fairs, mainly in New Hampshire.  I will be at Antrim’s Home and Harvest Festival on September 13th and Hillsborough’s Schnitzelfest on September 27th.  I have also been a merchant at several SCA events, and plan to return to Birka for the third year in January.

Part of my set up at Birka in 2014

Part of my set up at Birka in 2014

 

So what’s been going on this past year?  My last post was in October, which isn’t too surprising considering October through January are my busiest months of the year.  January through March I was working on my last regular classes for my Bachelor’s degree, one that was an accelerated version and one that I had designed myself and was probably a little bit more ambitious than it should have been.  April through June I was working on my Capstone with another likely-too-ambitious project.  There was a great deal of stress, but I survived, got my Bachelor’s degree, and was accepted into the MLIS program, which started this week.

School wasn’t the only thing going on, either.  I’ve continued to have some health issues, but I am doing much better than I did in 2013.  The big news on the health front is in March, I finally got my diagnosis of ADHD.  I’ve been reading books and articles to learn more about the disorder and how to best cope with it, and realizing just how much it has impacted my entire life.  I’ve tried so hard, but I’ve never lived up to my potential, I have always had some serious time-management issues, and I can’t stop chasing new ideas long enough to finish the old ones.  I’m working on it, but it’s a slow process.  I want to make sure that the changes I’m making are going to stick, that the ideas I’m trying are going to work for me.  In the past I’ve always jumped into a big project to get reorganized and ended up completely overwhelmed, so I abandon it before I can get any use out of it.  This time I’m taking it slow, using suggestions specifically for people with ADHD, and really examining all sides of my “great organization idea” before committing to it.  I’m not giving myself any specific deadline it needs to be done by, so I don’t rush it and make it all fall apart, but I’m trying to get at least a little bit done on it each day.  So far, so good.  I’d share before and after pics, but I’m really just too embarrassed about the before state.  Instead, I’ll share some pics when I’m done, and a bit about my process to get there.  I’ll also share some of my experiences and suggestions for running a business and/or being a graduate student with ADHD, as I figure out what is working and what is not, now and in the future.  Those posts will be tagged ADHD, so look for that in the tag cloud on the right, bookmark this link: https://rewondered.wordpress.com/tag/adhd, or follow this RSS feed: https://rewondered.wordpress.com/tag/adhd/feed/.

My husband has also been having some health issues, and has spent most of the summer fighting off almost-daily migraines.  The good news is there doesn’t appear to be anything we need to be particularly concerned about (i.e. it’s not a tumor!) but the bad news is no one is really sure why he’s having them so often.  The other bit of “good” news is his average pain lately has been a 5 or 6, rather than a 7 or 8, and the incidents of being actively mauled by a bear are decreasing in frequency (special thanks to Hyperbole and a Half for the pain scale reference).  We’ve been taking one day at a time, and I’ve been doing most of the driving whenever we’ve had to go anywhere.  This week has been better, and on Monday we celebrated our two year anniversary by going to see Guardians of the Galaxyfitting since we met because of superheroes (he’s also a DJ for The Cape Radio, but we are both on hiatus at the moment).  I admit that I have never read any of the comics, but I enjoyed the movie and would love to pick them up.

One of my favorite pictures of me and my husband, even though his eyes are closed.  His shirt says "Super Genius" and mine says "All this and nerdy too" - it's like we were made for each other or something. :)

One of my favorite pictures of me and my husband, even though his eyes are closed. He’s wearing a shirt that says “Super Genius” and mine says “All this and nerdy too” – it’s like we were made for each other or something. 🙂

 

Speaking of The Cape Radio, I am leaving in the morning to attend CapeCon.  This started out as a meet and greet for DJs and listeners of the station and other players of City of Heroes, first held in Chicago in 2008.  I went every year through 2011, which was the first year my husband was able to go, and thus the first time we met in person.  We were married a little over a year later.  We were unable to go back in 2012 or 2013, and with his current health issues, he doesn’t want to risk getting a migraine on a plane or spending the entire weekend holed up in a blanket fort in a hotel room, so I am going by myself.  This is part of where my anxiety issues are rearing their ugly heads.  I don’t like the process of traveling by plane (the flying itself is fine, but I don’t do well in large crowds and I don’t like strangers touching me, just to name a couple of my anxiety triggers) and knowing my husband will not be there to hold my hand and remind me that everything is okay is a bit unsettling.  CapeCon is being held in a different place this year, San Antonio, so even though I’ve been there several times in the past, this still has an element of the unfamiliar.  Luckily, several of my close friends will be there, and I have been promised drinks, so I am sure once I get past this initial anxiety, I’ll have a good time.  I am glad I will only be gone for three days, though.

FeedingBaron

Me and another of The Cape Radio’s DJs at the first CapeCon/Meet & Greet

 

So what’s next for me, Rewondered, and this blog?  There’s quite a bit of reorganization in the works, everything from my studio to my website, but this process may take a couple of years.  It will also take a few years for me to get my MLIS.  I chose to pursue this particular Master’s degree because I’ve always had a fascination with books and libraries.  My first “real” job was actually working in a library.  One of the projects I was helping with was converting the card catalog to a computer system.  Which probably gives you a hint about my age!  I’m fascinated by the way technology has increased access to information exponentially.  I’m also seeing some ways that creative solopreneurs can incorporate information science into their businesses to help them operate more efficiently, so this will likely be a major focus of my future studies.  I would really like to use what I’ve learned and will learn in future classes to help other one-person creative business owners like myself, particularly Etsy Sellers and those with ADHD.

After completing my Capstone, I began plans to write a book, possibly even a series of books or reports, specifically geared toward those who want to keep their business small enough that they can handle it on their own, but successful enough that they can make a real living.  I’ve been getting several nudges from the universe that I need to start writing and sharing my knowledge, so the first step will be getting this blog going again.

And I’m going to be continuing to figure out how my brain really works, and how to make it work for me.

HeathersBrain

 

Just a Little Rant on the War on Poverty

I posted this over on my personal Facebook status, but decided to share it here on my blog to reach a wider audience.  It’s a bit ranty, with my disjointed early-morning thought process, but it speaks from my heart.

Found this in some comments (I know, never read the comments) so I don’t know this person, but this is what people outside the US are really thinking:

“As an outsider looking in (I’m from the UK) it seems as though you have a bunch of right-wing nutters who have utter contempt for democracy (unless the vote goes their way). These nutters want to impose some sort of fundamentalist, neo-medieval, Christian society on people wherein the rich will become the new nobility and the rest will become the serfs and peasants living off any crumbs the rich care to throw at them.” – Martin Leach

And he’s absolutely right. And we the people have developed an attitude of “I’ve got mine, fuck anyone else” so the war on poverty has become a war on poor people. We’ve bought in to the stories about people that are “living off the system” which are either not true or are isolated incidents, and bitch and moan that we don’t want our hard-earned money going to these lazy people who refuse to work.

Look at your friends list. How many of your friends are unemployed? How many times do you see them post about putting in applications, getting interviews, and still struggling to find a job? I see it all the time, from dozens of people. They are not refusing to work. Companies are refusing to hire them.

Think they should just get a McJob? Some of them have tried. They have no experience working fast food or retail, so they either don’t get hired, or they get so few hours it’s not making any dent in their bills, or they’re only hired for the holiday season and are back looking for work in January.

I, myself, looked for a job in my field, where I have 15+ years of experience, for almost THREE YEARS, putting in more than 500 applications (I lost count) and getting a grand total of five interviews. In all that time I got one seasonal job paying $9 an hour, the lowest wage I’d had in about 20 years. I finally gave up, and am putting all my efforts into running my own business, where I don’t even want to calculate my hourly wage because I know it’s only pennies.

I am surviving, because I have people who care about me and who have taken and are taking care of me. Many people aren’t so lucky. And instead of helping those people, we look at them with contempt, calling them lazy and cutting any programs that will help them because we don’t want them to have our hard-earned money. We say churches and charities will take care of them, but we don’t donate to them, so where do we think they’re going to get the money to do so? Do we all need to be visited by three ghosts in order to realize our lives would be richer by helping others?

At the very least, we can stop bashing the poor. Stop whining that we don’t want to support the lazy bastards, because those programs aren’t in place to do that. Yes, some people take advantage of the system, but there are thousands more who desperately need it. Leave it to the people who administer these programs to find the ones who are abusing it, it’s not our job. Stop buying in to the stories you hear and realize that they either aren’t true or are isolated incidents that do not speak for every person on the program. The vast majority are children and the elderly. This is who you are hurting with your hatred.

And wake up and realize that whether you like it or not, you are part of the 99%. You are NOT one of the richest 1% and therefore will become one of the serfs and peasants mentioned in the quote above if we don’t get our heads out of our asses. Get out and vote. Research the candidates and support the ones you think will make the most impact, or do the least harm (as the choice often is, unfortunately). Apathy is what is really ruining our country. If we can’t even be bothered to do a bit of reading up on our candidates and haul our butts to the polls every election, the who are really the lazy bastards?

Monday Musings: Time Flies

How the heck did it get to be September already?  This year has just flown by, and all my plans have flown with it.  I keep trying to get a handle on my schedule, and it keeps slipping away from my grasp like a greased pig.  I’ve done fairly well with the “this is the one thing that I must get done today” but that one thing has generally been something time-sensitive like finishing up a paper to turn in before a midnight deadline.

My studio is still a disaster, though not quite as bad as it was, so there’s been some progress, just not as much as I’d like.  Last night, I finally fixed the tension on my sewing machine so I can use it again.  Now I just need to clear out the area around it…  I’m hoping that this week without classes will allow me to get some organizing done.

So this year has definitely not gone as planned, and I still feel like I’m digging myself out from the pile caused by being so ill earlier this year.  My health is doing a lot better since I’ve been able to go to the doctor and started taking the new meds.  My next step is an evaluation for Adult ADHD, but I’ve been too distracted (ha!) to get the paperwork done and turned in.  That’s on the list of “one things” for this week.

Last weekend was the one year anniversary of my wedding to my beloved Lorne.  Hard to believe it’s been a whole year, and that it’s only been a year.  It’s difficult to imagine my life without him, and I am eternally grateful for his love and support.  I thank him constantly for putting up with me, and my business as it spills into our bedroom for lack of space in the messy studio.  I could go on forever about how awesome my husband is, but I’ll spare your teeth and pancreas. 😉

It’s been two years since I moved to New Hampshire, and I still love it here.  I keep thinking I should go take some pictures of the scenery and history that surrounds me and blog about it here… but there’s that “time” thing again.  Still, some shots of one of the old cemeteries around here while the leaves are changing would be incredible, so I really should do my best to make that happen.

But now that it’s September, I really need to start thinking about the holidays and gearing up for the season ahead.  I need to figure out exactly which events I’m going to do (I don’t think I’m going to do quite as many as last year, but I’ll probably still do at least three or four).  And I definitely need to get more products up in my Etsy shop.  I also need to figure out what kinds of new products I should concentrate on, so I’ve put together a little survey.  It will probably take you about 5 minutes or so to complete it, so please help me out!  A little direction helps to minimize my distraction. 🙂

I do have something new for you guys, but I’m going to put that into a different post… stay tuned!

Time Flies comic by Something of That Ilk

Check out http://www.somethingofthatilk.com for more comics!

Monday Musings: Of Fools, Failures, and Flames

Happy April Fool’s Day!  Sometimes I think I should adopt this as my own personal holiday, as I way too often end up feeling foolish.  Let’s start with the fact that I haven’t blogged here for an entire month!  March is kind of a blur to me.

My classes ended on Friday, so most of my March was spent frantically trying to get everything done and turned in.  I managed to do so for my Individualized Studies Seminar, which was extremely important since that class is what determines my entire degree program and what I need to do in order to earn my Bachelor’s degree.  But my other class, Research Methods, is where another incidence of feeling foolish comes in.  I did not realize when I registered that pretty much the entire point of the class is to come up with a research proposal that I can use for my degree.  And since I had not completely figured out my degree, that posed a bit of a problem.  Eventually, it was decided that I would use this research proposal as a marketing study for an Independent Learning Contract in the Fall term, but that decision was made so late in the term that getting my proposal done before the end of it was extremely problematic.  So I had to feel foolish once again, and beg my professor for an Incomplete and extra time to finish it.  She has been very kind in granting me an extension until May 5th.

So along with this foolishness, there comes a sense of failure.  Not only did I not get my project for school done in time, but my plans for my business came to a screeching halt during this first quarter of this year.  I had many plans at the beginning of the year, and very few accomplishments thus far.  I’ve let so many things fall by the wayside: my One Hit Wonder Project, my Five By Five/Fifty posts, my gratitude lists… it’s really easy to look at all the things I haven’t done and feel like I’ve failed.

But you know it’s not like me to dwell on the negative.  I truly believe the saying that you haven’t failed until you quit trying.  Then I found this blog post: How to Never Fail at Anything, Ever Again (John’s got some great stuff, so go read that and check out the rest of his blog).  Basically, the idea is to couch everything as an experiment.  “If your goal is to experiment and learn something, it’s pretty hard to fail.”  This is a rather powerful idea, and right up the alley of my wonderful brain that loves to mix creativity and logic.  If an experiment doesn’t work, I have still learned something.  If a plan I’ve made gets derailed, it hasn’t failed, it’s just been postponed or modified.

And we have learned that when I make plans, the universe likes to take the opportunity to laugh at me.  I guess I am the universe’s fool.  But I don’t like feeling like a failure, so I’m going to take steps to erase that word from my vocabulary.  First, I will make commitments to my overall projects, but not any particular schedule, because I’ve learned that things will happen to prevent me from keeping it.  I will experiment with doing things on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, but I will give myself choices within that framework that range from quick and simple to much more complex, so I have a chance of completing something when I have less time and energy, and can concentrate on the “big stuff” when I have more time and energy.  For example, the One Hit Wonder Project is extremely complex, requiring multiple posts and page updates as well as research, while posting a few Simple Charm Necklaces is pretty easy.  I have several ideas for revamping my projects, but I’ll save those for another post.

I’ve talked about fools and failures, so you’re probably wondering where the flames comes in.  Well, I have been talking with my hair dresser about making my hair look like “dark flames” for awhile now, and yesterday was our first experiment with it.  The main color is called Mahogany Blonde, so I guess I’m a blonde now, though this is still obviously red.  She added red and orange streaks underneath, and added some layers to the back so they’d peek through.  The pictures taken inside don’t really do it justice, and we’ll likely be adding more streaks and layers in round two of the experiment, but I’m pretty please with the results.  The natural wave in my hair adds to the flame effect, as you can see in this first picture:

Wondie's Flame Hair - Pic 1

Wondie’s Flame Hair – Pic 1

This one shows some of the streaks better:

Wondie's Flame Hair - Pic 2

Wondie’s Flame Hair – Pic 2

But the pics taken outside in the sun REALLY show off the color better:

Wondie's Flame Hair - Pic 3

Wondie’s Flame Hair – Pic 3

So I guess when the sun shines on my hair, it really bursts into flames!

Wondie's Flame Hair - Pic 4

Wondie’s Flame Hair – Pic 4

And those of you who follow my personal Facebook and believed I meant that I went “real” blonde, I guess you got your April Fool’s joke a day early. 😉

365 Days of Gratitude: January 4th, 2013

(If you’re not sure what this is all about, please read the first post)

I’m grateful for:

  1. Hand-me-down computer parts.  My BFF sent me his old motherboard, so I’m on my way to having a desktop computer again.  Mine suddenly decided it didn’t want to have an admin login anymore, and being that it’s nearly ten years old, it’s time for an upgrade.
  2. Working on plans and ideas for my business.  This blog is going to see a lot more action, but I’ll save that for another post. 🙂
  3. Making a dent in the reorganization of my studio.  Anyone looking at it might not see it, but I know it’s there. 😛

And the person I am grateful for today is my BFF, T.J. Stover.  And not just because he sends me hand-me-down computer parts!

I met T.J. through a fan forum for City of Heroes in 2004.  We first met in person about a year later when I went to a meet-up in Atlanta.  My plans for where I was actually going to stay fell through, so I asked the host of the meet-up if I could stay there.  All the beds in the house were already claimed, but T.J. offered to share the large pull-out bed in the living room with me.  There was another couch in the room claimed by another person, so obviously nothing was going to happen, but he spent the next two nights clinging to his side of the bed in fear of rolling over and accidentally touching me and freaking me out.  Thus began our inside joke of “sleeping together.” 😛

I had a falling out with some of my friends from that forum, and went from one of the more popular people there to persona non grata.  Rumors and half-truths and skewed takes on events I was involved in were spread about, putting me in the worst light.  Several people stopped talking to me, but there were a few who stuck up for me, and T.J. was one of them.  Over the years, our friendship grew until he became my “bestie” and many times he’s been the only person I’ve been able to turn to.

There was no question who would be my best man at my wedding.  In fact, I’m not sure I even asked him if he would be!  But he didn’t hesitate in driving nearly 800 miles so he could stand by my side.  And he knows if he ever really needs me to be there for him, I’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.

So thank you, T.J. for all the good times, the laughter, and for just being there when I needed you.  But not for the tickles.  No tickles!  😛

365 Days of Gratitude: January 3, 2013

(If you’re not sure what this is all about, please read the first post)

I am grateful for:

  1. Finding most of what I needed and some great deals on things I can use (like another set of wire storage cubes for $5 and a quilt rack for $1 which I can use for displays at shows and storage in my studio).
  2. My Goodwill discount card.  Did you know you can get a discount card at Goodwill for $10 a year and you’ll save 10% on every purchase and 25% on your birthday?  Guess what I’m doing for my birthday this year! 😛  (So the cubes were actually only $4.50 and the quilt rack was 90 cents!)
  3. My bargain hunting skills. 😀

And the person I am grateful for this day is my great-grandmother, who I knew as Gram.

I have given some thought as to whether I should include people in this project that are no longer living, or that I am likely to never meet in person nor hope that they’ll ever read my blog .  Part of the purpose of this project is to say thank you to those people who have impacted my life, so I considered not including anyone who would never actually read these posts.  But that leaves out a good number of people who have had huge influences on me, and I think they deserve my thanks, whether or not they’re aware of them.

My Gram passed away a week before my birthday in 2009.  But with the theme of today’s Gratitude List, she needs to be included.  Anyone who knew my Gram can probably tell you stories of her bargain hunting skills!  We found stacks and stacks of items in her house with the clearance price tags still attached… most of which had been marked down several times.  I am grateful that whatever gene carries her nose for a deal was passed down to me.

But what I admired most about my Gram was her feistiness.  She was not one to let life get her down.  And life threw some doozies at her: life-threatening burns when her house exploded due to a faulty furnace, the death of a granddaughter in a drunk driving accident, her daughter losing her battle with breast cancer.  But perhaps that’s why she always seemed to live each day to the fullest.  She was always active and involved, and never met a stranger.  My uncle told a story at her funeral about helping her pick out a new car just a couple of years before she died.  He tried to steer her toward a grey one, but she told him that was “an old lady color” and insisted on a red one!  Feisty should have been her middle name.

Her death came as a great shock to me.  Sure, she was 92 years old, but I honestly thought she would live forever.  She was the type who would have met the Grim Reaper, challenged him to a game of cards, and given him “that look” when he dared to take a card she wanted.  She played to have fun, but she also played to win.  He must have had a lucky run of cards, or stacked the deck.

I am grateful for my Gram, and the lessons she taught me: never let life get you down, live each day to the fullest, and always play to win. 🙂

Why the World Needs Heroes

Recent events have been particularly devastating to me.  On Tuesday, two people were killed at Clackamas Town Center, a mall I had been to often in the first 30 years of my life.  Yesterday, 22 children and 1 adult were stabbed at a school in China.  And in Newtown, Connecticut, 20 children and 7 adults were killed by a shooter who then took his own life.  One of those adults was the shooter’s mother, a kindergarten teacher at the school.  This hit me rather hard, as for the longest time, I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher myself.

While the gun control advocates and proponents are duking it out, I think they are completely missing the point.  “Where did he get the gun?” is not the first question people ask when they hear news like this.  It’s “How could someone do something like this?”  And that’s the real issue, how can anyone’s mental health get to the point where something like this seems the thing to do?

I’ve talked about my own mental health issues on this blog before, how I’ve faced my fears and encourage others to make their dreams come true.  I’m fortunate that my mental health diagnoses aren’t as severe as others I know, that I’ve gotten the help I needed when I needed it, and that I have so many wonderful and supportive people in my life.  Not everyone is as lucky as I have been.  It’s incredibly frustrating to know that some of my friends (or anyone, for that matter) can’t afford the medications they need or the therapy that will lead them out of the darkness.  We, as a society, need to stop ignoring that mental illness is a real problem.  But it’s a problem that has solutions, and we need to make those solutions more accessible.  We need to remove the stigma attached to any mental health issue.  We all go through periods when we find it hard to cope, and we need to ask for help.  We need to provide that help.  And we need to realize that the same solutions won’t work for everyone, and encourage each person to keep searching for something that does work.  And when they find it, we need to not take it away from them.

Which leads me back to City of Heroes.  I know several people that got through the rough patches through playing and talking with other players.  I’ve read countless stories, blogs, and forum posts about how important this game was to people.  It saved the life of a good friend of mine, for which I’m eternally grateful.

Here’s a comment posted by Mercedes Lackey, that explains just how important this game was to so many:

I’m right there in the front lines of the movement to find CoH a new home. I’ve got pages of stories from players that would break your heart. People who are disabled, who are only free in CoH because they can fly. People who are shut-ins, either confined to their houses by illness or mental trauma, who were free to wander Paragon City as if none of that mattered. Parents of autistic children, who literally brought their kids back to a normal life by playing with them on their laps–and vets suffering from PTSD who found healing in being heros–game therapy is only now being explored for these conditions, and NCSoft yanked what was working for these people right out from under them. We shared all these stories with NCSoft. They were ignored.

City was much more than just a game. It is said, “if you put yourself in the attitude of prayer, prayer will come.” Well, people who played in City put themselves in the “attitude” of heroes…and they actually became heroes. Not the kind that stop locomotives, but the kind that raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity. The kind that would help out a fellow player with in-game cash–or real cash when they were hard up. The kind that stopped to guide a newbie around and show him the ropes (and how often do you hear about THAT in WoW?), who created healers just to run around low level zones and patch up the “babies” (getting no XP in the process, mind you). The kind who took time to interact with the little kid on player-mom’s lap. The kind who would stay up all night to talk a fellow player through a bad stretch in his life.

CoH wasn’t a game, not really. It was more like a city built around a theme park, full of (mostly) like minded folks who cared about each other–we went off into the world every day to make our living, then came home, and joined our friends in the park for adventures. So what if we had ridden the rides before? That didn’t make them any less enjoyable the 3rd or 33rd time around. Besides, the devs loved their game, and kept making us new ones! People who left the game 10 issues ago would never have recognized it at shutdown.

We’ve lost our home. NCSoft came in and bulldozed it to the ground, burying the characters we created and lived through in a giant unmarked grave. We have nothing left, and nowhere to go to. Our friends have been scattered to the winds.

Is it any wonder we are furious?

It’s been two weeks now since the game was shut down, and I’m still emotionally raw.  I downloaded and installed Champions Online, created a character, and entered the tutorial.  But I felt so lost.  I have no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going.  Granted, I don’t really have time to play, or to read the helpful posts in The Cape Radio’s forums on how to play, so it’s going to take me awhile to really figure out what I’m doing, but it’s just not home.  I’m still mourning the loss of my beloved City of Heroes.

Now, I’m not equating my devastation over the loss of innocent lives with the loss of a video game.  But my devastation at losing City of Heroes is no less real.  It wasn’t just a game to me, and the last day was roughCity of Heroes quite literally changed my life.  It’s been such a big part of my life for the last eight years, and despite the long stretches I was unable to play, it was always there to come back to.  Now it isn’t.

Yes, there are other games out there, and yes, I will be playing them.  But they’re not City of Heroes.  I can’t just “move on” and find a new place to call home.  Let me see if I can explain it in terms everyone can understand.

Imagine you have a really great friend, someone who you can visit whenever you want, and no matter how much time has passed between visits, he welcomes you with open arms.  And every time you visit, he’s having other people over, and invites you to join the party.  Some of these people are already your friends, some are strangers who become friends, some become even more.  And you all always have a place in his home.

Then one day, you’re told that your friend is terminally ill.  He even knows the day, the exact minute, he will no longer be around.  You search desperately for a cure, to no avail.  You try to spend as much time with him as possible before the end, or distance yourself from him thinking it will be easier to deal with his loss that way.  You do whatever it takes for you to cope with this news.  Then the minute comes, and he’s gone.  And his house is destroyed.  You can only watch as every trace of him disappears.

Yes, you still have the other friends you’ve made through him.  Yes, you’ve been invited to parties at the other houses on the street.  Some of your friends are already inside some of those houses.  But it’s not the same.  It will never be the same.

It wasn’t just a game.  It was therapy, a release from our mundane lives, an opportunity to be our ideal selves.  To be superheroes.  To express our creativity in so many ways.  Our friend’s house was filled with thousands of precious works of art, and while we saved what we could, so much of that is lost now.  We share our stories, our pictures, our memories, but that’s all we have now.

That’s part of the reason I want to make “real life” versions of the costume pieces that were available in the game.  To help keep City of Heroes alive, to keep expressing the creativity it fostered in me.  Perhaps it’s my way of paying tribute and giving back to the game and players that gave me so much.  Perhaps it’s my way of still being a hero, of bringing that feeling I had in game into the real world.

It’s so easy, especially in times like this past week, to feel helpless, like there’s no way we can ever hope to combat and win over the evil in this world.  Our reserves of cope are getting thin, and we wonder just how much more we can take.  But you know what?  This is exactly when we need to get up, put our underwear on on the outside, and take to the skies.  We are heroes, and this is what we do.  We never give up.  We may not be able to gather at our friend’s house anymore, but we are STILL heroes.  No one can take that away from us.

So I implore you, go do something heroic.  Make a donation to Real World Hero or your favorite charity.  Volunteer.  Help your friends and family who are having a hard time dealing with the tragedies, the holidays, or just life in general.  Be a hero to yourself and do something you’ve always wanted to do.  Only you can define your heroism, and only you can make it happen.

For some of us struggling with mental illness, our heroism may just be getting out of bed in the morning and facing another day.  It may be finally asking for help, admitting we need it.  It may be doing whatever it takes to never reach the point were we snap and do something awful to ourselves or innocent bystanders.  To keep fighting back our inner demons, to keep fighting to have a “normal” life, to just keep fighting.  Never. Give. Up.

Because you are my hero.  And you CAN fly.

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