The Damaged’s Epiphany!

ouchDriving down the road all alone, the radio drumming silently in the background, the rain slamming against the glass of the windshield… it creates the perfect environment for self reflection, huh?

I guess I used to feel like Father Time was as blind to my existence as I was to his–ah, youth–and while I’ve been paying attention to Father Time for quite some time now, it wasn’t until quite recently that I spotted Father Time noticing me back. It doesn’t feel like he’s knocking on Death’s door and pointing his wrinkled finger my direction, but he did pause in the crowd of souls, looked me in the eyes and winked. This has gotten me to thinking a little more often than I once did about what I have/n’t done with my life.

Damaged… I think I’ll always be damaged. I’m not the only one out there. My best friend is one of the Damaged as well. One of the results of being damaged is that I seem to have difficulty in completing stories. Let’s be honest, it’s more than stories. However, the thing pressing harder on my mind is writing.

I’ve never completed a single story I started.

So, what’s my hang-up? Fear of failure, fear of success? These two things haven’t really made a lot of sense to me and didn’t feel like either were my personal hang-up. These are the two usual suspects though… aren’t they? So, I keep examining these two fears trying to figure out which is mine, cause if I know what it is I might be able to step down a path to fixing myself.

Today, for whatever reason, I had an epiphany! It’s not really either.

I don’t want to be defined by my mistakes.

Yep! That’s the thought that smashed it’s way through the calm of my afternoon drive to my kids’ school. I had no idea I even felt this way until today. Childhood taught me that people simply will not recognize my efforts let alone my successes; I will only be seen for my failures and mistakes.

Wait! Huh? What does that mean? Come on self, explain this one.

Here is a seemingly simplistic childhood memory, yet in it’s simplicity it screams it’s complexity. A young child makes a spur of the moment choice to surprise mom and dad by cleaning the living room without being asked. The child simply wants to do something to please the parents. The child works hard, in her/his perception of things, and waits excitedly for the parents to come notice. In walks dad or mom. The child exclaims ta-da! then waits for the parent to be pleased.

“You missed a spot,” the parent responds pointing to an itty-bitty fleck of something on the carpet, then leaves the room.

When you grow up feeling that no matter how hard you try to do something positive, others will only notice the negative and you begin to feel that there is no point to even trying. That feeling will become worse. It divides itself, finds places to implant and grow, divide again and send its spawn off to other places in your soul to spread it’s infestation.

I don’t want to be seen for my mistakes. Failure does come into play but it is not a fear of failure. Everyone will fail. There isn’t a single perfect person out there and we will all fail at something, sometime. That’s okay. This is different. It has warped itself so many times. Being seen for my mistakes is just the beginning. It’s the top layer of the many issues that suffering a childhood of neglect, emotional abuse and bullying causes.

Another issue: All I can see are my own mistakes. There’s layer two. Thanks to the top layer, this is my second layer. Nothing is ever positive. Everyone in my life can tell me different, but it is so painful to never feel like I can ever do anything right. There’s always a mistake. There will always be a fleck on the carpet that I missed. My cookies will always be too dry, too crumbly, or too… something. My meals will never be good enough. I love to crochet, but that will never, ever be good enough either.

My writing will always be mediocre. Worse than mediocre. A 4th grade child would be able to write better than I can. I have no talent, no skill and zero ability to ever be good enough at anything… so why finish?

Why start? Well, writing is an addiction. It always has been and probably always will be. I think about writing constantly. I think about characters, plots, stories, worlds, words, sentences, even grammar!

The thing that sucks about this epiphany is I don’t know that it’ll help a single thing. So I know a little more now what the problem is. Great! But, I worry I could be permanently damaged. Hopefully Father Time will be kind and give me just a little less attention for a bit longer.

I won’t give up! I’ll keep trying because I love what I do. I just wish I could see and believe what I see in myself the way others around me do.

(This has been hard for me to share, but I doubt I’m the only one out there that has been hurt this way, and I’m sharing this publicly with hopes that someone will someday stumble upon it and know that they aren’t alone.)

 

Wishing on a Star

wishingstar

“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight.” I paused and opened my bedroom window. The night breeze caressed my hair with those warm, end-of-summer scents. With my eyes scrunched closed, I jabbed my finger out the window at the sparkling sky, opened my eyes and focused hard on one of the glittering spots I was pointing to. “I wish I may, I wish I might have this wish I wish tonight.”

Drawing my chest tight, I held my breath as I offered my wish to the cosmos.

I wish with every fiber of my being that I’ll meet a guy that’s right for me; Looks aren’t really important, but slightly curly hair would be cute but what is important is he needs to be caring, sensitive, and gentle. It’d be great if he likes reading. Most important though is that I can bring him to my grandma and he’ll treat her as the angel she is. I want my life to change. Star bright, this is my wish tonight.

I blew at the sky like I was blowing out birthday candles as I sent my wish into the air. I crawled into bed, tugged my ragged teddy into my arms and stared at my winking wishing star until I fell asleep. As I watched the sky, I had started feeling silly for making a star wish. Only little kids wished on stars, right? What I couldn’t  have known was that my sixteenth birthday wish would  irrevocably change my life.

 

 

Ouch! That hurt.

ouchIt started innocent. I rarely share any “status updates” on FB unless I am posting something about one of my kids (for family members to read). We had something unexplainable happen in the middle of the night though, so I posted quick about it.

One recently recovered childhood friend commented that I should think about writing. My husband responded with some glowing praise. Another dear friend of mine responded with, “I have wanted her to be a writer sense I have known her. Still waiting………”

OUCH.

I know she didn’t mean for that to hurt but considering how long we’ve been friends… guess the truth hurts, huh? We’ve known one another for around 16 years.

What have I done with 16 years? I’ve done what most mommies do… I made my life my children’s and my family’s. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. Is that entirely true?

Being honest with myself is the hardest truths to admit to. I’ve always wanted to write and have tried. I find so many reasons though to not finish a darn thing I start though. There are so many reasons. *points back to an older article called Damaged*

I’ve started writing again. I don’t know if I can run fast enough this time to get passed my emotional hang-ups, but we’ll see.

For anyone out there that hears those demons whispering nasty words to destroy your efforts, I understand and send you a hug!

 

 

 

Family! (Fictional)

familytree“I’m your brother,” his voice dripped with venom even as his eyes pleaded for understanding, sympathy, and forgiveness once again, “you can’t turn your back on me, Laura.” His shoulders strained with the rage that was boiling under the surface.

“Okay, we share genetics. What does that have to do with me laying down on the ground every time you need a mat?” I watch his reaction closely. My brother wasn’t use to little sissy standing up to him. All my childhood he walked on me to get what he wanted. I might as well have not existed unless my existence benefited him. The people we called parents were of no help. For whatever reason they had chosen. In stories and movies mommies and daddies didn’t chose between their children, there weren’t supposed to be favorites.

I leaned in life that if it’s in a story or a movie it’s probably because it never really happens and someone knew that people wished it were true. Guess what… parents do make a choice and do have favorites. I wasn’t the favorite.

He stepped forward, oozing threat, his nose inches from mine. I stared him down, not acknowledging his challenge, not accepting it but not giving in to him, either. I kept my arms loose at my side, fingers relaxed.

“You cannot walk away. I am family.” He no longer pleaded with his eyes. His look now said, “give me what I want or you’ll be sorry.”

“I can and I am.”

His stance weakened and he stepped back. “Family doesn’t…”

“Why do you think you can call yourself my family?” I interrupted. His mouth hung open a moment then his teeth snapped closed. “You think because we shared biological parents, because we’re genetically linked, that it makes us family? Really?”

I waited a moment for a response but I think for the first time I had shocked him into silence.

“Tommy, family is something much deeper than simple genetics. Family is all the things that you will never, ever be to me. Family is loyalty, trust, commitment, integrity, love, protection and… and…” I inhaled deeply. He’d never get it. “Families are not born. Families are made. You had the chance to be family but you are not. I refuse to be your mat any longer. I refuse to be hurt by you, over and over again and tell myself it’s okay because your “family”. You may be a part of my biological tree but it ends there. Don’t come around ever again.”

I turned away from him knowing that to give him my back might give him my life, but I knew he needed to see that I was strong. I walked across the street and as my friends stepped out of the shadows, they moved around me, hugging me close and I knew I was with my family now. He wouldn’t have hurt me this time because my family was there to help me stand if I needed them. This family didn’t share a drop of my blood but their roots ran deeper than any family tree did.

Families are made, even the ones that are first born out of blood.

(Fictional- Writing Prompt: What is family?)

Review: Iced by Karen Marie Moning

“Iced” by Karen Marie Moning

This is a hard review for me to write. I absolutely love Karen Marie Moning’s (KMM) Fever series. As a fan of Fever, I waited anxiously for Iced to be released on October 30th. My birthday was just a few days before, so what a birthday present for me.

Reading Format: Nook E-Book.

Is Iced PG-13?

Oh no. Not at all. In fact I am very impressed with how KMM handled the subject matter of Dani and sex and managing to keep it adult at the same time. No, Dani doesn’t have sex in the book. She does touch upon the feelings that all teenagers begin to feel challenged with though at around that age. Dani isn’t a child and she isn’t an adult. She’s obviously not ready to become an adult and that is good and KMM wrote all of this was a skill that left me in awe. Great job!

Ok, beyond the touchiness of Dani’s age, KMM did not disappoint in the ways that she wrote this and keeping the Fever world an adult one!

Things that I loved:

I loved being back in the Fever world. I loved seeing Barrons name brought up and Mac’s too. Getting to know Dani better was great as was getting to see much more of Ryodan. The interaction between Ryodan and Dani was hilarious most of the time and sometimes you were cheering one or the other on, “Ha! Take that!”

Christian, oh poor Christian. It’s so sad to see that the problem’s Christian was left to suffer (so far). If he’s lost to the Unseelie he’s becoming, well… I think he’s going to be an interesting Unseelie Prince.

Dancer. Toward the end of Mac’s story we start hearing a bit about someone that Dani has befriended named Dancer. We get to meet Dancer in Iced and see a bit of what he’s like. So far I like Dancer quite a bit. I think he’s old enough to help Dani but young enough yet to make mistakes of the young. He accepts her for who she is though, quirks and all. He seems to be nothing more than a super-smart human, but I’m not entirely convinced yet that there isn’t something more to Dancer… something more… Supernatural? We’ll see later on, I’m sure.

We get a few chapters that are from Christian’s PoV. We get a few from Kat (at the abbey trying to take care of all the girls as their leader). I liked seeing more from Kat in that way. Deeper insight into her character… which leads me to one of my few complaints.

(Please remember this is just my personal experience.)

Dislike #1

Character switches– We’ve had five books before in the series that stayed 100% in the PoV of one character (Mac) with exception of the one time that Mac really couldn’t tell her story. During the one occasion that we needed someone’s PoV, besides Mac, we were clearly clued in that the PoV changed to Dani’s.

In Iced this was not so true. Since we had five previous books that stayed with one character’s PoV, I was not expecting character hopping. Now, it’s not that bad. Most of the book is from Dani’s PoV. KMM did hop a few times to Christian’s head and Kat’s head. This wouldn’t have been so bad but there was no real clear cue to the reader, “Oh! We’re switching characters!” I don’t enjoy reading paragraphs or even a couple of pages thinking I’m reading one character’s PoV only to slow down, become suspicious and then stop… Wait… who is this? Read a little bit more to confirm. OH! That makes more sense, we’ve switched to so-and-so character. Go back, reread what I already did so I can read it from the correct PoV. Ugh.

Dislike #2

This. Is. Annoying.

I know KMM pulled off this way of expressing voice a few times in the first five Fever books, but it was overdone horribly in Iced. After about the 5th time of reading broken up sentences, every time I came upon one of these it would jolt me and throw me from the Fever world. Yesterday (or the day before) I noticed author Maggie Stiefvater use this in a status post on Facebook. I shuddered. I had a physical reaction to it!

Maybe. I’m. Too. Old! I don’t know. The frequency of this though was too much for me. Maybe had it been only Dani, it wouldn’t have been as bad. Even adult characters were talking this way though. Ryodan! Noooo, please not Ryodan! Hangs head sadly. Yes, even Ryodan fell to such broken speech.

Dislike #3

Dani Speech

Dani’s speech is written so that she seems young and unaware of some common sayings. For example, she doesn’t understand the expression of “Glass houses”. I can accept that.

What I couldn’t accept was how Dani chastised Ryodan for using big words. Yet, throughout the book (even just pages after she chastises Ryo) Dani herself is narrating with words that even I had to look up in a dictionary. That made Dani feel much older than she was, at times (and not in that child having grown up too fast way). It just didn’t seem right to me and jarred me once again from the Fever world. It felt “out of character”.

Dislike #4

The “cliffhanger” ending– I try hard to not ruin anyone’s experience with spoilers, so this last complaint may seem cryptic. The ending has a big cliffhanger feel to it. I’ve even seen other reviewers who were excited about the ending. Eh. I think any real fan of the Fever series isn’t going to find the end to be much of a cliffhanger at all. While this moment has been building and building and building in Dani’s mind and emotions, we the fans know the basic fact of the outcome. We don’t know the details yet, which I can’t wait to read!!! Most of us though know things that Dani does not.

For those of you who have read the end and feel you don’t know, think about it for a few minutes. Recall the situation as it was presented to us previously. The ones involved and personalities. You know too now, don’t you? 🙂

This situation may not resolve with the next book. There are many ways that KMM could stop Dani from resolving this conflict.. I’m can’t wait to see what she’ll do to Dani in the next book!

OverallIced was awesome! The plot was just as gripping as was the first five books. The “bad guys” great! It really doesn’t have slow down points. The story grabs you and straps you in for a fast, fun ride!!

Over all four stars!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where is my backbone?!

I  have a rubber spine. I swear! Learning how to inject some steel hasn’t gone as easily as I thought it would. What happened as I got set up to sit and NaNo away?

Here was how it played out:

Knock, knock, knock. I just put my headphones on and loaded my playlist, so I glanced at the door thinking I must have been hearing things (or hopefully a ghost). I waited. Please, please tell me that wasn’t the door.

Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock.

“Come in.” Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock. “Come in!”

Continue reading

Fae, Demons and Apocalypse! What a Birthday!

Karen Marie Moning

“Iced” by Karen Marie Moning, due out October 30th, 2012

For a couple of weeks, on Facebook, I’d randomly notice posts from author Karen Marie Moning. She was/is posting bits of her Fever series in honor of the newest book to be released in four more days. Iced! I am among many of her fans that are dying to get our hands on Iced.

Reading all these bits from the books got me in the Fever! I just had to reread the series. I devoured about a book a day making almost a week of Fever fun. Now if only somehow Iced would magically appear early in my hands! My birthday was two days ago. Wouldn’t that be one heck of a birthday present? (Look below for an awesome looking book trailer of Iced.)

Click Here for Karen Marie Moning’s site

If you haven’t joined the Fever yet, here is a synopsis of the first book of the series, Darkfever:

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman.

Or so she thinks… until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae… Continue reading