Two Steps Back, A Million Steps Forward

Oh boy, do I have work ahead of me.

Remember reading this post, where I described my revelation of recognizing when you send a manuscript out too early to be read, because it’s still at the “this-book-is-shit” stage? Yeah, so I read through all of that beta feedback referenced in that post this afternoon and that status still stands.

As it sits right now, as a draft, THE RESISTANCE is, indeed, shit.

When I wrote that post, I felt really disheartened about that fact (and also embarrassed that I sent out such an shoddy example of my work). Knowing that mindset, I purposefully didn’t read through any of the feedback in-depth, because I knew it would either a) tear me apart or b) I’d feel really defensive and want to argue every criticism they made, becoming irrational and doing my betas a disservice.

Reading it today, in a much better mindset, having already accepted that my story is in its earliest stage and what my betas are claiming is most likely the truth, I could actually see the merit of my betas insight without taking it as a personal attack. I also realized another important thing.

So.much.revision.ahead.

I have a two page document filled with notes of things that I need to focus on. Namely plot, character and exposition. My main character was so passive, it drove my readers crazy and made them not care about him or his struggles in the slightest. They had no idea about his motivations or his drives and got tired of him being dragged around and forced to do things by other characters, instead of initiating anything himself. And there was no character arc, no growth, so by the ending, readers were left unsatisfied–not to mention that this was a straight-up tragedy, with no happy ending in sight.

Speaking of the ending, the dissatisfaction with the ending was also tied into my second main flaw: the plot. While I had the basic idea and conflict, the execution and finer details were desperately lacking. And the questions that my beta readers brought up, I couldn’t answer (hint: that’s a warning flag if I’ve ever seen one). Not to mention the specifics of the science and the magic system within it were…not present. A lot of plot holes. A lot.

Finally, there was the writing itself, which reflected my uncertainty of the plot and my unfamiliarity with the main character because it was overrun with exposition, constantly barraging my readers with info dumps and explanations instead of showing them what I wanted them to know and putting them in-scene. Not to mention I had two betas out of four who thought switching from third person to first person might be the better option.

I have so much to fix, so much to understand and so much to heighten that I got overwhelmed and wrote this blog post instead of getting started. However, I think writing this helped me get a better sense of direction.

First, I need to understand the plot. I need to understand the world, the mechanics, the conflict, the rationale, the stakes. I need to understand every angle and figure out what I’m trying to say with this book. Because that ending that everyone hated? I want that to stay. I really want to write a book where the ending that I have fits. But in order to do that, I need to make it still feel complete and rewarding while also heartbreaking.

But once I understand the plot, I can figure out the character that’s stuck within it. Figure out their past, their history, their quirks, their attitudes, their beliefs, their situation and then I’ll understand what they’ll do when I throw them into an apocalypse where 5% of the population is all that remains of the human race.

Once I understand the plot and the character and how they interact, I’ll map out the story. The beats. How we get from start to finish.

And then I’ll write it, which will be an interesting process, because I’ll mostly be starting out with a new draft–especially since I’m considering not only changing the POV, but also the gender of the protagonist–but I’ll also be salvaging scenes from the old one.

Plot. Character. Beats. Words.

A lot of revision ahead and lessons learned from this story, friends. Let’s hope I stay up to the task, hm?

Cheers.


Quest for Happiness: Week Thirty One

Fitness:

  • Long-term Goal: Shape the body I want and become healthier.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Be forgiving these next two weeks, but keep putting in the effort. 
    • Status: Sorta? I definitely didn’t put in as much effort as I should have, especially eating well. However, I was still able to maintain, which is exactly what I want to do considering working out is off the table until next week. And I’m still trying to be forgiving and realize that even if I have a couple of weeks where I don’t do so hot, that doesn’t mean I’ll always be that way.
  • This Week’s Goal: Maintain weight.

Writing:

  • Long-term Goal: Edit all previously written works. Query one.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Work on another project, in some capacity.
    • Status: Success! I wrote a short story for the Muse’s blog that I’m a collaborator with, which you can read here.
  • This Week’s Goal: Do something creative, writing wise, and stop focusing on publishing so much, but instead, writing stories that I love.

Reading:

  • Long-term Goal: Read 60 books.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Finish Breath of Fire.
    • Status: Negative.
  • This Week’s Goal: Actually finish book and post review.

Relaxation:

  • Long-term Goal: Create and maintain a mindset that taking care of yourself is just as important as everything else.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Not panic fire as much as usual while playing Fallout 4. 
    • Status: Success! I’m counting this as a success because I definitely got in some Fallout 4 playing time, but in the same vein, I also definitely kept panic firing. Damn ghouls.
  • This Week’s Goal: Enjoy the last week of summer.

Blogging:

  • Long-term Goal: Increase output over all three blogs, i.e., post more consistently.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Keep writing cool stuff on the blogs.
    • Status: Yep! I only posted once, but I’m counting it.
  • This Week’s Goal: Post once on each blog.

Financial:

  • Long-term Goal: Manage money with more awareness, start retirement fund and build savings.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Continue to stay frugal.
    • Status: Pretty much. I finally caved and bought a new pair of shoes, but otherwise, doing well.
  • This Week’s Goal: Don’t go crazy when going shopping this weekend.

Not a horrible week, considering. I’m definitely eager to get back on my normal schedule, because I feel a bit out of whack as far as accomplishing goals and fitting everything in with this off schedule I’m working. Yet I’m glad I’m still getting some things done and this week, I think the focus is just going to be enjoying the last week of summer, before the hecticness that comes with my routine returns.

Cheers.


The Never-Ending Siren of Worst Case Scenarios

I’m a super positive person. That’s just kinda how my boat floats. And yet, I love to complicate that perspective–or part of my personality, rather–by, at the same time, also instinctively assuming the worst case scenario about everything. I touched on this a little bit in a previous post, but today, that realization has just been on my mind. As such, I’m going to write about it some more. Bonus for me for using a blog as an outlet for all my emotional shit, potential negative for you having to hear/reread the same rants, anxieties and fears over and over again.

But, luckily, if you have no desire to listen to me talk about this again, you can close your browser now, no hard feelings and no judgement whatsoever.

Still here? Lovely. Let’s talk about ridiculous minds.

Specifically, my ridiculous mind.

It doesn’t take much for my “worst case scenario” siren to signal in my brain. Today’s most pertinent example comes from where it often does: my love life. A tad bit complicated by yours truly, but in the simplest terms, I’ve found a really amazing man who I’ve fallen pretty damn hard for and cherish a ridiculous amount; to the point where I’m really, really not a fan of the idea of me not being in a–dare I call it–romantic relationship with said man. Because he’s really important to me. He means a lot to me. And I think my life improves wonderfully with him in it.

So, when I don’t hear from him at all today, guess where my lovely little mind goes?

Image result for frodo it's over gif

Um, obviously not.

Having an entire day or an afternoon not talking does not mean that a relationship is suddenly over. It does not mean that someone suddenly hates you or that you made a mistake. Hell, there doesn’t even have to be an explanation for it, at all. So you didn’t talk for a day. So you didn’t see each other for a weekend. So X didn’t happen and Y changed. Those things don’t mean that suddenly, something you care about and cherish so utterly has transformed into something you dread.

Yet that’s where my mind goes. The poor man has dealt with this worst case scenario situation multiple times, dealing with plenty of late night crying sessions that could have been avoided if I didn’t panic at every little thing. He’s a keeper just for putting up with that, amongst other things.

Unfortunately, he’s not the only one who gets to deal with that, because it’s not just my love life that I assume the worst. Let’s quick shoot some examples.

Scenario: When one friend I haven’t seen in a while hangs out with another friend and I wasn’t invited.
Brain: They both suddenly hate you, they don’t like you, you fucked up and you’re never going to see each other ever again because you suck.
Reality: Conflicting schedules, friends wanted 1:1 time, they simply forgot…so many potential reasons.

Scenario: Wrote a book and entered it into a contest and I didn’t win.
Brain: Wow, you’re really still trying this writing thing? You realize that not only did you not win this contest, but your books are never going anywhere ever again. You’ll always fail, because exactly what just happened.
Reality: Book wasn’t ready, didn’t click with the other party, subjective tastes, unlucky, book didn’t need the help that was offered, plus a thousand other reasons that don’t entail me being a shitty writer.

Scenario: You want to take a day off work to do this fun thing but you already took a day off work last week to help parents move.
Brain: If you ask off work, they are going to think you’re lazy and you’ll get fired.
Reality: Why are you even stressing out about this? If you have the time available to take off and get it cleared with your boss, then you’re fine.

It’s not just major things, either, that trigger this kind of response, like relationships. It’s the “little” things, too. Like how I got a new tattoo last week and it secreted fluids for four days and I immediately assumed it was infected, when it was just doing what it always does and needs to do: heal. Or when I got my IUD implanted and then my cycle changed, so I skipped my period and I immediately assumed I was pregnant. Or how I ate that Snickers bar last night and when I weigh myself on Monday, I’m obviously going to have gained 10+ pounds.

I know, I’m absolutely ridiculous.

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The two main ways I’ve combated this unnecessary and over-imaginative worst case scenario response have been recognizing that I’m over-thinking or talking these conclusions through (though usually, it’s a combination of both). Realizing that I’m being ridiculous at least makes me aware that my conclusions are convoluted or exaggerated, so maybe I shouldn’t focus on them so much. Talking it out and hearing someone else tell me the same thing is also really helpful. Yet it isn’t enough to make me stop resorting to this response immediately with every given situation.

I’m not sure if there is any sort of “solution” in order to do that.

So thank God for the understanding and patient humans I’m lucky enough to have in my life, who don’t toss me to be curb after I repeat the same fear or concern for the nth time and remind me with only mild (instead of extreme) annoyance why I need to turn my brain off and just breathe. I’m not sure how I got so lucky, but it sure makes navigating this experience that is life more enjoyable.

Oh, and chocolate.

Cheers.


Quest for Happiness: Week Thirty

Fitness:

  • Long-term Goal: Shape the body I want and become healthier.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Figure out how to eat so if I don’t work out, I’m still doing well and don’t go backwards.
    • Status: Negative. Still didn’t eat very well, especially towards the latter half of the week. Working a different schedule has also messed me up quite a bit. Thankfully, only two more weeks on a different schedule, which also happens to be the two weeks I need for my tattoo to heal (thus, actually being able to run again). So just need to not go overboard and not freak out if I gain a few pounds or simply maintain.
  • This Week’s Goal: Be forgiving these next two weeks, but keep putting in the effort. 

Writing:

  • Long-term Goal: Edit all previously written works. Query one.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Submit into Pitch Wars!
    • Status: Done! Submitted and of course now questioning if I’ll ever have the chops to actually make it in the writing business.
  • This Week’s Goal: Work on another project, in some capacity.

Reading:

  • Long-term Goal: Read 60 books.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Read every day.
    • Status: Negative. 
  • This Week’s Goal: Finish Breath of Fire.

Relaxation:

  • Long-term Goal: Create and maintain a mindset that taking care of yourself is just as important as everything else.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Swim twice.
    • Status: Negative. I didn’t go to the pool at all. *sigh* Always next summer!
  • This Week’s Goal: Not panic fire as much as usual while playing Fallout 4. 

Blogging:

  • Long-term Goal: Increase output over all three blogs, i.e., post more consistently.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Post twice on the personal blog, once on the book blog.
    • Status: Almost! I posted once on the personal blog and once on the book blog, so very close.
  • This Week’s Goal: Keep writing cool stuff on the blogs.

Financial:

  • Long-term Goal: Manage money with more awareness, start retirement fund and build savings.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Stay aware and stay frugal (especially when you go grocery shopping). Also, go to retirement meeting this week
    • Status: Yes! 
  • This Week’s Goal: Continue to stay frugal.

Not the best week, considering, as far as goals went. Work got ridiculously busy, but I was able to stay on top of that, which is always a top priority. As such, some goals went by the wayside. Yet a new week this week means another opportunity to continue being awesome and I’ll all about that chance.

Cheers.


Respect the Stages

I entered into Pitch Wars. Since, I’ve been trying (<— read, failing) not to just stalk all my potential mentors’ feeds and see if they say anything that resembles my book at all; trying (<— read, still failing) not to refresh my email every ten seconds in hopes that a request for a partial or a full might come through; trying (<— read, forever failing) not to get lost in the feed while glancing at my calendar and wondering why it isn’t August 25th yet. Those nervous, contest butterflies fueled by fragile threads and hope and anxiety are in full swing and it’s only been two days.

So, this morning, I thought, Hey. Instead of obsessing over a book you can’t do anything with at the moment, perhaps you should work on polishing up another novel? Hmm? 

When I made a call for beta readers for ARTEMIS last year, I also asked for betas for the only science fiction novel I’ve written, THE RESISTANCE, so that when I was done editing one, I could go straight into editing the other. I hadn’t looked at that feedback yet (because I wanted to look at it when I actually had time to implement it), so I figured that was as good a place to start as any. Look at the feedback, see how people felt about the novel, make an editing game plan, maybe start getting into the actual manuscript next week.

And then I read the feedback.

The consensus was clear.

The book sucked.

That was…hard to swallow, especially right now, when I’m pillaging through the teasers from the contest and that nefarious doubt is in the back of my mind, whispering lies like, You know your book isn’t good enough, why even hope at all? I didn’t read through the feedback in-depth, yet, just glanced through the general summations they gave, but the trend was the same: my main character was annoying and didn’t have enough to work for, the pacing was slow/off, the world-building was confusing, none of the characters had enough depth and the ending was disappointing, if not downright depressing.

Image result for hiccup you just gestured to all of me

Cool premise, though.

Seeing that kind of response, I immediately felt deflated. My stomach twisted in knots, an overwhelming wave of disappointment washing over me. My mind panicked, thinking about the other manuscript I’d just entered into Pitch Wars, one of the most prestigious and well-known Twitter contests you can enter. Had I just made a huge mistake? Is ARTEMIS truly as bad as RESISTANCE? Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

Before I let myself completely give into despair and woeful lies, I had to pause and recognize another emotion in the mix, buried beneath all of those questions and sick feelings of shame.

Non-surprised expectation.

Though I hadn’t glanced at that feedback before today, in the back of my mind, I knew it wasn’t going to be positive, in the sense that there would be a lot more constructive criticism than there would be praise. It’s not that the feedback itself is negative or that receiving only criticism is a negative thing (quite the opposite, in fact; how can we improve if we only experience praise?). It’s just that I knew RESISTANCE was not going to receive glowing reviews from my beta readers.

I knew without admitting it that book wasn’t ready for the eyes of others yet. That was only the first draft I’d written. Hell, haven’t even read it more than once. I hadn’t edited anything yet, hadn’t done anything to it beside try and get the ideas I had in my head down on paper in some sort of comprehensible fashion. In every sense, what I sent out to my beta readers was the worst possible draft I could have sent them. Yet I was putting out a call for my other book, so in my brain, I was like, Hey, why not get feedback on two books at once? 

That was a mistake.

Because both of those books were at different stages.

With ARTEMIS, I had written a draft and then went back through and edited it once myself. I know that may not seem like a lot, but trust me, that second read through makes a huge difference. I’d already worked out a lot of kinks that typically result from a first draft attempt before I sent it out to betas, whereas with RESISTANCE, all of those problems were still present. I hadn’t given RESISTANCE the time it needed and deserved to make it at least resemble a story, not just being the bare, confusing bones of one like all my first drafts are.

So of course my betas had tons of problems with every aspect of the book.

Similar to how I wasn’t surprised when there were more aspects betas liked about ARTEMIS than they found to critique about it.* And what they did critique was exactly what I needed, locating the places I was blind to, things I hadn’t even considered would need improving because I was at a loss as to how to make the story better, hence looking for an outside opinion.

With RESISTANCE, if I would have paused to really think, I could point out many of the same weaknesses my betas did. I was just so excited about the idea of someone else reading my work and offering feedback that I didn’t stop to consider whether my novel was ready for that kind of attention.

And for that mistake, my RESISTANCE betas, I apologize profusely. It was not my intention to waste your time and your feedback is valued to me. I will read through everything, thoroughly, and incorporate your thoughts into my next round of edits.

I learned a couple different things this morning, I think. The most important lesson was figuring out how to know when my book is ready for beta feedback–not only so I never waste anyone else’s time again, but also so that my book has the chance to benefit the most from another pair of eyes, i.e., if the obvious, glaring issues that I would have caught aren’t there, my betas can actually look for more complex, complicated issues to help elevate the story.

I have been reminding myself (and seeing the reminder in the Pitch Wars feed) that so many writers who entered are in different stages of their career, so I should stop comparing myself to them. Similarly to how, if I don’t become a mentee or, if I did become a mentee and didn’t become agented afterwards, I can’t consider that a failure when I look at those who did win or did become agented; because every journey is different and we’re all at different stages. Yet I was also reminded that I’m at different stages across my own works. 

I know that probably seems obvious. One book that has been undergone twelve drafts is obviously different than a book that’s only been written once. Yet, for a moment, I assumed that because RESISTANCE is still in such a bad shape, that obviously that means ARTEMIS sucks just as much. And that’s simply not the case, because I’ve put so much more work into ARTEMIS. Multiple rounds of revision, including a round implementing beta feedback. Not to mention that I understand that story so much more and feel so much more confident about it. My writing reflects that, whereas my writing in RESISTANCE shows my hesitancy and uncertainty I have for that narrative.

This is a really long post to basically say this: recognize the various stages your writing and your career are in and then respect them. Take the time to work on a novel to get it ready for betas. Rewrite as many drafts as you need to, to make it work. Don’t forget that your first draft usually sucks and that’s okay. It’s also okay if your tenth draft sucks. Every book is different. Every career is different. Focus on yours and doing everything you can to make it the best of your ability. Recognize your mistakes, admit them and then keep pushing forward.

And never give up. Our world needs your stories.

Cheers.

* When I say this, I’m not trying to come off as conceited and say that I assumed my book was so great, all my betas would love it. What I meant was that my gut was telling me ARTEMIS was ready for their eyes, whereas RESISTANCE was not.


Quest for Happiness: Week Twenty Nine

Fitness:

  • Long-term Goal: Shape the body I want and become healthier.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Keep up fitness routine.
    • Status: Almost. I worked out three times out of my goal of four, so not too shabby. Eating fell off the bandwagon over the weekend, as it usually does, and ended up in my progress going backward, with a pound gained. But nothing to fret about. I can get back on the grind this week!
  • This Week’s GoalFigure out how to eat so if I don’t work out, I’m still doing well and don’t go backwards.

Writing:

  • Long-term Goal: Edit all previously written works. Query one.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Complete last minute revisions.
    • Status: Yes? I didn’t go in and fix the few things I wanted to, but I did fix the first chapter, so I’m counting it.
  • This Week’s Goal: Submit into PitchWars!

Reading:

  • Long-term Goal: Read 60 books.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Finish Invasive. 
    • Status: Success! And I wrote the review, to boot.
  • This Week’s Goal: Read every day.

Relaxation:

  • Long-term Goal: Create and maintain a mindset that taking care of yourself is just as important as everything else.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Swim 3x.
    • Status: Nada. This will be my last week to swim, so hopefully I can sneak in a swim or two. But I have a feeling that might not be happening because I’m already so busy this week.
  • This Week’s Goal: Swim twice.

Blogging:

  • Long-term Goal: Increase output over all three blogs, i.e., post more consistently.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Read through all of the Pitch War mentor wishlists and #PimpMyBio participants posts.
    • Status: Halfway. I did read through the mentor wishlists, but I did not read through any more participant posts, even though I wanted to. Life just got in the way, you know?
  • This Week’s Goal: Post twice on the personal blog, once on the book blog.

Financial:

  • Long-term Goal: Manage money with more awareness, start retirement fund and build savings.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Stop stressing so much about money.
    • Status: Nope. That can’t even be a short goal, that’s a lifelong, forever kinda goal.
  • This Week’s Goal: Stay aware and stay frugal (especially when you go grocery shopping). Also, go to retirement meeting this week.

Not a bad week, friends! Apologies that the post is a day late, since I usually post on Sundays. However, my work schedule is different for the next three weeks so I don’t work on Sundays (which is usually when I sneak in this post) and I spent yesterday playing D&D and didn’t get near my laptop. But it’s almost August, which is when my life gets really, really busy as work picks back up, new commitments are added and generally time just seems to slip away. So as responsibilities increase and balancing becomes an act once more, I hope to continue to keep my goals in my foresight and make strides.

Cheers.


A Punch from the Brain, Retaliation from the Heart

If someone has a magical solution to help a person stop overthinking things, I, personally, would love to learn more about said solution.

Because it’s exhausting, friends.

I overthink to the point where I only focus on the negative outcomes. My immediate reaction is to assume the worst, because my mind easily twists and warps things to fit into that equation, where the only solution is the one my overthinking brain creates. Until that worst case scenario is proven false or doesn’t come true, I just assume that’s the reality, the truth of what’s to come. And then once it doesn’t, I feel like a fool, because everything obviously pointed to things being okay or things working out, yet my brain couldn’t help but distort those signs, those facts. I tell myself, See, you didn’t need to worry? Don’t put yourself through that again.

I’m sure you’re not hard-pressed to figure out what happens next.

 insomnia GIF

I’ve been doing this a lot lately in terms of my evolving friendships and undefinable love life. It can be the simplest things, from not receiving a text for a while to not being called a pet name to putting in all the effort to being left out of a hang out session. I over-analyze, I replay conversations, trying to pick up meanings from inflections and word choice and things left unspoken. I become hyper-focused, always worried that my reality is actually going to become what my brain tells me it will–and it’s never good. And life is good, right now, and who am I to deserve that? How long can it last before I mess it up; then, once doing so, how long will I spend regretting that one confession, that one crying session, that one time where I admitted too much or became too vulnerable and fucked everything up?

These thoughts and fears and scenarios birth in my brain and then worm their way into my emotions, twisting me into a sour mood where I either don’t want to talk to anyone at all or I become needy, desperate for affirmation and confirmation that these fears are heedless and merely vicious to my own subconscious. Suddenly, my desire to be productive diminishes, and even writing and reading become chores when they should be exciting. If it’s really bad, the emotions will manifest into physical pain, in my chest or my stomach, a throbbing pain in my temple.

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And all the while, the scenarios don’t stop replaying in my head, pointing out exactly what went wrong and how I caused it.

This sucks. It makes me seem like my brain isn’t exactly all there. That I’m emotionally imbalanced or the most needy human. It makes me seem like…a bit much, maybe too much to handle or perhaps not even worth the trouble, even for the good times; for the times when I have my brain under control and I don’t give into every seed of doubt, every change, every fear. How can the good times be worth it, for my family and friends and partner, when they also come with moments of the bad, which occur more often than I like to admit?

I can’t make a case for why, but I like to believe I’m worth it, anyway. Even though it’s not the most enjoyable part of my personality, being an overthinking worrywart is a part of my personality. A part I’d like to lessen, a part I’d like to be more in control of, but it’s a part of me nonetheless. So yeah, I have a lot of anxiety and I overthink way too much. But that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to me. That doesn’t mean that those demons are right and I’m going to ruin every aspect of my life, to my family to my friends to my love life to my writing career.

So thanks to those of you who stick by me, despite of this.

And also? A little note to that overthinking brain of mine?

Yeah, I’m in a point in my life right now where I have a lot less friends than I used to, so the few I’ve held onto, I’m suddenly so paranoid I’m going to lose them for good and my life will become nothing but working and coming home to an empty house; a routine never broken up by coffee dates to catch up, weekly 1-1 sessions, long conversations or tears caused by laughter. I’m at a point where I am falling hard for a man who is scared of commitment, so we might never have the type of relationship I’ve always dreamed about, and he’s become so important to me, I’m so nervous he’s going to disappear from my life and not only will I be alone again, but I’ll also no longer have him as a constant presence, support and light. I don’t want to lose him. I’m at a point where I’ve been struggling to write and I’m scared I’ll never get over that, but I’m also scared of the books I have written never going anywhere, never being loved the way I love them. I’m at a point where I feel like my financial status is dominated by bills and I’ll never catch up and feel ahead or financially comfortable, so of course I’ll either always live paycheck-to-paycheck….or worse.

But you know what, my lovely, over-energized, never-ceasing brain? All of those things could happen, all of those fears could come true, and I will still be okay. 

I could lose every friend I have and see no one. I could get my heart shattered by this man. I could have every book I write get rejected. I could lose my job or live paycheck-to-paycheck forever. One or all of these things could happen and yet I will still make it. You wanna know why?

That’s calling living.

That’s life.

If I didn’t have these fears; if I wasn’t putting myself out there and risking my heart, risking my hopes, risking my dreams; if I wasn’t so attached to people and passions and things; is that the kind of life I want to live? Sheltered, comfortable, safe, complacent, routine?

No, I don’t think so.

Some days, you win. You make the inside of my head a living nightmare. You exhaust my friends when they have to remind me, again, that they aren’t going anywhere. You make my family’s foreheads meet their palms when I repeat the same mantra of, “But what if X? Can’t you see Z?” You give me anxiety, you make me fear, you add unnecessary stress, you steal sleep, you absorb will, you cause pain. And I hate you for it.

 the lord of the rings our merry return of the king elise GIF

But other days, I win. I take risks. I follow my heart. I create art. I enjoy the little things. I run miles. I laugh with friends. I get overly excited about dogs. I nerd out. I go on adventures. I work. I live as a hopeless romantic. I do whatever I can to break up the monotony and mundane aspects of life.

No matter how hard you hit, no matter how many punches you throw, I’ll come back swinging just as hard. It may take hours, days, weeks, before I retaliate. Before my positivity can make a comeback and prove more powerful than my anxiety. But know this, anxiety. Know this, my overthinking, over-analytic, obsessive, cynical, hopeless mind.

I will never stop fighting.

And I will conquer you.

Cheers.