Writers and Fears

write what disturbs you

 

This is probably one of the most difficult part about being a writer.  Revealing your vulnerabilities and fears to others.   This is also a reason why most of us never truly reach our potential because of these fears.

I am one of them.

How do we break through the barriers that our fears place around us?

How???

What about you?  Are your fears holding you back?

If so, what are you going to do about them?

Dreams

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela
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Is There An Untold Story In You?

m angelou untold story

*The following is an excerpt from the discussion topic that took place yesterday.  I felt compelled to share here as I feel that there may be some of you struggling with this very issue.

 

Hello everyone! Welcome to THURSDAY TALK SHOP! Today we’re going to have a very serious discussion. Everyone belongs to this group because we are bloggers. The subjects we blog about are broad though. Events, ideas, cultures, art; you name it and you just might find it here in this group. Most of us are blogging about what matter to us. About things that deeply move us; shake us to our cores. For some of us, there is an untold story buried beneath our passions and desires. A story so dark. Disturbing. Painful. Sad. So (you insert a word here) that we’ve been unable to share. While you are able to share all your other experiences and thoughts and feelings, you’ve yet been able to let out the one thing that you kept buried so deep within…

Focus on these words from Maya. Do you want to continue carrying this untold story within you? If not, share with us (however vague or specific you want to be) in one word or one sentence this untold story that is just trying to free itself from within you. If you can’t do it publicly then how about journaling privately? You’ll be amazed as to how freeing this feels once you’re able to liberate this untold story. If you decided to journal about it, just let us know by one word- Journaled.

Any thoughts? Anything you’d like to add to this discussion?

As a Writer: To Specialize or Not

frustrated

 

Why is my blog titled “a writer and her adolescent muse?”

The title represents where I am as a writer.  Even though I’ve been writing on and off since I was eleven years old (in serious mode for the last nine years), I still consider myself an apprentice to the craft as well as a novice.   I am a published short story writer, poet, and essayist.  I enjoy writing stuff about zombies and various end-of-the-world scenarios.  I also find that I need to write about mental illnesses, disabilities and losses.  I am a sucker for all things romance (the clean kind), but have yet to write any true romance stories.  I’ve dabbled in screenwriting which came easy for me, and I found it very enjoyable and stimulating.   In the past three years, I have taken particular citizen journalist assignments which I found very exciting and enlightening.  I love blogging about all kinds of creative topics.  And lately, I’ve developed an obsession with Fanfiction.

Quite a variety, huh?

Variety is the spice of my life; however, I’m starting to wonder if I will ever specialize in a given form or niche; or will I end up being a sort of a “Jack of all trades and master of none” kind of writer?  As  I’m approaching mid-life, these thoughts are coming more often than not.  It’s down-right distracting.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

What do you think?  Should all writers specialize?  Or is it okay to have various writing experience and skills?

 

 

 

The Dawning (Day One) Part One

12196255_10153141917005667_6710745592747987123_n

 

(*Note: In continuation to the Dusk (Arrival at the School for the Blind) post)

 

Day One

The first full day is done.  It was a good one, I think. Had three one-hour classes in the morning; and three one-hour classes in the afternoon.  My schedule will be the same for the rest of the week. One of the Vision Specialists made sure we were awake by 7:15am by knocking on each of our doors.  Breakfast was held in the kitchen/small dining area on the other side of the building from 8 till 8:30.  Since each one of the residents have varying degrees of visual loss and this was our first day,  Amy (one of the Visual Specialists) led us down a few different hallways to the kitchen/dining room area (also labeled as Daily Living Skills Center). Here we ate cereals and toasts.  It was a fairly quiet meal as we didn’t know each other.  I could sense that I wasn’t the only one feeling anxious about being here at the School.

My first class began at 8:30 with Ken (Daily Living Skills Specialist) so I stayed in the kitchen/dining area.  We just went over tidbits in regards to kitchen skills (which areas I like to work on throughout the week.  Guess I’ll be getting some cooking in too).  At 9:30 I met with Margo (Mobility Specialist).  She took me into an office and we discussed various aspects of mobility and the cane (I brought my own but have never used).  She took me out to a particular (long and wide) hallway and went over the basics of holding on the cane, and tips on how to use it.

parts of walking cane

 

For about 1/2 hour, I walked up and down this corridor, swinging the cane side to side (tip must always stay in contact to the surface), while Margo watched.  Every once in a while she’ll correct my form.

Today I didn’t have a 10:30 class (Specialist had a previous appointed event to attend) so I went to my room, and rested.

At 11:30 I headed back to the kitchen/dining area for lunch.  Again, we were quiet as we ate.

12:30 was a group meeting in a conference room.  From there I went to my 1pm class with the Technology Specialist, Tracey.  She showed me a little about various accessibility functions on a desktop computer (mainly Windows).  2pm I headed back to the kitchen/dining area for my second Daily Living Skills class with Amy.  I had the joy of preparing sliced potatoes and ham for supper.  Nah, it wasn’t that bad at all 🙂  At 3pm, I met with Candy at the Braille Center.  I learned what the alphabets A and B look like.  Oh man, this is like learning a totally new language!  The entire Braille language is based on these 6 dots.  See below:

braille letter z

 

“The braille alphabet is based upon a “cell” that is composed of 6 dots, arranged in two columns of 3 dots each. Each braille letter of the alphabet or other symbol, such as a comma, is formed by using one or more of the 6 dots that are contained in the braille cell. The chart below provides a good example of the design of the braille alphabet.”

braille dots

 

(Courtesy of Vision Aware)

 

Whew…am feeling exhausted after my first full day here; but, in a good way.  Margo told me that I am to be using the cane the entire time I’m here; meaning it has to stay “attached” to me no matter what.  I told her that I would.  Using the cane still makes me quite nervous (self-conscious is probably a better word); but, I think I’m getting a little more comfortable with it (better than earlier today anyway).

The others are a good group of people: Tara, Rosalinda (aka Linda), Marlene, David and Sarnoe.  Several of the Vision Specialists are vision impaired themselves.  I’m quite impressed.

There’s a level of comfort being here. I don’t have to constantly feel like I have to make an excuse for my “clumsiness;” or wonder what the others think of me as a “blind” person.  The other residents know. They understand and can completely relate.  I don’t feel so alone anymore.

Yet…I still feel quite a bit of hesitancy and uncertainty.  Not 100% sure why.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to bake banana bread.  Oh, boy…

 

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Fighting the Darkness

bare land

 

For a long time, I viewed my disabilities as weaknesses; and considered myself to be inferior to other able-bodied individuals.  I felt that by “accepting” my disabilities meant I was giving in to them.

So, anger settled in.

Instead of feeling propelled to do great things, I opted to feel sorry for myself and gave up on my dreams.

Years passed.  Regrets mounted.  Misery and loneliness hung on me like thick furs on a hot, muggy summer day.

Suffocating me ever so slowly.

Anxiety and depression visited intermittently until they decided to move in on a more permanent basis.  It got so bad I couldn’t step outside of my own home without having an episode.

I realized that I couldn’t go on living like this.

Something had to change.

It wasn’t too long after we moved to North Dakota when I learned there was a School for the Blind in Grand Forks (a short 45-minute drive from home); and that they offered Adult Weeks just about every quarter.  Pam, my Vision Services Specialist, encouraged me to come in March.  I had every intention of attending, but “chickened” out at the last moment.   She then encouraged me to attend one during the first week of June.

I actually went.

Finally.

 

*Will talk about my week at the School for the Blind in my next post.

 

 

Darkness Abound

dark valley

 

 

 

 

One of the most difficult challenges for me was accepting the fact that I have a progressive disease (Usher Syndrome).  The next challenge was admitting that I needed new skills/retraining.

Coming to terms to both of these took twenty-four years.

Better late than never, eh?

Even then, it was difficult.  It’s been like going through the grief process that spanned over two decades.

I was not only losing my vision while dealing with moderate hearing loss, I was also gradually losing my independence.  And that was the most painful part of all.

I felt diminished as a person. Inferior.

Worthless.

A liability to others rather than an asset.

I loathed feeling that way.

But, what could I do about it?

So…depression and anxiety invaded, and for a time, won.

 

Darkness

 

Darkness is my constant companion
Everything before me veiled
Stumbling I cannot find my path
The way is shrouded
Uncertainty fills my future
Which path to choose?
Dreams seem just beyond my reach
What is the point of even trying
When darkness is all that awaits me?

 

*Stay tuned for the next post on what I finally did about my situation

 

Writing Through Your Fears

fear and resistance

 

 

 

 

Ever had a passion project in mind that kept nudging at you all hours of the day; but, when you sat down to actually begin working on it only to find that your mind had gone completely blank?

 

What did you do?

 

If you’re like many writers, you blamed it on “writer’s block.”

 

In Gabriela Pereira’s upcoming book, DIY MFA, she states that there is no such thing as “writer’s block;” rather it’s resistance.  The more meaningful the project is, the more one has to lose so the greater the resistance.  She went on to say that instead of looking at this resistance as an enemy, look at it as a compass.    Use it to guide as you work through this resistance.

 

So, instead of running from it…

 

Face it.

 

In doing so, you may surprise yourself at what you’d uncover.  Many writers have discovered valuable breakthroughs by working through their fears.

 

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”
–Henry Ford

 

I have battled with the fear of inferiority.  That anything I do will not be good enough. So, instead of working through this and continue producing as a writer, I’d stop writing altogether.

 

Sounds familiar?

 

Over time, I have (somewhat) overcome this by writing and finishing short works of fiction, and poetry; however, I’ve yet to complete a long work of fiction (a novel; heck,  even a novella would be nice).   I’d get about a quarter of a way through, and then stop.

 

No one’s gonna want to read this.

 

It’s never going to be published so why bother?

 

On and on it goes.

 

I know where this resistance is coming from.  It’s stemming from various painful experiences in my past.  Instead of working through this, I’m allowing it to stop me from doing what I love.  And it’s making me miserable.

 

I’m going to take Gabriela’s advice and begin viewing this resistance as my compass, and allow it to guide me down the path I’m destined for.

 

Will you do the same?

 

“What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.” –Jiddu Krishnamurti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Let Your Fears Stop You?

As writers and on a personal level, we all have fears.  But, there are some that stop us right in our tracks.

Derailing everything.

How do you usually handle your fears?

 

 

I love to say that I tend to face my fears head-on; but, for the past decade, I’ve been running from them.

As the result, I’m now battling with anxiety issues and am becoming more and more reclusive.

What happened to me?  I’m puzzled, honestly.  I used to have no problem getting out and about.  Now, I’m growing petrified even thinking about stepping out of my house.

I feel like such a coward.

A Writer’s Vulnerable Heart (Part Two)

It’s difficult to open your heart when its been broken time and time again.

The first time I remember having it broken was losing my best friend and cousin, Darren.  We were born one month apart.  Playmates at a young age; but things began to change when we were about six.  He kept falling down, and needed help getting up.  Next thing I knew he was in a wheel chair.  A few years later, bed-ridden with all manner of machines hooked into him to help his body keep functioning.   Then, he was gone.  Dead just shy of our fourteenth birthdays.

He had Duchene Muscular Dystrophy.

It was at a young age when I learned that we don’t live forever; that our bodies were fragile.  Mortal.  And that death was a very real thing.

Parents are supposed to be our protectors.  Not just for our physical safety, but of our emotional well-being.  But, even parents are humans…flawed…scarred…and their own hurtful pasts can sometime hurt the ones they loved the most.   As a child, it was hard to see this though; especially when one of them continuously tore you down with damaging words, that you’re not good enough, that you were at fault for their current troubles, and that you don’t deserve anything except pain and hell.  That same parent would continue to pound and belittle until they get the desired outcome…tears.

Hence, I learned to associate tears with being weak.

When I was seventeen, our family’s true matriarch, my surrogate mother and emotional rock as a child, my Grandmother, passed away of Emphysema.

Once in college, I turned my focus to hopes and dreams of a better, brighter future; however, at the age of twenty-one, I learned I was going blind.  As a result, I gave up on my dreams.

Two years later, I met and married Aaron.  I thought that perhaps my life will start to turn for the better; I was wrong.  Less than two years later, he died as a result of a car accident.

Twenty years ago today.  And I can still remember the events of that fateful day as if they just happened.  The heart never forgets no matter how hard you try to push it away.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the last of my losses.

I remarried three years later.  He was my best friend from college who knew of my emotional scars, my hopes and dreams, my anger…everything.  Over four years into our marriage, I was nearly eight months pregnant, he began to have growing issues with breathing.  He went to our family doctor who ran a series of tests on him.  Next thing we knew, he was being transported to the hospital.  His diagnosis: Pericarditis.    They admitted him, and immediately performed an emergency operation to drain the fluid that had its death grip around his heart.  But, that wasn’t the end of it.  Doctors were unsure if this was viral or bacterial.  Bacterial would require a heart transplant.  So, while they ran further tests, they pumped antibiotics into his body.  It would be days before we’d learned that it was viral, not bacterial.

Ever since this event, intimacy has been an issue with me.

Five years after our son was born, I became pregnant again; only to lose that baby.

My latest loss?  My Dad who passed away less than two years ago from an aggressive lung disease.  He was only sixty-seven.

Now, I realize that death is a normal part of living.  The same goes for pain.  But there comes a point though when one suffers so much of both that they shut down emotionally to try and protect what’s left of their heart and soul.   The problem is that I have placed such a tight lid on my emotions, I don’t know how to open it.

The real question though- Do I really want to open it?

 

 

 

 

A Writer’s Vulnerable Heart (Part One)

     “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”  –Brene Brown
    “I can’t write to please everyone, but someone, somewhere will be touched if I put my heart into it.”-Sara Winters
    “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”-William Wordsworth
crying eye
My mind is full of rich and varied images.  Layers of story lines twist and turn with one another; sometimes overlapping, other times becoming as one.  Faces of characters float before my eyes with expressions of pain, joy, and anger.  They’re all there.  In my head.
    Yet, when I write them down on paper (or through the keyboard), the emotions are well, flat.  Stale.  Lifeless.
    I even had a few editors, two especially, who’d read different short stories and both came to the same conclusion:  my characters lacked emotions.
    Really? 
    Funny, when I “act” out various scenes in my head, the strong emotions would rush to the surface, and occasionally, I’d find myself crying, or laughing.   But, why can’t I make these same emotions flow through my characters?
    What’s wrong with my characters?
    What’s wrong with me?
    All my life I have suppressed my emotions.  Especially the tears.  For me, they were signs of weakness.   Heck, I even have difficulties with intimacy in my marriage because it requires me to be vulnerable.
    Vulnerability=weakness.
    I crave connection with people; yet I shy away from them.
    Fear.  Of. What???
    One of my biggest fears is ending up alone.  And that’s exactly where my current path is leading me.
    Sad, huh?
    No, its pathetic!
    Bottom line, I know if I don’t resolve these issues on a personal level, as a writer I will never truly reach people.  Touch them.   Because in order to do that, I need to expose my inner soul, my wounded heart; I need to show my vulnerabilities through the characters, reveal them all to the world; only then, will I be able to touch readers with words.
    If only…