Thursday, May 29, 2014

Period. End. Done

I did it. 

It's been a few years, some hiccups along the way, cancer, meeting a bastard named Wegener's, and battling my own criticism but ... I finished. 

Finished what, you ask?

If you hadn't read the last entry, you won't know.  I wrote a book.  It's a fiction story.  It's kind of a combination of a couple different projects I was starting but now ... it's done.  I'm finished.   I finished it.  I typed a period on the last line of the last page. 

I sat there, staring at the computer, not quite sure what to do.  It's been forever since I reached this point in anything I was working on.  Maybe, I never really have. I mean, I remember thinking I was finished but ... it was never like this.  I feel like there is an entire world opening up to me right now.

What happens next?  Sheesh, I don't know.  I've sent out 40 query letters now, some with a synopsis, others with sample chapters.  I sent all my info out into the world.  What happens with that?  I don't know.  I'm nowhere near done sending out queries.  Nope.  There are thousands of literary agents out there.  THOUSANDS.  And, trust me, I've read some books where I thought, "I could do better than this."

Someone out there will take me.  They will.  I will publish this beast.  It may be revised a bunch of times by an editor and may have some big changes in it.  I may go through it myself and add a scene or two.  Maybe it could use some fattening up.  Who knows?  Right now?  It's done!!!!!

I even went back and made a cover page with the working title that I have for it.  I typed the title, and underneath I typed By Nicole G****.  I stopped and looked at that page, a noticeable chill dancing down my spine.  This is what I have always wanted. I can feel it in my bones.  I love books.  I want to be an author of books.  They don't have to be Pulitzer prize winning books, they don't have to be on the best seller list ... they just have to exist!

If I did become published, the only other dream I would want to achieve is ... having one of my books adapted into a screenplay and turned into a movie.  That would be pretty freaking awesome. 

So, that's it.  I am done.  I've finished a novel.  It's not too terribly long.  273pages.  This could get longer, you never know.  Eek! I don't even know what to think right now.  My brain is all abuzz!!!!

I just wanted to share.  I don't even have a clever way of ending this. 

So ... I'll just go. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Leap of Faith

A lifetime of playing it safe.

That's what I have behind me.  The journey from birth to where I am now hasn't been much of an adventure.  I did go on an awesome cross country journey when I was 8, but ... I was 8.  So, I was a passenger on my mom and stepdad's amazing cross country adventure.  Sure, there was some fantastical moments.  Being on the side of the cliff, stopped in a storm that had turned daytime into nighttime, thinking that was it, we were going to die, only to have the sky lighten again and find out we had been a mile from a passing tornado in Nebraska.   I'd like to travel Route 66 sometime.  But, I'm digressing.  My life has been spent 'playing it safe.'  People would never think to call me a 'risk taker'.

Until now.

I just finished sending my 3rd query letter, synopsis, and writing sample to literary agents.  I'm not stopping there.  I read somewhere that I should do at least 80.  Right now, I am focusing on those looking for the type of writing that I do, and people who accept electronic submissions via email because I'm at work and that's easiest for me to do.   When I'm off, I'll make up some packets at kinko's or something to send via SNAIL MAIL! 

I wish I could convey to you what it feels like right now.  I feel nauseous, I feel scared.  There's a tiny sprinkling of hope scattered in there.  It just is a different feeling.  Who knows if one of those 80-100 submissions that I plan to do will result in anything.  Perhaps, it will be a pleasant learning experience, and I'll have a few rejection emails for my collection. 

This could very well go no where.  But, everyone says "you never know until you try."  Well, I'm trying.  I'm throwing caution to the wind and waiting to hear if I am finally going to be able to do what I love most in life.  Write.  Well ... I write now.  But, will I get paid?!   Man, I'd write even for a pittance.  I'd still work full time and write write write.  I'd be completely inspired to do so much more, believe me. 

This took a lot for me to do.  I've been thinking about it for awhile, I've been contemplating doing it for a few days and now ... I started the process.  Writing is very private to me.  Not private in the sense that I don't want to ever be published but ... once, a long time ago, someone stole my idea after I shared it with them and I will forever carry that betrayal in my heart.  Showing my work to people felt vulnerable.  Like, if I sent it in to someone, would they like it so much they published it in their own name?  Good lord, that would be devastating.    Since that aforementioned moment, I've kept my writing close to my chest.  I'm possessive of it, and extremely protective.  It was only recently that I let someone read something I wrote and ... the feedback was good.  Whether that person was just being polite, I'll never know ... but, it reinspired me.  I started writing even more than normal. 

Right now, there is nothing I want more in life than to see my writing published, bound, hardbound or paperback.  To see my name on the book jacket, to read the synopsis of something I created on the back.  I think I would die and go right to heaven. 

On a more serious note, if I find myself facing my maker in the near future, I would feel better knowing that I at least tried, instead of facing the end and wondering forever "What If".

So ... if you could say a prayer, rub some stones together, do a chant, knock on wood, squeeze a rabbits foot or whatever sort of luck sending method you desire ... I would really appreciate it.  Perhaps you'll get a dedication from me someday in the front of the book. 

This may not be the kind of risk you'd take, nor may you consider it even a risk at all.  It's a major leap of faith for me and I am praying with all I might that something catches me on the other side. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Flip The Switch

Do you have a button?  A limit to what you will take?  I think most people do.  We all take and take and take and endure until finally, that button is reached and it's game over! No more Mrs.NiceGirl.  Well, for me it's Nice Girl.  You could be a guy for all I know. 

My button has been hit! Stomped upon really.  It's been building for some time.  I listen and endure and put up with and tolerate and swallow sooooo damn much I want to just say that ... it's bound to explode.  And, explode it has. 

A very emotionally charging, taxing experience that felt somewhat rewarding was smashed into smithereens and the high from that disappeared faster than you can blink your eyes.  Go ahead, blink, see how fast it is?  Anyway, I can't really go into what that experience was but ... it's caused the button being pushed. 

I also cannot tolerate when someone is upset about something completely and totally unrelated to me, but I am the one that it gets taken out on.  Not everyone else.  Hmm, OK, that's how you want to work things?  Fine.  Have at it. 

I'm done putting up with the bullshit that goes on around me.  I'm done.  Why should I have to listen to the nonsense, put up with being overlooked, stepped on and pushed around because I'm a "nice" person.  Being nice is a good thing.  Being nice is something that everyone should try to be once in their lives.  Since when did being nice mean others could be complete and total assholes to you?  Screw this business. 

I keep my personal issues private. I could go on and on all day with how my illness is going, how I live in fear all the time, how I can't do what you all take for granted, how I'm changing how I eat not only to lose weight but to try and feel physically better.  Do you have to worry that your cancer is going to come back?  No.  Do you have to monitor aches and pains and itches and twitches?  No.  I don't bother people with it.  It's my battle.  I am tired of the eye roll.   There are days I hate the world.  I hate every part of the world.  Do I take it out on people?  I try with every part of my being not to take it out on people.

I'm finished with people being rude, making backhanded insulting remarks, alluding to their greatness when truly ... they aren't that great and it's just their insecurity speaking.  I am tired of having things rubbed in  my face and I am supposed to be all congratulatory and fawn all over you or ... break my neck trying to lift your spirits when you're down.  I'm done.  

How many times have things happened to me?  More than I let on.  Do I post every inch of it on facebook so I can have adoring comments and words of wisdom?  Not anymore.  I posted about my dads birthday more in an honor of him because I didn't get to have him in my life for very long.  But, for the most part, I keep that stuff off the internet because I don't need constant reaffirmation of myself.  

Part of me is this close to deactivating my account.  But, I still like to see pictures of my friends kids, and read funny anecdotes.  I've definitely scaled back my involvement there.  It pisses me off more than brings any kind of joy, that's for damn sure. 

I guess I've had people's boots wiped on my face enough times.  A person can only take so much of that before losing it.  

You won't be stepping on my face to get ahead anymore.  I'm done coddling you, of being a better friend to you than you are to me, of bending over backwards to help, of trying to be a good person because I am learning faster and faster ... good people get nowhere in life.  You have to be pretty messed up, selfish, rude, and see only yourself in order to get anywhere. 

I'll just be over here, quietly fighting every day to live the kind of life that you get to but take completely for granted!

My button is stuck down.  There's no getting the old me back.   

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Depression or Sadness?

Awhile back, during all of the ups and downs of diagnosis and adjusting to life as a permanent sick person, I talked to my doctor and asked if I might be "depressed".  She prescribed medication and then kept checking on me.  In her eyes, I was experiencing a MAJOR depression.  For awhile, I even believed it myself.  However, after some soul searching and being able to look at my life from the outside, I don't think that was the case at all.

Hear me out before you jump to conclusions to tell me that I am, in fact, depressed. 

Most of the day?  I'm happy.  Yes, I admit that I struggle with a kaleidoscope of feelings throughout said day. I can be angry and jealous, I can get fed up and frustrated.  I can be really mad at the world and wondering what injustice I did to someone in another life, or even this one, to deserve the hand that I have been dealt.  But you know what?  This is NORMAL for someone who has to go through all of this.  Can you imagine going from living your life on your terms to suddenly living your life having to adhere to a list of Dos and Don'ts?  Anyone would have trouble with it.

But, when I step back and look over the disease part.  I'm happy.  I love my house.  I love my animals, I love my car even though it's expensive.  I love my job.  I love my family.  I love being able to read and write whenever I want to.  I love being able to get out and walk down my street under the hanging Oak limbs and being able to smell all the flowers from the gardens around me.  I love a lot about my life. 

Do I have moments of darkness?  Yes.  I do.  Who doesn't?  No one is sunshine and rainbows all the time.  Even if you think they are ... they just hide it well.  Trust me.  It's part of the human spirit.  It's call having emotion.  If you don't have them, you're on some serious heavy medication! If you can be happy, you can be sad.  It's that simple.

I stopped taking the anti depressants awhile ago.  They weren't making things better. I found other ways of lifting my spirits.  A walk, a good movie, a good book.  Taking a moment to just lie around and be a blob because those house chores CAN WAIT.  I work what I have to for ME, not for those people asking for days off.  If I don't need it, I won't take it.  I am happy on the inside.  I'm not depressed. 

Yes, sometimes I lie in bed too long or lounge on the couch.  But, that comes from being lazy and acknowledging that I'm sick and fighting a constant battle for my life so ... I do get to rest more than others.  Deal with it.  You can have what I have if you're jealous about it. 

Yes, I don't think there are children in my future.  I could adopt, but it would be the most selfish decision I think I will ever make.  I lost my parents young.  It was devastating and I couldn't put my own children in that position.  This is my view about my life.  I don't think everyone should go along with me.  It is what is good for us.   It's not a decision set in stone yet. But, it's something that is helping me get through this Mother's Day and realizing I am still not a mother. 

Sometimes, sadness is just that ... some sadness. It's a mood.  It happens.  Unfortunately, too many people throw medication at that instead of dealing with it.  Yes, I get that people NEED it.  There are people who need it and fight a battle with depression all the time.  That is not my situation! I am taking control of my emotions, allowing myself moments of whatever dark emotion I'm having but ... then I move on from it. 

There is so much good in my life (a lot of bad, I will admit it) and I can't just lie around and wallow in my self pity.  If everyone else doesn't feel bad about what's going on with me ... why should I?  Nope.  I'm not going to. 

I'm glad I was able to see this in myself.   I'm glad I was able to be able to gain control over something in my life.  The right for me to continue on living certainly isn't in my hands.   That's a hard fact to swallow but it is a fact, and it is what it is. 

I urge you to look at your life and take stock of the good things.  You'll probably be surprised at the amount of things there are. If you hate your job, try to be grateful to have one ... if you hate your house, starting putting a dollar or two away to move somewhere else.  Everything has a thing you can do to change it.    There are no easy ways out ... sometimes, things take a lot of hard work.  If you're not willing to use a little elbow grease, you'll never change things.  I am changing me.  If I can do it, dealing with everything that I have to ... so can you.

Have a wonderful day everyone, and if you are a mother, Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Throw back a shot ...

Of Perspective ...

Life gone and done it again.  I was feeling extra whiny, grumpy, and grumbly about my life.  I kept getting angry, frustrated, pouty.  I knew it wasn't the right place to go with my mind.  I'm not in a bad place by any means.  So I'm sick ... I've had a few bumps in my road of life.  But ... in a lot of ways, I am very very blessed.

Today, I took time at work to look at some weather channel photos of the tornado damage in the mid-west.  I've seen thousands of photos of tornado damage in my life. I've even witnessed it first hand while we were traveling back east when I was a child.  For some reason, I looked at this pictures from a completely different perspective. 

This time, I saw families who had nothing left, picking through the remains of what was once their home, their safe place ... I saw a man sitting on the ruins, covering his eyes, talking on the phone.  I just ... I can't even imagine.  There was a photo of a small subdivision, only two streets worth of a subdivision.  All but about 8 of the houses were gone.  It was the kind of picture that showed the path the tornado took through that area, ripping apart the lives of those remaining families' neighbors. 

I live in California.  We have beautiful weather ... whether it be raining, sunny, snowing.  We get the occasional whopper of a winter storm but it doesn't even come close to standing up to the destruction of a tornado.  In California, we are known for our earthquakes.  OK, so the small ones happen all the time but they are so deep and insignificant 99% of Californians never feel it.  Do you know how often a BIG one has been felt here?  People mark them with the year, giving it some significance.  The Loma Prieda Quake of 1989, the San Francisco Earthquake 1906, The Northridge Quake 1994, etc.

 There have also been accidents on the news and in my local area where people died.  Here one minute, gone the next.  It takes my breath away and makes me pause.   It could all end in a blink of an eye ... faster than a blink of an eye.  It's sad.   

I live in a nice area, out of the flood plain, near a pretty active fault line but not in any sort of danger from it.  I live in a really nice area on an Oak Tree Lined Street.  There are horses and vineyards all around.  I can step outside and smell fresh flowers all around me.  I am damn blessed and lucky to live where I do.  Even if it means I have to bust my ass until I'm dead to keep it.  I'll do it. 

So I have this dumb illness.  So I have a tiny bit o' cancer.  Big deal?!  I'm able to get out of bed, shower and get dressed, pack my food and head off to work and then come home to my own home that is still standing.  I don't have to fear nature getting PMS and ripping my home to pieces, throwing my car across town. We have crappy weather but ... not THAT crappy. 

Anyway, once again, life opened my eyes to reality.  Life reminded me with a big ol' tap on the shoulder that even though sometimes it feels like I am standing at the bottom of a really big hill with absolutely no idea how I will ever get over it ... I am alright, and I will be alright in the long run.  Even if I lose my battle somewhere down the road, ... I lived a pretty good life while I was here. 

I lose sight of that and I appreciate how the world takes the time to let me know.  My heart and all of my prayers go out to everyone affected by the recent storms in the mid west and the horrific flooding in Florida.   May you find peace somehow in all of this. 

I look at those photos, and open my heart to them the same reason I read books taking place in the time of the Holocaust.  I owe it to those people to feel.  I owe it to them to open my eyes to reality and how the world is for others ... not just what the world is like in my peachy little bubble. 

Sometimes, I notice people around me who could use a dollop of perspective.  I pray that someday they will find it, that the world will give them a tap. 

Life is short, ... and I'll say it again, UNPREDICTABLE.  Tomorrow is not a promise.  Today is a gift.  All those clich├ęd sayings.  You may brush them off ... but, today, I see that they are true.  Whatever you're doing right now, I hope you pause, take a deep breath and remember that everything around you can be taken away ... the life that flows through you can stop ...

Enjoy it, embrace it, appreciate it. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Be Yourself

"Be  yourself" It's what has been ground into my head for my entire life time.  I agree with it.  One should always just be themselves and stop trying to be everyone else.  Well ... what if you are only being "half" of yourself.

I feel like I keep most of my true self hidden all the time.  My brain has receptors that let me know the nature of the people around me and when and where I an 100% truly be myself.  It's not often that I can.  I've seen weird looks on people's faces when little parts of me burst forth and I find myself backpedaling in my head and wishing I hadn't said anything. 

I came up with what I want to do when I reach my goal weight.  I'll go ahead and write it here because ... it's my blog and I can write what I want in here.  SO ... OK ... here it goes ...

I want to go to San Diego Comic Con 2015 and I want to go in some form of cosplay. 

For those that don't know.  Cosplay is short for Costume Play. It's homemade, unique costumes of characters.  Comic Con and all the other conventions are FILLED with them.  I've always loved dressing up.  I haven't done it in years because I am fat and the costumes and characters I love being require someone less round.  I love it.  I can't wait to actually make that happen.  I've been toying with ideas on what I want to do.  I have a list of characters ... I just have to figure out how to make the costume. 

Call me a nerd but ... it is what it is.  I am who I am.  I love superheroes and fantasy, villains and princesses, fairy tales and science fiction.   Maybe people don't know that about me but it's true.  I'm girly on the inside. I want to wear dresses and cute shoes.  I wish I had the ability to make my hair cute and wear makeup that doesn't make me look like a clown.  I love the pinup look, I love steampunk and funky things. I love big chunky heels and a lot of black white and silver.  While it's comfortable, I'm just not a jeans and tshirt kind of girl on the inside.

I love music and I love to sing.  I don't think I'm good at all so I don't sing in front of people but in the car ... in my house ... game on.  Unfortunately, I've been having a lot of trouble with that lately.  I don't know if the radiation did something to my vocal cords but ... I can't hit the notes I used to before I did radiation.  Perhaps it takes practice ... I've been practicing for a year.  It feels worse these days.  Even talking I'm all scratchy at times.

I feel like I am not being myself completely.  I'm not in a creative career.  My entire life was one of playing make believe, writing stories, playing and singing music, pretending to act things out in my bedroom.  I loved being creative.  I truly believe that is the only part of my brain that works the way it is supposed to.  I wish I had a job in some sort of creative field.  I would love it more than life itself. 

I try to write when I have downtime at work.  I wish I had more time to sit in my office at home and focus on it.  I need to not be distracted or interrupted.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to have 8 hours a day to sit down and work on my book?  That's what a novelist gets to do.  I have to squeeze it in between calls.  It's distracting and sometimes I lose my train of thought.  The muse goes away ... I don't blame her.  This is a suffocating environment ...

Part of me thinks I am still young enough to live the life I imagined, and do the things that I want to be doing.  It's going to take work and dedication.  But ... like with the weight loss, it starts with a single step.  Coming up with a plan for next year at Comic Con as a reward for losing all the weight I needed to lose ... that's the first step.  .

Step two may be picking up my saxophone again ... who knows?  I just miss expressing myself via music.  I miss how natural it all came to me.  I miss being GOOD at something. 

I can't tell people to be themselves when I am not fully doing that myself.

But, it's not too late to do that, right?