Drive by life

Sneak Peek at where I’m going: Angel Mine, Devil Twined

Juliet Notions

The end of my road turned out to be somewhat similar to the beginning; a fork with two paths, no signs, and a dark fog camouflaging the distance. My knees trembled as with any normal human. This, in and of itself, was something to be noted. When I first stepped on to this planet, wingless and bloodied, I hadn’t hesitated to choose a course and follow it, but eons had the propensity to change a person.

A person, humph.

I’d seen beasts become man, and then revert back to a perverted version of their origins. They used every means to destroy love at its foundation, cannibalizing gifts through high ambition and ever lessening compassion until the last of them fell. Though I tried to carry him here so this choice would not be mine alone, he fought as they all fought to push me away; and so I stand alone, deciding which road—allow them to begin again or send the whole of humanity, all the renewed promise of their future, to oblivion.

“No one being should be responsible for such a decision,” I said to an unresponsive sky, and then sat on a rock to eat the very last apple.

The road behind me had evaporated the closer I came to the fork. No going back, no way to figure out the course forward. A child cried in the back of my mind, a hopeless scream of sorts, eerie in its echo out to lifeless arms. No one had been left to hold her, so she lay beside the shells of her dead parents and wept. Soon after her tears ended the cold night blanketed her bone bare body, stealing one final breath.

As tragic as her passing, I envied it. She was the last child ever born and perhaps the final for this next cycle of eternity. Knowing the pain of her end made my choice a tearing and brutal one. If I allowed them to exist again, how could I be certain they’d be wiser?

In the hills many miles and years back, an elderly woman had invited me in to rest at her cabin for several days before continuing my journey. Deep wrinkles of her dark skin pulled and fell as she spoke each night, the fire light crafting her face into a mask of somewhat grotesque comfort. Comfort only in that she was the very last of her age to survive, and I hadn’t seen another human for some time.

“What of the wars,” I had asked. “Did you lose many?”

Her voice dropped in soft innocence. “Oh, those were some years back. I recall a husband and two sons, then a daughter stolen to the ravage, but it’s been so long.” She paused briefly to drink bark tea, and her face pulled sharp at its bitterness. “It’s been so long I can’t count those memories true. A story from a traveler such as yourself perhaps.”

Her ignorance of the outside world touched me then, and I wondered if she knew that no other soul would see as many days as she had seen. The dark creases of her face were the last to touch this world.

I struggled through a lumped throat to continue. “The, um, pictures in the hall show a family of five,” I had said. “That seems to fit with your memory.”

Her forehead pinched in pain or confusion. It was difficult to tell which. “Yes, but… I had a maw and paw once, too. Only, I can’t see them in my head anymore, or any siblings of recollection.” She dropped her head back and rocked away the struggle.

It was a Monday when I buried her, and though her passing tragic, I envied it.

The war on the soul came in too many forms to count. Of the victims, the elderly and youth suffered greatest in the battles. Ravaged by disinterest and contempt, the beasts of this world crafted the young into robotic soldiers, and then ate them whole; while simultaneously sucking the dignity of those who might lead with greater wisdom. They separated the hearts of men from everything of substance, fashioning them into the next generation of beasts for the feeding.

For my part, I bear the scars of too many long days, sharp teeth, and ferrying hope to those who could never grasp it.

I threw the apple core and watched it disappear into the fog. My decision grew closer with its encroachment, but not enough to choose a path. The weight of an entire race lay heavy and the memories I’d gathered too dark to reason anything positive. On one shoulder an angel wept with tears of pity and prayers of hope; on the other a devil snickered with taunts of continued destruction and torment. Both desired humanities return for entirely different purposes, but neither swayed in their argument.

In the fog, the voice of a man I’d once met called out. His suburban home had been neat, trimmed grass and kept cars. Two children rolled in the backyard, giggling and tossing leaves at one another. They eventually collapsed in a pile and watched the clouds, each calling out shapes as they floated by us. In the kitchen their mother hummed as she prepared dinner before leaving to work the night shift at a local factory, and their father sat next to me, packing an old wooden pipe with sweet tobacco.

“You see,” he had said, dragging in a puff. “It’s not easy, but we make it work. The kids get us both, and we try hard to spend quality time with them. Family trips and such.”

“Wouldn’t it aid them to have one of you home,” I had asked.

He took a swig of his fourth beer. “Of course, of course, but I was a latchkey kid raised by a single mom. She worked three jobs to make sure we had everything. That’s when I learned the importance of a good work ethic and quality time. We didn’t see her much, but she made those times count.” His eyes dropped, and the remainder of the conversation lost itself to furrowed memories.

Several years later, he died after a second heart attack, passing his ideals of a strong work ethic and quality time to the teenage children standing graveside.

And still, I envied his passing.

The war on families had been the most pervasive, a final deathblow being a core of common problems everyone faced, but none strong enough to break its cycle. Thinning wages and longer hours plated children up to the system’s wicked hand. Media and law enforced instruction raised them to be separate yet unequal, growing discord to such staccatos that parents were left shaken and unsure—self-doubt stalking as their own personal beasts.

By far, this war had taken more souls than any bullet could hope to gather. Each battle that had been raged against any form of comfort and love hit its mark with fatal accuracy, and separation was its primary goal. The vile roamed free to destroy innocence with silent abuse while the innocent pandered to institutions in an effort to avoid being caged. Sadly, they lived this lie for lifetimes behind invisible bars, waiting for the loneliest deaths on crisp linen beds.

The man who had traveled this path with me some ways back stumbled out of the fog as I sat lost in my struggles. He paused briefly, then staggered sideways, unable to keep his footing. A glint of red dripped from his nose from the effort of each movement and fell down to puddle between stones. Bones creaked and joints twisted in the way a marionette might stand with its strings slacked, and for a moment I thought he might join me by the path side, but neither of us moved.

“Not done,” he exhaled a pained whisper.

“With what,” I asked, digging my boot into the soil.

“Living.” Without hesitation, he lurched forward to follow one of the two forks ahead.

I watched in silent awe at the determination and spirit trailing him. For all the miles, all the pain, all the war and destitute, this one remaining soul pushed on to something no longer in my sight, and I envied the hope in his steps.

“To the right then,” I whispered to an unresponsive sky, and the fog enveloped us both.

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The Scream that isn’t heard – Lupus

Have you ever screamed so loud and high that no sound escapes your mouth?

This has been my reality for years. Pain in muscles and joints, pain in my kidneys, fatigue so extreme that I fight to stay awake and even sleeping for hours doesn’t make it go away. I don’t think anyone really understands what it’s like living with lupus, so I’ll try to explain one last time in hopes someone will listen.

I’m so tired right now, so stretched to my limits in a way that makes me not want to fight anymore. I’ve tried to ask for help, tried to break down everything to make it easier. They’ll tell me to just be positive. They look at me and think, she’s just depressed. And I try to tell them I need rest and help and medical care, but no one is listening.

So then, I want to stop talking. I want to curl into a ball of nothingness and waste away because I’m so tired of talking with no one listening.

This isn’t about looking at the brighter side. And I can’t even begin to fucking tell you how tired I am of hearing that. How unheard I feel everytime someone says it. I spent most of my life looking for every shred of hope in impossible situations. And I’m especially good at find it, especially good at flipping a situation on its head and pulling hope out of the ass end of nowhere, so this isn’t that.

This is waking every single day to joint pain that makes me fall to my knees. It’s muscle pain so severe I can’t lift our four year old most days. It’s fatigue so intense I find every way, including pinching myself and unwise amounts of caffeine, to keep my eyes open.

They think because I have good moments, because I have spurts of determination, because I can smile sometimes and make light and jokes that nothing is really wrong. They think if I just changed the way I look at things that magically I’ll get better, but I won’t and I don’t… and no one understands.

I think often they feel like I’m being difficult, that I’m just depressed, and eventually it’ll pass, but it doesn’t because it won’t because I have lupus. I have an illness that treats my entire body as an enemy, and then attacks it. Warm sunny days won’t make this go away because I won’t be able to stay out in them for long without extreme measures to coat and cover myself. This isn’t about vitamin D deficiencies, although I probably need some.

It’s about lupus, and the fact that I’m done talking to people who are simply waiting for a chance to respond with self-help mantras because they don’t know how to listen or simply don’t want to acknowledge that anything is wrong.

If you’re in any way interested in finding out more check out the video.

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Believe

butterfly on flowers

 

She told me to wish on a star because it will make my wish come true. Somewhere between stardust and sunbeams when dreams feel so real you can smell the rain, I almost believe. Then sleep falls from my eyes, and I’m hit with the starkness of reality.

She said that grown-ups can’t be happy because they’ve forgotten how to dream. In the fervor of her argument when her tiny hands fly up in exasperation while conviction invades every word, I want to believe. Then it’s time to come in from the chill, and I’m hit with the emptiness of silence.

She gave up on the little lost boy in a green hat when she turned seven. While I watch her scan the twinkling horizon for a hint of fairy dust in hopes that some dreams are worth holding on to, I begin to believe. Then her head drops along with those beautiful blue eyes, and I’m hit by tiny fragments of shattered hope.

She’ll tell you the greatest gift I ever gave her was life. Between the smiles and tears, hopes and fears, lost dreams and found things when I’m sure all strength is gone, I do believe.

I believe in her… and that is enough to make me believe in almost anything.

Is it possible to believe in something or someone so much that we live in the illusion of what or who they might become until reality catches up with our dreams?

In both writing and life I had embraced a type of idealism that dissuaded the possibility of anything save goodness and the best version of people. After spending far too much time in the bitter slice of what others accepted as real, I’ve chosen to return to a life that might resemble illusion or a dream land to those on the outside. As with my current relationship, this is a weighed and balanced choice because the purity of child-like innocence accepts the actuality of magic where reality cannot.

I believe in people, and their ability to do magical and creative and kind things in this world. What do you believe in?

Categories: angels on earth, belief, childhood, choosing faith, Drive by life, innocence, Rob Thomas, the universes we create | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Coming Out instead of Walking Away

Love Bombing is the unique phenomenon of blanketing potential sources of emotional energy with messages, texts, calls, and overwhelming flattery. I experienced this twice in 2013, and together, along with the diagnosis of lupus, it put my world in a definitive spin for nearly two years. Having spent my mid to late childhood with a physically and emotionally abusive narcissist, I should have seen the signs, but honestly I was in an amazingly low spot after publishing my first book. So I walked right into it. My bad.

The first turned out to be a new publishing house complete with relationship. That’s right, I made the mistake of mixing business with pleasure and started dating one of the partners shortly after my indoctrination. Man, did I feel the love. Seriously, they couldn’t stop telling me how I, lowly author of one mediocre novel, was going to be the next big thing. Now, none of them had actually read my novel. Since pulling it from the shelves and doing a heavy content edit, similar to what I do for my clients, I found massive holes and weak motivations. In short, it needs help, but that was missed by my new courtiers. Nope, they weren’t hearing any of it because they were after me, not necessarily my work. Strange for a publishing house. Meanwhile, one wanted me to send secret retweeted messages to their former lover, the other showered me with an ABC list of the ways they loved me, and the third was on fire with passion about the major publishing houses to whom he’d sell my blockbuster novel.

Commence spinning.

The second love bombing came from a potential business partner. I was it, according to them, and we were going to take this industry by storm. My sincerity and skills and knack for inspiring people was just the ingredient they needed to grow this thing into the clouds. Oh, and the calls. So many calls and messages and talks about who wronged them and how, then why they were so happy to be working with me. How I had such an ability to cut through the crap and be supportive. Meanwhile it was look at this, read that, is this person stealing from me, that person is a codependent b—-.

And I was supportive of both until I no longer had the energy to keep up with their constant demands and need for attention. So exhausted, then ill beyond belief and exhausted. Both wanted exclusive rights to my being, but neither were going to get them. Sadly, had I not gotten sick, this might have gone on for a very long time. Thankfully it didn’t, though neither situation ended quietly because not embracing the narcissist’s dream is akin to saying it isn’t worthy, which is ridiculous.

This equation has two sides, and my part was feeding the monster. Having been taught to be a skilled people pleaser, I have an almost intuitive ability to understand people’s needs. It isn’t magic, it’s a way to avoid conflict by satiating and calming the beast. It means constant and blanket unconditional acceptance of every behavior or thought. It means not speaking out when something is wrong and swallowing every opinion that contradicts their view of the world, no matter how paranoid or unrealistic the view.

I fed them out of insecurity and fear and the ominous uncertainty of the empty future before me. Single mother, alone in the middle of nowhere, barely surviving and too proud to tell anyone how bad it had gotten. I wanted to be around people with answers, people who were in control, and somehow managed to find my way back to a sickening yet familiar place, something I thought years of therapy had conquered.

The pit of our past is vast and grows even when we try to ignore it. We are essentially wax figures fashioned from a series of events and people. We live in a large wax museum, waiting for the world to heat up enough so we melt away. And I have several times over the years, at least melted away the shell of experiences that no longer serve me.

But now I’m coming out.

(Yeah, I’ve been dating a woman for almost a year now. She’s wonderful, and I love her.)

However, this is another type of coming out, something I should have done a long time ago. This massive secret and the events above almost made me walk away from writing, editing, and everything I’ve grown for many years now.

I’m a Recovering People Pleaser who seeks out narcissists when I feel insecure or lost or need someone to control everything about me so I feel wanted and worthy and loved. 

Whew. Now I’m sick to my stomach, but it’ll pass soon.

Here’s where we’re going next… *steamers and glitter*

If you don't stand

 

 

I’ve made some mistakes whilst navigating the waters of writing, publishing, and editing. Some bigger than others, and a few I’ve yet to clear up mainly out of fear, but I’ll get those cleaned out by March. Others I simply have to live with, acknowledge, and move on. But to what?

It begins with separation, not the complete walking away I originally planned. My content editing and spiritual stuff people will find under Ranee Dillon, and my fiction under K.C. Charles (currently growing on twitter @authorkccharles.)

I love content editing. I love form and structure and watching an author craft amazing masterpieces because nothing is more magnificent than being witness to the birth of new art. I enjoy writing and crafting and sometimes I want to share those worlds with you, other times they’re simply a form of temporary escape. Both are a part of me as flesh to bone, so walking away from either due to misjudgement and mistakes is incomprehensible.

What do I stand for? Hmm, I guess this is where I begin to figure that out… again.

1) Writing is an art and craft. Both should be respected.

2) Treating people poorly out of fear, ignorance, and insecurity is unacceptable.

3) Speaking up and being direct, even when it isn’t popular. (This one is a constant work in progress.)

4) Showing respect and expecting it in return.

5) Kindness and compassion, but drawing the line at taking on other people’s issues. (If I wanted to be a therapist, then I wouldn’t have gotten my degrees in Economics and Design.)

6) Publishers, editors, and agents work for authors, not the other way around. (Think about this one. You pay them for a service, they don’t hire you for a job. It’ll take a while to change this dynamic, I know.)

7) Understanding that no one has the answers to fix or change my life except me. And I definitely don’t have any answers for them.

8) //*Under construction.*//

So, that’s why I deactivated my accounts and why they’re back up again. It’s going to be a bit of a struggle to get my sea legs back. I’m still searching for medical insurance and care, so my road to lupus remission is going to take time, but we’ll get it done. While I sort that out, I’m slowly returning to work and the human race. I suppose we have to come out of our shells at some point because eventually we outgrow them, then they shatter, and we’re left exposed and vulnerable. But I don’t fear that as much anymore, and that’s a start.

 

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To Write is the only Choice that Remains: Come find your Voice in the Surround

Voices of our surround layered

 

Beneath every surface a scratching, beneath every thought a lie we tell ourselves to escape the pain, and now the time has passed for pleasant ways around either. Darkness follows too closely for us to fall behind and no one ever comes back from the heavy tendrils of its grip. So we run, faster, farther, higher up the mountain to avoid being enveloped. Yes, we fear darkness. We fear an endless nothing of staying in one place, locked in a routine of normality.

To this end, we become animals, caged and lonely, yet roam in the world as if the bars are invisible because this monument of steel lives within. The tiger paces endlessly, reassuring us, compelling the run to hunt for something better, though we’ll never find it. He knows as much, for this is his game carefully crafted to breakdown patience and courage and faith. All of which are replaced with darker desires, which are rarely satiated by the treasures we gather.

One minute wasted then two, and finally a lifetime of naught surrounding a hole in the ground. Tears, fears, and condolences move closely together, imaging themselves as bedfellows for the distraught, and whispering every manner of guilt to frame our pain. The passing of life is banner-less, save the framed and distorted faces around the hollow hole. No celebrations now, no happy reminiscing, only damp cheeks and downturn mouths to mark a life of minutes racing by too quickly and ones which end too short of their mark.

Click, clack.

The rope is slack.

Click, clack.

A world of lack.

Click, clack.

Return to black.

Fall now, break now, empty now into your abyss. They’ll save in the rendering when all transition to light from the fight of those awakened. These beings don’t proffer excuses in the face of responsibility. Instead, they stand, steady and flexible as the great bamboo, to bend but never break.

But those who perceive themselves as weak and incomplete hear the tiger always. Grunt, pace, growl. It’s stalking you now, so make haste and move on to your next distraction lest you become the nothing you fear.

***

Darkness is easy to embrace. We will forever gravitate towards the worst interpretations of ourselves because to know the dark means we’re working on our inner demons. It also means no one can use them against us.

In the fall of my final year, the tiger stalks the edge of my life with gruffing calls. It knows what I had yet to grasp—this is the end, and no silver ray of anything could change my fate. In truth, there aren’t many moments I’d have asked it to leave, not in the midnight cloak of desperation confronting me. Somehow, the soft hand of near death comforted, yet its grotesque twist of flesh cements in my chest. No breath is deep enough to loosen its grip, which would’ve been far more welcome many years ahead.

“Too young,” I choke out.

Gruff, gruff, my steady companion calls.

“Not yet,” I whisper back.

Not because I’m not ready, but truth told I count myself among the great cowards of the world. Yeller bellied, drop everything and run in face of confrontation. That’s right, no saving lives here, no running into burning buildings, no standing up to schoolyard bullies, even ones many decades younger. You might add spineless in the most disgusting ways, and you’d be correct.

I stand for nothing, fall for everything, then flog myself relentlessly because taking too much responsibility for all the wrong things is my gift. While others divert, obfuscate, and blame, I hold the bag high and say, “Yep, it was all my fault. I’m weak, useless, careless, and lazy.” Of course, no one hears this dialogue except the tiger. It uses my lack as a way to pull me closer, and I craft my guilt to destroy everything good I create, to tear myself down to the shell, so as to be empty.

You know this feeling, don’t you? You know what it is to be a voiceless remnant with no ears to hear your crying late in the eve. With every fiber we want to yell, “Not again. Please stop, get the hell away. I don’t have anything left. Can’t you see? Don’t you know?” No one answers, of course, just the padded pacing of a black and white ghost that growls soft and low. Its waiting with an answer while cleverly suppressing something deeper—an inner voice of ancient and serene knowledge.

In the caverns of my reprieve I hear a voice, not the tiger, but something just as strong. It replies in cut, direct tones. Somewhat cynical and demanding, it blurts out sarcastic responses to questions and small talk, ones which never quite reach my lips. For that much I’m thankful, though often I dig my teeth deep into the flesh of my lip to hold it back. This is more difficult as I age due to my dwindling patience for crap and chit-chat.

One truth I’ve found over the years, besides my lack of backbone, is that people are lazy, wanting, and broken; or so their empty eyes and slack behavior would indicate. They have more to give, but bind it tight inside as if they could use up their energy and have none left. Another myth, another lie, something we buy for everything, yet it gives us nothing in return. That’s the way to distinguish it from the truth.

The truth scratches beneath the surface, beneath every thought we hide from, and lower yet is the voice. Our true voice, the one we hide for fear others will run, the one waiting patiently, the one we keep locked away.

The voice of our surround.

***

“In war, truth is the first casualty.”

AESCHYLUS

 

The first war is always against ourselves. Only one victim exists—our soul.

 ***

With the heart, with the heart, with the heart—he said begin with the heart. If only I knew where it lives. What is tangible and present for some, eludes on the highest levels. Moments of tenderness break through, and I think I might feel something, anything, but it drifts away in a painfully slow death march. Love is unknown, the true feel of it.

Is it loyalty? Patience? Kindness? Infatuation?

These I’ve seen, even experienced, though never for long. I know sadness, I know how the emotions of others crash into my being so as to incapacitate me. The rest is a foreign idea, swimming at the bottom of day old soup; somewhat foul in smell and cringe worthy in consistency, but not the fabled and promised emotion of story books and movies. My chest doesn’t ache for the things I cannot touch, though my body is desperate to taste the newly bloomed rose.

So close, she lets me so close. I want to whisper my tongue down her thigh, to feel her hair against mine, but some walls are too tall, and I’m weak and tired and not in the frame of mind to play those types of chords. A once sweet song brandished with subtle notes of sin, in which neither of us will win because bricks are dull. Every word against them slams hard and falls flat to the ground. Lower still, until the soil grinds my hopes and desires into aged powder, a fine end to a nightshade lover.

But the tiger finds me always. It’s stalking now, a jab of despair, a swipe of all the ways life became too hard. So I mourn with the other framed face around a hole we fill with might have been wishes and never come true dreams. And the tiger gruffs its response or condolences, depending on the ear.

Here lie my voices of ill repent and contemptible promises. Be careful lest they mock and haunt to bastardize even the brightest and most encouraging light.

Do you hear it?

“You can’t have it, ’cause you don’t deserve it.” An echoing laugh follows misplaced keys. “She’ll never want you, ’cause you’re worthless.”

“Screw you,” I scream, though no one listens.

My hand ventures to its throat, finding only mine.

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Voices of Our Surround

Dark Fantasy Background

In the fool’s folly of new beginnings we stumble often. Frustration, the bitter knife edge of insignificant roadblocks, plague even the smallest thoughts, which lead to second guesses and all manner of self-inflicted criticism. And I, warm in the hollows of new ground, can’t escape the drums of deep caverns and barbed voices. To this end, I fight within myself to balance entrenched stigmas of cycles that no longer serve any purpose. The mother, the wife, the sister, the friend, the enemy, the angel, the demon, the… veil of a person with no identity.

All the while, the sacred devotion of each step leads down familiar paths with different faces. Though none I’ve truly known or sought to devote the slightest energy towards. But life does not wait for us to catch up or hold on, so we run to make time. Run from lessons we’re too afraid to face, run because we’re not strong enough to move anywhere except backwards–a fate destined to break anything worthy of our time in the now.

We break and shatter and blame everyone, save ourselves. We’re tired and weak and fragile because longevity has a particularly cruel way of wearing spirit to the bone. Shells outside, rattling within, we rail against pattern and consistency and the routines of life to find adventure in unpredictable schedules of chaos. Chaos of the broken and those who fight invisible ghosts to insure they never become part of the society that formed them. Nothing, short of death, could be imagined in their sight for such a fate.

As if doing the work turns into the label that becomes the thing they hate most.

Normal.

Wash dishes, do laundry, go to work, raise kids, pay the bills. Cycles of normal. Cycles of life. Cycles of extraordinary events most people turn into boredom. Because normal is boring.

Subtle ways of destroying simple pleasures for fame, for money, for following dreams by sacrificing everything important. As if we don’t have enough time, as if tomorrow our dreams will disappear if we don’t act now, but they don’t, not ever. Even with family, even with jobs and bills and laundry, those dreams never disappear, and their presence or passion never fade in the delay of the everyday existence of life.

Yet the race is present always, the push to start now thrums through the voices of our surround and up turrets to rattle in wrinkled mushy synapses. Fire one, get it done now. Fire two, you’re missing out. Fire three, you’ll never become anything because tomorrow doesn’t exist, and you’re time is too short to delay.

To the orchestra I nod, understanding their rush and push of encouragement roots in fear of never becoming the one thing that will pull them from obscurity. But here in my keep, the drums are replaced with laughter, warm soapy water, and the whirl of a vacuum. My words steadily build and form and wait, knowing one day their song will catch the edge of white for a world still running from itself.

Because time waits for all men and the act of living is one of the noblest endeavors any fool could hope to pursue.

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That Dream in the Corner

000 blog

Rumbling low and on the edge of life is the one thing you were meant to do. It’s easy to miss it, to walk right past or run for fear it’s an oncoming train. Not many people around us will point it out, mainly because they’re still running too, but they’ll happily nudge toward less ambitious endeavors.

Not for lack of belief, it’s a simple matter of their fear projected onto a willing target.

Did you want to be a writer?

How about an artist?

Or doctor?

Or vet tech?

Or… (insert the dream you walked away from)?

While it’s true all these professions take time, money, and effort, so does everything else in one way or another. But when we settle for less than our dreams, it takes a far greater toll. Our dignity. Our confidence. Our passion. All of them disappear in the lull of what we never meant to become. In an inevitable wearing down of our true selves is a small part we bury because courage isn’t an admirable quality anymore. In fact, courage to pursue something others perceive as out of reach has turned into a fool’s quest, worthy of mocking and ridicule. A sad testament to the cage our society lives in now.

We are sheep of a different sort, willing to hand our power and lives over to media, friends, and family or anyone else with an opinion. We package ourselves to make no lasting impression because we have no voice or identity, save the ones given to us. And we wear those as safety blankets to avoid crafting targets that might otherwise land on our backs.

It’s a cycle of fear and hopelessness breaking down sovereignty. No threat is greater than the person who actually believes in themselves. And were you to do such a thing, were you to stand for what you believe in, to have an opinion of right or wrong in your life, to tear off the cloak of anonymity and wear everything about yourself on the outside, you might just find others like you. And then more would come, and others would see your authentically threadbare soul for who you truly are. Soon, you’ll be surrounded by people inspired to follow their dreams as you have yours.

But the price is too steep. I’d lose people. Someone I think is everything might walk away, then I’ll have no one but me.

Until the others come this might be true. And it’s a scary thought to stand on our own feet. Will the ground be steady or crumble? What would we do if left to our own company with no opinions to cloak us? These questions are the trap, the little programed voices that make up the bars. The lock being our unwillingness to stand on the edge of everything as ourselves because it’s safer in the middle. It’s safer not to try too hard for perfectly justifiable reasons.

It costs too much money.

It’ll take too long.

I won’t be able to make a living anyway.

That’s not a career, it’s a hobby.

And the biggest lie, oh umm, justifiable reason…

I’d need years of education before I even got into that field. 

You realize how many careers, companies, and empires were built by people with just a high school degree and elbow grease, right?

Having said that, you do need to study your intended field of dreams. Spend time in the deep brightly lit pit and work your way up. In the process, you’ll learn all the practical things they’ll never teach in a classroom. Not to say a little education does anyone harm, but it’s not the only way to scamper down roads paved by the fools and risk takers.

A final note about personal responsibility. The dream belongs to you. Own it, which means owning all the failure as well as success. We’ve been pounded on by social media with memes about how someone or other didn’t fail, they simply found a better way to do something or other. Each time I see one, I drop my forehead and knock it against the desk. Failure happens, and when it does it means you’re moving forward with life. You’re engaged, you’re learning, and you’re not standing still.

No one ever accomplished anything until they made the choice to do something.

So, do it. Own it. Don’t hand it over to some guru or “expert”, so you’ll have someone to blame if it doesn’t work out. If it doesn’t, then try harder or stop lying to yourself about what your actual dream is; regroup, believe in yourself unconditionally, and get out there to attack it with all the passion you possess.

Your dream is attainable.

But to believe in that statement is a choice too.

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The “Lack of Backbone” Club & Why I’m turning in my Card

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I’ve written about self worth in some depth, both in my novels and blog posts. While this has been a very long journey, recently something came up that made me see how far I’ve yet to go.

Lupus, in spiritual terms, is a result of giving up, of the preference to die rather than stand up for one’s self. Ouch.

That’s me. The woman in the corner who makes a lot of noise sometimes, but that’s a distraction, something to draw attention while I run away. You see, I’ve never been good at standing up for myself or what I want. In fact, I’m actually convinced it’s selfish, and that I’m stealing away someone else’s joy by sticking up for what I want and my boundaries. Yeah, we’re sicker than we think sometimes.

For all my clamouring about finding your value, I haven’t been able to draw a line in the sand… ever. My course instead has been to walk away. Oh hell, I freaking run at mach speeds.

Now my lupus may or may not have resulted from this lack of backbone, but every time I’m confronted with a conflict I will err on the side of doing what’s right for others. I get stressed by this internal moral dilemma to the point of sickness.

Example:

I’m living in a beautiful house on a hundred acre farm. The plumbing upstairs doesn’t work, the toilets function properly about half the time, a few windows are broken, the front door doesn’t stay closed or lock, there’s mold in the basement, the fuse box pops regularly, there are holes in two of the bedroom ceilings, and we can only effectively heat the kitchen and family room during the winter. The other rooms are ice cold unless we use electric heaters, which result in $500 – $600 electric bills.

Every time we have a major problem — the sewage breaking or other such issue — I’m terrified to call the landlord. Last time I did he threatened to evict us and told me to go to hell. He did, however, eventually send someone over to fix it. So there’s that.

My girlfriend and I don’t want to move our three munchkins out of another school district, and with the extortion rent prices in Jefferson county, our choices if this plan doesn’t work out are limited. I can’t spend another winter in a house that can’t be properly heated. This past winter had me in bed for nearly three months. We can’t afford that happening again.

I recently came up with the crazy plan of putting two years of the rent money into fixing these problems, then signing a ten year lease at a higher rate. I figure he’ll get his money back in the repairs and the higher rent over time. Let me point out that this guy is a multimillionaire with hundreds of properties, many in the same condition, some not even able to be inhabited. Having said that, it’s still a business for him, so I get the need to make money from his properties.

So, I brought this plan to the landlord. When he started becoming difficult, I said, “Hey, if this isn’t going to work, then we’ll find another place.”

“Wait, that was my initial reaction,” he responded.

But that was also the end of the discussion. I haven’t heard from him in over a month, though he’s gone around and questioned my ability and honor to mutual friends.

Here’s the moment I should go and confront him. I should stand in his office and press until I get an answer, but…

It has caused so much stress that I’m head-deep in another flare-up. My joints throb, my muscles ache, I’m coughing up fluid again, and my chest is so tight, due to swollen tissue around my lungs, that it’s difficult to breath.

So my fellow hippie dippie spiritualists may not be far off. In fact, just writing this makes me feel better. At least, a little better.

Bottom line, whenever I’m confronted with issues like these my mind instantly thinks… “It’s not fair to ask him to fix these things” and “What a selfish bitch I am for even considering it” and “Maybe I can fix the house and pay rent and electric, so he’s not inconvenienced.”

I consider every possible way to make it easier on other people while piling a mountain of expectation, responsibility, stress, and work on my shoulders.

The world is about to make an incredible shift. Everyone, even the least connected person, feels the approaching change, and I don’t want to be stuck in these old patterns when it happens. I want to stand up for the things I believe in and what’s right for me without the whole martyr thing going on. ‘Cause yeah, I’ve done that more than once in my life, and it’s getting a little cliche.

Will I have the guts to stand up to him or anyone else?

Maybe… maybe not, but I’m going to try. It’s the only thing I can think to do because what I’ve done isn’t working, and I don’t want to be sick anymore.

 

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How a Roller Coaster Taught me Not to Give Up on Love.

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My posts leading up to the release of A Man’s Promise were for a very special person in my life, and the subject of the story Roller Coaster. While it has been described as “gut-wrenchingly beautiful” it served a larger purpose for me and him.

In The Illusion of Separation I talk about society and individuals using separation as a means of power and control. He came from a heavily religious background, one that isn’t accepting of his life choices. They force their members to ostracize those who don’t fit their mold of perfection. In doing so, they create a lot of pain and suffering. All because of illusionary standards of conduct and life.

I went deeper into this in Authenticity because anything else is slow death and So Much Left to Learn, a sort of call to arms for him to live out loud. He’s struggling right now, and I can feel it every time we talk. Confused, slightly lost, unable to just live his truth whether the rest of the world agrees or not. He wants more, but doesn’t quite understand how to get it. It hurts to see him in so much pain, but I know this is his journey and I can’t live it for him. All I can do is show him what more looks like to me, and maybe he can use it as a road map to figure out what it looks like for him.

In Roller Coaster, I talk about unconditional love. When we began our relationship I knew something was different, but I also knew he needed one person in the world to love him unconditionally until he could do it for himself. In truth, I needed that too. But it’s a lot easier said, right? Most people struggle with loving themselves, so how can we possibly see the darkest parts of someone else and still love them completely?

Well, I suppose it’s about understanding we’re all human. Whole parts, broken parts, we all have them, and none are immune from the toll life exacts. So, it’s ultimately about embracing the perfectly imperfect beings we are and trying to be the very best version of ourselves today, then do it even better tomorrow.

He once told me my love was healing, but it took me a long time to see how that could be true. Mainly because I thought I couldn’t heal the broken bits within me.

Even now, I struggle with confusion and the overwhelming desire to hide away sometimes, but pushing through, whether anyone else understands it or not, is the only thing I can do.

Have I screwed up? Oh, hundreds of times. I’m good at screwing things up.

Am I sorry? Hell, I beat myself up a thousand times a day. I’m good at that too. No person alive can torture me the way I can torture myself. So, yes, I’m definitely sorry.

Have I stopped loving myself through all the shit I do wrong? No, and he taught me that. His love was healing too, but maybe not in the way either of us thought. During the two year roller coaster we lived, I “loved him more completely than any woman ever could,” his words not mine. In the process, I learned how to love myself.  And it all started when I let go of fear and embraced something larger.

I’ve since learned that respect is just as important, which comes in at the end of the story. People can fain respecting you, they can offer blanket adoration, but until they see all the parts, broken and whole, you’ll never know if they truly love and respect you as a growing, evolving, and perfectly imperfect person. And here’s the hardest part… do we have the courage to walk away, even though we love them, even with the joy they bring, if they aren’t willing to accept us completely?

I have no answers, only questions, but I know through all the pain, even though it was one hell of a roller coaster, I will always love him for everything he is, not just for me, but for himself. Gay or not, with me or not, he is one hell of an incredible man. I hope he realizes that one day.

“…I did thoroughly enjoy the breaks and have good memories to take with me.

I’ll continue to love him because our hearts don’t stop loving people, but  being with him taught me something else.

I want more.”

Now go find your more and live it out loud.

I love you now, I’ll love you always. ❤

***

“And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?”

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Master your Mind, Master your Writing

Fear, insecurity, life. In a fast paced world that values pounding our heads against the proverbial responsibility wall, the opportunity and willpower to complete a novel comes in a pitiful last.  But following a dream comes down to two factors: commitment and process.

Are you committed to getting it done despite the fact life is crazy, people are demanding, and you have no idea where to start?

Are you ready to create or strengthen your writing process?

The voice that says you can’t, that taunts you with guilt, fills you with insecurity and fear? Yeah, in ten weeks you’ll be able to say, “Screw you. This is MY book.”

How?

Enter Burning Up the Pages: Writing Mastermind. A ten week class specifically designed to eviscerate fear and excuses.

Imagine opening your mailbox to find your book. Your name on the cover. Your dream come true.

The Writing Mastermind with Rebecca T. Dickson

What: A group of ten, itching to write their freaking book. Let me say it again: You will write your BOOK.

You will finish this mastermind with:

 

• The goal for your book. WHY you are writing it. (Entertainment, healing, helping others, making money, or because you have a burning in your gut to tell your story and you have no idea why.)

• Knowing who your reader is, what she/he will learn from your book, and why he/she will fucking love it.

• What you must say, the big fucking point, and how to say it in your own voice.

• It bears repeating: YOUR VOICE.

• Defining the key messages in your book and how to use them to develop themes and a preliminary table of contents

• A primer on structure, plot, story and character arcs that will help you literally map out your book

• A thorough understanding of copyright

• Info about how to use social media as an author, and the importance of author platform building

• A completed draft of your book

This is not a writing class.


In the mastermind, we aren’t focusing on details like grammar, punctuation or cadence. We are totally engrossed in telling your story in the best way you possibly can. That means letting go of small stuff. Later, you can hire an editor.

The mastermind focuses on producing a book that will resonate with your person. We’re writing a book people want to read. It’s not about perfection.

Learning who you are writing for and how to say it in your voice will serve you for a lifetime.

Are you ready to get this thing done? Are you ready to stop allowing internal voices and outside forces to steal away your dream of becoming a published author?

Go here NOW and sign up.

How long do I have to decide?

The early enrollment period 2013 is September 9 – September 14, 2013. The tuition if you enroll during these dates is $1,999.

If you enroll after September 14, 2013, tuition is $2,499.

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