Living Life Underneath An Umbrella

I’m going to be brutally honest in this post; some might say crazy; but there are days, like today, that I think about dying.  There are bad days when I wonder whether I am worth anything; if I’m just a waste of space.  But I know that’s a lie.  I know that being an introvert and an Aspie can mess with my mind.  There are days I over think things.  And that’s when I feel like I’m losing my mind; when I want to punch walls, scream, and curl up into myself.

Today was a day that I (a) wasn’t feeling well, (b) was frustrated with things happening in my life, and (c) questioning my existence.  The good part, the sane part, is that I understand that it is just a phase I go through occasionally.  I would never kill myself though I do think about it from time to time.  Maybe I just enjoy a little self-pity.  Maybe there are times that my mind plays tricks on me.  I ask myself:  Am I more afraid of living or I am I more afraid of dying?

Since my brain doesn’t function like ‘normal’ people(those not on the Autism Spectrum), I worry if my family actually loves me; if they’d be better off without me.  And again, it’s a lie that’s trying to screw with my head.  I know that they do love me yet there are times, like today, that I do not feel loved; by my husband, my children, my parents, my siblings, etc.  I feel like I’m living underneath an umbrella; the trials of life, like rain, pummel me and I am curled up, fetal-position, underneath a blanket, waiting for the nasty weather to pass.

And pass it does.  The trials disappear, or I learn to manage them, or I decide they aren’t worth my time and energy worrying about them.  That’s how life goes for me.  I get into these little snits and I want to end it all.  I think about how I’d do it.  What would be the least messy way to do away with myself?  Then I think:  how would the person who found me feel?  That is something a person doesn’t forget, etched into your memory forever.

Sometimes I don’t even want to leave the house.  I have a desire to be involved in society, yet I don’t want to deal with people most times.   The Aspie says, ‘I don’t know how to associate with others.  And the introvert in me says, ‘I don’t want to be around people.’  Yet the real me says:  ‘I want to enjoy life.  I want to have friends.  I don’t want to let life pass me by without accomplishing the things I most want to do.’  I’ve made up a bucket list of things I want to try.  Publishing a novel, rock climbing, zip-lining, learning foreign languages, belly-dancing. What stands in my way of reaching those goals? Fear.  Fear holds me back.  Fear of failure.  Fear of looking like an idiot.  Fear of not understanding the instructions on how to do things.

And I have a terrible habit of over-thinking things, and that’s when I screw up.  I try very hard to learn things but somehow there’s a disconnect in my brain.  I am the type of learner that needs to do the thing I’m trying to learn rather than have the person teaching me explaining it with words.  I am a hands-on learner.

So there you have it; my secret pain.  It’s not something I enjoy sharing, but I want to be honest that I suffer with these bouts of depression to the point of contemplating suicide.  I am thankful that the feelings are short-lived and pass by quickly.  I believe in being positive and doing my best to make others happy.  I believe every life is precious.  I believe that the voices in our head are liars.  We are worth something.  We are precious to our families, spouses, and children.  As a Christian, I believe we are important to God as well. Our lives are important.  I heard it said once that ‘suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.’  It’s a sad fact that people who take their own lives believe that the horrible, messed-up part of their life that they are currently in will never end; will haunt them for the rest of their lives; and that’s not true.  I’d say talk to someone; get help.  You don’t need to suffer alone if you are contemplating taking your own life.  I refuse to believe the lies swirling around inside my head and so must you, my friends.  Until next time.

 

 

Good Intentions; Bad Planning

Back at the end of May I had quit my day job of janitorial cleaning to focus all of my attention on my writing; actual writing, revising, fretting, more writing, reading, and getting things ready to be sent off.

Well, I started off with good intentions, as we all do at the start of something new.  The prospect of finally being allowed to put all my energy into my writing was exhilarating.  Finally, time to just write.  No worrying about my job.  No more trying to remember codes.  No more driving in the dark.  Just the sheer bliss of doing something I’ve longed to do since I was a child.

But things don’t always turn out the way you want them to, do they?  I was very focused in the beginning; diligently writing for 3 to 4 hours a day, taking time to revise pieces I had already finished, reading articles on the writing craft, and how to publish; etc.(sigh).  I had even joined a writers’ group.  But as time went on, something began to take my focus off of my writing.  It was a television show here, just one or two chapters more in the book I was currently engrossed in, and, the biggest time suck, Social Media.

Ah yes, I allowed myself to get sucked in, again.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Baird & Warner Real Estate.  Yes, I have this problem, this addiction, to view homes for sale.  Why, you may ask?  Since I was small I’ve always been fascinated by how the insides of other people’s houses looked.  Yes, weird.  No, I won’t stop.  I’ll even go as far as to admit that when I’m a passenger in someone else’s car, I still like to peek inside homes as we drive by just to see how they look on the inside.  No, I haven’t seen anything weird.

Now I have to confess my biggest weakness.  I am a horrible planner.  Not only do I have poor organizational skills, I can’t plan to save my life.  All good intentions to be at my desk writing away, but getting easily, so easily, distracted by the little nuances of life.  I wanted to remain vigil at my laptop until the end of the year and return to work then.  But alas I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain.  And I have been kicking myself.  I wanted to blame others for this.  But who else can I blame but myself?

So I vow to forge ahead, with whatever time I can carve out of a ‘busy’ schedule to write.  No excuses because I have none.  I need to plan, yes plan, when and where to send off my short stories.  And I don’t even have to make a trip to the post office either.  Most literary magazines allow you to send through their submissions manager, or email, and snail mail as last resort.  As I hang my head in shame for not having done what I had so eagerly hoped to do, I asked forgiveness from my husband, my family, and those who have supported my efforts, fragile as they are, so that I can regain my vision and continue on.

Life is short and I need to realize this dream before it slips through these fingers of mine.  I need to have this dream realized!  I don’t want to be on my deathbed, regretting I didn’t accomplish all that I believe God created me to do.  No one wants regrets.  So here I go…again.  Until next time.

 

Fear of the News

Every morning when my husband & I awake, after praying together before rising, the first thing we do is turn on the local news station.  I’ve developed a growing fear of the news lately.  With an increase in overnight violence, turning on the news can induce a panic attack in people.  We live in a Chicago suburb, and as everyone probably knows, there’s much violence in the inner city, and like a fire, is spreading out further.

I am for ‘every life matters’, not just black, or white, or Hispanic, but all life.  I don’t know what it feels like to be a different race, since I’m white, and maybe be racially profiled.  I desire for all to get the respect they deserve.  I mourn with those who mourn, especially around the nation currently.  I want truth to be revealed and everyone not to jump to conclusions.  Everyone needs to be able to tell their side of the story.

But I go back to the start of my piece and add, that as a writer, I have much to pick and choose from lately.  Life is happening out there.  People are living, dying, struggling, loving, and trying to survive in this world.  I tend to clip articles from the daily newspaper to hold onto for future reference in case I need it for a piece of fiction.  They provide me with ideas; reminders of what life in America is like.  From weather disasters to social issues, from politics to injustice; it’s all there in front of my eyes.

I can’t even begin to wonder how parents explain these horrible events to their young children.  Yes, life is scary, and I think this world is becoming more and more frightening as the years go by.  But as a writer, one needs to keep an open mind, not to judge too quickly.  I love being able to look at everyone’s point of view, to try and understand how others see the world, where they’re coming from; what their mindset is.  I don’t want to be anyone’s judge and jury.  I want to learn about things; how they work, how they sound, how they feel.  That’s the writer in me.

Yet the fear is growing to the point that I don’t want to look at the news, or read a newspaper anymore.  It sickens and saddens me what others have the ability to do to other human being; the pain that can be inflicted. My heart breaks with those who have lost loved ones to violence.  I weep with those who have lost children, spouses, siblings, parents…but when does it end?

As writers, we need to have topics to write about, to be able to view life through other people’s eyes. We need to grow in our knowledge, and embrace all that life has to offer, whether good or bad.  That’s the sad part, I think, that as a writer, I need to have things to write about.  But I wish, and pray, that there wouldn’t be this horror, and pain, running rampant in society.  I don’t want to see a child wailing the loss of a parent, or a spouse breaking down in tears.

So I hope that the days ahead are brighter for all, not that I’ll be holding my breath.  Writers can be cynics as well, but I can only dream of peace and unity.  What about you?

 

 

 

 

When God is Silent

All my life I’ve been clinging to the hope of God and His existence.  Deep down I am fully aware that there is something greater than myself; than all of us; alive and in control of this infinite universe.  Death has had its fair grip on me for decades; what will it be like, how much pain, and will I still exist afterwards?  I believe in a God that is omnipotent and unending.  As a child I’d play church(not too many kids out there playing church, I imagine).  We had this half-shell knick knack with Jesus on the cross attached to it and I’d put water in the shell and pretend it was holy water, dabbing it onto my forehead just like I saw my parents and others do in the Catholic church we attended.

Having Aspergers, I just felt closer to the existence of some higher power; something or someone I could look up to and have a sense of peace over.  I’ve read somewhere women with Aspergers have a unique pull to the divine.  I have a thirst for Truth, to know wrong from right, to understand others and what they are going through.  I want to grasp why some people are good and others are seen as evil.  What turns a person from light to darkness?  What snaps inside?

Peace within is a blessing.  But when we seek answers from an almighty Being, we expect answers, and fast.  We don’t want to wait.  From experience there were, and still are, frustrating circumstances in my life that needle the flesh.  Why does this person act this way?  Why don’t I feel closer to the ones I love?  Why do I keep getting rejected in places that preach about love and acceptance?  My ear is attuned to his anticipated reply.  But I cannot sense any forthcoming. Then the fear and doubts set in.  Is God truly out there?  Does he even care about me and my concerns?  Now I’m drawing into myself again.  I’m screaming within, Help me, God!  Why aren’t you listening?  Do you even love me?

As a believer, fear of God no longer loving you is like a baseball bat to the face.  It’s like trying to breathe underwater.  Crying helps, a bit.  But after the tears, the cursing(yes, the cursing), the pleading, I can take a deep breath and refocus.  Peace surrounds me once again.  God isn’t intimidated by your little outbursts.  He knows you intimately since he created you.  His love for you is eternal.  When God is silent, I believe he is testing us and our faith.  Do we trust in him or not?  He swoops in to rescue us and our dwindling faith.

He is good and merciful to his children, and knows us all by name.  God has not abandoned you but continually longs to have a place in our hearts and thoughts.  Talk to him today.  He is waiting.

A New Year, a new you

Throughout the year, amidst the myriad of challenges, we anticipate the winter holidays, and then before we know it, they’re over, leaving us to marvel at where the time went.  And with a whoosh, in rushes the new year.  We determine to make resolutions; promises to ourselves.  Be a better person.  To love others more deeply.  Work harder.  Learn a new skill which you have been itching to do your whole life.  Lose weight.  Work out more, or even to begin a exercise regiment.  We seek ways for self-improvement.  Some we wind up sticking with while others are quickly tossed to the side.

Gazing into a mirror, we try to summarize the events of the recent past.  What we did wrong.  What we did right.  Those we may have inadvertently offended.  Those we may have encouraged along the way.  We are filled with hopes and fears of what the new year may throw at us; either a raining down of blessings or a crashing head-long into heartache.

Nobody, we understand, can accurately see into the future, though there are a few that insist they can.  If it were possible to project ourselves to December 31, 2015, what would we encounter?  Would we discover a life that had been more fruitful, or one that was awash with pain?

I, for one, do not wish to see what the future holds for me, for we know that our lives are filled with hope-filled moments and shattered dreams, triumphs and disappointments.  What type of person you are determines how well you deal with these issues, when life turns itself upside down.  It’s easy to be joyful and happy when life is at it’s best, but when life bombards you with painful moments when we least expect them, it is almost impossible to keep smiling through the tears.

I believe we need to embrace the beauty that surrounds us.  We need to forgive others for the wounds they have caused us.  Not only does forgiveness fill us with peace of mind, it protects our sanity as well.  And holding grudges is bad for your health, or so I’ve read.  It is cancer to your soul.

So in this coming new year, I implore you to take time to enjoy the little things in life we often take for granted:  watching the sun rise, hiking through a blooming meadow bursting with color, to immerse yourself in a good book, drink a glass of fine wine, bask in the warmth of a sunny July day, or just spending quality time with those you hold dearest.

Don’t lose sleep over the things we can’t change, or worry about things that will most likely not happen.  I am guilty of that myself.  Give up bad habits and embrace healthier ones.  Even small changes like going for a daily walk can do wonders for the body, not to mention the soul.

Here’s wishing you all, my friends, a very healthy, safe, and joy-filled New Year.  In addition, may it be filled with good memories, an abundance of love, and peace; and may sorrows be subtracted.  Blessings.

Everyone’s Back Home Once Again.

Have you ever had a loved one go away for a few months?  Have you ever known the fear of:  what if they never come back?  What would your life be like?  How would you go on with your life as usual?  My son was gone for four months and it wasn’t easy.  I eased the pain by not focusing on it.  I eased the pain by writing letters to him, or hearing his voice on the phone, or chatting on Facebook.  It lessened the loneliness; sure.  But all the letters, calls, and chats did nothing to completely erase the ache in a mother’s heart of not having her family complete.

And forget about the holidays.  Thanksgiving wasn’t all that much fun.  Yes, I still had much to be thankful for, but the day didn’t have the same feel to it that it normally did.  There was someone missing from the table.  Missing them so badly in fact that we didn’t even sit at a table for dinner but in the living room, watching t.v. to bide our time.  Bide our time until we saw him again.  My younger son.

Now, we are a complete family unit once again.  And this is one happy mama.  To be able to hug him, and talk to  him face to face again, to see him, to hear his voice and his laughter.  It is a blessing to behold.  And then it reminds me of all those out there in the world that do not have that opportunity to hug their loved ones.  Those who won’t be home for the holiday, or ever again.  That’s what frightens me.  How would I deal with that if that ever happened to me?  To my family?

I truly cannot fathom that emotion since I’ve never been through it.  And quite honestly I never want to have to go through that ordeal.  To those who have had that baptism by fire, I am truly sorry for your loss.  I can never fully grasp the grief and heartache that you must live with each and every day.  May you find peace.  May you find comfort.  My prayers go with you.

The Solitude of Morning

I find the solitude of the early morning hours a welcome relief from the trials of life.  It feeds my soul, to sit at my laptop in the kitchen, coffee in hand, and check either e-mail or Facebook.  No one else is up yet.  The house is relatively quiet except for a mouse we seem to have running loose.  I can hear him hiding out in a corner chomping away at a piece of Kibble stolen from my dog’s food dish, or one found on the floor.  My dog is a very messy eater.

I can sit, basking in the solitude, and reflect on the day before, or plan out the new day while my thoughts are fresh and my head clear of any distractions.  Weekends it’s normally grocery shopping and church service, while during the week it’s about going to work and doing the chores around the house.

Lately I have been keeping myself busy with short story revisions.  I have joined a few critiquing groups on the web, which I am enjoying.  Still need to take the next step and start submitting work.  I have difficulty in choosing what magazines to send them off to.  Some publications accept works all year round, while others have certain time frames, some accept work from beginners, while others prefer established writers.  While I may not be a beginner, I have not earned a cent off my writing…yet.

But there are mornings I wake up, and my heart is sad.  I am sensitive to the pain of others.  I know that there’s not a lot that I can do to change that, but the news stories still haunt me days, weeks, later.  Especially at this time of year.  I see an overabundance of greed, eyes focused on gaining material possessions, and why?  All things eventually break and get discarded.  People need more peace in their lives.  Though technology has made life easier, people seem to be more miserable than ever.  Why is that?

I am truly blessed to have a loving and supportive family.  When life throws a fast ball my way, I can dodge it with the assistance of family.  And family is important.  They should be your support system.  And if they are not, I have compassion on you.   We all need someone to be a cheerleader for us.  Rooting us on.  Telling us, “Go on.  You can do it!”  Would the world be a better, happier place if we all had that one special person?  Yes, indeed it would.