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.

 

 

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My Oh My Writers’ Group Experience

Okay, so I did it.  I finally attended my first ever writers’ group.  It was held at my local Barnes and Noble, and we met in the cafe area.  I brought along my daughter-in-law Kayla for moral support(I’m an introvert, so it’s difficult to go to things like this alone).  I was this close to chickening out and saying I don’t feel like going but I wrote about attending in the last blog, to hold myself accountable.  So off I went.

When we arrived, there weren’t too many people there yet.  I looked around anxiously to see who might be involved with the group.  I saw a couple of men sitting alone at tables with an open laptop so I asked one if this was where the writers’ group met and he said yes.  I was relieved I had asked the person who was actually part of the group.  We introduced ourselves and Kayla and I sat waiting for the others.

After some time passing, the rest of the group slowly filtered in and sat at a back table as others pulled a few smaller tables and chairs over to accommodate overflow.  I had seen on the group’s online site that 16 people had signed up to be there that night and I was impressed that we could squeeze so many people in a corner, and impressed with the loyalty of group members to attend.  I wasn’t the only new person, there was one other who had traveled a distance to get there.

As we sat, no one knew who we were, Kayla and I, until they asked if we were with the group and I informed them that, yes, we were new.  They warmly welcomed us over and we sat, a bit cramped, but they were very friendly.  At one point, after noticing the age range of the members, Kayla leaned over and whispered to me, “They’re all old.  Why do you keep taking me to old people stuff?”  She’s 18 and I’m sure anyone over 30 would be old to her.  I’m ancient because I’m on the cusp on 53.  Side story, when my son, Josh, and Kayla were dating, we were at a Chinese buffet restaurant and we had decided that her and I should hang out together.  And the lovely Kayla agreed and said, “Yeah, I love hanging out with old people.”  Ouch.

Anyway, I did not submit a chapter to the group’s site for critique because I wanted to see how everything worked first.  They went around and introduced themselves and then they starting discussing each other’s work.  I noticed that I did not share the same writing that they did.  I am a more modern-day literary or romance writer and have a plethora of short fiction and not novels in the works, though I do have a couple of NaNoWriMo works.  Most wrote historical, or fantasy pieces.  I did find it interesting how they kindly critique each other’s work and I felt confident, after hearing their comments, that I could do this as well.

After two hours, they were finished, and mentioned that normally there was usually a group of three or four that met every two weeks or so.  I have to say they were a very eclectic group.  Wasn’t sure what I was expecting but what I saw I felt comfortable being around, me being an Aspie and an introvert.  My husband asked me later if I was going back and I said yes but maybe only once a month or so.  I am looking forward to the group critiquing some of my work.  There are several published writers in the group and others who just have a life-time love of the written word.

So I survived my first writers’ group experience.  Now I need to work on my grammar since I’ve been told I use too many commas.  Thanks for reading.  Until next time, my friends, happy writing.  Oh, and reading because it was reported on the news this week that those who read live longer lives.  Go books!

 

Off To A Writers’ Group

I am about to embark on a terrifying journey, to a place most introverts would tremble at doing:  meet new people.  In early August I will be attending my first writers’ group at a local Barnes & Noble and I am petrified!  As an Aspie and an introvert, I figured I’ve got two strikes against me already.  A third would be if they all disliked me; one of my biggest fears.  I’m always worrying whether this person or that person likes me.  My younger son thinks I’m silly to be so concerned whether I’m liked or not.  Unfortunately after years of horrible school experiences I’ve developed this irrational fear of being disliked.

Okay, I got to admit I’ve been out of school since 1981 but the embarrassment due to my peer’s rejection still haunt me and keep me from achieving more in life.  And, yes, I know that I should just brush it off and get on with my life.  All well and true.  But this silly fear nags at me and is the reason I don’t get involved in outside activities, even with the other ladies at my church.  I recently had attended a women’s function at church and, as usual, took a seat at an empty table and proceeded to fret if anyone would care to join me.  And alas, no one dared to sit with me at my table.  Maybe I didn’t have a smile on my face, or perhaps my nervousness showed but thankfully a lady at one of the tables next to me invited me to sit at their table and I gladly did.  I wouldn’t want to appear even more standoff-ish by rejecting her generous offer.  It was a church function, you know.

Now that I revealed my bizarre side to you all, I want to convey how important it is for me to join this local group.  I’ve been told to join a writers’ group and have earnestly wanted to find one in the area.  Step One was completed.  I also have a fear of bringing my laptop to the store since I’ve never had to sign in to anyone’s WiFi but my own before.  And I’m not even sure if it’s called that!  I am so not with the program here, people.  I am highly technology-illiterate.  Again not sure if that’s even the proper term.  Silly me.

So do I go days before and figure out how to set up at said store or have one of my darling sons show me how to do it?  I don’t want to look like a fool in front of total strangers.  As a woman, this is one of my greatest fears:  To look like an idiot.  This fear, unfortunately, goes way back to childhood.  But I won’t get into that now.

I truly love to write but it’s done in the safety of my home, in a little room which used to be my younger son’s bedroom.  All my books are neatly(okay, not so neatly) arranged on bookshelves, my desk is in front of the window, and I have a handy two-drawer file cabinet, and a rocking chair that my husband & I found along someone’s curb.  Sometimes I enjoy listening to music while I tap away at the keys; mostly Country but other times I like Classical music.  It doesn’t seem to distract me as much as Country does.

But if I want to make a living, or at least pay off our yearly property taxes, I need to find other like-minded individuals who will help be reach my goals.  Along the way I’m hoping that I will be of some use to them as well.  I write on Wattpad and Scripophile and have this blog but as a writer one needs to, no, must write.  Like air, words on a page are a necessity to a writer.  I am not happy unless I’m writing something.  I feel lost and not fully alive when I’m not tapping away.  Sometimes as an Aspie I struggle with the right words to show how much I love this writing process.  I sink into a depressive state whenever I’m not writing, or even reading about the writing process.  I will push myself to attend the group, probably developing a headache or a stomach ache before heading out the door like a woman off to her death.  Okay, maybe not that dramatic.

I will keep all of you lovely people informed on how it all went in upcoming weeks.  Thanks for allowing me to vent and reveal my fears, as silly as they sound.  Until next time, keep on writing.

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?

 

 

 

 

Did You Ever?

Did you ever have days when it was sunny and clear outside but foggy inside of yourself?  Days when you weren’t sure whether you were doing the right thing?  Days when you sat and wondered if you were wasting your life away?

Did you ever have days when it was bright outside but dark within your own soul?  Sometimes it even frightened you how you felt?  Pondering life and sometimes wondering what the meaning of it all was?

Did you ever have days when the colors of flowers seemed to be exploding around you, but your heart felt gray?  You weren’t sure if you were happy or sad, or just lost somewhere in between?

I’ve had those days.  We’ve all experienced them.  But I don’t allow myself to waste too much time over it.  It’s okay to be depressed or confused about life.  We just can’t keep ourselves there for too long because that negative thinking can drag us down further until we can no longer find our way out.

The Business of Fear

I went to a business expo this afternoon with my husband.  You know, one of those expos a city has to bring businesses and consumers together to arrange some sort of happy union.  When my boys were younger, we would always load up on the free candy and pencils the various booths provided.  Now, my husband and I do a pretty quick walk through to check out the various offerings in the area; the free chiropractic checks, free neck massages, the vendors hawking their wares.  Occasionally we’ll find a good business reference to do work on the house my husband says needs repairing.  We’ve had people who called relatively quickly to set up an appointment to do a bid; other times no calls are received at all.

But this post isn’t about business; it’s about going to an open place when one has Aspergers.  I can’t tell you how hard it is for me to go to these.  Well, I’m going to try anyway.  The sights, noise, bright lights, and crowds are enough to make me want to curl up into a ball and hide.  I’ve always wondered why I had done poorly in crowds but I’ve discovered it is due to the over-stimulation of so many things going on all at once.  And throw in being an introvert and you’ve got a messy situation.

Why then, you may ask, do I go to these?  Okay, besides being a masochist(creepy) I actually enjoy seeing the different offerings that businesses provide.  Plus I like pushing myself to do things I don’t always enjoy and helps in my writing experience.  Just being out in the world surrounded by other people is an experience, trust me.

So I’ve discovered some triggers that push me over the edge.  Now to learn to live with and accept my inner fears while moving forward with my life.

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.