Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Smoke got in my eyes

photo credit: Bildergrund Grace via photopin (license)

I was once a smoker. Not heavy, but it was enough of a habit to qualify as an addiction, though I know many will get up in arms over what an addiction truly is. For me, to wake up in the morning and want to have a smoke in the car on the way to school or work, maybe two, then one or two after, then one in the evening and before bed, would equate to at least a habit. And not only that, it was the emotional need that made it real.

It started in high school. My friend *Kacy pulled me into her father's camper in their front drive where we proceeded to pull cigarette butts out of an ashtray on a little card table. She told me she'd smoked many times before (her father was a heavy smoker) and that he'd never found out so it was okay. So we lit up. And it was nasty. But I was exciting. Later on I'm about seventeen, and on Saturday nights my friends and I like to go park outside the old elementary school in our small town. We start lighting up more and more because Kacy has access to these cigarettes, or maybe she buys them because she always got by with stuff like that, but it wasn't just about the smoking, it was about being together and talking and just being chill when the rest of the world was so not chill. I didn't actually inhale, for me it was casual and no commitment. Then one day I inhaled.

Kacy lent me a cigarette to take home, and one afternoon I locked myself up in the back bathroom with the exhaust fan on full cycle. My first intake ripped my chest apart, like sharks biting the tender flesh. I felt sick, and the fan did nothing. My mother, who came home later and detected the telltale odor straight off, was none too pleased. Amazingly, my sister took the heat for me, saying she'd been the one to light up inside the house. I guess to her it didn't matter--she and mother had been arguing for years about practically everything, so what was one little cigarette? Indebted and grateful, despite our years of fighting each other over stains on designer sweatshirts and leg space in our double bed, I thanked my her profusely, swearing I'd never get mad at her or smoke in the house again!

I smoked in cars. In bleachers at football games. At parks, lakes, and walks through town.

By eighteen, smoking had become not only a habit, but a comfort. Life was hard. Society was mean. The future was uncertain, but as long as I had a cigarette I could make it through. My friends and I would laugh about our coughing fits, we'd wave our hair out to get rid of the smell and spray on perfume to mask the funk. I took to wearing all black, to being an intellectual, an artist, a rebel, and smoking went along with all of that.

But then one day I noticed I wasn't breathing very well, and that the effect of having a stuffy nose and clogged lungs left me with panic attacks. Instead of being a comfort, I was left jittery and ill at ease. And sick. Sore throats, headaches, dry mouth, yuck. I was 23 and starting to think about what it would be like to feel healthy again, to breathe again. Those emotions, that mental and physical need, that loneliness, pulled at me, and yet another side pulled back: to be free and clean.

Inside a battle raged over whether I was succumbing to society's need to control us weirdos, us outsiders. If I quit, wouldn't I just turn into Basic Becky with a twinset and no edge? No drive?  What's life anyway if you don't live it a little dangerously? Despite all that, I decided to quit, if only to find out if the grass was truly greener.

And it was. The rift left by the absence of cigarettes created a desire to build up my health, which included buying new sneakers and exercise clothing. I went out to a track every day and walked for at least an hour. Something I didn't mention was that a boyfriend and I had broken up the night I discovered he was a manipulative cheater asshole. The truth was, I'd been addicted to him as well. Every night I craved his smell, his touch, his conversation. Alone in my car I imagined what it would be like to talk to him again, to kiss him, to know once again that there was someone in my life who loved me--even if it false love. But his cheating was unforgivable. During our last phone call I perceived a haughty boredom on his side, most likely caused by my utter and complete admittance that I needed him more than he needed me. After hanging up, I decided no man was ever going to make me feel that way again. I never did go back.

So, it's clear I was in a transformation. A cleansing. It was literally do or die, and I decided to do. To live. Once I made that decision: that I didn't need any him, or things, or opinions to rule me, I was free. And it was beautiful.

Freedom is beautiful.

I truly believe that each of us are put on this earth, not to succumb and conform and lose ourselves, but to find, to be, to search, and to live. Dammit, we're here to live. If a person wants to smoke, then smoke. It's calming. We need vices, and each of us should be able to do want we need in the time we need without judgement. And then if you want to quit smoking, then quit. Do it for yourself. I didn't use any patches or pills, I just decided to be healthy FOR ME.

What big decisions have you made in your life that took courage and created big change?

Thanks for stopping by!

*not her real name

Friday, January 6, 2017

Hello 2017

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Chillin' with Henry the Dachshund

A brand new year, a brand new me . . . isn't that how it's supposed to go? Except, I'm not exactly sure that I'm feeling so brand new! Okay, yes, I am happy to see the old year pass away into the dirty fog it created, but isn't this *stuff* getting rather old, all this 'I have to be a better version of myself' starting right now, stuff? How about I'm happy with who I am and nothing needs to change, thank you very much? I worked hard on myself last year, and all the years past, and nothing needs to change. I just need to accept myself exactly as I am, right here, right now. Anyone else feeling this?

I keep hearing everyone say that 2016 was such a terrible year, but I don't feel the same way. 2016 was a great year of lessons and revelations. Of learning to trust my intuition, of learning to be comfortable in my own skin (even when I'm not that comfortable), of acceptance, of facing reality, of knowing what I can and cannot change, of what my true value and potential is. It taught me to let go and trust in the Universe, that something bigger and greater has my back totally and completely, and even if the world were to crash down in flames, somehow I'd be okay. Because I'm part of something eternal. We all are. And I'm not talking Bible stuff here, don't get worried.

One of the biggest things I've learned this year is that: a lot of people do bad shit and they don't care. A lot of people like to: lie, sabotage, cheat, check out, have addictions, manipulate, hurt, will stab you in the back, XY&Z. But it ain't you. It doesn't reflect you. Who ARE you? Water can only sink a ship if you let it inside. Water: emotions. If you know who you are, then stand strong. So, how do you value yourself? Do you love yourself? I learned that, yes, I do. I love and value myself, and anyone who's ever hurt me in the past was only allowed to do so because I had no self-value. No self-love. When you truly care about and love yourself, no one can do any real damage. And they'll try, believe me. I think a lot of bad stuff that happens in this world happens because none of us were ever taught true self-love, and that's sad. We hurt, we get revenge, we lie, we destroy because we are completely broken. Babies. Infants. No real knowledge of self. That doesn't excuse it, but it does explain it at least.

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.

Love, love, love.

Here's what else I learned. The most powerful lesson of all. That person who hurt(s) you has no power. They are weak. Strong people do not hurt others, take advantage of others, they support and/or build you up, because they themselves have a good value system and, most of all, ethics. If you think that your bully, your boss, your spouse, your parent, your child, your president . . . has power over you, then think again. True power comes from inside FIRST. First and foremost.

I yam what I yam (opens can of spinach).

Thus ends my rant.  It wasn't really a rant, I was emoting. Something that's quite hard for me to do because I am in my head SO MUCH.

Here's to a fabulous 2017, come what may.  I'll try to post more often. I've thought about doing the watt pad thing and just free writing for kicks. We'll see.

How is your New Year coming along? As always, thank you for stopping by! Much love to you.

Friday, December 9, 2016

First Snow


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Thought I'd stop by to say hello, and to share this video I took the other day of our first snow. I noticed Mr. Cardinal sitting all by himself in a tree, but of course we can imagine Mrs. Cardinal was somewhere nearby. I went out later to toss out some sunflower seeds and the next day they had a wonderful feast.

This last week has been bitterly cold. I am NOT looking forward to a long winter of this! The first snow is pretty but after that it's all downhill. So, could someone please buy a house in Hawaii and invite me over for cocktails?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Humble Pie

Well, the impossible happened and there's nothing anyone can say or do to change it. I want to stay positive and hope for the best, but to be honest right now I'm feeling all sorts of crazy emotions, and grief. Like John F. Kennedy has just died. It hurts.

This scene is from one of my favorite movies, and it's exactly what I'm feeling.  I'm Steve Martin, I want reimbursement, and the snarky ticket agent is America. Pardon the language.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Listen, do you wanna . . .

A few years ago I started a pen name to separate one style of writing from the other. It was an experiment, but mostly I did it to make this whole process a little less confusing. On one hand I was writing paranormal young adult, and the other a mainstream, literary style, and I needed to be able to do so without any worry of confusing the two--and myself! Many writers have separate pen names in order to help them focus and categorize, but mainly to promote. Anyway, I have been hesitant in telling you guys this, but at this point it feels stupid not to.

Today seemed like a good day because one of my books is free in commemoration of Janis Joplin's passing. Cimarron Man and other stories is a collection of shorts (some longer than others), many of which have been published by literary journals. One story, The Secret Life of Johnny Cool, was so much fun to write, sort of an epic journey of a nomad across the California desert where he meets two runaways from an all-female cult in Joshua Tree National Park. There's language and adult themes, but I just loved writing this story, mainly because it includes an ode to Janis. I didn't start off with the intention to write about her, but it happened, and now it has become one of my favorite pieces.

If you download the book (free today!) I hope you will enjoy it, and please, please let me know what you think. I value your opinion.

Take care and Peace!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Slutz R Us

photo credit: maxp24242424 IMG_4216 via photopin (license)

Last week my twitter got hacked by a bunch of slutty hoes, or somebody who likes slutty hoes. It was bad. My publisher had to contact me about it because I hadn't been on there for quite a while and had no idea. It was both horrible and amusing. My internet connection was out that day and twitter won't let you delete your account on a mobile, so I was sweating and groaning like a . . . like a . . . well, you know what I mean. It was bad. I sent my son over to ask the neighbors if I could borrow their internet, you know, so I could delete p*rn and all that, and they said okay, go for it.

Man, I really hate the interwebz sometimes. It's such a cesspool of shite. But then there's good stuff like somebody likes your book, or you find a cool video of a cat feeding a monkey a bowl of Lucky Charms, and all the pain goes away.

I just wish it were all a little bit easier. Like, I wish I didn't get hacked every other day of my life.

Anyone else have similar issues? And, oh yeah, how the heck are you guys anyway?

Leave a comment below and I'll tell you about the pictures I saw on my twitter.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Time Slip

Unknown artist

In The Love Seekers, Emma—frustrated with boyfriend and upcoming rock star Jesse—steps into a gallery to cool off and collect herself. She's so mad she might just buy every painting and put them on Jesse's bill. But there's one that puts her mind at ease: a rainy scene in New York, a sea of umbrellas, a fountain with one tiny flower floating along the surface. It's the flower that does it. She decides right then and there that she has to have the painting—for herself, not Jesse. As she stares, the lines blur; Emma feels rain against her skin, she hears the pulse of the traffic nearby, the cloth and the heat of the people walking close—all from a time decades ago. It's the same era William lives in, but she must never see him again.

She doesn't buy it. She can't go back in time, or change time, and she can't go back and be with him, because things have changed.

Hint: The painting shows up later in the book. To find out why and what Emma does when she faces one of her biggest decisions in life, you'll have to read The Love Seekers, out now and available for purchase at Amazon.

Thanks for reading!