Categories
Writing Updates

Writer’s Block Chronicles: An Introduction

    Whenever I feel as though I have a good idea to write, I always find myself blocked by two things: motivation and inspiration.

    I’ve already talked about my struggles with motivation in a past post, which you can find here if you’re interested in reading it. In that, I talked about how motivation and accountability are at times interlocked with one another. However, I can also separate my accountability and motivation because of one concept: writing.

    By writing, I mean several things. I can hold myself accountable and force myself to write essays, research papers, and any other class assignment that is needed for me to complete. I also mean by ‘writing’, I mean writing for pleasure. Writing because I have an idea that I want to share with the world. Writing an email to a friend that I want to talk to that I haven’t seen in awhile.

    This motivation to write is easier to work through in my opinion. I can force myself to write down the little ideas that I have – maybe just bullet points or even a paragraph or two. That’s an accomplishment to me.

    Inspiration is the worst type of writer’s block. Having the energy to write, but nothing to actually write is like an ache in the pit of my stomach (that’s probably one of the most English major things I’ve ever typed, but it’s the truth). 

    I decided that I’m going to keep a journal of sorts for every time I feel this writer’s block. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten is to write through the block, which can be nearly impossible.

    So, this is my task. I want to associate my writer’s block with a topic. Whether it be ‘Pride’ or ‘Agony’, I want to have this outlet to force myself to write through those feelings.

    I will also be providing tips and tricks that have worked for me to get through writer’s block. Personally, one of the most important things is to take care of your mind in order to prevent burn out. Burn out sucks. When I wrote my play and novel in one month (roughly 64,000 words if you like statistics), I didn’t write again until three months later. I could not physically bring myself to do it because my fingers were exhausted from being on the keys of the keyboard. 

I don’t know how regularly I will be posting these Writer’s Block sessions, but I do want to make sure that these struggles are acknowledged through this blog. Holding onto any motivation to write through the agony of not being able to write is incredibly important.

Categories
Creative Writing

The Redemption

“Please, I can remake it.” Jaelyn was stood before Dr. Snow, Orion, Dr. Hyber, Andromeda, and Mars. “I can. I just need a night.”

            “Your project can’t be judged with the others,” Dr. Snow explained with no empathy in her voice. “You can’t.”

            “Why not? I’m not the one who destroyed it!” Jaelyn looked over all of them all and begged “I can get it done in a night. I can. And then it can be judged.”

            “Judging already started,” Andromeda explained. “It wouldn’t be fair to the other students if you got more time than they did.”

            Jaelyn felt the anger start to hit a boiling point. It had been since nearly the beginning of the school year that she had been working on her project for the International Space Society. How could they tell her now that it wouldn’t count?

            “It isn’t fair that my project got destroyed by another contestant,” Jaelyn retorted.

            “She has a point,” Mars said. “If she can get it done in one night, why shouldn’t we give her the chance to remake it?”

            “It was made at a professional level, Mr. Addington,” Dr. Snow cut in. “She can’t recreate that.”

            “I can,” Jaelyn added. “I can do it. Please.”

            Glancing between each other, Mars looked at Jaelyn and said: “Can you step out for a minute so we can discuss?”

            Jaelyn nodded and walked out the doors behind her.

            She couldn’t hear what they were talking about inside the room. Even if she could, she felt like her heart was pounding in her ears. They needed to give her the chance. They had too. She needed a shot at winning this.

            Sure, there wasn’t any professional staff members there at this hour to help recreate the prototype. Jaelyn knew she didn’t have any idea how to recreate what they did, but she knew she had too.

            She didn’t work her ass off to get her scholarship for nothing. She knew she was capable – she was one of three people who got a 100% on the test. She got a 100%, the only one in her school for that matter, on the first draft of the prototype. She never let Tanner treating her like garbage stop her. His words were knives, but she pushed their pain and cuts deep into herself and kept the surface clean. She never let the garbage she lived in stop her.

            This was her only chance to get out of the slums of her homelife. She wasn’t guaranteed anything after secondary school was over, but with this internship she could get a full ride to university. She had to keep reminding herself that’s what she was putting all of her blood, sweat, and tears into. She needed to escape.

            Andromeda came to the door to let her back inside after a few minutes. She walked around the table and say back in her place. “We have decided that we will give you the opportunity to recreate the project.”

            Jaelyn felt a smile creep across her face “Thank you. Thank you-”

            “-However,” Andromeda continued, “You will get the blueprints that were created by the lab assistants. You have to recreate it exactly to what they made it. If anything is different, you will be disqualified. You have one night.”

            She nodded. “I can do that. I understand.”                

            “You will be supplied with the materials.” Dr. Snow stood up and adjusted her black turtleneck. “I will overlook the blueprints when you are done.”

            “Can I get to work now?”

            Dr. Snow nodded.

            Jaelyn looked at Mars. He was smiling at her. Jaelyn turned and walked out of the room, speed walking down the hall to where the lab was where her creation was built. She knew she had to get to work immediately if she wanted to finish before sunrise.

            She didn’t know what time it was when she took a break. There were no windows in the lab. The clock was behind her. She was too invested in the recreation to turn around. Even though she gave herself a break, she couldn’t stop looking at it.

            There were so many little pieces. Her project wasn’t much bigger than a refrigerator, but it felt like every little computer chip and the solar cell was the size of a blade of grass.

            Doubt began to creep into her mind. There was no way that she would be able to finish this before the morning. She wasn’t even a fourth of the way done, and she felt like she had been in the lab for hours. Her eyes hurt from straining them to look at the little pieces. No wonder three people built this together – one probably barked directions at the others.

            She heard the door slide open behind her. She didn’t care to look. It was probably one of the security guards going on their nightly rounds. They knew she was there. They would just close the door and leave.

            But they didn’t do either.

            Jaelyn waited to hear the door shut. When she didn’t, she turned and looked over to see who it was.

            Delta.

            “What are you doing here so late?” Jaelyn asked. She turned back to her work.

            “Orion told me about what happened,” Delta said softly. “I’m really sorry.”

            “Not your fault I was lied to by someone who I thought was my friend.” Jaelyn picked up a bolt and checked for the serial number.

            “He told me they’re giving you a shot at rebuilding it, too…” Delta stepped into the room and shut the door behind her.

            “Yeah. I have until sunrise. But there are so many tiny little pieces-” The bolt slipped out of her hand and rolled away. “Oh come on!”

            Delta picked up the bolt as it rolled to her feet. When she handed it back to her, Jaelyn noticed her outfit.

            White lab coat, non-slip shoes, and leggings.

            “Why are you coming into your internship so early?” She asked as she took the bolt. “No one is here. Just me and the security guards.”

            “I know,” Delta said as she sat down next to her.

            Jaelyn looked at her and asked, “What are you doing?”

            Delta pulled her hair back and tied it into a ponytail. “I’m going to help you?”

            “Why?”

            “Why not?”

            Jaelyn rubbed the back of her neck. “Well, considering Ember destroyed my project, I didn’t think anyone would want to help.” She added, “And, this is a competition.”

            “It may be a competition, but it’s not fair that your project got destroyed.” Delta slid the blueprint in front of her. “I want to win, but I want it to be fair. You deserve to be here as much as the rest of us do, you know.”

            Jaelyn looked at her and said after a moment “Thank you.”

            Delta nodded and smiled at her for a moment, before turning her attention back to the blueprint.

            It was easier with two people. Jaelyn knew what it was supposed to look like, and Delta had experience building similar inventions. Delta taught her how to install solar cells properly, where to stand when installing something above your head, and how to slide a wrench into the tightest of spots. The later the night became, the closer they got to completing the project.

            Jaelyn rubbed her eyes. She yawned and leaned back on the wall, overlooking the project. “I think we did it.”

            “We did.” Delta leaned back against the wall next to her. She stretched and said, “What time is it?”

            “I have no idea.” Jaelyn looked for the clock.

            Delta pulled up her sleeve. “5:23 AM.”

            “I haven’t stayed up this late in years.” Jaelyn half smiled and asked, jokingly “Is this what a sleepover is like?”

            Delta chuckled “I couldn’t tell you.”

            “There’s something we have in common,” Jaelyn replied. She overlooked the shiny metal exterior.

            “I hated you when I met you,” Delta said after a few minutes.

            “Because I smeared chocolate on your dress?”

            “Yeah.”

            “Ember convinced me that you were a bitch. So I took her word and hated you too.”

            The two girls laughed together.

            “You’re nice,” Jaelyn said.

            “So are you.” Delta looked at her and asked, “When all of this is over, we should talk.”

            Jaelyn didn’t say anything.

            “After,” Delta repeated, smiling gently, “so we don’t have to worry about the stress of this project anymore. Maybe… we could find out what those sleepovers are like.”

            “I would like that.” Jaelyn looked at her.

            “Then it’s a plan.” Delta stood up and said “I should go. If they catch me here, we’ll both be in trouble.”

            “Thank you again, Delta.” Jaelyn smiled at her.

            “Of course.” Delta smiled for a moment. She flattened her jacket, and she left the lab space.

            A few minutes passed when the door opened again. Dr. Snow walked in and looked at the creation in front of her. “Are you all done?”

            Jaelyn stepped forward and nodded. She handed her the blueprints.

            Dr. Snow took them and opened it. She observed the outside of the machine first. She examined the doorways, vents, bolts, and bracing. She looked at the inside after. Jaelyn swore she could see her counting the number of computer chips, which she knew there were hundreds of.

            It took longer than she expected for Dr. Snow to overlook every aspect of the machine. She even turned it on and listened to the way that it sounded. When she turned the machine off, she said: “You did it.”

            “I did?” Jaelyn smiled and asked, “So I’ll be judged with the others?”

            Dr. Snow nodded. “I will say, I am impressed that you were able to do this work in one night that took three people two weeks.”

            “I really want a shot at winning this.” Jaelyn rubbed her eyes and said, “Does this mean I can go home and go to bed?”

            “Mars has a futon in his office. Ask him if you can sleep there. Falling asleep on the monorail isn’t a good idea.” Dr. Snow placed the blueprints on the workbench. 

            Jaelyn smiled a bit. It was the first comment Dr. Snow had made to her that was a kind, genuine comment.

            She took the elevator up to Mars’ floor. She stepped out and knocked on his office door.

            He opened the door, smiling. He said, sounding chipper “Good morning, Jaelyn. Did you do it?”

            Jaelyn nodded.

            “Yes!” Mars smiled and continued “I am so proud of you.”

            She smiled, then asked “Can I nap on your futon? Dr. Snow told me that you had one in here.”

            Mars chuckled, and he let her come into the office. Jaelyn saw the small futon in the corner. Her body dragged her there, filled with exhaustion. She collapsed onto it and shut her eyes immediately. She was conscious long enough to feel a blanket be draped over her body, and a pillow be tucked under her head by a gentle hand.

Categories
Bookish Things

Weekly Reads: June 6-13, 2020

I’m making it a goal of mine to read more than one book a week. I tend to read one book in one sitting, and then it takes me a week or two to pick up another. I have a lot of books to go through in my bookshelf – which I only realized when I organized them. I had two big stacks of books that I had read… and four that I hadn’t read yet.

The following are the three books I read this week, and my ratings and opinions on them!

BOOK 1: Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gil

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

This is probably the book I read the fastest this week. Nikita Gil is a new love of mine, as I haven’t read a ton of her poetry yet. However, this book of stories was breathtaking. I love fairy tales, and with Gil’s feminist readings of these classic stories – I was in love.

One thing I personally enjoyed from these stories were that it wasn’t just the heroes’ perspective, but the villains and in some cases, their children (i.e. Cinderella) had their own sections of text. Gil is able to make you feel not only guilty for the typical heroines, but as well as their captors who were conditioned into their behaviors.

Alongside that, I am not giving this book a 5/5 because of that very reason. I feel like one of the things about a villain that I like is trying to not like them. As I read this, I felt as though I couldn’t connect with the heroines in some cases because of the connection I felt with the villains instead. The only difference between the heroes and villains in this case is that the villains didn’t get the chance to redeem themselves, their characters were molded into the villains that they ultimately become.

If you like fairy tales and modern readings of them, then Fierce Fairytales is for you.

BOOK 2: Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Rating: 5/5

Before I get into my review, I need everyone to know that I DID NOT do this too my poor book. I bought it used from Thriftbooks, so I had no choice in what the damage was. Nonetheless, it is still readable.

I love Carrie Fisher, and I mean all things Carrie Fisher. When I found out about her passing years ago, I was heartbroken. Star Wars had been such a huge part of my childhood, and knowing that my space princess was gone broke me.

Now, I have finally learned that she does in fact have books. I had no idea until I bought The Princess Diarist a few weeks ago. So, I took no time in purchasing Wishful Drinking. This is one of my favorite books I have read in a long time. Not only is Carrie Fisher an amazing actress, but her writing is hilarious and moving. In this book, she writes because she had just come out of ECT (Electroshock Therapy) for her depression and bi-polar symptoms. She writes to try and remember everything that she forgot during that time.

She writes about her crazy family tree, and how Hollywood breeds, and how George Lucas told her that there is no underwear in space. She ties in mental health issues, broken families, and comedy so beautifully that I found myself laughing at probably the worst moments. But, that’s what she wanted. She didn’t want pity, as she says several times in the text, but for the reader to understand the crazy time she had growing up to two huge Hollywood superstars. I loved every minute of this book and I would recommend it to anyone who needs a good laugh.

BOOK 3: The Night Country by Melissa Albert

Rating: 4.5/5

The Night Country is the sequel to The Hazel Wood (which is the book that actually got me back into reading!) and continues the story of Alice after she has escaped the Hazel Wood, where her grandmother wrote all of her dark fairytales that brought her to fame.

One thing I love about Albert’s writing is that she is able to describe the switches between worlds beautifully. When traveling between worlds, her words reflect the moods and feelings of that place. In the case of Alice, when she is miserable – you feel her misery leaking on the pages. The worry of Ella gives you anxiety as well, leaving you wondering – what is going to happen next?

There are a lot of new characters in this book. I like and don’t like this at the same time – because I was left confused on occasion when we had met this character: in the Hazel Wood or in NYC. The characters are all quirky in their own ways, and some of their mannerisms are, I feel, less helpful to pushing the plot of the book. 

Melissa Albert is one of my favorite books, and I recommend her books to anyone who enjoys fairy tales with dark twists, and watching some of the best character redemption arcs I have ever read.

Categories
Bookish Things

Book Haul: June 11th

In light of recent events in the media, specifically the murder of George Floyd and the protests going on across the country, I knew I needed to better educate myself on the black experience. I wanted to learn as much as I could so I can be a better ally and person over all.

I went to thriftbooks after looking at a book list created by former teacher of mine and bibliophile – Rachel Gomes, and picked out a few titles from different parts of the spreadsheet. I used thriftbooks because I had a hard time finding these books in other places. As stores begin to open up again, I definitely want to head to a local bookstore and buy more. One title I have in my wishlist is Felix, Ever After by Kacen Callender – which I know I want in a brand new edition.

But, for now, the following are the five books I bought and received to start my collection of books by POC authors about the POC experience.

Book 1: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.”

Book 2: The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told by Alex Haley

“In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America.”

Book 3: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

“Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.”

Book 4: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurtson

“With haunting sympathy and piercing immediacy, Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of Janie Crawford’s evolving selfhood through three marriages. Light-skinned, long-haired, dreamy as a child, Janie grows up expecting better treatment than she gets until she meets Tea Cake, a younger man who engages her heart and spirit in equal measure and gives her the chance to enjoy life without being a man’s mule or adornment. Though Jaine’s story does not end happily, it does draw to a satisfying conclusion. Janie is one black woman who doesn’t have to live lost in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, instead Janie proclaims that she has done “two things everbody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.”

Book 5: Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

In her profound and courageous New York Times bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community—and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.

With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman’s quest for self at all costs, Redefining Realness is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.”

What are some of your favorite books by POC authors? Leave some suggestions in the comments down below!

Categories
Bookish Things

Organizing My Bookshelves

On impulse, last night I decided to reorganize my two bookshelves. I think that this had to do with the fact that my second, newer bookcase, wasn’t organized the best. So, I wanted to match them up. This is what I started with:

I reached out to one of my best friends, Mikaela, and asked her how she had her books set up in her room. She sent me a video of how her shelf looked (like the doll she is, going above and beyond per usual), and I decided after some google searches to try out her way.

She organized by two criteria: self-decided genre and author. So, I set out and took all of the books out of my bookshelf and started to separate them out into what I thought their genres were. After, I organized them by author last name on my bookshelf. This was my end result:

And, as much as I tried to like it… I didn’t. I’m one of those people who’s books have to be in height order, and this just did not work for my brain. I liked the system, especially with all like books being together, but I decided to sleep on it and try again tomorrow.

And today is that day! Mikaela, lovely as ever, gave me the suggestion to try and organize by color instead of genre. Since my bookshelves are white, she thought it would be better on the eye (my personal eye, because I did not like the first system). 

I recorded my journey this go around. After taking several minutes to try and figure out how to set up my phone, I set off. If you’re interested to see the whole process, click on the video below!

These were the final results, and I am IN LOVE!

I organized by color (ROYGBIV, plus pink, white, gray, and black) and also by height of the book. This made my book brain very happy – and it was really pretty on the eye.

If you have any tips or tricks for organizing books, leave them in the comments below!


And, if you can’t tell, I have one COMPLETELY empty shelf – so also comment some of your favorite books and I may add them to my collection!

Categories
Creative Writing

The Trials of Identity

The doctor standing above my body was smiling. It was all I could notice in the first moments of coming back into consciousness. There was a dull pain in the back of my head, sending waves of agony to the back of my eyes.

I closed my eyes again and felt the world around me begin to fade back into darkness. There was a shuffling of papers at the end of my bed.

*****

The next time I woke up, the doctor was gone. In his place was a tall nurse. Her hair was pulled back and I could see the blinding light above my bed glisten on her gray hairs. My eyes shut again, and I focused on trying to stop the spinning in my skull. The pain was still there. I couldn’t get it to go away.

I didn’t remember why I was there.

*****

When I woke up a third time, the nurse was next to my head, kneeling.

She spoke softly “Can you hear me?”

I glanced at her, unmoving. My mouth drooped open, but I couldn’t speak. I shut my lips and nodded slowly.

“The doctor will be in soon.” She looked at me and asked, “Do you want to go back to sleep for a while?”

I watched as the nurse walked around to the side of my bed. I tried to turn my head to watch her but found the pain in my neck prohibiting me to do so. Something brushed against my arm. I saw the little clear tube that stuck out of my skin. Was she added more pain killers? God, I hope.

 I faded back into the darkness and felt myself go weightless. I could hear her stand up and stride out of the room, her sneakers squeaking.

*****

“How are you feeling?” He asked me, a clipboard in his hands. The doctor smiled down at me and nodded as I spoke. When he came back to my bedside was a blurred memory now, but I was glad he was there. He scribbled down notes and muttering to himself, “Disoriented… pain… can you rate your pain for me? One to ten? Seven? Okay, I’ll write that down.”

The blonde nurse stood on the other side of my bed. I felt a gentle tug on my arm as she pulled on the IV attached to me.

“How about your drowsiness? Is that better now?”

I shook my head. It was difficult for me to even keep my eyes open. They would flutter shut and snap open every other second. Anytime I woke up from my inevitable slip into a nap, my head would be pounding. I thought I was dying each time. I would press the alert button over and over again. The nurses were sick of me at this point.

“Do you remember where you are?” The doctor asked. He pushed his glasses further up on the bridge of his nose.

I knew I was in the hospital. It wasn’t a normal hospital.

I didn’t have my own room, which I thought was strange at this point. I had been here for almost as long as my memory would allow me to know. The only thing separating me from the other patients was a thin beige curtain on either side of my bed. The one at the foot of the bed was pulled open so that the doctors could watch me. I didn’t know why they wanted to do that. I didn’t know much.

“So, you’re saying that you don’t remember much? Do you remember what procedure we performed?”

No.

“Not at all? Do you remember your name?”

No. Maybe something that started with a C?

“What is today’s date?”

February 23rd? Judging by the way he is looking at me, I must be wrong.

“It’s February 29th.”

There aren’t 29 days in February. Unless I can’t remember that either.

“Do you know what time it is?”

There’s no clock in the room. How am I supposed to know?

“It’s 9:30 PM.” The doctor scribbled something down on the clipboard and said without looking at me “You’re going to be staying overnight for observations.”

Fair.

The nurse came around to the other side of the bed, standing next to the doctor. She had her hair tied up as if it was a cinnamon bun on her head. God, when will they feed me?

“Your name is Cadence, dear,” Her voice was like honey. Specifically, honey used as a sweetener in tea. Why is my throat so dry? “Cadence Rockland.”

The nurse turned around and opened a neon green bag. I watched with half-lidded eyes as she proceeded to pull out what looked like a wallet. She slid out a card and handed it to the doctor, saying “Show her this.”

The doctor turned the card around for me to see.

The name of the girl was Cadence Rockland. She had black hair cut in a bob. Her eyes, though they were fuzzy, reminded me of chestnuts. She wasn’t smiling and her nose looked curved. I didn’t know why she wasn’t happy in the photo. Those pictures stay on your license for years, you should at least try to look nice. I didn’t know why she had that haircut either – it wasn’t flattering in the slightest.

The one this I did know was that the girl in that picture was not me.

The nurse gave me a funny look when I stared at the photo. “What?”

“That’s not me.”

“Very funny, Ms. Rockland,” the Doctor rolled his eyes and scribbled away on his pad.

“That’s not me. That’s not me.” I felt myself getting frantic. I knew that wasn’t me in the photo.

“Hmm…” the doctor rubbed his chin, turning to the license, and then he looked back at me. “You must be experiencing some side effects from the surgery.”

“It happens all the time, dear.” The blonde nurse came back over to my side. “Once you’re feeling better, you’ll start to remember.”

“That’s not me.” I looked up at the nurse. They had to have grabbed the wrong bag.

“This is your license,” The doctor said, examining me out of the corner of his eye. “On this paper, it says that your name is Cadence Rockland. Is that you?”

“That’s not me.” I didn’t know if the name was right or not. I only knew that it was not me.

“You seem to be experiencing amnesia, Ms. Rockland,” the doctor explained, “this is you. This is your license. It is in the bag that you put your things in before the surgery. You are the one who put that wallet in that bag. No one else.” His voice was beginning to slide. Or was it always that deep?

“That’s not me. It isn’t.”

The nurse leaned over to the doctor and whispered something into his ear. The doctor rolled his eyes, but he nodded. He placed down the clipboard on the tray furthest from my bed, and he said: “I will be back in a few minutes.” He left the ‘room’ quickly after, the nurse following him.

How did I get here? I don’t remember putting my stuff down. Where the hell did that green bag come from? And who the hell was that woman on the card? I could feel the pounding in my skull get louder, deafening my senses as I clutched the sides of my head. Who the hell was I? Why were the doctors lying to me?

They were supposed to be helping me, why the hell would they suddenly hide my actual identity from me? There had to have been a mistake. This isn’t how hospitals are supposed to be. I knew who I was, they didn’t.

I sat myself up and rubbed my temples, trying to alleviate some of the pain that was radiating through every inch of my body. The white blanket fell off the bed as I stood up, collecting in a pile on the floor. The thin yellow socks were barely protecting my toes from the shiver-inducing tile floor as I stumbled towards the green bag.

I looked at the ID in the wallet, again. Maybe I was crazy, and maybe I just could not remember what my face looked like. Maybe I was reacting poorly to the anesthetic that they used for the surgery. Yeah, that had to be it. It had to be that I just didn’t remember. Hospitals are supposed to help people, not hurt them. It must be a side effect, just like the good doctor said.

The picture still sent my stomach into a knot. I knew, deep down, that wasn’t me.

I gripped the edge of the bed and stared at the photo. They looked nothing like me. I knew they didn’t. If that was me, which it wasn’t, I hadn’t looked like that in a long, long time.

“Hon, how come you’re standing? The doctor said that you were barely able to get your eyes open.” I turned my head as the old nurse spoke. Her eyes matched her vibrant blue scrubs. She stepped towards me. “Do you need to go to the bathroom?”

I nodded. I needed to know who I was. I needed to remember.

“Well, let me help you walk, then.” The nurse came over and took my arm in her hand. Her palm was gentle, but her spidery fingers wrapped around tightly like she was suffocating me. The grip of her hand led me between the curtains.

I squinted my eyes and scanned the perimeter, keeping an eye out as to where my doctor could be. Or, whatever he is. I wasn’t sure he was a doctor anymore, or that this was a hospital. Why would they let me walk free like this if it was a hospital? Why wouldn’t they show me my actual ID, and show me someone who was trying to pretend to be me? None of this made sense.

The old woman pushed the bathroom door open and flipped on the light switch. She looked at me and said “Do you need any help? Or do you think you’ll be okay?”

I didn’t give her an answer as I stepped in past the threshold of the door, closing it behind me. I turned and faced the mirror at the sink.

The person staring back at me had gaunt-looking eyes. Their collarbone could be seen through the baby blue hospital gown. Their hair, while dark, was shaved and spiky along the top of the head. The look they were giving me sent chills down my spine. It was hopeless, with any sign of life drained away. Behind them, in the mirror, was a wall of swirling red water. I could only call it a river to hell. I was in hell.

I stumbled back, bumping into the wall behind me as I stared. I gasped, sinking down on the ground. I’m in hell. Oh, fuck, I am in hell.

“Everything okay in there?” I heard the old woman say. She knocked on the door.

After a few minutes, I heard another familiar voice on the other side of the door. “Cadence, you shouldn’t be up. You need to come back to your bed.”  The doctor sounded like an angry now. I leaned my body up against the door to try and keep him away. If I was in hell, then I didn’t want him anywhere near me.

“Ms. Rockland, open the door. Don’t make me ask again.”

I could hear them whispering through the door. Bits and pieces of their conversation came to me.

 “-them and get them here, now.”

“But won’t that upset-”

“I don’t care anymore. She is a danger to herself and the staff.”

My heart pounded against my chest. I was shaking and breathing heavily, finding it difficult to hold the air in. My throat and lungs burned. My arms began to tingle, radiating through my body until I was having my own mini earthquake.

It wasn’t hard for them to open the door once the key was placed in. The door was able to sweep me away towards the wall. The old nurse knelt down in front of me and looked into my eyes, asking “Are you ready to go back to your bed?”

“That’s not me.” I couldn’t stop shaking.

The two nurses, old and young, lifted me to my feet. My legs were like jelly beneath me, and the feeling of walking made it nearly impossible for the shaking to cease. I needed to run. I needed to get far away from this place, and they wouldn’t let me.

They brought me back to the curtained room. I lied in bed, and the nurses pulled the white blanket back over my body. The doctor stood at the foot of my bed, watching my every move.

“Now, Ms. Rockland, you need to relax.” He sounded like a father speaking to their toddler. “Further action will be taken if needed to ensure your safety.”

“That isn’t me.” I looked at the doctor and repeated it to him. “That wasn’t me. This isn’t me.”

The doctor smiled, with his pearly white teeth hiding a venomous snake behind them, and he stated: “You’re just having a bad reaction.”

I didn’t realize that the blonde nurse had placed a clear surgical mask on my mouth and nose. The last thing I saw before fading away into the comforting black abyss was his bright white smile.

*****

*This piece, though stemming from a true nightmare, is a work of fiction.*

Categories
Bookish Things

Book Haul: June 1st

If you know me well, you know that I have no problem spending money. Whether it be on friends, family, or myself – no matter the amount of money in my bank account, I have never been able to refrain from buying what I want to buy. This has caused some problems from time to time, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about. Today, we’re going to talk about books. 

I like to call myself a ‘collector’ of books, because I have way more books in my collection that I haven’t read yet vs ones I have read (but, isn’t that what most book lovers are like?). On June 1st I went to Target with my brother to buy another book case, and of course I stopped by the book aisle.

I am going to take a moment here to say, PLEASE support your locally owned independent bookstores. My personal favorite shop is Trident Booksellers and Cafe in Boston on Newbury Street. I shopped at Target on this occasion because it was the only place selling books near me during a pandemic.

In total, I bought 5 books.

BOOK 1: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I have wanted to read this book for ages. I never had the chance to buy it, so when I saw it on the shelf (for 20% off – score!) I had to buy it. One of my best friends, Mikaela, read this book already and she told me how great it was. How could I refuse?

Here’s the summary of the book from the Amazon listing for anyone interested in reading it:

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

BOOK 2: Fierce Fairy Tales by Nikita Gil

I had never been incredible interested in poetry, but when I picked up Greek Goddesses by Gil, I fell in love with her work. I know I’m late to the party, but Gil is nothing less than an amazing modern poet. I love fairy tales and their retellings, so I knew Gil wouldn’t disappoint me – I cannot wait to read this piece.

Here’s the summary from the Amazon listing:

Traditional fairy tales are rife with cliches and gender stereotypes: beautiful, silent princesses; ugly, jealous, and bitter villainesses; girls who need rescuing; and men who take all the glory.

But in this rousing new prose and poetry collection, Nikita Gill gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Through her gorgeous reimagining of fairytale classics and spellbinding original tales, she dismantles the old-fashioned tropes that have been ingrained in our minds. In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.

BOOK 3: Circe by Madeline Miller

I have been dying to read this book. Not only did I find the cover absolutely stunning, but I love learning about greek gods and goddesses. Madeline Miller is one of my friends favorite authors, but I have yet to actually sit down and read one of her novels. Circe drew me in faster than I could ever imagine. I will definitely buy another copy of this book in a hardcover, but for $13, I couldn’t not buy this copy.

Summary from Amazon:

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child — not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power — the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

BOOK 4: The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Genoff

I have a wide range of genres I like to read – anything from fiction, to fantasy, to science fiction, and even historical fiction. I can’t remember where I saw this book before, but I didn’t have time to think before I picked up the book and put it in my cart. My first major piece of writing I ever completed was a historical fiction piece, and I have fallen more and more in love with the genre since then.

Summary from Amazon:

1946, Manhattan

One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

BOOK 5: Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas.

I can remember the craze a handful of my friends were in when this book was coming out. I even let a friend buy the book through my membership at Barnes and Noble so she could get the book faster. At the time, I wasn’t super interested in reading the book – after all, a pandemic was starting to set in and I was being whisked away from my second home. However, Dante – one of my best friends – actually stopped reading Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo so he could read this piece. I saw it, and I had to buy it. This completed my Target book shopping excursion.

Summary from Amazon: 

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life―working hard all day and partying all night―until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose―to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion―one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom―and the power of love.

BONUS BUY: The Princess Diarest by Carrie Fisher.

When I got home from shopping, I checked the mail – I actually had a book in the mail! This book I had purchased online from Books-A-Million that was back ordered, so it didn’t come with the rest of my other books.

Carrie Fisher has always been one of my heroes – my badass space princess. When I learned she had a book about her diaries from the filming of Star Wars I knew I wanted to buy the book. I saw it whilst I was shopping for some LGBTQ+ literature and did not hesitate to put it in my cart.

Summary from Amazon:

When Carrie Fisher discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Before her passing, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon was indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a teenager with an all-consuming crush on her costar, Harrison Ford. 

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars.

And with that, my book shopping for the week came to an end. Well, not really – that grind never stops. Check back in next week when my next shipment of books come in: autobiographies, novels, and stories by POC authors. 

Categories
Reflections

Accountability

Accountability: this is something that I have a problem with. I never seem to be able to hold myself to the standards that I set. Whether this be for my daily life or for my writing (we’re going to focus on the writing aspect of this today).

My freshman year of college, I told myself that I was going to write a book by the end of the year. I set a date for myself to publish on: December 19, 2019. I told everyone that I was going to self publish my book that day.

It’s June, 2020. If you can’t tell, I didn’t publish that book. So, what went wrong?

Well, I had a set schedule. I gave myself four months to write the first draft of the piece. April was going to be for my personal edits, the first half of May was rewriting the first draft. The second half of May was (you guessed it) editing again. June and July were set aside for test readers, and the rest of the year was not entirely planned, but I wanted to have my manuscript done by the end of October. 

The months came and went, and I had done nothing. My problem, consistently, is motivation.

I consider myself to have a lot of creativity, and that I am constantly flowing with new ideas. My first google drive I ever made has almost 100 folders and subfolders in it. I have vivid dreams that often result in becoming part of a new story I want to tell. Motivation is the problem here because once I have the main idea, it is near impossible for me to get myself to work on anything.

I decided that I just needed to work on things whenever I did have the motivation. After all, what was the point of forcing myself to work on something that I wouldn’t end up being proud of?

November 2019 happened. I wrote over 67,000 words that month. I wrote the entirety of my play Blue Ends and edited it twice. I also wrote the majority of my unnamed Sci-fi novel (17 chapters if I remember correctly).

Why did that suddenly happen? Because it was for a class assignment. My Fiction Writing Workshop class (ENG308, respectively) participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – November). I had never finished a piece of writing that quickly in my entire life. Blue Ends was written in a matter of three days – and edited within the first week. 

I held myself accountable because someone else was expecting me to do my work. Having my professor use this assignment to be the majority of my final grade made me write. Thanks, Tricia, cause without you I probably wouldn’t have started working on the skills that I’m developing now. 

How do I hold myself accountable now?

As of this week, I have started using a new planner! It helps me plan out my month, week, and daily schedule. Plus, it’s also super cute! These pages are designed to help you achieve your monthly goals. 

Planner by Rachel Hollis

Another way I have started to try and hold myself accountable is through writing down what I want to get done as much as possible. I have my quick ideas written down on my whiteboard on my desk – so whenever I’m at my computer, I have to look at it. At work, I’ll write down sentences or phrases I think of that I want to put into a story on a piece of receipt paper. I have a list of ideas scrawled in almost every notebook in my bedroom. 

I tell my friends about what I’m working on. Maybe not in detail, but they always check in on me to make sure that I’m A) doing well, and B) bounce ideas off of one another. A lot of my close friends also enjoy the arts, so it’s nice to be able to have this option to help my accountability. 

Lastly, though it may seem counter productive: I give myself a break. One thing I learned in the past year is that you shouldn’t be holding yourself to such high standards all the time. Everyone needs a break. I take time each week to self-care and self-soothe myself to ensure my mentality is the best that it can be. 

Holding myself accountable is hard, but I’ve found some ways to try and help myself. Let me know how you hold yourself accountable in the comments below!

Categories
Reflections

I Don’t Sound Like a Whiny Bitch

January, 2020:

I have no idea how to express the emotions that I have inside of my head.

            This essay has been written now a total of four times. Each time, I have attempted to write the same story of self-discovery and finding the word that describes me. Each time I delete the essay (well, not delete. But I delete it from my mind) and open up a new, blank document. I try to find the words to describe how I’m feeling again. As if the new, empty white landscape will somehow stir the correct word out of the hibernation happening in my brain. Each time, I’m shocked it doesn’t work.

            In the first attempt at writing this essay, I wrote about the label I put on myself in the first sentence. I use this word as an act of defiance of my fingers. They don’t want to type the word out. They want to type anything but that word. I wrote it in order to see the word written out in front of me and know that it describes me, but yet I am still so scared to say it aloud. I am scared to say it to the wrong group of people. I am scared that I will have to change my mind.

            I think that’s the worst part about putting this down in words. That I’ll be wrong and I’ll have to change my mind, yet again. The warring sides of my brain violently tear each other apart as I try to decide whether I want this label. The thought of writing it down in words is the worst part, I think. Writing it down on paper makes it permanent.

            Speaking it out into the world is different. When I speak them to myself alone in my room, they dissipate into the air as if they were never there are all. The hit the walls around me and reflect back on myself like a gleaming spotlight. I can be proud of knowing who I am in my room. I can walk up to the microphone and say with the prestige and poise of the Queen of England. In reality, my hairbrush suffices as a microphone and my crowd of applauding audience members is just my collection of Funko Pop figures.

            When I said it to the small group of people that know – not at the same time, of course – it was different too. Wrapped in the confined space of their endless support and appreciation. As the words fall out of my unprepared mind and into the shared space, their eyes light up with joy as I finally tell them one of the many secret aspects of my confined mind.

***

April, 2020:

I stopped scrolling. It’s May now. I am not afraid of the words anymore. I have come out to not only my family, but myself.

            There are a lot of things to unpack. Not only in this first section, but rather throughout the whole essay. I was in an insecure spot in my life in these days leading up to writing this piece. Thinking back to when my fingers flew over the keyboard, I think I was trying to reason with myself in this piece.

            I learned a lot after this. A now good friend taught me how to become comfortable with myself. I want to thank her for all of the support and love she’s given me after finally coming out.

            I know now that my feelings are valid, and I am not alone. I don’t need everyone to know and accept it. All it matters is how I’m feeling now. That’s what this text should represent.

***

I told my father first before anyone else. Before I even admitted it to myself, actually. Lying on the couch, listening to him make a comment about how one day he’ll be able to walk me down the aisle to my husband.

            “I don’t like guys, dad.”

            “Really? Not even a little bit?” He asked me with his full attention taken away from the television.

            “Not really.” I expected him to tell me that it was a phase, that it wasn’t right, or that he didn’t understand why I wouldn’t like guys. I had been raised that way. Actually, conditioned would be a better word for it.

            To my surprise, he only said “You can love who you want to love. As long as you aren’t lonely.”

            “I wouldn’t mind being alone. I’ll just have cats for the rest of my life,” I replied with a chuckle.

            He didn’t laugh but smiled wearily at me “That’s what you say now. But it sucks to be alone.”

I was left looking at him, having a newfound understanding of my father. The man who called himself a ‘Florida Cracker’ really did understand me. He wanted me to be happy. All of the offensive jokes he makes or the brutal slurs he yells while driving may start to define his surface, but deep down he cared. He always had.

As I smiled at him, my father, lovingly said as a Subaru commercial came on the tv “Do we have to get rid of the jeep and get you one of those now? Subaru’s are lesbian cars, you know.”

***

I had, and continue to be, worried about labeling myself. What if I changed my mind again? I thought at first that I just wasn’t attracted to anyone and that I never would be. I was okay with the idea of being alone because I thought that’s what my label wanted me to be, which is entirely not true. I focused myself on doing research to find out that the word didn’t mean ‘alone forever’ or ‘crazy cat lady for life.’ It just meant that I felt the way that I did when it came to relationships, and that I could still be loved and feel love.

***

            The first, and only, boy I dated – we’ll call him Al. We had been friends all of middle school. I never thought before him that I would ever have that moment where someone would have a crush on me. At the end of eighth grade, he texted me saying that if I didn’t feel the same way that he did, he wasn’t going to be upset. He still wanted to be friends with me. He liked me and wanted me to be his girlfriend.

            My fingers went in circles around the keyboard buttons of my iPod touch. I eventually came up with the response: “My parents won’t let me date until high school.”

            In ninth grade, I thought that he had forgotten about that comment. I didn’t feel “butterflies” in my stomach, or my thoughts always revolving around the idea of being with him. I never wrote my name down repeatedly in my notebook with his last name plastered next to it. Besides, Johnson just didn’t roll off the tongue quite right.

            In the middle of the summer leading up to our sophomore year, he texted me again. It was practically the same message. He wanted to be with me.

            It took me a long time to type out the simple message. I wanted him to know that I cared about him and that I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I had worked so hard on it, I wanted it to sound like I was saying the words. I wanted it to come from the heart. I told him I thought that I liked him too.

***

            It’s easy to look back at the time in my life and understand that this wasn’t just me wanting to please everyone. Being able to look at this situation four years after the fact makes it so easy for me to point out every single thing I did wrong in that moment. I confused what friendship and a crush were. Even then, I find that to feel like an excuse because I’m giving a reason as to why I wanted to please him. I honestly think that I did it because I truly thought I liked him, and because it was drilled into my head starting at a young age to please a man.

            He made me happy. He made me feel appreciated. We had the same sense of humor and we both got along with each other’s friends. Al volunteered to build care packages for soldiers overseas. His family helped out with the local elections. He lived on a farm, and he took care of horses. He never said a negative thing about me or my friends. Every step of the way in our friendship, and relationship, he was kind, considerate, and thoughtful.

            I learned a lot about what a crush meant to me in that relationship. I knew that it had to have similar feelings as being in a friendship. You had to have similar interests to them, be able to spend time together consistently and be able to respect one another. Romantically, I still question what my personal definition of a crush is. I know that you have to be attracted to the person in some sense and that you want to be willing to learn and grow. That sounds cliché, but it’s the truth.

***

            Sometimes I wish I had that stereotypical coming-of-age movie moment, where I’m sitting in my car crying because my boyfriend cheated on me with the girl that I thought was my best friend. I wish I had the moment when I realized that my real best friend was in love with me and that I loved them too. I wish I had the moment where everything felt okay in the end. I want the credits to roll and I want to have my life figured out.

            I desperately want to label myself in the hopes that having this community around me will suddenly make me feel like those end credits are rolling by. The community would give me a place to feel safe, and to be able to express myself to the fullest extent. I see people around me who consider this part of their identity and envelop themselves in its warmth. They don’t label themselves with it, they make the word become theirs within their own personal definition.

            I want it to become my own word. I don’t want it to just mean what it means generally, but rather what it means in my life, in my experiences, and in my standards. I want it to become a part of my identity. I am aching to have this sense of embracing this word and connecting myself with it at a spiritual level. To have it collide within myself and soul. There is a desire within me to pull this word close and wrap it around my fingertips and write this word out.

            I can’t do it yet. I can’t write it down. I don’t trust myself at this point to not change my mind. The fear of being wrong about my label, again, drags me deeper and deeper down into wanting to keep it out of my writing. I know that it is who I really am, but it is difficult to embrace the thought when I am covered in cactus pricklers. It’s as if there’s a piece of my brain that never wants me to make up my mind and make a concrete decision. I’ve changed my major several times, thought about changing schools, and most of all thought about changing who I am so that I can fit into the general norms surrounding me.

***

            The heteronormative lifestyle around me within my hometown suffocates me at every turn. There is no obvious representation, but rather that the prom king and queen get the most attention for the year. The theatre departments never do shows involving the communities outside of what we see as ‘normal.’ These ideals were pushed upon me beginning with the simple cartoons I watched as a child, to my parents pressuring me into calling my boy friends my boyfriends in elementary school. Just a little space in between the words caused change within my mind as well as many others who feel a similar way.

***

I have told numerous people about my confusion in writing this. I have told people that this essay has changed four times. I have told people what this is really about. What I haven’t told people is that this is the way for me to actively get these feelings out of my brain and into the light. It gives me a chance to read out what my brain really means. It gives me a chance to talk about the word that I long for and strive to avoid labeling myself with. It gives my brain a chance to breathe.

***

            Since writing this piece, I have become much more comfortable with the uncomfortable. Not only within myself, but with other areas within myself. I want to tell my past self, though it is only four months later, that she is valid. Even now, sometimes I wake up in the morning and wonder if I’m going to have to come out again. If I’m going to have to tell everyone that I was wrong, again.

Well, self, that’s okay. Past Colleen, you are a strong and brave woman. Your feelings and anxiety of the situation is valid. You can change your mind in the morning. It’s okay.

Categories
Life

Introduction!

Hello there! If you have stumbled to this blog, it means you are interested in writing, reading, and anything creative! My pen name is C.E. Egan, and on this blog, I will be focusing on my journey to become a published author. I will talk about my highs and lows, as well as reflect on some past moments.

I am also interested in writing book reviews, play reviews, and showing pieces of my own work as well! As a writer, I focus a lot on the topics of mental illness, LGBTQ+ characters and lives, and I also work with women’s literature. My writing emphasizes my beliefs and shows how everyone has a chance to succeed.

If you are a creative, in any way, I would love to have a chance to connect with you! This blog is meant to be a safe space for all. I will know I have reached my goal of keeping that idea through respect, empathy, and trust.

Thank you for stopping by my blog, and I hope you visit again!

Much love my darlings. ❤