The Noodle Meltdown (Alternatively Titled: Parenting Is Hard)

The other day, I had a particularly rough parenting day. Or maybe evening…yes, it was a particularly bad parenting evening. The day wasn’t so bad, actually. My three year old son was unusually happy. Usually, he’s kind of a jerk…and I don’t mean that in a bad way, really. He just doesn’t like people and doesn’t like to make things easy for us. He’s a grumpy old man, trapped in a three-year-old’s body that puts up a fight and an argument about everything.

But on this particular day he was all smiles and giggles. Then my five year old returned home from school.

For a while, everything was awesome*. There were some really nice moments between Five and Three, where they were actually sharing without me pleading for them to get along. There was also that insanely sweet moment wherein Five decided he wanted to write a book and had me spell out “once upon a time, there was a lego man…” so he could write each word and letter.

Those were cool parts, awesome parts. But the noodle meltdown that happened shortly after? Yeah. There was nothing cool or awesome about that.

My five year old likes to talk. He likes to talk and tell stories and his gums are always flapping. He’s earnest and animated when he tells his stories. I love that about him, that’s totally a trait he inherited from me. I’m the same way. Anyway, sometimes when he gets talking, he forgets to pay attention and listen, so when Matt asked him if he wanted rice and he said yes, he [apparently] wasn’t saying yes to rice but to noodles.

When he came to the table to find a plate full of chicken, veggies, and rice…he flipped shit. He lost his ever loving mind over it. He threw the biggest temper tantrum I’ve ever seen from him, one that even put my three-year-old’s meltdowns to shame. Usually, Five will calm down and listen to reason after I’ve sent him to his room for a wee time out. This time, the meltdown for noodles continued on for nearly thirty minutes. He was raving and yelling and screaming for noodles the entire time. My throat hurt just listening to him.

I tried to keep a calm head. I tried to channel my inner Michelle Duggar and speak calmly and quietly, like a church mouse, when I attempted to explain to him why he couldn’t have noodles and why he needed to eat his supper and why I do not tolerate this kind of behavior ever. I tried to teach him important life lessons about consent (no means no, buddy…even when it comes to noodles) and how life isn’t always fair but it was like I was speaking in a totally foreign language to him.

He refused to calm down, so I left the room. When I returned two minutes later, he’d destroyed it. His bedding was on the floor and he was still wailing hysterically about goddamn noodles.

But miraculously, he calmed down when I started speaking. You know that moment is coming, you can feel it. It’s there, lingering in the aftermath of a tantrum. That miracle of a moment when the meltdown ends long enough for you to speak and be heard.

He listened [finally] when I yet again explained why his behavior was inappropriate and unfair. He made his bed and apologized to everyone, and I ended up making the noodles for him because I really have no backbone felt he got it. He ate his veggies and chicken with the noodles so I can’t feel too guilty about it.

But it was hard, hard on my heart and my nerves. It tested my patience and made my jaw ache from having it clenched for so long in aggravation.

People always ask me what the hardest thing about parenting is. You know… I always get caught up on that question, like a rabbit in a snare. There are so many things, so many aspects of parenting that are hard and unpleasant. You are literally guiding small people into being responsible, contributing members of society and you honestly have no idea if giving in and making your kid the fucking noodles is going to be the thing that tips the scale in a negative way, turning your kid into a whiny self entitled brat of an adult that hates your guts and pouts when they don’t get their own way.

It’s scary and there are so many guides and books on all the ways you can successfully fuck your kids up. You’re  either too strict, too lenient, or too vacant. There’s so much judgment from everyone around you; from total strangers to family members, telling you what they’d do and all the reasons why it’s better than what you’re doing.

strangers

But…it’s so worth it. Seeing your kid smile, hearing their laugh, watching them do something new for the first time…it totally makes up for every shitty meltdown, every sleepless night and every time you had to get up and scrub vomit off the walls. Hell, it even makes up for every shitty comment some asshole person has made about your parenting skills…well, almost.

*Ugh, will I forever have that Lego Movie song blast through my mind each time I hear that dreaded A word? Right of parenthood, I suppose.  I can’t be the only one…right?

Defining Myself as Disabled

I read an incredible post the other day, one that moved me to also write about the topic, as the author’s words impacted me greatly.

For as long as I could remember, I’ve told myself things such as; do not let your disability define you. MHE does not run your life.

These are things that I told myself to gather strength when I felt I need it, when I didn’t want anyone ~ including myself ~ defining me for this chronic pain disorder, for being different. I did this because I am more than my disabilities…but I’m also not, because my MHE, my depression and my anxiety impact me every single day. Ignoring that fact does not make it go away, nor does it change it.

It would seem that I am doing myself a disservice by saying things like that. I’m lessening the very real affects that my disorders have on me. I am not owning those parts of myself.

I used to think that by acknowledging it, by saying yes, this does define me and that’s okay, that I would appear weak. I was afraid people would think that I am hiding behind my illnesses or making excuses, when that’s not it at all. The colour of your hair likely won’t affect you from day to day, but your physical and mental disabilities….yeah, they might. Maybe not all the time, maybe consistently. And that’s okay to admit it.

I struggle daily because of my MHE, depression and anxiety. I find it difficult to get out of bed and get moving in the morning. I find it difficult to complete “everything” that I need to do. I’m constantly weighing the risk and benefits of tasks or things that I want to do. If I take the dogs for a walk in the morning, I won’t be able to run errands. If I go to the gym to try and build muscle (to maybe counteract the daily pain and improve my mobility), I’ll spend the next two days a whimpering mess of pain.

I’ve been told by ‘helpful’ people to “just stop doing whatever’s causing me pain“. As if that’s even a remotely decent suggestion. Almost everything causes me pain. Writing, walking, standing, playing with my kids, driving, exercising, sex…heck, even just laying on the couch or trying to sleep sometimes does the trick. Are you honestly suggesting I stop doing all of that?

I would be miserable if I stopped doing all of the things that cause me pain, because I wouldn’t do anything and I likely wouldn’t feel any better for it.

After reading that incredible open letter post: I realized that I need to stop telling myself that, to not let my disability define me“. My disability is a part of who I am, like the particular shade of green that my eyes are, or the lopsided way I smile. I’m going to start owning that part of who I am.

My name is J.C. Hannigan, I’m a writer, a mother, a wife…and I live with a chronic pain disability. 

What Parenting Manuals Don’t Tell You by Guest Blogger @Caitbellleigh

I sat down to write this post and asked myself “what are your struggles?” Struggles are a pretty broad topic and EVERYONE has some. In doing so I thought of a lot of things that would be considered struggles but then I thought long and hard and really narrowed it down. I could talk to you about anxiety, almost everyone deals with that in some way at some point.

To date, I think my biggest struggle is the anxiety and general unease of being a parent to a child with a chronic illness.

For me, the greatest struggle In the beginning was trying to choose the best route to take. Do we try this and fail? Give this risky med a chance but not know what the future fallout can be. Do I risk my child’s fertility at age 7 so that she will grow old enough to perhaps want children some day?

Every single decision parents are faced with in general can have lasting affects on not only their child but tier future relationship with their child. When you have a sick child the decisions are even harder to face and leave you second guessing every single step of the way. Did I do the right thing? Should we have tried something else? Was this doctor right? Do I need a second opinion?

Upon my daughters diagnosis and the first round of decision making, I felt overwhelmed. I made the best decisions I could with what information I had at the time. But the biggest most crushing thought I struggled with was “How is my daughter going to feel about this choice I made for her in ten years? In 15 years?” It was hard for me to let go of those feelings of failure and the thought I would do irrevocable damage to my child while trying to her her healthy.

I would cause myself great headaches and near panic attacks wondering if I made the wrong decision. Waffling back and forth.

It is very hard to be in that position and have no one to turn to. Well no one who truly understands. I lost a LOT of friends while dealing with this situation, most of them ran away because they didn’t know what to say to me or how to handle my anger at being thrust into such a situation. It’s easy to see now that they obviously weren’t great friends to start with, but back then it was just another blow.

Once we chose a treatment plan of sorts, I remember this one nurse who sat with me and told me, and I will never forget this, she said to me “It’s a difficult place to be put in sudeenly, to take on the huge responsibility of this. But you have to remember one thing above all else. You are your child’s only advocate. You are what could stand between their life and death. You have to make your choices as informed as you can while crossing fingers and sending up prayers and if the worse happens and there is a consequence to a choice you have made, the only thing you can do is tell them you loved them with such a fierceness that you chose to risk their future ire so they were guaranteed to have a future.”

After that it was easier to look forward. Yes someday my daughter may be upset with me over a choice I made but I can only tell her the truth in my defense. I wanted her to live as healthy and absolutely happy as possible and in order for that to happen I had to make difficult choices.

So while I still sometimes wonder about decisions I’ve made or am making, I don’t find myself struggling with the consequences of them anymore. I’m learned to let go of doubt and stand firm in my choices because quite simply, I’m doing all I can.

My advice to everyone out there after my experiences is two parts. First Don’t give up on friends who are struggling with hurt or anger over anything. And Second, Give yourself a break, you can only do what you can do and constantly worrying over things that may or may not ever come to pass is just going to make you sick now.

       About Me:Kris Kristen is a 30-something year old mama of three that survives on little sleep, a lot of caffeine and copious amounts of chocolate. Reader. Writer. Blogger. Mother. Crafty. Crazy. Literary Misfit. A general eclectic mishmash of awesome.

You can find my brand of crazy on/at:
Instagram: Caitbellleigh/Literary_misfit
Twitter: Caitbellleigh/Literarymifit
Blog: Literarymisfit.blogspot.com

PTSD: I Never Thought It Could Happen to Me by Guest Blogger @mceeh

PTSD: I never thought it could happen to me.
by Christina H

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. When I hear the term PTSD, it conjures up images of terrible things… war injuries, rape, murder. Those are things which, statistically speaking, would probably never occur in my lifetime. Those are things that happen to “everyone else”, but certainly not me. Because of this train of thought, I never saw my own trauma as being classic PTSD. It took me years to even admit that it was trauma and in turn, to label it correctly.

My PTSD stems from birth trauma with my first child. I was completely and utterly blindsided by the circumstances surrounding my son’s birth. First, let me back up a bit and give some background, as I believe these facts help to illustrate why I was so blindsided.

The only thing I ever wanted to “be” when I grew up, was a mother. I was often mocked and ridiculed for this. In a society that was celebrating women’s lib and being career-driven, being a mother was seen a secondary option. As I got older and realized that obtaining an education was actually a wise decision, I knew I’d focus my energies on children. I decided to go to nursing school, with the ultimate goal of becoming a certified nurse midwife. (While I never pursued midwifery, I do work with mothers and babies and have done so for nearly 12 of my 17 years in the profession.) After completing nursing school, I got married and two years later, I was ecstatic to discover that I was pregnant with my first child.

Being pregnant was likely one of the highest highs of my life. I bonded with my baby, despite the fact that he wasn’t big enough to be seen with the naked eye. I was instantly protective of him and wanted only the best for him. I immediately began analyzing my food intake, avoided any and all medications, and sought out the very best prenatal care. I went to “the best” physician the city had to offer. I did everything they told me to do (short of taking that darned prenatal vitamin, which only seemed to come back up each time I tried). I read everything I could get my hands on, researched until I thought there was nothing left to research (and that is an important point that I’ll come back to later), and joined an online group of other women who were due at the same time I was. As a side note, I’m friends with most of them still, nearly 14 years later!

January of 2002 rolled around and it was time to have a baby. I had secured a doula (one of my very best friends) and had planned on a birth without medications. I had borderline high blood pressure, I was swollen so badly that I was wearing flip flops in the middle of a snowy winter, and I had hip, leg, and joint pain that was so painful it caused me to cry daily. I was ready to say goodbye to pregnancy and hello to my sweet baby. I was induced two days after my due date. It didn’t go well. I was started on pitocin and nothing happened. Well, I had hellish contractions but they didn’t dilate my cervix. After 17 hours, I relented and got an epidural. I pushed for 4 very long hours, breaking nearly every blood vessel in my face. I knew he wasn’t coming out. I started to give up. They tried to use a vacuum. It failed. Then they suggested forceps, which scared me half to death, but I was desperate. And here is where the crux of my trauma begins.

They wheeled me to the operating room to use the forceps. The doctor inserted them and placed them around my sweet boy’s head and then she did something that will forever be seared into my brain. The image will be burned into my memory forever. She placed one foot up on the frame of my bed… as leverage. You must understand that when you use forceps, they are meant to help guide a baby’s head in the right direction. They are not meant to be used with a ton of force. So when you see someone placing a foot up for leverage and you know that at the end of those instruments, your baby’s head is clamped in between, you freak out. And that’s just what I did. I freaked. She pulled. She pulled hard. And all I could think about was that she was yanking on his head with metal instruments. His poor, perfect head. It was violent. It was horrific. And I felt powerless to stop it. She wanted to pull a second time and a voice that I didn’t recognize as my own came roaring from deep, deep within me, yelling, “NO! NO! CUT ME OPEN BUT DON’T PULL ON HIS HEAD AGAIN LIKE THAT!” And that is when, after a 24-hour failed labor, a failed vacuum, and a failed forceps attempt, I had a c-section. And I felt like I was the one who had failed. My baby was taken from my womb and taken to a warmer where he was treated roughly, out of my reach.

My poor, sweet, perfect little boy was maimed in the process of this hell. His scalp was damaged and bleeding and he was in pain. He screamed anytime anyone touched his head. It took 4 months for the last of the scabs to leave his poor little head. And this mama took on immense amounts of guilt. I felt guilty that decisions I made had led to this outcome. I was supposed to protect him. I felt duped by the very system in which I worked. I had no idea that not only had I NOT researched everything, but there was so much more information that I didn’t even know existed. I could have made different choices. I simply didn’t know.

13 years later, I struggle. Over the years, my struggle has gotten better. But I still struggle on occasion. It has been difficult for me because I have worked in hospital based birth centers where I have had to attend births. When I’ve seen vacuums and forceps come out, I’ve often had little panic attacks and experienced flashbacks to my horrific birth. I suffered terribly with postpartum depression that really was borderline postpartum psychosis. I was withdrawn, depressed, anxious, and sleep deprived. I had another baby 17 months after the first and the postpartum mood issues were far worse. While I never considered harming my sweet boys, I often thought about death for myself. Most days, I wanted to die. I dreamed about going to sleep and just never waking up. I was too much of a chicken to actually kill myself, but I can remember just wishing that God would take me. I wanted to just die in my sleep. Some days, I thought about death every minute of every hour. I walked around feeling as though there was an invisible black cloud all around me. It was almost tangible and it felt very, very heavy. People often talk about taking things “one day at a time”. In the two years after my children were born, I often had to take things “one minute at a time” and “one breath at a time”.

About two years after my second child’s birth, I finally began to come out of the fog. My children were sleeping through the night, which helped tremendously. I had started dappling in essential oils and had amassed quite the collection of them. I kept them in a cupboard in my kitchen and started noticing that I was craving the smell of that cabinet. I’d open the cabinet door, stick my head in, and just inhale deeply. It made my mood better. I have no idea which oil it was or if it was a combination of oils. But it made me study them further and start using them more in day-to-day life.

Eventually, I went and saw a counselor, but I didn’t get very far with her. Part of it was my fear of being truly honest about my birth issues and the PTSD. I was so very afraid that if I told anyone that I had near constant thoughts of death, that my children would be taken away from me. Truthfully, I found it a lot more therapeutic to talk with close friends about things. It felt safer to me. ***To be clear, I am in no way saying that counseling is a bad thing. I’m admitting that I wasn’t honest with the counselor and so I didn’t get the benefit from it that I could have. I believe counseling to be a good thing and I wish that it was more readily available to anyone who needed it.***

I wish that there wasn’t such a taboo about discussing mental health issues. There is such a stigma about it and so much fear surrounding the subject. If our lungs or hearts or kidneys are sick, we see no problem asking for help or medications. But if our brains are hurting, we are ashamed to speak up or ask for help. One of the ways that I’ve been healing from my PTSD is simply by talking. I am being more vocal about my experiences and letting others know that they, too, are allowed to talk and ask for help and I encourage them to do so! As a postpartum nurse, I talk with each of my patients about the differences between baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis. I let them know that it crosses all age, race, and socioeconomic lines. I make sure to speak with their partners as well, who often are the ones who need to step in and advocate for them. And I let them know that it’s a good thing to seek help. I share my personal experiences with them so that they will know that I’m not ashamed to admit it and they shouldn’t feel ashamed either.

Most of all, I’ve learned to forgive myself for the decisions I made regarding my birth. I realize now that I did not do anything to intentionally harm my baby. I was simply making the best decisions I could with the knowledge I had at the time. And that’s really what the entire parenting career is… making the best decisions we can, based on the knowledge we have at the time. My goal now is to continue educating my patients (and anyone else who will listen) about postpartum mood disorders. I’d also like to see more open and frank discussions amongst our care providers regarding this issue. Each time we speak about it, each time we empower a woman to seek help, and each time we facilitate open dialogue, it is a pebble in the water, creating little ripples. Hopefully, those ripples will continue to grow and we can effect real change.

IMG_3026Bio: Christina is married with two sons and is just embarking on her first foray into the world of parenting adolescents. She is a postpartum registered nurse by day and a bibliophile by night. When she isn’t working or reading, she can be found hunting for new shades of nail polish, obsessing over the Seattle Seahawks, or eating chocolate in any of its various forms! She also loves cooking and bargain hunting and wishes she loved working out. She is a self-proclaimed grammar geek and her dream is to someday pursue a degree in English or writing. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram (user @mceeh for both accounts).

Juggling

Life is a balancing act, and more often than not…I drop the balls.

I look at people who seem to have it all together and I wonder…how do they do it? Are they really that good at it all? They seem like such perfect adults, with nary a worry or a care for the things that I stress about daily. Will I ever achieve that?bubbles

Then I wonder if everyone is just really good at pretending. Maybe they don’t have everything together. Maybe they haven’t found a balance, maybe their deceiving smile just distracts me from the truth: that they are imperfect humans too.

Maybe they do have months were they totally and completely forget to pay a bill because they’re so busy stressing about everything else and it just slips their mind. Or maybe they stretched the budget too thin this week, and they’re holding their last five bucks, torn between buying bread or eggs.

Maybe, just maybe they do feel the weight of adulthood pressing down on their shoulders. Maybe the responsibilities get to be too much for them too sometimes, so that they hide in their bathroom with a chocolate bar to ugly cry in peace.

I’ve said it before, social media is very deceiving. You are presented with this online persona. You read all their witty updates on Facebook and see all their perfectly edited photos on Instagram, and you feel like you know them. But you don’t know them, not even when they share a rant or two, because even those people who post a lot on Facebook don’t post every single thing that happens to them in a day, they don’t post every single thought. All the “ugly pieces” that make them appear less than perfect are kept locked up inside.

Most people don’t confess to getting into an argument with their spouse and tossing the big old “D” word around, just to inflict pain and see the reaction. Most people don’t confess to struggling with simply getting out of bed and getting dressed.

Most people guard their secrets, especially the one about not having it all together.

Because nobody has it all together all the time.

Stages

Life seems to pass by in stages. Sometimes, things move so quickly and the time falls away from my hands without it ever even really feeling like it was there. Other times, it feels like the day is dragging on forever, into a week of forever, and then a month of forever. But then suddenly, you’re looking back at the time that “took forever” to pass, and it no longer feels that way. It feels like that time too passed by far too quickly. There one minute, gone the next.

handtimeMemories bleed into one another, until it’s difficult to decipher the timeline between events. The old question of “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” suddenly makes SO MUCH SENSE, because it’s hard to remember what came first in certain memories. Suddenly, I can’t remember if I stepped on a nail first, then got my tonsils removed, or if my first crush happened before or after either of those events. I know all those memories happened, but the timeline falls away…just like time falls away, eventually.

I remember being ten years old, wishing that I was sixteen. I remember being sixteen years old, wishing that I was twenty-five. Now I’m twenty-five years old, wishing I’d taken more time to appreciate and enjoy each and every stage of life I have lived thus far, whilst also making extra attempts at trying to appreciate and enjoy each stage that is now. I know that one day, I will be wishing I could experience these times again, even if they seem to drag now, even if a tiny part of me can’t wait for September (when I send my youngest off to school). I will miss these days.

Mind[re]set

I don’t have a degree in psychology, I don’t have a degree in anything, actually. The words I write come from a place of learned examples, of perception and discovery. I write how I live; honestly, emotionally. I write how I feel, because I believe that feelings and words have the power to change the world.

Writing has made me more aware of my surroundings, more observant towards people and what makes them tick. I’m not judging them, but putting words to character traits – both the good and the bad. I do it to myself as well. When really emotional, she shuts down and refuses to speak. She turns it off. 

I’ve noticed a trend, and this trend is people thinking that they are entitled to getting everything that they want, then not handling things well at all when life doesn’t dance to the same rhythm they want.

There is another trend, too…this one is people not working for the things that they want. This aggravates me to no end. How can you want it, if you never do it? I want to write, so I write.

When I make this point, people will argue that “it’s not always that simple”. But it really, truly is. Work hard and find a way, and adapt. So many people don’t know how to adapt anymore. They expect situations and surroundings to adapt to them. In some cases, that is necessary. But you can’t expect your dream to be delivered to your doorstep if you never work to achieve it.

solitude

Do you know what I do when I’m having a super shitty day? When my temper is flaring and everything is ticking me off and I feel like I’m never going to make my dreams come true? I reset, because that way of thinking is not beneficial. That way of thinking doesn’t get the job done. If I find that I’m thinking that way, if I’m taking every little thing that goes wrong as a personal offense, then I know it’s time for me to reset and start over.

You can do that, you know. Sometimes, it’s as simple as sitting on your back porch with a hot cup of tea, enjoying the silence. Sometimes, it’s a nap. Sometimes, it’s reading an entire book in one sitting, or going for a long walk with the dogs. You give yourself a chance to think and reflect, and acknowledge your errors or your struggles. Acknowledging the problems in your life doesn’t make you weak and it certainly doesn’t give power to the problems; it makes you aware.

Then, you can set mini-goals. Such as, I’m not going to yell. If I feel like yelling, I’m going to hum very loudly. Then you simply fucking do it. You do that every single time, listing your goals and shooting for them, and you’ll find yourself closer to all the things you want to accomplish. You’ll find that you’re accomplishing a hell of a lot, even if it’s just not yelling like a three-year-old when you don’t get your way about something.

Yeah, life is a constant work in progress and things don’t always go your way. You’ve got to adapt to that, you’ve got to roll with the punches because sitting there complaining about it isn’t going to change that. Reset your mind, reset your goals if that’s what it takes.

Just don’t complain that there is absolutely nothing you can do to change things, because there is. There’s always something you can do, and if you don’t know what it is…you just haven’t figured out the answer yet.

* * * *

I am featured on Elizabeth Barone’s blog today! She’s interviewed me and is doing a giveaway of my debut novel, COLLIDE! Click here to head on over and check it out! Thanks again for having me, Liz!

But First; Let Me Post a Selfie

KissywhatI want to talk to you all about something extremely important to me: selfies.

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard of the term “selfie” before. It’s a photo that someone takes of themselves, and then posts it onto social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, whatever).

People who take a lot of selfies are often on the receiving end of ridicule, for some ridiculous reason. I mean, if you look back in history…people have always taken selfies. Caveman drew stick people on walls alongside of messages, like the original Facebook. People with tons of power and money paid artists to sculpt or paint their likeness. Selfies are not new, nor is the use of social story telling. The methods have changed, but the origin remains the same: humans like the way they look and they like to talk about themselves.

Selfies are cool, though. It’s no secret that I struggled with my body image throughout high school, and I think that had I taken more selfies, I may have paused to see the beauty in myself, much like I’m doing now.

Example: teen self would see a photo of herself, and go “ew, that’s gross”, then teen self would go on to make a list of all the reasons why the photo sucked (my ears stick out, my nose is weird, etc etc). Current self takes a “selfie”, and goes “wow! I did my makeup really awesome today!” or “my skin looks incredible for a change!”, and that’s kind of cool, you know? Like, I’m not instantly ripping myself apart. I’m complimenting myself because I’m recognizing my own beauty.

What the fuck is wrong with that, really? Why is it bad to recognize your own beauty? See, it kind of fucking sucks being a woman. We’re razzed for taking selfies and we’re razzed for not having confidence in who we are. You can’t seem to fucking win. Guys are the same, pressure to look and be a certain way, then you can’t even have fun with it and snap a selfie while you’re at it because then you’re vain. Can we stop with that already? Live and let live, stop judging people and remember that social media is supposed to be fun. Everybody’s going to use it a little differently, and that’s totally cool.

Plus, selfies are awesome and if you’re truly bitching about other people “taking too many selfies”, you obviously need to take more of yourself.

The Struggle Is Real: Guest Post by @allieburkebooks

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL BY ALLIE BURKE

I struggle to answer such questions. What do I struggle with, what my weaknesses are, when was the last time I made a mistake. I always draw a blank. I don’t know if that’s a sign of me being way too full of myself or way too good at what I do, or both, but it is what it is.

Some would say my struggle is sleep (or it should be), but that’s a cop-out. I mean, I have trouble sleeping as it is and as much work as I create for myself, I honestly don’t know how I make it through the day sometimes (or all the time). It probably shouldn’t be humanly possible to do what I do off the solid sleep I get, but whatever. I do it anyway.

The real struggle, for me, really comes down to doing what I don’t want to do. I want to think outside the box and I want to create things; I don’t want to do what people tell me. I mean, who does, really. We want our bosses and our managers to trust that we have both the intelligence and the drive to get something done the right way, whatever that way may be, but I find that it is more common—even in the creative jobs that I have—that we are given an outline on how to get things done, and that limitation on creativity makes me not want to do it. It makes me not want to do anything for anyone ever.

Comparatively, with the grand balance that I have achieved in business—between corporate culture and creativity—there are other struggles as well. I work with so many unprofessional people. Disorganization indirectly runs my life, even if I am one of the most organized business professionals there is. It goes back to not wanting to do things. I don’t want to do anything that involves people that don’t know what the fuck they’re doing.

Though there is an influx of these things in the many jobs I maintain, I keep going. Why? I don’t even know. Because television is boring and I don’t have any children. I have zero desire to sit on my ass and do nothing. I am a creator. Stagnant water is my poison. And it is my belief that—some day when age forces me to sit on my ass and do nothing—the hard work will all have been worth it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Allie Burke is an American novelist, book critic, and magazine editor from Burbank, California. She writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.

PaperSoulsHer life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.

From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.

Visit Allie at http://wordsbyallieburke.com, and look for her incredible novel Paper Souls, on Amazon.

 

I’m Not Letting This Break Me by Guest Blogger @coffeetattoos

I’m Not Letting This Break Me by Katy Nicole

Struggling is something that I’ve reluctantly grown accustomed to; I struggle on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it seems to be the nature of the beast when it comes to having a mental illness.

I had a day recently where I was struggling immensely. I was fighting just to do the simplest of tasks. Getting dressed that day was a huge victory. And getting through the time-sensitive admin work I had to do for a neighbor was tough. It took so much more focusing than it usually would have to get it done, despite the fact that it wasn’t difficult. I wasn’t in my right mind space. It’s like there was a dense fog in my brain and I could barely see three feet in front of my face.

I made a video that was posted on the Stigma Fighters YouTube channel about the struggle I was going through. It was not an easy video to make because I really don’t like letting people see me cry. However, I knew that what I was saying needed to be said. I was fighting my absolute hardest to get anything I could done, and I wanted people to know that I hadn’t given up even though it probably seemed like I had.

There wasn’t really anything specific that I did to overcome that day, I just refused to give up. It was nothing but a bad day without a reason. I blamed DST (losing an hour – stupid spring forward…) and the crappy, dreary weather that day.

Then there is my struggle to find the right medication for my bipolar II diagnosis. I have found one that seems to be working so far, and I’m thankful for that. But I’m also starting to think that I may need to talk to my doctor about adding something else in for anxiety. Recent situations have shown me how difficult not having answers is.

I was taking a trip to the aquarium with a few friends for a school project. We didn’t know if we were going to drive up there, or if we would have to take the train. Despite asking multiple times a day, all week long, I was forced to wait until the night before the trip to get an answer. While I was waiting, I was constantly on edge because I didn’t know if I was going to have to figure out another city’s public transit system in order to get to the aquarium.

In the end, I got the answers I needed. The trip to the aquarium happened and that part of the project was done. So I guess I could say “mission accomplished” but I don’t feel like that’s appropriate here. Yes, I did make the trip as planned, but things did not go according to plan – because there wasn’t one in place for very long.

There’s really not anything I can say about how I got through the struggle, besides the obvious – I did what I had to. I mean, I distracted myself as best I could by reading books to try and keep my mind off of the ever-increasing panic of missing answers because it was practically an obsession for me. There were times that I called a couple friends and cried over the situation because it was frustrating me so severely.

Photo on 3-8-14 at 1.57 pmBio:  Katy is a college student studying American Sign Language. She works for Stigma Fighters, the non-profit organization. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She is also grieving the loss of her daughter who was adopted out. In her free time she can be found making coffee, reading books, watching tv shows/movies on Netflix, writing, and dreaming about future tattoos. Visit Katy on her blog and Facebook