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Beneath the Pear Trees–Poem

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It’s allergy season–yuck!

Why does this beautiful time of year equate in causing all sorts of mayhem? Beauty is pain? New beginnings require sacrifice?

Whatever the cause, it was the springtime blooming Bradford Pear trees in my backyard that inspired this poem. I have a love-hate relationship with the pair of trees. Love their delicate little flowers that encase them in twin clouds this time of year. Hate the awful smell they give off.

I’m guessing that’s what inspired the bittersweet tone, anyway.

Enjoy!

 

Beneath the Pear Trees

 

Between twin trunks

I sit,

The first time since winter’s grip

Took hold.

But now

That icy siege

Has at last released,

And again I go to sit

Beneath the pair

Of Pear trees’ boughs.

 

A thousand little puffs of white

Dust the end of each

Dwindling branch,

Giving host to honeybee

And butterfly and wasp.

If only we were as

Indiscriminant as these

Unaffected trees.

 

A gentle wind stirs the air

And the sickly sweet

Smell turns my stomach

While I wait.

My ear catches a faint

Sound and I

Know it isn’t you,

But can’t help looking

And hoping still.

 

Quiet.

Quiet broken only by the

Buzzing of feasting bees

And gently twitching grasses.

Forgotten sounds

Until the ear is searching

For something to take hold of.

 

Something touches my hand,

And I look down to see

A single bloom nestled in my lap.

Within days

They’ll all be gone,

And only I will remember

How they

Frosted the trees.

 

The saucy breeze runs

His fingers through my hair,

And I

Close my eyes in spite of myself.

Remembering.

Resigning.

 

My legs are damp,

Soaked through with the

Remains of morning dew.

I wait alone

With my memories

Beneath the pair

Of Pear trees’ boughs.

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Good-bye 2016

A lot of things have been going on since I last posted.

First, I MADE IT TO 50,000 words! So I “won” my first official NaNoWriMo! Woohoo!

Second, (or maybe something like twenty-second down the list, I’ve been in a bit of a post-NaNoWriMo-midst-of-the-holidays-haze and don’t remember everything that’s gone on since November 30th) we now have a dog. A BIG dog. That has taken over our house. In case you were wondering.

So between the holidays, the dog, and friends and family visiting throughout December, it’s been a crazy whirlwind of an end to the year of 2016.

But now:

Hello, 2017!

There are some awesome things already in the works this year–I can’t wait to tell you about them–so stay tuned!

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Little Things

Much as I dislike the topic, I wanted to share one more piece of my anxiety/depression story before I move on to more current things. This isn’t meant as a ploy to dwell on the negative, but as an offered hand  of assistance on the off chance someone else out there needs it.

Not that I think I’m the fountain of knowledge just because it happened to me. Not even close.

But there were some things that really helped when I was in the midst of an anxiety attack or a depressing week, and I wanted to share them with you. They definitely aren’t magic or cure-alls; they didn’t always help. But they did most of the time.

Basically, take this with a grain of salt.

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Little Things That Helped My Depression & Anxiety:

Getting out of the house. Specifically, taking walks or doing something outdoors. Although I personally enjoyed going to bookstores or museums too.

Watching a happy TV show/movie. NOT sad stories or thrillers. I had to acknowledge that as much as I am attracted to edge-of-my-seat stories, it would set my mood into an edgy, anxious state.

Prayer/meditation. I almost didn’t list this because it’s one of those trite things you hear over and over. But it works. It might seem impossible when your brain is in a frenzied state, but if you can manage to reign in your thoughts enough to “be still and know”, it can be SUCH a help.

Breathing. Sit, eyes closed, and just focus on breathing for a minute. I like to use numbers to focus on my inhales and exhales, so I’d mentally think, “1…2…1…2…” as I was breathing in and out. This especially helped during bouts of insomnia.

Music. For me, some days it’s classical, some days it’s Pharrell, some days it’s Hamilton, but music has turned into such a healing tool. Thank you composers, songwriters, and artists everywhere!

Making tea or cocoa or coffee. There’s something magical about hot beverages that just gives me a mental hug and says everything is going to be okay. Note: I only made coffee if I haven’t had a cup earlier that day–drinking too much of that would trigger my anxiety.

At-home spa stuff. Going girly here: stuff like a mask or a scrub or painting my nails or bubble baths are an instant mood-boost. The world could seem to be falling apart, but a delicious-smelling hand scrub would reassure me that it wouldn’t. It really seems silly, writing it out like that, but it’s the way it was.

Candles. Not just the smells, but the soft glow and flickering light they give off. As a teen, one of my favorite things to do was shut myself in my room at night and light it solely with candles. Again, it’s soft and warm and welcoming in a way lightbulbs aren’t.

Giving myself a break. Mentally. I’m not perfect. I never will be perfect. So why do I give myself this perfectionist standard that I MUST DO OR ELSE. No. Sometimes the clothes take a week to be folded. At least they are clean. Sometimes dishes don’t get washed for a day or two. At least we have plenty of others to use. Sometimes I don’t get out of pajamas the whole day. At least I didn’t try to go to Wal-Mart in such attire (like some of the college students around here do). I’m not perfect and that’s okay.

It’s interesting how the things I’m most passionate about (writing, reading) were the hardest to face when I was in the midst of this. It was almost as if they were forbidden places where I couldn’t even think to enter in such a state. Perhaps it is a good thing that I didn’t mix the two. I don’t have bad memories associated with my novel. But it also made things extremely hard, to have fewer handholds to grab onto as I mentally crawled from the pit.

These “Little Things” were there to provide those for me. Little handholds to cling to. Little shelters to crawl under. Little anchors in the storm.

And as much as I’d never hope anyone would need to hear this, I know there are far too many people who do. Take these. Be kind to yourself. Get help. Talk to friends. This isn’t the way it has to be.

You can do this. Deep breaths. 1…2…1…2…
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No, I’m not dead…yet.

What do you do when life grabs hold of you and doesn’t let you go (in the form of endless housework, spontaneous repairs, and a chubby-cheeked three-year-old)?

Despair that you’ll ever be done with editing and preparing and your book will never ever actually be done.

And then brew some coffee and get back to work.

So forgive my lengthy absences and all the time that’s been spent on trying to become a published author. It’s harder than I ever imagined.

But this isn’t meant to be a message of despair or hopelessness. I’m far from through with this thing, but wanted you to know what my silence meant; not a show of defeat or apathy, but a struggle that (to me) becomes redundant when repeatedly broadcasted.

I will not be a victim here.

I will press on.

I will finish this (though it may take longer than it “should”).

I will succeed, though it cost me sleep and, perhaps, some sanity.

I’m not dead yet.

And now that you, the vague “you” of whoever is out there and can hear me, know that, it’s time to pour that coffee and get back to work…

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Selfish Ditty (Poem)

I found this as I was flipping through some old writing (and cringing at most of it). This old poem made me smile. It was meant as a satirical piece, from the perspective of a silly, pampered Victorian schoolgirl. Anyway, here it is, for whoever wants to have a chuckle:

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Selfish Ditty

I am a selfish little girl,

Who knows not how to change.

‘What’s mine is mine’ is what I think,

And whining not a strange

Occurrence. I manipulate

With feigning from what’s true.

I watch for cracks in characters

Of peers, and then I do

My leisure. I take their hearts

And twist them ’til they bleed.

Perhaps that isn’t right, you say,

Friendship is a deed

Of kindness, thought and servitude,

Of giving up your own.

But, my dear, you are mistaken,

Friendship, it has shown,

Doth decrease one’s health, should

The heart be not suppressed.

So, point of fact, my actions

Are actually the best

For them, and me, and all the world,

An example to us all:

No gushing out emotions,

No ‘catch you when you fall’.

The deadly traps of love and care

I totally avoid.

The intimate attachments

Are not to be enjoyed,

But are most horrid, wicked things

To cause another harm.

And so, I stick to selfishness

For it works like a charm.

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Why I Write

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Why write?

I ask myself this as I go through another round of novel edits. Edits that leave me feeling more and more unqualified to be an author of anything, let alone this one story I’ve worked on for ten years now.

What is this insane drive to write, when I may never “amount to anything”, but I still write anyway?

Insanity. I know there’s a touch of it here, but maybe that just makes me human. “We’re all mad here”.

Lately, I’m struggling with these conflicting thoughts while working: “Try again”, “No, that’s worse”, “Leave that bit”, “How could you write something so inane and think it was worth anything?!” or “Wow…how did that fall into place so perfectly?”.

In a whirlwind of conflict, that’s where I am right about now.

So why do I do this to myself?

There’s this insane need (in everyone I think) to hear and be heard. Why is timeout the worst punishment for my almost 3-year-old? Or solitary confinement so mentally taxing on prisoners? (Sorry, I don’t have links, but just go with me here…)

I was looking through some old writing the other day (as my inner voices again mocked what I had once treasured as profound), and came across this portion of a poem:

What is life but a series of
Connections and disconnections?
All influential, ever-changing
Choices of touch and response?

As I looked at it, it slowly sank in more and more. We all want–need–to be touched. To be heard. To be felt. In my opinion, it’s an essential part of living. Without it, we lose a large part of ourselves.

An extension of that “touching”, to me, is writing. It’s an expression of myself, in a myriad of differing forms. The adventurer, the meek one, the villain, the abused, the leader, the criminal, and so on.

That’s why I can’t turn it off. This writing that may never be published, never be read, will continue to pour forth nonetheless, an extension of myself. An ever-reaching hand, desperate to touch and be touched.

That’s why I write.

Why do you write?

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Walking the Tightrope

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It’s only the third day of the new year, but already, I’ve felt it.

An invisible, intagible thing I’m trying to catch up to.

I catch myself wandering from room to room like I’m trying to find something or just trying to remember what it is.

What I have to make myself remember is what should be easy by now: clothes, dishes, meals, bills, errands

Why do these things seem the hardest? Why do they require all my focus to complete?

Surely there is more to life than this.

It probably doesn’t help that I have a two-year-old whose life ends over stuff like giving him the wrong bagel for breakfast or not letting him buckle his own carseat.

Not that I blame him for my attitude. But the cries and whines of a broken-hearted kid can’t be helping to uplift the atmosphere either.

I guess the worst of it — this feeling that I’m missing something — is from not succeeding at working on my writing.

Because after forcing myself do all the mundane chores of existence, there’s not much more than an exhausted “me” to offer to the craft.

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I’m a failure.

Many times over.

Thank goodness I have One to turn to who understand this. One to whom I can return, again and again like my apologetic, watery-eyed little son. One who takes all my failures and worries and tells me my worth is not connected to man-made “successes”.

One who I can surrender to without the worry of rejection or failure or worst of all, indifference. And He in return holds me in His arms and gives me rest.

These days will all too soon pass away and be gone, like leaves in autumn. The balance between joy and unhappiness seems as narrow as a tightrope.

If only I could remember that Someone’s holding my  hand as I walk down the rope. Then it doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

Just one step at a time…

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