Monday, March 18, 2019

Feelin' Good



So, it's been a few weeks and I wanted to make sure that I stopped in and let you guys know how it was all going. It's had its ups and downs that's for sure. I just have to stop singing and dancing to this song so I can actually type it all out.  I love this song so much. The video is a bit weird though, don't you think?

Okay, it's done. Right. So the past few weeks...Well, last post I told you that I had decided to start back on my anti-depressant and that I was a bit nervous because I tend to forget if it's doing me any good once I'm on it for a bit. That's part of the reason that I want to write about it. I want to have a record that I can look back on.

I decided to start with a half dose because the last time I took a full dose (I was on the max allowed dosage) it made me feel loopy. I spent an hour one evening cutting all of my pills in half and rebottling them. That night, I took my first dose. The next day I was headachey and nauseous all day long. It was not fun, but I took another dose the following night because I figured maybe I just had to adjust to it. The following day was a Thursday. I know this because my youngest had a jazz performance at a club. I had the same headache but the queasiness was more on and off, but man, when it was on, I wanted to throw up. Ugh. That night, I didn't take any. The thought of swallowing anything was too much.

Friday I still felt crummy, but better. I decided that I'd try an every other day regimen for a while. Saturday I woke up and felt great. Go figure. So, I took another dose that night. No reason to put it off if I'm feeling okay with it. Sunday I woke up and started the first real period that I've had in over three years. Now I'm wonder if the medicine combined with hormonal crap and just made me feel dreadful. No real way to know, but I've not had that god awful reaction since.

So, since I started, I only missed that one dose and that was on purpose. I'm really starting to notice a change. I've had my down days and I've had some serious stressors, but so far I've been handling them. The past couple of days I've found myself smiling, singing, and god help the poor cats who can see me...dancing. I feel lighter. I feel more like things are going to be okay, and that they're possible.

I had about 4 nights of total insomnia, but I think that I'm slowly moving past that which is good. The past two days I haven't slept until noon or later which is a relief. Regulating sleep is a top priority because my afternoons are too busy to lose my mornings.

In a bit of other news, I'm thrilled to say that #Fridgepocalypse is over now. Our brand new refrigerator was delivered this afternoon. If you don't know what that hashtag means, I'll just say that this is our second fridge purchase in just over a month. I'm going to have to put myself out there more as a proofreader/editor to make the money back as quickly as I can but I don't believe that it's impossible. I just have to get the right eyes on what it is that I do.

As for weight, I don't really have an update there. I don't have a way to weigh myself at home and I haven't figured out a solution for that yet. I don't really want to drive 20 minutes to the doctor's office every couple of weeks, even though I'm pretty sure they'd let me stop in and use the scales. I will say that I think that my pants feel a bit looser, but it's hard for me to tell if that's just wishful thinking or reality. I promise I'll keep updating that bit as often as I can though. I need to know too if the bits I'm trying are working. Only five more months until that appointment. Now that the new fridge is here though, I can get my water bottles filled and in there so that I have a ready supply of drinking water on hand which will be nice.






Current Weight: ???
Goal Weight: 150 lbs
Days in a Row Taking Meds: 18

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Ch..Ch...Ch...Changes

Ch..Ch...Ch...Changes
Another month has flown by and I can't even tell you where it went. February in Michigan has been brutal with things like polar vortexes, icemageddons, and then a bomb cyclone. There was a lot of drama involving me attempting to get a fridge back into my house and a lot of time just being mom.

Now here we are, the last day before the end of the month and life hasn't slowed down even slightly. As I'm writing this, I'm sitting at a jazz orchestra rehearsal. My youngest son has been a part of this audition only group for two years so for two years, I've lost about 8 hours each day getting him here and back...as well as the rehearsal time. He loves it and I love sitting in, even if it takes away from other things I could be...and maybe should be doing.

So, here we are and I'm trying to sort through the stuff in my head. Thank goodness I have all of you to talk to about things! It really does help me work through them.

Yesterday, I had a doctor's appointment. Nope, let's back up. On Monday, I took myself off to a hotel for an overnight stay. My water heater has decided it doesn't like hot water anymore and with the appointment coming up, I needed a night away and a long, hot shower. Best decision I've made in a while. Thank goodness for tiny tax returns which let me do that. I got to relax and rest up which I badly needed.

Then, yesterday, I went to see a plastic surgeon. If you know me, you know I have huge boobs. You'll also know that I'd rather not, but I'd never have plastic surgery for vanity's sake. They're causing me issues. My collar bone hurts a lot of the time. I never have straight shoulders. I'm always hunched over because of them. Boobs weigh a lot, guys. So, after my doctor asking me about it for over five years, I decided it was time. It took me almost 5 months to get this appointment.

The doctor was super nice, but basically laid it out that if I want to lose weight, I need to do it pre-surgery. If I do the surgery first and then lose the weight, the boobs will sag, and he doesn't think I'd be happy with them. The reality is that they beyond sag now and they're not close to symmetrical. Still, if I'm going to go through all of this, I do want to look down and be happy afterwards.

I left the appointment and sat in my car and cried. I wasn't hurt or upset by anything that he said. He couldn't have been nicer. He told me that if I wanted to go ahead now, he would do the full exam and proceed. He also suggested, that if I wanted, I could come back in six months and we could reevaluate everything. That would give me time to work on losing weight if that's what I wanted to do. If, at that point, I didn't feel I was where I wanted to be yet, we could put it off another three to six months.

I sat and cried because I'm so angry with myself that I've allowed everything to overwhelm me to the point where I've gotten to the weight I am. I'm frustrated because I've dug myself into this deep hole between my health, weight, and house. I'm overwhelmed. I look around and don't know quite how to dig myself out. On top of everything, DHS took my projected income form for this year (which they required me to predict and which I am nowhere near making at this point) and cut my food stamps down to less than $300 a month for three of us. Luckily, Ben is off at school and Roger is busy with school and work and music, so isn't at my house all of the time.

Still, I have no idea how to feed even just me in a super healthy way with that amount of money. I'm sure it's not impossible and I'll just have to be incredibly careful about what I do buy. I'll have to tightly meal plan and stick with it.

I want to do this. I know I can do this. I'm also completely overwhelmed. I don't really know where to start. No, that's not true either! I'm full of arguing with myself tonight. I guess here's the tiny baby plan as much as it is:

1. Start logging calories using My Fitness Pal. Not so much trying to keep within what it's saying but logging so I can see where the problems may be.
2. Take the last bit of my tax return and order some glass water bottles for the fridge. I may not have hot water, but I do have water and a filter for the kitchen tap. This will allow me to not have to buy water and save a bit of money there while at the same time having a healthy drink option in the house.
3. Start talking with my tiny Facebook weight loss group about things. Support is super important.
4. Continue taking my medication. Last night I started back on a half dose of my anti-depressant and a full dose of my blood pressure medication.

Hmm...I guess it really is a tiny baby plan. That's all I've got right now.  I have six months to see how far I can get. I'm stuck without much exercise right now because I can't safely get out of the house and walk, but maybe in another month or two I can add that in. I do have a Fitbit, even if the rubber band causes my skin to react. Perhaps for my birthday (in 6 months), I can ask for a leather band for it to help alleviate that problem. If I can make some changes around the house, maybe I can start walking from one side to the other...I figure it'll only take a few hundred trips to make a mile..heh...

For now though, it's one baby step at a time. If anyone knows of some low impact exercises I can do at home that don't require a lot of space, please let me know! I'm still getting over a sprained ankle and what I suspect is a pinched nerve in my elbow, but I'm willing to try new things.

Take care of all of you!





Current Weight: 313.5
Goal Weight: A lot less ...like 150 pounds less.
Days in a row taking meds: 1

Friday, January 25, 2019

Riding the Edge

Riding the Edge
Link to book below post.
It's been a while. I know. Maybe I'm writing just to myself. It's possible and that's okay. I'm here today because I need to be here. I need to lay everything out and maybe it will start coming together for me.

It's been about two weeks now since we dropped Ben off at school. I always knew that I'd be one of those moms who cried when she did that. I wasn't wrong. Walking away from him broke my heart. He was crying and trying to be so brave. We both knew it was the right decision, but in that moment, I think we both just wanted to go home. He has done really well though. I think the independence while knowing we're only a little ways away has been good for him.

Meanwhile, his brother is going through college auditions and about to turn 18 in just a couple of days. I'm struggling with that too. I so badly want for him to get into the school that he really wants. I want what I never had, a chance to follow his dreams.

Here at home things could be going better. The fridge broke last weekend and it's taken me a week to get it just about cleaned out. I have one more bag to go and it'll only be a small bag...like grocery bag size. The rest of the house is a total tip because I just can't seem to find the balance of home, work, kids, mental health, and everything else. I had a trip planned to a convention in March. I may have written about it. I was so proud to be granted a pro badge. Now, because of the fridge, I won't be going. The money for my plane ticket has to go to getting a fridge. I mean, we can't live on crackers and crunch n munch forever, right?

I keep trying to find the bright spots...like hey, now I really will be able to get a fresh start on food. Then, the voice pops into my head reminding me that my foodstamps were cut because of Ben working. For every positive voice, there are five negative ones drowning it out. Even my sense of humor that usually gets me through these spots is eerily quiet. Perhaps it's because I posted asking people to help and nobody answered. Meanwhile, the wife of one of my closest posted a $2000 fundraiser to get her dog's broken leg sorted and they've raised nearly $1500, I think. Look, I know I can live without a fridge and the pup's leg really needs to be cared for but it's the perfect thing for the negatives to latch onto. It's easy for them to say...hey look, you don't matter. Nobody wants to help you.

I look around and think how alone it makes me feel, that nobody will send me $5 but they'll send someone else art supplies so they can do a bullet journal. I don't know. I know I'm feeling sorry for myself and that it won't help anything, but I'm really struggling to shut it down. Do you know what's the worst part maybe? It's that voice...the one that sounds suspiciously like my mother...saying that I'm whining, that none of this matters, that my feelings don't matter, and that I'm being the weak, useless person that she always knew I was.

That's bullshit. It really is. I am stronger than she ever knew. I've gone through more than a lot and I've survived. I'm still surviving. Is it ideal? Hell no. It's pretty crappy actually, but I'm still here. So...here's the thing...I'm going to put this out there. I need to put it out somewhere...and here is as good as anywhere, perhaps better...because on some level, it's safe. Nobody will read this here.

I'm broke. Hell, I'm beyond broke. If it weren't for a good friend helping me out, I'd be sleeping on a park bench somewhere. The fridge broke and while it will get replaced, knowing that part of the hold up is the fact that my kitchen is beyond ugh is dragging me down. I can hear people saying, "Well why don't you just clean it up? Then you could have a new to you fridge and it'd be better." Except, it's ever quite that easy, is it? I've managed to slowly empty the fridge but every time I look at the dining alcove, I freeze. I can't seem to do a thing about it. Honestly, I could probably put a trash bag into the can (which is also busted, by the way), grab the snow shovel, and just shovel it all away...and weep with every scoop because all of that...it's like seeing a million failures right in front of my eyes. It's every negative screaming at me and it leaves me frozen. I had someone who was going to come help me, someone who tries very hard to understand, and doesn't judge me, but first it was car trouble, then weather...and so I'm on my own...and I'm afraid that my own just isn't good enough.

And only getting colder!
Then, there's the weather. Winter in Michigan can really suck but up until a week or so ago, it wasn't bad and I was really thankful for that. Why? The furnace decided to stop working. I can hear the voices again.. "Just call the landlord and get her to fix or replace it for you." Except...I can't. We all know that I can't. If I can't get strangers in to haul away a busted fridge and put a different one in because of the condition of things, there's no way that I can get someone who will report back to the landlord. To fix the furnace, the kitchen, living room, and laundry room have to be cleaned from top to bottom. It feels impossible...and we're about to go into a week of possibly record breaking cold. I have a small space heater and the oven running 24/7 when I'm home. Right now, it's 61 in here. I can live with that. This week? I don't know how cold it might get in here. I'll be having to go out quite a bit which is good and bad. Good because the car's heat works and I'll be going heated places. Bad because I'll have to turn everything off and the house temp drops fast. I've seen it drop 5-7 degrees in just a couple of hours.

I guess you can probably see where this is going right? I need money and I need it like yesterday. I don't have it because the reality is that with my mental health issues, I can't work outside of the house. I got a letter from DHS yesterday saying that I have to either start working 80 hours a month or volunteering 80 hours a month or taking some kind of classes. I do work. I proofread and edit books and stories for other people. I don't make $600/mo doing it though and that's how much I have to make to keep them off my back. I'm good at what I do and my clients are happy, but I don't have 20 comic clients putting out a book each month. Comics and books take time to create. As for my own books, I haven't received a single royalty payment in almost two years. I don't know if the books aren't selling at all or just not enough to bother sending me the change.

I've considered setting up a Patreon where for $5/mo, you could get early viewing on a story that will later go into an anthology. I'd do two different ones...one for children's stories and one for erotica. I have a Ko-Fi now. Actually, I've had it for months and months but not one single person has ever used it. I get it. People want to get something for their money, which is why I think maybe Patreon might be a better choice. I don't know that people would sign up there either though.

That wouldn't be enough, but it would be something. I talked to one of my clients today and he told me that he would have 5-10 books for me in 2019. At the rate he pays me, that's either not even one month or possibly 2.5 in an entire year. Clearly that won't work. I love his books and working with him and I'm not going to stop. I'm just saying that it isn't enough to get to where I need to be. I either need to be doing 4-6 books a month proofreading or some combination of things...proofreading novels, proofreading comics, Patreon, Ko-Fi...my own books starting to bring in some funds.

I do have a plan to take down my erotica stories that are also listed with the other ones in their series and then properly format the series and put those up on Amazon. There's no reason to have the individual smaller ones up by themselves. I'm planning on listing the series ones at 99c. They aren't long, more like a bedtime story but I hope worth the 99c. They won't make me millions but even $10/mo would help.

There is one other option and it's one that I'm going to have to do and hope that it goes well. I have the opportunity to apply for a ghostwriter's position. If I got it, I'd be writing mm romance/erotica of various types. It pays pretty well and with one thing would fix this problem. Here are the voices again, "If you knew it would solve this, why haven't you done it? Oh wait, because you're probably going to fail and then what?" Ugh. It's not just that. I could fail. I could fail and then still be screwed. Or, I could be decent at it, get hired, and then with my struggles to balance everything, it could end up being the only thing I do. 2019 was supposed to be the year of finally defeating the hoarding monster and setting myself up for success in 2020. Here we are, less than a month in, and that's already going out the window and I don't know what to do about it.

So, there you go...I'm riding the edge. I'm riding the edge of just wanting to give up and wanting to fight for what it is that I truly want. I'm riding the edge of do I fight for my dreams or do I continue to settle and make do with what I *have* to do.  I'm really tired of settling or making do with what I have. This isn't the life that I want for myself. I want to write and I want to be successful at it. I want to help other authors make their books be as good as they can be before they're sent out into the world. I love what I do and I want to keep doing it. I don't know how, but even if I do this ghostwriting thing...and I don't see how I can not do it...I need to keep finding me. I can't lose myself in the horror that is poverty.

I don't know if people will help me and support me. I don't know if they'll follow me on Patreon or donate to me on Ko-Fi. I don't know if they'll go and spend 99c on an erotica story. I don't know, if I get that far, if they'll back me on Kickstarter. I honestly don't know. I've been burned quite a bit by people who say they'll hire me and then don't or industry people who say they'll start sending business my way but then don't...or worse, keep it for themselves. I do know though that there are a lot of people out there and I don't need a million, or even a thousand. I need just enough to bring in maybe $1000/mo for now. Why $1000 and not $600? Because it's time to stop making just enough and time to start making enough that I can invest back in myself, in my home, and in my future.

$1000 = 34 comic book proofreadings
$1000 = 5 50k word book proofreadings
$1000 = 200 Patreon supporters
$1000 = 225,000 words proofread
$1000 = 334 cups of coffee purchased through Ko-Fi

That seems like an awful lot, doesn't it? It's not impossible though, especially if there was a small income from my writing coming in as well. I really, really, really want to get the erotica stuff already on Amazon updated. I desperately want to get Nevermore finished and sent off to Nick. I want to get my publishing house name chosen and Tales from the Toy Store written and published. I have dreams. I need to make them happen.

I hope that I have the support to make them happen. I hope that people will recommend me when they hear of someone looking. I hope that when editor/proofreader friends have overflow, they'll send
it to me. I hope that people will enjoy my writing and be willing to buy it. I have a lot of hope and at the end of the day, that's really darned important.

Today, though I feel as if I'm standing on a crumbling foundation, though it'd be so easy to just quit, I'm choosing hope and I hope (see what I did there?) that all of you will stick with me through this never ending journey of ups and downs. It's a rocky path, but it's a path. If by some small chance you want to buy a book or buy me a cup of coffee to help keep me going, I've added links above. If not, that's okay. I just hope that you got something out of me doing a total brain/emotion dump out here. I know this post was really for me, but I always hope that there's someone out there who reads it and says, "Hey, yeah, I get this and maybe for this minute, I, too, can choose hope."





The book in the image above was found via a random Google image search and something about it spoke to me. It appears to be out of print, but if you're interested in learning more about it, check out its Amazon page.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas?

Merry Christmas?
Merry Christmas? Happy holidays?
I find it fairly fascinating as to which posts get any attention and which don't. Maybe one day I'll stop and figure out why it is how it is. Not today though.

Today is Christmas day and I'm sitting on my couch, surrounded by chaos, and completely alone. There were no presents to open, no special breakfast. Just me and ....well, nothing. Just me. Just me and it's hard.

The boys aren't here. They weren't here yesterday either. All of our traditions ...well, none of them happened. I've tried to be brave. I've tried to convince myself that it's okay. After all, they'll be here tonight. My brain and heart keep screaming, "But it's not the same!" I can't really argue because they're right. It's not the same. We don't do Christmas pjs anymore. We don't read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Those are gone the way of the dodo. Now, they're practically grown up and those things seem silly to them. Work schedules kept them from being here last night so our Christmas Eve traditions...the few that were left...didn't happen. Work schedules will keep them from being here until past dinner tonight.

I feel as if I'm whining. I mean, there are worse things in the world, right? Nobody has died. They're getting spoiled at their father's house. Is this just me feeling sorry for myself? I'm always afraid of that. I'm afraid to tell anyone that I'm really struggling seeing all of the happy family pictures and amazing gifts that other people have. I'm afraid that they'll tell me I'm selfish for wanting someone to send me a present...something wrapped up and picked our just for me. It's happened before when I said that I had been checking the mailbox for cards and gifts. I was told that if I want something I should just go out and buy it.

That's not the same though, is it? Besides I don't have money to buy for myself. Every penny that I had went to getting things for the boys, sending out holiday cards to put smiles on other people's faces, and buying things like cat food and toilet paper. Is it so wrong of me to want/need to feel loved today?

I see all of the memes about reaching out to people today to make sure they're okay. Nobody has asked if I'm okay and why would they? They know that I'm most likely not and who wants to bring down their fun, special times with someone who is currently sitting on their couch crying because nobody went to Walmart and bought a $5 Lego pack and mailed it to her?

I'm trying to put on a brave face. I'm saying Merry Christmas and all of that. I'm liking people's photos because I really, truly am happy that they're having wonderful family and love filled days. It's not that I'm not happy for them. I am. I'm just also really, really sad for me. I just feel so very, very alone. No presents, no holiday breakfast, or special dinner...no friends invited me to join them. Hell, not even what remains of my family. In fact, I've had gifts here for my sister and her children for over a year.  There's been no effort made in that time.

Today I realize why so many people kill themselves at the holidays. That feeling of alone seeps deep into you and twists everything. No matter what I do, I can't seem to shake it. Somewhere a part of me knows that people care. The other voice is louder though. It's the one screaming, "If they cared so much, why hasn't your phone rang? Why has nobody texted? Why did nobody invite you over? Why didn't you have one single thing to open this morning?"

Still, that other voice is in there and I'm holding tight to it. I'm holding tight to the knowledge that in 8 hours or so, my living room will be filled with the chaos of wrapping paper and the sounds of my boys as they look through what they got this year. I'm holding on, even though it's hard, and going to go nuke a couple of hot dogs for lunch. Festive, no? Merry Christmas.


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Fighting to Keep Fighting

Fighting to Keep Fighting
Guys, I'm tired. No, it's more than that. I'm done. I'm out of whatever it is that keeps us going. Today it took everything I had to get out of bed, to go to the bathroom, and to nuke a frozen pizza. I wish that were an exaggeration and maybe it is since I'm sitting here writing and that has to take something too.

It's been a long time since I went from "Yeah, I'm doing okay." to "I am the most worthless human being on the planet." in the space of maybe an hour, but that's just what's happened.

Yesterday, when I left my house, I was proud of myself. I'd gotten quite a bit of work done on a project for a client, I'd shaved my face (thanks pcos) and my armpits, I'd put on deodorant, gotten dressed, brushed my teeth, fed the outside cat, brought the trash can back up to the house...I'd done all of that. I was proud of me.  I picked up my oldest, we stopped into the dollar store, and then on to the high school basketball games.

We sat through the first two games and my oldest got up to go say hi to some friends and was stopped by a teacher. I don't know the exact conversation but it basically boiled down to how the teacher had noticed we hadn't paid to get in and while it was okay for my son not to pay, it wasn't okay for me. I got the impression that it wasn't said nicely. Honestly, it was an accidental oversight. While he was in school, we never paid to get into the games. He was the team manager/filmographer and since he's handicapped and needs a ride everywhere, they always just let me in for free too. Out of habit, we came in the way we always had and they don't have a ticket seller at that entrance. My son was upset which made me upset. Still, I tried to keep it together because if I don't, he doesn't.

From there, it went downhill. I discovered that my front headlight is burnt out. I'm sure it's just the bulb. Then, as I was driving home after dropping my son off, and realizing that there's no way I can afford to have it replaced right now and now I'm super anxious because I could get pulled over and there's even less of a way for me to pay for a ticket, I realized that my insurance is coming out on Friday and I'm $101 short. With the chaos of this month, it just completely went out of my head to make sure that I had enough money in the account. I had the money in another account and used it to pick up some extra items that we needed. I just didn't remember.

I felt stupid and stupid led to feeling like a failure which led to feeling pointless. It's not that I don't try, but I never succeed. I want to be better, but I just keep failing. I swear I'm trying and it's been better, I think...or I thought. Now, because of this one thing, I just don't know. I feel like I've failed everyone. I can't seem to handle the basics of life sometimes..most of the time...How can I ever hope to get to the point where I'm off welfare and have a sustainable lifestyle if I can't even remember to brush my teeth every day?

I cried myself to sleep last night and today all I can do is sit here and cry. I've failed again. I've let myself and everyone down because I couldn't remember something so simple as making sure I had the funds to pay a bill that I have to pay every single month. There's more but there's no point in spewing it out here. I'm sorry for being such a failure at life....


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Safe Places Are Hard To Find

Safe Places Are Hard To Find
If you're someone who has social anxiety, depression, anxiety, PTSD, been raped and any other number of things that leaves you needing a safe place sometimes, you also know that sometimes it can be really hard to find them.

Over the years, I've had a few different ones ...my friend Dave's house in Vermont, until he got married and now it wasn't just him there. My friend Rob's place in Canada...until he had to deal with some life stuff of his own. I could list more but even just with two, you get the idea. Except, I'm going to list one more because really this last one is what this post is all about.

Now stick with me here...I know what I'm about to say is going to sound...well, crazy...but I promise you that it isn't. Comic conventions. Comic conventions have been my safe place for years. They're often filled with people that I know, like, and respect. Some of them I'd even consider to be friends. They're also full of strangers, but usually strangers who love the same things that I love and sometimes, I feel safe in a space full of people I don't know. Because of the nature of the event, I can get lost in a crowd. There's no pressure to be "on" or "happy" or anything. I can just be. If I need a break, I can find a corner and sit and watch the people. I love to watch people.

Over the years, I've met a lot of people at shows. Some I've enjoyed, some I've been glad to avoid later. That's just the way of life and personalities. Unfortunately, one of those that I've met and enjoyed has been revealed to be a rather horrible human being.  It's come out that he's treated women rather horribly. He's pressured them into doing things that they didn't really want to do. He's used his position within not only a place that he used to work, but also his position within the industry to lure women in and then mistreat them. I don't mean that he beat them, but sometimes the scars of emotional abuse and sexual misconduct (not the right phrase, but this is so hard to write that I can't let myself get hung up on phrasing right now) outlast bruises and broken bones.

As a woman, learning of his behavior upset me. It ought to upset everyone. But, under all of that was a feeling of deep unease and I've had a tough time figuring out why until last night. I was reading through a post written by someone calling out this man and supporting the art crew that had been working with him on a very popular title. The art crew chose to walk away from the book because they refuse to reward his heinous behavior. I applaud them for that and their actions led to the post I was reading. The more that I read, the more I found myself feeling uneasy, unhappy, and I hate to use the word...but triggered.

It got to the point where I had to shut down my laptop and step away. It took me a while, but I finally figured out what was causing it. I've known this man from the convention circuit for as long as I've known him. Conventions were/are a safe place and now he might be there. Granted, I'm not the type of woman that has ever had a real problem with sexual harassment or come ons...I'm just not the skinny, beautiful type. I've never had a problem with him approaching me this way and I doubt I ever would. Still, now that I know what's lurking in the dark, it's made me edgy whenever I think about the one that I'm supposed to go to in March. I was looking forward to possibly seeing him there. I was excited about going. I was insanely excited. Now? Now, I'm afraid. I'm afraid of what's in the shadows. I'm afraid knowing that I'll be traveling in and out of the area every day on a lightrail for an hour. Before, I was excited for that very same travel. It's always been a place to people watch and to meet new people.

My reality is that he's made a safe place feel not so safe. My reality is that I don't know if I want to go now. My brain has gone into "What if..." mode.  An event that I was so excited and proud (I was awarded a pro level badge this year which is a huge deal to me.) to be attending now has me wondering if anyone would notice if I just stayed home. I'm sad. I'm sad for me. I'm sad for every single woman that he has ever been in contact with. I'm sad for the industry because he's left another dark mark on what's beautiful.

Do you know what else I am? I'm angry. I'm angry that he's done this to me and to others. I'm angry that a grown ass man doesn't know that this is beyond wrong. I'm angry that I'm feeling as vulnerable and weak as I am. Anger is good. Anger is cleansing. Anger keeps me moving forward when I want to hide under the blankets.

I'm also proud. I'm proud of the woman who stood up and told her story. I don't know that I ever have. I'm proud of the industry professionals who have said no more. We will not tolerate this in our midst. I'm proud of the store where a lot of this story took place because they've declared that not only will they no longer stock anything that he's worked on, they're working with this woman to build policies so that nothing like this ever happens again. I'm proud of "my people".  Those are the people that I'm going to be looking towards as I work towards this trip because those are the people that I want to be around.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

What Tristan Means To Me

What Tristan Means To Me - A Katrina Tale
Tristan
Every week I tell myself that I need to come and write and every week, it gets pushed to the side. Not today though. Today, I need to write. I need to tell you things, even if nobody is listening. I just need to.

Most of you will have no idea who the character to the left is. His name is Tristan and he's the lead character in a series of comic books that I've been blessed enough to work on over the past few years. His main job is to protect his boy from the monsters under the bed. Nobody really knows just how much being able to work on his books means to me, not even his creator, Nick Davis.

Today, while his current project is stuck in Kickstarter limbo, I need to tell that story...not because I'm hoping it will push people to go and fund it, though if it does, I will be grateful for each and every penny, but because it's time. I need to share this piece of my life with you.

You see, most would see my childhood as typical. Sure, I was raised by my grandparents, but that's not terribly unusual. It happens. From the outside, everything looked great and it was, as long as you never looked at the time that I spent with my mother.

Times at my mother's were like that book that opens, "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.". You never quite knew which one it was going to be. It could be a grand time of playing games and hanging out or it could be one of the nights when her and her friends would smoke pot and wake you up to come out and entertain them. It could be gardening in the backyard or being screamed at, cursed at, and told that she wishes you had never been born. You just never knew. The only thing I did know was that my teddy bear was always there for me. He'd soak up my tears and he never complained about how tightly I held him. Not even once. He was my stability in a very rocky world.

Fast forward a lot of years, a lot of traumas, a lot of changes, and the one thing that never changed was that some sort of teddy bear has always been there for me. It's still a constant in my life. The collection has expanded and sometimes who has caught those tears has changed, but when I'm alone, on the worst of days, there's one by my side to remind me that I'm not alone and that I'm not fighting alone.

Somehow, I found Nick in the chaos that is the internet and we became friends. I reviewed his early books for Life With Katie and then, I think, for Geek-o-Rama. Then, a few years ago, he started letting me edit/proofread on his books and it was a bit like finding home. I felt as if I fit. Nick not only let me play in his universe, but he gave me a chance when there weren't a lot of chances coming my way. I will be forever grateful for that. He believed in me when I didn't believe in myself.

He let me work on a series of books that were all about protecting children, about giving them a safe space, and about watching over them. This touched a part of me that I thought I'd buried. Now, that same series is at risk of not being funded and that's breaking my heart a bit. I've realized that I need to see this project funded not just because it's an amazing book with amazing talent, but because I need for other children to see that they aren't alone in whatever it may be that they're battling. This project is personal to me and I don't think that people realize just how much.

For two weeks, I've been on social media asking for pledges and asking for people to share it and I don't feel as if I've been all that successful. People don't see my name as the project runner and don't bother to read the page to see that I'm editing this book if it gets funded. If it doesn't, I don't get this job. I don't get to hang out with Tristan and Wilma as they fight off the no-names and children, perhaps children who really need to see this story, won't have it available to them.

This project means so much to me that I've pledged to it myself. I've pledged more than I will ever be paid for it, but that doesn't matter to me. It matters far more to me that this project get made and that this book be made. If I could, I'd back the entire thing myself and then donate the rewards to the local children's hospital that my oldest has spent time at. Heck, if people wanted to back, but didn't want the rewards, I'd have them tell Nick to have them sent to me and I would still do that. For now though, all I can do is continue sharing this project on social media and to try to keep hope alive as each day ticks by.

For those of you who have taken the time to read this, thank you for letting me share my story with you. I've found that sharing can lead to healing and each post here is a tiny step towards that.



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