Supporting the Insufferable – The Choice is Ours

I am disgusted by U.S. politics as we go into the election year, and the debacle of the impeachment hearings. So much so, that I just haven’t been able to talk much about it. And yet, I find myself thinking of a few personal incidents that have happened at home in my reading choices and drawing some parallels to the larger stage.

A while back, when we finally unpacked all of our books that had been in storage for years, I thought about rereading The Mists of Avalon, a book I had picked up at a used bookstore when I was in undergrad along with The Firebrand and had read both one time through and had picked up the sequal to Mists at the library. Truth be told, I was less than enthralled with the writing style, and I felt a vague discomfort reading some of the scenes. But I remembered how much some people cherished the books and Marion Zimmer Bradley, so I was ready 15 years later to give the books another try. Until I read up on the allegations her children made against her, and I had to come to terms with how I felt. And I decided to donate the books to my local thrift store, because while I couldn’t bring myself to destroy a book, I also did not want them on my shelves any more. My husband, more recently, learned about an author that he grew up reading, David Eddings, being jailed for child abuse for a year, seemingly unapologetic about it afterwards. As my husband was in the middle of rereading The Belgariad, he had to think long and hard about whether to continue or not. In the end, he did decide to keep the books and keep reading, in part I think because the specifics of the case aren’t readily available.

Apply this to all that has become apparent in both entertainment and politics. We, as consumers of both in this capitalist nation of ours, need to exercise our responsibilities more. We need to think critically about our choices. It cannot be about creating a cult around someone and following them forever. It cannot be about pouring our hard-earned dollars away to a horrible human being, no matter how talented or how much they appeal to you. The ends can no longer justify the means because that is not how we the people survive in the long run. One of the few ways we can exercise our freedom in this society is by choosing what we pay attention to, what we give our time to, what we spend our money on. We have choices, and we have to wake up to what those choices actually entail.

I don’t know how many political posts I will be making this election cycle. It’s hard not to get discouraged. We co-create our reality, and it seems like so many are still willingly to limit themselves to mere existence instead of actually living, and as long as their “team” wins, nothing else matters, not even how dead and numb they are inside. It is really sad. I maintain hope for the future, for my children. I try to remember that growing pains are really, really hard and painful, but I’m also anxious for the next stage to come to pass. I’m not sure I will get to see it in my lifetime though.

New Year, New Decade

It’s time again for me to reflect back on the past year and choose one major goal to work toward this coming year. This year I have two goals, but one is a material one rather than a personal growth one.

This is the year I took the plunge to finally freelancing again, and it has been very successful despite some rocky moments. We are by no means on easy street financially yet, and I have been truly struggling at times balancing being the full-time stay-at-home parent with the shifting schedules of the gig economy (only a few hours for weeks at a time into madness for a few week). I feel drained, but also like this is really worthwhile for me. So, my big audacious financial goal for this year is to be stable enough come Thanksgiving to be able to adopt a local family and give them an entire Thanksgiving meal that they otherwise wouldn’t have. One of the office jobs I used to work did this every year for 5 or so families, and I loved it and want to be able to do it on my own and teach my kids more about giving to others. We did it a little this Christmas, choosing some new gifts for a boy through a local agency and then each of my kids selected one of their almost new toys to give to him as well. My 8 year old surprised me by selecting two actually and was asking questions that I tried to answer in age-appropriate ways. Selfishly, I want to be able to do more activity-wise with the family and not feel the pinch when it comes time to replacing things that we need, but I also really want to funds to support other creators and help in small ways for the needy in our community.

Creatively, I have felt all over the board this year. Sometimes the flow comes easy, sometimes it’s been a real struggle. And I feel like that with my physical and mental energy as well. A lot of that is the lack of sleep I’m still getting with my daughter, as well as finding some way to balance the chores and the here and now with my inner worlds. Actually, one of the truths I have learned this year is that there really is no balance without some kind of support structure in place, whether financial or physical (as in more hands willing to take over childcare or employees to do mundane tasks, etc). Every mom I know, whether working or stay-at-home, is always battling exhaustion, and the dads are frequently only a step or two more rested and that’s only because they tend to stress less about certain things once they are actually in bed. But I also know from experience that the toddler phase won’t last forever, that eventually I will have more time for myself.

So this year, my goal is to stop chasing that elusive balance and let things ebb and flow more. I need to continue my work in having fun, if that’s not an oxymoron, and just find joy in the messy process of creating and parenting and building things from the ground up. I need to feel like I’m really living and not being buried by obligations. In short, I’m tired of feeling tired, and I’m not going to put up with it anymore.  :-p

I have some audacious goals set, but I’m not going to share plans and deadlines here anymore. I’m accountable to myself, and I will continue working toward releasing works in various stages of completion when I feel like it. And as they are ready for release, I will share it here. If I feel like I have something to say socially or politically, then I will say it. But I won’t feel guilty anymore about self-imposed deadlines.

I hope 2020 is the start of some amazing times for everyone. I hope we can all start living to our fullest potentials and let ourselves shine. Happy New Year.

Finally, some creative progress!

I know I have mentioned before how the autumn is really my time to get my butt kicked into high gear and work on all the things, and that is how it has been feeling. Several projects are finally culminating into their final swing, some serious personal development has been going on, and I am excited to continue sharing here everything that I can. That being said, I wanted to give a little bit of a run down of where I’m at on things, partially to give me something to look back on in a month when I am reflecting on the year overall.

Writing: 

  • I am currently compiling my second poetry collection and really hope to have this out by the end of the year.
  • I wrote a huge chunk in my post-apocalyptic short story and hope to actually start shopping it around along with a few others after the first of the year.
  • I’m making good progress on my Shakespeare poems and will start doing art pieces to go with those at some point next year.

Art:

  • I have scanned and am in the process of editing the illustrations for my poetry collection and am designing the book cover for said collection.
  • I am teaching myself to work on a tablet for digital designs in the hopes of eventually designing my own fabric prints to use in my sewing career.
  • I am designing my next two shows and committing the costumes to paper this week, which is always a little scary but exciting.

Music:

  • I finished writing another song last night! This is the one I scrapped and rewrote, and I need to edit it, but it feels good to have it done.
  • I have started getting my singing chops back again slowly after another break from it due to crazy parenting and gig schedule.
  • I’ve been playing my flute once or twice a week while my daughter is in preschool, even if I have other things I “should” be doing, and it’s felt great.

Now how much I can push forward will depend again on both my paying design gigs and also I am trying to open a custom clothing boutique online as we go into the new year. So we shall see how that goes. But it feels good to be creating right now.