A Much Needed April Fool’s Day

The day of pranks. The day where your favorite companies put out the most ridiculous ideas for the amusement of their fans. Sometimes their ideas are so ridiculous but so good that you can’t help but to want these plans to come to fruition. It was refreshing to see something so ridiculous that it couldn’t possibly be true and realizing that you weren’t actually reading the news. It was a great change for me.

But the day has ended. Now we are stuck reading news that is too ridiculous to be true but actually is. When your instinct after reading a headline is to check if it’s from The Onion or some other similarly hilarious news site. Where there is a Reddit dedicated to “NotTheOnion” news stories. There isn’t going to be a giant meteor coming down to destroy us; we’re doing an awesome enough job doing it ourselves. I don’t mean this as a compliment.

We are being pandered to and lied to and told that anyone who is against us are the enemy. The Russian investigation? A ploy by the sore loser democrats who are the enemy of the people. The bad media coverage? A ploy by our enemy, the media. Does AOC and Donald Trump get unfair coverage from the “other side”? Absolutely. But if you ask me, there shouldn’t be an “other side” when it comes to reporting. It should be facts, not opinion wrapped up in a box titled “facts”. The enemy isn’t the one correcting the facts; it’s the one that’s spreading misinformation and enjoying the ignorance in those who blindly follow.

Are there media outlets and pundits willingly misleading us? You’d be silly to think that they aren’t. These people aren’t in it for their journalistic integrity; that’s a thing of the past. They are a business. And the best business model right now is feeding into the misinformation and half-truths by offering more, not correcting the news.

It’s more important than ever to look at things from someone else’s point of view. To listen to each other. To be kind to each other. These people are only profiting off of us fighting about what’s fact and what’s fiction. We can change it.

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Overcoming the Writer’s Block

A submission is due in 10 days for an anthology. 10 days. I keep writing, but I end up tossing everything. It doesn’t seem right. I don’t like the start. What was I thinking when I wrote that? My brain tells me to go again and I do. It’s a long struggle. I have stories in mind that I want to write. In fact, I have manage to plan out NaNoWriMo already with a new idea isn’t of trying to add 50,000 more words to last year’s. I have considered reworking the 25,000 words I completed last year to create a 5,000 word short story. But I didn’t feel I could. It’s not a great time.

It’s not as simple as just writing. That’s the problem when you work in a creative industry. If your brain isn’t functioning that day, you struggle to complete your tasks for the day. You don’t get paid. Other professions, you can have an off day but you still get paid for it. When you have to create ideas and your brain decides “Nah, maybe tomorrow”, you’re stuck. You can try everything in your power to untie this not, but it’s not likely going to work as well as you’d hope.

Yesterday was probably my most productive day I’ve had in a while. The good news is I still have saved the 2 pieces I have started. The bad news is I’m still not feeling it. I hoped that a few days away would have helped the creative process along. It didn’t. But, I’ve always been a “crunch at deadline” kind of writer. Something will hit me and then I will be unstoppable writing. The problem when you spend your writing energy freelancing and ghostwriting to earn money, is that you exert all of your creative energy on those projects. Sometimes for only a few dollars per article. Then when it’s time for you to work on your own projects, it doesn’t work out well.

It isn’t easy being someone in the creative industry. There is no definitive on how good you are. Art is appreciated by some and mocked by others. I still love it. Here’s to hoping that getting through my projects gets a little bit easier now that the weather is getting nicer and I can enjoy some fresh air to clear my head.

Parenting is All About Figuring it Out

It would be really easy if you could look in a book and learn all about how to be the best parent. You can’t, though. It would be great if children fit into some textbook mold so you can know what to expect. But they don’t. The reality is parenting is about the unexpected and walking around like you have no clue what’s going on most of the time, but are just really happy that everyone survived the day. Even if it did require a Deathwish french press coffee in the morning and only God knows how many other cups of instant caramel latte you consumed throughout the day.

I had my first child at 18. Imagine all of that insane wisdom that came with it for my friends in their future. When they mentioned a birth plan, I laughed. There is no planning it. There’s a “dream”; not a plan. I guarantee for the most part, nothing will go as planned. My birth plan at 18? Not to die in childbirth. I like to set the bar low. My birth plan at 29? Can’t say that it was much different. Just simply having a healthy baby and not dying in a pool of my own blood was sufficient enough. When I hear people start planning out their home birth, I do roll my eyes. I do judge. That’s great and all, but what about the unexpected? People need to learn to not be so rigid if they are going to have kids. Because the unexpected is your life now.

I have been very open about the differences between my oldest and my youngest. My youngest, who seems to be in an endless loop of observations and interventions. When he went to preschool for his IEP, I was happy that he was going to get the help that he needed. Or at least that first year, that they would be able to see that he needed speech therapy and set it up. They did. He got it for his second year of preschool. Then he satisfied his IEP and he went into Kindergarten with no plan. Aside from some anxiety issues, he didn’t do terribly in Kindergarten. For a kid who never spoke before 4, he was not only on par with his class in speech, he was exceeding some. He was a little “active” and had “attention” problems, but we all attributed them to his sensory disorder. It was fine.

Then at his parent teacher conference back in November, it was suggested that they do an occupational therapy evaluation on him because of some issues such as his handwriting and need for noise cancelling headphones in class. His teacher has been great. Eventually I finally got a letter a couple of months later. I was anxious to see what the results were. If they mailed it, that means they didn’t need to setup a meeting for an IEP, right? It turns out, it was a letter to inform me that there was more testing needed. It was stressful. When you have been dealing with evaluations for practically his whole life for various things, it does get into your head a little. It isn’t about me thinking he’s less than anything because of these interventions. It isn’t about what other kids will think of him. It’s all about wanting to do the best for your child. If he needs the help, I’m going to make sure that he gets what he needs. I want him to succeed. I want him to thrive. I just hate the waiting game, because that means you just sit around worrying until the results come in.

No one expects watching their young child go into surgery when they are planning out the nursery. No one expects struggling through evaluations when they feel that first kick. No one expects that they are going to agonize over every decision that they make because who knows what the repercussions are for their future. There is no greater responsibility in the world than being a parent. My best advice that I have ever given to any other parent is: “At the end of the day, as long as you did everything that you could to make sure everyone made it out alive, you did exactly what you were supposed to.” You can’t control what happens, but you can give them the best odds possible.

When You Get Into the Inner Layers

I admit, I look pretty together. People come to me for advice like I have a wealth of knowledge. I wouldn’t necessarily say I have knowledge. I have experience that I gained from really just winging it. Every bit of parenting “wisdom” that I have? There was no real knowledge behind those decisions. There was gut instinct and a crapshoot hoping that things would work out. Sometimes, I just get lucky. That’s really all life and even parenting is, right? Just a crapshoot where sometimes you get lucky, but most of the time you’re just hoping to break even. Even someone as seemingly chill as I am have complicated layers of breakdowns and anger problems, that fortunately (but unhealthily) I can keep in check by ignoring them. I’m really good at that.

But really, it’s those inner layers that we need to pay closer attention to. There’s a distinct difference between just getting by (on an emotional level) and living through the day. It’s that difference that impacts the mental health and suicide statistics. Some people just give up “just getting by”, if they were even fortunate enough to get to the “just getting by” point. There’s also the “barely waking up in the morning”. Of course, these aren’t proper “clinical” terms. These are the realistic terms. Mental health issues aren’t cut and dry because people aren’t.

Ignoring issues are great until you get to the meltdown. When my iPod died, wiped itself of my entire music collection, then wiping my computer of said music collection, I melted down. It wasn’t the fact that this product died, even though there is a sweet engraving on it from my husband, it was about the music that I could never get back. It was about my reliance on this to help me through my writing struggles. Whenever I had writer’s block or needed to focus on my edits, I’d pull out my trusty iPod and things would melt away. Whenever I felt down and was struggling emotionally, I put on my headphones and listened to the music as my problems just went away with it. My music is my therapy, my writing assistant, my workout coach, and it was a love of mine. And it went away. It seems dramatic, but it’s gone. CDs that are no longer in my possession through bad luck and other misfortunes are now gone. It may not have been the thing behind my meltdown, but what it was is something that could’ve helped me prevent the meltdown or pick myself up quicker when I hit the “funk”. But… it’s not there anymore.

Realistically, it was a crutch. Some people ease their issues with medications. I’m lucky where I was able to have this crutch to help me. Even on the “barely waking up in the morning” days. Sure, talking about things would be easier. But who has time for that? Plus, I’m a natural recluse. When I have a problem, my first instinct isn’t to reach out, it’s to curl in. It’s to write it out. Sometimes I throw it out afterwards, sometimes I keep it and make something of it. I’m pretty sure the meltdowns in “A Special Place for Noah” was definitely an accurate representation of that time in my life. I like channeling emotions, not discussing them. I’d like to think that’s what makes me good at what I do. I’d like to also think that’s what makes me a good friend.

I’m here for you. I’m here to listen to what you need to say. I think one of the biggest problems today is that there are a lot of people struggling but no one feels like there is someone that they can talk to. While I relish in that solace on my difficult days, other people can only thrive when one is willing to give up an ear (or their eyes) for just a few minutes. If you don’t have anyone else, I’m here. Sincerely.

Eventually, We All Go Down

This is an overdramatic title about illness in the family. I’m talking bad colds, the flu, whatever other god awful plague that enters into your home. I’m not sure if it’s just me or not, but this year is the worst year for illnesses as far as I can remember.

Around Christmas time, I got hit with probably the worst cold and eventually sinus infection that I had ever had. I couldn’t leave the couch. I couldn’t even look at food. It was great for losing weight but I’m still suffering from these effects. My husband, who honestly hardly ever gets sick enough to miss work, ended up missing 4 days of work from illness and the year just started. In one particularly awful experience last week, he brought strep into this house. To which I naturally took Clorox wipes (ignoring my allergy of these products) and continued to disinfect every inch of my house that he could have breathed in let alone touch. I pulled out our air purifier, which has a UV setting to kill bacteria. When in doubt, Purel was our friend.

My boys have been sick a lot too. There were even some cases where the illness lasted 2 days in my youngest, someone who also hardly gets sick and it never lasts more than a day. Every day I feel like I’m getting a new warning from my youngest child’s school about how strep is going around. Everywhere on Facebook, people are going down. It’s coming for us and I don’t even know what it is. But dear lord, has it been a rough one. The best way to avoid this: not have kids. In fact, not having kids is a solid bit of advice to help you avoid a lot of unpleasant illnesses. But they’re so cute, aren’t they? Until those little monsters puke in every inch of your house and you’re torn between dousing everyone in Lysol or just burning the whole house down because it’s been infected and you just need to let it go. (Just to clarify, I mean the actual house, not my children.)

This cold and flu season needs to stop already. I’ve had my fill. I say this as someone who feels like I just got hit by a truck, probably because I’ve spent so much time dealing with everyone else’s complaints of dying that I have finally been smacked in the face with the latest plague that these children have brought into the home. I don’t normally complain about this… but can it be spring already? As much as my allergies hate this, I would rather deal with that nonsense than this.

The New Project Grind

The post-it notes are starting to get a little insane right now. So many projects that I’d like to do but am getting a little overwhelmed at my to-do list. I have my comic that I have been planning to launch in mid-March or early April. I keep debating on whether or not I should do a podcast. This blog is growing, which is exciting. Then there are other novels and books in the works as well. The list seems never-ending and I have no idea where to begin. Then roadblocks keep coming up when I do. The struggle is real.

The first project on my to-do list is the launch of my comic, which honestly should have been a lot easier than it has been to launch. I had one software that I really enjoyed, but then lost the key during the move and can’t find the receipt to prove that I had purchased this item. (ClipStudio Paint, in case you’re wondering.) That was the software that I used for my first adventure in comics. Then I bought Comicado, which is no longer in development and doesn’t work well with my Surface. Maybe this weekend I’ll reinvest in another program or I’ll just figure out how to make due with the software I do have.

Then there is my podcast. I understand that podcasts can help bring traffic to my blog and that there is a real SEO marketing reasoning for having one. I have the equipment for it due to streaming, minus the audio software. Fortunately you can get some nice options for free. But what would I do it on? Would I focus on gaming subjects? Would I discuss parenting? Politics? Do I just cover a random assortment of rantings like I do here with my blog? What would you like to hear from a BluishOblivion podcast?

Finally, there are my book projects. I do have 2 ideas for children’s books that I feel deserve my attention. Then there is my failed NaNoWriMo attempt. I partially want to wait to finish that until next NaNoWriMo, to put another 50,000 words into it but I feel that would be too long. I think my priority will be my children’s books since “Dear Child” seemed to be the most popular of my books. But can I follow such a well-received book?

I’m having difficulty balancing the time with my freelancing gig and all of these projects, as well as family obligations. I’m having a hard time prioritizing these projects. So I ask my readers: which would you like to see? A potentially weekly comic on Wednesdays? A monthly podcast? Would you like me to work on my next book? I’ll let my readers help decide.

Those Pesky Mid-30s

Is 35 even a milestone? I guess since it puts you closer to the dreaded 40s, maybe. But at least I can take comfort in the fact that some of my older brothers are closer to 50 than they are 40. It pays to be the baby. I don’t think I dreaded that number any more than any other year. But I have heat this year on my birthday and I haven’t been vomited on yet, so we’ve already improved since last year.

Everyone seems to reflect on their life on their birthday. It’s normal. Did I accomplish what I wanted to? Am I closer to my goals than I was last year? These are those nagging questions that just need to be answered on your birthday, especially as you get older. We want to make sure that we leave some sort of legacy behind us. What will people say when we’re gone? I’m sharing these answers with you.

Did I accomplish what I wanted to last year? I finally published my first children’s book, which is something that I’m very proud of. I even finally figured out how to make a physical copy of the book. (Shameless plug: Check out “Dear Child” on Amazon. See the sidebar for links to my Amazon Author Page.) That was a feat, considering I’m one of the least tech savvy people I know. I didn’t complete NaNoWriMo, which helped lead me on a dark, downward spiral that lasted a few months. I finally got out of that funk and hopefully I won’t go back down there anytime soon.

Am I closer to my goals than I was last year? I think so. I think that I’ve started to grow a presence online. I created more plans to help further boost my site. I can’t wait to get started on some of these new projects and finish some that I’ve already begun. It takes time and patience to breakthrough, I’m just hoping it’s going to be my time soon. I don’t want to make celebrity author money (though that would be sweet), I just want to be able to better provide for my family. Even if I make $20,000 a year doing what I love, I’ll consider that a success.

What will people say about me when I’m gone? That’s a loaded question, but I’ll give it a try. I’m sure a lot of them will say I was a terrible human being, and that made them either love me or hate me for it. I accept that. I’ll have some of those closest to me mention about how I was always there for them when they needed someone. They’ll remember my dark sense of humor. My kids will remember me singing and dancing around the house. They’ll remember that no matter what, they were loved and supported. I don’t care if I don’t have a greater legacy; I care that the people I care about know that I cared about them.

That is my birthday blog. I hope that you enjoyed reading this and I hope you guys have a great day!