Lighting A Candle For You | World Suicide Prevention Day 2021


They say, “Life is fragile.”

And, I thought I knew that.

I thought I knew that before.

But it seems like I didn’t. Or, the weight of it, it didn’t fully occur to me.

You know that I’m reaching out to You. Into this vortex of the Universe. Because I couldn’t be there for You when You felt so alone, when You were struggling so deeply, and I pray, I pray so hard that You’ll be here again for me to do better, do better by You, do better for You.

I am so, so sorry my dear that you were hurting so very deeply.

I’m so …. lost.

You’re not gone. Not quite, not…. not yet.

And it’s hard to be here without You when I can’t be with You.

I’m so sorry, my dear, that You were in so much unfathomable pain. That You felt so lost, so dark, so dull in the night sky filled with other bright stars–unable to see how brightly You, too, shined–because You don’t see how important You are, how loved, how needed, how necessary for THIS life You are, not the next one.

And I pray, I pray so hard that You don’t leave us here alone so soon. You are needed. You are wanted. You are worth the world.

And I wish You knew, I wish You knew how much Your brain is lying to You. That You DO matter. That You are cared for. That there are hundreds of other people out in the world who want to meet You, who will love You, who will accept You. Who want You to experience everything there is out here in this life.

So I sit and cry in my bedroom, trying to find the words for something so inescapable. Something so large. Something that posed so much of a danger to You, my love, so much of a danger to me, to Your family, to Your friends, to Your followers, to everyone You had yet to meet, to the other animals You had yet to love, a life You had yet to find faith in to live by and thrive through–maybe I should have seen the entity lying behind Your eyes. Maybe I should have known to listen to my gut when at 1a I thought of You. Maybe things would have been different.

If I’d just reached out. Reached back out to You through the dark, showing You that the clearing was just up ahead and You were going to make it, You were always going to make it there. And I don’t know what You thought. I might never know what You thought. The way You uniquely would have phrased it, the way Your brain made excuses for Your actions, the pain, the deep chasms of pain that blinded You to everything before You. Everything that would lay in Your wake.

And I don’t mean to guilt trip you. I know that’s not helpful.

I just hurt, too. And I’m trying to process everything and doing jack shit to be able to.

It’s just so hard.

And You don’t know yet what I’m thinking or what I’m feeling. And I pray, I pray so much that You’ll be able to find out about this. About everything.

I wish You knew. I just wish You knew.

I wish You knew how I’m feeling right now, how much I’m praying for You, how much I’m trying to piece together hope and a semblance of normalcy and struggling all the same. I wish You knew how desperately I’m looking for the signs that You weren’t okay online, that I’m wishing the happy events to come weighed more than the pain deep within Your soul. I wish You knew that I was writing these words, that I pray You’ll see them one day. That You’ll be able to comprehend them. I want so much more than this for You, and I know that You can reach it, You can make it through, it’s just hard. It’s so hard.

So I’ll light a candle for You tonight and every night until You come back to me. Come back to us.

And I won’t know how to live without You. I won’t.

And I don’t want to ever have to find that out.

….yet I know that this is ultimately Your choice. And I can hope, I can pray, I can be there for You to the best of my ability and encourage You and love You and want so much for You, for everything I, too, have found, I’d want that and more for You, and ultimately… I have to accept that this life and this fight is only Yours to make. You can choose to live or you could choose to die, but you cannot do both. And some people make it through their suicidal ideation and live happy and healthy lives. And some don’t. And I don’t want that ever to be the case that You are the latter, but, I don’t necessarily have a choice in that matter. That is Yours and Yours alone. I can’t choose to live for You, only You can do that for Yourself.

Yet I want You to know that You still would matter. That Your absence will be fully noted, fully recognized and fully mourned. I would miss You so, so much. I would long to look into Your eyes again, to hear Your laugh, to feel Your hugs, to love everything about You, to see You bake again, to have the opportunity to hold You…

So, You’ve gotta pull through, to give me that type of moment. Your story isn’t over yet, it’s so very, very far from being over. And I know that while resources can be limited, that that does not mean You shouldn’t do everything in Your power to survive, to live, to thrive. You’ve got this, my love, You’ve got this so much.

Please, please know that You can live. You can.

It’ll be so hard and it will be worth the entire world. You are worth the world. And I’m not ready to say goodbye yet.

So if the candle extinguishes before I get the chance to say it loud, to cry it for You to hear, from the vortex of my Universe, from the walls of my bedroom, with the warm tears streaming down my face, praying I get to see You one day again soon (one last time), I will cry:

I love you. I want you. I need you. Please stay. Please choose life. Please don’t go. Not yet. It’s not your time. You’re going to make it through this. And when you struggle to find the light, you need only raise your hand and I’ll part the curtain, and force the trees to move and then you’ll see, then you’ll see–you will be found.

Rest up, my love, this battle will be long and hard and I’ll be with You all along the way.

Music I think the Reader should check out:

  1. You will be found by Ben Platt; from Dear Evan Hansen
  2. Why by Rascal Flatts (trigger warning)
  3. Hero by Faouzia
  4. Black hole by Griff
  5. 1800 273 8255 by Logic ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid
  6. It’s okay by Nightbirde
  7. Run like a river by Jamica

Thank you so much for reading about my grief. Please do your part and hold onto your loved ones an extra bit longer tonight. And tell the people you love that you do love them. And let them know in a card or a text how much you appreciate them. This life is, in fact, short, and you don’t want regrets and you want them to know because in an instant, they could vanish. Take care of yourselves, my friends. I will be planning to update and write more in the oncoming future. May the Universe bless you endlessly. xxx (I’m going into more Mr. Ballen Youtube videos to sleep tonight. Sending all the best.)

**May all those we’ve lost rest in peace. And all those still here to find the determination, the strength and the perseverance to choose to fight another day. Your efforts are recognized. You are doing amazing. Keep up the good work.

“Quiet Influence” (2013) | BES: June – Aug. 2021


CHOSEN BOOK:

“Quiet Influence” (2013) by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler PhD

The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference; ((nonfic))


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

None.


THEMES:

Introverts, introversion, leadership, exercises, self-improvement, Quiet Influence Quotient, open-ended questions, self-discovery, evolving, not changing your personality for your workplace (like becoming an extrovert), skills, guidance, hope, strength, weaknesses, self-help, feedback, business, face to face contact, body language, tips and tricks, end of chapter highlights.


SUMMARY:

Have you been feeling like an underestimated team leader because you tend to be a little more quiet, don’t earn your energy through the people around you or like to sit in quiet (not always complete silence, a trip to the library or nearest cafe works too!) for some “me-time”? If any of this sounds familiar, you may be working in an environment and society, let’s be real, that seems to value extroverts over introverts. BUT this book is here to tell you that you CAN lead, you CAN be a big player changing the game while STILL being YOU.

Maybe trying to change who you are isn’t working out for you–and WHY should it? You have excellent amounts of strengths as you are today, in this moment, just by being an introvert. In this particular nonfiction book, we are guided through the talents, the wise words of advice and the potential growth and understanding by fellow introverted leaders to spark our own creative juices and tackle situations and our leadership in a new and improved way. This book follows the six main quiet influence strengths singularly in depth per chapter with end of chapter questions to help get those cogs in your brain churning and working in the best way possible FOR you. This begins of course with a test and quantifying your current day, present moment quiet influence quotient. At the end of the book, we revisit it and reassess and you can wander off on your own with new insights, new knowledge and hopefully an updated approach to leading the world forwards.ย 

The following strengths are as follows: 1. Taking quiet time 2. Preparation 3. Engaged Listening 4. Focused Conversations 5. Writing 6. Thoughtful Use of Social Media

Per this review, we shall be reading my own answers to the end of chapter questions (I picked out the main highlights to cover via text and if you’re curious and can decipher my handwriting, then you can gleam some bonus content out of them, too!), along with a couple of the graphs I made before reading and after reading this book about my QIQ points themselves. I’ll take you through step by step as well as interpreting some of my handwriting as necessary and we’ll finish off this review through the final following sections. As such, let’s begin!


BOOK LENGTH:

162 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

3/5


OUTSTANDING QUOTES AND IDEAS:

  1. “Being silent provides energy (for introverts), increases self awareness and spurs creativity. Introverts return to quiet time frequently in order to recharge and reflect” — (Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 19)
    1. I found this quote to be very true of me and especially when I drive alone with music on my iPod in my car haha. Although I have become more talkative and use music a lot more now but this will be expanded upon, Quiet Time, later in this review. ๐Ÿ˜€
  2. This is more of a concept piece but I did find it interesting and helpful to read over the advice on people watching/people observing to get better at identifying and being more aware of body language cues, nonverbal cues and so on. The author suggests watching others in a public setting like at the grocery store and so on, although I’m sure it was easier without masks back then, but even so, it makes me want to research more on this and do some more reading on the topic and such so I appreciate that and that it doesn’t have to be this HUGE project, it can be something simpler etc. Plus checking in with people to assess whether I’ve assessed them correctly will also be impactful. For now, I’m mainly practicing it via videos or movies, which is still helpful!! My biggest struggle is that I take in the cues but I am not consciously aware of what they mean or what I should be doing about them or the gut feelings I’m getting from those cues. I’ve definitely gotten a lot better with it but it’s still something I have a hard time with. (Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 29)
  3. So, I thought this following quote was pretty powerful and fitting enough to highlight in this review itself. I just think it’s hard hitting and it made me think of a few content creators I watch on Youtube and reminds us all that our presence and how we react to situations does have a lasting impact on others and we can either wield that for good or for evil. I don’t know, it seemed significant and something worth noting and gleaning from everything else in this review. What do you think?ย ย ย ย  “When you use your quiet time for calm reflection, you get to know who you are. You become more self-aware when you take time to allow your thoughts and feelings to emerge. You can assess your motivations, tap into your values, recognize your strengths and address your weaknesses. Keen self-awareness means that you can make better choices about how you influence others and react to others who try to influence you” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 38
  4. Quiet time doesn’t have to be pure silence. There’s such thing as “communal solitude” where someone can take in the energy and atmosphere of hearing or being around others in a calming setting, for instance a library or a cafe. Individually people are doing their own thing and together it can provide such a unique ambiance and soothing settlement of feelings and getting work done. I was glad to see that QT doesn’t have to be just silence and it’s something I explore more of in the exercises portion where I list out my favorite spots for QT and getting work done. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜„ (I’d also like to capture this focus and comfort in my fics regarding Loki, particularly in D&D)
  5. “(perspective from an Introverted leader) ‘I don’t think I have the brains to come up with a lot of the stuff I write. Thoughts just come out of nowhere. And for me, unless I write–until I write them down–they keep coming up over and over again. And the minute I can write them down, they are gone and then new thoughts surface in my mind'” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 45
    1. I really, really found this quote super relatable in terms of how I approach my own creative writing. He talks about how if he tries to force himself to write he gets majorly stuck and it’s only when he’s in that creative flow just letting it stream out of him that he finds as much success in quiet time. Again, I could relate to this when either I’m blogging sometimes or if I’m writing my fan fiction stories. So, I thought that was particularly cool and something I’d share with you guys, too!!
  6. ย “[The ideas in quiet time that emerge may be brilliant] yet if they remain within you and you do not move any of them into action, they remain just that: ideas. Millions of books remain unwritten and innovations continue untapped because their originators stayed in quiet time instead of moving out to share these ideas with others” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 46
    1. The reason I wanted to highlight this particular quote is because I find it super, super relatable and important. I’ve done this soooo much with my own projects (blogging things) or creative projects and ideas and book ideas and such and it’s just a super helpful reminder that action is a necessary, expected step and if you don’t get out of just the idea and waiting for perfection to execute it, you’ll likely never do it or life will get in the way first. So yeah, maybe I should be brushing up on my old recovery art projects soon. That would be exceptionally lovely. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜Š Do you have any projects you’ve been neglecting that you could work on soon? Share em down below!!
  7. “How much introspection is too much introspection? Keep this helpful phrase in mind: ‘Look back but don’t stare’. When you realize that you are simply recycling the same thoughts and not learning anything new about yourself, it’s time to stop the mental music. Getting stuck in self-analysis can plant you too firmly in the act of dredging up the past” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 47
    1. If you carry on towards the next section of this review, you’ll find that I posed this question about when is it quiet time vs when is it rumination so having this quote spelled out so clearly was super helpful for me and really helped me to better conceptualize the ideas within this book.
  8. “Avoid exhaustion and burnout by knowing your limitations and enlisting the help of others….. Asserting yourself when you need help goes beyond even saving time. It also shapes others’ perceptions of you as a proactive influencer who challenges the status quo when things are getting off track” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 64
    1. I thought this was a particularly helpful and important assertion to focus in on in this review. I’ve definitely strayed away from this in my work at Amaryllis, but it is super helpful and important to remember and live by!! Even just the reminder is helpful. Don’t let your pride get in the way if you need more help!! If you try it out some time soon, I will too. ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™
  9. “You will never be able to find all the relevant facts, you will never be able to predict the success of a change you propose, you will never know for sure what will stand in the way of challenging the status quo. Perfection is a tough goal to reach, and you don’t need to have all the facts. Shoot for 80 percent” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 66
    1. I thought this to be a very interesting quote and conceptualization I wanted to highlight for this book. I definitely get soooo caught up in waiting for perfection that I freeze or get anxious and then things never happen or I start off well, lose focus or motivation or proper time management, and then I struggle with getting back on track. So I thought this was important to highlight here. I find it relatable to my online presence as well as Amaryllis, and it may be a leading factor into why I’m considering moving on from Amaryllis, potentially. But, that’s a whole other discussion and informational catalogue I don’t have at the current moment.
  10. “When you make a commitment to research a concern and then actually get back to the person with your response, you increase your credibility with that person and other people they impact. Building credibility is a process that happens one intentional action at a time” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 77

    1. I thought this was particularly interesting, engaging and important! Engaged listening is so, so, so important and there were some great tips in this section of the book that I thoroughly enjoyed (you’ll have to take my word for it or find the book for yourself!!). I really want to do this more than I do because again, I tend to have these images in my head of me doing these things but never fully actually doing them in reality, so if I can improve on this and work through it, that would be amazing and maybe even extend my reach to those I come into contact with! Yeeee.
  11. “When you are a great listener, people feel comfortable talking to you. They may continue to talk on and on, rehashing the same ideas without getting anywhere. It is, however, difficult to solve a problem when the only person talking keeps talking about the problem and not the solutions. As the ‘listener in chief’ you need to make sure that person you’re listening to does not become a ‘venter in chief.’ If you don’t ever ask questions that move toward solutions, you enable others to stay stuck in the problem” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 86
    1. Hi again, thought this was pretty critical within the psych and mental health community and support groups and such. Reminds me of my dear friend Gretchen quite a bit. She can really self-depricate and put down herself when just introducing a question or answer to something someone else has stated that makes it hard, for me, to fully hear out her point of view. Like, her low self-confidence is glaring in how she talks badly about herself and this could be a questionable way of credibly leading in a scenario like a support group. I also think that working with people in a support group is tough because we have to learn how to cut off when it’s just unhelpful venting vs problem solving and finding a path through it as well as how we prepare our group members to the idea that ‘Hey, if you need to go, say so, don’t feel guilty and stay longer than you need to and here’s a few ways you could approach this, etc.’ Like, people always say if you need to go that’s fine, but it’s never shown HOW to do so which I think makes it that much more likely people pleasing or self-sacrificing to a harmful degree can happen and lead to more upset feelings that no one says anything about because they’re so low in self worth, low in self confidence and are being passive. Just been something I’ve been noticing lately…
  12. “You need to verbalize your idea or proposal so that people know how to engage with you. If you remain silent, that never happens. In order to inspire others to move forward with your idea, opinion or advice, or to bring about a change you want to see, first solicit ideas through observing the situation, asking questions and listening to the responses. Then take the next important step: state your unique point of view and opinion and share your compelling vision. The world deserves to hear it” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 87
    1. Obviously doing this within the healthy amount of boundaries and when it’s asked for, although I think we’re all a little guilty of giving advice or input when it wasn’t necessarily asked for. But yeah, overall, you could lead and make an important impact with people if you can offer your opinion as something else for them to consider, even if they disagree with some of it or parts of it or all of it, you did your part and that can count a lot. Sometimes we’re so blind to the situation ourselves that having another person’s fresh eyes and story involving it can help so, so much.
  13. “Many people share stories about a teacher, parent, friend, boss or random stranger who encouraged them in a focused one-on-one encounter. This kind of individualized encouragement can have a deep and lasting impact, influencing the very direction of a person’s life. It is often the catalyst for provoking a new way of thinking and encouraging someone to move forward to take action” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 93
    1. This description really reminded me of the conversation I had with a friend in Feb. 2018 that really did change the course of my life thereafter. I don’t really remember a whole lot from it but it was so impactful and it’s what got me down a better course of recovery thereafter, so for that, I’m endlessly thankful. It was someone from the Mass Media while I was writing for the newspaper at uni. And also other instances as well. ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ”ฅ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒž
  14. ย “When done well, the process of writing develops a depth of thinking and authenticity that jump off the page and can deeply influence others” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 111ย ย ย ย  >>> Thought this was especially eloquently said and something to highlight here in this review. We are starting to wind down to being finished with this post, only 9 more flags left!!!
  15. “Writing helps you to gain clarity about what’s important to you and what you think and feel about situations. When you put pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard, the words often flow as if they are writing themselves. You’re able to release and better understand strong emotions like anger and resentment–feelings that may cloud the clarity of your thinking that you need to influence others. You can then merge your passionate feelings with logic and clarity” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 112
    1. I thought this was especially nice. I think this may be why I enjoy writing logs at Amaryllis so much. It helps me to process the day’s work and what went on and any issues that may have arose. I could probably serve to limit or trim them down though, to be honest!! Still, it’s an important skill and one of the few areas at work where I excel. Thanks, writing!!
  16. “Sometimes jumping right into the written word when advocating for your position can have serious consequences. Be sure to check out your assumptions and talk to key people before hastily writing out and sharing your position in what becomes a permanent format” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 124 >>> If this isn’t a big enough warning sign for going on’s online or over email or anywhere else written down via text… I’m not sure what is. I definitely have to practice more of this myself. I hope that you do too, whoever you are out there, Reader. Be careful out in The Void–whether it’s in videos, blogs, tweets, stories, etc.
  17. “Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish through your social media activities. Are you trying to change the world one click at a time? Do you want to initiate conversations to get feedback on your ideas? Are you trying to spread your message to large audiences? Do you want to attract clients, sell products, or position yourself for a new job? Who are you trying to reach: a few of the right people or a lot of the general public? Once you answer these questions you will have a better idea of how to channel your online efforts” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 138

    1. I think this such an important, important thing. I think once I developed a routine of things, and became severely inactive in a lot of my social medias over the years, and just with time away from them, I’ve really, really forgotten what it is that I’m searching for or after or am trying to accomplish. I have to really sit down with myself and have a discussion on this soon. Try to re-formulate things and maybe things have in fact changed and decide how I’m going to change with or without them. I think I need to make peace with the ways I used to make and use social media and maybe make room for the newer, future ways I want to channel and travel with them. Mmm, a lot of soul searching to do, for me.

END OF CHAPTER PROMPTS/EXERCISES:

  • All right, we are kicking off the image sharing with this post above!! This is the messiness of all the math I had to do, and have been seriously, seriously declining in since being out of college ahaha. I took the quiz in the book which is the first scoring section in Part A. Part B I catalogued together the averages and what they meant at the far right corner. And Part C I made my graph based on what I understood of the beginning strengths overview (which wasn’t much, let’s be real, and you’ll see this at the end, too) andddd yeah, that’s all I got. Crediting: Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 23 // Completed June 23rd 2021
  •  So originally I was only going to do Quiet Influence for one scenario, work (Amaryllis) but even then I had some doubts and also wanted to cover online presence as a second one, which after a week or so I wound up caving in and doing a separate one just for that on a small piece of paper (as you can see above). As for this Amaryllis based one, here’s some but not ALL of what I wrote down:
  • AMARYLLIS: Q1, Describe a situation that you would like to have more influence? Amaryllis I want to step up to the challenge of running routine more, being a more prominent leader, managing difficult situations with more grace, direction and patience, coming up with activities and being listened to as a staff.
  • AMARYLLIS Q4, What actions or behaviors have you tried thus far? What results have you seen? Avoidance, laziness, apathy, unhelpful stuff. Inspiration, motivation and ideas to create and improve. Taking charge in small moments or preparing so even on days off to build confidence.
  • AMARYLLIS Q6, What skills could you use in this situation? Preparation, taking quiet time.
  • ONLINE PRESENCE: Q1, My online presence, in particular Youtube and WordPress.
  • OP: Q4, uploading more frequently, playing with length of videos, networking with others more, making new friends, being involved in others’ work
  • OP: Q6, Thoughtful use of social media, quiet time, focused conversations or engaged listening.
  • Amaryllis notes: 6.23.2021 evening; OP notes: 7.14.2021 evening
  • —- Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 30-31

  • So in the next chapter of this book, in the section just on Quiet Time, I did this first (left picture) thought rundown and run through of what I thought QT would be for me and the different ways I’d define it as (activities) and how having this written guide can help me moving forwards. So, for the first 3/4 I define some of those aspects like listening to music, creative writing, blogging, video making, engaging online with others, reading a book etc. On the bottom of the page I asked myself some key questions: When does QT become rumination? Does QT have to be only in silence (nope!!)? When is QT underused? (Overuse is something answered later in the chapter) When is distraction over used? How do I balance being “on” with being “off”? For that final question, I find myself wandering and getting super distracted with Youtube or it’s the biggest source of my procrastination and I feel like when I’m watching countless videos that I can be “off”, I can be relaxing and just “enjoying myself” without any real work put into place, instead of something like blogging or reading a book, etc. I don’t know, I thought it was a good question to have… — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 36
  • The right handed picture is probably the easiest prompt answered in this entire book ahaha, for me at least!! Q2 Where can you go without distraction to reflect and plan? What activities provide you with good reflection time? I answered: the library, cafes, sometimes my bedroom, outdoors (between the lakes, porch, gazebo etc.), in the car (driving), early in the morning (when few are awake), listening to music/ambiant sounds, making art, sitting in the quiet. — Written down 7/12/21 morning, evening. Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 49

  • All right!! Welcome back to this section. So, this is the photo I have for Chp 5, and I’m going to list out the most relevant questions and answers here. I was working with two scenarios of influence: Amaryllis and online presence. So, Q2 I answer how I manage when I don’t prepare ahead of time, and how effective as an influencer I am when I don’t prepare and what could be done differently to prepare: Winging it on second shift for activities is definitely pretty hard. For first shift, it’s also tricky because I don’t tend to know what building I’ll be in with what group of children, so I could prepare all I want and still be unprepared regardless. So that’s something that stinks with this job, because I don’t have a predictability going into it. Then again, I might not somewhat at a newer job either.
  • In terms of this same question for online work: I could use guiding notes for videos to center myself or a quote or two. If I am working with a video, I can always take stuff out later in the editing process. So, there’s more room to prepare and achieve productive and satisfying results. Whether that’s in the creative filming or the creative editing
  • Q3 – What steps could you take to prepare for your influencing challenge? Would you benefit from a written plan? How and when are you going to follow through on these aspects of preparation?
  • Amaryllis: I think writing out scenes and stories for work to help mentally prepare myself for what I might walk into would help. Like visualizations that no matter what I’ll manage and it’s only for one shift. Written plans would help, for sure
  • Online: Same as outlined in the question above.

  • All right, so this is on the subject of Engaged Listening. Q1, How did someone who truly listened to you impact you? What engaged listening skills did they have? How can you use EL to influence someone else?
  • At Amaryllis, I’d say in supervisions/monthly reports, my bosses have given me great advice or metaphors to reframe what next situation I’m getting into, etc. I could continue to use my own forms of EL with metaphors and paraphrasing
  • For online presence, a few new friends I’ve made on Youtube have been super helpful and I could use EL with more validation, questions and problem solving.
  • Q3: How can EL help your situation? Could EL help you develop empathy with a person involved? What could you listen for to learn more about the situation?
  • Amaryllis: Just listening for more feedback and observing the skills and techniques of others and adapting my position to enhance and be improved upon.
  • Online presence: EL online can be to validate more and rephrase and be open about behavior I see that’s healthy, positive and brainstorm alternatives to unhealthy, negative behavior. For me, knowing when to educate and when it’s not necessary to respond (hate, trolls). I could speak more from my own point of view and “I” statements and owning my feelings.

  • ‘Ello!! This one is a little different but I figured that taking a picture of this example breakdown of the AEIOU skill would be the easiest way to convey it and get you guys an additional look inside this book. It’s not a perfectly flawless example or outcome, maybe some re-wordings would benefit both parties, but I thought it was still a really great example and something to dig one’s toes in a bit more. Let me know what you think of this down in the comments!!

  • Okay, this is the chapter questions for Focused Conversations. Let’s jump in!
  • Q1: Reflect on a focused conversation with someone in your situation that moved you forward. How did the conversation help bring a solution into focus? What can you learn from that experience to take into other FC’s?
  • Amaryllis: When my boss reframed that my shifts with the baby are only a few hours and getting through it onto the other side, I get to go home and live my life and get to be away from campus. This reframe was very helpful, realistic and life affirming
  • Online presence: Probably online interactions through Youtube, FFN, AO3, blog. Getting feedback and working towards new results and new alternative situations (vid editing). Even just being validated and respected. Offering feedback and check ins.
  • Q3: How can you learn from others in your next dialogue? Think of a pivotal story or anecdote you can share to illustrate a central point related to your influencing challenge?
  • Online presence: For online besides fanfics, I should work on more new metaphors, scripts like with IOOV’s, video condensing and so on. Metaphors and visceral situations grounded into tangible experiences helps.

  • All right, all right, we’re almost done with this review now. I’ll just have to finish a couple last sections, this section and then reread it all and edit and then I should be posting it the same day as the final day that I worked on this entire review (8.27). As for this image… this is the last FULL question/answer list I did although it wasn’t the final two. But I’ll talk about that more below. For now, this one focused on the writing skill.
  • Q1, Identify a piece of writing that has either challenged you or inspired you in the last month. Which aspects of it can you incorporate into your own writing?
  • Online presence, I definitely think online fanfic related reviews have inspired me to see the influence and impact I have and am making. Carrying this into my stories would be crucial.
  • Q2, what opportunities exist at work or home to refine your writing skills?
  • Amaryllis, Definitely reread and getting an idea of other people’s logs helps and how I can reframe what I write. Becoming more succinct and logical/formal will also help
  • Online, At home, continuing to read others works and stories will help a lot. Just being more open to others will help. And joining writing groups or forums could make an important difference.

All right, I’m definitely winding down now and it’s almost time for dinner so I am going to do that next after I finish this section and then work on a couple of blurbs for the last section and then end this post, edit it and publish it, whoohoo.

As for the Chp 9 material, I never answered those 3 questions so I am not going to share a photo of that but once I DO finish it one day, I’ll make an update post/separate post linking back to this one, just on it. That’s the plan. There’s also the next photo I’m going to share with 2 questions left unanswered that I’ll update again later but for now I have the updated graph (slightly messed up though, oops) and the two new skills I can try and work on the most from here on out.

So, without further ado… Here’s that final photo for this post.

So all I have officially completed for this picture above is the graph section. I messed up on the graph actually and tried to fix it but it didn’t totally work. The QT should be all the way up to 10 on the scale versus preparation only being up to 5. I need to work more on those two skills: preparation and thoughtful use of social media.


THOUGHTS OR IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

  1. Books are great friends. That’s it, that’s the message. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜š
  2. No context for this page flag but I love trains and the ambiance and soothing nature of them as well. Wonderful playgrounds of productivity or resting!! ๐Ÿ˜„
  3. Exercise can be a great set of recharging the batteries, for me trying out video games on the Switch like the boxing one or the Fit thingy or Just Dance would be really great and perfect!!
  4. I find breathing exercises or trying to pace breathing and things when I’m upset to be particularly difficult but I have found a few other ways of self-soothing around it that isn’t as direct but still seems to help (ironically I mentioned it sort of in my cardiophile blog post; I basically just trace my veins at the backs of my hands, particularly my right hand, and that helps to just ground me and calm me down. If I tried to use deep breathing it just doesn’t seem to help and frustrates me more. But the veins thing helps. I’ve noticed I do it in videos sometimes now too and it’s only been in the last year that I’ve really started to as well. I hope to mention it in a video some time soon. ๐Ÿ˜Š)
  5. Here’s a concept in this book that I liked but I think it can suffice itself well enough in this section: It talks about how becoming TOO attached to the visualization process of us planning to see our good outcomes occur in the future can be problematic because we get inflexible and too wedded to our ideals and ideas of things that haven’t actually occurred yet. It also says how life has so many variables and it’s not something that can be guessed super easily. So yeah, I thought that was helpful and interesting, in the workforce especially. Sometimes what happens for me, is if I see myself doing certain things so much, I almost vicariously live as though they happened, even if they only happened in my head, and didn’t become reality. I definitely have a work, Amaryllis, related regret about that unfortunately. Oi. — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 48
  6. There was a section in this book that talked about setting up work spaces early for meetings or spending some quiet time alone to recharge before facing these situations and I thought it was super memorable for me when I was President of the Photography Club at uni. Hahah. It was a nice reminder!!
  7. There’s another concept in this book that talks about even if you are someone who is long-winded and talks a lot, having a ‘short version’ of your pitch or request or story is super duper helpful and it’s something I want to continue improving and working on going into the future with my videos!! ๐Ÿ˜€
  8. “A powerful tool for influencing people is silence. Often, a person will talk themselves out of a wrong decision without the listener saying a word” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 78 >> Thought this was super interesting and can be quite true sometimes!! Sometimes just listening does wonders. Make sure to ask what the person needs or is looking for to help them out the most!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‰
  9. “[Bracket Distracting Thoughts] Do you ever find your mind wandering to what you didn’t get done, what you’re making for dinner, or the fact that you need to call your Mom–all while you are trying to listen to someone else? Such thoughts block your ability to really hear the nuances of what the other person is saying. To improve your attention, take those thoughts and imagine placing them in brackets where they can stay safely tucked away while you really listen. They will be there for you when you’re ready for them” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 81 >>>> I feel like in theory this is a fabulous idea, but at the same time I don’t think for someone like myself whose memory is shot to the heavens and I forget if I don’t do it right then and there, this would be very, very tricky. I can maybe try writing it down on scraps of paper or something but yeah, trying to just assume that I’ll remember later means I probably won’t. If I don’t write it down I’m lost. Even if I do write it down, it’s likely I’ll be writing it down again because I forgot I already did or the idea repeated itself again. Even when I just said something, I’m not paying attention with what I said when so I can’t even recall then either. Unless it’s recorded somewhere or in text, forget it. But, maybe trying this paired with some writing will help… Hmm. Worth a shot!!
  10. On p. 82 There’s a great example of how students that feel comfortable with their professors in uni can sometimes reach out for indirect help and get pointed to the necessary and right sources of help and input, and that greatttttly reminded me of my time in uni and some of the professor’s I reached out to that helped me immensely through my recovery. I’d love to do a video some time of getting indirect help from people and such. This portion of engaged listening really had me going down memory lane for a bit which I didn’t mind entirely. I remember I reached out to my abnormal psych prof, and my learning and memory prof who at the end of the semester emailed me and told me how much grit it took for me to get through the semester, something I’ve always, always valued since then. I don’t know, I don’t think, I ever responded to their email but it really did stick with me. I think I even forwarded to my business email so I could probably find it and uncover it again. But yeah, that was super relatable for me and something I wouldn’t mind sharing or discussing at greater length online. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜™
  11. “When you see or hear mismatches between what is being said and how it is being said (body language), ask a question to bring focus to the disconnect” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 84 >>> I thought this was some great advice and still continues to be something I want to learn more about and look into and quiz myself on and get better at. ๐Ÿ˜…
  12. “‘And now whatever way our stories end I know you have rewritten mine… Because I knew you, I have been changed for good'” – Quote by Steven Schwartz, composer, Wicked — from Chp 7 Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 89 >>> I thought this was a wonderful little quote and really cute! That’s all. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿค—
  13. A book I’d like to check out as mentioned in this book: “The Drama Years” by Haley Kilpatrick, founder of Girl Talk.
  14. Eyebrows can be very expressive body language cues. So, look out for those more in the future!
  15. The loudest voices being the most heard and all other opinions falling to the way side is definitely an instance of intense group think. Reminds me in some ways of some of the support groups I’m going to. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜’
  16. Something I definitely notice I do more and am such a stickler about is fixing typos or rewording things and spending the time to edit so I can come across as succinctly as I want to and polished and fresh. Times where I don’t always make me face palm and I regret it later. Oooof. I really work hard to comb over everything I write to make sure it is clear and I’m making sense and I fix up any mistakes. It definitely means more work but eh. I try my best, and sometimes I still get typos! That’s okay!!!
  17. [about giving people handwritten notes] People touched by the attention, they will often hold onto these symbols of recognition for years. Writing makes it official. Some recipients have told [specific person] that glancing at these little confidence boosters helped them get through some rough days at work. The permanence of the written word means that these mementos can motivate people to action again and again in a variety of situations” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 116-117; >>>> I loveeeeee this type of thing myself!!! I love things with people’s handwriting and really cherish them very much. I have so much of that type of stuff all in and around my bedroom. I also love this type of thing can be maybe felt by others that have my handwriting or cards or little art pieces and can apply on a larger scale to pro-recovery art projects. I should really go about sending another round of them at Amaryllis. It’s been a lonnnnnnnng time!! I also think it’s just a wonderful random act of kindness too. Costs nothing to be kind! Well, maybe sometimes it costs haha
  18. This book also covers, on p. 120, the importance of using visual mediums to support large walls of text which I can definitely get behind as well, I just added 3 gifs to this post, but I should have waited because now my text is taking too long to buffer appropriately which is severely annoying. Guess I’m doomed for the rest of this post. Eugh. But yes, thumbs, videos, gifs, images, all helpful, helpful stuff. Good tips for blogging!!
  19. “When you regularly use content found on social media, you become more aware of what works and what doesn’t, and this knowledge will help you improve the content you put out there. You will get used to the appropriate length, tone, pacing and format and become a better editor of your own material” — Kahnweiler, 2013, p. 141 >>>> I really, really look forward to this for my Youtube channel one day ahaha I guess the more I work on it and the more I take tips and techniques from others, the better I’ll get at it, one day!!

MY EXPERIENCE: WHAT KEPT ME READING AND THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME:

I actually elected to take out the Critical Corner section of this review because I’m tired and I’m ready to just be done with this ahaha. I’m just running out of steam and I think I can do without that section and write this last one and then take a small break and reread everything, edit and then finally be free to hit publish. It’s getting late for a Friday for me and I have work all this weekend that I have to be okay with and deal with and such, but I have a lot of fun upcoming week things going on so I’m excited and I hope everything goes okay!!! I’ve just procrastinated for so many weeks with this one book that I just can’t wait to be fully done with it. Then on Sun, my plan will be to drop this book and OA off at the library, it’s further away, and then for sure I’ll be fully done with it, not having to look back other than maybe a video on this book in the future or those final two question/answer prompts.

I definitely don’t think this book was AS impactful as TAoCL but it was still pretty decent. It wasn’t a terrible experience and it did get me thinking a lot and I think I got the most out of the QT section and the FC I think it was for kindness stuff and recovery art projects and then maybe the thoughtful use of social media and engaged listening.

I cannot wait to start my next few books, I really haven’t completely yet so it’ll be so refreshing and nice to even spend just 20 mins tonight getting involved in the next best thing. Who knows, they may be even BETTER. Well, that’s all from me for now.

Other final thoughts regarding this book involve:

Engaging more with my audiences across platforms. Also, structuring tweets for my vids like how other people could get stuff out of it or what’s in it for them (personalizing a video more towards what can be found in it versus the nitty gritty numerical details/how I was structuring them before), is a new change that came from this book. No idea what page though. I just remember that.

Overall, it was a decent book to read and it didn’t have any real major issues. It was short enough and nicely laid out so I’d give it a whirl if you’re another introvert out there!! Best of luck and I will see you guys soon. XX

Thanks so much for being here!!! Stay safe, my friends. xxx What are you reading next?


My next books to read are….

“Dear Life” by Rachel Clarke (nonfic) and “Hazards of Time Travel” by Joyce Carol Oates (fic)

And then maybe after these, “The Audacity to Be Queen” by Gina DeVee or “Imagination” by Jim Davies (both nonfic)


TRACKING DATES AND HOURS OF TIME I READ THIS BOOK:

6/18/2021 (late afternoon), 6/19 (early afternoon), 6/22 (evening), 6/23 (late afternoon), 6/24 (early evening), 6/27 (late afternoon), 7/6 (early evening), 7/7 (late morning), 7/14 (early evening and late evening), 7/12 (early morning), 7/15 (late afternoon and early evening), 7/26 (early morning, mid-morning and noon), 7/29 (late afternoon and early evening), 7/28 (early evening).

TRACKING DATES AND HOURS OF TIME I WROTE THIS REVIEW:

7/30/2021, 8/2/2021, 8/9, 8/23, 8/24, 8/27,

“Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?” (2019) | BES: Aug. 2021


CHOSEN BOOK:

“Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?” (2019) by Patricia Marx and illustrated by Roz Chast

((nonfic; humor))


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

Heavy on the topic of food, judgments, “skinny days”.


THEMES:

Dinner parties, food, stiff personalities, humor, brevity, introduction, illustrations, words from a mother, jokes, advice, water colors, wallpaper, color, patterns, artistry, creativity, light read, caring about what others think.


SUMMARY:

If you’re looking for a decently easy read without a lot of weight in terms of topics and just something to fill in some of your time while you read short sentences and view illustrations that are pleasing to the eye, this may be the short read for you!

I picked out this book from the nonfiction humor section at the library and if anything, it helped remind me of a similar though more serious and more engaging book that I own and have owned for a couple of years now regarding the wisdom passed down from mothers and loved ones (a book I began but never finished, obtained Oct-Nov 2018 approximately, maybe 2019, I hope to read it through fully one day soon, it’s called “What To Do When I’m Gone” by Suzy Hopkins and Hallie Bateman). Personally for me, this book by Marx and Chast was okay but nothing really groundbreaking and nothing that I’m taking away a whole lot from. It was nice to read though and get another perspective on the types of mothers that exist out in the world. Arguably, it makes this BES post pretty easy too, which I need because my latest BES post for QI I’ve been avoiding lately and procrastinating on and I’m only doing this post first so I get one other book done and returned soon, and then can trick myself into working on that post to get it done and let loose into The Void. Back to this book though, it was pretty food and dinner party focused and there were some things I didn’t jive with but that could just be from my point of view. More on that later.

I do think the illustrations of this book really adds a shine to it that would be otherwise dull and boring without them, so that is some great teamwork!! If you pick up this book yourself, what do you think stands out the most for you? Are my observations in this post different and what challenges could you raise from my own words that you could add into the blogosphere as well? More opinions, more eyes, more minds are great, great things. Cheers, my friends!!


BOOK LENGTH:

81 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

1/5


OUTSTANDING QUOTES, IDEAS OR IMAGES:

  1. So, this is generally how the book is set up: the far left page features either a blank water color solid color or a water colored pattern that reminds me especially so of wallpaper. Sometimes the theme of this is carried over to the right page where it may make an appearance in the illustration, but it’s not always the case either so this may have just been a stylistic choice. On the right page, is the advice from Marx’s mother with an accompanying illustration by Chast. Her style is quite scratchy and colorful and full, and great, great additions to the work of text. I particularly enjoyed the water color wallpaper and some of the usage of either black solid colors on the left or this rich and creamy vanilla, butterscotch type color. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Š
  2. BES 7 - Susan WDYW == Aug. 2021
  3. Personally for the above picture, I thought it was just lovely art and quirky enough and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Far better than anything else I could come up with myself!! I love the use of light and shadow… I really ought to use more shadow in my own work haha. Love it. (Marx & Chast, 2019, p. 9)
  4. BES 7 - Rainbow
  5. We all know how much I LOVE rainbows, so it’s only fitting that this beautiful, beautiful illustration sees the light of the Internet and the powerful and interesting advice that makes it up–though I’m not sure how much you could get away with that today!! Love the shadow, the light and the detail and scratchiness of it all. What do you think? I think this is my favorite one by far. ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿงก๐Ÿงก (Marx & Chast, 2019, p. 21).

flight-of-ideas-bes-thumb-2.19.21

THOUGHTS OR IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

Not really any that stood out for this book, and honestly I think this is the shortest BES post I’ve ever done in the last 5 years lmao It probably won’t ever be this short again, I imagine. This book overall was all right, not anything super spectacular though or something I was super engaged in or had time for other things to think about. I’d say I was pretty mindful during it and that the flags I did write down were largely regarding the illustrations more than the text itself. I’d also say the short length was helpful because it made it all the more easy to ingest in a short, timely fashion.


CRITICAL CORNER:

So, when I chose this book I was very intrigued and curious and the short length did stand out to me quite a bit. Again, like I mentioned in the summary, it reminded me of this other book I started to read, own and never finished, and so I thought this book in question would hold the same amount of weight, relevancy, importance and significance. I was quite a bit disappointed. I feel like Marx’s mother and her priorities (particularly so much talk of dinner parties) were sloppy at best and borderline irritant and stiff and harsh at other times. Her mother seems to be quite concerned of what everyone else is thinking and by Marx’s own account, her mother would be nice and kind to everyone else first but less so and less soft and gooey with her own kids. Marx has taken this well though because she views being told the truth and not having it sugarcoated as more authentic and fundamental, knowing her mother wouldn’t tell her nonsense if she didn’t mean it and Marx has learned to live around it. I do wonder how this would be a challenge if other ailments like mental or physical health would be at play and how this might not bode well for such instances. It kinda reminds me of Odin and how I write him in my fanfic involving the teenage, mental health one, D&D. It’s…interesting.


MY EXPERIENCES: WHAT KEPT ME READING AND THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME:

I’d definitely say the short length of this book was super duper appealing. But I also think I barely got anything significant or interesting to take away from this book. I don’t think it had much of an impact and makes me see where my own Mom has done a lot more than maybe some other mothers out there. I also feel that for the author themselves that as the book went on the narrower and narrower their target audience became.

But maybe you will find something more out of it yourself!! I suggest you pick it up at the library and glib your way through it with a patient stroll. You never know what you might find!!

This again is probably the first time I’ve ever written such a short post and I’m grateful to be able to get it done (even if I was looking at it like a chore most of the time while writing, and even more so the dread that is going to come when I have to address my neglected other BES post for QI, but I know I have to do it, I have to not avoid! I have to DO!) Okay, let’s hurry on and get to the editing phase of this and then the final publication button.

Thanks so much for reading this post and stay tuned for my next and upcoming ones!! After I publish QI, would you rather see a new BES or my revival of an old one from years ago? Let me know in the comments!!! Stay safe out there. xxx


My next book to read is…. & My next BES post focuses on….

Next BES: “Quiet Influence”

Next nonfic book: “Dear Life”; next fic book “Hazards of Time Travel”


TRACKING DATES AND CHUNKS OF TIME I READ THIS BOOK:

8/9/2021 (evening), 8/10 (late morning), 8/20 (evening).

TRACKING DATES AND CHUNKS OF TIME I WROTE THIS REVIEW:

8/23/2021 (evening).

“Once Again” (2020) | BES July – Aug. 2021



CHOSEN BOOK:

“Once Again” (2020) by Catherine Wallace Hope

((fiction novel))


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

pedophilia, crime, substance abuse, murder, preying on children, suicide, grief, assault, abduction, language, “crazy,” drug overdose, PTSD, depression, gaslighting, narcissism.


THEMES:

Grit, overcoming adversity (again and again and again), strength, time lines, time, time travel, quantum physics, alternate universes, pain, emotion, hope, light, meaning, psychological thriller, keeps you guessing, cooking, very descriptive language, quotes, parts (part 1, 2, etc.), healing, (group) therapy, flashbacks, mathematics, time stones, memories, consciousness, simulators, Colorado, what if chances, paving into a new future, change, detectives, medical scenes, black holes, white holes.


SUMMARY:

Hi hi, the summary for this book is tough for me because I want to talk candidly about what the story as it unfolds is about but I don’t exactly want to give it away either! Ahaha, SUCH a problematic pickle!

Either way, if I start off the review vague but get more specific in the Critical/Questioning Corner, it’s because I’m grappling with these decisions. Honestly though, I LOVED this book. It was such a good read. I definitely still struggled with my re-reading and having to go back at times because I couldn’t remember things (for instance, by p. 120 I was angry trying to figure out who Aidon was lmao) or things that I thought were one way turned out to be another way, etc. Overall though, I pretty much devoured this book in a few long sessions, which was super nice and wonderful!

Something I haven’t been able to do in a long time. It’s a complex read in terms of the quantum physics, alternate time lines and all the consistencies and confusions that arise from the popular and well-explored in movies (especially lately–I’m looking at you, MCU) time travel components, the makeshift of the science fiction involved and the tang of creativity that envelops it all.

There is betrayal. There is the darker sides of humanity. And there’s a mother who will stop at nothing to save her daughter. I should probably explain…

So, the story focuses on Erin Fullarton and Zac Fullarton, parents to the six-year old child Korrie. We start in present day where it’s June 2021 and slowly and gradually learn that the shell of what is left of Erin is because of the intense grief and pain that came with losing her child. We don’t find out right away how this happened exactly but it is revealed later. Zac is working on some time and physics type of thing where he has created two time stones, one as Erin’s wedding ring and a second a year or so later. He begins to spend his day in the ‘Clean Room’ of his workplace on the kinda anniversary of Korrie’s death; as time begins to shift and present itself, Erin is forced to realize that what she could potentially prevent is within her hands and only something she could do (she tried, valiantly, to get aid but it didn’t come readily, unfortunately).

She decides to put her everything into changing the story that her life had took a dark turn in.

We get the perspective a few times from Korrie’s killer, the icky yucky pedophile who–ooof, his chapters were particularly disgusting. Hated them. Hated him.

There’s also the Detective from Korrie’s case and that is tied up nicely at the end but I’ll leave it there for now.

Erin faces a LOT of adversity throughout this book–trying to get people to understand the gravity of what was happening and that things themselves were repeating and people treating her like she was “crazy” for it, etc. She realizes some of the pattern with the time shifts–one minute it’s summer and the next she’s stepping into winter. And when the simulation that Zac is running falls into the abyss, she recognizes that too. There’s a whole section I could talk about but I’ll say this instead:

This story will keep you guessing all the way through. You’re going to get pissed off, elated, enthralled, interested, sometimes bored (sorry, for all the physics talk! But, they lighten up, too!), wondering what certain things have significance, confused at all the time travel and how things are happening but then jumping so far aboard that it’s just natural and where the writer wanted to take us with this story that needed to be told. It’s such a gripping book. Every time I started to celebrate Erin’s wins–another thing impeded her path. “No!” I would internally shout. “You were so close!”

This book had a great balance and instances of things looking up, then going down, then looking up, then going down. It reminded me, towards the end of the story, of a video game I’m playing on the Nintendo Switch: “Journey of the Broken Circle.” Very similar I’m finding (in the sense that the story line paves the way from when things are seemingly at their most hopeless, there’s still a way through and out the other side to better times, better life and better health.) This book has a lot of those themes too.

Ultimately, the last thing I’ll say is this: The ending and those final scenes were so poignant and wishing to be captured, frozen in time as they were, forever and always. For time to retreat backwards without memory, with repetition and with different details… I don’t understand quite why they were different details, was it just the universe that was at play or did something change within the intervals of the waves on the simulation, it’s never quite explained but maybe it doesn’t have to be. Things are different and yet similar and surprising and then just are. They shine with the possibility that only having read the book’s prior pages, knowing how certain events unfolded and fell apart, only then could you appreciate those small changes that made such a different outcome. The ways it was described was very thought-provoking for me–that little bit of wonder when you take a moment to think and realize right then and there in the present day reality: how could this event unfold next? What if I acted on this thought now? Or what if I never did? What would change? What led to what? What would be different?

Time is an elusive beast. The universe works in strange ways. Maybe that we’re all here, for however long that is, is all that matters. ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿค


BOOK LENGTH:

276 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

4.5/5


OUTSTANDING QUOTES OR IDEAS:

  1. I love the way Erin in her grief is described in this book, particularly in the first act. Hope uses the metaphor and theme even with Erin’s husband and it’s such a magical little callback. I found this part particularly captivating and relatable at the start of the book: “{Erin is considering and getting ready to make some muffins} Did she even know where the whisk was anymore? And with that, she was overwhelmed and could not face it. There had been a time when she could have put muffins together without a thought..now she couldn’t handle the idea of even starting them” (Hope, 2020, p. 11)
  2. The pain of the grief that not only Erin has felt from the shock waves of Korrie’s death, but the fact that Zac was isolated in his own is rocked even harder and with more intensity in this description here: “The other Erin, as he’d begun thinking of her, the one who’d replaced his wife, this lifeless Erinesque version who had appeared when the love of his life was sucked into the void…When Korrie died, Erin departed without him for regions unknown” (Hope, 2020, p. 16)ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  Personally, I found this was very relatable and how I tell the story in my fanfic “Distorted & Disordered” (to be fair, quite a bit of this book reminded me of D&D but I think a couple other fics were also on my mind too).
  3. When the story behind the nickname is revealed of how Erin and Zac called Korrie, it’s just so breathtaking. Like, she’s in the midst of a dream and consciousness and just the way it was written, thinking she’s lost her Korrie from when she was just a fetus, remembering the bump and then not feeling it, looking for her in the blankets, damn it’s powerful writing.
  4. I’m pretty sure this was unintentional but the commentary for those who are suffering from severe or even just mild or moderate mental health conditions was something that needed to be said. For Erin, in an impossible situation, she was painted to be “crazy” or a “lunatic” or “losing it” etc. That her grief had made her go “out of her mind.” We know, as the Reader, that this is not the case. But we’re powerless to stop them from feeling and judging her so harshly. I think, also, when she’s trying to get help from other people who immediately dismiss her because of her intense grief, her intense depression and her just overall struggle from her mental health because her daughter freakin’ died–that commentary, that “other-ness” is such a strong stigma in place in our real life and society as a whole. It paints the very real picture that “just because it’s all in your head” it’s not valid or real or true to you etc. Or that your whole identity is that “illness”. Or that you’re somehow “wrong” and “broken.” These are disastrous ideals because we know that mental health conditions recovery is a process, a journey and there’s no one way fits all. Hope is out there. Help is available. You deserve to have nice things, to live a happy and fulfilling life and you can if you decide to still be here and choose life. Recovery is possible and we’re here for you. Sorry, side rant. Compassion, empathy and understanding can go a very long way. Validating doesn’t mean agreeing!!
  5. Another super relatable, emotional and grieving point of the book was how Erin described her feeling lost and broken after hearing the first news that no one knew where Korrie was: “In the time that followed, people kept introducing themselves… Erin fell apart and pulled herself together and fell apart again. People gave her drinks in paper cups and handed her tissues and patted her shoulder. And yet nobody managed to do the only thing that mattered: find Korrie” — (Hope, 2020, p. 89)
  6. This next scene is so horrendously and marvelously composed that I just have to share it with you all. It fits so perfectly into this story, it definitely belongs in it and the grappling of time and understanding amongst the confusion is so on point: “[Erin] dreaded the idea that she might stand where he had stood, where he had discarded what he stole. But perhaps if she were to stand there in winter before he did, she could find a way to undo what he’d done before he did it” (Hope, 2020, p. 130)ย ย ย ย ย ย  It makes so much sense, it gets us to where we need to go, it fills in the gaps and at the same time it’s almost insignificant. Truly fascinating.
  7. At one point, ending a phase of the book, Erin struggles with realizations and the questioning nature of time and its happening in a perfectly described token of: “She couldn’t understand how this had happened. Now she had no idea where she was, or rather when she was, or what to do, but she knew she had to get back, back to where she’d been” (Hope, 2020, p. 141)ย ย ย ย  To me, it felt totally wild and even MORE adversity. The adversity and the odds were truly stacked against her and her family. This book is a RIDE.
  8. There’s something so remarkable, fitting, human and true in the following scene: “(Erin to Korrie) ‘You have to keep talking. Let’s do a story.’ Korrie: ‘I don’t want to, I feel bad.’ E: ‘The trick is to keep going, no matter how you feel. That’s how it has to be.'” — (Hope, 2020, p. 217).ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  To me, it’s just something so striking, this scene. Erin’s fight and will to survive and thrive and do everything she can is super admirable. She doesn’t give up even when she has those moments where she considers it. Even with how much of a mess she is at times, she still fights. That’s amazing. It also again reminded me of that Switch game “Journey of the Broken Circle.” And really just life in general. (Which I can relate to very much right now with my physical health, as you get older ailments don’t seem to come individually wrapped but rather altogether to test your resolve. Bleh. ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜–)
  9. What I really love about the way things ended in this book is that vague, distinct thought or phrase or almost memory that something had already happened before, something in another future, another place, that a perspective had been made and even though it came through distantly thereafter (fragmented in some cases, somewhat whole in others) it was a little glimmer of what once was even if it never became anything. I don’t know, just thinking about how these gut feelings at times or these conscious dabbling scenarios could hold so much more significance in a different time line is just fantastic eye candy to me: “As Erin stood, a feeling illuminated within her, the sense that she had the strength to take on whatever might lie ahead of her. She couldn’t know what the future was, but she knew she could rise to meet it” — (Hope, 2020, p. 255).ย ย ย  Again, I just thought it fit so well with the ground covered in this story and then was also just so mind-boggling, fantastic peeks into detail and yeah. A memory of what once was even though it never came to be.

THOUGHTS OR IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

  • Legit, I have no context to understand this now but early on in the book there was a scene that reminded me of this really great horror movie I watched on Netflix, I’m gonna pull up the name here: “Before I Wake” (2016) Something about how the story line in that movie went and how it’s relatable and similar to this particular story, I’m thinking specifically how the mother in the movie kinda uses her foster kid to purposefully see these tangible rehashed memories of her first son (who died) and how in this novel there’s that tangible aspect first going back in the past (so that Erin was back when Korrie was still alive and how she related and touched and could feel the very realness of the bedroom around her, in such stark contrast to her present day time line) and just… yeah. I don’t know if I explained that right or if it even fits here now having gone through the story but I think that’s what I was thinking of. That just holding on to what once was even though it’s no more (or wasn’t for a while). ๐Ÿ˜Š
  • Shout-out to any other cardiophiles out there: this book has a pretty good plethora for them in case you’d like to read it and also be in for a great story! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿงก๐Ÿงก
  • The way Erin reaches out to the next person she can think of that holds power in the situation to help alter or change the line of events that the first three quarters of the book presents, and that she’s told she can’t be helped and that there’s something wrong with her and just overall abandons her…. yeah, that reminded me of Luna a lot.
  • Hah! I did think of “This Would Be the End” fic at one point! Hah, I knew it!
  • Probably one of the coolest things about this book was seeing the way I write Loki in my fanfics being mirrored back to me. Like, I could so relate to what the author was conveying and the depth of which she did (though not completely, I may add) and the ANGST involved and the pain and grief and also see how I’ve achieved or already done and am continuing to do similar themes and cases of writing within my own fics. That’s cool. That’s nice. So, it works? Hahaha
  • I do love that the betrayal we witness in the majority of the time line DOES get brought up and addressed and it’s SO cathartic to hear Zac’s POV of it (the book is all written in third person regardless)
  • Calling time mischievous reminded me so much of Loki. I wonder how Loki and the TVA described and told a story with that (time, memory)… Maybe one day I’ll actually catch up with all of the MCU… We can dream, right?
  • It’s funny, there’s a green page flag where I wrote possible scenarios (three of them) of what would happen later in the book annnnnnnd none of them occurred. Ahaha, the ending/the conclusion was truly a surprise!!
  • There was a scene in this book, maybe because I had already been thinking of it in some videos I filmed prior, but Erin describes the old mill building and how it’s “derelict and shoved against the rock of the mountain” (Hope, 2020, p. 139) and it reminded me so much of another book I read called “Ash” Though I don’t remember the author or if I even have the review of that published online. ๐Ÿ˜—๐Ÿคจ
  • There were some great glimpses of thoughts, peeks into consciousness and thoughts the characters were having mixed in with their assessment of the world around them that I really, really liked. It made it more tangible and real to me, I think. Also reminded me again of my fics
  • For some reason, I thought the zip ties were white….. They were black.
  • It’s funny because towards the end of the book when there’s some medical scenes, I realized why it was so familiar, it’s because I had done similar types of scenes in my D&D fic haha So that was nice to see that research in someone else’s head!
  • There’s this really neat part of the story where Erin is thinking about how she’s going to explain the things she has done and how in the world she was going to convince anyone else that they had happened, this list of an outcome from multiple time lines–is just a nice reminder of how I write in my fics when I haven’t written in them in ages and I have to get a better picture and grasp again on the character and where they’re at with things hahaha (So, like often I’ll write a few sentences on Loki’s history laid out in the movies because I need to remember who I’m working with! Haha)

**At the end of the novel, our author shares that she read a particular book to help her understand and explain loop quantum gravity and it’s definitely something I also want to read and check out, here it is: “The Order of Time” by Carlo Rovelli


CRITICAL AND QUESTIONING CORNER:

More of a questioning corner but there was a point in time of me reading the book where I thought the power behind the time stones would prove too great and the money-hungry gaslighter would try to get involved and Zac would have to destroy the stones in some manner for the good of all mankind. Didn’t shape up like that though but hey, maybe a fanfic idea? ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜› I think that also makes sense why it never is quite panned out like that because when time does that weird thing it does and snips out certain details and changes others, then what the book ends with that Zac studies isn’t the same as what he began with. So, there’s that.

Another Questioning Corner thing: I was very, very surprised to learn that, at least never completely written in whichever time line or any time line, that Aidon didn’t sexually assault Korrie. That, to me, was something I was expecting but there’s never the autopsy that pointed to that and such. But just the way he would describe Korrie and kids in general… Eh, I’m not convinced he didn’t try at one point of a time line.

Critical Corner! Maybe just a statement but I feel like with the detective’s story line that the guy is just WAY too hard on himself. We find out some understanding of this later in the book but the dude is just mega struggling and has a lot of cop PTSD and is just so, so unhealthy in terms of how he handles his cases in the sense that he’s not taking care of himself and beating himself up for things he couldn’t really control or had very little power or play in. It’s sad to see. And it’s also sad to see the stigma that he notices from his peer cops when they treat him differently and ostracize him. Also, it sounded more like mini heart attacks than PTSD/anxiety attacks but maybe that’s just me.

Critical Corner but it’s more of another commentary piece I don’t know where else to put: Aidon is SO dislikable. The dude is so narcissistic and arrogant and pompous and says a lot of fucks and just ugh. He is SO unsavory. He has SO MUCH audacity and just, no. No. *shudders* Brava though for Hope to pull this off. It really sounds like a different character/person/identity set different and apart from all the other characters. Nicely done.

Questioning Corner: I wonder if the question of time erasing itself, of the universe unfolding in a way that couldn’t be anticipated, I wonder if that being brought up explains why things were so different in the later time line. I honestly don’t know but it’s an itch in my mind I can’t scratch. From my understanding, everything in the adjusted time line had changed even what the original feedback had been before, the original carry out of events, so time corrected itself in that instance because it didn’t leave any room to be born again in the same way it was at that juncture. Hmmm.

Critical Corner: I don’t know this for FACT, but I found it odd that the EMTs would ASK Erin whether there was any neck or back trauma to guide them whether or not to give Korrie a brace and not just put one on themselves. Like, normally in shows we always see them just go do it just in case and it was odd to me that they’d ask her rather than just go with their gut and do it. But I guess…


MY EXPERIENCE: WHAT KEPT ME READING AND THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME:

I’d say for this section, the best thing I cannot harp on enough is the fabulous, dedicated and highly descriptive language and portrayal of this story through the author’s eyes and fingers, as it were. She takes you on a mystical ride, deeply colorful arrays of the science that can sometimes be too science-y but still breathtakingly understandable when explained a little further. Like, to me, she just rocked it. I found words I didn’t know and feelings I hadn’t come by in a while. It was a great type of distraction read for me too, because sometimes I went to it when I was feeling ill physically and mentally. Just being lost in someone else’s story for a while and to see all the triumph after so much hardship was genuinely inspiring. If her writing was this good and she continued on for another 100 pages, I don’t think I would have minded that at all–it wouldn’t have been a chore.

Another great thing I want to highlight about this book is that hidden clique experience where as the Reader we know far more what is happening, we have that inside scoop and a look into all the characters involved and there’s just something so magical and captivating about that. I know it’s run for the mill, par for the course, but it’s still nice to know certain things, even when the main characters don’t and we’re yelling at them to listen to us! Hahha, it just makes it more real, you know?

I’m personally experiencing a lot of physical pain right now but really want this post to go up before I get checked out so I just wanted to say, thanks so much for reading this post! It’s a truly beautiful story and I hope it sticks with me. I think parts of it will for sure. My next fic book I’ve decided will enter another time travel one so I’m excited about that and to learn more about these things… maybe I’ll understand them one day and carry them through further into my own writing haha.

Well, thanks so much for everything. Again, I hope Erin’s wit and her charm and her perseverance are something I remember from this book. And the strange ways the universe works and the fascination of the human memory and mind. Thanks again. See you all soon. xxx


My next book is….

“Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?” (nonfic); “Hazards of Time Travel” (fic), then when I finish WDYW, which I will it’s less than 100 pages with illustrations–I’ll begin (as of the current plan) “The Audacity to Be Queen” (nonfic)

*Next upcoming BES is for a nonfic I read called QI.


TRACKING DATES I READ THIS BOOK:

6/28/2021 early evening, 6/29 late afternoon, 7/29 late evening, 7/30 mid-evening, 7/31 evening, 8/10 mid-evening, 8/11 early morning and early evening, 8/12 early evening, 8/13 mid-evening, evening, 8/14 late morning, noon, early afternoon.

TRACKING DATES I WROTE THIS POST:

8/14/2021 (early evening, evening, late evening).

Questioning: When Are Support Groups Helpful vs Harmful?

Let me just say this right from the get go:

I don’t have the answer to this question yet. I’m still trying to figure it out and it’s going kind of rough. A few of the pros and cons I have done over the course of time have been inconclusive: running into the problem of how to quantify and numerically decode when my cons are as long as my pros and whether I should be identifying percentages towards either of them. It’s…. complicated. So, I don’t know the answer yet myself. It’s tricky and difficult.

Secondly, here are some of my boundaries (as I’m finding and being taught that they will have to be more consistent in me reiterating them each and every time I can):

  1. I am not a crisis service, mental health professional or expert in mental health. I like to say I’m an “expert only in my own lived experiences” but I don’t have any licenses or degrees besides a BS in psychology. (I do have some trainings though but nothing like a master’s or PhD.) Basically, I’m not an appropriate person or place for others to reveal crisis information or to get direct professional help from. Of course, if you feel that you’re a danger to yourself and it’s between telling me or no one, I’d rather you tell me, because I will not keep safety information private and will instead link you towards local or national resources or call emergency services etc. So, if you come to me for help, I can get you to the appropriate resources, and you can get help in an indirect way, but either way I’ll point you to where you need to go and practice my own self-care to maintain my own health, wellness and stability.
  2. What can I offer? I can offer peer support in the sense of being non-judgmental, pro-recovery, positivity, hope, what’s helped me and worked for me, providing inspiration (I hope!), the skills or treatments that were most life-changing for me, “I” statements (sometimes I use “we” as well though, I try to limit the “you” statements as much as I can) and empathy, kindness, validation, healthy coping strategies, problem-solving and compassion. Again, if it’s an issue regarding safety, I will do everything in my power to get you the resources and help you need and deserve, and will NOT keep matters regarding safety confidential. I, of course, would prefer to not be in that situation, but if it happens, I know where I can go for help to help you, if that makes sense.
  3. Please do not discuss specific methods of suicidality or self-harm with me. In regards to eating disorders (EDs), please do not discuss specific numerical measurements like weights, calories, and unhealthy behaviors (like tools used for purging or things to that effect). For self-harm you can specify the type of self-harm, for instance I’ll say things like scratching or skin picking, but don’t go into what you use to hurt yourself, how to hurt one’s self, etc. That’s just unhelpful information and unnecessary. (As an example: If you want to say you were thinking about “standing on a ledge” that’s enough general information for me to picture what you mean. If you were to say “heights” that’s a little more specific and not helpful. And if you were to say “this specific building on 34th street at this time etc.” that’s WAY too specific and a more appropriate conversation with a crisis line, a mental health professional, etc. The less specific you can be the better. Think of the too specifics being unhealthy or inappropriate people and places for that information. Essentially, you’ll have to be a little more creative to abide by this boundary of mine.) I also as of July 2021 don’t wish for my space on the Internet to be a how to guide for hurting one’s self, because the Internet is already so much a place of that. This is to keep myself safe, keep you safe and keep others safe as well. So, please respect this as best as you can. If you mess up here and there, that’s okay, but continued misuse will result in me speaking to you directly or blocking you if need be or moderating comments, etc. Whatever is in my power, I will pursue. Thank youuuu for your cooperation!!
  4. I am unavailable for support/guidance between the hours of 10p EST and 9am EST. I am also unavailable the days that I work at Amaryllis which is currently Sat and Sun mornings.
  5. If you happen to have known me before 2018 or in 2018, I would rather you didn’t compare how “bad” things were for me in my life then COMPARED to how well things are for me now. The reasoning for this is because when people compare how “bad” things were for me, I know it’s supposed to make me feel proud of how far I’ve come, however, it has the opposite effect. Instead, my brain makes me think that it was “oh so great” back then and wants me to go back to those very dark times. So, it’s unhelpful. Thanks!!
  6. As for confidentiality, unless broken in the case of safety concerns, I won’t repeat back specific information regarding your identity or who you are with others. If anything, I’d make a pseudonym for you and discuss matters of our conversation, not verbatim, with people like my partner, my Mom, my therapist/psychiatrist, or change certain details of who you are and focus more on how I’m handling or struggling with the information you’ve shared with me. For instance, if I felt dysregulated, I’d discuss what led to that dysregulation but keep my focus on how I can problem solve it and work through it going forwards.
  7. As for what you can share about me with others, I’m okay with a changed name (pseudonym/pronouns) or keeping my name (Raquel) the same. Of course, please don’t doxx me but if you want to share my age, my first name, my experiences, etc. then that’s totally fine by me. I do use she/her pronouns just in case anyone was wondering that! Thanks!! ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ˜˜


Honestly, I think that’s about all I’ve got!

Which is definitely, definitely plenty it feels ahaha. For those wondering after all of that, regarding this post:

Trigger Warning: Discussion of self-harm, past suicidal ideation, BPD, depression and OCD.

So, what DID I want to talk about in this piece?

Honestly it’s been SUCH a long time since I’ve blogged. Like, far, far too long. And I wasn’t even necessarily going to do this post but it was definitely gnawing at me and I realized I had enough to say and think and do with this information (I’m between journals at the moment, my routine is severely off lately) than to just keep it to myself with no one else to know about it for weeks.

So, here I am!

Let’s regroup for a moment, shall we?

The question I have for creating this post:

When are Support Groups Helpful vs Harmful?

So let’s talk about some context first.

I started going to an OCD support group for the first time ever in fall 2015 when I spent 5 weeks at the OCD-Institute at Belmont MA. It was not a locked unit and it was actually pretty enjoyable for a treatment type of thing. I live, if you don’t know, with OCD on self-harm and suicide obsessions (not genuine intent; though I do also live with depression, BPD, trichotillomania (hair pulling), dermatillomania (skin picking) and essentially intrusive thoughts of hurting myself and genuine thoughts of hurting myself, though I’m much, much better as of now in 2021!!!). I was diagnosed with OCD by my university’s Counseling Center in fall 2014 for further context. I also had an OCD specialized therapist from about spring 2015 – winter 2016.

I’ve had lots of different treatments over the years since 2014: ERP, CBT, DBT, medications, individual therapy, hospitalizations, OCD-I, ECT, group therapy, short term and long term day programs, family therapy etc.

I’ve also been a prominent mental health advocate since spring 2016 to now, both online and offline. Advocacy is the central part of me and who I am, I think, though I’ve become more recovery based over the last three years, I’d say. To me, advocacy is sharing my story with lived experiences in the field of mental health conditions and sharing what’s helped me most and how I handle myself and my situations. For me, it’s overcoming adversity and getting a leg up over the bullshit my brain comes up with on a daily basis. I am VERY open about my struggles, or at least in the past I certainly was, probably a little too much let’s be honest but yeah, I am open and I talk about them and nowadays I like to focus more on what I can DO about them but overall talking and sharing my story has been an integral part of finding meaning and purpose in my life. (If you’ve been with me since the beginning or if you ever plow through some of my Archived posts, you’ll also see I was an advocate while at university as well, sharing my recovery and my journey through it via newspaper articles, something I’m finding in the last year with this pandemic that I miss and wish I could get back into in some way, even if it’s differently.)

I’ve only ever been to OCD support groups over the course of my treatment. I’ve never been to a DBSA group or a NAMI based group either (NAMI being the National Alliance on Mental Illness where I do my advocacy work from).

I started going pretty regularly to the Belmont support group while I was at the OCD-I until about fall of 2017, if I had to guess.

In 2018 I don’t think I really went at all, maybe once or twice over the course of the year?

2019, I think I went a couple of times. I was at my long term day program Passages which was giving me PLENTY of mental health topics and surroundings that I didn’t need something like a support group to go to (same as well for the blogosphere.)

2020, the pandemic hit and by June I was definitely starting to return to more of them. Naturally, all the support groups went virtual on Zoom and I started to attend ones like Cambridge and eventually Worcester alongside the Belmont here and there.

Now is when we get to the meat of this post (or, with the gif added above, the slicing of the cake portion of things). I’ve been going to support groups decently regularly over the last year and I’m no closer to answering this big, big question I’ve surrounded this blog post about. Which is super frustrating–and exactly the emotion I feel when I’m at a support group.

It’s so frustrating.

I honestly don’t know what I live with mental health conditions-wise anymore. I mean, for YEARS, I’ve blamed it on OCD but the more I’m at these support groups, the more I realize what I’m “defining” as OCD may NOT be that at all. And then of course, though, me trying to figure out if it IS OCD, is OCD itself. Trying to find that certainty and conclusion and all.

Personally, I definitely view knowledge as power. And I know that the purpose of diagnostics is to guide treatment and for insurance purposes. So it frustrates me to no end that I can’t pinpoint or understand if what I am feeling and dealing with is even this big bad OCD monster I’ve always said it is but may not actually be all along. Then of course, WHAT AM I dealing with if it’s NOT OCD? Oooof.

To me, I blame these things on OCD, what I’ve identified as OCD and what’s consistent up until today:

And if you don’t know anything about OCD and have somehow found this post, OCD obsessions are the persistent and intrusive thoughts regarding whatever topic that gives the survivor distress. It questions and is often called the doubting disease because it makes a person wonder and question if they’re truly wanting to act on a thought or that they might lose control just by having the thought even if they do not want to act on it, etc. So, there’s all sorts of OCD topics out there, as long as it gives the survivor distress, it will cling to it tightly. For instance, moral questioning like if you’re a good person; harm OCD if you have thoughts of hurting others or yourself; contamination; having to count or check things (mentally or physically); did I just run over someone while I was driving? etc.

Compulsions are the behavioral or mental things a survivor does to cancel out, however momentary and temporary the relief is, the distress or anxiety that they are feeling. So, if it was a contamination thing, maybe one compulsion could be hand washing; or if it was a car thing, going back to check to see if there was any evidence for having run someone or something over; or for harm OCD to others, checking that all the eating utensils are still there or checking memories for any indication you’d want that person harmed etc.

Here’s what I’ve always blamed OCD on that might not even BE OCD but that I can’t find is anything else either (and the act of trying to figure it out is OCD in disguise, as it were, so I’m kinda fucked lmao ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ถ) ((I’ll start with the classics from years ago and go more into later years/current struggles))

  • Intrusive comments/loop tapes; for me in the beginning it was hearing my brain say “Kill Yourself” or “You should just kill yourself” on repeat for hours at a time.
  • More currently, and I haven’t had a new phrase in over 4+ years, but now it’s “Just do it” in terms of acting on an intrusive image of harm, so, gee, thanks OCD! Ugh. ((I will say it’s a little alarming that in the last month the OCD has come up with and attached itself to a brand new phrase, and so maybe that is some of the anxiety? I don’t know.))
  • Memory checking for any intention to act on the thoughts (way back in the beginning).
  • Now it’s more of the thought action fusion involved so like when I have an intrusive image of harm it’s increasingly more difficult, whenever I am struggling (which isn’t as often, let’s be clear) for me to separate the fact that what is happening inside my HEAD is NOT happening truly in reality. It’s probably as close to hallucinating as I can get. It’s just so hard to center myself and remember that it’s not actually happening
  • Also, trauma memories. I’ve only experienced trauma at the hands of my mental health conditions and what feels like a crisis where there’s a lot of trauma memories in truth is really just OCD and intrusive images of things that I’ve NEVER truly acted on. Trauma memories definitely come up the most often in support groups I find. I went to one last night and there was talk of police officers and all my encounters with them in the past was something I got sidetracked by
  • Avoidance: and this is a behavioral pattern I am STILL struggling with today and have for years and years. In terms of OCD I’ll avoid things like certain places with ledges or certain drives home etc. I’ll avoid my feelings most often by over-distracting with content etc. I’ll avoid, potentially, with support groups. I’m rarely ever in the actual moment, I’m usually doing other things like playing with thinking putty or having music going etc. I honestly don’t know the difference between when is it avoiding and when is it self-soothing. Because when I’m spoken about self-soothing in therapy, my therapist thinks it’s actually avoidance. So, I have no idea on this tactic that’s for sure
  • I don’t, this isn’t really OCD but it kind of is, like to admit when I’m anxious. Anxiety is just an emotion for me that I HATE to admit when I am, so instead of noticing my bodily cues, I just plow forwards until I’m behaviorally acting on the anxiety so like hair pulling or skin picking. It’s something I really have to continue working on. Gwah For skin picking itself it’s definitely an inconsistency feeling on the skin that gets me to start going at it. Bleh
  • Reassurance seeking: A BIG one, from the beginning to now, I’ll wonder if these ‘thought commands’ (Just do it) is really OCD or if it’s something else like psychosis and then I’m researching it and uncovering, AHA it’s OCD in disguise!! So yeah, even reassurance seeking with validation from others and such. Ooof.
  • Rumination: fixating on the OCD, talking about the OCD, thinking about the OCD etc. Wanting to think of old memories, old habits, old behaviors, old stuff. Spending hours and hours doing so (luckily I stop this a lot better now over the last 3 years)
  • Glorification of harm and death. This is the biggest one. My brain likes to be like “Oh hey, you know this [suicide] plan? That would be awessssssome. We should totally go do that. It’ll be so relieving and so much fun. It’ll be great. Let’s go do that.” etc. It’s like this “oh so magical and sparkly thing will be so great and wonderful, you’re missing out on experiencing it by not doing it, etc.” It’s also like this “it would be so ironic/poetic/symbolic thing” or “it’s your destiny to die this way”.
  • Alongside this is the glorification of near death experiences in particular. There’s something so tantalizing to me about a near death experience. Or actual death then coming back to life. And definitely the case if there are NO ill physical effects from it. I remember someone at Passages said there IS a name for this that people with substance use disorders can relate to but I can’t remember or they also couldn’t remember what the word was so I’ve never known
  • Fixation continued: thinking of the OCD and harm, taking up more and more of my time etc. Again, hasn’t happened in ages luckily. If it came out in artwork that was also a compulsion too. I think I’m better at this but honestly I’m not sure.
  • Little things that might become problems: rereading a book, is this OCD or is this me genuinely not paying attention while I read? etc. And the stubbornness that arises when I refuse to let my brain win over me not reading a book etc (I love books so much). Doing certain things in matters of three, so like three heart emoticons etc. Keeping things like price tags for a bit or lots of hand sanitizers, is it hoarding? Eh. Maybe not.
  • Distress: I really can only relate to the distress that these OCD or “OCD” things cause. If it is anxiety, and I’m sure some of it is, I refuse to acknowledge it. But so many more people have the anxiety as the prime and only emotion involved and I just can’t relate.

So, I mean, I hope that all makes sense.

The big thing I’m uncovering in these OCD Support groups I have been returning to is they are immensely triggering for me. And I wonder, is this a trigger that’s healthy (like an ERP opportunity) or is it risking my stability unnecessarily? A question to which I STILL cannot begin to answer, aggravatingly enough.

The biggest thing I’ve been trying on my own, without an OCD specialized therapist (and with little indication I’ll get one any time soon) is that I’m taking some charge in some ERPs myself, I’ve started a new video series on my Youtube channel called “Trudging Through Trauma” where I’ll use an ERP exposure during the filming process and another in the video editing process. I’d like to talk about some of my trauma experiences and name them and think them over and then do the opposite of them, so with the OCD I’d want to fixate and be consumed by them, when in reality I’ll just go self soothe or do something else for a bit etc. I don’t know, it could be self-exploitative I suppose but yeah, and I obviously wouldn’t go into unnecessary detail but for my own head it’d be there, I just wouldn’t vocalize it officially.

My Mom was also suggesting we do ERPs together too. Having someone be there could be safety ensuring and all. So I have that to mull over.

But overall, why I wanted to make this post is for this reason:

When is it helpful and when is it harmful? When is focusing on it vs distracting from it an exposure or just unhealthy?

Another thing, there’s no professional support or, as far as I know, guidance or trainings involved and that makes me wonder two things:

When is peer support bordering on playing therapist? and

What qualifications, if any, are expected in these group settings?

Now, specifically, I have my friend Gretchen (naturally not their true identity of course ๐Ÿ’œ). I’ve known Gretchen for, well, since the beginning of my support groups history. Gretchen has some … good and kind intentions but none of the boundaries in place to achieve them. Gretchen tends to bite off far more than she can chew.

And I never really mention in support groups my history with mental health advocacy (something I’ve decided to change actually going forwards, if for however long I may still attend them) but something that really bothered me in yesterday’s support group was this ongoing pressure or resistance to talking openly about the struggles with OCD with non-OCD individuals.

Personally, this just rubbed me in all the wrong ways. Like, is it supposed to be shameful? Should we really be encouraging the beginning types of co-dependency? Should it really be US vs THEM?

Also, what do we do about the pissing contests of whose experiences are worse? And what about how draining and depressing they can be on top of that? It just makes me wonder–at what point is ‘teaching’ skills or ‘experimenting with ideas’ playing therapist and overstepping what peer support is about? Should there be someone, a professional, around to navigate the waters of these groups better? Because it makes me wonder for sure….

Also sometimes they end on such depressing or retraumatizing states that it’s bewildering.

The other thing I struggle with is the line between reigniting my old behavioral pathways (getting attention for unhealthy purposes; i.e. holding a crisis session) and focusing on who I am today and getting help in the most helpful and healthy way today than/as opposed to how I once received it. Which means I’m really just a lot more guarded now and less likely to open up and be honest upfront. It’s very confusing.

(My apologies for how direct of an attack there is on Gretchen down below; she really does mean well. She has the best intentions in mind. Her boundaries and adhering to them is just troublesome.)

Overall, there’s just some things that Gretchen has done or said that makes me feel super uncomfortable, mainly breaking my boundaries, not intentionally but pretty often as is. I wonder if it’s possible to get a professional to sit in on a support group or two and see what their assessment is of the matter. Maybe that’s something worth exploring. I feel like Gretchen needs to (as horrible as this phrasing is) get her shit together to figure out what she can reasonably offer and when she’s overstepping. Like, Gretchen, you’re awesome, you’re great, a little less pissing contest would be best though. I get it was to be empathetic and ‘I’ve been there too’ but a minute of that would have sufficed, not fifteen. (And of course I’m going to be bringing this up to Gretchen herself too, because she’s the only person who can change these behaviors or be aware of them and adjust from there. I’m really not mad at her, I guess I just feel frustrated in general with where I sit on support groups and I REALLY want to be done with this blog post, it’s been sooo long)

My partner did suggest that maybe I’ve outgrown support groups as well. Which, could be very valid and true. They asked if there were different groups for OCD support for different stages of recovery, which I’m not sure exists, but is definitely worth looking into.

Well, I’m done complaining and typing and talking now. My wrists hurt, my words are being misspelled and I’m tired. I’ve been at this for almost two hours. That’s… exhausting.

So what do you think? After all this has been said, what do you think? Do my thoughts and experiences sound like maybe I should take a break from the support groups for a while and do some extra soul searching or could they be okay for me to attend and experiment more with in the future?

I’d love to know what you guys think. If you have the time and willingness to offer it to me. ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿค๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜™

Now I just have to go back and reread this post, edit and then upload. Maybe add another gif or two.

Thank you soooo much for reading. I hope something out of all of this was helpful or interesting or captivating if possible. I feel a strange crux between relief and unfinished. But, I’m going to go eat lunch and get ready to visit a phone store today, hopeful that I can get upgraded soon. So yeah. Maybe I’ll actually try to read that book of mine too. I was going to before I decided to do this post ahaha. Any who, more to come soon.

Let me know if you got this far with a cookie emoticon.

Thanks so much. xxx

Stay safe everybody!!!

๐Ÿช๐Ÿช๐Ÿช๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒŠโ˜”

Feeling Low: Job, Twitter, MCU…Life


Today: I’m feeling low.

I don’t even know how I want this blog post to go.

I just know that I want to capture what I’m feeling and thinking for a frozen moment. Frozen in time, suspended, distilled, captured. In the hopes that I can move on from it. Be unleashed. Free. Liberated. Safe.

The words don’t come easily. I feel the twirling fan’s breath on my exposed arms, a hooded, soft gray blanket dispersed over my head making me look like a nun. Or… Yoda. I want to turn it off, but I don’t because it’s grounding. My iPod is nearby, shouting out music, but it’s never quite high enough, no matter how much I turn it up. It’s never quite enough. And the mind, the mind I have, with the fumbling fingers on the keys, constantly making mistakes, constantly having to go back a space to fix them, still, that mind is swirling. Thoughts are coming half-formed and fully formed. Emotions the height of a tsunami, threatening to overtake me, wash me with its ruin. I’m caught in it, for a moment, I’m caught in it.

Maybe, no, maybe that last song was good. Hmm, maybe I’ll play it back once more:

MIIA – Dynasty

The tabs are open. The links don’t do what I want. The annoyance is there, bubbling to the surface, then, just really formed into disappointment. I remind myself to turn on the repeat function on my iPod along the same time I can smell the sweat from my feet, hunched over, legs on top of one another, crouching before the laptop, from a day’s activities, a day’s work, I think to myself to take them off, maybe even take off all the layers, so I can be comfortable in my pajamas. But I don’t really move. I don’t really move to do any of that.

Too caught up in the words. Caught up in the stories.

No, I change my mind. Place the song on repeat. Crack my neck. Unleash one sock… Then two. The smell still remains.

I’m tired.

I notice it more now, in the crux between the music keys and the way I sludge forwards, onwards, into the mix.

What was I talking about before?

Oh, right.

Feeling low.

…… Where do I begin?

There’s so many avenues to start the story, and each would play across the right one.

I guess, I’m unhappy with my job. I’m unhappy with my place in the world. I want more, and…less. My avoidance is chipping away my soul, slowly at a time, so that I don’t notice it until I realize “No, I can’t do that.” Because my world is spinning and crumbling, ever so slowly, ever so smaller.

My job isn’t where I thought I’d be by now. It’s not the job I thought I’d get after graduating university. It’s, in some parts, not even the job I wanted. But it’s the job I got, and it’s the job I’ve been at and been trying to learn and grow and succeed and go forward.

But I find myself… craving, wanting more. Wanting something different.

But I’m terrified on how or if I’ll ever get there.

I’ve been talking about my dreams with new friends online lately. And it’s reminded me a lot of my dreams. And how what I’m doing now, doesn’t really feel like it’s cutting it anymore. Or, at least, it’s just starting to dawn on me that this may be the case.

But how do I go from here to there? To the land of my dreams?

I want, or I think I want, to go into Certified Peer Specialist.

It’s just…. complicated. I have to factor in the fact that I’d probably work for an agency, that I have to get trained and pass a test, that I have to carve out more hours of my time for actual work, that I’ll be expected in Clinicals and DRIVING peers around, the fears of that, the responsibilities and the strangeness of it all. I’d have to get certified. I’d have to get gas coverage (in the sense that maybe there’d be mileage reimbursement but also I’d be hefting over part of my salary, likely, to the never-ending need for more fuel). I’d maybe still only be earning what I do now.

But, would it be more fulfilling?

Would all of it, everything considered, be worth it? And when would it happen? Soon? A year from now? How do I get from here to there?

I know I have to start small. I know I have the tools ready for me. I’m just… scared. Overwhelmed. Unhappy.

I’m craving more advocacy work. I think that’s what I’m missing now. Summers are always slow for presentations at NAMI and I haven’t had one all month so maybe that’s a factor. Maybe the other factor is that I’ve been talking of my dreams this week. Reminding myself of my potential and how much I don’t want THIS job to be my end goal. It was always just supposed to be a stepping stone. And maybe, maybe I’m finding that I’m finally ready to move onto the next one. I want to go into advocacy work of public speaking, give a TEDtalk one day, build up my 4 main recovery art projects, share my story, write and publish books, etc. So, so, so much more than this.

And it’s taken me a while to get here. I… maybe because of the BPD have … intense attachments. Hell, whenever I take out a book from the library I get too attached–even when the book is past due and I’m accruing fines, I can’t let it go, not when I haven’t completed my end of the deal with it. I most often override this but it’s still a functionality of my personality. At Passages I was the same way, thinking me and my DBT-Intensive crew were a team and flabbergasted when finding out that they were going to go on their own way before the ‘true’ end date. I have problems with attachment. Even if I’m mulling over an item in the store to buy, I get attached, I start to ‘see’ it in use in my life, and once that’s there, I don’t want to leave it behind without buying it. Again, attachments.

So for me, what I’m trying to say is, for me to get to the point where I’m starting to think: Maybe it’s time now, is pretty big. And yeah, I’m afraid in some parts because a few of my co-workers in the last month tried to leave for another job and now they’re back again. So, maybe I’d be the same?

But this was never my end goal. And maybe CPS will be it, for a while. Maybe just blooming into more of that advocacy work, the work I really want to do, maybe that’ll be everything.

I’ve been thinking lately, I don’t have all my advocacy work like from when I was at university. I think I miss that, am missing that. Maybe even finding odd jobs for paid writing work would help, too. I’m just kinda tired. I want more and I’m realizing I have to be the one out there to get it.

So, alas, I find myself wondering:

How do I get from here to there?

And, I’m not sure, not entirely.

Obviously I’d overlap the two careers before I moved on officially, just to see if I’d even like it to begin with. And then, I mean, I guess I just start making little goals? Maybe like a road map or a vision board of my dreams and start plugging away at it a little at a time. I also want to start by asking some of my NAMI co-presenters how they’ve gotten into the field (at least two are in CPS work) and then start that way, too.

Mmm, I’m feeling a bit more hopeful now with that idea.

With my calves hurting (curse those hills at work!), with a newfound determination, I’m going to work on what I can for the rest of tonight: mainly, mayb– oh!

Twitter & MCU: I’m still a lengthy amount of movies and time away from properly watching and being in the loop about everything happening with the “Loki” Disney+ series. So, with less than 10 mins on my Twitter timeline today, I’ve officially decided that I have to now avoid it for the rest of time (at least until I’m more in the loop and caught up, which will probs be July ahaha, did I say that? I meant AUG! Let’s be honest). Soooo that sucks. Also, I just haven’t been as active on Twitter this week. I’ve been discreetly uploading these avenues of content WITHOUT placing it on there: fanfic, videos, blog posts. So maybe one day but not any time that near.

And as for life, I’ve covered the fact that my avoidance bullshit is getting in the way a lot. And I won’t be leaving my job any time soon either, but I’m gonna start chipping away at it. Find trainings I can attend to, roles within the peer support arena, continuing to craft my online presence, teach some classes, do (when the time is right) presentations. Work on my public speaking skills (really rusty on that). Drive around more. List out the pros and cons of my potential decisions. And just grim face and bear the rest as much as I can. It’s not something I’ll have solved tomorrow. But we all start somewhere.

So for now, I’m going to answer a few online messages/emails and texts, read a book, go to bed early tonight, take my meds, eat dinner, network, listen to music and just get ready for the hellhole that tomorrow will bring.

Anyways, that’s it for me. I’ll either shower tonight or tomorrow, just want to make sure I do before Mon when I go to visit my partner! And maybe tomorrow I’ll watch the rest of Thor!!

All right, guys, thanks so much for reading. Do you have any tips or advice for how you made different career plans in your own life? Jumping from one job to a whole new one?

I’ll see you guys next week.

๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค

PS There is ONE last thing I didn’t quite cover here but that I had thought of for the ‘Life’ category: the slow burn acceptance that my previous mental health problems and complications (i.e chronic suicidality) will probably be something I always have to deal with. More so in the sense that my automatic go to within my mind and body is to end everything, though I am now EONS away from ever, ever acting on those thoughts now. Regardless, I’m thinking like with most recoveries, the thoughts and emotions will always be there, just the behaviors are up to me. Which, is … nice, in some ways, and empowering and also frustratingly disappointing. But, alas, such is life. I can realize it, recognize it and do the opposite of it. Which is what I will do. Don’t worry, I’m safe!! Just something that popped into my head while at home, after work, before I started writing this post.

“It’s Your Funeral” (2020) | BES: Apr-June 2021


CHOSEN BOOK:

“It’s Your Funeral” (2020) by Emily Riesbeck, Ellen Kramer and Matt Krotzer

((graphic novel))

BES 5 -- Apr. - June


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

Not applicable.


THEMES:

Purpose, death, afterlife, bureaucracy, case workers, art, body language, emotional expression, mysteries, unanswered questions, meaning, life, bitterness, emotions, scathing retorts to interpersonal relationships, letting go vs acceptance vs holding on, getting better, living again or for the first time, ghosts, multiverse, inter-dimensions, imagination, hard to pronounce names, pronouns, teenagers, the “voice” of the characters, fear of abandonment, miserable outlooks, not giving up on someone, aliens.


SUMMARY:

Marnie Winters is dead after her chair blew up and killed her and now she has to deal with an internship in a case worker’s alien bureaucracy to help other ghosts like herself cross over and have their files closed. She goes through the process of trying to identify why she is still there, and not in her own dimensional destination within the multiverse of universes, as she grapples with the new alien co-workers she’s met and has to live alongside in her afterlife, while also questioning if they’ll really be there for her because she’s far more used to people abandoning her and forgetting about her. Marnie struggles with her emotions and how she handles interpersonal relationships as evident throughout the graphic novel. She comes to learn about her main case worker X’lakthul (Xel) and her related co-workers and learns how to approach other ghosts and the circumstances around her afterlife position through the internship in training and then actual field work.

Marnie learns, most importantly, at her experiences within the Department of Spectral Affairs that life and the end of life takes time, healing requires time and effort and not giving up on someone and that acceptance is a powerful force and we have to meet people where they are at in their journey, not where we think or want them to be at based on our own experiences.

This graphic novel is an emotional read with funny light-hearted moments and endless depths of meaning, existential awareness and the legacy we are choosing to leave behind as we follow our lives from this existence into the next one. It is a timeless read that can help improve the lives of anyone it comes across. I hope that you will enjoy this review just barely scratching the surface and peeking into what it has in store. Many thanks, xxx


BOOK LENGTH:

200 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

4/5

๐Ÿ’Ÿ๐Ÿค๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ’Œ


OUTSTANDING QUOTES, IDEAS OR IMAGES:

  • BES5 -- Img.1
  • As stated here on my green page flag, I’ve written: The emotion/power conveying through these images is so amazing and, this is C’tharla and I already loved her early on ahaha. ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š
  • BES5 -- Img.2
  • Of the above image, I really, really just loved the perspective captured here between Marnie and the educational video for her new internship position (lead by Xel) ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜…
  • BES5 -- Img.3
  • For the above image here, I absolutely ADORED the way the light play was done. Just the attention to detail that the video recording would project onto the screen was so wonderful and refreshing, I found. Especially for me because I never include light and shadow in my work ahaha. It was marvelous to see it done SO right. This is Xel, or X’lakthul our main case worker working with Marnie and helping her through her ghostly life. ๐Ÿ˜Šโคโค
  • Luckily, for me, p. 59 really redeemed itself in my eyes for why I wanted to read this book and what I was looking to get out of it, so that is nice! I really enjoyed the notion between Dev and another caseworker, Marnie in tow, towards a ghost that there was no rush for his file to be closed and that it was going to take time. Additionally, that “we’re all in this together. But if we gave up every time we were frustrated, we’d be doomed from the start” (Riesbeck et al, 2020) I really, really loved that message. It was SO poignant to me and really highlighted something important that I could gather from this book and keep with me, hopefully tightly because it’s so relevant for my life!! (I’m looking at you, Avoidance!). Just wanted to highlight that in this review. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿค๐Ÿค๐Ÿค
  • p. 60 involved a nice breath of mindfulness where Jose (the ghost), Dev and V’qttyr take another moment to choose to watch the boats pass by on the river because there really isn’t a necessary rush and it’s okay to take a moment sometimes, just for you. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜Š
  • BES5 -- Img.4
  • My page flag, I believe written in pencil here, says: “I do just love the illustration of existential awareness here.” It was very, very well done, in my opinion!! ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™ (p. 71)
  • Another detail I enjoyed out of this book was the dialogue boxed squiggles when Marnie was being silenced/muffled by Xel’s hands over her mouth ahaha. So, instead of a straight line off the speech bubble, her speech bubble main “line” was just a squiggle instead! Like a snaking squiggle, so to speak. A little squiggle with an edge of personality to it ahaha
  • I feel like my number one favorite scene in this entire book happens, unsurprisingly with C’tharla, on p. 93 when C’tharla is explaining to Marnie that “[C’tharla] has to be the one to tell her employees to care less. That [she] has to be so cold so that Xel can be so warm. This job (she tells Marnie) needs coldness as much as it needs empathy or it would suck us dry. The greatest good for the greatest number” I just absolutely loved this scene and it took SO MUCH care and beauty and challenge and understanding from me. It absolutely made sense and it was just so wonderful I had to share and highlight it in this review (because god knows I shit on this book in the critical section haha!) I just thought it was so powerful and it really humanized C’tharla and made her character have that much more depth and purpose. It’s just beautiful to witness, I feel.
  • My next favorite scene that I think defines, or should arguably define, this entire book is this: “[C’tharla telling Marnie] A third of our clients will succeed no matter what we do. And a third of our clients will fail no matter what we do. The last third.. that’s where you can make a difference. That’s where you have to focus your energy…” [Marnie:] “Which third am I?” [C’tharla] “That depends on you.” (Riesbeck et. al, 2020, p. 94-95).
  • The above section is just SUCH a powerful scene, even more so with the images of the body language but yeah like, it’s amazing. That is the biggest thing sticking with me and I’ll focus on it when I consider my recommendation score for sure. Like, the empowerment that is channeled here is amazing and the determination that that part, if nothing else, is up to you, like, oooof, chef’s kiss. I’ll probably even mention it in the what kept me going section of this book and its lasting impressions on me. ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿ˜ญ
  • The above image takes place on p. 126 and is really, really something I loved and adored about this book. Xel validating Marnie in the sense that Marnie cannot understand why people wouldn’t give up on the hard cases (like how her life was while she was alive, at least to her perspective) and instead would want to fight through hell and back for people (that wasn’t her experience in life) and Xel’s words saying it’s because these people are WORTH the effort, is just all sorts of emotional, heartwarming and hopefully inspiring. I thought it was worthy of mentioning in this review, myself. ๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™ They’re worth it. You’re worth it. And so am I. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ญ
  • I would like to say that before the concept is brought up later, on p. 139 I was even thinking that Xel was necessary to let go of the box she had placed Marnie in and instead work with her with where MARNIE was at rather than attacking the problem and the issues Marnie was having in only Xel’s point of view and point of reference. It felt to me that Xel was pushing for something that maybe Marnie didn’t even want anything to do with and that was something I was hoping Xel to come to realize on her own (as a Reader, I’m powerless) and luckily she did. I just noticed here that I was hoping for this resolution and I’m glad to say it was reported on later. Sometimes we have to let go, even when we want to hold on tightly and forever. Not necessarily to abandon but to allow for extra space to regather our thoughts and adjust our approaches. ๐Ÿ˜Š
  • The above image, from p. 143, shows an increasingly pissed off Xel after Marnie jabbed at her roughly regarding how she handles her job and isn’t very good at it. YIKES! She is literally seething and I LOVED the display of emotion here. Not only just within this particular photo but the lead up and drop off after (she just takes a deep breath and re-centers herself) ahaha
  • I liked this quote in particular from King Tut’s ghost (I imagine if I were still in school, like traditional school ages of middle to high school, I would have better understood this reference and information, but since I’ve been through higher education and left that for a while too, I really don’t remember much if anything at all of King Tut ๐Ÿ˜…) where he says, on p. 150: “Mine was a life wasted. For three thousands years I have sat idle, as helpless in death as I was in life” There’s just something so somberly beautiful about this concept that I HAD to highlight here. It really speaks volumes to me.
  • (Once Marnie tells King Tut his true legacy he laughs and says…) “I suppose I feel silly. For spending so much time worrying. And I suppose hearing it made me realize that it really…doesn’t matter. Knowing [my legacy] doesn’t change what I did in life or what I’ve been doing in death” — Riesbeck et al., 2020, p. 153

  • The emotional and wave of acceptance of these simple facts was just SO much of a relief and a wonder to experience as the Reader, for me at least. It was just so beautiful to get the chance to witness. That in the end either being remembered or being forgotten, in the grand scheme of things, didn’t really matter. It didn’t change what was or could have been and there’s something just so magically empowering about that. This book does have some fantastic sprinkling of messages, even though it didn’t live up to my full viewpoint of potential. It could have been so much more yet… what does exist is still at least worthy of telling. And overall, it sent its message and I was receptive to it. It’s not without faults yet it does have its beauty, too. And amazing artwork at that as well. I probably won’t pick up a graphic novel again for a while but it was nice. It took me a while to get into it or stay in it but it was nice when I was in it.
  • The motion achieved and captured here was just far too astounding to not include. I love it, yay! Riesbeck et al., 2020, p. 154.
  • I thought it was powerful the way Xel wanted Marnie to get better no matter what the cost and the ultimatum that was offered to all the characters in that moment. So heartwarming and lovely, I found.
  • “It’s a process. You’ll get there someday. But give yourself time. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself along the way. Celebrate the wins, even if they’re small” — (Xel) Riesbeck, 2020, p. 198

  • Wise words to live by and take from this book above if there’s nothing else you read in this post (but if you do read it all I send you a gold star and some glitter (virtual glitter, so no mess!) along the way and thank you very, very much for your time, attention and gratitude!!) ๐Ÿ˜˜๐ŸŒŸโญ๐ŸŽŠโœจ๐Ÿ’– Remember these few things: time, effort, healing.

flight-of-ideas-bes-thumb-2.19.21

THOUGHTS OR IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

  1. Probably the nicest thing and also the most surprising thing that I got out of this book was inspiration and motivation for my own novel in the works. By p. 13 I was already adding new notes onto my iPod for my novel, for an improved and new ending, for the main characters to “end as they began” and a few times throughout reading this book I did in fact work on my novel. Noteworthiness was the fact I worked on my novel for about 2 hours just from getting inspired on p. 13. So that was very exciting. ๐Ÿ˜Š
  2. Attention to detail is definitely something this book really shined in doing, and speaking of shine, I absolutely loved the sparkles in each alien character’s/case worker’s hair!! Particularly C’tharla’s, who was honestly my favorite character to begin with ahaha. But Xel was great too. ๐Ÿ˜
  3. p. 16 with its “comes to pass” phrase reminded me that I should try and work on my own fanfic “Come to Pass” very, very soon. For fanfics, I’ll most likely be updating these guys soon: ALU, CeC, D&D, S and TAaBBT, AUS
  4. At the beginning of the book, on p. 28 where Marnie is attacking and threatening angrily towards Xel, it’s definitely her depression coming out on the attack but I wondered to myself why Marnie necessarily had to attack Xel’s positivity because that optimism can so often come from a place of having known pain. ๐Ÿ˜“๐Ÿ˜”
  5. For a while, and maybe this is to show the change and pay off for Marnie later in the book, but for a while I feel like she chooses to isolate herself and be miserable instead of being open to embracing that while love does hurt and is painful, it can also bring her much peace, understanding and patience. Again, maybe it’s to highlight later how she changes her mind about her predicament, it’s just a bit tough to work through in the beginning, and tough for me as the Reader to give her that time and space to figure it out on her own (there’s a helplessness involved and also I really DID feel for Marnie and I cared enough about her story that I wanted to find out what happened, regardless of my stance in the next section. I did care for Marnie and I wanted to love her and in some ways I did, it was just complicated and a roller coaster getting all the way there, but I’m glad I stuck it out, even if I felt the ending was underwhelming and rushed.) Back to this review though!!
  6. This is ESPECIALLY highlighted on p. 64 where Xel is talking about having patience to Marnie and I realized I maybe needed to have more patience for her, myself, too. I was hoping she would redeem herself in the coming pages (and she did, for a while, until going backwards and then being in a cheesy ending, ahaha).
  7. The chapter where Marnie has to learn how to speak with the character Carol was something I could relate to (Carol seemingly speaks gibberish and unclear English) because the supporting characters tried to give tips or experiences they’ve had with Carol that helped them learn about Carol and how to communicate with Carol, but it turned out their stories had little resolve to complete Marnie’s questions and one of those characters tells her that it just takes time and is something that Marnie will learn on her own. For me, personally, this reminded me of work at Amaryllis and having to learn and build a rapport with each kid and any tips I manage to gather to help with that process, particularly with the nonverbal toddler as of late (though I have to brush up on my interpersonal effectiveness skills because I’m severely lacking in them lately, that and passive/aggressive/assertive stances as well. Ooof, I’m pretty exhausted by this point of the review, a few days later, so this is already feeling rough to get through and I hate it. Ugh. Bleh. I went on another Athena dive too so that reallyyyyy didn’t help anything. Meh. 6/21/2021)
  8. Xel even tells Marnie on p. 125 that her work with Carol is in fact that: work. It’s going to take time and she doesn’t have to rush the process. Again, this reminded me of relationships and building rapport with, in my job, kids, and even just other humans in life in general. ๐Ÿ˜Š In fact, Xel even says how she can’t give a lecture or show a video for Marnie to learn how to speak with Carol, that it’s just something that is learned and cannot be taught exactly, which again, I related to very much. It’s a process, basically!! Communicating with other humans, hehe.
  9. I loved Marnie’s and Xel’s stare down on p. 150 Ahaha
  10. I found it so heartbreaking when Marnie was apologizing to Xel, thinking Xel was pissed and going to abandon her. My heart, oh! ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”
  11. I would say, yeah, not meeting someone where they’re at in recovery or life can be pretty invalidating so try and validate where they ARE rather than where you think they could be! Validation doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with the person, too. Take care, out there!
  12. On p. 181 when Xel suddenly hugs Marnie, Marnie makes such a Loki-like comment telling her to put her down and it was just such a hilarious little thing that my MCU mind took over. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜™
  13. p. 191 reminded me of Deadpool 2 in particular when Deadpool sacrifices himself to save the kid from going on to commit acts of murder against humanity and he dies until Cable goes back in time to save Deadpool from dying with the little token thing. Basically, that sacrifice of the self for someone else just reminded me of Deadpool 2. Which I have to still do a review on…
  14. The book ends with some lovely progress from Marnie. ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿค๐Ÿค

CRITICAL CORNER: THINGS THAT DIDN’T SIT RIGHT WITH ME…

I’m not sure which section this next part should go in exactly: Is it a Critical Corner thought? A Thoughts or Ideas I had while reading thought? A Summary thought? I’m not sure.

But Marnie, as the main character in this story, is… complex. She, to me, was very unlikable. Like, I get that she dealt a lot with worthlessness feelings, low self-esteem, and pushed people away that were only trying to help her, as she had deserved in her living life to begin with however she did not receive, yet at other times she was very scathing and hurtful and angry towards people that were doing her a favor. Like, she was just ruthless and mean-spirited, and didn’t really give herself pause to consider how she might be negatively impacting others around her. She was definitely struggling with her identity and depression and how that was unfair that it wasn’t treated right in her living life and as a ghost, she’s taking out that pain and frustration on everyone around her, and it doesn’t make it right, it makes it understandable and it also was just soooo annoying to me. Like it really grated my nerves. If the story had been about Xel or C’tharla, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

And there were times that Marnie would realize the error of her ways and change.. only for her to resort back to abandonment and angry/miserable tactics that weaponized her emotions onto others. And that was frustrating (because I was open to Marnie, I disliked Marnie, I cared again for Marnie, I hated Marnie and then I was indifferent and wanting more from Marnie). And even the ending of this book seemed rushed to me and was so, so cringe, anticlimactic, underdeveloped and unfinished. It just fell really flat. I feel like the main rushed in plot at the end where another supervisor was being introduced, could have been hinted at before rather than being tossed in for one final punch. It was also very unprofessional of everyone involved and lacked any sense of realism, which is ironic for a fiction graphic novel about the bureaucracy of aliens in the afterlife, so I get that’s an odd sentiment to hold.

Also Marnie was apparently 19 years old. She spoke to me and acted FAR more like a fourteen or fifteen year old. We also never really get an insight into how her family coped with her loss or the way she died. Like, it was just a comical joke that her butt blew up from her chair and it was never revisited again. It was very odd.

Pairing this with the ending where, yes, there were some great points by Xel, it also didn’t fully answer anything. It just seemed lackluster and I think at least 20 additional pages could have mapped things out in a far more clear fashion. It just felt and read to me like the deadline for finishing this novel was approaching and everyone just had to put together all the last pieces the night before and one hour before it was due. I would have liked to see more growth. I do think, again, that Xel had some great ending of the book quotes here but like it was cheapened and we don’t get to see the more growth and change that Marnie gets to experience. Does she stay in the job as an intern forever? Does she eventually leave for the further afterlife? It’s never quite answered.

And then what happens to everyone after the boss issue? Do they get spoken to about what happened, is there any justice served to them for their unprofessional behavior? It seemed more like a six year old ending a story than something well thought out and planned meticulously. Again, rushed and just forced.

There were definitely moments where this book made me laugh or made me think or kept me going for sure. I would say 60% of me was disliking Marnie and 40% was me already being invested and needing to know what happened etc. (The closure aspect, I suppose one could say).

So, for instance of how much I disliked Marnie and resented the fact that this story was mainly about her: Take in point p. 50 where her smug attitude is presented towards two of the case workers, the main chapter being on Dev where she is suggesting that instead of finding the ghost they’re looking to work with they just abandon the process (mmm, do you taste that? The sweet scent of projection) and head back to the office. This is putting it delicately for Marnie’s attitude because it’s about to get a whole lot more direct and miserable. Bleh. ๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿคฎ

Also, in general, I feel like the worlds and environment about the inter-dimensions could be further explained and unraveled but it’s just never covered further.

By p. 55, Marnie is once again hurling insults at the two people she’s working besides. She, to me and in my eyes, became very unlikable, abusive, powerless, miserable and lashing out cruelly in a verbal fashion (though her body language ALSO communicates this without a doubt). She’s so often in a angry positioning of her ghostly form, which is probably just her shtick and how the character wanted to be presented (but it doesn’t make me want to feel for her, at the same time. So, eh). It’s almost like as a character, particularly the MAIN character, Marnie is just so…. agh, I forgot the word. Like, I definitely felt for her more later but so soon into the novel and I’m ready to chuck the book out the window and never touch it again, you know? It’s not the best way to keep the reader engaged, I think. And maybe this is meant later to build such a testament that Marnie plays such a vital role in the ending of the book but at what cost does me disliking Marnie from the get go make me want to stick it out and see how she turns out (for the better/ultimate good)?

I think I honestly may have mentioned it in another section, but I don’t recall where and I’m still plugging away at this post days later, so I just wanted to add that I was also disappointed in the way that the chapter named after V’qttyr BARELY had any of him actually in it, which was super odd and different from how all the other chapters were constructed. And it seemed SUPER rushed to me, like the last hour before a deadline paper is due and you’re just throwing everything at it to get it done. I thought this was pretty, yeah, I already said it, disappointing. I think if the story had gone on even another 20 pages there could have been a better way of handling it. I believe I’ve said this, too, but like the ending with a new character being suddenly involved to serve as the purpose of Marnie growing a thick skin and finding someone darker than she was and crueler than she was so as to build up Marnie and have Marnie change her stance on things (becoming more assertive, sticking up for her friends etc.) was pretty obvious and predictable. The added character was just so random and not built up in previous pages or chapters, so that was rough. There were still some great things that Xel told Marnie then, which I covered before (I’m writing this review out of order, haha) but yeah, it was just not what I was expecting and the fact that I expected something before it even happened made it cringey to me and dull.

Carol is also accidentally misgendered on p. 175.

To me, I felt that the ending of the graphic novel was kinda like the way parents are presented on Disney channel shows. Very like clueless and just a, I mean, I want to say a ‘mockery’ of their own selves but I feel that may be harsher in words than I wish to intend. I guess just it was pretty cheesy and formulaic and not what I was expecting. I would have preferred less of the random new character involved and more thought placed into it with even more scenes if that was possible. I think taking out the new character would have worked fine and there could have been another way to show how much Marnie had changed (and even then, we could potentially question how much of that was that positive change, she was still having somewhat of an attitude) over the course of the plot line but we didn’t quite get that, in this case. It was still a good and decent book overall, with some excellent ability to code and decipher body language and emotional expressions which I really appreciated.


MY EXPERIENCE: WHAT KEPT ME READING AND THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME….

As I already hinted at earlier, I got, as I tend to do, pretty invested in this story and needing that sense of closure and finality when it came to seeing through the graphic novel. For better or for worse, no matter how much I disliked Marnie, I still cared for her and wanted to know what happened to her and where the story went. I cannot abandon a story, I have to see it through and this was definitely one of those cases.

In the end, I did enjoy my time with this graphic novel. I definitely don’t want to read another graphic novel for a while and I probably won’t anyways so that is nice at least. I have my next book that I’m working on and I’m so, so, SO ready to finally just let this book go and no longer be in my possession. As you’ll see below at the very end of this review, I read this book on and off since April 2021 and I’m soooo ready to just be done with it. Thank god!!! It’s going to be SUCH a relief to finally pay off all my final fines from my local library and then continue moving on and forwards with the remaining books I have from two other library networks.

I am excited, I am grateful and I am inspired and motivated. I will be making a lot more videos this coming week and I’m really happy and excited. I also have more blog posts I can do and I plan to finish watching Thor and work on that review, and really get out the TIH and IM2 review posts, along with things like life updates, talking about my romantic relationship and some other older book reviews or film reviews that I have in various documents and physical journals.

I cannot wait. I think I’ve said everything I wanted to say.

Soooo, thank you so much for reading, stopping by and putting up with my shenanigans!! Thank you so very, very much. I’m still working on messages and will continue to uphold that across my socials this week. I am already reaping many benefits and just talking with people by doing that so I’m really motivated and inspired. Thank you so much once again!! I can’t wait to bring this book back, yay. Ahaha

My next book? (within the current timeline of me reading, not necessarily next upcoming BES’s)

Quiet Influence” (2013) by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler PhD

๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Ž


TRACKING DATES I READ THIS BOOK:

4/4/2021, 4/13, 4/14, 5/7 (late night), 5/8 (morning), 5/19, 5/27 (late night read), 6/1 (late night), 6/2, 6/3 (early morning reads), 6/16 (afternoon), 6/17 (multiple hours in one day).

TRACKING DATES I WROTE THIS REVIEW:

6/17/2021, 6/18, 6/21, 6/22/2021

When You’re Tired and You Start One Project, to Stop and Start Another One.


That is the struggle, right? Being so tired that your attention span is such a fickle creature as you start one thing, stop doing that one thing, start another thing and then work back and forth in that process for a while.

Tis what I’m dealing with right this moment. I thought I could write up a quick little blog post while my brain is sliding back and forth on the floorboards as partially a life update (I really only chose this thumb because I didn’t feel up to finding the Journaling one which is really the one I wanted, I’m far too tired for that level of jumping through hoops, and it may be reflecting even in and of itself in this post as well, bleh) and something else that I just forgot.

Regardless, I found myself stuck in the position where I’m just trying to make the hours go by faster so I can eventually just arguably justifiably crawl into bed and under the covers and just hit snooze until about 9a tomorrow morning. I’d like that that. Mmm, sleep.

I also find myself stuck where I’d love to do some creative writing for fan fiction but I’m too far behind in rereading fanfics to appropriately and properly give them the time and the voice and the re-immersion factor into actually working on them respectfully and fully.

I don’t think that makes any sense…. What I’m trying to say is that I started another project only to realize it could fit well into my D&D fanfic (I had the image in my mind that it was Loki and Tony Stark talking after all–speaking of, this evening was the first time I really explored my Twitter timeline *I’ve been avoiding it because Loki series spoilers* and while it was pretty great, it DID have some spoiler-rich content so I’ll be back to avoiding altogether again soon, but what I did encounter gave me some writing vibes) so I wrote in a blank document a scene and it’s essentially a future unknown chapter number for my D&D fic and so it’s the first real time I’ve written a chapter out of order. It’s still pretty rough around the edges but I’m happy with it.

I’m also tired.

I’m also listening to music–loudly, by the way, but music helps to wake me up. Or sleep, sometimes. Sometimes sleep.

Oooo, a nice new song has come on. Yay.

God, I’m so tired.

But I did some networking online today. I had a long day at work, physically exhausting. But it’s over now, hooray. And I decently edited a video, not finished, but I started it so that counts. And then I did some creative writing. And now I’m blogging.

I have been blogging behind the scenes too, I’d like to mention. I’ve been working on a graphic novel book review/book exploration station thingy. I worked on that Fri and well, Fri. Maybe Th too. But I haven’t further.

Actually, I wanted to talk about that–my library has opened up so now you can browse AND sit inside for a bit, no time limit and you just have to wear your mask. So, yay. I’m planning to stop by tomorrow. Ideally, I’ll finish my review and then the book will be checked in at that time and I’ll pay off the last dues and then no longer be blocked, hooray! I have a nonfic book I’m working on now. I did a little reading yesterday evening even.

But yeah, I’ am sooooo so exhausted.

I think it’s time for sleep.

I’m going to go to sleep.

Goo night.

I’d fix the typos but, eh, too sleepy.

I’ll see you guys more later this week.

Bye. xx

PS I took off on a break from Youtube last week so I’m gonna be cranking out some videos this week. All right I’m losing to my falling eyelids. See ya.

PPS We should be soon celebrating hitting 16,000 views. Amongst other things to celebrate belatedly. Also also also, I think I’m in love and that’s special. I can’t wait to work on more art projects soon. Okay sleep now. Yes. Seep.

Rereading Fanfics & Can I Just Nuke My Phone?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com ((Picture my phone in the fire pit, and I’ll complain about WHY REAL quick))

So, first off:

UGHHHHHHH, GRRRRRR, WHHHHYYYY.

Now, onto the post:

IIIIIIII am hating my phone right now. I keep–

No, so I have a 7 year old BlackBerry smart phone with an actual keyboard (it’ll have its birthday, actually if not this month then next I believe) and it’s been PISSING ME OFF lately like, SO much because:

  1. I cannot receive a text message at the SAME TIME that I am sending one. Because if it happens, and it HAPPENS, my phone REFUSES to load for at least 10 – 15 mins (I should clarify, I cannot access those in question text messages from the person I’m having difficulties loading with or CREATE any other NEW ones to ANYBODY else. I’m pretty much locked out of my phone unless I email or call). And that has to be 10 – 15 mins of active involvement trying to have it load, so if it goes to sleep during that time, it just adds MORE time to the recovery phase of things. This is particularly annoying and I’ll get to that later.
  2. 85% of the websites when I do go on Google, most often, save for Youtube and my blog, don’t load. The funky new text interaction and ads just doesn’t work on my phone. When I try and click on them I get an error message. This also applies if I try to enlarge an image via a Google search, it just doesn’t work.
  3. Even with Youtube, I cannot stop or change the location of the video–it has to play all the way through, I cannot, especially now, I cannot change where I put it because the window for it is so small (it wasn’t always this way)
  4. I can’t load Twitter whatsoever. (And we all know how much I use and like Twitter, even when it’s The Void)
  5. I can’t even load most images via emails like if the email is of a company and sample images for promotional purposes it refuses to load or show up at all
  6. When I do have the loading issues like with a “locked” text message (so to speak), my phone starts overheating and I’ve had instances in the past couple of months where it kills literally HALF of my battery power or more. Soooo that’s annoying too!!

Honestly? I think that’s about it. I think I complained and vented enough.

It’s just been proving to be far more of a hindrance than a help lately and I’ve been really getting sick of it. I just want to hurl my phone–OH RIGHT:

8. I believe my keys at work nudged into the bottom center of the screen where the letters ‘T’ and ‘Y’ are (so just above of the keyboard, on the glass screen) while they were in my pocket, maybe back in Feb, and it cracked a (at the time, small) section of the screen. I literally had glass come out and now it’s gotten a bigger scratch expanding from the injured area and more of the glass falling off each day with the glue-like substance beneath it. I did have a screen protector which probably minimized the damage but yeah, that sucks. When I realized what happened (at first, I was eating a bag of pretzels so I thought it was a piece of salt until I found out what happened) my first thought legitimately was “Welp, I guess it’s time for a new phone.”

So I knew the end was coming soon.

Especially given the fact that, oh right:

9. I can’t use most of the main stream apps on my phone because it is neither an iPhone or an Android. It’s…. a BlackBerry.

10. I can’t access things like my accounts on Netflix or Disney+ (which would be helpful at work)

…that I’ve now had an iPod Touch since about Jan. 2020 so I’ve been able to experience the fact, when I’m in a place of WiFi (library, home) where I CAN go on all these websites, I can be on Youtube maneuvering the time stamps to wherever, I can be on app games and such, I can be on TWITTER, I can be on my blog, I can be looking at the Weather app given each town I’m in (to plan my outfits, of course) and so on and so forth.

Of course, while at Amaryllis, because there’s no free WiFi/open WiFi, I can’t access these things— OH YEAH

11. I can no longer go on FFN on my BlackBerry. It doesn’t support it at all. I was fine up until this year when things on the site changed, apparently. Ugh.

—like the Internet and such on my iPod, and I can’t use it as a phone so I can’t send texts or calls but the idea that I one day, with a new phone, will be able to is soooo brightening.

And I’ve been looking at new phones on and off over the last 3 months. I found one that I liked and really attached to but there were some problems with it so that got abandoned and now it’s been over a month since I looked at a phone again. I may still stick with BlackBerry because it DID serve me a long time (I wouldn’t go iPhone, Android only) and it is partnered with Android nowadays or with the models I have briefly looked at so that should be fine. There’s a couple pricey ones and maybe decently priced ones (if we operate on my faulty memory) that do still have a physical keyboard as well. Then there’s things like size of the phone versus pocket to consider and such. Let’s hope that I can start this month again the process of looking at phones. It would be nice, you know?


Now, here’s why I REALLY wanted to blog:

But before that–

Can we just take a moment to celebrate the fact that apparently Mental Health Awareness Month treated me so kindly, and that my iPod was acting up this evening so I couldn’t be on Twitter, for me to bring together the MASS EFFECT of a whirlpool to ACTUALLY be blogging and dealing with my thoughts and feelings IN A BLOG POST like we’re back in 2016 or some shit?

Like, can we just celebrate and take a moment to have a chef’s kiss for everything to have collided right in the universe for me to have my gut reaction to a problem be that I blog (not blob) about it which hasn’t happened in literal YEARS?

Okay?

Okay.

Thanks.

Glad that we had that discussion. I’m amazed, I’m in the feels and it feels REALLY good. It’s been so long. And something about being more active on here when I’ve literally craved it after the last couple of years and to see that AHA Twitter took me away from this a little bit (I mean, there were other factors too of course), I don’t know, it just feels magical to discover at the moment. So, one more gif because I’m happy to find that I can use them and thought of them in the first place for the first time (or what feels like forever) here:

I want to talk a little bit about fan fiction. Particularly, MY fan fiction.

If you don’t know:

Hi, hello, it’s Raquel again and I write mainly Loki centered Avengers fan fiction on topics including physical health and mental health, overcoming adversity, hurt/comfort, trauma, suicidality, growth, recovery, adjusting to life’s difficulties, hope, passion, romance (FrostIron, I’m really big on FrostIron; READ: Loki Laufeyson x Tony Stark relationships), medical mysteries, resilience and probably more, let’s be honest.

I have both an FFN account (I made it back in summer 2014, but only started posting my own fics in 2016) under the name: Unmasked Potential and an AO3 account that I made back in 2018 after someone on FFN suggested it for either D&D or ALU, my two most popular stories, because they thought the fics would do very well there too, and my username on AO3 is UnmaskedPotential. ๐Ÿ™‚

So yeah, I’ve been writing Loki centered Avengers fan fiction stories since 2016. I, actually someone that I was emailing with just asked me this so I can say it here too, am more of a planster kind of writer: I outline chapters when I go to write them but I also keep adding new projects when I haven’t finished my old ones lmao So I have a LOT of stories in progress, really none that I’ve finished (besides one shots) and even a few others that were drafted or started but not finished or put together (mostly one shots, I’ll be honest). BUT some still as only ideas.

I would say… over the last 5 years I’ve been dabbling in other forms of creative writing, for instance:

While I was in college: research papers, essays for academic purposes as well.

What you guys have seen the most of on my blog since the start (and no I never fully finished it, gwah) my newspaper articles for the paper at uni where I spoke of my mental health on a public sphere and also outlines my recovery etc

And then, of course, within the mix of time (I started college in 2012) things like original short stories, multiple chapter stories and poetry.

I ended college in fall 2018, so I’d say, alongside also doing blog posts for writing within all the years, in 2019 to 2021 I’ve discovered something particularly interesting since I’ve just started in 2020-2021 to write NON fanfic work, so like more original stories or looser fanfic that’s not Avengers/Loki based: (like at work, with kids, etc)

While I can write Loki-styled things really well…

I’ve kinda gotten stuck writing Loki-styled things really well.

Me 2021

Like, I cannot UNDO the Loki!!

Like, okay, maybe my novel is a little different, maybe, I’m not sure.

BUT like other short stories or non related Avengers stuff?

It all sounds like Loki.

IT ALL SOUNDS LIKE IT COULD BE LOKI.

I HAVE BEEN LOKI’D.

I cannot NOT write like I’m writing a Loki centered Avengers fan fiction.

It’s a problem. I SWEAR it is.

I also swear I’m crying laughing at the absurdity of this. Never thought I’d be in this situation ahaha. And the fact that the Loki’d jab references are too good is amazing too (but I’m sad there’s no gif of that)

However, my problem STILL stands.

The way I write that angsty, depressing, unworthiness and stylistic pull and churn of Loki in my fics, just, bleeds through in all other avenues as well, it seems.

I mean, I guess there are worse things.

Maybe I just need more practice to relocate my author’s voice, so to speak. Probably some awareness, cracking down out of it, editing through it and reading new content will help with that. It’s probably not forever broken and maybe I’ll just keep writing free fan fiction until I’m in my forties lmao I can dream, can’t I? (Let’s hope I’ll have some original work published by then, though!!!) [[PS If you happen to have any published work, I’d love to read them and review them onto this blog too!!! Hit me up in the comments or an email. <3]]

But here’s the real meat of what this post was inspired by:

I’m in the process of re-reading my most popular fanfic called A Little Unsteady (ALU) and… I ALWAYS forget how good it is until I go back and reread it. Like, it’s SO GOOD. THE FEELS. The questions. The existential awareness/crises. I always fall back in love with it and I am reminded each time, ‘Aaaa, yes, this is why it’s my No. 1 most popular fic’ Of course, I don’t exactly do this process super often given the fact it’s been a year and 3 months since I last updated it but even so, little things come back to my mind to look forward to (I’m particularly currently excited and fangirling for the scene where Tony and Loki hug!!) OH!!!!!! I JUST remembered how that happens. Ahahahhhaa Loki initiated it, yep. Then he threatened Tony about it, ahaha. By the way, my fics all pretty much take place in an AU where the Avengers movie only recently took place, I go and avoid most of what the MCU covers while still making light references here and there. It’s just the OG team for the majority of them though.

But yeah. Just little things and little reminders and ways that the writing flows. I mean, I’m definitely NOT without typos “pale white streaks” not “pale white steaks” or without a catch all plot formation (I make it up as I go, a lot of the time) but it’s my writing so it’s there. I’m there for it. It’ll grow and change and transform, probably with the more I read and maybe even, oooo, take some creative writing classes again.

But yeah, I’ve just been fangirling after a long day at work, reading from 4:30p this story until about 9p. When I got up to fix the streaks/steaks on AO3 and then had the run in with my phone. It’s been nice. I’m glad it was on my mind again today and I look forward to reading the rest tonight and over the next couple of days.

And hey, maybe it turns out that I had writing vibes in me today after all. ๐Ÿ™‚

Welp, that’s the end of this post. How many words? Probably too many. 2,250, eh, not bad, I’ll take it.

I hope that you managed to enjoy this post!!! And check out my fanfic if you have the time and see how Loki things are and maybe I’ll post up some more OG stuff soon so you can let me know if it is really leaked into my every day writing or if it’s a fallacy my mind is creating in and of itself.

I’ve gotta go, but it’s been real.

See you all soon.

XXX

Song in background for the last hour: “Dancing with the Devil” by Demi Lovato; I also tried changing the song I listened to each chapter for ALU so that was nice. This is my first time properly online all day! Besides rereading where I did. (On AO3) Links in my About Me page for the fanfic stuff! PPS I’m reading on Chp 5. Post written at the earliest, 8:30p – 10p

Small Disappointments

Hi there.

It’s been a while.

I wound up taking the weekend off for blog posts or really going onto my computer officially. I tried the shift on Sun with the three year old but it didn’t totally work out super well so I wound up switching out with another co-worker while I spent the rest of the time in the main cottage. I tried to pull my weight more though by doing the dishes after lunch and then doing some of the logs. It was definitely overwhelming and tough though and I could write a whole novel on just when, how and where and why buuuut I’m just doing this short post for today then brushing my teeth, filling out my planner and going to sleep.

Tomorrow we have Clinicals and they’ll be in person so I have to leave before 1p from my house. That should be fine, get paid for a couple of hours or so. ๐Ÿ™‚

Then on Wed I will have my first shift there where it’ll be me and another co-worker and then just two kids. I’m a little nervous for this too because I’m not sure if lunch is done up in the cafeteria, what the schedule would be like for the two kids left behind rather than in school (like even just setting up laptops and helping them with their schoolwork) and little things like that but I guess I’ll find out soon enough. ๐Ÿ˜›

I’m gonna have to go to sleep by 9p tomorrow night though so there’s that. Little nervous on that, too. For now, I am going to bed by about 11p. I actually did fall asleep today during the day so I lost a couple hours that way. I also managed to edit a couple of videos and I uploaded a new one to my channel and now I’m going to be uploading my first video for scoliosis awareness month tomorrow, which I’m excited about!!!

I am pretty tired now though so I think I’ll hop off for now. I wasn’t going to make a post but then I decided I could take the 5 mins to do so. I’ve also just been disappointed in how much I did today vs what I could have done and looking again through Athena’s stuff and becoming anxious from having to edit through the final video cut for tomorrow and then regrettably pulling a lot of my right eyebrow. So, that sucks.

But it is what it is.

Any who, how are you guys doing? Anything you’ve managed to accomplish today or goals you have for the week ahead?

Let me know.

Sending light and love.

๐Ÿ’œ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒˆโ˜”

PS This also doesn’t cover the disappointments for what I wanted to achieve and manage for this month’s mental health awareness stuff so stay tuned for some post-May related content about that in the future. I mean, I guess it’s okay but yeah. That just sucks too.