Monday, February 29, 2016

Am I Still a Writer?

7:14 PM
Once upon a time, I used to write. I wrote stories. I wrote poems. I wrote articles. I was always writing. Then, I stopped. Oh, it wasn't all at once. It was bit by bit. First, the poetry stopped. Then, the stories. My blog posts became fewer and further between. I desperately tried to hold on by keeping my recipes flowing, but even they stopped after a while.

My writing became limited to Facebook posts, occasional tweets, and even more occasional reviews. As my mental health issues grew worse, I found it was easier to give in to the silence. I convinced myself, or maybe the depression convinced me, that I didn't need to write, that I had nothing left to share with the world and if I did, no one was listening. Instead, I took other people's words and I tweaked them. I poured pieces of myself into other people's work. I became an editor. I took pride in my work and when something went to print, it was as if I were still putting a piece of myself out into the world.

That's changing. I find myself frustrated that they're not my words. Recently, a story that I did the editing on went to print and even the author didn't give me public credit for the work that I had done. I knew the publisher wouldn't put my name in the book, but I thought the author would thank me when he thanked others. Except, he didn't. It hurt. I'd never had that happen before. My authors always have made sure that I got credit when it was due.

Now, I find myself wondering if I'm still a writer. Are the words still there inside of me? Can I put them down again and make them sing? Can I find that part of me again that was one that I cherished the most and was the hardest to let go? Or am I destined to just be the tweaker of everyone else's words, silent in my work, an unsung hero in the publishing world? Or worse, will this part of me continue to fade away until it's gone completely?

Or is this the first step?


If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons:

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Bee-Friendly Garden

9:00 AM 0 Comments
For every gardener who cares about the planet, this guide to designing a bee garden helps you create a stunningly colorful, vibrant, healthy habitat that attracts both honeybees and native bees.

In The Bee-Friendly Garden, award-winning garden designer Kate Frey and bee expert Gretchen LeBuhn provide everything you need to know to create a dazzling garden that helps both the threatened honeybee and our own native bees. No matter how small or large your space, and regardless of whether you live in the city, suburbs, or country, just a few simple changes to your garden can fight the effects of colony collapse disorder and the worldwide decline in bee population that threatens our global food chain. There are many personal benefits of having a bee garden as well! Bee gardens:

· contain a gorgeous variety of flowers
· bloom continuously throughout the seasons
· are organic, pesticide-free, and ecologically sustainable
· develop healthy and fertile soil
· attract birds, butterflies, and other beneficial insects
· increase the quantity of your fruit and vegetable harvest
· improve the quality, flavor, and size of your produce

Illustrated with spectacular full-color photos, The Bee-Friendly Garden debunks myths about bees, explains seasonal flower progression, and provides detailed instructions for nest boxes and water features. From “super blooming” flowers to regional plant lists and plants to avoid, The Bee-Friendly Garden is an essential tool for every gardener who cares about the planet and wants to make their yard a welcoming habitat for nature’s most productive pollinator.

It's still winter here in Michigan, but there's something lovely about daydreaming about putting in this year's garden. To be honest, I neglected mine the past couple of years and it's time for a fresh start so when this book became available, I clicked accept about as fast as I ever have.

This book is filled with a ton of useful information and absolutely gorgeous photos. Honestly, it's the type of book that some people may pick up just for the photos. Don't overlook the information though! It's already given me some great ideas for my beds this year and I know that before I start collecting up what I need, I'll be diving back into the pages to see what other information and ideas I may have missed. After all, I don't want to pick up something that drives bees away by mistake! Know how I'll avoid that pitfall? There's a section on it in the book!

So, gardeners, bee lovers, flower lovers and nature lovers...pick up a copy of this book and start planning your own gardens!


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons:

Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Review: Zombies and Sexuality

2:58 PM 0 Comments
Since the early 2000s, zombies have increasingly swarmed the landscape of popular culture, with ever more diverse representations of the undead being imagined. A growing number of zombie narratives have introduced sexual themes, endowing the living dead with their own sexual identity. The unpleasant idea of the sexual zombie is itself provocative, triggering questions about the nature of desire, sex, sexuality, and the politics of our sexual behaviors. However, the notion of zombie sex has been largely unaddressed in scholarship.

This collection addresses that unexamined aspect of zombiedom, with essays engaging a variety of media texts, including graphic novels, films, television, pornography, literature, and internet meme culture. The essayists are scholars from a variety of disciplines, including history, theology, film studies, and gender and queer studies. Covering The Walking Dead, Warm Bodies, and Bruce LaBruce's zombie-porn movies, this work investigates the cultural, political and philosophical issues raised by undead sex and zombie sexuality.

When this book first landed on my doorstep, I couldn't help but smile at the topic. Zombies fit in so well with everything geeky and sexuality has long been an area of interest. Somehow though, I missed that this was an academic tome. I'm guessing it's due to my excitement over the title. I completely skipped over reading the back of the book before diving in.

So what did I think? I really enjoyed it. It gave my brain, which has been reading a lot of very simple books, a chance to stretch and expand and gave it a bit of a challenge. The topics were interesting and while I hadn't seen any of the movies referenced in it, the authors made sure that the context and content was such that I didn't need to.

My recommendation? If you're not afraid of stretching your brain cells, if big words don't scare you, and you're interested in this topic, pick up the book. Be prepared for a very academic read that isn't light and isn't casual, but just might get you thinking.


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hoarding People

10:39 AM
When I wrote the other day, I mentioned "people hoarding" in passing towards the end. I'm back here again to write about that because it's been on my mind ever since it came up in conversation with Justin. So, here we go...this isn't going to be pretty, but as always, it's going to be me...

Sometimes in life, you have a light bulb moment and with people who have things like ocd, for them to make progress, that has to happen. Justin and I were talking the other night...okay, he was talking, I was...what's the word..venting? ranting? I was pouring everything out that had been stuck inside my head. One of the things I said was that I don't know why I even keep certain people in my world...and he agreed with me. Neither of us was sure why I kept people around, even those who had been horrible to me. Then, there was the light bulb. I keep people around for the same reason I keep stuff around. It's a security blanket. I'm afraid that if I cut them loose, it means that I've given up on them and I've had people give up on me and know how painful that can be.

It's more than that though. I'm afraid that if I cut them loose, others may leave and soon, I'll be completely alone. Is that rational? Heck no. Is it a pretty typical thought pattern for someone with anxiety and other issues? Heck yes. We worry that we're such a burden that everyone is going to leave..we're just too much work to be friends with, to love.

With any light bulb moment comes a decision. Do I stay in this pattern or do I try to break it? Today, I'm going to work on breaking it. It's going to be hard. It's going to hurt. With each person, I'm going to mourn what we had and that they chose to not have that. I'm going to list those people here, not out of some sense of revenge, but as a reminder to me of what these people did. In a way, it will be me saying goodbye to them...and as I finish each person, I'll be removing them from my social media and other accounts...It's time to move on with those who truly love and care about me.

Zac - Cheated on his girlfriend with me (I had no idea he was with someone). A few years later, our paths crossed again and he talked about having a relationship with me. Instead, he lied to mutual friends about me, tried to create drama, and then when something happened within the group, allowed his girlfriend who didn't know me to threaten my life.

Brian - Became an incredibly close friend, asked me out and then started dating his best friend that I didn't care for. The problem was that he just stopped talking to me and I had to find this out through a mutual friend. I was okay with him dating her but the fact that he refuses to talk to me tells me that our friendship wasn't all that important to him.

Dawn - Yes, as in my mother. The list of things she's done is too long to mention. Let's just say that her latest childish behavior has pushed me to go past avoidance to just plain removing.

Mark - Yes, my father. He's had a lot of years to make an attempt at being part of my life and instead is just on the drama train with the rest of them. No thanks.

Jim - Someone I considered one of my closest friends. So close that I gave him my grandfather's pen set the last time we exchanged Christmas gifts. Then, he got a girlfriend, got a new grasp on religion and suddenly I no longer existed in his world. He stopped responding to all messages, didn't return phone calls and when a mutual friend died didn't even call me...even when I left a sobbing message on his voice mail.

Other Family - There are a few other family members on my friends list on Facebook and there's really no reason for them to be. I have no relationship with them and due to circumstances, have no real desire to.

That's it for now...I know others will come to mind over time and I hope I have the strength to say goodbye and to move on. Just like surrounding myself with trash and stuff isn't good for my physical or mental health, neither is having these beacons of negativity around. They're constant reminders of people who made me feel as if I wasn't good enough. Even though it's hard, it's time to tell myself that I deserve only the best people in my life, not those who would hurt me without a second thought.

I'm not going to lie to any of you and say that this is easy. My anxiety levels are high and there's that little voice saying, "What if these were the best people you could get?" and "What if there's some kind of fallout from this?"  I'm not listening though. I'm hearing, but I'm not listening. I know for a fact that I have some amazing people in my world already so the first is nonsense. As for the second, I'm fairly certain that none of the people listed above will even notice.


If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Do You See Me?

11:36 AM
Today isnt a good day and I question my own judgement in writing this here, but I swore that I would live my life out loud, where people could see that others go through maybe what they're going through....and so here we are...

About ten minutes ago, I posted this to Facebook...soon it will go onto my other site:

I want to apologize in advance that I may be scarce in the coming weeks/months. I have some mental and physical health problems that I need to take care of and really focus on. This may mean me taking more time for myself so that I can get well enough to tackle life head on again. I've been trying to juggle so much that I'm not giving my best to anything and the guilt and stress of that are adding to everything and are taking their toll. I know that I owe things to people and I will get them done. I just can't say when. All I can do is apologize and hope that you can understand that right now I need some time away from things that aren't directly helping me get better.

 I promise all of you that I will get better and I will come back stronger. I'm not disappearing but taking a step back. Call me, text me, email me, message all helps but please understand that right now my focus is on fixing myself and my world. I love you all very, very much. That will never change. I just want to be okay and that's going to take some work.

I wrote that last night and waited about ten hours before posting it. I had hoped that sleep would change how I felt, but it didn't. I feel as if I'm falling apart and nobody sees me anymore. Oh sure, the rational part of my brain knows that isn't true, but as so often is the case with the things I suffer with, the rational side isn't completely in charge.  Instead, I find myself in this place that I don't understand and I don't like. For 90% of Valentines Day, I was okay. It was just another day and then suddenly a post was made by a friend of mine and I got angry. I got angry that he's with someone and I'm not...and yes, a bit that when he was single, he didn't notice me. Please, don't mistake this for jealousy. It could easily be seen that way and it's not. It's not just certain people being in relationships. It happens when a friend had a story published in an anthology and I saw him give a ton of credit for it to someone else even though I was his cheerleader and his editor. It happens when someone tells me I have no idea what I'm talking about even though I've been doing something for years. It's just that right now, I'm having these knee jerk reactions...I'm reacting and it's taking every last bit of energy that I have not to lash out. I'm living in a constant state of chest feels as if it's ice cold and burning at the same time all the time. I'm breaking apart and though I know there are others struggling too, all I seem to be able to see is everyone else's babies, new relationships, happy relationships, etc. More and more I feel like an outsider and it allows my fears to get a stronger grip.

Things that I thought I had gotten my family and their pure jackassedness ...are popping up and instead of walking away and shaking my head, I'm struggling with the desire to just tell them precisely how I feel about how they're behaving now and in the past. My blood pressure is up, my body is one stress reaction after another...
How many of us have seen this image on places like Facebook? I'm sure a lot of us. I saw it again last night and it hit me...I'm not getting better. I had been getting better, but something shifted and now I'm getting bitter. When I feel as if nobody sees me or nobody appreciates what I do, I'm getting angry. I'm getting frustrated. I just want to throw my hands up in the air and walk away from everything. I want to say "fuck off" to everyone and just live a life of seclusion where I can be alone...except, I'd be alone with my anger and everything else. It wouldn't help. 

There's so much more to I've become afraid of the outside world, why I hoard people even those who have been nasty to me, how I don't feel as if I'm worth spending $35 on....and I know that I'll write those and maybe a few of you will read them and maybe it will resonate with one or two of you and somehow help. If it helps even one person, it makes the fight a little more worth it. 


If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

I Write to Save Myself...

12:48 PM
I never wanted to go back and yet here I am. It's been about six weeks since everything seemed to fall apart and in those six weeks, I've slowly been trying to piece my world...myself...back together again and all it took was a couple of pictures and I'm on the floor, curled up, crying all over again.

PTSD can be a bitch like that. All it takes is one little thing and suddenly you're reliving everything all over again. I thought I was getting better. Sure, there were rough moments, but I'd kept going. I'd fought. Even in the worst of it, he told me that I would get back up again and go on kicking ass like I always did.

I'd been trying to condition myself for things that might come...things that might hurt...things that might trigger, but I didn't expect them to come the way they did. I didn't prepare myself. I have this cold spot. It's right in the middle of my chest. If you touch it, the skin is actually colder there. It's as if seeing what I did sent an ice arrow right through me and it's so cold that it burns. It'd been weeks since that had happened. I was stronger. I was ready to move on.

Now, it's as if everything just happened. I want to hide. I cry. I sob. I pant trying to stop myself from hyperventilating. My skin feels like there's something crawling and I have to fight not to scratch. Every single awful thing keeps running through my head like a movie reel. I stare at my pictures of friends...and I whisper help me, someone please help me. Take me from this hell...but they can't hear me. I'm alone in this awful place.

Why do I write this? I write this to save myself. Maybe if I share this with the world then maybe there's a chance I can survive this. Maybe I can tap more into the anger that's deep inside of me...anger at myself for giving anyone this kind of control in my life and anger with him for letting his cowardice lead to cruelty. The fact that it's in there means there's hope. I'm not totally lost to this. Maybe if I share this, someone else will realize that they're not alone when it happens to them.

So what's next for me? I don't rightly know. More and more I'm starting to think that therapy is something I should seek. There's also the voice of someone I love in my head telling me to fight, not to hide...I don't know what I'm going to do. Hiding keeps me safe from the world and the scary things in it. Nobody can hurt me if I don't open myself up to them.  I feel as if I don't really have anyone that I can talk to about this. The platitudes don't help a lot though the thought behind them is appreciated. Those who try to intellectualize this just make it worse. My support network has gone eerily quiet, even when I've tried to reach out. I don't judge. I know life gets busy and that there's not always the time for things like this.

For today, I'll make some lunch...and wish that I weren't always the one reaching out to those I love...and maybe let the cat have her way in her desires to sit on me.


If you like what you've read here, please share it with others using these buttons:

Follow Us @lifewithkatie