EPISODE ONE (PILOT)

So my friend Sierra and I write an online serial vampire comedy. Here is episode one!:D

RevampManor

SKYLAR, POSSIBLY DEAD AND NOT CARING FOR IT

“I told you this was a bad idea…it’s never going to work!”

Skylar’s eyes fluttered open. She was cold, hazy, in the dark, and possibly dead. She wondered vaguely if you were supposed to hear bickering when you died. How exactly she had gotten here–wherever that was–she really didn’t know.

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Don’t Forget to Be Happy

One of the best choices I ever made was to follow my heart and do something that makes me happy.  I know, I know, that sounds a little after-school-special-ish, perhaps, but it’s one of the truest statements I can make.

For me, making this choice was not exactly easy.  In fact, it took me a long time to let go of my preconceived notions of what I thought my life should be and instead just allow it to be what I actually wanted it to be.

See, my problem was that I kept trying to take the practical route; the one everyone else thought I should take.  And, believe me, I had every intention of going that way–it certainly all looked good on paper!  I was going to be a teacher; a respectable job where I could make a difference, and, heck, have the summers off too!  Unfortunately, I eventually realized that was all wrong for me, and then it was back to square one.  But not to fear, I almost immediately came up with a great Plan B: I was going to be a surgical Physician’s Assistant–another very respectable job where I could help people and make a decent living for myself.  I was actually on-track for this one for a long time, and have completed so many of the prerequisite classes, it’s ridiculous.  But I worked in a hospital for 6 years, and while I loved many aspects of my job and seriously applaud all who choose a career in the medical field, I finally realized that, this too, was someone else’s dream, not mine.

So I sat down and took a good introspective look at myself and tried to figure out just what the heck was wrong with me.  Everyone else seemed to know exactly what they wanted to do with their lives.  Why didn’t I?

And then I discovered writing, and I realized that this was what truly made me happy: mind, body AND soul.  Now, I just had to explain to everyone in my life that, hey, guess what, I’m going to be a writer.  As my good friend Sierra and I have discussed, no one becomes a writer to make money, and often it is a difficult, lonely, frustrating road that leads to A LOT of rejection.  And yet, I wanted to do nothing more than travel that road for the rest of my days.

Now, of course, I did have to do other more practical things along the way to make money so that I could afford those pesky (okay, important) things like eating and having a roof over my head.  And I also had to learn to brace myself against the disbelieving (judgmental) looks I got anytime I informed inquiring people that I had switched my major from the medical field to English and creative writing.  But I have stuck with the writing, in spite of all of the good reasons not to, and it has truly been the best thing I could have done for myself.

The thing is, while working at the hospital, I met countless elderly patients who were ready and willing to give me valuable life advice; the most memorable of which came from a frail, yet spunky, old woman at one of the long term care facilities. Her exact words: “Honey, life is full of shit you have to do and bills that need to be paid. Everyone needs you to do this and that, and the list goes on. That’s fine, but, while you’re busy doing all that, just don’t forget to be happy.”

Therein lies the key, I believe. Do all of those things that need to be done, but make sure you take time for yourself, whatever that means for you. Whether that means choosing a different career path than the one your parents had planned for you, lining up some actual gigs for your band, going back to school like you always wanted, or even just taking up pottery again. Whatever you decide to do, whatever path life takes you down, just don’t get so busy or buried in obligation along the way that you forget to be happy.

Crossing the Threshold

Okay, so here goes my first official post! I was trying to decide what it should be about, and I think I would like to start out by sharing an amazing quote I (thankfully) came across during some of the darkest times of my chronic illness.

“In illness, you’re suddenly not yourself anymore. The question is: Are you going to cling in panic to some idealized self that no longer exists? Or are you going to cross the threshold and acknowledge that you’re on a journey, though you don’t know to where? You haven’t chosen it, but now you’re different in some way… It’s a profound shock to the system. It dislodges you. You look in the mirror, and one of the unfortunate ill stares back. But in a way, you could say that disease also abrades away, painfully, all of these superficial ways in which we judge our worthiness, even life’s worthiness. Our worthiness, as in: ‘Am I strong, beautiful, competent, undamaged goods?’ Or life’s worthiness, as in: ‘Life is good only when it makes me happy, or aggrandizes me, or favors my enterprise.’ But who’s bigger, you or life? There’s a Rilke poem Robert Bly has translated: ‘This is how he grows – by being defeated, decisively, by ever greater beings.'”~Marc Ian Barasch

In a time when I had fallen into a deep despair over the loss of the person I had once been, this quote really spoke to me. Because, let’s be honest, that is one of the cruelest parts of any chronic or long term illness/affliction; it makes you mourn the person you used to be, hate the sick person you’ve become, and, worst of all, question your very worth. You can no longer do the things you could before. You can’t always say yes to everyone anymore. You now have to ask for help doing the simplest of tasks. And smiles and laughs?…those no longer come as effortlessly as they once did.

But what I needed to realize was that, hey, that’s actually okay. I didn’t have to be defined by what I could or couldn’t do; it was okay to be sick; it was okay to be angry or sad sometimes; I didn’t have to prove to anyone that I was still worth something. Most importantly, I realized that I had to stop mourning the “Old Christine” (what I then thought of as the “Good Christine”), in order to get past the darkness that had sucked me in. I was still a trustworthy friend; I was still a loving wife; I was still a good person. And these things count for a hell of a lot. I finally realized that “New Christine” was not so terrible after all.

So to anyone deep in the horrible, suffocating trenches of chronic/long-term illness, this is my advice: cross that threshold and embrace the journey, as bumpy and ugly and ill-timed as it may be. Because, hey, guess what, life is pretty freaking awesome; and, oh yeah, you are pretty freaking awesome. Sometimes, we just need to step back and see that again.

I suppose an introduction is in order

So. I’m going to begin by stating (warning everyone?) that I am not really a “blogger”–or at least I’ve never attempted it before. I have always enjoyed reading other people’s blogs and have found myself more than impressed with the (seemingly, at least) ease with which they do it. I am a writer, but my usual choice is novel-writing (mostly because I can be rather long-winded, I’m afraid). That, and you get to hide behind your characters and it is what THEY thought or said or did, not YOU. Thus, blogging (if I’m to be perfectly honest here) scares the bejesus out of me because I will be sharing MY OWN thoughts, opinions, likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, etc. So, why do it then? Well, I’m not quite sure what the answer to that is yet, but I’ll get back to you when I figure it out 😉 Probably the best reason I can come up with at present is that I love a challenge and, hey, why the heck not?

Now that that is out of the way, my name is Christine and am 29 years old…whew…STILL able to say “in my twenties” for a few more months! I live in Northern California in a house lacking in neighbors, surrounded by huge, beautiful trees (which has been described by a Southern California friend of mine as “summer camp”). As you can imagine from my chosen location of residence, I am an outdoorsy sort of girl who likes to get dirty, sweaty, and as much fresh air as possible. That being said, you’ll often find me hiking, camping, boating, surfing, snowboarding, wheeling, or tearing up the trails with the hubby on our dirtbikes (BEST INVENTION EVER, by the way). Funny thing is, I ALSO am perfectly content to spend the afternoon in a coffee shop with a good book or my computer, or to hunker down on the couch with some wine and pizza rolls, and spend the entire afternoon marathoning through movies or my favorite TV shows. Yes, yes, I realize I am somewhat of an oxymoron in that regard, but, hey, what can I say? I’m an adventurous, geeky, bookworm. As you would imagine, a lot of the content of this blog will have to do with all of these things.

I also happened to get sick about four years ago, and let me tell you, suddenly finding yourself living with a chronic illness certainly changes your perspective on a LOT of things–and, quite frankly, throws you for one hell of a loop. You can’t do many things you used to take for granted, you lose a lot of friends who don’t really understand why you can’t be a “yes” person anymore, and you have to somehow figure out how to redefine yourself and pick up the pieces that once fit together oh so perfectly. For anyone else who has suffered through this, or is currently suffering through something like this, you understand how frustrating, frightening, and horribly lonely it can all be. For that reason I will be occasionally writing about my struggles (and triumphs) in hopes that any of you that have gone through something similar can find support in our shared experiences.

Okay, I think that about covers it. And, sorry for the incredibly long intro… did I mention I can be long-winded? 😉 I probably will be inconsistent at best with my blogging, but, I’ll see what I can do. Here goes!