Let’s Do What We Can to Get Our First 2019 Post Out in January…

Hi guys! It’s me, your (possibly) favorite recluse! Welcome to 2019, the year in which I anticipate several big changes–most notably, my husband’s graduation and eventual job-starting in a potentially new city (fingers crossed it stays St. Louis, though–and other fingers crossed it’s another entirely new adventure, I could go either way). Also, there’s the whole matter of my *finally* hitting the big 3-0 at the end of the year, which I anticipate will be hugely satisfying and I intend to arrive there with the two gray hairs I’ve grown and not a single one more.

I also have a goal to pursue publishing this year. Like, query some agents, let my baby fly, drown my rejected sorrows in any manner of alcohols, publish. I know I’ve had publishing as a soft goal in years past, but this year I intend to put my story into the world–even if no one bites until next year/the following, the process starts in 2019!

I’ve also made a goal (that sounds so much more “adult” and attainable than “resolution” don’t you think?) to read 40 books this year. So far, I’ve read 3. I’ll try to be better about posting reviews/recommendations (please note: that one’s a try, not a goal 😉 )

My last resolution–because this one feels the most like something I’ll say at the beginning of the year and let drop off sometime mid-February–is to take better care of my hands. I have Reynaud’s Syndrome which makes them dry out easily, especially in the winter, as well as anxiety that is short-term-soothed by picking at dry cuticles and ragged nails, but I’m an adult now (I’m practically 30, if you didn’t catch that). So I’m getting semi-regular gel manicures with the hopes I can train myself to treat my nails better with the hardier polish until I reach a point where I can be trusted to get a regular manicure bi-weekly without chipping the normal polish as soon as I get home.

So that’s my beginning to 2019. How’s yours going so far?

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What Happened to 2018?

Oh, hey, guys! So, turns out 2018 is practically OVER. When did this happen? I seriously feel like I blinked at the Thanksgiving dinner table and suddenly December is more than half-finished.

Ever happen to anyone else?

I’m staying on top of the borderline panic that builds with each day I *don’t* notice ripping off the calendar by burying my head farther into the sand and pretending life isn’t speeding right on past. And by sand, I mean my book–the one I simultaneously feel so incredibly proud of and also want to douse in kerosene and light on fire (metaphorically, of course. While I have plenty of hard-copy drafts, the heart of it lives in my laptop and have you SEEN what computers cost these days??). Most days, I’m so excited about this story that is a living, breathing thing taking over my soul that I want to start posting excerpts and side stories on my blog so I can get more people loving it too.

Before you start saying “yes, please!” (Mom–looking at you), I’ve got to admit I’m nowhere near ready. I thought I had a really great, polished draft to give to a technical-writer-friend to look over for the mechanical stuff (and to tell me if the story is in fact good) and not halfway through sending her chapters, I’ve already changed so much. And that’s both exciting and disheartening, because I want so badly for it to be out of me already, but I also want it to be perfect–or as perfect as it can ever be.

Damn, there I go ranting about my book again. I just wanted to pop in and say, ‘hey, I survived NaNoWriMo and it was awful.’ I guess I’ll save that for another post. For now I’m going to go pretend I’m *not* stress-sweating over the fact that Christmas is next week (um, how??). If I don’t get another post out before the New Year (at this rate, I’ll be happy to get myself to the New Year), have a glorious Christmas, a magnificent Candlenights, an enjoyable Festivus, and a fantastic New Year. (PS SORRY I MISSED CHANUKAH, I HOPE IT WAS WONDERFUL–we did get most of the candles lit but I’m pretty sure the grinch stole a couple nights in the middle. That’s the only explanation for this lost time.)

If I Can Be Honest

This year, I’m going to be more honest. This means if I take a picture that’s perfectly Instagram-worthy, I’m going to mention all the little tweaks and not-so-perfect behind the scenes details that got it there. This means I’m probably going to swear more, because as Tosca Lee once said about picturing her mom reading her writing, “even if I didn’t write it down, I’m thinking it anyway.” (hi, Mom). This means I’m not going to shy away from discussing my struggles when I feel led to do so, or pretend I’m healthier than I am, even if my husband calls it “dirty laundry.”

Because that’s the problem. We treat things like anxiety and mental illness as dirty laundry, something to be swept under the rug or shoved into a rarely-used closet. Ignore it until it goes away.

But it doesn’t go away.

When left unattended, it gets into the good liquor and has a party. It scribbles over the walls in permanent marker and TPs the neighbors’ yards.

And we smile and laugh and pretend like the chaos inside isn’t tearing us apart. Because otherwise, we might embarrass our loved ones. Otherwise, someone else might see the chinks in our seemingly perfect facade.

To be fair, my husband is often eerily good at navigating my darker days. He’s understanding and loving. He simply accepts it (without trying to “fix it”) when I tell him I’m having a rough day, or my chest aches, or I’m just not feeling well inside. He recognizes times I may overspend my spoons (side note: spoon theory is one of the best explanations for life with chronic illness I’ve ever read) and helps me better plan my days so I don’t exhaust myself too early. He encouraged me to seek professional help, which I cannot recommend enough if you are struggling with anything.

That’s something else that is so important to me: removing the stigma around counseling and therapy. It’s so beneficial to have an objective person to bounce ideas off of, and it is incredibly validating to have someone who spent years of their life studying mental processes tell you that you aren’t in fact crazy. My therapist took all my Google-search- and undergrad-psych-fueled fears, and refuted most — and better explained others. She helped me understand the anxieties I do have, and gave me a multitude of exercises to practice to better cope.

Seriously, talk to someone. Everyone could get something out of it.

Even if it’s the freedom of not feeling the need to censor oneself. That’s what this year is about for me: freedom from hiding who I really am. Also, discovering who I really am. You know, now that I’m being honest.