Christmas in Phoenix(ish)

On the outskirts(ish) of Phoenix, sits my hometown: a little city of 250,000 people called Chandler. Chandler has put up a Christmas tree every year for the last 60 years that looks something like this:

tumbleweed-tree2

Let’s take a closer look at that beautiful, snowy goodness, shall we?

tumbleweed-tree

Hrm. Looks to be a bit dry.

In truth, that tree is made of–wait for it–spray-painted tumbleweeds. I’m not sure you can get more Arizona than that, though God knows our neighboring city of Gilbert has tried. I mean, who doesn’t want to go running through a splash-pad in the middle of December?

gilbert-water-tower2

This is appropriately located beneath the Town of Gilbert water tower.

(And yes, there were children playing in the water.)

gilbert-water-tower

As you can tell, we really don’t have much to work with. I mean, the malls are decked out in all sorts of typical holiday goodness, but our downtown areas seem to be a bit . . . creative. Here’s a gem from downtown Phoenix herself in 2014:

Christmas in Arizona

I love the festive red bow.

Anywho, from my hometowns to yours, let me wish you happy holidays, Merry Christmas if you celebrate such, and much love.
gilbert-lamppost

Advertisements

A Non-Post about Posting

One of the hardest things about writing a blog (for me) is coming up with topics. The conversation with myself goes something like:

“What should today be about?”

“I dunno. There was that movie we went to yesterday.”

“True, I could write about that, but I kinda don’t feel like it. What about depression?”

“You’re stable on your meds. You have barely any insight to that right now.”

“True again. How about Christianity?”

“Now there’s a can of worms. Are you sure that’s a smart choice?”

“I’ll write it and then decide if I’m going to post it or not.”

“Great. So if you decide not to post it, what are you going to post?”

“Probably some stupid bullshit. Can I go dehydrate the tomatoes now?”

“You’re an idiot.”

img_5681

What I’m playing with to avoid writing

I did go see Rogue One and Doctor Strange yesterday (and didn’t have to pay for either, so that was fabulous). I’m going to let those stories percolate in the back of my mind before talking about them here. I will say that 1) Rogue One was inspiring from an “us vs. them” perspective and 2) I’m going to rewatch Doctor Strange a thousand times just because of the visuals. (And Mr. Cumberbatch’s American accent was on point.)

As for that post about Christianity, it’s sitting near 1000 words and it’s quite possibly one of the most difficult pieces I’ve written recently because it’s so personal. Spoiler alert, I broke from the Christian church about six years ago, which sucks in a way because there is a man–a good, Christian man–I would quite like to cross paths with again, but the whole “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness have with unrighteousness?” (2 Cor 6:14, KJV) is a long way of saying Christianity says he and I have no future. (My hopeless romantic side, on the other hand, disagrees, of course. My hopeless romantic side might be an idiot.)

So that appears to be what’s upcoming in the next few weeks. Thanks for reading this non-post and taking a glimpse inside my brain.

Anxiously Bored

Almost exactly two years ago, I had a professor at Arizona State suggest to me that the best way to handle boredom is to do nothing. Don’t scroll through Facebook. Don’t flip through television channels. Don’t try to draw or find music. Don’t. Do. Anything.

It’s amazing what not doing anything can do.

I’ve dealt with some pretty serious boredom recently and the hardest thing to do is nothing. I find myself wanting to find some creative activity to fill the time. Instead, I’m taking my professor’s advice and I made a realization: boredom is my mind’s answer to being overwhelmed.

Now, there are people who legitimately have nothing to do and are basically wasting away by being bored. I’m not one of those. There’s always something to do; it’s a matter of if I want to do it or not. I actively avoid things that stress me out, so writing has been on my “avoid” list. There are a few things at work I’m avoiding. The question becomes: what do you do when you don’t want to do what you’re supposed to?

That’s where my boredom comes from, so now I’m taking time to just be still. It’s doing wonders for the anxiety. Saturday was bad, so I sat and stared at a wall for close to an hour before I figured out what I really wanted to do. Sunday was hella productive. Today is more like Saturday. I don’t really want to do much because the thought of everything I need to do makes me want to curl into a ball and hide under my desk. Combating that desire by sitting still takes more strength than I thought it would.

I’m pretty sure this is 90% just rambling, but I’m curious–why do you guys get bored? Is it really that you don’t have enough to do, or do you actually have too much and you need to disconnect? Does it tie into anxiety for you?

Hair

We’re going to pretend I got this post up earlier in the day. I definitely did not spend the last (*cough*27*cough*) hours sleeping. Look, I wasn’t feeling so hot and I was tired. Apparently like Rip van Winkle tired. And I’m still tired, so apologies for anything that doesn’t make sense.

So hair.

One of the bizarre things about writing a blog like mine is trying to find ways to tie together writing and mental health. If it sounds easy to you, then good on you; it’s not easy for me. However, hair ties into both rather nicely.

Me!

March 2014

Back in March of 2014, I cut my hair all the way off. Like, all the way. The next shortest I could have gone was a buzz cut, and I was tempted. The whole purpose of cutting it off was to get rid of everything–the dead ends, the hair color, the bad memories, and the temptation to keep cutting it shorter inch by inch.

Hair is a sign of power to me. Maybe it’s because my mom has always kept her hair long. Maybe the story of Samson really struck a chord with my childhood imagination.  Either way, hair and power are two things I cannot separate from one another. I think that’s part of the reason I kept cutting my hair when I felt stressed out. I felt powerless.

WIN_20150325_202932

March 2015

I made a commitment to myself that I would never cut my hair again . . . until I got married. That vow lasted longer than anticipated since my engagement broke off about six months later.

The picture to the left shows a few things:

  • My hair grew a full six inches in the first year [insert “Why the long face” jokes here];
  • I felt dead inside through most of 2015
  • This is roughly the length my male characters wear their hair at minimum.

Characterization-wise, I personally prefer to identify my characters’ perceived power with the length of their hair. In my first book, Devin’s hair is in a pixie cut (think the length of my first picture, but styled like someone actually wanted her to look cute). She’s timid, young, and naïve. By the last book, her hair is waist-length and she is among the most powerful women in the province. Similarly, one of my characters starts the series with waist-length black hair and by God she is possibly the most terrifying female in the books thus far.

The same thing goes for my men, but with the added complexity of how they wear their hair, i.e. a ponytail = restrained power. My leading man, Patrick, always wears his hair tied back because he thinks he is completely powerless in the real world. He has to hide the power and influence he has over people and it’s one of the biggest stressors in his life.

As for me, I’ve managed to keep the scissors away from my hair for nearly three years. I’m pulling a Samson: my hair has not seen so much as a trim since March 2014, and it really does feel empowering to know that I have been able to grow my hair out so long. I took a ruler to it the other day — it’s 18 inches long now. The weird thing is that I wear my hair back often because I don’t want people to see how long it’s gotten, like they don’t deserve that part of me. Bizarre, right?

What about you guys? Does hair make you feel powerful/powerless? If you don’t have or can’t grow hair, I definitely want to know your thoughts on the whole hair/power dynamic.

img_3890

November 2016