Ever have one of those mornings where you’re working on a project and you realize that the perfect consultant for said project is someone you swore to never speak to again? Because I have.

Today’s shenanigans include researching childhood illnesses that may lead to relatively severe vision loss (remember: we authors love doing terrible things to our characters), but I need the vision loss to be something that can be mitigated by contact lenses. Said research means reading a bunch of optometric and ophthalmologic jargon. (Would you believe I knew how to spell ‘ophthalmologic’ without looking it up? No? Good, because I definitely missed the first ‘l’, but I did get the rest of the bleeping consonants.)

I can piece my way through the jargon, but it takes a lot of brain power. Wikipedia and I are close friends, plus there’s a file buried deep in the back of my mind titled, “Things I Learned While Listening To My Ex Talk About Work.” As I started going over these articles, I’m going, “It would be so much easier to just ask the optometrist I nearly married,” and then I remembered: oh right, that’s not going to happen.

Oy. The PsyD says moments like these are to be expected for awhile longer. It’s funny how he just pops into my mind at random and completely disturbs all of my thoughts. At least I know how to write that into a character now.

As for the poor character recovering from her childhood illness, I’m thinking measles, but I have to research the long-term effects first. I don’t want to change her character dynamic too much. It’s one thing to add a daily regimen of medication; it’s quite another to write in ramifications of encephalitis.

I swear I’ve learned more researching for my novels than I ever did in Biology class. Anywho. That’s the random brainwaves of today.


No More Hiding

How do you hide?

I’ve had a lot of practice hiding. When I was a kid, I wore shirts far too large for me because I felt like I was fat. When I was 12 years old, 5′ 7″, and 149 lbs, I remember my dad looking me over. I was in jeans and a patterned blue and white short-sleeved button up. I’m sure whatever he said was meant to be positive, but I felt exposed and fat and ugly. I spent that school year wearing a ratty XXL denim shirt over my regular clothes.

Then I was thirteen and on a softball team. I came into my curves young, and I thought that made me fat. There’s a team photo where I’m standing in the back on the end and you can see that I have massive hips.

Then came fourteen, birth control for hormone regulation, persistent illness, weight gain, and the first manifestations of bipolar. I’m not convinced the birth control didn’t set off a chain reaction within my body. Even though I quit it after a few months, my body was never the same again. I spent a solid year in a black and white sports jacket because it hid my waistline and my hips.

I lost weight and gained it back. I’ve stayed in the range of 190-210 since age 16. I met a boy with whom the sun rose and set. He held my hand, made me feel wanted, made me feel adored. My self-image shifted a little bit. I wore dresses without wearing that jacket, which was a huge accomplishment.

That only lasted a few years. Life constantly changes, and we weren’t immune. Eventually he didn’t want to hold my hand anymore, didn’t like it when I danced or skipped or played in public. I embarrassed him sober, so I didn’t mind when he got drunk.

He loved me when he was drunk, and he would laugh and dance and sing and tell jokes, so I didn’t mind him drinking even when it got to borderline alcoholism. He loved me when he was drunk in a way that he didn’t when he was sober, and I was selfish. I needed to be loved. I went back to hating my body when he was sober.

It’s been sixteen months since we split, nine months since we agreed to never see each other again, and six months since we last had any contact whatsoever. I’m recovering, which this time last year seemed impossible. I was utterly destroyed from inside out.

The road to recovery has only a little bit to do with the actual loss of him. The real healing is starting to take place because of someone else’s relationship. This healing is something I needed long before I ever met my ex.

My good friend is getting married later this year, and we’ve been trying on bridesmaid dresses. The last time I wore a bridesmaid’s gown, I was in a wedding where it was important to look as thin as you can. This time is completely different because this friend comes from a culture where “thin” is an absurd concept. One of the other bridesmaids told me, “I don’t know why you’d want to get rid of [your ass]. I see women trying to get implants to get what you’ve got, and you’ve got it naturally. It makes me sick to see these girls thinking they’re so fat when there’s other girls who pay to get that.”

Well, that’s certainly a different perspective.

The bride and the bridesmaid have both been instrumental in helping me accept my body. I had another friend awhile back say I was nearly perfectly proportioned for that elusive hourglass shape. Slowly, I’m starting to gain confidence in my body.

That’s not to say I don’t need to drop a few pounds to get to a healthy weight–I absolutely need to adjust my diet to something a bit healthier than Sour Patch Kids and Starbucks. The point is I’m not hiding anymore.

The bride showed me a picture from our last excursion that she considered “regal.” Along with not hiding my body, I’m learning not to hide my personality. I’ve been made fun of for my laugh, for the jokes I like, for the childish fun I like to have, for the fact I like to dance regardless of the music situation. . . .


The dress was a size 18 or 20. Turns out I wear a 14.

Recovering from this relationship has been so much more than I anticipated. I expected to come out the other side stronger than I was at the beginning, but I didn’t know what that really meant. I thought it would mean not pining after my ex, a goal I’ve finally achieved. Learning to appreciate the way my body is built, learning to own my strengths and weaknesses, learning to enjoy the moment because making concrete plans for the future is a waste of time — these are things I didn’t anticipate.

In therapy today, I talked for an hour about work and boys and at the end, my therapist said, “Are you sure you need to come back?” It was kind of bizarre realizing I might be at a point that I’m actually stable enough to go about life without sitting behind closed doors with a professional listener.

The fact is, I’m okay. I really am okay, at least for now. I have my sights set on what I can control right now, and my hopes set on what possibilities might lie ahead. Being that I’m extremely relationship-oriented, I’ve tried not to focus on that aspect of my life in case I get distracted.

(Of course, that meant the Universe immediately directed me to someone who has that personality my ex had when he was drunk. The difference is, this guy is sober, plus he has the same kind of laugh I do and he loves the same type of jokes. All the personality quirks I’ve been degraded for, he has.)

All I can do right now is live my life as I want to, do the kind of work I love and write the kind of stories I like. Maybe one day he and I will cross paths. Maybe I’ll cross paths with someone even better. I’m finally genuinely open to the Universe if it wants to set me on the proper course.

I’m not hiding anymore.

Holding Emotions

I saw the most beautiful, kind, inspiring woman hold back tears and words today when I spoke to her. I wish I had asked if they were happy or sad tears.

If they were sad, all I want to do now is tell her that I survive day in and day out by telling myself I am okay. Hurt and fear and grief and love and happiness and passion are all emotions that are okay; therefore I am okay.

I hope she is, too.

Obligatory New Year’s Post

New Year’s resolutions aren’t really my thing, since I suck at keeping them. What I do (my mom started me on this years ago) is write down where I’ll be a year from now.

Without further ado, here is what I will have accomplished this time next year:

  • Gotten all 12 years of my notes organized
  • Hired a literary agent (this has been a goal for . . . 8 years now? To be fair, I haven’t sent out a query letter in 3 or 4 years.)
  •  Leveled out on my meds
  • Changed jobs, whether that be via “demotion,” change of departments, or taking leave to finish my degree (7 classes left and three years before my credits start expiring!) (Do you think if I get my novel published, they’ll count that as English 101 credit?)
  •  Dated at least one person (but will probably be single by Dec 31, 2016, let’s be real) (Don’t feel weird about that–being single has probably helped me get a good handle on things, even on the bad days when I miss him more than anything.)
  • Learned how to control my awful spending habits so that I have enough to hire a maid. (I have finally accepted the fact that I am missing the tidiness gene, so I will happily keep the housekeeping industry afloat.)
  • Received my phoenix and compass tattoos

That about sums it up, I think. I think that sounds like an active year. Of course, there are always unpredictable things along the way. There are a couple of things I left off for fear of jinxing them.

The dating one is pretty terrifying, too–I had a dream a couple of days ago that I can’t get out of my head. People tend to float into my life who could be my book characters, and this one is absolutely intimidating–the story line around this particular character is intensely emotional. Try focusing on the real world with that in the back of your head.


The other thing my mom and I believe is that whatever you’re doing on New Year’s Day symbolizes how you will spend your year. Mine is starting with breakfast with a friend, working (and I’ll be the only management present, so that should be interesting), and writing. All in all, that sounds like a good start.

(Plus, pleasant surprises are always welcome.)

Happy New Year, one and all. I hope your 2016 is better than your 2015, and is filled with many adventures, good fortune, and laughter.

I wrote a story….

Those of you who have been with me for awhile, or who have read my bio page(s) are aware that I write. For the most part, my short stories and flash fictions are things that I post here or leave uncovered in the depths of a long-dead desktop tower.

Recently, that’s been different. I’m trying to write short things for publication so that I can generate one of two things: residual cash flow (all of the writers in the audience are laughing right now) or readers. Readers are probably more important right now.

I started a short story, which has grown into a not-so-short story. I’m not sure when it will be finished, but my guess is 10-15 years from now, based on past experience.

When that didn’t stay short, I wrote another short story–more of a stream-of-consciousness, to be honest. It’s brief, and I posted it on Wattpad. Actually, it’s the only thing I’ve ever posted on Wattpad.

If you’d take a few minutes to critique it, I would be humbled. Longtime readers will see bits and pieces of my soul throughout the narrative; critique it anyway. I can handle it.

chemicals cover