Inspiration

I’ve been trying to watch videos when I have free time, mostly to help inspire my writing, but also sometimes to just inspire my life, my health, or whatever it is I feel like I’m struggling with right then, which let’s be honest, could be any random thing. I’m not always a motivated person and inspiration is almost always helpful.
I’ve read, watched, and listened to many things that I use to inspire myself when I’m feeling less than motivated. I keep play lists, videos and articles, or books where I can go back to them when I need it. And you can trust me when I say- I go back to these things quite often. I know that motivation isn’t something that I as a person should be waiting for, no matter if it is the motivation to write or the motivation to go to the gym. Instead of waiting to be motivated, I just have to do it, but some days with my Depression or whatever else is going on in my head, a little bit of motivation helps.
I want to provide you with some of the things I use to motivate myself, or at least give me that little bit of pick up I need to get myself out of bed on the bad days.

Books:
On Writing by Stephen King
The Writer’s Devotional by Amy Peters
The Write Brain by Bonnie Neubauer
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
If You Want to Write by Barbara Ueland

Videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8TkQvdJVbc&list=PLi6dCXUBadV-aqXGQzDTXw1hkLkol3LqW&index=1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewUy64JfpDg&list=PLi6dCXUBadV-aqXGQzDTXw1hkLkol3LqW&index=11
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0snNB1yS3IE&list=WL&index=3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzMQOan-tcc&list=WL&index=1
(Sense8 Spoilers!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeGq48uNrLc&list=WL&index=6

Music:
Belle & Sebastian
Neutral Milk Hotel
Connor Oberst/ Bright Eyes
Poe
Fiona Apple
Joss Stone
Billy Bragg
Elvis Costello
Florence + the Machine
They Might Be Giants
Norah Jones
Elliot Smith

Activities:
Walking (if I am able to get out of bed)
Reading
Writing Prompts
Journaling
Cuddling with Idris (my dog)
Talking with my Husband

I’m sure there is so much more than this to list, and maybe I’ll add to it as I figure it all out, but I was just going off the top of my head about what things I could think of. I find the things that motivate me are often more inspiring than anything. I can’t stand motivational speakers, but I do love a good clip on a writing giving advice, or even just talking about writing. I love a good poem, that is a good way to get me up and running, if it is spoken word- even better.
Show me passion for whatever it is you are doing and I will feel it and want to be a part of it. I can’t help myself. I feed of passion I guess and sometimes I have difficulty making my own so I borrow others through their words (written or spoken) and their music. At least I know it doesn’t drain them when I borrow their passion, though I’m quite sure that while they are creating they are drained enough, I know I get that way.
I would love to know more about what others use to inspire or motivate themselves when they really need a little push. So please comment and links are always appreciated!

Why I Write

When I was young, say 3 or so, my Grandmother gave me the best gift that anyone has. In my 34 years on this Earth no gift has been greater or more important to me. My Grandmother taught me to read, and in turn write. She instilled in me a love of both. To this day I couldn’t be more thankful to her for that. It was from her that I learned my purpose in life. I knew that no matter what I did with my life, I would also be a writer. I may never be famous. I may never be able to buy her everything she ever wanted as a thanks, but I could still write and share with her my work when I was comfortable enough to share it with anyone. She was my first fan, and my first teacher. I will forever be in her debt for showing me the wonderful world of words.
There have been many people who have influenced my love of writing and reading since that time. School teachers who took interest in my love of books and would assign me extra reading or writing assignments to push me further. Sometimes they would just encourage me to submit my work for publication. As my family knows all too well, it didn’t always end up with the best outcome. (Think letter to the editor from 7th/8th grade.) No matter the outcome though, if it weren’t for these teachers encouraging me, I might have never made it through school with my love of books and writing still in tact. School can be hard for any child, but sometimes I wonder, from my experience, if it isn’t that much more difficult for creative children. The ones who love to read, write, draw, paint, build. They can really struggle through sitting down all day and being told they have to do one thing and one thing only. If you know a creative child, teen, or adult you must know how hard that is for them to do. So to these teachers, I am forever grateful for your guidance, kind words of encouragement, and tough love when it was required. I learned so much between extra assignments in middle school, to creative writing class, writing conferences, and just one on one critiques. You all helped me survive what was more than a difficult time for me. I am unsure if I would have ever graduated High School without you.
My Parents, though maybe not understanding what I wrote, still supported me no matter what. Did I need to be dropped off at school early on a Saturday to attend a conference? Sure, they did that. Writing was almost like playing a sport sometimes. I guess they just got lucky that it was only once or twice a year, instead of several days a week for months at a time over four years. (You’re welcome!)They also encouraged me to write, to read. They supported my addiction to paper. I guess as the Parents of a rebellious teen I’d support an addiction to books too, it could have been much worse. We fought, a lot, like most Parents and their Children, but no matter how much we did or didn’t fight with each other, they still supported this dream of mine. And that support was instrumental in me not giving up, even when things looked their darkest.
My Best Friends have been my rocks most of my life. The first when I was 13 or so and the second coming along around 17. I am lucky to have found the two of them. They were creative types like me, but not always in the same way. I could feed off their creativity and them off mine. They were support but in an unconventional way. I didn’t always need them to push me harder, instead I needed them to pull me out of my own darkness so I could focus. And that they did. My life would never have been the same without either of them being a part of it.
I’m sure there are so many others who supported me throughout the way, but these are the ones who are most important to me, and have always been at the back of my mind when I sit to write. I want to make sure when I write, that I’m doing something that would make them proud. I feel like these people helped me throughout my life to make sure that I’ve never given up on the dream of being a writer. Sure I’ve had periods of doubt, and even periods of years where I didn’t write at all. They were some of the worst years of my life and I’m glad they are over.
These people aren’t the reason I write, they are, however, the reasons I never gave up writing when I didn’t achieve my first goals (to be the youngest published novelist in the world), or when I didn’t achieve me second goals, third, fourth, and so on. They are the people who stood by me in my failures and told me how to use them to make my work better, to make my life better, and how to move forward with my dreams even when they didn’t go as planned. So no, they might not be the reason I write, but they are the reasons I’ve continued to write. That might be an even better thing to be.
The reason I write?
I don’t know if I could breathe if I were unable to write. I would be trapped in my mind with so many words to get out but no place to give them life. A life without writing, a life without reading, that is not a life I want to lead. I would be miserable and I’m already miserable enough (thanks Depression!). I write because I feel like if I don’t my fingers might fall off and my brain would turn to much out of not being used. My life couldn’t be my own without writing. Sure I can read and escape a bit, but without having my own writing in the mix I still have too much that needs to come out and be said.
Writing is what I’ve built my life around. I will probably continue to do it until the day I die. Published or not. Famous or not. I will keep going because that is who I am. It is who I want to be, and who I have always wanted to be.

Half Year Review

Oddly enough I find myself a week ahead of schedule on blog posts. (Yay for that one morning last week where I got up early enough to write an advance post.) While every part of me says this is the perfect time to take a break and not write anything, I feel like I’m at an advantage and I should take it. For once I’m not scrambling last minute to put together a post. I can actually write this one, and change it or edit it if I feel the need before next week. How exciting? Yeah, I’m easily excitable.
It is that time in the year, it has hit the 6 month mark, and I need to sit down and evaluate where I stand with my goals that I’ve created throughout the year. This is the first year where I’ve actually tracked my goals this long. Usually I’ve given up by now, so the fact that I haven’t speaks volumes, at least to me anyway. One of the things I’ve noticed so far this year is that my goals are always evolving. I’ve probably changed them 5 or 6 times since January. It has taken me a bit, but I’m finally starting to feel like changing or evolving my goals to fit my life and myself as I learn more about what I really want is okay. It is better than okay, it is exactly what I need.
I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my bullet journal. This is the first year I’ve worked with one, and while I have zero artistic abilities and it can be a little plain, it has done wonders for me. I’m not only able to plan out my days/weeks/months/year, but I’m also able to write down anything else that feels important. Bill tracking, addresses, therapy topics… You name it, it is there probably. This is how I’ve noticed the evolving of my goals, as I sit down to figure out what it is that I want out of my year. I realized, when I started this year that not only was I depressed, I was working off a list that I created before my whole world was thrown into chaos. I gave myself goals that I was either never going to accomplish, or that I really had no interest in accomplishing. Or, there were some that I really did want to accomplish, but that realistically weren’t going to happen. I’m trying to be more logical about the goals I give myself now. There is no reason at all to give myself goals to change who I am as a person, when I try, I end up just beating myself up over unrealistic goals instead of trying to find compromises that work for me.
I even tried to do the level 10 life, which you might remember from my April check in post. Well that backfired as without real track-able goals I have a hard time knowing if I’m making progress. It is a cute idea, just not one that works for me for tracking goals, though I might keep it as a visual reminder of where I am with my goals. I think that could be helpful. I guess we will see!
In past posts I’ve provided all the goals that I’m working on. I’m not going to do that this time. Until I got to this point I wasn’t sure if I was going to add them to this post or not, and I guess I even have time for things to change, but as of this writing I do not feel like including them. You may be asking yourself why I won’t include them? It really isn’t anything more than putting that much information about my personal goals out there is starting to make me uncomfortable. At least today. The anxiety is real people! But I also want this post to be about the fact that I realized my original goals were not good for me, so I decided to change them. That is what is important. That is the take away from this.

A Letter to my Younger Self….

Tash-

I wish I could tell you all the things that I’ve learned in life so far. I want to save you so much heartache and pain. Alas, that isn’t something that can be done, but wouldn’t it be nice if it could? I know you’ll never get this letter, it just isn’t possible, at least in this life time, for that to happen. That doesn’t make the act of writing this less therapeutic for me. Maybe I need this, to say these things to a younger version of me so that maybe I can understand, now, or in the future, why I am where I am in my life and where the decisions that you’ve made lead us.
I’m not blaming you for anything. Given the chance I’m sure I’d repeat the same decisions, mistakes, and successes. I’m not sure my life could have ended up any other way that it has, no matter what I tried to do at your age, or what I try to do now at mine. It is my life, and I’m just along for the ride.
Before I really get into it, there are a few things I’d like to tell you:
1. You are amazing, intelligent and strong.
2. Don’t ever stop writing or reading
3. You deserve so much more than you give yourself credit for
4. One day you will wish you hadn’t left, but it was one of the best decisions you’ve ever made
5. It is all worth it, even when you are depressed or manic, you’ll find that one thing to hold on to that makes it all worth trying
So, for the true purpose of this letter to my younger self…
You’ll never have children. I wish I could have known sooner. I mean really known, and accepted it. Sure, the Doctor told you that it probably wasn’t going to happen, but you didn’t always believe him. You’ve gone through cycles of being okay, and even feeling like not having children was your choice, even though deep down you know it is just a way to cover up. You didn’t accept what they told you, and instead would often let yourself believe it was going to happen. I can tell you, at this point in our life, there is no wondering, no hopeful tries. It isn’t going to happen. It needs to be accepted, and I guess in a way that is what I’m trying to do here.
I don’t want this to all be a downer, there are things that can keep you going when times get rough. You have amazing nieces and a nephew who stole your heart at first glance. The moment you see them, you’ll know that having your own children isn’t the end of the world because you have these beautiful beings in your life and they are all you need. They will be everything you ever dreamed up for your own children and you will love them fiercely. They will make everything worth it.
There are, of course, the less dramatic reasons that not having children works for you:
1. You are basically an adult child yourself
2. Video Games
3. You hate to wake up in the morning, and hate being woken up even more
4. You have a dog that is your world, and see needs you
5. You can do many things that can’t be done if you have children (though still limited by above dog)
That is only a partial list, but you can see that the world isn’t ending. You are smarter than I am I’m sure and you will be just fine. One day you’ll look back at this letter and laugh that it even had to be written, but for me, right now, I needed this.

xoxo Tash

Routine

Well, vacation is over, I’m back home and going back to work shortly. Reality is setting in and I’m checking out mentally and emotionally. Why? I’m just at that vacation hangover stage. I spent so much energy while I was away that I honestly have nothing left. I haven’t had time to recharge before going back to work and back to all that is expected of me, but that is fine, that is what being an adult is right? Doing what needs to be done even when all you really want to do is stay in bed, with the possibility of blanket forts?
I’m okay being back to the grind as they might say. I do enjoy my job, I’m just tired. What I’m mostly ready to get back into is my routine, or at least trying to figure out what that routine is. There are many things that I feel need to be done in a day, or a week. I’m still working on figuring out how to get all of these things done as often as I’d like. I feel like this is something that I struggle with often and am the most verbal about. I’m not good at balancing my life, which is why when things start to get to be too much I just give up and break down. I just stop, and that is the point I’ve been at for the past few months. I haven’t made much effort to figure any of this out, even though I have wanted to do it. I just do things whenever the mood strikes me, and while that doesn’t really seem like a bad thing the honest truth is that the mood doesn’t strike me very often. More often than not I procrastinate until I have limited or no time left to do any of the things that I want and that makes me frustrated and want to not do it at all. So yeah, that is a nice cycle I have myself in.
I wasn’t really here to talk about any of that, but if you have read any of my past posts, you realize that I write about whatever happens to be on my mind that day. Which is another thing that I’ve been trying to change. I’d love to be able to schedule blog posts and then just write the ‘off the cuff’ ones as the need arises. That’d have me posting more than once a week and I’d really like that, however, that, like most other things in my life right now, requires me to get this damn routine or schedule figured out. One of these days I’ll know what I’m doing. I even have a tracker in my bullet journal that is supposed to be helping me stay on the right path. Really all it has done is show me how little I’m doing of the things that I want to do (that sentence was painful for me to write).
So what are my plans to figure it out now and why is it going to be different than it has been so far? Well, hell if I know. Right now I’m just in the planning stage of this idea. I’m trying to figure out what I’ve done wrong so I can figure out how to do it right this time. I am going to assume one of the first things that I need to do is get on the right sleep schedule so that I’m able to plan out the rest of my day accordingly. For example, today I got up a half hour earlier than I normally would. This allowed for me to get my coffee made, journal, and even write this, which normally I’d not have time to do this part. So, if I continue to get up 30 minutes early, that will allow me time to work on my blog every day, and that is something that I’d really love to be able to do. And today at lunch I will do my best to get my reading in, which is what I’ve been doing up to this point (minus vacation, of course). And after work, well that will be cooking, writing, working out time. And then once all that is done, I can try to fit in whatever other less important things I want to do with my day, before crashing hopefully by midnight. Then repeat tomorrow. I guess that sounds like I have some sort of idea on what I’m going to do. Which is more or less what I’ve tried to do in the past, but procrastinated my way through it.
I guess that means the key to this isn’t the schedule, but actually sticking to it. I will have to do my best to try and do that. What are you suggestions for keeping a routine? Any tips or tricks that might help me?

Obligatory Vacation Post

I’ve been on vacation since Saturday, which, if you haven’t already guessed is the reason why my normal Sunday post hasn’t happened yet. I might not even make it on time for this upcoming Sunday’s post. You’ll survive, I’m sure.
I had all these visions of what my vacation was going to be: a little visiting with family and friends, a little time out with the husband, and a lot of reading and writing. Well, I’ve done the visiting, I’ve done the time with family and friends, which seems never-ending at this point, and I’ve even been able to read a bit, but this is the first time I’ve written more than a journal entry. Yeah, I guess I have had the time to do it, if you count the times I’ve ended up falling asleep before I intended. I’m a bit bummed that I haven’t had much writing time, but to be honest, I’ve not given myself the opportunity to have much writing time. There has been so many gaps in things that I’ve been doing that I could have easily written, but I didn’t and now here I am complaining about it. Really, it is just my fault for not setting aside any time until it is two days left in my vacation and I’m worn out. Oh well, no use complaining about it now right?
Beyond the lack of writing my vacation has been going a bit better than planned. I’ve had some of the expected family drama, because isn’t that what happens when you go to visit family? You remember why you ended up moving several hours away in the first place? But, I’ve also been able to share some of the beauty here with my husband, who, even when we lived here for a year and a half, wasn’t really able to appreciate it any of the times before when we were here- mostly because many of those times everything was covered in many feet of snow. Spending time with my husband is one of my favorite past times, believe it or not after 11 years together we still actually like each other, most of the time. I’ve been able to do some things with my dog who took the trip with us too that she hadn’t been able to do before. I got to introduce her to my family, take her hiking, and even bring her to the river! She loved it.

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*View from the top of Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH. Photo credit: my mother*

I like to try to think about living here again, every time I come home the thoughts hit me, but I know- deep down- that this is a place that I can come and visit and be happy for awhile, but this isn’t where I want to be for the rest of my life. No, this is the home I knew, and it is still the place I call home, but only because I’ve yet to find where I really want to be. Which is something my husband and I have talked about during this trip quite a bit. We’ve got a few places in mind to check out and I’m excited about the possibilities there, but that is still far off yet I’m sure, so no need to get my hopes up at the moment.
I just wanted to take a moment to let everyone know that I am in fact alive and things are okay at the moment. I’m just not home or able to stick to a schedule much!

Friendship

introvert

 

I’ve been listening to Women of the Hour podcast lately. (I should be honest, I’ve listened to the first episode and am currently listening to the bonus episode as I write this, but I still wanted to use this as inspiration for this week’s post.) I have some great friends, especially for a person who is introverted, and has limited social skills. I’ve spent a good portion of my life trying to figure out how to be a good friend and have a good friend. I’m not great at the whole friendship thing to be honest. I never have been. And I’m not even going to try to discuss how to be a good friend or even really tell you about my friends at all. So why would I even think that this has anything to do with Friendship? Good question.
I’ve been thinking about friendship lately. Sometimes you have friends for years and they are always apart of your life and no matter how much the two of you grow into your own person and lead your own lives, but then you have friends that you thought would always be there, but as you grow and move into your own lives you begin to see that you aren’t even able to say on parallel paths. It is sad when this happens, it really is, but I’m not sure if it is sad because I can see a friendship floating away that has been a part of my life for many years, or is it because of all the work that was put into that friendship that when you see it ending you get frustrated that you wasted that much time. Then I think, was it a waste really? I mean even if you don’t keep the friendship forever it was still important while you had it. For whatever time that friendship existed it was important and it was meaningful and it had a purpose, now it doesn’t.
So what do you do when you see this friendship moving on or forward into a place where you know it isn’t going to last? I don’t know, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ve survived many of these relationships ending, some in better ways than others. Some of them have dragged on years longer than they should. What can I say, friendship is something that still confuses the hell out of me and I often don’t know the right way to handle it. Other times I’m no sure I’m even in the right. I’ve mentioned, several times, I’m not great at friendship. I’m really bad at it often times, unless you want to have an online friendship, which takes minimal effort, then I usually do okay, but you have to be okay with me disappearing for several days or weeks at a time without a word. And as long as you are okay with that, then we can be online friends. I spend a lot of time alone and often don’t think about reaching out to the real world to let them know that I’m okay. Those are the kinds of friends that I need, ones that understand that I’m not a constant update kind of friend. I’m more of a weekly highlights kind of friend. Does that make me a bad friend? Maybe, but that is who I am and if you can’t accept that, or you want to change me into someone else, you will find out that our relationship will not last forever, no matter what either of us thinks.
So tell me about your friendships. Where do you struggle? What kind of friends are you looking for in your life? Do you need a friend that will talk to you once a month like me? Cause if so, maybe we could be friends.