Posted in Personal Post

A Woman’s Place is in the Resistance

To the women who marched on Saturday, I would like to take a moment to offer my heartfelt thanks.

You see I was unable to march because of a cold, my doctor strongly advised that I stay inside if I wanted to get better. I was planning to attend my local Women’s March in Ocean City Maryland, but I chose to abide my doctors orders.

I want you to know that you marched for me, you marched for my rights. I love you for that. I love each and every one of you: Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Arabic, and those who wish to not conform. I love all of you both gay and straight, transgender, and non-gender specific. You took up the banner for me, a complete stranger and carried it willingly.

Why does it matter so much to me?

Because I am a survivor of sexual assault.

Because I have been discriminated against because of my gender.

Because I have made less than a man does for doing the same job.

You marched for me, you marched to make my voice heard so the least I can do is thank you for doing so. You stood at the Alter of Gloria in triumph!

Now, I will do my part.

I will take up my pen in solidarity with you. I will used my power of the written word to strike down those who say this is nothing but a phase, those who would demean our movement. I will write my local representatives. This is what it takes, this is what our battle looks like. So I will take up my weapon and ready it for war with you my sisters.

To those who say they don’t “need” this march, I say this: You do not get to decide what is good for other woman. That’s why we march: to decide for ourselves what is right for our bodies.

Thank you my sisters, thank you from the deepest part of my heart. I truly respect and honor you. Let’s keep fighting.

Posted in Uncategorized

Advice from a Young Writer to a Younger Writer

I’m far from an expert, I’m of the mindset that I will constantly be reaching for that goal because there is always something new to learn about writing.

I could save us all the time and simply give the advice that I was given when first starting out:

WRITE EVERY SINGLE DAY.

It’s a valid piece of advice, after all a craft needs to be kept at its sharpest if one wishes to become an “expert.” However there are those that can’t simply sit down and write for five minutes, sometimes people need prompts or a little boost to help them get their creative juices flowing. There are times when I am one of those said people, some days the brain just doesn’t want to wake up or it just feels like it’s scraped thin. In which case there are dozens of resources at your disposal, I’m going to name a few of my favorites.

The 3 A.M. Epiphany is quite possibly the most essential book that any writer should have. It has concrete, challenging, and engaging exercises that give your mind the freedom to wander. It’s a work out for your brain, making you think about things that you wouldn’t normally think about and challenging you to stay within a word limit. The exercises cover various topics like Point of View, Time, Imagery, Humor, Travel…there’s no limit to what this book can do for you. Some people would consider this a book for those who are a little more experienced writers, but I think that most writers can use this book and get a lot out of it. There is also a follow up book (which I do not own yet) called The 4 A.M. Breakthrough to whet your appetite if you so wish.

The San Francisco Writers Grotto became known to me when I found 712 (More) Things to Write About. This is a wonderful diary to keep and the exercises aren’t as time consuming as Breakthrough’s. These exercises can range from the serious to the wonderfully ridiculous. They don’t take much time, and very little effort in some cases; the book was designed (in my opinion anyway) for the writer who is always on the go, the writer who has a day job, and the writer who just needs that five minutes to escape.

My next piece of advice is to change your setting once and a while. Sometimes sitting in the same place leads to stagnation. You’re looking at the same wall, the same desk, and perhaps the same people. It gets boring. So if there’s a coffee shop or even a bar nearby see if that offers a host of new inspiration. People watching is the greatest form of inspiration. Set up in a corner with your laptop or notebook and let the show begin.

Another thing that I do is that I talk to myself…a lot. If you’re a fiction writer or even a poet, think out loud. When the place is appropriate of course…I wouldn’t recommend talking to yourself in a public space, unless you’re whispering or something. Even then I think you’d merit a few stares to say the least. But talking to yourself in the voices of your characters sort of solidifies them, makes them more real. Walking around your writing room muttering to yourself may merit a label of insanity, but who will have the last laugh when you hold that Pulitzer Prize for Literature?

Finally, I have this to say:

Write every day. Be humble, accept that your craft is ever changing and there is always something new to learn. Did I mention write every day?

Now get out there, grab a pen and a notebook, and start writing!

Posted in mental health, Personal Post

Shelter

My first post in the new year is going to talk about a short that I discovered last year that impacted me in such a way that I am just now coming to terms with how much this piece of art is important to me.

This short tells the story of Rin,  a 17-year-old girl who lives her life inside of a futuristic simulation completely by herself in infinite, beautiful loneliness. Each day, Rin awakens in virtual reality and uses a tablet which controls the simulation to create a new, different, beautiful world for herself. Until one day, everything changes, and Rin comes to learn the true origins behind her life inside a simulation.

Now why would something like this impact me so? Why should you care? It’s quite simple really: It all goes back to my mental health.

If you haven’t watched the short, do so now. I will be venturing into spoiler territory beyond this point.

Rin’s journey, is my journey. I lived in a world where I thought everything was fine, repressing everything that I was feeling and running from my past. I was trying to create a world where I didn’t hurt, where I was safe. It was like a trying to paint over a black wall with white paint and expect it to not bleed through. Eventually no matter how much paint you add, your wall will always be black.

When Rin finally learns the truth, that her father sacrificed himself to save her, she is devastated. The memories are painful, they wash over her like the ocean waves.

That’s how it is with me.

See I have my own share of painful memories, from my mom’s death to being sexually abused by a teacher at my high school. Those memories haunt me, and even though I can’t fully comprehend my sexual assault yet–it’s still there, like a dormant volcano. The memories become overwhelming, they hit me like a truck and knock me in the mud, then they drag me through said mud and leave me there to rot. That’s when the depression hits, that’s when my demons come out and tell me I should just end it all and escape from this ocean of pain and misery.

The thing about the ocean though, is that it waves to and fro, the waves always recede back to the ocean. That’s what I have to remember, is that those memories are a part of me, they formed who I am, but they are not me. Those memories of my mom give me strength, they’re what keeps me here–they are responsible for that tiny dollop of hope that I have in my darkest times.

Even if those memories make me sad, I’ve got to go forward believing in the future. Even when I realize my loneliness, and am about to loose all hope, those memories make me stronger. I’m not alone…because of you.

As I type through my tears, I want you all, all who are struggling with something, to remember that it is worth it. I know it sucks, it hurts, and it doesn’t seem like it. But, to quote Samwise Gamgee, there is something good in this world and it’s worth fighting for.

Whatever that good is, fight for it. Find shelter in it.