Monday, June 27, 2016

Turn the Page

That's how you begin a new chapter.

This coming Friday marks 11 months since my "traumatic brain injury." I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate that phrase. It's just stupid. It doesn't mean anything, because it encompasses so much it's impossible to define in real earth terms.

Tomorrow we go to court and sign paperwork that means the workers compensation insurance gets to wash their hands of me. It's actually a win for us, our lawyer calls it a gold mine. Due to the laws governing my type of situation in Oklahoma, our settlement is generous.

It isn't a drop in the bucket if you factor in my lost wages for the last 11 months, the long road ahead of medication, doctor visits, or however long I will be out of work--because nobody can tell me how long that will be. Because nobody knows. You've heard it. I've heard it. Everyone's brain is different. I could be perfectly normal in a week. I could be dealing with this for years.

We just don't know.

Back to that chapter. I'm a writer who can't write, at least not with any regularity. But what kind of person can just sit around feeling sorry for themselves? Right? I'm so OVER this crap. Right now I feel like a membrane stretched across the top of a bowl. About to rip. About to burst.

I can't do anything about the pain. It's just there. It'll be there until it's not. Summer heat makes it worse, and I can't be cool enough. So I push it to the back of my mind and try to deal with it later. In the mean time, I create. I'm slow, but it gives me something to do. What am I creating?

 Aprons. Yes, that's the Tardis. :)
 This is one I did for a friend of mine, to thank her for all her help with my kids this school year--but mostly because she's an amazing human being. I have a lot of this fabric now because I love it.
 God bless America! This one came out so dang cute. I have it trimmed with red, but I like it trimmed with navy best.
Ship in a bottle, trimmed with brown. This one is so great. I'm also doing this same print trimmed with blue. It's my favorite so far, so I'm saving it to finish up after court tomorrow as a special treat.

There are also kid aprons. Prepare yourself for something incredibly cute.

 This was the first one I did, and it went to my sis's grandbaby
 This one was a custom job. I loved the holly hobby look of the fabric, just perfect for a little girl. And the little hat buttons! Ideal for the fabric!
 Minnie Mouse, trimmed with black polka dots and pink ribbon.
 I did this one up one day because I had just enough of this red print to do one apron for a 5/6 size girl, and loved it so much I found the print in several other colors!
This one is also a custom job, done in a 2/3 for a little girl for a friend's niece. Again I'm revisiting that wonderful yellow flower print because it's just great for aprons.

If you're wondering, yes, I'm selling. Right now I'm working on building some inventory. I'm posting pics on Facebook and also taking some custom orders. At one point it got a little crazy because I had 10 custom orders in one week, but that's a good kind of crazy. That's kind of why I'm working with aprons and not something urgent like brain surgery.

Because of my current condition, I don't move quickly. I can cut and sew aprons only at my own pace, which fluctuates based on my pain levels--which change at any given week. Last week I cut ten aprons out on Wednesday, but I only sewed 4 on Saturday, and I'm only getting 3 sewn today. You get the idea. I'm honestly going as fast as I can. The kid-sized aprons are obviously faster to cut and sew because they are smaller, and they're more fun because I can see my results faster too.

But, please, don't give up on my writing. I am still plugging away, just much more slowly. Writing is something that requires a great deal of brain power, and is very draining and causes my headaches to worsen quickly. So I have to pace myself. I don't expect to publish anything soon, but I haven't given up.

In the mean time, you, your friends, sisters, daughters, nieces, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, etc--can cook, garden, clean and whatever else you do where you want to protect your clothes in serious style! Just hit me up for an apron from "Fanciful by Design!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Transparency

Obviously I haven't been here in a while. I haven't been doing much writing at all, so I guess most of my writing-related activities (blogging, Twitter, etc) have suffered for it.

But I'm here, so I guess it's time.

Yesterday, I had one of those conversations with my kids. You know--that type of impromptu conversation that you aren't really expecting to ever have. The kind you sort of hope you'll never have to have.

The kind where you tell them about the time when you were their age and wrote your first--or perhaps, only--suicide note.

Yeah, that kind.

We were talking about how differently the adolescent brain functions as opposed to the adult brain. How hard it is for a teen or preteen to see that there is a future 2 or 3 or 10 years down the road, and how empty the words "it gets better" can be--no matter how well-intentioned they are OR how much experienced the person offering them has. When I wrote my note, I was at my lowest. I couldn't see any other way out. I didn't see how my situation possibly *could* improve.

Yet it did. And within a year. Which, looking back, isn't really that long. At the time, though, it would have been an eternity.

My kids asked me, rightly so, what stopped me. In that moment. In my darkness. And I had to be honest.

Writing. When I wrote my suicide note, in the maybe 4 or 5 minutes it took me to pen the note, I was alone. But I was at a friend's house. And for the previous several months I had been writing every single day and sharing every page I wrote with my friends. It had become habit--so much so that when my friend returned to the sanctuary of her bedroom I just handed my suicide note to her without a word. Automatically. Utterly without thought on my part. She read it. We talked.

Yes. You can argue I wasn't that serious about killing myself if I was that easily talked out of it. I will simply state that I'd thought about the many, many ways I could end my life countless times. The possibilities were constantly on my mind. I didn't have access to guns, and I didn't want anything "showy"--I wasn't out to make a statement--so drowning in the bathtub with the aid of pills or possibly hanging myself was my most likely method. I wanted something absolute. My mom had a fear of my older brother dying by drowning in the nearby canal that ran through the city, but I wasn't sure that would actually kill me, so I didn't want to chance it. Wandering off on one of the many desert hiking trails wasn't an option because there were too many well meaning hikers/joggers etc ready to help me, or some psycho wanting to make my situation worse--again, too many variables.

Let's just say I thought about it a lot. And I had to do it right the first time, because a messed up attempt would only put people on guard and make it harder to succeed a second time. Those were dark days. I was severely clinically depressed at the time, but had yet to be diagnosed. It was just something I was struggling with day to day, in addition to all the normal crap a teenager struggles with everyday.

And writing my first novel. That became my escape. And yes, like a friend of mine at the time suggested, I probably became too involved in the story. But, at the time, I needed it. I needed the outlet. I could have turned to drugs, or sex, or alcohol, but I didn't. I turned to fiction. It could have been worse.

It's never been a secret to my kids that I struggled growing up, but yesterday was the first discussion about the actual note. I'm sure it won't be the last. At least I won't be able to pull it out and show them. Even I think that would be kind of creepy.
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