Tag: empowerment

One

One

12-21 June 2017

Flying solo.  It’s not the first time, but it’s official. There’s more on that later.  However, the moment arrived on June 11, at 3:30pm when I turned in my very last assignment, turned off my computer, closed the blinds, packed up a dog and a human to spend time away on vacation (I still get separation anxiety when I board Duke).

Or, as I call it, the “escape I’ve been wanting since January.”  I was on a mission, a one week tour, and on a self-care program.  I was celebrating three milestones in life, focusing more on my birthday and graduation.  I was concerned about surviving the last three weeks of school.  I was simply trying to move forward one day at a time.  It was the hardest part of my life, but I am thankful I had the trials and tribulations because it gave me a focus.  This is something I’ve spoken of many times.

One.  It was just me.  “How many in your party?”  One.  “How many?” Just one.  Single riders inquire here.  So I did.  “Tell me about single riders.  I’m one.”  A few male cast members fought over who was going to give me a pass as a single rider on the Indiana Jones ride; the third one-upped them and gave me a pass that was even better, and more like a Fastpass.  It was my birthday, after all! They asked about my novel, that I am now calling the most anticipated read of the year.

I spent the best three days of my life at Disneyland, and completed a bucket list: physically spending my birthday at both parks in CA and FL.  I was at Walt Disney World five years ago.  Crazy how time flies!

I did my normal 14 hour marathon. I got the photo I’ve always wanted: an empty Main Street at night.  I ate a little, treated myself to a manicure/pedicure, a nice steak birthday dinner, and discovered the kids menu around the parks was better suited for my appetite.  I lost more weight.  I watched the fireworks on my birthday.  I spent time hanging out in Mickey’s house.  Sitting on the couch, at his desk, shaking my head at the kitchen, and his gardening tool house (still not for me).  It was great…and I forgot to get selfies!!!  Mickey applauded me, and Pluto gave me wet kisses.  LOL.  I want to thank the Green Army Men who taught the crowd how to clap.  I was on the bench finishing two beers before heading back over to Disneyland.  I was drinking when the Sergeant told a guest, “There isn’t any noise when your hands are open, ZZ Top action figure!”  and almost spewed the drink out. He spoke to “ZZ Top action figure” several times during their performance.  I am not afraid or ashamed to laugh out loud, and that’s exactly what I did.

I enjoyed my drinks. I found another new hangout place in California Adventure, in conjunction with the Karl Strauss beer truck.  I had a stalker. I met some new friends, and spent the remainder of my last night in the parks with them.  We met another person who was doing a one-day marathon and wanted to get in a few more rides before he had to leave.  One became three, then four for a while.  AND, there was football talk; three NFC East rivals/fans present: NY Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys.  (The season can’t come soon enough!)

I had the best time with me, myself, and I.  I was told if anyone could pull off Disney alone, that it would be me.  And I did it.  I did it all.  I would do it again. In fact, I’m itching to go back.  Disneyland is a short flight west.  I am also looking at a 2018 Walt Disney World vacation, before I say goodbye to New Mexico.

I have stories.  Then again, as a writer, don’t we always?  I spent time with my in-laws and helped a very special young woman celebrate her first major milestone graduating from high school.  I am proud of her.  She’s seizing an opportunity to pursue her dreams.  We’ll be friends for a long time, and I’m still proud to call her my niece.

If I can replicate a Carthay Manhattan (there’s still something missing), then I can do something with these lemons that are still waiting to be pulverized into the perfect drink.

I miss my patio days.  I miss writing from sun-up to sun-down.  I miss the days waking up late (because sleep still eludes me), not having to go into work because I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I couldn’t perform efficiently.  Several of my family and friends might be relieved to know the drinking has slowed down, and I’m rebuilding my bar.

There are new chapters ahead, but I can’t get to them yet until I finish writing the last ones to wrap up this journey.  I have learned a few more things about myself during the week away.

And for my thesis?  Well, I have approximately 50,000 more words to write to complete the novel, and I’m still writing.  Now, I call it work and make it a priority to write every day.  I have some back stories to insert, and a few clarifications to make.  It is an epic story, and a crossover where women’s fiction meets speculative fiction.  There is female empowerment.  There are moments of paranormal activity.

Stories, journeys, lemons, individualism, an empowered woman; a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a niece, a friend, a new friend; a stranger, a peer, a colleague, a former student…a writer.  I’m not going anywhere, and, as I mentioned, there are a few more chapters remaining here.  More importantly, there is nothing wrong with being alone.  There is a difference between being alone and being lonely.  I am far from the latter.  I encourage you to embrace being alone sometime!

Stay hydrated and cool!

Featured image: Stunning New Mexico sunset.  Below: Walt and Mickey.
Photos by Karen M. Hellinger.  2017

File Jun 21, 11 44 56 AM

 

Crashing

Crashing

9 June 2017

It’s another month of spending time on the patio, writing, reading, listening, learning, growing, and finishing school.  This is week ten!!!  Two long days away.  It’s short because today is Friday and Sunday is the end of this journey.  It’s long because I am working on my thesis defense, and other components of my second final project for my English class, and revising my research paper for my 20th Century American Literature class.  The good news is the bulk of the writing is done, and I can focus on revisions.

The fence that divides my yard from my neighbors has been in disrepair again.  It’s been propped up for several weeks now.  Nothing says vulnerability as much as a fence that’s on the ground, leaving a wide-open gap exposed.  The rabbits loved it, as Duke and I would discover them eating the grass on the lawn in the mornings and evenings.  However, I felt unsettled.  Add this to the wide range of feelings and emotions that hits me at any given moment of any given day; it’s not pleasant.  But, I am no longer responsible for something major like this.

Thursday was a chaotic day.  I felt like I walked into a storm, feeling the power of the waves crashing against me.  Because of a growing strength (on many levels), I felt the force bump me, knock me around, and try to throw me off my feet.  It didn’t last anything more than a minute before I realized what was really happening.  I walked up to and through the waves, walking past the sound of them whipping and whirling, making contact and impacting rocks and the shore.  The shock factor that followed was watching me walk away. And I didn’t look back as the door closed behind me.

The next storm that soon followed was more like a shipwreck.  I braced myself.  I observed the storm, taunting me to with a destructive force, chiding, searching for any loose items that could easily be manipulated and pulled away by the brute force of wind and water. I survived, with the boat intact, but slightly battered and bruised.

A third storm of waves was released later in the evening.  I stumbled. I phoned a friend, discussing the storm, as I was in the moment, and we talked for hours.  It is nice to have friends to turn to at all hours of the day, but I still spend the worst parts of the night piecing together moments of my life alone. I still attempt to wrap my head around the train wreck that hit me at full speed not so long ago.  The short duration, and the lightning speed of actions to immediately follow, makes it nearly impossible.  But, I think I found a book that might help me understand more.  We’ll see.

Sleep still eludes me.  The adrenaline continues to pump through every crevice of my body.  The big crash is coming, but, as my friend and I agreed knowing who I am, it will occur in smaller waves, not being as dramatic…which will be rather refreshing.  But it is coming.

My revised thesis was turned in this past Sunday.  It was complete, as far as the assignment dictated.  But, to begin querying an agent or editor it still needs approximately 50,000 more words.  This means the story is not over yet!  A few edits were made, including changing the name of Nick to Adam.  It seemed to suit the character better.  He was fleshed out a little more, enough to satisfy the final thesis.  What I discovered was his back story that will be written as part of the 50k words to turn it into a complete work of fiction.  I will admit there was one moment when I thought about the 138 page thesis, pitching it as-is.  It is a great product of how hard I’ve worked for 15 months, and writing it in less than 7 months. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby as a short novel, and the book is brilliant!  I had a rock star moment thinking mine could be just as brilliant, but the reality is if I pitched it today, it would be too short.  It still needs more.  I know exactly what I have to do, and will not waste any time writing to reach “The End.”

I am battered, beaten, torn down a little, vulnerable, uneasy, exposed, uncomfortable.  However, I am freakishly strong, independent, learning how to walk through the forces of water after walking through fire, empowered, and finding the right tools to deal with the extremely bruised psyche.  The fence is temporarily repaired, and even single boards have been reattached, so I feel safe once again. I  am focused on finishing the last remaining days of my education strong.  The final chapters of this journey are almost written to its own completion.  The bushel of lemons is on my counter again as I try to make the ultimate lemonade.  “YOU CAN DO THIS” remains on my computer monitor as I force my way through the storm that’s not quite over yet.

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Struggles

Struggles

20 May 2017

I am struggling.  I am okay in saying that I am struggling.  I am okay in reaching out to ask for help because I am struggling.  I am still extremely upset about events the other day, even though I try to remind myself of the positives.  One being freedom.

I need time.  Time to finish school.  Time to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. Time to get used to some realities.  Time to distance myself.  Time to heal, but that is a larger part of time.  Time to be myself in my current, comfortable environment.

I took some time off from work to re-focus on myself.  That time is drawing to a near, and I realize it was not enough.  I have the capability to take more time off, and I will more than likely do so through July 1.  My list of tasks seems insurmountable.

Time off has allowed me to invest in the take care of me program.  Have I succeeded?  Not sure, and I am trying to figure out how to measure that success because there are some days where I measure success by simply getting out of bed, showering, dressing,and leaving the house.  Little moments of success.  There are other days where I am only breathing.  That’s it.  Anxiety is high.  My focus is shot to hell.  My thoughts are so random and heavy, I cannot exercise enough to get rid of them.

I also freed up my schedule a little to allow for more social time.  It was really nice hanging out with friends the other night.  It felt good to laugh, and not speak about this ridiculous mess; I am not a victim.  I don’t want to be out talking about a Wasband and the pending divorce.  This does not help me.  I can talk about it through my writing: my thesis, the next novel, my current poetry book, and some supportive ears who help me through.  Until I finish my education, it’s hard for me to make plans, so trying to squeeze in a few hours a week of socializing should be good.  Right?  I’m here for the long haul, so something’s got to give.

I am not being the straight A student I’ve strived so hard to be.  This pains me.  I was soo close, and this term I have been derailed at every turn.  My education, this degree in particular, is extremely important to me.  It was the first of many declarations I had to make.  I am late on assignments.  I am not giving my 100%.  I am so hard on myself.  Recently, I was told by a relative (able to relate) that I am doing great, and I am strong.

#hellingerstrong.  The women in my family possess a hidden strength that many are not aware of.  It’s also another reason why we have said the OP has not only messed with the wrong woman, but the wrong person who is the strongest in the family (as I have been told by many).  Perhaps other women in my shoes may have fallen completely apart.  There are definitely days where I feel like I’m coming unraveled.  Then there are other days when I need to be the voice for those women who cannot seem to break free.  I stood up almost right away to say, “You can’t do this to me.  This is unacceptable. I don’t deserve this.”  I respect myself too much to be kept/controlled in a relationship abandoned for what?  A thrill?  An adventure?  Getting something out of his system?  A mid-life crisis?  A harlot who sees dollar signs?  Something he’s been wanting, but could never communicate?  He didn’t try, or try to be patient as I finished school.  I was not going to allow the OP to keep me hostage for six months to figure out if the affair was going anywhere. I was not going to wait to see if the process would begin-it was becoming very obvious actions were not going to be taken, so I took matters into my own hands.

There was never a point in my life where I felt like there was nothing left.  There was never a point in these events where I felt like I hit rock bottom.  I was floating above the bottom, praying for a breathing apparatus to avoid being completely drowned.  In some ways, I am still being held under water.  Soon enough I am going to make one final push to burst out of the water using my Wonder Woman/superhero strength.

Natalie is struggling.  She’s getting frustrated because she has to keep reliving certain events to change the course of her situation.  She struggles because one individual still holds her captive.  She is drowning because there doesn’t seem to be a way to reach the surface;

Week 7 is pretty intense.  There are only 3 weeks remaining, and my novel needs to be wrapped up.  This was not the week to wrap it up.  I pray for warm weather Monday and Tuesday to allow me to be out on the patio, in the sun, with the music playing from the back room; with coffee, a few glasses of bourbon (for those emotion-heavy writing days), or some wine, but reserve beer for the weekend.  Does Natalie come out of her coma?  I guess my readers will be curious to find out.  I already have one person with a reader’s copy.  I am ready for the final segment to be finished so that I can put in (most likely) 30 hours of revisions; I spent 22 hours last term!  Significant time.  Significant revisions.  Although this time, I have to revise EVERYTHING.  <insert a whoa here because I’m feeling it, too>.  This why it’s called ENG 559-Thesis Completion.

I am still listening to my “Welcome to Hell” playlist.  I am still searching for music to add to my next playlist.  I want my friends to know there is more to my life than divorce, but the reality is the only thing I have right now is finishing school; still my saving grace.  I struggle with a life I once had. Some things have changed and I will never be a part of again.  I cannot be a wife in a relationship that was abandoned, yet I’m still expected to be waiting by the door/phone to answer down to the nanosecond.  I am waiting for apologies I’ll never receive.  I am waiting for something final to hit my email inbox.  I am waiting; I am in limbo.  I wonder if it’s possible to sleep through exhaustion because, like clockwork, my mind woke me up at 3am with the next adventure that I did not want to know about. I feel like I’m still connected to a Wasband and things I suspect come to me in other ways.  The last attachment I have is a name. These are my struggles, and they are real. Perhaps they came to surface because this was a super-emotional week for me that ended in complete exhaustion (all levels).  Or maybe it’s due to an end to several things over the next couple of weeks.  These are chapters coming to an end.  There’s a life coming to a close.  I am looking at two final chapters of my life.  I need to rise above.  I need to stare at my sticky note on my desktop monitor that still reads, “YOU CAN DO THIS.”

 

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